Who's your choice for Mayor in 2015?

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.