Monday, October 29, 2007
However, many thanks to Autoegocrat for sending me the link to Skeptical Brotha's vicious (but not inaccurate) hit on Junior, Harold Ford, Jr: Prince of Tennessee.
I'm not even going to excerpt it, you just need to read it all.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Seriously, you cite as a reason to gut the rule the idea that you think that having lunch or appearing together at a community group could cause people to sue you. Another reason is that if you or a couple of members get together to share information, you could be sued. As Richard Hollow points out, you can do this in private as long as you simply pass information and don't deliberate towards a decision. This is known among my friends as getting together to shoot the s$%^, get together and just talk.
You can do this, just don't do like Knox County did, and get together with like four other legislators and decide who you guys are going to name to the TVA board or the Department of Corrections. This is the point, if you are going to do official business, the greatest cleanser of the public must be present, sunlight. It should not matter if a quorum is present, if my tax rate, my son's school, or anything else that can affect the people who voted for you, it must be always held in public with rare exceptions. Be happy with what you have Ulysses, a legislative job you don't have to try very hard at to keep. Be someone who wants the public to know more, not less about what you do, or are you afraid they would not like what they see?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
While I am going to be gentler with my Commissioner, Steve Mulroy, than Mute was, I do have to ask all of the Democratic Commissioners this question: What the hell were you thinking? After Tennessee Waltz and Main Street Sweeper and god knows what else may be coming, do you folks not realize that it makes you LOOK like you have your hands out? Have you not learned that this is only going to piss off your constituencies? If you want Tiger basketball tickets that badly, BUY the damned things, I have to and so should you.
The CA weighed in on this today, and it hit the nail on the head (Otis must have written it):
The argument that always seems to be made when gift policies are discussed -- that no gift is going to influence the decisions of an honest public servant -- is as tiresome as it is beside the point.
Local and state government bodies are at a low point in their history in terms of credibility. Any member of the County Commission or any other public body who fails to take a strong stand against the acceptance of gifts creates the impression that he or she has no interest in creating and nurturing an ethical climate that would put political corruption cops out of business.Exactly. This needs, no, DEMANDS reconsideration, especially because the only people voted for this were Democrats, and, damn it, you should KNOW BETTER.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Whalum family.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Here's an excerpt:
I'm not changing coaches," Johnson said.
Hmmm. Not even if Memphis loses the rest of its games?
"Tommy West will be our coach next year," Johnson said. "I guarantee it."
Well. That settles that, then. The athletic director guarantees Memphis isn't making a coaching change.
So go ahead and get all outraged if you like, Memphis fans. Call the talk-in shows and flood the message boards and send off angry E-mails.
But Johnson is right about one thing: The head coach is not the only problem with Memphis football.
The problem is also Johnson. And president Shirley Raines. And a university that says it wants a first-class football program but doesn't have the ambition or the vision to get it done.Ok then. Regardless of whether you support an On-Campus Stadium for the U of M or not, you have to agree that the football program is wandering aimlessly, as we have gone from a coach who could recruit but couldn't coach his players (Rip Scherer) to a coach who could coach the hell out of his players but couldn't recruit good ones (West). The University does not appear to give two hoots in hell about the program, so if you're not going to commit to it, why keep it?
Read the rest of Calkins' column; as always, it's well worth your time.
Hat tip to Julie for the link!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Unless we see a team that performs better than it did Saturday night, I am suggesting that we remove him as head football coach at the end of the season. Look, the Tigers are 0-2 against teams from the SUN BELT CONFERENCE, much less from our own Conference USA. Even with the greatest players ever to wear Tiger Blue, Danny Wimprine, Mo Avery, and the legendary DeAngelo Williams, the Tigers STILL never even won their Division of CUSA, much less the whole league.
I ask you this: Even if we could pick up BrightHouse Networks Field or Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and plop it down just south of the McWherter Library lawn, would that make us win Conference USA? We have relatively new weight rooms, a rebuilt indoor practice facility, and a repeatedly renovated stadium.
Anyone ever ask Jeff Bower about facilities? Jeff is only the most successful football coach in the history of C-USA at his alma mater, USM. Ever been to Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg? I haven't but I know plenty who have, and they tell me it's the biggest shithole in the league. Yet, that hasn't stopped him from taking the leftovers of Ole Miss, MSU, Alabama, Auburn and LSU and turning them into great football players and an even better team. USM has the worst facilities in the league, and USM is always at or near the top of CUSA football.
If we can't even compete in the league we're in, with superior facilities, what difference is an OCS going to make? Hell, shouldn't we be asking whether we should continue in the football business? Seriously, if we couldn't even win the damn division with DeAngelo, how the hell can we compete without him, if we can't recruit players of that caliber?
I am not sure that anyone who succeeds Tommy would do better, because we are NOT going to get the top talent around here, when kids would rather sit on the bench at an SEC school that play at Memphis. Since, football-wise, we have turned into a coaching graveyard, why would anyone with hopes of creating a career come and take this job?
Listen, I would love nothing more than the Tigers go on a 6-game winning streak and make me eat a heapin' helpin' of crow (braised, please), but I'm not holding my breath. We need to seriously think about this program, and whether we want to continue, rather than build a stadium that we do not need.
I look for Jon to come behind me and post that I'm full of shit, but he's going to have to do a REAL good job to convince me that I'm wrong. Hell, YOU comment and try to convince me that I'm wrong; I could use it.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I went round and round with OCS supporters the other day on the CA website, ostensibly because I was pissed off about this quote from Harold Byrd:
Harold Byrd said the potential stadium site south of the campus could be a boon for what he called an "at-risk residential area."
Excuse me? Normal Station ain't Dixie Homes, pal, it's not even Sherwood Forest, and that's not the projects, either. Look, I LIKE Harold Byrd, he's a good man who cares deeply about his community and the University of Memphis in particular. I just do not believe he understands how much an OCS would disrupt a neighborhood that has been stable since it was built during World War II. NSNA is not going to put up with this, I suspect, unless the U of M, the University District and the OCS folks all sit down in a room and work this out together.
I am not a NIMBY by nature, and the idea of walking to a U of M football game has its charms, until one realizes what this could do the area. Look, if the Byrd plan goes through, the Central lot will have to be doubled, the Southern lot will have to be doubled, and you're STILL going to have to work a better plan for parking with all of that.
Next, as I noted in the post below, what happens if an OCS is built, the alumni rejoice, and demand for on-campus HOUSING skyrockets? A) How do you fund it, and B) where do you put it? In essence, if all that land between Walker & Central and Patterson & Highland is bought up, where do you put the people and organizations who have been forced out? If you double the Southern lot, where do you build the rumored new Lab building?
As always, the devil is in the details. Harold, once the U completes its study, why not get out front with town hall meetings with Dr. Raines, RC Johnson, the University District, Normal Station, and even East Buntyn (since they'll be right across the street). Be ready to answer LOTS and LOTS of questions, but you just might find that if you have answers, you might have more support than you had planned, and, to steal a Martha Stewart line, that would be a GOOD thing.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
One commentator listed some schools that play in a urban environment and succeed with on campus with my commentary,
Michigan-old as shit, and Ann Arbor ain't that big
Tennessee-ditto, and knoxville
Ohio State-triple, and Columbus while kinda big, the stadium has been around quite awhile
Georgia-please, Athens is tiny and its the SEC
Florida State-one more time
Wisconsin-lousy cheese eaters
Notre Dame-leprechan lovers
South Carolina-hehe, I like the 'Cocks, but no
Texas-Austin is bigger, but the stadium is older
Nebraska-lousy corn lovers
Arizona State-again older stadium
Michigan State-one more time
Kentucky-this year excepted, they play football?
Georgia Tech-come on, this is an engineering school, they can plan and build anything they want.
SMU-play on campus and draw flies on occasion only when an old SWC school comes to town
These stadiums are almost all at least as old as the Liberty Bowl is currently. They are all at major BCS schools, with only one or two exceptions, the cities they are located in are smaller than Memphis, the ones that are bigger, the stadiums are generally older, the enrollment is much larger, or they are in a BCS conference and have a history of winning.
Before I continue,the other post included the following picture.
What is wrong with this picture, other than the stadium in it is way too small, Harold's proposal rotates this 45 degrees and knocks out those two buildings above it, the flyer had it with this.
Look, an OCS is needed for the betterment of the Tigers, lets not lie about this. If the NFL had not been a dream in the Sixties, we probably don't have LBS. We might have a nearer to campus stadium, or one over by South Campus. My wife teaches for UofM and pointed out to me that the Southern proposal might be a no go because the University master plan involves putting a new high tech super Lab Building for all departments. My vet is right there, as is a lot of apartments that students live in.
You can argue that the parking is there, but it won't be, you are going to need to turn the area from Patterson to Highland into parking almost, or at least from the Holdiay Inn to Patterson back to Poplar into parking. You are going to need to virtually double the 9000 (snicker) (closer to 8000) parking spots to have enough parking.
While building it, traffic will be a nightmare if you build it on Curlin, glad my son isn't old enough to go to Campus School yet.
The Tigers need an OCS to help recruiting and it will foster more money for the Univesity because at a minimum, more students will live on Campus, which brings in more money. Build it like Papa John Stadium or UCF's new field, I don't care. Just build it. My only stipulation, the boosters raise the money. The University cannot afford to contribute much and the city has proven they can't be trusted to build a balsa wood airplane. Reid Hedgepath just got elected and was a teammate of Chris Powers, one of Byrd's backers. If he tries to throw any money after this, recall the prick.
Steve asked me to write this when I gave him my reasons why the mayor's ideas should be followed.
Five plus years ago when the Grizz were planning to come to town I was against it. Unlike almost everyone else, I was not for it because of the new arena being built. Well, I was against the new arena but for a different reason altogether. I was against it not for the tax payer expense but for a reason you won't expect.
Namely, a new arena for the Grizzlies would mean that the Liberty Bowl would not get replaced. I felt then and still do today that the stadium is antiquated and is a shithole outside of the playing surface. The bathrooms got updated recently but the concession stands menus look to be the only part of the whole concourse built post Rex Dockery.
In 2001, I had heard about the ADA lawsuits coming to a head. The city was going to have to pay to upgrade the stadium to meet the accessibility guidelines. Mostly in ramps and bathrooms, it would require extensive reworkings that would essentially remove the post 1987 upgrades that rose capacity to 66,000 and bring it back down to around 52 to 55 thousand.
At that time, Louisville had just opened three years earlier Papa Johns Stadium. A not state of the art but a very, very good stadium that could be easily upgraded and came equipped with things that they had been lacking. Luxury boxes for the boosters who donated the money that built the stadium, a press box for an up and coming football team that could accommodate more and better angles and broadcasters and interviews, and also a set of locker rooms and training rooms that were new, and not the closet sized one that was there before.
This cost them around 70 million. I had done a paper for a class that evaluated the impact of stadiums and financing on the cities and universities that conducted them. It was for both pro and collegiate and looked at the total impact. The overwhelming decision was that for pros it was a zero sum game. No real benefit was lost or gained. College though in new arenas built specifically for them received big increases to the athletic and general funds. It also produced an effect typically within around five years for these schools. Witness Rutgers, Pitt, UCF, Louisville, Maryland (basketball), Tigers (Pyramid and Forum), and several other schools.
Now, we can't build a new stadium for 70 million here. Louisville didn't have the demolition costs we are going to have with the Coliseum and the Liberty Bowl. However, we as a city need to give up the NFL dream. We lost it in 1992 when the NFL gave a team to Jacksonville because they promised to completely rebuild the Gator Bowl and make it virtually new and we were just going to renovate LBMS. I know there were other issues, but you can't lie to me and tell me that this didn't play a big factor, Hound Dogs Jesus Christ.
We aren't getting into the SEC either. We are in C-USA. We might end up in another conference because of basketball but unless the Tigers win consistently for the next ten years plus the SEC ain't bringing us in.
We need to embrace who we are as a University and as a city. You could build a very good stadium similar to PJ Stadium here with total costs of between 100 and 120 million. You put in extra locker rooms for the Classic and the Bowl game. You build extra suites. Remember, a lot of businesses are relocating here and it will be easier to get a box here then in Starkville or Oxford. You contact the right people, look at the Forum, on time and on budget.
The city is going to have to spend 50 million to upgrade the Stadium and Coliseum. Take that 50, and say to UofM, I'm sorry University of Memphis, I don't want to piss of any fans of Michigan or Montana, Ole Miss can go to hell, oh wait, you already have, here is half the cost that we were going to have to spend anyway, you raise the rest, you go over that in your find drive, we donate the money to the University's general scholarship fund, and not to this construction.
This way, you get the stadium done right, the only down I see is that you might have to sell the naming rights, Autozone I'm looking at you, so you lose Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, but you keep Rex Dockery Field by god. This will help make Memphis better as a football team, recruiting anyone, I've said it a hundred times, 35000 people looks half full when capacity is 66000, it looks pretty damn good when capacity is 55000. The Classic should receive a spike and the Liberty Bowl Game might not have to rely on corporate sponsors to buy all the tickets at a discount, they could sell more at full price. Only one game will be affected, Memphis vs the other UT, but hey, if this forces more people to buy season tickets and makes things harder on the Orange Goblins to get tickets, GO MEMPHIS.
Monday, October 08, 2007
OK, I should have provided barf bags before I put that up for you, but I started thinking of it after GoldnI's comment on the post below, and discovered that she had written a fine piece about 2010 herself.
Here's a sample, but you should read the whole thing:
Great! The DINO with no substance, the Congressman with the 66.3% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, the man who wants to be a "pro-war Democrat", the one Democrat who could make Harold Ford Jr. look progressive, is running. Color me thrilled.
Remember 1999? John Bakke, who was polling and counseling candidate Joe Ford at the time, announced a poll prior to the beginning of the race that showed that 55% of the City of Memphis electorate wanted a new mayor.
By Heavens, he was almost dead-on; when the votes were counted, Herenton had 46%, a minority, but also a PLURALITY. There was NO single candidate that could consolidate the Anti-Herenton vote, and he was back.
Damn, it hurts to be right sometimes...
Friday, October 05, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Reid Hedgepath never campaigned or made public appearances and will win with around 31% of the vote. The CA endorsement of Mary Wilder and three candidates pulling from the same constituencies killed Desi.
Right after my voter guide came out, literally that night, Shea Flinn was pissed about my saying he would lose by 10 points, well, I was wrong, I made that before I knew about the Jerry Springer stuff and how much Frank Langston had done to bite into Conrads votes.
Scott McCormack is going to finish with more votes that Myron, so I guess I was wrong about that, damn you Dell Gill!!
Looks like runoffs for Gatewood-Morrison, Boyd-Stephens, Collins-and someone (I am doing this at 9:35, will change when determined, but lets say Griffith), and Ford-Catchings.
I don't know if its my using of Firefox, but the Election Commission site would never load anything but the test results. Channel 5 is where I got pretty up to date info, every five minutes roughly starting at 8:30. Jackson was good. Yacoubian called it almost immediately after early vote was posted for Herenton, saying the 8000 vote differential was too much. Ben Ferguson to quote my wife, "looks like a 14 year old Dumbo." Shea Flinn should kick his ass for saying Shea and his dad finally won a seat and race legitimately after throwing seven figures at everything in the past. Ferguson was the only analyst I saw make personal attacks. Admittedly, I stayed on 5 for the most part, flipping to 3 and 13 occasionally.
Final though and something to look forward to.
Memphis is to put it politely, f#$%^& for the next four years. Herenton will be indifferent. The flight to the suburbs us going to accelerate. We had a chance to effect change in Memphis for the first time in 16 years today and instead, we get more of the same. Our schools are failing, our infrastructure is poor, out populance is undereducated, and we had a mayor who just won reelection with a campaign message of "Shake off the Haters". God, I hope I'm wrong, let's do our best to do so.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
With the tragedy of the death of Taylor Bradford, a walk on who is a member/pledge, not sure which, of Kappa Alpha Psi from Nashville, the game takes on deeper meaning. The magnitude of this tragedy for his family and friends is undeniable.
It is our version of Virginia Tech. What is different is that Blacksburg is not a violent city, Memphis is the most violent city in the country. U of M is an urban campus, one of the very few D1 football schools that play in a major urban market. It is near a high crime area. It has been unusual that this has not happened before here.
Some have tried to criticize Shirley Raines for waiting six hours to notify students. Excuse me, but students were still notified 3-4 hours before the first classes began.
I will not try to exploit this for any political reasons, except to say this. Crime has been on the rise in Memphis for the last three years. With a national broadcast of football, a game that lends itself to talks about the school and the community by its broadcasters during the frequent break, Memphis is not presenting its best face. to the country and to recruits. Herenton has done virtually nothing, don't you think its time for a change to Herman or Carol?