Friday, December 21, 2012

The sad descent of the NRA

As I have noted on countless occasions, I am a gun owner and I don't believe in gun confiscation.  Frankly, outside of maybe Rosie O'Donnell, I don't know anyone who does.  If the government even tried it, even if we had a GOP President, we would have an armed rebellion in this country.

I have been around hunting for most of my life.  I know hunters usually eat what they kill, and give away that which they cannot.  99% of them sit in a duck blind or a deer stand or walk a field, and do not visit any place that would  provide a "guaranteed kill", because that is the antithesis of sportsmanship.

When I was a child, my father, who was a part-time gunsmith when we lived in Northeast Arkansas in the late 1960s, was a member of the National Rifle Association, and subscribed to the AMERICAN RIFLEMAN magazine.  He hunted, and loaded his own ammunition.  Back then, the NRA would occasionally grumble about gun control laws, but they usually stuck to promoting gun safety and shooting sports, which is not a bad thing, I say, when done properly.

That was then, and this is now.

In their first major public statement since the tragedy in Newtown, CT a week ago, the NRA sent their leader and chief spokesman, Wayne LaPierre (who is a main reason my father grew to hate the NRA) out to speak on the matter.  Here is a transcript, and before I go any further, I would like you to stop and read this.

Go ahead, I can wait.

Denial's not just a river in Egypt , is it?

Everything is the problem except guns, and their easy access. Let us never forget that the National Rifle Association stands for nothing more than preserving unfettered access to guns to EVERYONE, regardless of age or mental illness.  They are NOT a gun rights organization, they are there to promote gun SALES.  To ANYONE, no matter what, even if it's someone who thinks the world will end and they are stocking up on guns and ammo to shoot anyone who may come near them.

By screaming that ANY attempt to restrict gun sales for ANY reason will lead to confiscation by ANY governmental or NON-governmental group that may pop into their heads, the NRA may be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that eventually DOES lead to far more dramatic restrictions to gun ownership than any we have seen.

And that would not be a good thing, and it would be the fault of the NRA.  We NEED all loopholes closed regarding sales at gun shows (and KUDOS to my friend Councilor Myron Lowery, who is trying to get the gun show that is planned for the Agricenter cancelled) and there needs to be CLEAR definitions on what constitutes an assault weapon.  Like what former Senator Bob Kerrey said while running for re-election in NEBRASKA in 1994:



Exactly.  What the NRA is facing is a dose of unexpected reality.  The majority of Americans no longer believe that the Chinese are coming over the border to take our weapons.  If we have gun licensing and registration, it will not infringe upon my rights as a gun owner one bit.  Rights come with responsibilities, as EVERY conservative has ever told me, and our responsibilities as a society DEMAND that common-sense regulation of gun sales and ownership take place.

If we can do it for automobiles, we can do it for guns, or risk REALLY losing them.  Your call, NRA.

Sacred cows

The great cartoonist Bill Day has generously allowed me to use this cartoon, and I think this sums things up rather well:


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

To My GMAIL List

It appears that GMail and Google is making their semi-annual attempt to force me into Google Groups.  I was restricted today when trying to send my first email to my list, which was a Scene column by Jonathan Meador.  Since the reasons that they give for slowing me down do not apply (no bouncebacks lately, among other things), I can only believe that they are coming at me because I send liberal columns in my posts.

I will let you know how this is going later.

Oh, and call the White House and tell them to KILL THIS DEAL.   We didn't work for Obama's re-election only to have him throw us all under the bus after the election.

Friday, December 14, 2012

And here we go again.

I presume that you are aware that some crazy fool walked into an elementary school in Newtown, CT today and shot 27 people, 18 of them being children.

I have been attacked on Twitter for responding too quickly and being disrespectful to the dead.  Really?  If we don't discuss this NOW, we will forget about it and another tragedy will occur, and then another.  If you want to prevent further tragedies, NOW is the time to think about it.  If you can't discuss this now, then WHEN?

The vast majority of gun owners (at least 99%, any way) are responsible citizens who would never do anything like this (and I am one of them).  However, the idea that we are powerless as a society to prevent mentally unstable people from owning weapons is ridiculous, and will at some point result in the loss of our rights to keep and bear arms.

Don't think so?  Let me ask you a question: if we can license people who own cars so that they may operate them, and require them to be familiar with their proper usage, why can we not do this for weapons, which are normally intentionally lethal?  We, as a society, refuse to allow people to drive if they insist on driving while impaired or are no longer able to properly operate their vehicles.  Why, then, can we not do the same thing for weapons?

While the licensing procedure doesn't eliminate DUIs or Grandpa driving onto the sidewalk and accidentally killing someone, it greatly reduces the occurrences.  There is no rational reason that we as a society cannot set up licensing requirements for weapons owners.  I, as a weapons owner since the age of ELEVEN, do not see how my right to possess a weapon would be infringed.

The National Rifle Association, dear readers, is NOT in business to protect the rights of weapons owners.  It is in the business to remove any and all obstacles to weapons manufacturers being able to sell their wares to everyone, no matter what age.  This is why they have gone far beyond what they once did, just to promote shooting sports and gun safety, which in and of itself is not a bad thing.  My father, who was a part-time gunsmith when we lived in Northeast Arkansas, was a member until he noticed how crazy they were getting.

We MUST, as a society, take more steps to insure that mentally ill people get the help they need, no matter the cost, and we must take steps to insure that they do NOT have access to weaponry.  While we will never completely eliminate this problem, there is no rational reason we cannot reduce the likelihood of re-occurrence.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We have a blogger that I didn't know about!

We welcome OFFENSIVE DEMOCRAT to our little blogosphere, written by our buddy at the TNDP, Brandon Puttbrese.  And really, aren't OFFENSIVE DEMOCRATS the best kind?? I certainly think so.  We are going to add him to THE ENDLESS BLOGROLL and I think you should add him to your RSS feeds.

Today, in particular, he has a lovely rant about Senator Brian Kelsey's veryclose friend, newly-elected Representative Jeremy Durham, who it appears had a seat drawn just for him!  It seems that Durham, representing Tennessee's most liberal county, Williamson (sarcasm should be duly noted here), thinks that the state's richest county can't afford TennCare for the poor saps who serve the people that live in their mansions in Franklin and Brentwood.

I urge you to read it, and I wonder how I missed OFFENSIVE DEMOCRAT for so long.  I won't make that mistake again, and neither should you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

West Tennessee fights back against Fincher!

This was passed to me, so I am passing on to you!


For Immediate Release
December 11, 2012
For more information:
Alma Jones: 731-358-0229
David Barber: 731-819-3281
 
West Tennesseans to demand that Stephen Fincher “stop threatening to take us over the Fiscal Cliff”
West Tennesseans concerned about the looming “fiscal cliff” will bring their demands to Congressman Stephen Fincher’s Martin Tennessee office Thursday, December 13, at 3pm.

“Fincher and the Republican Party are heading this country right over the fiscal cliff,” explained McKenzie resident Alma Jones.

If Congressman Fincher and the Republican-dominated House of Representatives do not take action before the New Year then on January 1, 2013, taxes on all Americans will rise: more money will be withheld from every paycheck and the average Tennessee family – already hard-pinched in the current economic crisis – will pay more than $2000 additional taxes for the year.

Most economic experts agree that this massive tax increase for middle class and working class Americans will sink the country deeper into recession.

President Barack Obama has already said that he will sign a bill which retains the current tax structure for all income below $250,000 per year.  The Senate has already passed that bill.

But the Republican-dominated House of Representatives has refused to let that bill reach the House floor for a vote.  The Republicans are insisting that the tax rates for Americans earning over $250,000 per year not be raised.

“In other words,” said Jones, “the Republicans are using the threat of higher taxes for 98% of the American people as a bargaining chip to retain lower tax rates for their wealthy friends and contributors.”

“We’re going to tell Congressman Fincher that the citizens of this congressional district aren’t going to accept this.   We hope many Martin, Dresden, Union City and West Tennessee folks join us this Thursday at 3 pm in front of Congressman Fincher’s office in Martin  on Lindell between Main and University.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Celebrating Thanksgiving Day as as one should; here is the COMPLETE version of Alice's Restaurant:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And, here we go!

The first hat has been tossed in the ring in the race to succeed Chip Forrester as Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party.  Wade Munday states with this post what he believes must happen for Democrats to get back on the right foot in the Volunteer State.

It will be a long road back for any Democrat, even those of us in one of the blue islands.  Wade realizes this, and I hope, if you are a Tennessee Democrat, that you will read this and understand why he is running.

Good luck, sir!

Drinking Liberally moves to Frida's this week!

From our friends at DL

 After a year's run at Dublin House, we decided to find a smoke-free venue, and found Frida's Mexican Restaurante at 1718 Madison, where we will begin meeting this week at 7:30 P.M. in the upstairs area; ask the host or hostess to show you where the stairs are! We did not take this move lightly, and wish Dublin House well. However, it was important to our members to find a smoke-free venue. Please come and join us this Thursday evening at 7:30 P.M.!!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A Great Response to Today's Post

My old friend Brad Bradley, who now lives north of Little Rock but grew up here and got his law degree from UTK, weighs in on today's post:

I just read your post about rebuilding the Democratic party. I think it is pretty much on point. I disagree a bit with the order of the things you listed. I think that it will be hard to win statewide races in Tenn. unless and until the party learns how important Memphis is to it. I wonder what percentage of the Dem vote is in Memphis and Shelby County?  It all goes back to race and the fear of scary, black, crime-ridden Memphis. Have you read William D. Miller's Mr. Crump of Memphis? It came out in the early 60s and details how Crump was able to make deals with East Tenn. GOPers because the rural/Nashville establishment hated Crump and wanted the power for themselves. I know those days are over but, as you say, there is more to Tenn. that the 440 beltway. The point is that the party has to work together to rebuild; it can't be three or more separate parties.

You are right that we have to do a better job defining the GOP for what they are-right-wing extremists who, like the Taliban, seek to impose their version of morality on the rest of the populace even though that populace does not agree with it. See the  4th Cong. Dist. for 1 example.

Also, we need to do a better job protecting the middle class, which includes protecting public education at all levels. Too many people in both Tenn. and Ark. do not value education. Instead, the place more value on hunting/fishing and athletics. But it is education that truly prepares one for a productive life and every college-educated person in the state is a block to build up the middle class. Less than 25% in Ark. have college degrees or better. The Dems. are complicit if they support vouchers in any form because they, for the most part, subsidize white kids already going to private schools. Our public education system was the envy of the world at one point, but not now. Yes, we need to improve some of the ways schools operate and some of the results. However, that does not include vouchers. It should include paying teachers more and recognizing/rewarding the importance of their jobs. It also includes reducing poverty because even the best teacher
cannot do the job without significant help from the parents and if the family is in poverty, that help isn't forthcoming. We also need to stop demonizing the teacher's unions; however, this isn't likely to change in the near future. The long-range demographic trend is for urban areas to expand and rural areas to decline. But, its like one of the other posts you sent out today: trying to stop a cultural tide with a picket fence.
One other thought: Education is the best economic development tool there is because business wants an educated workforce and the more educated the populace, the more likely business is to locate in an area. Getting back to the rural areas, part of the problem is the lack of communications infrastructure meaning high speed internet access at reasonable cost. This would address Trace's concern about rural folks only reading the local papers and would allow them to read papers from all over, assuming no pay walls. However, some big media, like ATT don't want to invest because of the cost and lack of density make it hard to be profitable on such services.  

Basking in the Afterglow (sort of)

Well now, we have a lot to talk about, don't we?

We live in a deep-blue city (just ask George Flinn) in a deep-red State (just ask Chip Forrester) in a nation getting bluer by the election (ask Karl Rove).  Let's look at each of these.

Well, Shelby County, what do we do now?  Barack Obama will never be on the ballot again, so how do we get the people who turned out in droves in this election to come back in 2014 when we desperately need them?  There are no elections next year, but every minute of SCDP time should be taken to reach out to keep contact with those voters, keep them engaged and involved and let them know that EVERY election is important.  Money has to be raised, but grassroots organizing needs to be done on a scale not really done here since Harold Ford Sr. was our Congressman.  Congressman Cohen, you and your crack election team needs to be involved with that effort to the largest extent possible.  You are our leader, and it's time to take the lead.

We need to do this so that we are not so grossly out numbered in the state.  Remember when the Democrats were in charge of the Legislature for 140 years?  Those days are gone forever, folks, and being a Democrat here means that we have to rebuild from the ashes.  While Bredenistas point the finger at Chip Forrester, I must remind you that he is not Calvin Coolidge, who led a similar debacle for the whole country, but Herbert Hoover, who inherited and mismanaged the Depression.

There are good people who work their butt off at the TNDP, and I do not hold them accountable for what happened last night, that has been in motion for years and came to fruition with this election.  There are some things with which we all need to come to grips if we are going to rebuild for the future.

1. NED MCWHERTER IS NOT WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR.
The greatest Governor this state has ever known was a giant of a human being and had the capacity to inspire people and lead them.  He was the only one who could run on the theme ONE OF US and appeal to conservative voters.  His house seat, from which he served as Speaker of the House for 14 years, is now held by a goober Republican from Dresden named Andy Holt, who, to put it mildly, is a joke.  The Senate seat once held by the longest-serving Lt. Governor in history, John Wilder, is now held by a Republican from Somerville named Delores Gresham, who is busy helping to destroy public education.  And the last nail in the West Tennessee coffin was put in last night, as outgoing Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh's seat was won by yet another Republican.

We have to understand that if a Tennessean is going to vote for a conservative, they will vote for a Republican, because we have allowed ourselves to be defined by others and have not defined conservatism for what it is, elitism and quasi-feudalism.  What is now called moderate was once called right-wing.  We CANNOT win elections in rural areas on cultural issues and until we aggressively work to change that, we will be irrelevant in Tennessee politics.  We need to talk to people like Charles Curtiss, John Mark Windle and John Tidwell to see how they survive in this climate.

2.  ATTENTION TNDP; THERE IS MORE TO TENNESSEE THAN JUST WHAT IS INSIDE THE 440 LOOP.

This is addressed to not to Chip but to the ExecCom and to those who make their money off Tennessee Democrats.  They don't understand Memphis, they don't understand rural areas, they don't understand anything beyond Belle Meade, East Nasty and the West End.  They live in a world where it's always 1990 and Ned's been re-elected and all is right with the world.

IT ISN'T.  We aren't rebuilding the TNDP just so Bill Fletcher and Dave Cooley can make money, we are doing this to CHANGE AND AFFECT POLICY.  We have to re-think everything because how well we are able to do this will determine if we are EVER relevant again.  And that answer does NOT include being GOP Lite.  When you consider that even though Scott DesJarlais proved to be even worse a human being than we had suspected, and the DCCC sent money to help Eric Stewart, Eric STILL got stomped?  Either TN-04 is filled with wackjobs or we ran the wrong campaign.  It didn't work for Lincoln Davis two years ago, and it wasn't going to work for Eric now.

3. A 95-COUNTY STRATEGY NEEDS TO BE PUT IN PLACE ASAP.  
We have to understand that while it is helpful to raise as much money as possible, when you are in the super-minority, not much cash will be tossed at you by high-rollers.  That, my friends, is not necessarily such a bad thing.  This forces us to be creative and to do something we are not that good at doing: ORGANIZING.

We have to do this at the County level in EVERY county, whether it's Shelby or Williamson or Washington or Lake County.  We need to engage young people in every county, for they are our future.  We need to ensure that there are College Democrats clubs on EVERY campus of higher education in this state and train them about elections and policy.  Without a great ground game, there is no chance of victory.  If you could buy elections, the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson would be a lot happier today than they are.

GROUND GAME WORKS; just ask the President of the United States.

4.  STOP BEING SCARED OF MEMPHIS; YOU NEED US AND WE NEED YOU.
If anything drives me crazy, it's when people talk about Memphis as if we are a leper colony.  We are the most diverse (and NOT just black-and-white, either) metro area in the state, and the largest.  Yes, we are different from the rest of the state in every way possible, but you need to realize that a higher percentage of the state than ever before lives in METRO areas.  The four largest metro areas contain if not a majority of the state's population, then might damn close.  We can help each other, because it is a necessity.  Every time you demonize Memphis, you shoot yourselves in the foot.  You may think you can't win with us, but the reality is that you cannot win WITHOUT us.

5. ON THE OTHER HAND, WE CAN'T WIN WITHOUT THE RURAL VOTE, EITHER.
Rural areas are hurting, and we can't abandon them.  If anything, we need to help these folks and help them realize that while they have been voting GOP on culture, it is KILLING them economically.  I believe we can do this; if we can't, then there is no hope for them OR their culture.  We cannot win on culture and we MUST find away not to play into culture.  As I said early, that worked for Ned because it was Ned; it ain't working for anyone else.  West Tennessee outside Memphis and Jackson is DYING and we have to reverse this trend.

6.  IF YOU DON'T STAND FOR SOMETHING, YOU'LL FALL FOR ANYTHING.
For cultural reasons, the old-time Tennessee Democrats did their best to resist being defined, which is a good thing.  They, however, often refused to define their opponents, which is a bad thing.  We have to define the GOP for what they ARE and not allow them to pretend they are something that they are NOT.  We have to define ourselves in the strongest terms possible.  A big tent is never bad, but it can't be so loose as to be vague.  People around the state came to see us as not standing for anything except re-election.  I understand that you have to be elected to accomplish things; but if you're elected and things still don't change, why should they continue to vote for you?

7. THIS AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN OVERNIGHT; BE PREPARED FOR A LONG DECADE.
The GOP takeover didn't happen last night; it had been building, partially because those in charge of Democratic politics either didn't see it coming, or DID see it and had no clue of what to do about it.  Tennessee is changing, and we need to SHAPE that change, or we will be consumed by it, and that's why the TNDP has to rethink everything, and at every level.

Please comment and let me know what you think; flame away and tell me if I am wrong, but say WHY.

UPDATE: Also, what Trace said.
UPDATE 2: And what Liz said.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hotline Numbers If you Have Trouble At The Polls Today


______________________________________________________________________
                   P.O. Box 40864               Memphis, TN 38174-0864                   (901) 323-3290                                          Van Turner, Jr., Chair

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  NOVEMBER 5, 2012

There will be an election protection effort like none other tomorrow here in Shelby County.  Below, I have provided a list of numbers for all of the individuals and organizations who are assisting with protecting the vote tomorrow.  The Shelby County Democratic Party alone will have approximately 100 poll watchers in the field tomorrow located at various precincts throughout the county to protect and monitor the vote.  

We have also created a strategic alliance with Stand for Children who will have an additional 150 poll watchers and canvassers out at the polls tomorrow.  Also, as you may or may not know, the local OFA group dispatched approximately 80 volunteers to North Carolina to knock on doors and to get the vote out for the President.  I know that with hard work and effort, we will re-elect President Barack Obama.  Finally, please join us tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Peabody Hotel in the Grand Ballroom for the Official Watch Party and Victory Party for the 2012 Presidential Election. 

STATE ELECTION PROTECTION HOTLINE
1-888-960-4394
MEMPHIS CITY ATTY’S OFFICE
901-636-6500
NAACP ELECTION PROTECTION HOTLINE
901-521-1343
SCDP ELECTION PROTECTION
901-323-3290
WTDEM RESOURCE CENTER
901-435-6082
GEORGE MONGER, ELECTION COMMISSIONER
901-417-0488
NORMA LESTER, ELECTION COMMISSIONER
901-484-7767
DAVID COCKE, ATTORNEY AT LAW
901-351-1089
VAN TURNER, ATTORNEY AT LAW
901-283-5017
PHYLIS ALUKO, ATTORNEY AT LAW
901-494-5232
U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
901-969-2920
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
901-747-4300


Sunday, November 04, 2012

We are less than 48 hours away from the Election.

I know I haven't written in a while; Susan and I have been house-hunting, among other things.

I know the tendency is to think, well, Obama will win Shelby but lose the state, and Cohen's going to win and no state legislative seats will change hands, so why bother.  With all due respect, may I retort,
BULLSHIT.

While much of that is true, if you did not early vote (as we did here) I am telling you that, no matter where you live, GET OFF YOUR ASS AND VOTE.  I think the President may well get 300+ electoral votes, but I know that the GOP is trying to suppress the vote wherever possible in the hopes that Romney will win the popular vote and they can attempt to STEAL the election.  Remember BUSH V.GORE?  Do you want THAT to happen again, with THIS Supreme Court?

NO?  Good.  Then make sure you vote on Tuesday if you were unable or simply didn't early-vote.

Why?  Let's give the President and our Congressman, Steve Cohen, every vote possible.  In this county, I want landslides for both of them, and votes for Democratic legislators and AGAINST Republican legislators where you are unfortunate enough to have one or more.  We need to show people that Big Shelby is still a force.

If you don't live in a blue county, please vote for EVERY Democrat on your ballot.  If you live in the 4th Congressional District, you have the opportunity to elect Eric Stewart, and vote OUT a Congressman who, as a practicing physician, is alleged to have slept with his PATIENTS.  If you don't live in the 4th but want to send last minute cash, go here.

If you live in Arkansas, help Scott Ellington in the 1st District or Herb Rule in the 2nd.  Don't live in Tennessee?  There are tons of people to help in these last few days.  We need every Democrat elected as possible, because the Greens are too busy trying to make statements instead of electing any one or having any REAL effect on the process.  I like Jill Stein, but so what?  Would SHE have a Congress that would pass her legislation? NO, because the Greens won't do what needs to be done.

So, right now, that leaves the Democrats.  We have a great one in Steve Cohen, and I want to see him get 80% if possible.  If you have friends who are registered but haven't voted, call them.  Drive them to the polls if necessary, but this is doable.

You can sit home if you like.  Just don't bitch at me when Romney and Ryan take away every social good we have built in the last 90 years.

Don't want that?  VOTE.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

SCDP, Drinking Liberally Co-Host Debate Watch Party at Dublin House

The Shelby County Democratic Party will be hosting a debate watch party at the Dublin House 2021 Madison Ave in Midtown Memphis. We are excited to co-host with Drinking Liberally, who will be providing appetizers for the crowd to munch on! 

The party gets started at 7PM, with trivia starting at 7:30PM and the debate at 8PM. Obama gear will be on sale and we are excited to sign new people up for our membership drive. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Liz Rincon at 901.413.6983 or Jake Brown at 901.603.0984

The Big Dog does it again!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK AT DRINKING LIBERALLY!

Drinking Liberally Memphis and the Shelby County Democrats are co-hosting a DEBATE WATCH PARTY at Dublin House, 2021 Madison Avenue, this Thursday night from 7:30 until 9:30 P.M. Come on out and join us for food, fun and the VP debate between Joe Biden and the Randroid, Paul Ryan! We hope to see you there!

Friday, October 05, 2012

I truly don't know what to say here

Except, who on Earth convinced the Doc that this was a good idea? I appreciate the $$$ that Al and DJ Paul are making from this (at least, I HOPE they are), but this is nothing but STRAIGHT OUT WACK:

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

There is NO ONE on earth like Bill Clinton

And here's why, hat tip to The Great Orange Satan:

A few musings about the election

I keep wondering why on earth the Romney campaign keeps trying to run to their base to win this election when the economy is down (albeit moving slowly back upwards).  The non-story yesterday on the "shocking video" that Fox News ran turned out to be a YouTube video from 2007 that no one cared about in 2008, so what's the big deal?

Then, I realized that Romney, with 5 weeks to go before the election, has yet to solidify his base.  If you're at this point in an election cycle and you've not done this yet, you are cooked.  They can't get swing voters because they aren't sure if the base will show up yet.

While their base (which is shrinking to be the extremely wealthy and those rural voters who can't accept even a HALF-black President) dislikes President Obama, the non-wealthy part of that base is not happy with Romney either.  First, he is as unlikeable a nominee as we have seen, out of touch with people who don't possess the type of wealth he inherited and extracted from others.

Secondly, and most importantly, we overlook something that will absolutely hurt Romney among his rural and conservative Christian base: his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormons.  For me, I could care less, his stands on the issues (when he stands at ALL, that is) disqualified Willard a long time ago.   This is the subject that no one wants to talk about in the mainstream media, but that's also why the GOP is desperately begging their base to vote for a man no one likes.

For conservative Christians in rural areas, a huge number of them believe, rightly or wrongly, that Mormonism is a cult. They are simply not going to vote for a Mormon for President, especially not one that they know in their hearts helped bring down the economy.  No, they aren't going to vote for the President, but they will either vote for, let's say, the Constitution Party candidate or other minor-party candidate, or they will skip that race altogether, figuring they will wait four years for the President to leave office on his own.

Now, let's face it, I agree more with Green presidential candidate Jill Stein than I do President Obama, but so what?  There is no Green Party structure to elect Congressional candidates (because they refuse to get involved in LOCAL issues, which is how the right-wing built THEIR infrastructure), so what good would it do even in the highly unlikely event that she won?  When the Green Party gets serious about the electoral process, I will get serious about them.  Even Noam Chomsky says that if you live in a swing state, you HAVE to vote to re-elect the President.  That's why, even though it won't be as intense as four years ago, most of the President's base has come together to re-elect him.

This is not to suggest that I am not pissed about Geithner and Summers protecting Wall Street, and that the drone strikes continue to hurt us in the Middle East, I am.  However, the threat, not only to America, but the entire PLANET, of a Mitt Romney victory, compels me to vote to re-elect the President.

Besides, don't you want to see Brit Hume and Sean Hannity weep and gnash their teeth on Election Night?  I know I do.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This was a 99% of which I DIDN'T want to be a part

This story started about a year ago, when I started having pains right down my center when I walked from my car to my office.  I mentioned it to my regular doctor and she seemed to think that it was an inflammation of my trachea, and it was only happening during the colder months.

Then it began to happen whenever I walked in and then I started having pains in my underarm.  So, about 3 weeks ago, I went for my diabetes checkup (did well, by the way, an improvement from 6.7 down to 6.4) I saw a different doctor who helps out now at their practice.   I mentioned it to him and he immediately scheduled a stress test for me.

A week later, I went to Methodist University Hospital, got the stress test done, and since they didn't haul me off right then to the Cath lab, I figured I had done well.  Well, a week ago this past Friday, my regular doctor called me to say I had flunked the stress test and that I needed a heart cath to find out what was wrong.

Susan and I met with the cardiologist, Dr. Pranab Das, this past Friday, and they did an EKG, scheduling the cath at Methodist University Hospital for Tuesday.  I have to say, Dr. Das is amazing, calmly explaining everything and making sure you remain as calm as he is.  We were both impressed with him; if you use Methodist for healthcare and you need a cardiologist, this is the guy you need to see.

He explained that the cath would show any problems, and if there were no arteries with blockage of 70% or better, all that would be done would be to give me medicine.  Above that, a stent could be put in or, worst-case scenario, bypass surgery, which would be done then.

We showed up at 11 AM on Tuesday, they got me in to a Same-Day Surgery room, and Susan's Aunt Barbara arrived to sit with Susan during my procedure.  At 2 PM, I went to the Cath room. As Dr. Das had told me, they would use an artery in my wrist and not through the femoral artery in the groin, so I was given Lorezepam as a sedative, which sedated me but did not knock me out.  Yes, I was awake for all of this!

About halfway through, Dr. Das stopped to tell me that my main artery was 99% blocked (he would tell Susan, but not me, that if we hadn't caught this, I would have had a major heart attack within a month).  He would need to put in a stent and I said, "so I'm staying overnight then?" and he confirmed that.  

I have to tell you, it kind of hurt, but it saved my life, and it was the strangest feeling in the world to feel a balloon expanding inside my heart.  He put in the stent, got finished and I went to recovery for three hours, then back to my room where Susan was waiting for me.  I was never so happy to see anyone in my life as I was to see Susan.  I was too dumb to be scared, so she was scared for me, I think.  

She told everyone how it went, and I made a few calls myself.  I am off work until Monday, but I am still going to a wedding Saturday for two friends who are perfect for each other, and I need to see that.
I will get back to writing next week, as I am trying to keep the outrage down.  Besides, every time Mitt opens his mouth, The President goes up 5 more points in the polls.

I am very fortunate to have you as readers and friends, fortunate to have Dr. Das as my cardiologist, and most fortunate to have Susan, without whom I would not have thought to have this checked out. She is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I would not be here without her.

See you in a few days!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

UPDATE: This was NOT what I had led to believe it was.



This was a reaction NOT to the woman from Puerto Rico, but to the fact that a Ron Paul delegation was not being seated, the story can be found here.  My apologies for the confusion.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Well, it is a START!

With a doff of the chapeau to Brandon, it appears that Eric Stewart will in fact vote for Barack Obama for President, per the Dean's latest article.

Own, be proud of it, and work with it, Eric.  Now if you can just stop using other GOP memes, you might be onto something.

UPDATE: Remember how I complained about Stewart's tactics on the debate?  OOPS.  Looks like it may have worked after all:  

Scott DeJarlais (R) says "I wouldn't be surprised if there is a debate" with challenger Eric Stewart (D). He has declined debates so far.


Well, so much for that idea.

I had been talking up the Democratic 4th District nominee for Congress, Sen. Eric Stewart of Belvedere as a relatively decent shot to upset one-term Tea Party Republican Scott DesJarlais in the re-configured district.

I hadn't sent money yet, since what little I have I want to give to West Tennessee candidates.  I didn't think all that much of the Stewart campaign's plans to force DesJarlais to debate, because it looked like they were chasing him from a position of weakness.  It might have been better to get one of the Nashville or Chattanooga TV stations to sponsor one and have THEM invite the Congressman, making it more difficult for him to back out.

Well, DesJarlais pretty much told them to pound sand, and from a political professional view, that makes sense.  If you are perceived as the leader, you don't want to debate your opponent if possible, because it elevates them to your level.  I digress.

Well, I noticed something in the DesJarlais staff response to Stewart to the effect that Stewart refused to say for whom he would vote either for US Senate (understandable at this point) or for President (WTF?).  Really?  The Dean himself wrote about this today.

Look, I know that even if President Obama went through the streets of Shelbyville healing the leper and the lame, people would boo and jeer him there.  I understand that.  However, Senator Stewart has apparently forgotten, as so many other rural Democrats have, under what party banner he is running.  If you didn't want to be associated with a Democratic President, then why in the hell did you run for Congress as a Democrat?

One of the reasons that Democrats are under siege in the South is that they won't stand up for who they are or what they believe in.  This does not help Democrats establish their brand, or define themselves for the voters.  If you refuse to define yourself, your opponents will be happy to do it for you.

It appears that Stewart's campaign has decided to follow the same blueprint as former Congressman Lincoln Davis's campaign of 2010.  Too bad for Stewart that Davis got crushed in 2010.

I have an announcement: If Tennesseans want to vote for a conservative candidate, they will vote for a Republican.  Period.  End of story.  Blue Dogism died a fiery death in the 2010 elections and effectively ended any chance that a conservative Democrat will be elected for the next 20 or 30 years.

That effectively leaves moderates and liberals for Democrats to reach for votes.  This means that you talk about economics and point out how the GOP House members are keeping jobs from being created by not supporting the President's plans.  When you talk about social issues, unless you frame it to your advantage, you are playing the Republican's game and it is NOT a game any Democrat can win.  No more tribalism, people.

Which leads me to my last point regarding Stewart and his campaign.  In the Humphrey article, there was this little bombshell:
Stewart presents himself as a conservative on some issues. For example, the senator said he is opposed to same-sex marriage, noting Tennessee voters approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman."I stand with the voters of Tennessee," he said.
So, we have a Southern Democrat opposed to the concept of civil rights?  Welcome back to 1954.

So, you ask, how is he supposed to answer any questions about that?  How about this, for a start:

"Well, given that the voters of the state put in a constitutional amendment to ban it, what could I do about it? And let ME ask YOU something:  How many jobs does banning gay marriage create in this state?  How many?"

Then you let it drop.  People might not agree with you at first, but the seed will have been planted and some of those folks will start to actually THINK about it.  Then they will appreciate that YOU thought about it and didn't just give them some bullshit placation.

Stewart's comments, and the attitude behind them, even more than the incompetence at the TNDP, are the reason we find ourselves in such bad shape outside Memphis and Nashville.  I once championed Eric Stewart, but no more.  Thank heavens I have Steve Cohen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wow, just wow.

When I arrived at KWAM studios this morning, Cheri Delbrocco told me that this blog was listed as a must=read blog by Memphis Magazine's 2012 City Guide, and I have checked and found this to be true, it's in the back of the book.  I had no idea, and I am stunned.

On behalf of Jon, Auto and myself, I want to send them a heartfelt thank-you.  We do our damndest to provide opinions and coverage of state and local Democratic politics here, and this means a lot.

Again, our thanks.

Steve

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

LWC Media Alert - Eyes on Memphis Wednesday morning from 8-9 AM

Yes, your not-so-humble Cracker has been invited to join Lexie Carter and Cheri Delbrocco tomorrow morning on AM 990, KWAM for their weekly show, Eyes on Memphis from 8-9 A.M.  We will be talking about Romney's selection of Paul Ryan for VP and other notable political happenings.

What, you can't get to an AM radio at that time?  What about your computer?  The show will be streamed here, so please find a way to listen in, and call if you want to!  Yeah, I might be groggy, but that's why they make coffee.  Come join us and hang out tomorrow morning!

SCDP Fundraiser "Moving Equality Forward"

From Elizabeth Rincon:


Date: Aug 18, 2012

Location: The home of John and Linda Sowell 2815 Lombardy (Chickasaw Gardens) 

Time: 6-9PM

Central BBQ will be catering as well as beer and wine served. Silent Auction and other amazing door prizes!  Come join us and support Marriage Equality and a more progressive Shelby County! 

Suggested donation: $50.00/person $75.00/couple

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Liz Rincon at 901.413.6983 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Ok, that's over, let's talk about 2014!

Ok, I know what you're thinking: Steffens, are you high????  No, please hear me out for a few minutes, because I want to talk about the GOOD things that happened here on Thursday and there WERE some good things that happened.

Let's understand a few things about November.

1) As long as we remember to go out and vote, Steve Cohen will beat George Flinn 75-25 or worse.  No, really, whoever convinced Flinn to run for the 9th District had better be making some large coin off this, because he is going to get creamed.

2) Barack Obama will carry Shelby County by a landslide.
3) He will only win four other counties at best: Davidson, Haywood, Hardeman and maybe Houston. That's it, that's all.
4) No state House or Senate seats will change hands in this County, other than the one Senate and two House seats that we lost in redistricting that were shipped to Middle and East Tennessee.

So, the lesson from that is show up to vote in November, but otherwise it really doesn't matter. The General Assembly is going to be run by crackpots on the right for the foreseeable future, so let's focus on Memphis, shall we?

August 2014?  THAT'S the enchilada, baby.

EVERY SINGLE SHELBY COUNTY OFFICE WILL BE ON THE AUGUST 2014 BALLOT.  Even Cheyenne Johnson and Ed Stanton, Jr. will have to come back and defend their offices then, along with County Mayor, Sheriff, Register, Trustee, the other Clerkships and thirteen single-member district Commission races.  Oh, and did I mention the non-partisan judgeships that will be up?

Ok then, do I have your attention?  Good.

Now, the lesson of Thursday night is very simple: if you have great candidates with no baggage in ther backgrounds, you can win countywide as a Democrat.  It doesn't hurt to have your Congressman support you, either, but if they hadn't had great campaigns to start with, I doubt that Steve Cohen would have risked his political capital on them.

Whomever the next SCDP Chair is, whether it's Van Turner or someone else should he decide not to seek a third term, they need to start searching for countywide candidates as soon as they assume the reins of office. I am serious, this business of not taking sides does not work; the GOP has been doing it for years, and it HAS worked for them.

I think some criteria should be set up to vet candidates for countywide office.  Some disqualifications should be up front:

A. If you have been our nominee at least twice and lost countywide, don't run, because the voters have told you they don't want you, so don't waste our time (and especially our money!)
B.  Do you have any experience that qualifies you for the job you seek, and especially qualities that  are superior to the officeholder you are seeking to replace?
C.  Have you ever worked in a countywide campaign?  Did that candidate win?
D. Can you organize a campaign?
E. Can you raise $50,000-$100,000 so you won't have to come to us hat-in-hand for the general election?
F.  If you are African-American, are you willing to knock on the doors of people of non-color?
G. If you are white, are you willing to knock on the doors of people of color?

Oh, and one more thing: IF you meet this criteria AND you want to run, you know when you need to start planning this campaign? TODAY. THIS HOUR, THIS MINUTE, THIS SECOND.  I know because there are people WHO ARE DOING THIS AS I WRITE.  SERIOUSLY.

I am certain there are other good questions, and I urge you to put them in comments.  If the answer to ANY of those questions is no, I, if I were Chair, would do my best to talk them out of running, and frankly, to ensure that that candidate doesn't win the nomination should they be stupid enough to run.  The GOP is SERIOUS when they field candidates (Rick Rout doesn't count, folks) and we should be as well.

We have tried to capture the County for more years than I care to remember.  If we go out and find more people like Cheyenne and Ed, we can do that very thing; if we just throw Joe Shlabotnik out there, we will lose, and it's that simple.  Don't run if you NEED a job, run if you know how to DO the job, to paraphrase Reginald Milton.  (and by the way, PLEASE run for SOMETHING, Reginald, I think you would fit that criteria like a glove!)

OK, that's enough at the moment, but start thinking about 2014 ASAP, please!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Regarding the elections

Aside from Cohen's expected massacre of Tomeka Hart's campaign and political career and the victories of Cheyenne Johnson and Ed Stanton in their countywide races, let me just say that the Green Party is starting to look real good to me right now.

The GOP achieved their mission of eliminating white liberals from the General Assembly with the primary defeats of Senator Beverly Marrero (D-30), Jeanne Richardson (formerly D-89, lost in D-90) and Mike Kernell (D-93).  Wait, you say, we still have Jim Kyle, right?  Bestill my beating heart.

Marrero went out heroically, taking 45% from Kyle in what was mostly his old district thanks to the support of our friend and Congressman.  It wasn't enough, though, and Kyle survives again.  Not that he's been doing much else lately.

Jeanne Richardson knew moving into 90 to run against another established incumbent, John Deberry, would be an uphill battle, as John had a warchest from having had almost no opposition over his 20-year career.  That was compounded when out of state PACs poured money into his campaign to the point where he was able to buy TV ads on Channel 5's Olympic coverage.  For a freaking state HOUSE race, people.  Welcome to the world of Citizens United, folks.  And to think I used to applaud John for his integrity.

And, of course, Mike Kernell's 38-year run in the legislature ended at the hands of GA Hardaway.  GA has always been beyond nice to me, and I congratulate him, because he clearly worked under the radar and caught us off guard. He did pull off that stunt with the mailer featuring a quote from Randy Wade.  (Hey, Randy, I hope GA can put you on the payroll, you know?  Just sayin'.)  But that mailer didn't win the race for GA, his hard work did, and hats off to him for it.

Mike will be fine, he handled last night better than I did, frankly, but that's Mike.

What happened on the GOP side statewide is, frankly, frightening.  The NRA claimed another victim in Rep. Debra Maggart, who will never be mistaken by a liberal by anyone with a functioning brain, but who was apparently inefficiently supplicant to their whims.  THE DEAN reports that SIX Republican incumbents lost last night. Besides Maggart, House Education Chair Richard Montgomery, who was also backed by Governor Haslam and soon-to-be EX-Speaker Beth Harwell, got beat, as did Julia "Hooters Girl" Hurley of Lenoir City, Dale Ford of Jonesborough, Don Miller of Morristown, and Linda Elam of Mount Juliet, who lost to former Rep. Susan Lynn.

With the exception of Lynn, they all lost to Tea Party-backed candidates, which means that the GOP Caucus moved even FURTHER to the right, if that is even possible.  This means also, as I alluded earlier, that the historic reign of Speaker Beth Harwell is likely to end after one term, and probably at the hands of Glen "I Think They Should Just Get A Job" Casada.  You thought this past session was insane?  Friends, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

To be honest, after last night, it makes anyone with a functioning brain and heart question continuing to live in Memphis and Tennessee.  I have lived here 40 years and I have never felt more ashamed to be a Tennessean, more so for what happened outside Memphis than what happened here.  The backwoods, buffoonish image of Tennessee was reinforced last night, and we are all the worse for it.

I need a break, and I am taking one.  I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome to the Cluster####

Ladies and Gentlemen of Tennessee, go get yourself a cup of coffee, or a spot of tea, whichever you may prefer, because this is going to be a long one.

All settled in? Good, because I am going to attempt to summarize the last few days of Early Voting, as presented to you by YOUR Shelby County Election Commission.

Vibinc, better known to thee and me as Steve Ross, candidate for County Commission, District 1, has been warning us for some time now that the SCEC had not adequately prepared for the August election and early vote.  I had no idea how right he was.

First, I walked into Greater Lewis Street Church to early-vote, and right off the bat I expressed concerns to the election judge that I wanted to see if my ballot would have the correct State House District.  The judge was quite happy to see that I was prepared, and we both caught it when the lady at the desk prepared a ballot for me with the wrong precinct.  In accordance with her instructions, I backed away, waited the four minutes of no action for the card to pop out, and watched as the judge went back to the lady and showed her how to do the right ballot.  I received the correct card, voted, then, while checking my summary, I saw that a vote had registered for REPUBLICAN Tim Walton for Assessor.  Oh hell no.  I backed up the ballot, changed my vote to Cheyenne Johnson, checked the summary again, all was right with the world and I cast my ballot.

Staff at Greater Lewis Street, I applaud you; you handled things exactly as anyone could have hoped. However, the question must be asked: what if it had been someone else who was not as involved as you or I?

I had noticed that screwups over the weekend had cost some suburban voters the right to vote in their municipal school district races.  They were PISSED and had every right to be.  Ross, being the sharp guy that he is, noticed this and wrote about it yesterday morning.  Little did we know that one (more than one)  of our friends would soon be affected.

Tuesday afternoon, I got a text from David Holt, a former SCDP Executive Committee member and all around good guy, asking if I was near a computer.  He was texting and then calling because his district was showing on the ballot as House 98, which is a mile NORTH of where he lives, which is now in District 93, represented by our friend Mike Kernell.  As Holt has been knocking on doors for Mike, he knew damn well he was NOT in 98, even if the SCEC's precinct locator showed he lived there, contradicting the legislature's own MAP, also available at the SCEC website.

David wrote about this last night, go read it now, I'll wait.  What is so galling about this is the absolute lack of concern on the part of the polling staff at Berclair Baptist Church, the complete OPPOSITE of what I experienced Monday morning at Lewis Street.  David smartly cancelled his ballot, and started calling people.

Once his post hit, we made sure it got all over not only the county but all over the STATE via social media.  David did receive responses from Commissioners Norma Lester and George Monger (Democrats) and Richard Holden (Republican), who arranged a meeting with David for this morning.

Monger and Holt were greeted by Joe Young, who is on staff for the SCEC, and who agreed with David as to the problems.  David was allowed to vote, and he talks more about the meeting here.

While all this was going on, I received an email from one of the Commissioners, whose name I shall omit of my own choice.  This person's first email to me was as follows:

I received a "forwarded"  email that your forwarded regarding "big problems in Shelby" related to the current election. I must say I was surprised at the gleeful tone of that email, but even more so I was surprised that you would pass on such harmful suggestions to voters. I fail to understand how contacting you would help a voter resolve a ballot problem?

If you are interested in helping voters,  this is what you should tell them :
1.  They should  be prepared before going to the polling place. Know who they will vote for and know their precinct number. Their precinct number is on their voter registration card and on the     sheet of paper (ballot application) they sign at the polls.
2.  The poll worker is supposed to walk them to a voting machine, the voter inserts the voting card; on the upper left hand side of the screen their
     precinct number will appear. The worker compares those numbers with the voter and then steps away so the voter can vote privately.
3.  If those numbers do not match a new card is programmed and the same confirming procedure is followed.
4.  If the numbers match but the voter realizes at some point during the voting process that something is missing from his ballot he should STOP immediately    and summons the officer.   
5.  NEVER EVER push that final "cast ballot" button until after carefully checking the summary page. The summary page shows the choices you have made; if any are incorrect they can be corrected at that point. Some voters have a light touch and the machine fails to acknowledge their choice,if so, they should touch the choice until it correctly appears on the screen.  Once that confirmation-Cast-Ballot-Button is pushed, nothing can be  done about that ballot. It has been cast.
    HOWEVER - if the voter notices a problem, before he pushes that final button, and waits until the officer comes to him the officer can void that ballot, and resolve the problem
     right then and there.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions. Everyone wants good, clean, problem-free elections and working together we can accomplish this goal.


Well, the first problem with this was that the first thing I had done after confirming with David that his ballot was wrong was to tell him to go to the staff there, and he followed that procedure, and I also gave him contact information for the two Democrats on the Commission, Norma and George.  Not thrilled about this, I replied thusly:

When my friend Mr. Holt experienced the problems that he experienced (if you are unaware, please stop here and read this: http://westtennessee.blogspot.com/2012/07/id-just-like-to-vote.html) gthe first thing that I did was to give him contact information for Norma Lester and George Monger. 
Secondly, once you read Mr. Holt's information and find that the information provided him on the Precinct Locator was INCORRECT (it showed him in HD 98 when the very map to which it links shows him in HD 93), how can you state people need to be prepared when the information provided to them from your website is in accurate and unreliable. 
While we are on this subject, I continue to be aggravated by Mr. Holden cl;aiming that the delays in getting "accurate" information to the public were caused by the County Commission, when in fact the County Commission's new districts won't matter for another two years!  He has also indicated that your office has "two weeks" to get this right before election day.  No, the first day of EARLY VOTING isd Election Day and every day there is voting thereafter is Election Day. 
I digress. 
I have been involved with politics in this county since 1978 and I am quite familiar with the elective process.  While I am certain that you and your fellow commissioners are providing oversight, your operations at this time are not acceptable at this time.  As these problems affect not only Memphians but suburban residents desperate to vote on whether to create their own school districts, this is a bipartisan and county wide issue.
I would love nothing more to direct people with problems to the Election Commission, and, in fact, as my note about Mr. Holt shows, I have. 
I would just like to have more confidence in their operations.

Ok, I was pissed, admittedly.  The Commissioner sought to reply to me regarding my County Commission statement:
I direct you attention to the shelbyvote.com. On the very top of that page,even today, we are quite clearly alerting people with an alert button. Following that button it states that the redistricting and precincts information is not current.

Regarding the County Commission district situation and their failure to determine lines etc. You are incorrect that the County Commission lines don't matter until another 2 years.   Their lines effect and involve much more than their own districts.  School board lines are involved, precinct locations, and other lines which cannot cross County Commission lines. Regardless of when they next run for office, their district lines had to be known before other lines could be drawn. There was much more involved than just County Commission districts lines.

Our attorneys made sure the County Commission as a whole and individually knew of the critical nature of their delay. Having to condense a normal 3-month project into less than six weeks is bound to create some problems. Our IT man warned us several weeks ago and asked for our support and understanding. The commission is doing the very best we can do under the circumstances.

Your Mr. Holt did the correct thing to not continue with a ballot missing info he knew should be there. Telling people to call for an officer and void a ballot is the correct things to do, your Mr. Holt was an informed voter, he knew who was supposed to be on this ballot and was able to correct the situation because he was an alert, informed voter.All voters should be as aware. 

This is in essence the SCEC's Argument as to why things are screwed up.  However, I disagreed with this contention and replied thusly:
As the new County Commission lines do NOT match the new USB lines (or the Old ones, for that matter), would you care to elaborate on this comment:
Regarding the County Commission district situation and their failure to determine lines etc. You are incorrect that the County Commission lines don't matter until another 2 years.   Their lines effect and involve much more than their own districts.  School board lines are involved, precinct locations, and other lines which cannot cross County Commission lines. Regardless of when they next run for office, their district lines had to be known before other lines could be drawn. There was much more involved than just County Commission districts lines.  
What lines cannot cross County Commission lines?  How, since these races will not take place until 2014, does that affect all the other races?  Frankly, I find your comments not helpful at all.
Undaunted, the Commissioner upbraided me:
I am sorry that you did not find my comments helpful.

County Commission lines and State Senate lines cannot cross! Senate 28 was moved out of Shelby County which meant that essentially all the State Senate lines in Shelby County were redrawn and none of the County Commission lines could cross over those lines.  Do you understand? Had to know County Commission lines, before State Senate lines could be redrawn..

Natural boundaries, streets etc must also be taken into consideration as well as census tracts, precinct locations etc. to equalize the numbers of voters in each state Senate district. That population range is 183,182 to 200,812.

In addition, precinct consolidations resulting from building closures or to comply with ADA had to be taken into consideration. This will be the first election in Shelby County where all the precincts are ADA compliant.   Those issues were hanging on the much delayed County Commission decision. As I stated before, our attorneys made every attempt to convey the severity of the situation to the County Commission and I believe a judge finally made the decision for them less than 6 weeks before the election.

I believe there were 21,000 streets that had to be physically looked at after the County Commission finally drew their lines. So, Mr. Steffens, I think we are doing a good job under the above circumstances. I ask that you direct voters (1), to be aware and if something is not right on their ballot they (2) should call the Precinct officer over to their machine before they have pushed the final "cast ballot" button. (3) No one can help them IF they push the final Cast Ballot button. They can possibly be helped on the spot if they get the precinct officer.   
This puzzled me, as Senate Districts 28, 30 and 31 all run in and out of Commission District 1.  How could this be.  I responded thusly:

While I certainly appreciate your patience, your previous response has only engendered more questions on my part. 
1. If Commission and State Senate lines cannot cross, explain why current County Commission Dist.1 has old Senate Districts 28, 30, and 31 in it.
In fact, it would be impossible for County Commission lines to conform to State Senate districts as the County Commission district is larger than a State Senate district.
Where in TCA does it state this? 
2. Interesting that precinct consolidation is brought up as the lack of redistricting info from the County Commission could slow this process down because precincts cannot be split between two Commission districts. So, while there's no doubt that precinct consolidation was hamstrung, that never precluded the Election Commission from updating Senate Districts. 
3. How would the County Commission have met its 1/1/12 deadline and conformed their districts to Senate lines that were not approved and published by the TNSOS office until 2/14/12? 
Again, thank you for your patience.
I then received this final response:
Sorry, but too busy to continue to explain, so this will be my last brief attempt  -- IF senate 28-30-and 31 were  indeed completely contained in Co Comm 1, then they did not cross out of Dist 1. but were contained completely within Dist 1 hence, they did not cross county commission lines.  ( they weren't partly in one commission dist and partly in another so did not cross lines)

As far as I know this has always been the rule and I have definitely know many years however, I did call to confirm before last email -- could be a county or state rule, I don't know, but it is accurate.  
Except, of course, that it is NOT accurate.  I asked Ross about this, and he contacted the Comptroller's office, who confirmed that it is not accurate.  Ross then put out ANOTHER post about this situation, which I urge all of you to read here.  Seriously, stop what you're reading here and go to it and then come back, we are almost done.  I promise!


Please, I implore all of you to VOTE EARLY, because if you do it before July 28 and there's a problem, it can be FIXED, so long as you do NOT cast your ballot before contacting the election officials.  If they refuse to help, have them VOID your ballot and call the SCEC to complain.  If you wait until August 2 to complain, it will be too late, and this election is TOO important.  To be honest, some of us are already investigating private reports that up to 5% of those who cast early ballots on Friday and Saturday may have received ballots with the incorrect State House District on it, as what happened to David Holt.  They probably figured it was all right due to recent redistricting.


The lesson: always be prepared, even if the information you receive from official authorities may not be accurate. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

For Whom I voted, and why, and for whom I would vote were I in those districts.

I early voted today at Greater Lewis Street Church at East Parkway and Poplar.

As one can imagine, I voted in the General for Cheyenne Johnson for Assessor, Ed Stanton Jr for General Sessions Court Clerk, and Carol Chumney for District Attorney General.  If I lived in County Commission District 1, I would have voted for Steve Ross; I took two people who do live in 1 and they voted for him!

Oh, the School Board?  I read the information available at Coalition for A Better Memphis, each of the statements by the Candidates (Dr. Freda Williams, Chris Caldwell, and Dr. Noel G. Hutchinson).  After reading those, I decided to vote for Dr. Noel Hutchinson.  Surprised?  So was I.  I just was not happy with Freda Williams for her fight against the merger, and Caldwell had a lot of GOP backing.  I went with Hutchinson.

In the primary, I went with Park Overall in the Senate race; she may not have money, but she damn sure SOUNDS like a Democrat, and we need that if nothing else.  I will be proud to vote for her over the 1-percenter Bob Corker.

For Congress, who the hell do you think?  Steve Cohen is the best Congressman we could hope to have right now.  Tomeka Hart revealed herself to be a Blue Dog and a Junior wannabe in this godawful Daily News interview.  Enough said.

As I was redistricted out of Senate 30 (more later on that race), I at least got to stay in House 93 (but only by two blocks).  GA Hardaway's House 92 was moved to Middle Tennessee, and he got thrown into District 93 with 38-year veteran Mike Kernell.  I like GA, he has always been great to me whenever I have been in Nashville, and he's a nice guy.

However, he's not always been on the same side as I have (and yes, Mike voted for that idiotic bill that opens up intelligent design to our classrooms, I know), but at the end of the day, Mike has been one of my closest friends for 30 years.  At the end of the day, he has more experience negotiating the now-treacherous and unfriendly waters of Nashville.

Ok, enough about my districts.  There are other folks in Shelby County.

In the State Senate, thanks to redistricting, I was torn out of Senate 30 and placed in Senate 33, which is held by ALEC-linked Democrat Reginald Tate.  He's not up for another two years.  Back to 30.

Senator Jim Kyle's old Senate 28 was originally redrawn to include GOP Senator Brian Kelsey (R-31) of Germantown, which meant that they would have faced this year, and I was delirious at the prospect of The Stunt Baby's defeat.  However, Kelsey, whined, and 28 was shipped off to Middle Tennessee, and Kyle was thrown into 31, which meant that Kyle would be out of a job in January.

Somehow, the GOP redistricting crew allowed Kyle to keep most of his old district, now known as 30, which had very little of the Midtown area that elected Beverly Marrero.  I know Jim Kyle's been Democratic Leader for several years, and he has had several opportunities to move up, whether it was for County Mayor, Congress, or District Attorney General.   However, at every juncture, he decided to play it safe and stay where he was.

Beverly Marrero has rarely played it safe, taking controversial (if correct) positions on women's issues, marriage equality and child trafficking.  In short, she's got guts, and is not afraid of anyone or anything, even if she's vastly outnumbered now in the Senate.  That's why I am asking you to vote for her if you live in 30.  Jim Kyle should be running for something bigger, but, as usual, he's playing it safe, and we need people who are risk-takers now.  I support Beverly Marrero, and you should too.

In House 84, my friend Joe Towns Jr is facing opposition from Hendrell Remus, who started to run for City Council last year against Janis Fullilove, but then backed out.  I do encourage younger Democrats to run, but Towns is too valuable to lose right now, so I hope you'll support him for re-election.

Now, to House 90.  John Deberry has represented a district for 20 years that consisted of western Midtown reaching into South Memphis and Whitehaven.  John always voted with Democrats on economic issues; fortunately, when Democrats controlled the legislature, social issue bills were buried before they could reach the House floor, so his conservative stances never mattered.  I like John, he is a good person, but on these social issues, we do not agree.

And now that he has lost some of his South Memphis area to be replaced with more upscale and yes, more gay sections of Midtown, and since the GOP loves to vote against women and gays whenever they can, John's deeply-held beliefs have become a liability.

At the same time, Jeanne Richardson's House 89 was sent to Knox County, as her record for standing up for women, minorities and human rights put her at odds with the GOP and male-dominated legislature.  Yeah, I know Beth Harwell is Speaker of the House; she's still a Gooper FIRST.  Jeanne was encouraged by many of her Midtown supporters to run against Deberry, and after deept thoughts and discussions with Deberry, decided to run for House 90.

I hate to see two friends run against each other, but at the end of the day, women, minorities, and everyone who's not white, male and right-wing need all the help they can get in this legislature, and Jeanne will continue to fight for them if she wins the nomination on August 2.  I am supporting her, and encouraging all who live in that district to do so as well.  We need her there, just as we need Beverly.

Your mileage may vary, but please think before you vote.

This is the 2012 equivalent of LBJ's "Daisy" ad in 1964

And this shows why Obama will win with over 300 electoral votes:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Video from Carol Chumney

As you know, I am supporting Carol Chumney for Attorney General, because I believe that the job of AG is not just to rack up convictions, but to provide JUSTICE for EVERY resident of this county.  Here is a recent video that I would like you to watch, and remember that Early Voting starts July 13:


Thursday, June 07, 2012

THIS IS why I support Steve Cohen!

With a doff of the chapeau to Jackson Baker, here is our congressman challenging Attorney General Eric Holder on Delta Airlines screwing Memphis, then about the Kroger and Schnucks situation:


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Google is screwing me again on GMAIL

In case those of you on the email list are wondering why they came to an abrupt halt, it's because Google hit me with a sending limit, even though A) I am sending to less than 500 recipients and B) I have NOT received regular bouncebacks from email addresses, the two reasons they give for halting my mass emails.

I can only think two things here; 1) they have a screw-up in their system or 2) they don't like the liberal content of the emails.

I'll leave it to you to decide, they will be back when Google lets me send them again.