Saturday, January 23, 2016

Senator Harris makes the correct call

Jackson Baker has broken news that we all should rejoice at hearing:  State Senator Lee Harris (D-29, Senate Democratic Leader), has decided NOT to challenge Congressman Steve Cohen in the August Democratic primary.

He had yet to issue an official statement, but it IS the right decision.  I do think that, further down the road, if the Congressman decides he has had enough, Harris would be the out and out favorite to succeed him in the 9th District.

Right now, though, we need him in Nashville fighting Ron Ramsey and the Koch Brothers, so thank you, Senator, for a wise decision, and keep up the good fight on Capitol Hill!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Has the whole world turned to crap? Or, Glenn Frey is dead and I don't feel so good myself*

*With apologies to the late, lamented Lewis Grizzard

After a week that has seen the deaths of the Genius of All Arts David Bowie and the intensely gifted actor Alan Rickman, comes word this afternoon of the passing of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey at the way-too-young age of 67.    Frey, the McCartney to Don Henley's Lennon, co-wrote and sang on many of the 70s' greatest hits, and had a not-too-shabby solo career, with hits like YOU BELONG TO THE CITY.    The man lived a full life, and I thank him for all he gave the world.

Speaking of the world, there seems to be a real battle for the direction and soul of the Democratic Party these days, one side led by the Woman Who Would Be President and the Guy Who Just Got in The Party but, who, in reality, has been fighting for the REAL Democratic Values for the last 30 years,

I am voting for Bernie Sanders because he is doing his damnedest to bring the party back to the values of its greatest leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.   For his troubles, Sanders is drawing larger crowds than his opponent, Secretary Clinton, and seems to be making inroads as new polls come out each day in the various states.

Secretary Clinton has the backing of the Party establishment, such as she did eight years ago, when it all collapsed on her because, frankly, she may well be a solid President but she is a terrible candidate.  No, seriously.  Simply put, the people who are showing up to Sanders rallies are there because they actually feel like voting FOR someone that they believe stands for them and WITH them.

They left the Party because of the neoliberal views of the Secretary and her husband, that charming rascal, the Big Dog himself, everyone's second favorite 42 after Jackie Robinson.  Truth is, of course, 42's treaties like NAFTA and GATT helped major corporations shift jobs overseas, gutting the American middle-class.  He says it's a mistake; NOW he tells us.

I have been loathe to say much, because if the Secretary is the Democratic nominee, I will have no choice but to vote for her, as I cannot imagine what horrors a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would impose on this nation with a full GOP Congress.   However, the other Sanders voters may well just say screw it and stay home, taking down not only the Secretary, but all the down-ballot Democrats, of which we don't have that many left at the moment.

It's still a long way from the March 1 Presidential Primary, and I have these words for supporters of Secretary Clinton: BACK OFF.  This is a PRIMARY, and I have the right to support whom I damn please.  I REFUSE to stop fighting for Bernie Sanders unless it's mathematically impossible for him to win.   I have been a Democrat since I learned to walk, but the Party needs to start moving in MY direction, not vice versa.

Closer to home, I note that Mayor Jim Strickland has decided to indefinitely place on hold the rollout for the body cameras for Memphis police officers.  I understand completely why he did this; he is still getting settled and needs a little time to compare what he is being told by District Attorney General Amy Weirich and what he is being told by the community, who thought they would have been implemented by now.

It is obvious by now that little or nothing was done under the prior Wharton Administration to actually IMPLEMENT the cameras or work out how they would be implemented, like finding answers to questions about access and archiving.  He has left Mayor Strickland a flaming bag of dog poo on the doorstep; however, Jim Strickland is an operations guy, not a sales guy, and he WILL get this figured out.  Hell, that's why we VOTED for him!

Ok, I'm done for tonight, flame away on the various platforms!

Friday, January 15, 2016

What Bernie Sanders stands for...

Is what the Democratic Party USED to stand for.  Sometime, in the 1980s, neoliberalism insidiously worked itself into our structures and moved us away from who we are and whom we are supposed to be.

I support Bernie Sanders for President because he understands where we HAVE to go to save the United States of America.  Evolution and incrementalism is too slow.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

It's a New Day, Yes It IS


  Yesterday saw the swearing in of a new mayor in the city of Memphis. The first major change in the city's leadership since 1992.  Jim Strickland took the oath of office along with new Court Clerk Kay "Mic Grabber" Robilio and 13 city council women (of which there are far too few) and men.

 Jim's speech was 15 minutes outlining his stances on what we can do to work with the city to make it better. He attacked crime and blight, two tentpoles of his campaign.

 I was a little disappointed that education and workforce development were addressed only briefly. I have been assured that these are to come though. As bad as crime is in this city that I love, we must educate our young people so that they stay and continue to progress this city. We cannot continue to have them flee the city and county for better jobs. We need to continue to work to bring those jobs here.

 I said during the campaign that while I disagreed with Jim's stance on crime (a view shared by white liberals and younger African-Americans), it played well with older, more conservative whites and African-Americans and was the driving force behind his election. I hope that he can be successful and we do not have a school to prison pipeline. I want to see more public-private partnerships to help this. This is something that the private sector and public sector alone cannot do. They must work together to fix this.

 I have seen attacks on Mayor Strickland for getting rid of the two employees of the Music Commission. His getting rid of it should be no surprise. He did not want it in the first place. While I think that we need a group that pushes Memphis music, it must be a group that looks to our future and not to our past.

  Too often in this city that I love, we look to the past and not to the future. We run campaigns the same basic way we have for 30 years. We look to artists from 30-50 years ago. We do not look to the present or to the future. We cannibalize or deny opportunities for people to grow and become the future in order to maintain our present.

Jim has started the process of moving us into the future by cutting some dead weight and beginning the process of moving us into the future. The animal services director firing, the music commission erasure, and others are steps that show that we are breaking with the past to turn this city around and make it an example for the region.

  Let's give him time to begin to turn this city around. This city has a lot of problems. Let's see if he can fix them, or begin to, because honestly, the way we were doing things was not working. Change is scary, but often necessary.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Well, THAT was great while it lasted.

Jackson Baker and Bill Dries, looks like it's all on you again.

Kyle Veazey, who upon becoming political editor of the Commercial Appeal, coordinated with Ryan Poe and Linda Moore to revitalize political and governmental coverage there in a way not seen since Terry Keeter was alive, stunned everyone today with his announcement that he was resigning to work in the communications office of new Mayor Jim Strickland.

He made the CA readable again for something besides sports coverage and David Waters, and his FIRST WORD column was a must read for everyone who cares about politics and government not just in the city, but the region as well.  I am certain it was a good offer for him to leave, but it's hard not to think that the recent acquisition of the CA (and Knoxville News-Sentinel) by Gannett had some part in his decision.

Gannett, who does for journalism what D-Con does for cockroaches, made all of the staff at the TENNESSEAN re-apply for their jobs in creating the "NEWSROOM OF THE FUTURE", which, in my opinion, has made the paper unreadable, Joey Garrison excepted.  Transforming what had become a good paper under Journal News Group, after years of neglect from Scripps, into USA TODAY - Memphis edition, is nothing short of disheartening for those of us who love real journalism.  I really feel for Ryan Poe and Linda Moore, who have done great work on the city and county beats, and hope that the incoming Gannetteers will allow them to do their jobs as they have done them.

Kyle, congratulations, but damn, I am going to miss FIRST WORD.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

OK, It's December 1, let's start the Holiday season properly.

More about the new Strickland administration later, it's time for the only Christmas song that makes me FEEL like Christmas:

I'm STILL NOT LISTENING to WRVR until after December 26.


Friday, November 06, 2015

Early Voting in the Satellites Starts TODAY for the runoffs, GO VOTE!!!!

First, here are the locations, not as many as in the general election:

Abundant Grace 1574 Shelby Drive, 38116
Agri-Center International 7777 Walnut Grove Rd., 38120
Anointed Temple of Praise 3939 Riverdale Rd., 38141
Berclair Church of Christ 4536 Summer Ave., 28122
Dave Wells Community Center 915 Chelsea Ave., 38107
Glenview Community Center 1141 S. Barksdale St. 38114
Greater Middle Baptist Church 4982 Knight Arnold Rd. 38118
 White Station Church of Christ 1106 Colonial Rd., 38117

 Beginning Friday, November 6, 2015 and ending Saturday, November 14, 2015
Weekdays 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturdays, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Closed Wednesday, November 11, 2015 in observance of Veteran’s Day

I am supporting Dan Springer in the District 5 runoff because I believe he has the actual governmental experience to make a positive difference for our district.  Having gotten to know him, I know he has the work ethic and the know-how to do the right thing, and he will represent EVERY area of District 5.  I hope that if you live in 5, you will vote for him.  He is also supported by erstwhile candidate Mary Wilder as well.

I attended a gathering for him this evening in Midtown, and Dan took questions and made a great speech about what he sees for the future of the city.  He was patient and listened and gave solid answers to the crowd gathered at the home of Sutton and Kerry Hayes.  Kerry is the one who introduced me to Dan.  Again, we have a short period of time to make a big difference, and I ask for your vote for Dan Springer for District 5!

Now to the other races.......

If you live in 2, Rachel Knox would be a great choice for Cordova and the far eastern parts of the city.  Nothing against Frank Colvett, he is a nice guy, but I believe Rachel has the fire needed for the changes that must be made in the city.

District 3, I lean toward Keith Williams because I believe labor needs a spot at the table, but Patrice Jordan Robinson is a pretty good candidate and is a former MCS Board member.

District 4, if I had a vote, it would go to Jamita Swearengen.

District 7, I have no recommendation, it's your call.

The Council races are important because they will be working with the Mayor-elect Jim Strickland to attack the problems that this city faces.  Please go check out these candidates,get off your butt and VOTE!