Saturday, January 23, 2016

Senator Harris makes the correct call

Jackson Baker has broken news that we all should rejoice at hearing:  State Senator Lee Harris (D-29, Senate Democratic Leader), has decided NOT to challenge Congressman Steve Cohen in the August Democratic primary.

He had yet to issue an official statement, but it IS the right decision.  I do think that, further down the road, if the Congressman decides he has had enough, Harris would be the out and out favorite to succeed him in the 9th District.

Right now, though, we need him in Nashville fighting Ron Ramsey and the Koch Brothers, so thank you, Senator, for a wise decision, and keep up the good fight on Capitol Hill!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Has the whole world turned to crap? Or, Glenn Frey is dead and I don't feel so good myself*

*With apologies to the late, lamented Lewis Grizzard

After a week that has seen the deaths of the Genius of All Arts David Bowie and the intensely gifted actor Alan Rickman, comes word this afternoon of the passing of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey at the way-too-young age of 67.    Frey, the McCartney to Don Henley's Lennon, co-wrote and sang on many of the 70s' greatest hits, and had a not-too-shabby solo career, with hits like YOU BELONG TO THE CITY.    The man lived a full life, and I thank him for all he gave the world.

Speaking of the world, there seems to be a real battle for the direction and soul of the Democratic Party these days, one side led by the Woman Who Would Be President and the Guy Who Just Got in The Party but, who, in reality, has been fighting for the REAL Democratic Values for the last 30 years,

I am voting for Bernie Sanders because he is doing his damnedest to bring the party back to the values of its greatest leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.   For his troubles, Sanders is drawing larger crowds than his opponent, Secretary Clinton, and seems to be making inroads as new polls come out each day in the various states.

Secretary Clinton has the backing of the Party establishment, such as she did eight years ago, when it all collapsed on her because, frankly, she may well be a solid President but she is a terrible candidate.  No, seriously.  Simply put, the people who are showing up to Sanders rallies are there because they actually feel like voting FOR someone that they believe stands for them and WITH them.

They left the Party because of the neoliberal views of the Secretary and her husband, that charming rascal, the Big Dog himself, everyone's second favorite 42 after Jackie Robinson.  Truth is, of course, 42's treaties like NAFTA and GATT helped major corporations shift jobs overseas, gutting the American middle-class.  He says it's a mistake; NOW he tells us.

I have been loathe to say much, because if the Secretary is the Democratic nominee, I will have no choice but to vote for her, as I cannot imagine what horrors a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would impose on this nation with a full GOP Congress.   However, the other Sanders voters may well just say screw it and stay home, taking down not only the Secretary, but all the down-ballot Democrats, of which we don't have that many left at the moment.

It's still a long way from the March 1 Presidential Primary, and I have these words for supporters of Secretary Clinton: BACK OFF.  This is a PRIMARY, and I have the right to support whom I damn please.  I REFUSE to stop fighting for Bernie Sanders unless it's mathematically impossible for him to win.   I have been a Democrat since I learned to walk, but the Party needs to start moving in MY direction, not vice versa.

Closer to home, I note that Mayor Jim Strickland has decided to indefinitely place on hold the rollout for the body cameras for Memphis police officers.  I understand completely why he did this; he is still getting settled and needs a little time to compare what he is being told by District Attorney General Amy Weirich and what he is being told by the community, who thought they would have been implemented by now.

It is obvious by now that little or nothing was done under the prior Wharton Administration to actually IMPLEMENT the cameras or work out how they would be implemented, like finding answers to questions about access and archiving.  He has left Mayor Strickland a flaming bag of dog poo on the doorstep; however, Jim Strickland is an operations guy, not a sales guy, and he WILL get this figured out.  Hell, that's why we VOTED for him!

Ok, I'm done for tonight, flame away on the various platforms!

Friday, January 15, 2016

What Bernie Sanders stands for...

Is what the Democratic Party USED to stand for.  Sometime, in the 1980s, neoliberalism insidiously worked itself into our structures and moved us away from who we are and whom we are supposed to be.

I support Bernie Sanders for President because he understands where we HAVE to go to save the United States of America.  Evolution and incrementalism is too slow.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

It's a New Day, Yes It IS


  Yesterday saw the swearing in of a new mayor in the city of Memphis. The first major change in the city's leadership since 1992.  Jim Strickland took the oath of office along with new Court Clerk Kay "Mic Grabber" Robilio and 13 city council women (of which there are far too few) and men.

 Jim's speech was 15 minutes outlining his stances on what we can do to work with the city to make it better. He attacked crime and blight, two tentpoles of his campaign.

 I was a little disappointed that education and workforce development were addressed only briefly. I have been assured that these are to come though. As bad as crime is in this city that I love, we must educate our young people so that they stay and continue to progress this city. We cannot continue to have them flee the city and county for better jobs. We need to continue to work to bring those jobs here.

 I said during the campaign that while I disagreed with Jim's stance on crime (a view shared by white liberals and younger African-Americans), it played well with older, more conservative whites and African-Americans and was the driving force behind his election. I hope that he can be successful and we do not have a school to prison pipeline. I want to see more public-private partnerships to help this. This is something that the private sector and public sector alone cannot do. They must work together to fix this.

 I have seen attacks on Mayor Strickland for getting rid of the two employees of the Music Commission. His getting rid of it should be no surprise. He did not want it in the first place. While I think that we need a group that pushes Memphis music, it must be a group that looks to our future and not to our past.

  Too often in this city that I love, we look to the past and not to the future. We run campaigns the same basic way we have for 30 years. We look to artists from 30-50 years ago. We do not look to the present or to the future. We cannibalize or deny opportunities for people to grow and become the future in order to maintain our present.

Jim has started the process of moving us into the future by cutting some dead weight and beginning the process of moving us into the future. The animal services director firing, the music commission erasure, and others are steps that show that we are breaking with the past to turn this city around and make it an example for the region.

  Let's give him time to begin to turn this city around. This city has a lot of problems. Let's see if he can fix them, or begin to, because honestly, the way we were doing things was not working. Change is scary, but often necessary.