Who's your choice for Mayor in 2015?

Friday, June 29, 2007

A magnificent time was had by all

Drinking Liberally had a rock-star like quality last night, as we had lots of cool people (not that we don't usually, just more than normal). A deep thanks goes to our sweet Stacy Mac for putting together this magnificent event, Sarah and Brandon would be proud! 

Of course, we had Carol Chumney working the room and answering questions from one and all; I have been told that it was a larger crowd than the one assembled weeks ago for Herman Morris.

However, I wasn't inside listening to Carol; hell, she's got my vote anyway.  I was outside on the patio meeting our beloved Newscoma, her friend the delightful Squirrel Queen, and a surprise visit from a blogger I thought lived in NashVegas, but lives in MIDTOWN, Lynnster!  All of the above may assist me later, as this blog may be moving later in the summer.  (Don't worry, the whole freaking world will know when I go, as I am being aggregated and linked by a few places now, thankyaverymuch!)

If Chumney's arrival hadn't already brought them out, I assure you the local lefty blog-o-sphere would have shown up for our terrific trio.  There WILL be pictures later, as brother Rick took tons of them on his shiny new badass digital SLR.

Among the assembled bloggers were Pesky, the legendary Kibitzer, Autoegocrat, MemphisBlue, MemphisPI, Pam and Rick of the FreedonianDabney, David and Meg of WTL, and my favorite Memphis poet, IQ, whom you have seen in poetry slams around town, as well as at the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival MCing.

The wait was well worth it, as I got to talk at length with 'Coma, who I have read for a while now, as well as mentioned on these pages.  it was a terrific night, one that will have to be done again very soon, I hope you were there; if not, you really missed out.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Way to go, Big Hurt!

Photo credit to ERIC MILLER/REUTERS

It still hurts to see Frank Thomas in any other uniform other than that of the Chicago White Sox, whom he left after the 2005 World Series Championship season.


However, today, to use a Bill Simmons line, it got a little dusty in here when I read that the Big Hurt had hit his 500th career home run, capping a Hall of Fame-bound career in that most appropriate of places, the Metrodome, against the Twins, against whom he has hit 50 of his 500 blasts.
I watched Frank is his rookie year and knew he would be a star, and he has been all that and more. Bravo, Big Hurt, we are all proud of you!

CHUMNEY at Drinking Liberally TONIGHT!

Come to Drinking Liberally TONIGHT at 6:30 to hear Carol answer questions from the wild and woolly DL crowd, of which you could be a part! Herman came close to filling the house, we need to completely fill it!

It is at DISH at the corner of Cooper and Young...

A last-minute Write-In in District 89

I just got this tonight in e-mail, my friend Steve Edmundson, the long-time proprietor of Kudzu's and a teacher and coach at Central High for many years, has decided to make a last minute run as a write-in in District 89. I already have a candidate, but if anyone out there didn't feel comfortable with Jeanne, they could do a lot worse than Steve.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Steve Edmundson
Home: (901) 274-0762
Cell: (901) 412-0542
kudzus100@hotmail.com

Progress Over Politics: Edmundson Announces Bid for Tennessee House District 89

(Memphis, TN—June 26th, 2007) Steve Edmundson, a lifelong District 89 resident announced today that he will run as a write-in candidate for the House Seat of that district in the elections to be held July 17th, 2007. Edmundson cited the need for new people with new ideas as one of his many reasons in making the decision to run for the seat.

“Like everyone else, I’ve heard complaints from people in the district that we need a candidate who is not closely lined with the current political arena in Memphis,” said Edmundson. “Rather than sit back and complain, I’ve decided it is time for me to step-up and do whatever it takes to impact change and make a real difference.” Edmundson also stated that fellow District 89 residents, including educators, business persons, neighbors and friends encouraged him to include his name in the race.

As an educator and small business owner, Edmundson brings his expertise to the problems faced by District 89. Edmundson, who currently teaches at Central High School and has been an educator in the Memphis City School system for 27 years, also owns and operates a successful neighborhood restaurant, Kudzu’s, which has been in business 17 years. With his significant background in education, Edmundson said that his primary focus, if elected, will be to redirect energies and maximize resources to improve the education system. “The process of how we fund our school system and educational programs at the state level needs improving and I plan to use my expertise in both education and finance to see that the right decisions are made. With my experience, I will be able to identify where budgets are being wasted,” he said.

Along with education, Edmundson’s grass-roots campaign, “Progress over Politics”, will focus on crime, neighborhood revitalization and the environment. Edmundson stated that he will work to fully fund neighborhood associations and arts’ councils and that he will keep a “watchful eye” on industrial businesses in the district to make sure environmental measurements are being met.

Steve Edmundson has been married to his wife, Cathy, for 32 years and has 3 children. At Central High, Edmundson teaches remedial math and English and also coaches golf. Edmundson’s involvement in the sports programs at Evergreen Presbyterian and Blessed Sacrament gives him unique knowledge in the development of youth programs. Edmundson is also a member of the Vollintine-Evergreen Neighborhood Association (VECA). He is a parishioner at St. Therese-Little Flower Catholic Church at 1644 Jackson Avenue.
###

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On Immigration

to steal a title idea from Mediaverse!


I had been debating whether to even touch this issue, as some in this state occassionally obsess over it, but an email I received today told me I had to do it, and soon.


I, like all of my readers who are not Native Americans, am descended from immigrants. My great-grandfather, Nicholas Glisczinzki, arrived from Poland with his parents at the tender age of 3 shortly after the end of the American Civil War. As he grew up, he learned English, but he also learned the languages of his parents, such as Polish, German, Czech, and others. My late father loved to tell me the story of how, as a 10-year-old in 1941, he walked down the street of Hamtramck, Michigan, where his grandfather's brothers lived. He told me that as they walked up and down the streets, not a word of English was spoken on the porches and in the rooms of these homes.



On my other side, I have English, Dutch, French Hueguenot and other assorted nationalities. I'm betting only the English spoke the English language when they got here, and it was a funny kind at that!



So, the irony of so many Americans who are descended from the same peoples are getting worked up over immigrants from Mexico all the way to South America is certainly not lost on me.



However, we certainly live in a different world now, as the USA now has 300 million people within these borders THAT WE CAN COUNT. The fact that Clinton's Folly (NAFTA) and the rape of American worker's rights led by 12 years of GOP Congressional rule and 7 years of Bu$h Administration policies designed to destroy the American Labor Movement has everyone in an uproar.

What I find sadly humorous is that so many of the same folks who embraced George W. Bu$h are the ones who want to run him out of town on a rail over immigration. People, what the hell did you expect? As this is a touchy subject, I won't call you idiots. Yet.

I am not enthused over the comprehensive immigration reform bill making its way through Congress; I believe that it has the potential to create a permanent underclass of "guest workers" who will only depress wages for the working class, people who can least afford it. I say that since the vast majority of people who are complaining about the issue are REPUBLICAN voters, let's wait until 2009, when we will have more Democrats in Congress and (hopefully) a Democratic PRESIDENT, and do the damned thing RIGHT.

Trapper John at Daily Kos makes just such a case here, even though Kos makes some arguments the other way right here. If we're going to do it, do it right the first time, so American corporations can no longer use H-1B Visas to export US jobs for white collar workers, and so we can properly regulate the inbound workers at the lower end of the wage scales.

We have to do this right because these undocumented immigrants will keep coming as long as they know that employers will hire them. If an immigrant is willing to pay his life savings to traffickers and endure unimaginable hardships to travel as much as 1400 miles just to be able to feed his family, they're not going to worry about some aging pasty-faced crackers with a few rifles.

Here's where I DO have problems with illegal immigration. If you want to move to America and become a citizen to make the lives of you and your family better, I'm all for it. That tells me you want to be a part of what we have, and as the descendant of immigrants, I welcome you.

If you want to come here just to make money to send back home, I DO have a problem with that, without going all Lou Dobbs on you. THAT directly affects the wages of Americans, especially at the lower end of the scale.

However, the only way this can work is by focusing on the key point; the EMPLOYERS. Whether it's a corporation misusing H1-B Visas to outsource American jobs, or a building contractors hiring undocumented workers so he can avoid using Union carpenters, or some wealthy person hiring illegal immigrants to landscape or clean their house in order to avoid paying Social Security, they should all face loss of livelihood in order to ensure that illegals stop coming here.

What, you LIKE cheaper housing and cheap landscaping and cheap cleaning? TOO FREAKING BAD. For the undocumented, we should make it easier to become a citizen, since, if done properly, we should enable those who want to become Americans the real chance to do so.

For the EMPLOYERS, it will force them to hire people who want to be citizens, and stop them from artificially depressing wages. And if they ignore the law, give them the moral equivalent of the death penalty, a fine so severe that it will put them out of business or cause them to go into bankruptcy.

Stop whining, employers; you KNOW this is true; the whole "guest worker" is designed to drive American wages down to a third-world level. No wonder Bu$h likes the idea.

Now, I can just hear one my real heroes, Senator Ted Kennedy, tut-tutting me, and offering his standard line, "The perfect is the enemy of the good". This bill isn't even GOOD, Senator, and we can afford to wait for the real thing. Those who have whined the most about immigration are those who supported Bu$h the most, and they DESERVE to take in the shorts until they figure out that the Democratic Party is the only one that truly serves their interests.

Then, in 2009, we can have the next President, a DEMOCRAT, sign the greatest immigration reform bill ever, a progressive masterpiece. Until then, let's just wait a while so people can fully grasp the real issues here.

Flame away, or not!

Remember when...(Moved UP)

I got cranked up about the political process here in Big Shelby, especially with regard to SuperDistricts?

Vibinc jumped on this like a first pitch fastball, and has kicked it up a notch:

Because of the “Super” Districts, some areas have more representatives than others. In Super District 8, which comprises all of 6 and 7, and a majority of 3 and 4, ALL of the members of the Super District 8 delegation reside in District 7, effectively giving District 7 a disproportionate power. There is a similar problem in Super 9, 2 members reside in 5 and one in 2. To break that down, District 7 currently has a 1:23000 ratio (4 members of the council residing in that district with 3 representing Super 8), District 5, my district, has a 1:30566, and District 2 has a 1:45850 ratio.

The big losers in this deal are Districts 1,3,4 and 6, arguably some of the most impoverished areas of the city.

Go read the rest of the article!

UPDATE: One of our loyal readers (and ExecCom Member) Dwayne Thompson, went to the Charter Commission gathering at the Cordova Library and presented the following:

PROPOSAL TO CHANGE THE METHOD OF ELECTING CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

This proposal is to propose how City Council members are elected. My proposal is the have all members elected from 13 separate single member districts.

Beginning in 1967, there were seven single member districts and 6 members elected from at-large positions, citywide. About 12 years ago, the Council voted to change the At-large positions to two “Super Districts,” District 8 and District 9 with three positions each. District 8 was set up as predominantly African-American and District 9 as predominantly European American.


The referendum that adopted the “Super Districts” passed but by a narrow margin despite no organized efforts to oppose it.

Whether a candidate runs for an At-Large or a “Super District” position, it requires a lot of money and/or a lot of prior name recognition to get elected to these seats with a constituency of over 300,000 residents. Once a member is elected to one of these seats, it’s almost impossible to unseat the member, no matter how lacking their representation may be. Also, this leaves the remaining seven single member districts with large 90,000 resident Districts covering several communities.

The arguments for these types of seats in the past have been that voters got to vote for 7 (with At-Large) or 4 (with “Super Districts”) of their council members. However, a large majority of Memphians cannot name their At-large or now their Super District representatives.

The other argument was that these members have a broader view of the City as a whole. However, they have not produced any better quality than single member districts and worse in some cases.

PROPOSAL TO CHANGE THE METHOD OF ELECTING CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS


Therefore, I propose that the City Charter be amended to allow for 13 single member districts, eliminating all Super-Districts and that there be an effort to retain community integrity for each district as much as possible.


Reasons include:


  1. To strengthen communities. A single member district would typically encompass one community or two or three neighborhoods in Memphis, making its council member the designated and clear-cut representative for that community or neighborhoods. Based on current census figures, this would include around 48,000 to 49,000 constituents. There may also be residual effects that help constituents identify with their communities in a stronger way, creating more community pride.


  1. Campaign costs. Campaign costs have risen exponentially over the past two decades. Single member districts will eliminate much of that, making candidates less dependent upon special interest money and making middle class citizens who are public minded able to make a credible run for office.


  1. More Accountable Council Members. With a constituency of less than 50,000 residents, a single member Council member is more identified and more accessible to a community. Residents would know who to contact for City issues. If it was perceived that a council Member was not doing his or her job, it would not require large sums of money or a well known name to mount a credible campaign at election time to change representation.


  1. Race. Having 13 single member districts will make the racial makeup of the Council more reflective of the City’s overall racial makeup. Also, as racial figures change, districts may have a more orderly change.



Submitted by

H. Dwayne Thompson

June 26, 2007



Outstanding, great Job Dwayne!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This is only going to get worse...

Pesky and Kleinheider have noted that Kathryn Bowers may face more charges at her upcoming bribery trial this September, stemming from payoffs she is alleged to have received from a dental clinic operator trying to get state business.

Kathryn, you should have taken the plea bargain. The US Attorney's office is going to come after you with everything they can find, and if you farted crossways in public in 1973, they'll put that out, too.

The sad thing is that you had a solid legislative career with a record of achievement for your district; now, that is all going in the trashcan because of these charges. Look, I know legislators are woefully underpaid, but you knew what the salary was when you took office.

I'm really sorry, but you need to re-think a trial, because unless you're acquitted, you're going down for a lot of years, more than you might have left. I want nothing more than to be proven wrong and eat a barrelful of crow, but I'm not real hopeful.

OK, what's wrong with this picture????


We Cordially Invite You
To a Reception and Fundraiser

In Honor of
Antonio ‘2 Shay’ Parkinson
For
Memphis City Council District 1
“Embracing American Value”
This is the first part of a fundraiser letter for Mr. Parkinson, who has decided to Embrace American Value by flying.......
The FRENCH Flag?????? Has Frayser seceded? Does this mean there are cafes and bistros up and down Watkins? Will I see women in berets smoking Gauloises on Overton Crossing? Will Dillon's serve crepes? OK, then.....
H/T to JW and Joe Young...
Ahem, one hopes Mr. Parkinson will take this in the spirit of humor with which it is offered, as your Cracker resides in District 5 and has a candidate already in that District (HI, Jim!) and has no quarrel with any candidate in District 1.

The end of an era...

Although they insist it will return in 2008, officials have announced that there will be NO St. Peter Picnic this year on the grounds of St. Peter Villa at Madison & McLean.

This used to be one of the biggest events in Memphis politics every year, as a large crowd would be guaranteed to allow candidates to talk to potential voters. However, restrictions started being placed on the candidates, and as the city spread eastward, fewer and fewer people came out to attend the fundraiser for Catholic Charities.

However, for hopeless political junkies like myself (and probably YOU, if you're reading this), a new political gathering has taken St. Peter Picnic's place over the last few years. The Sidney Chism Picnic (co-hosted by Gale Jones Carson and Nate Jackson) has gathered politicians of every stripe and persuasion, and gives one a chance to mingle with movers and shakers, especially in the Democratic community.

It will be this Saturday from 12 Noon to 5 PM at Sidney's place at 3657 Horn Lake Road (click on the address for a map), and you should come out there, I'll be there early in the event, it will be a lot of fun.

Sidney Chism's 7th Annual
Community Picnic

(Founded by Sidney Chism, Gale Jones Carson & Nate Jackson)
Saturday, June 30, 2007
12 p.m-5 p.m.
3657 Horn Lake Road
Rain or Shine
Meet elected officials and candidates running for public office.
Voter Registration
Free Food, Games, Train & Pony Rides
Petting Farm
Live Entertainment & D.J. Leon Gray
For more information call 496-5039.


Monday, June 25, 2007

All right, CHUMNEY NATION, this is a BIG WEEK!

First, come to Drinking Liberally Thursday night at 6:30 to hear Carol answer questions from the wild and woolly DL crowd. Herman came close to filling the house, we need to completely fill it!

Next, the Chumney kickoff is Saturday night, here's the info:


Councilwoman Carol Chumney invites you to her
—Campaign Kickoff on the Memphis Showboat—
w/ special musical guest appearance by Sal Crocker and Friends.

Saturday, June 30th, from 7:00PM-10:00PM

Young Professional: $100
Sponsor: $250

Join the Host Committee!
Chair (Commitment to raise and/or contribute $1000)
Vice-Chair (Commitment to raise and/or contribute $750)
Patron (Commitment to raise and/or contribute $500)

Space is limited and tickets are selling quickly. Reserve your spot or contribute to the event by clicking here.

Problems viewing this message? Click here: http://rsvp.carolchumney.com/invite/.

Carol Chumney For Mayor
P.O. Box 770537 Memphis, TN 38177
Phone: 901-454-4055
Fax: 901-323-2985
E-mail: campaign@carolchumney.com

It's almost that time in 89 ALREADY?

NOTICE OF EARLY VOTING
JULY 17, 2007
SPECIAL GENERAL ELECTION

Pursuant to Sec. 2-6-103, Tennessee Code Annotated, notice is hereby given by the Shelby County Election Commission of unrestricted early voting for the July 17, 2007, Special General Election as follows:

Site Locations, Dates and Times

SHELBY COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION
157 POPLAR AVE., SUITE 121
Beginning Wednesday, June 27, 2007 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Thurs., June 28 – Friday, June 29, 2007 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 30, 2007 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Monday, July 2 – Friday, July 6, 2007 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturday, July 7, 2007 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Monday, July 9 – Wed., July 11, 2007 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Last day, Thursday, July 12, 2007 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
OFFICE CLOSED ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2007 FOR HOLIDAY


Satellite Sites
Beginning Saturday, July 7, 2007 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Monday, July 9 – Wed., July 11, 2007 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Last day, Thursday, July 12, 2007 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
OFFICE CLOSED ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2007 FOR HOLIDAY

LOCATION NAME LOCATION ADDRESS
Berclair Church of Christ 4536 Summer Ave., 38122
Trinity United Methodist Church 1738 Galloway Ave., 38112
Click to display map of the EV Sites

Pursuant to Sec. 2-6-102, TCA, a voter who desires to vote early shall go to the County Election Commission office or to any of the satellite locations listed above within the hours set out for the early voting period, sign an application for ballot and vote. Pursuant to Sec. 2-7-140 (c) (1) voters who are already registered can make address changes at an early voting site. For further information, call 545-4132.

SHELBY COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION

I'm number 11 with a bullet!

Our friends at BlogNetNews Tennessee have come up with a ranking system on the state's most influential blogs. Not surprisingly, #1 is held down by KnoxViews, home of one R. Neal, formerly known as South Knox Bubba. Mr. Neal is one of the major reasons I decided to blog in the first place.

However, this blog showed up at #11, far higher than I would have guessed; however, as I am linked at KnoxViews, as well as Volunteer Voters and other statewide blogs, I guess I'm not surprised.

Thaddeus came in at #7, the highest of the Memphis blogs, and Wintermute's Daily Docket showed at #18. No Pesky??? ?Que?

Don't get me wrong, I am delighted to be ranked that highly, and Mute and Thaddeus deserve to be there. However, to my mind, The Flypaper Theory, where Pesky, Jeff, Autoegocrat, the mighty Kibitzer and our beloved Christian Progressive Liberal practice their craft, should be among the state's elite, IMO.

Oh well, I'll be happy to be on this list, and I need to get off my ass and post some more to stay on here.
UPDATE: Apparently BNN-T had not even listed them, but Dave at BNN has now, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Let's talk about the Mayor's race

Yes, we're still a month away from filing deadline, and yes, I know I've endorsed someone for Mayor.

For the moment, however, we're going to put all that aside and address some things that have been on my mind.  First, to Mayor Herenton, why, based on the past four years, should we even consider you for another term?  As the late Branch Rickey would say, the arrow is pointing DOWN for Memphis.  

As crime has soared, you've gone through more police directors than Spinal Tap went through drummers.  Sure, Downtown has done better under your stewardship than under any mayor we've had in the last 35 years, which is how long I have lived here.

What about the area of the city that Polar Donkey calls THE C? You know, Mr. Mayor, where most of the people live who believed in you on that night in 1991 when you made their dreams come true, or so they thought?  Frankly, sir, those people have gotten the shaft, unless they happen to have a contract with the City.  Mr. Mayor, it's time for you to go back to Banneker Estates and retire and play with your grandchildren and, well, your younger children.

Now, to those of you who wish to succeed him, ALL OF YOU, I have some things to say to you, too.

First, we KNOW what the problems of the City of Memphis are, it's mighty hard to avoid them.  Tell us, IN DETAIL, what you plan to do about them.  Remember that old saw, "The Devil's in the details"?  Each of you had better lay out your plans and not rely on some vague bullshit that a political consultant has told you would work on those good, but EASY voters.  That's not going to work because we're going to call you on it.

We don't need you to tell us why Mayor Herenton should be replaced, we KNOW why.  We need you to tell us why we should replace him with YOU.

Tell us why you want to be Mayor.  Tell us how you intend to work with the new Council (which should be at least HALF filled with rookies) to achieve consensus.  Tell us how you are going to attack crime in a way that REALLY works.  And, in DETAIL, of course.

Tell us how you intend to remedy the situation where banks flee THE C, to be replaced with more liquor stores and check-cashing stores, which charge usurious rates to the very people who can least afford it.

Tell the people of Frayser, North Memphis, South Memphis, Binghampton, Whitehaven, Westwood, Orange Mound and Hickory Hill what you plan to do to make them safer, and how you need THEIR help to make it work.

Tell us how you plan to work to make taxes fairer for those on fixed incomes.  Tell us how you plan to reduce needless spending on things we don't need to public sector to pay for, like a new stadium for the Tigers, the Classic and the Liberty Bowl.

What. is that too much for you?  Anyone?  Bueller? Bueller?

If it is, then God's Best Buddy is just waiting to hear that and be re-elected.

If that happens, it may leave more long-lasting damage on this city than a dozen New Madrid Fault quakes, and from that, we may not recover.

Candidates, you know what you have to do, so DO IT.

Unless, of course, you want four more years of this.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bye-bye, Runnin' Joe!


The Board of Trustees of Arkansas State University have decided to get rid of the Indian mascot and hire a national marketing firm to come up with a new symbol for the University's athletic teams.
UPDATE: Correction, it was a Mascot Review Committee that is passing this reccommendation TO the Board of Trustees. Mea culpa.

As ASU was the last holdout against the NCAA's policy of penalizing programs that they determined to be racially or culturally insensitive, this means that they will be allowed to bring their new mascot to NCAA tournament events and host such events.


I have come to terms with this, although I really liked the logo above; I suppose that it was time to do this. There will be a hell of a lot of upset alumni, though, and I have to wonder if their athletic and academic fundraising will take a hit because of the change.


H/T to the Arkansas Times Blog.

Something we need to remember

As you may have heard, Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller are leaving, amicably, MyDD, which is my favorite national blog due to the way they write about the progressive movement. They are going to start a new blog talking about this movement in terms BEYOND partisanship.

Matt Stoller writes eloquently about what's to come:
I remember a meeting I had with Pelosi, prior to the 2006 elections, where I asked her to call the Republicans liars on the House floor when she felt they lied. She said she wouldn't, and in the conversation pointed out that the use of that word would strip her of the right to speak on the floor for that day under the rules of the House. Perfect, I said, that's a terrific PR move. And I wouldn't let up, until her communications director pulled me away. 'You're just like your blog', is what a friend told me afterwards. And that's because of you, because you have helped me to understand what I never did before, that there is a thirst for people who have strong voices, for people who speak in politics as a moral story. That's how you talk about politics, so that's how I now talk about it. I have learned that might does not make right, right makes might.

I hope, as Chris Bowers, Mike Lux, and I go on to our new venture, that we are able to help more people understand the power of disagreement, the power of ideas, and the power of dissent. The notion of unity is a very powerful framework, and it's one I believe in strongly. Lincoln's Union was a moral community that sought disagreement within a framework of individual consent to overall decision-making governance. And that's where we have to go now as a country. I hear the right-wing and corporate elites making arguments that the public can't govern, so it shouldn't even try. That taxes can't be paid because lawyers and accountants will find loopholes for the rich, or that we can't move off of a carbon intensive energy system because oil companies and car companies and defense contractors are too powerful. Nonsense. The Union, Lincoln's Union, would never say that we cannot tax the powerful and immoral to throw off our chains. Our America, Lincoln's America, will never consent to being ruled by fiends in defense industries because we can't do better. In our America, we will not discuss whether the Iraq War made us 'safer' without discussing first whether it was the right thing to do, whether it made us more or less able to live up to America's promise or whether it is part of that murderous and slave-owning past that we pretend does not exist, without seeing our own lack of moral character in the inner cities where we choose to overlook the AIDS, crack, death, and violence that we perpetuate with our suburban lifestyle of gates, chains, and TV fantasy dreamworlds. We will and are building a new Ameria, and it's going to take time, and it will be painful, but we will get there, at least some of us.

Fields quits ExecCom

So says Fox13; according to the story, Fields resigned to avoid any problems for the party, presumably to avoid any more ouster attempts and and more division. sounds like unnecessary problem dodged, right? WRONG.

THIS little gem is buried in the story: Norman says the ExecCom will meet on June 28 and consider banning Fields from the party for LIFE.

Look, folks, you haven't done a DAMN thing since you got elected, and you don't need to fool around with this crap. You're starting to prove Upton right when he says you don't get anything done; this is a waste of time. How does fooling with this get any Democratic candidate elected?

Where's the ward & precinct? There's no Kennedy Day dinner this year, where's the fundraising? Some of the people on the committee have told me that they have trouble getting the Chair to respond to anything.

It's time to LEAD, Brother Norman; Fields is GONE and y'all need to move on and ACCOMPLISH something.
UPDATE: My sources tell me they have planned a fundraiser for July 26 at the Rendezvous from 5-6:30 P.M., no $$ amount known at this time. Well, it's a start, but why did it take this long? Also, they need to cancel the meeting to permanently ban Fields; if his House District wants to keep electing him (why they would, I don't know), it's their RIGHT, and the ExecCom does not have the right to usurp the power of the Democratic electorate of that district.
CORRECTION: David Holt reports that the meeting was scheduled prior to the Fields funfest, my apologies.

Look, PacMan, what part of STAY THE HELL OUT OF STRIP CLUBS don't you understand?

Titans' defensive back Adam "PacMan" Jones is in trouble yet again, as Atlanta and DeKalb County, GA police want to talk to him about an incident early this morning at a DeKalb County strip club.

One of PacMan's entourage apparently fired shots at another car as they were leaving the Moreland Avenue joint Club Blaze at 4:16 A.M.; there had been an argument at the club, and the Jones posse followed the other car out, and shots were fired back and forth.

No one was hurt, fortunately.  Officers on the scene said Jones was not involved, but they believe he knows who was involved from his group.

PacMan, do the letters CFL mean anything to you?  Because that's where you're going to wind up if you were involved with this crap; Goodell isn't playing, as he does not want the league to have the reputation of the NBA.  Forget coming back after 10 games; you might not get to come back EVER after this.

Seriously, dude, if you want ANY chance to come back to the League, cut your boys loose and send them home, and stay the hell out of the clubs.  You can have girls sent to your house, they have that sort of thing in Atlanta, I believe; that way, you don't hit the clubs and nothing bad happens.

Roger Goodell is going to take Thug Life out of the NFL; he doesn't want to lose viewers or sponsors, and PacMan, you had better pay attention or your only hope is to play for the BC Lions.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Carol Johnson bails on MCS for Boston

Fox13 is reporting that Memphis City Schools superintendent Carol Johnson is leaving to take the job as superintendent of the Boston public school system.

They quoted an article in today's Boston Globe stating that she would be named the post on Tuesday, attributing the comments to Boston mayor Thomas Menino.

More later..


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

Brassmask and Autoegocrat dissect the "2007 Political Conspiracy"

B rocks the house HARD with this lengthy but precise post.

Please go read all of it, even though it's long (print it out if you have to), because it tears apart the cases of both Mayor Herenton and Richard Fields regarding this
ludicrous tale of a potential sex scandal.

Then, back it up with
Autoegocrat's excellent commentary on B's essay, they're both so good that I'm only linking to them, you need to read them both.

Go do it, it's the weekend and you have time.

Then, you'll understand why the whole thing is bogus and the last act of desperate people, and I'm NOT talking about Gwendolyn Smith!

UPDATE: Bob at 55-40 has a terrific take on this as well.

This is beyond the pale

Mayor Herenton's Captain Queeg-like performance at his news conference on Thursday was arguably the strangest political event I have witnessed in my 35 years as a Memphian (as of Sunday!).

Of course, Richard Fields has denied the allegations of the "waitress", Gwendolyn Smith, saying that she had told them she knew of Herenton partying with strippers at the Madison Hotel.

Look, our player of a mayor is 67 years old, unmarried, and I don't care what he does in his private life, as long as I don't have to watch. It's not my business as long as all the parties involved are consensual and of legal age, and no one has suggested otherwise.

It is the TIMING of all of this that interests me, one month from the filing deadline and just as Chris Davis at the Flyer has begun to dig hard into what may be a scandal with the sale of Memphis Networx. Coinky-dink? I think not.

This could blow up in his face, as well as that of Herman Morris, and what better way to divert attention from the Networx fiasco than to have this pop up? I haven't been watching Bush and Rove operate all these years for nothing, folks, and I would not put it past Herenton to have known about this before this time and waited until now to make a fuss about it.

Look, I CAN'T sound any more paranoid with this idea than Herenton did at his presser; all he needed was to roll a couple of steel ball bearings in his hand and it would have been Queeg on trial all over again. He invoked that God had revealed this "plot" to him, clearly playing to his base, desperately hoping for sympathy.

He ain't getting it here, that's for sure. If yesterday didn't convince you of his lack of fitness for duty beyond December 31, do us all a favor and don't vote; this city cannot survive four more years of his mismanagement, as the arrow keeps pointing downward.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thaddeus has the right to crow this morning

For over a year, Thaddeus Matthews has attacked local attorney Richard Fields.  His latest story suggested that Fields was involved in a plot with local car dealer Russell Gwatney and the cousin of one of Fields' ex-wives to involve the Mayor in a sex plot.

Guess what?  Marc Perrusquia of the CA has picked up the story!  This sounds, as my friend Richmond put it, Keystone Kops-like in its descriptions.  I would be remiss if I failed to note that several of Thad's commenters have poked holes in it already, but l am waiting to see what Perrusquia does with this in future days.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

America is NOT a conservative country

And Media Matters has done an extensive report that refutes the bilge spewing from the Mainstream Media regarding the conservatism of the USA, cultural and otherwise.

You can go directly to the report here, or download the PDF for printing and reading. Either way, it's a great way to learn the truth about this country, and call bullshit on those who say otherwise.

A broader audience awaits!

I just got a nice email from Darrell Phillips, formerly of WMC-5, now of FOX-13, advising that this blog was being aggregated at their new political site, MyMemphisPolitics.Com.

He's got Pesky and Thaddeus, Wintermute and Hollihan, WTL, Vibinc and the MLB there, and we appreciate it.

This is a challenge for the rest of us to get off our duffs and keep it rollin'!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wintermute creates Chumney Blogger Button

I had been looking for one of these, and had asked the Chumney staff to do this, but 'Mute stepped up to the plate!

Go to Chumney for Mayor Website

Go there and get the code...

Here are the Pics from Chumney's Filing






Thanks to Wintermute for the brightening of the first picture.

I will have pictures later, but for now, here's the press release!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Charles Blumenthal
June 12, 2007 (O) 901-454-4055


CAROL CHUMNEY JOINS SUPPORTERS IN A CALL FOR POSITIVE CHANGE IN MEMPHIS CITY GOVERNMENT
________________________
PLEDGES TO RESTORE TRUST IN MEMPHIS CITY GOVERNMENT
____________________
Memphis, TN. -- Today, Memphis Councilwoman Carol Chumney took some of her friends, family and supporters with her as she filed her petition with the Shelby County Election Commission necessary to qualify for the ballot for Memphis Mayor.

Standing with her father, a history professor at the University of Memphis, and her mother, a former county employee, Chumney spoke about the central themes of this election: Restoring the public’s trust in Memphis City Government by bringing about the change that people want to see in it.

Chumney said, “This election is not about the past; it’s not really even about the present; it’s about our future and the future of our children, and who can lead this city forward in a positive and effective way.”

Chumney further touched on what motivated her to run for Mayor, and why she will be a great Mayor for Memphis.

“I’ve placed my name on the ballot to be your Mayor for one simple reason,” Chumney said, “because I truly love and care about this city, and I know I have the track-record, the fortitude, and the will to get the job done for all of the citizens of Memphis.”

-more-

Recent polls in the media show Councilwoman Chumney to be the strong favorite for the upcoming election.

“The people of Memphis know that Memphis needs change,” said Chumney, “and they will make it happen by voting in a better future for us all on October 4th.”

BACKGROUND
Carol Chumney is a Memphis City Councilwoman. Chumney was elected to the Memphis City Council in the fall of 2003, and has served as Chair of the Public Services and Neighborhoods; the Public Safety & Homeland Security; the Healthcare; and now the Chair of the O & M Budget and MLGW Council Committees. Among other things, she pushed to repeal the twelve year pension for elected and appointed officials, exposed budget shortfalls and the drop in the bond rating, and has worked to hold the administration accountable.

Prior to 2003, Chumney served for 13 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives where she rose to various leadership positions, including Chair of the House Children & Family Affairs Committee, House Majority Whip, and Chair of the Shelby County Delegation.

Chumney practices law in Memphis where she earned her Juris Doctorate from The U of Memphis Law School in 1986, as a Herff Law Scholar. During law school she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.

Chumney is a lifelong Memphis resident. She is a candidate for Memphis Mayor.
###

Carol Chumney For Mayor • 2879 Poplar Avenue • Memphis, TN. 38111
Phone: 901-454-4055 • Fax: 901-323-2985

Email: campaign@chumneyformayor.com
Website: www.chumneyformayor.com

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chumney files Tuesday morning

And I will be there.  If you are a Chumney supporter (and I hope you are) please come down to the Election Commission offices by 9:45 A.M. on Tuesday morning as Carol files for Mayor of Memphis at 10 A.M., with comments to follow.

This will be an interesting summer, and if you are supporting Carol (or if you're undecided) then come join us!

Update: I overslept, people, that's why I wasn't there....

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Here we go again...

Vibinc links to a report from THE HILL noting that Nikki Tinker has filed paperwork to run against our Congressman in the 2008 Democratic Primary.

I'm not worried; Steve Cohen has already established himself as a strong progressive leader in this Congress, and he will be ready for any challenge. The African-American community is aware that she hasn't been here long enough to understand the problems of Memphis, and that her record of working for union-busting law firms goes against the grain of what the Democratic Party stands for.

This blog stands by our Congressman.

UPDATE!!!! Jackson Baker reports state Rep G.A. Hardaway is thinking about getting in the race! ?Que?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Let's talk about the process

For all the people who are happy about Jeanne Richardson's victory in the District 89 Democratic Primary, there are those equally saddened, and worn down, by Kevin Gallagher's defeat.

We need to move forward. Jeanne won because she has been around for a long time and people knew her, agreed with her positions, and felt she was better suited for the job, and I can easily support her in the general election.

However, this process, especially in Democratic Primaries, wears people down and creates intramural warfare. On the one hand, as my Godfather notes, it shows who is the best vote-getter and who knows how to win elections. True that, but we have to devise a better way to run elections so that one does not feel beaten down afterwards and one can celebrate, regardless of the outcome.

Politics in this day and age has come down to money, organization, money, message, money, and, did I mention money? No, I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, it has been that way for a long time. Unfortunately, there are some within the Democratic community who say that it is this way, it SHOULD be this way, and want to keep it that way.

Then there are the rest of us.

What we need, at ALL levels of politics, are the following things:

1) Smaller legislative districts, so that ground-work and organization plays a larger part than money. Eliminate ALL at-large districts (yes, I'm talking to YOU, City Charter Commission!) and make more and smaller districts. This gives advantages to community activists who will work fiercely for their areas. 1752 Congressional Districts? GO FOR IT!

2) As much as possible, public financing of elections. I believe that SCOTUS got it wrong in 1976 when, in Buckley V. Valeo, they equated political contributions with political speech. To me, unless you limit the contributions to $50 a throw, all this means is that people with more money have freer speech.

Don't think this is a problem? Neither do developers, and we all know what great things THEY have done for Memphis and Shelby County. Look how well the Grey's Creek guidelines have been followed!

3) Brutally tough ethics legislation; let them buy their own damn booze and food! Restrict how much lobbyists can spend, contribute AND make them account for EVERY dime through COMPLETE disclosure! How much does business spend on lobbying each year? Isn't that money that should go to employees and stockholders? I mean this for EVERY level of Government.

4) A FIVE-YEAR LIMIT before former legislators can become lobbyists. Yes, I hear spit-takes all over the country, but this is necessary to stem the turnstile effect. We cannot outlaw lobbyists altogether, but we can regulate the hell out of them.

I have this strange idea that no one should be allowed to make money off politics and goverment because it is a SACRED trust. Make sure you HAVE a job before you go into this line of work. Oh, and one other thing:

5) Treat state legislators as you would Congressmen: make them FULL-TIME, give them enough money for REAL staffs and pay them a commensurate salary. It's not 1834 and there is no such thing as a part-time legislator in as complex a world as we live.

It is time to bury the idea of people of wealth serving as politicians so that they can protect their class, as Republicans would have us do. It is time for REAL change, starting now.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE: PD reminds us of the following:

Vote by Mail.

Special and regular elections are a whole lot cheaper and you get higher turn out.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Polar Donkey is back with a vengeance!

PD is back with terrific maps and excellent commentary about the locations of liquor stores and churches, I strongly urge that you go and read it....

Steve Gilliard 1966-2007

I have been out of town all weekend with friends, getting away after a hectic May. I was trying to catch up on Bloglines when I hit Pesky's site to see that what I had feared had come to pass: Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of THE NEWS BLOG, had passed away at the age of 41 after months in the hospital due to heart and other health problems.

Those of you who are regular readers know how fierce he was and how direct he was, but always how he captured events all over the world PRECISELY. Those of you on my email list knew that they would get 3-4 posts a week from him via Bloglines. His posts not only entertained me, they EDUCATED me, and I shall miss his writings terribly.

Other reactions are here:

James Wolcott

Sara Robinson (Orcinus)

Jane Hamsher (FireDogLake)

Tom Watson