Saturday, May 31, 2008
Second, for those who don't know, Emily' List has shit in its own bed AGAIN with an endorsement of Nikki Tinker, backing a corporate shill who is only nominally pro-choice over the South's most progressive Congressman. See the take of Matt Stoller of OpenLeft.com here.
Third, I attended the truly kick-ass headquarters opening of my Congressman, and there is news from there. After a music set by official Memphis Flyer Hottie Grace Askew (she is as talented musically as she looks) Steve Cohen was introduced by Councilor Myron Lowery and gave a terrific speech.
Now, about the news. Myron said to both Jackson Baker and I the following: "If the Mayor of Memphis resigns his office and there is a special election for that office, I am running." He repeated this and made sure we knew that this would be the case regardless of whether AC Wharton or Carol Chumney would enter that race.
Folks, that just made the day more interesting. Myron is one of a VERY few officials in this city who easily gets votes regardless of the area of town, and he could make this a REAL race. Wow.
Among the other elected officials there was my beloved Senator, Beverly Marrero, who confirmed to me Jackson Baker's report that Senator Rosalind Kurita refused in a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting to commit to voting for a Democrat for Senate Speaker. Enough is enough, friends.
It is never easy for me to openly oppose a sitting Democratic elected official in a primary, but I must in this instance. It is CRUCIAL that we have a Democratically-controlled State Senate, and that will not happen as long as Senator Kurita remains in her seat.
As you know, I am of the firm belief that Charles Schumer screwed her over by working to cut off her fund-raising when she ran for the US Senate, and I attacked him here for that reason. What she has failed to understand is that neither John Wilder nor Joe Haynes nor Jim Kyle had anything to do with that, and her vote for Ron Ramsey for Lt. Governor has completely undermined Democratic attempts to pass legislation. On top of all this, despite the fact she refused to commit to a Democratic candidate for Speaker, she requested campaign funds from the Caucus, I have been told.
Because of this, I must ask my fellow Democrats to aid and assist her Democratic primary opponent, Tim Barnes. His MySpace page is here, and his Facebook page is here. This is about which party will control redistricting after the 2010 Census and what type of legislation with go through the General Assembly. Since Senator Kurita has decided to put her own interests over those of her Party and her constituency, I must endorse Tim Barnes for State Senate and ask that you do as well. This is too vital for our Party.
I do this with a heavy heart, but do so I must. Please contact Tim Barnes at the links above; when the Austin Peay College Democrats got behind Tim, I should have known there was a good reason.
Friday, May 30, 2008
My station was WMPS 68, which dominated the market until they were stupid and fired Rick Dees in the mid-70s. It was WMPS that introduced me to the Box Tops and other Memphis delights, and so we begin today with Cry Like A Baby, their second smash after their 1967 hit, THE LETTER.
While anyone with a solid knowledge of our musical history knows the singer, Alex Chilton, I choose to remember their drummer, one of the truly great Memphians of all time, and not because of his drumming.
I refer, of course, to Thomas Boggs, he of Huey's, Folks Folly, Tsunami and the thousands of people he helped in this city. It is in his memory that today's Feel Good Friday is dedicated.
The mayor of the City of Memphis has figured out a way to dump the funding for Memphis City Schools off on the whole of Shelby County, and the City Council has to do is NOTHING. That is, if Mayor Herenton is correct in his reading of a 2005 ruling by then-Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers that if the city failed to provide funds to MCS, the state would dissolve the School Board and hand MCS over to Shelby County Schools. At that point, SCS could either A) run it themselves or B) hire an outside agency, but C) in EITHER event, SCS would be completely responsible for funding for ALL public schools in the County.
This way, in any event, the Mayor gets rid of the MCS Board, whom he apparently would like to see tossed in the Mississippi, and MIGHT even be hired by the outside agency that (presumably) would be hired to run MCS.
Given that the City Council is equally pissed at the MCS Board, they might well be inclined to go along with the Mayor. As my councilor, Jim Strickland, said today, "I'm trying to figure out the down side". They could dump the ADA formula that forces the County to spend $3 at MCS for every $1 they spend at SCS.
Well played, sir, well played and a tip of the cap to you. Let's break out the popcorn and see what happens!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Barnes may be getting a LOT of Democratic Party support now, after this:
The meeting - of the admonitory sort that politicians refer to
irreverently as a "come-to-Jesus" affair -- took place at the request of
Democratic caucus chairman Joe Haynes of Goodlettsville during the last week of
the 2008 legislative session. It was a day after Kurita had voted with Senate
Republicans to defeat a key Democratic-backed bill to amend eligibility
requirements for lottery-funded Hope scholarships. She was taken to task by
several caucus members for that vote and for other breaks with the party
majority but vigorously defended her right to cast her votes as she saw
She was then asked if she would at least pledge to support the
caucus' candidate for Senate Speaker at the beginning of the next legislative
session, in January 2009. She declined to make such a commitment.
Kyle cannot afford to support her now, nor can we, folks. Sorry, Rosalind, as the old saying goes, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. OK, at least you're not trying to fool us any more; we know where you stand, so part company we must.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
You Are Cordially Invited To Attend
Congressman Steve Cohen’s
Campaign Headquarters Grand Opening
1803 Union Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38104
Saturday, May 31, 2008 – 10:00 AM to Noon
Refreshments Will Be Served
Entertainment Will Be Provided by Local Musicians
We Hope To See You!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
As a result, there are very few movies that I REALLY like, and usually the DIRECTOR, not so much the actor, that determines if I will watch the film. One of my favorites, Sydney Pollack, has left us way too soon, as a result of cancer, at the age of 73.
He was a noted producer, a terrific director that had stars eating out of his hand, and an under-rated actor. His most notable role was as Dustin Hoffman's agent in Tootsie, IMO, his finest work either behind or in front of the camera.
As all American cultural Icons must, Pollack had a Memphis connection, having directed Tom Cruise in THE FIRM, adding his deft touch to the John Grisham blockbuster.
Here are other remembrances:
Group News Blog
Times of London
New York Times
Roger Ebert/Chicago Sun-Times
Friday, May 23, 2008
Sharon started, of course, by busting out the James Brown on our butts.
I fired back with the Ray Charles (although Sharon took off points for the RAELETTES???)
Then GoldnI took this way out of control with Ace of Base (yes, THAT Ace of Base).
Newscoma, however, threatens Mutually Assured Dancing (of a slow nature, of course) by breaking out the Louis AND the Ella SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Will this nation survive? Remember, we haven't heard from Wintermute yet....
UPDATE: Our beloved Newscoma advises that Ginger Snaps is now right in the middle of the fray as well..
UPDATE II: Not to be out done, Wintermute breaks out THE KILLER with High School Confidential!!!
You like singer-songwriters and their craft? Go over there and enjoy.
See, isn't this better than me ranting about why Bill and Hillary should be dropped down the nearest elevator shaft?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Bill Greene/Boston Globe
The Lion of the Senate has a malignant brain tumor, as most of you know by now. The prognosis is not good, but look at him here; does this look like a man who's prepared to give up? He has never given up on ANYTHING before, and I don't expect him to do so now.
Edward Moore Kennedy has fought for the things that matter throughout his 46-year career in the US Senate, whether it be healthcare for all, the rights of women and minorities, environmental and labor issues. He has done all this despite suffering from chronic back pain that resulted from a 1964 plane crash that nearly killed he and then-Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana. He NEVER gives up.
Not only that, he gets things DONE by working with people on both sides of the aisle, so much so that when it was announced at the REPUBLICAN policy meeting that Senator Kennedy had a brain tumor, they stopped what they were doing for a moment of prayer.
And so, that's what I want all of you to do, now and until he beats this thing: pray to the deity of your choosing for his full recovery, because we need him now, and President Obama will need him next spring. He's done so much for all of us, that's the least we can do for him.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
And then, it happened. It snuck up on us and punched each of us right in the schnoz, and we couldn't help ourselves. Of what do I speak, you ask? Let me tell the story....
So, it's a few weeks ago and we're hanging out with my cousin back in the Rock River Valley, and he flips on CMT, which has this new show, Can You Duet? As judges, they have Brett Manning (no, he's no relation to THOSE Mannings), Aimee Mayo (no, I had never heard of her, either) and Naomi Judd, who has been the revelation, the anti-Paula Abdul, if you will.
Watching three episodes in one night hooked both of us worse than meth-heads, to the point where we were on the phone at 12:30 this morning discussing the current episode AS IT WAS GOING ON. Rehab must be ahead for both of us, I fear.
Hundreds of duos started out; after most were weeded out, some of the duos were separated and remixed with others, which often failed as badly as the original pairings. Yet, some worked and we are now down to seven duos.
The other revelation is watching Mayo, who is apparently a songwriter of note, and Manning, who is a vocal coach, work with each duo in workshops. While their hearts are in the right place in preparing them for the country music industry, it has driven home why I LOATHE the current state of country music, which is the last radio-driven format.
Man, does it show, too; with the exception of Rory & Joey, an impossibly sweet yet deeply genuine married couple, and Caitlin & Will, who were thrown together after each had lost their partners TWICE in the competition, they are polishing these acts to the point where there's no REAL left in them.
Yet, neither of us can let go, and we will be there for the next five weeks of eliminations, hanging on to every minute. I have to say, someone needs to let Naomi Judd program country radio; I'd be a hell of a lot more likely to listen to it than I do now.
Friday, May 16, 2008
TIMES TWO! You best go over there while I figure my next move...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Ready? OK, to see what I'm talking abut, go over to Pesky's place and watch Tweety verbally disembowel a right-wing noise jockey from LA, you'll be glad you did, it's that good.
Dumb bastard didn't even know what appeasement meant....
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Let's Have Instant Runoffs
We can make sure that victorious candidates represent a true consensus
BY STEVE MULROY JANUARY 31, 2008
Last November, voters in four City Council districts were asked to go back to the polls one month after the main city election to decide runoff elections. That extra election cost about $250,000 and yielded a typically abysmal 4 percent turnout rate (compared to 38 percent in the city election).
This year, the Memphis City Charter Commission can give us the benefits of a runoff without a second election, saving money, increasing turnout, improving campaigns, and making election results more representative. They can do so by putting on the referendum ballot a proposal for Memphis voters to approve Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in city elections.
In IRV, voters rank candidates in preference order: "1," "2," "3," etc. Voters can rank as many or as few candidates as they wish. If a candidate gets a majority of first-place votes, that candidate wins. If not, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. Votes for that candidate are redistributed among the remaining candidates based on those voters' second-place choice. If someone thereby gains a majority, they are elected. If not, the next-weakest candidate is eliminated and the vote redistributed, until someone gets a majority.
IRV is used in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Oakland, Sarasota, and a number of other cities and was recently adopted in North Carolina by the cities of Cary and Hendersonville. It's used for overseas absentee ballots in Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and other states. Globally, it's used to elect the leaders of Ireland and India, the national legislature of Australia, and the mayor of London, among others.
IRV represents a growing trend. And the system presents several other advantages. It eliminates the "spoiler problem," preventing a candidate from winning office with, say, 32 percent of the vote. It elects consensus candidates whose support is broad as well as deep. Not every voter will get their first choice, but far fewer will get their last choice.
It also encourages positive campaigning: Candidates want to be the first-place choice of their base and the second-place choice of their rival's base.
IRV gives lesser-known, lesser-funded candidates more of a chance. No longer is voting for such a candidate "throwing away your vote." If in 2000, for example, you wanted to vote for Ralph Nader but were afraid it would be in effect a vote for Bush, you could have ranked Nader "1" and Gore "2." Because of this, IRV makes elections more competitive, thus boosting voter turnout.
Finally, voters can vote based on who they think will do the best job, without consulting the latest poll to see who's "really got a chance of winning."
For these reasons, Memphis should adopt IRV for all City Council elections, including those in the two "superdistricts" which currently don't have runoffs. If the seven "single-member district" council-persons have to earn a majority of the vote, shouldn't the six "superdistrict" councilpersons have to do the same?
Memphis should also use IRV for the mayor's race. Doing this would mean getting permission from the federal court that decided the "majority vote" civil rights case filed in 1988. But this is doable. Since the lawsuit was filed, Memphis has changed from majority-white to majority-black. No longer can one seriously doubt the ability of African-American Memphians to elect candidates of their choice, which is why the feds originally got involved.
It may take time and money to prepare our voting machines for IRV, but the Charter Commission can give voters a referendum that empowers the city to adopt IRV once the technical problems are resolved or make it effective some number of years in the future. And the money saved in stopping unnecessary runoff elections will pay for any technical adjustments in the long run.
The Memphis Charter Commission has a once-in-a-generation chance to move Memphis forward, away from an outdated election system. Let's hope the voters get a chance to decide.
Steve Mulroy is a law professor at the University of Memphis and a member of the Shelby County Commission.
Ok then. If you agree (and I hope that you DO), we need your help by sending emails to the Charter Commissioners imploring them to vote for IRV; here they are:
Willie Brooks email@example.com
Sylvia Cox firstname.lastname@example.org
Marsha Campbell email@example.com
Janis Fullilove firstname.lastname@example.org
George Brown email@example.com
Sharon Webb Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org
Myron Lowery email@example.com
Thanks for your help!
The original SKB gave me hope that left-leaning blogs could work in this state, and is ultimately why I started after the 2004 election. I offer my heartfelt applause in his selection, and look forward to his reports from Denver!
For the THIRD time this year, Democrats captured an open Republican seat in a special election, despite Beelzebub himself making a last minute visit to the DeSoto Civic Center on behalf of Gooper Greg Davis on Monday.
Davis carried only four counties in the 23-county First District, and only ONE (Webster) east of I-55. Childers won by just under 8,000 votes, 57,276 to 49,314; when you consider that Davis carried DeSoto by almost TEN THOUSAND VOTES (14,976 to Childers' 5,015), you realize just what a country ass-whoopin' this election was.
This despite the fact that the NRCC and "independent" 527 Freedom's Watch spent untold sums trying to hang Barack Obama around Childers' neck; however, this backfired AGAIN as it had in LA-06 a few days ago. If the Republicans can't win with the race card in the Deep South, what possible chance does John McCain (or their congressional candidates, for that matter) have in November?
It's still a long way off and a million miles ahead, but it feels mighty good to be a Mid-South Democrat tonight. Oh, and go over to Cotton Mouth Blog and congratulate them; they helped Childers like a lot of us helped Cohen in 2006 (and will again!)
UPDATE: The Great Orange Satan his ownself weighs in on the glorious victory!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
A documentary by
Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.
Benjamin Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue
UNCOUNTED is an explosive new documentary that shows how the election problems, neglect, and fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater election problems in 2006 - and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. This controversial 80-minute film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof.
A discussion led by University of Memphis Prof. and Shelby County commissioner Steve Mulroy will follow.
Information will be provided re: ongoing election reform efforts at the federal, state, and local level.
I would normally provide an excerpt, but I want you to read the whole thing, right now. Just go there and read this so you get a better understanding of how bad things are.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Steve Mulroy and Smart City Memphis are right about Bass Pro; WHY is Robert Lipscomb so hell-bent to give up the store?
Mulroy nails it first by saying that we need to set a deadline in the VERY near term; if BPS doesn't meet it or wants more time, we walk away, just walk away. In a town that needs more hotel space, if we're not going to use the Ericson proposal, why not make the pointy building something that makes the Opryland Hotel look like the Rebel Inn by comparison? Find a way to make the Pyramid connect to the nearby Convention Center, and we will be able to hold bigger events like, say a Final Four.
With that in mind, what kind of hold does BPS have on the Administration, particularly Robert Lipscomb, who positively looks spellbound by their non-offer? This smells REAL funny, and I don't like it. BPS has been leading us on for several years now, with NOTHING to show for it; yet Lipscomb keeps insisting that this is the best deal possible.
For WHOM, Mr. Lipscomb?
After having second (and THIRD) thoughts, I ponied up the $150 for the SCDP's annual Kennedy Day fundraiser, which was inexplicably not held in 2007. I wound up being glad that I went.
My congressman was there with his guests, and I sat at one of the tables of my county commissioner, Steve Mulroy. I saw lots of old friends and cohorts from various campaigns, and got to reintroduce myself to Bob Tuke, who is one of the two Democrats running for the Senate. I am supporting Bob; you'll hear more about that later.
(Side note: Chris Lugo, you should have stayed in the Democratic primary. You still probably would not have won, but you would have moved the Democratic debate even further to the left. Now, as a Green, you'll get your 1% and be otherwise ignored, which is a shame, but I digress.)
Jim Cooper gave a nice solid speech explaining why he supports Obama, and why we MUST come together in the fall, as the TDP needs us to come up BIG in November. I agree; tell Barack to make sure that they send money down here for the coordinated campaign! No, it's not the stemwinders we have come to expect down here, but, for a guy from Nashville, he did right fine.
Folks, here's the most important thing I can tell you about last night, more than the money that was raised, more than the renewal of friendships, more than anything: WE ARE UNITED IN SHELBY COUNTY. All that old crap is OVER, and for good, I believe. It's been a long time since I could say that, and I am delighted with this turn of events. I have no doubt that we are going to have a record turnout in November, and even August, as we will hopefully renominate our Congressman, and elect Cheyenne Johnson Assessor, and Paul Mattila as Trustee. Maybe even Otis Jackson as General Sessions Court Clerk, as my Congressman sure wants him to win.
Today, at the request of David Upton, I joined other Democrats, including elected officials like my Senator, Beverly Marrero, Commissioner Mulroy, Rep. Barbara Cooper, Shep Wilbun, Democratic National Committeewoman (and TDP Secretary) Gale Jones Carson, as well as activists Howard Richardson and Reginald Milton in meeting with Bob Tuke. Bob, in my opinion, has the strength and background to be a great Senate candidate, and I have watched him as he was a powerful State Party Chair, and he understands the issues and knows what it will take to unseat LAMAR! Alexander.
It's going to be a great campaign!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
UPDATE 5/9: Our friend Mr. Turnbow reports that GOP officials are learning of internal polls from the Greg Davis campaign that shows him losing 5-10 points to Travis Childers IN THE LAST WEEK!
Please help Travis, this is an UNBELIEVABLE pick up opportunity, this is an R+10 DISTRICT!!!
The wonderful Matt Stoller at OpenLeft notes that MS-01, the CD immediately to our south, is an R+10 District. However, that didn't stop the voters of North Mississippi from voting by 49% for Democrat Travis Childers, who leads going into the May 13 runoff with Republican (and Southaven Mayor) Greg Davis.
Here are the results from MS-01:
MS-01 (Wicker-Open) Precincts Reporting - 99% 462 of 462
Greg Davis (R) - 46%
Travis Childers (D) - 49%
Steve Holland (D) - 1%
Glenn McCullough (R) - 1%
I love it, and want more.
Pennsylvania? Who cares? For a 10-point victory, she only won THREE more delegates at last count. You need only look below to see what it would take for her to win the nomination. Her campaign is deader than a week-old-fish, and smells about the same at this point.
Let's celebrate REAL victory tonight, and remember to help out Childers if you have time, he's already running runoff ads on the 10 PM local news here. Heh.
Oh, and one last thing; here's Matt's closing comment:
No one likes Republicans, even in R+10 districts.
Friday, May 09, 2008
So, in that vein, Sharon, I see your Temptations and raise you with Marvin and Tammi:
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
You are invited to join in the celebration of our annual Kennedy Day Dinner on
Friday May 9, 2008 at the
University of Memphis Holiday Inn located at
3700 Central Avenue, Memphis at 7 P.M.,
V.I.P. Reception 6 P.M.
For additional info call: Barbara. Williams 829-3377
Keynote Speaker : Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper (5th District)
VIP Reception $50
Monday, May 05, 2008
Tom Jones, who is as much a part of the Memphis landscape as Overton Park and Poplar Avenue, and of course, who blogs at Smart City Memphis, lost his daughter, Emily Jones Schrader, to cancer at the way-too-young age of 32 this past Friday. He has written a beautiful tribute to her at SCM, and you should read it.
We here at the Cracker offer our deepest condolences to Tom and his family, and hope that you will as well.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
You may want to contact AOL to find out why the hell they are blocking my emails. If you have an alternate address and AOL won't help you, shoot me an email, it's sjs1959 at gmail dot com.
Now, if you have continued to receive these emails at AOL.COM, please email me and let me know that as well.
NOW do you understand why Net Neutrality is so important?