Friday, January 30, 2009

Saturday, a memorial for Keith Kennedy of the U of M

My godfather has advised me of this, and Live From Memphis has the information:

Memorial To Celebrate the Late Keith Kennedy

The Department of Theatre & Dance will host a memorial event celebrating the life of the late Keith Kennedy, on January 31 at 3 p.m. on the Mainstage in the Theatre and Communication Building, 3745 Central Avenue. A backstage reception will follow the memorial. The event is free and open to the public.

Kennedy, who was the first director of theatre at (then) Memphis State University, died December 17, 2008 of congestive heart failure. Although Kennedy will be remembered for the many plays he directed during his time at the University, he is most often associated with the production of "Hair," staged at Memphis State in March 1970. The University’s was the first non-professional production of the controversial anti-war musical and brought a record audience to the campus theatre. Under Kennedy’s leadership U of M theatre attained national recognition, and became known throughout the region as a major cultural asset for Memphis and Shelby County. He was a renowned teacher who inspired a generation of students and set high artistic standards, which still prevail at the University today.

After 20 years at the University, Kennedy wanted to “find one more big adventure,” and took early retirement in 1986 to pursue that dream and continue directing plays on local stages. In 1992 Kennedy was one of three University employees to receive the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Achievement Award. In 1996, he received the Eugart Yerian Award for lifetime theater service. The memorial celebration will feature Kennedy’s family and friends, colleagues and students. Music will be provided by George Caldwell, Deborah Manning Thomas, who recently played the lead role in Hattiloo Theatre’s production of “Mahalia,” and Brenetta Farmer Miles who sang “The Age of Aquarius” in the Memphis production of “Hair.” Speakers include Michael Osborn and John Bakke, professors emeritus and former chairs of the Department of Communication, Ken Zimmerman, former artistic director of Playhouse on the Square and star of Kennedy’s first Memphis production, “Stop the World I Want To Get Off,” in 1965, and Russell Sugarmon, local civil rights pioneer.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Letterman says goodbye to Bush as only he can

H/T to Ken..

Makes you wonder how we have a country left after 8 years of that.

Ok, I know, where have I been, yada yada

I'm OK, working an earlier schedule this week, so we have a lot to go through.

First, five words I am delighted to put on this page:

Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois.

Now that idiot Blagojevich can wait to see what Fitz has in store for him, which I hope is 20 years in the joint.

Now to more local corruption, and no, not the Herenton investigation, which has seemingly gone longer than the Hundred Years War with no indictment of the Big Fella in sight. This is about something else, something almost as distasteful.

As you are aware, it appears that the new Speaker of the House, Kent Williams, apparently made an ass of himself while drunk and told Rep. Susan Lynn something to the effect that he would pay to see her naked. OK, folks, drunk or not, that's harassment.

Lynn chose not to make a fuss, but asked for a meeting with House leadership to request that the then freshman Rep be told not to let something like this happen again. At that time, the matter appeared to have been settled. (my note: Williams' behavior was inexcusable, and yes, I believe Lynn. As there is no evidence that this has continued, I am willing to forgive as long as SHE is.)

Now, we know that Williams made a deal a couple of weeks ago with the House Democratic Caucus to get their 49 votes, which added to his own, gave Tennessee a more moderate Republican speaker than Jason Mumpower, the House Republican Leader. Williams then split the committee leadership, as befitting a divided House.

However, Rep. Brian Kelsey, who earned the nickname Stuntbaby of Germantown for his antics in Nashville from the venerable AC Kleinheider, decided to file an ethics complaint against the new Speaker. However, he apparently sought "conciliation" with Speaker Williams first, with one caveat; he wanted a full committee chairmanship. Kelsey admits to texting the Speaker's assistant with this bombshell:

“Tell Kent I’m willing to talk about reconciliation if he’s willing to talk about chairman of the full committee.”

Sure as hell makes you wonder what he meant by "reconciliation", doesn't it? Then, Kelsey claims he was so upset by Williams' denial of Lynn's charge (which should only have been brought up by HER, not Kelsey, because SHE, not Kelsey, was the aggrieved party) that he decided to bring up the Ethics charge.

The counsel for the Ethics Committee decided that theirs was not the proper venue for the complaint, so it was dismissed, as it should have been.

If Rep. Lynn wants to bring this back up and make a full complaint, I'm all for it; it's her call. But she DIDN'T, and she apparently wants to let this go, so I'm with whatever she wants.

Kelsey, with this flagrant act, has made himself look like an idiot, and also has injured the reputation of the House Republicans in general, which is not of the good, as Newscoma would say.

Look, I have never denied that I am a Democratic hack, but I also understand that the local House Republicans, Jim Coley, Steve McManus, Ron Lollar, Curry Todd, they're all good guys who I don't often agree with, but who will work with their Democratic counterparts. Same goes for Mark Norris, the Senate Republican Caucus Chair. They get hurt when Kelsey pulls one of these moronic acts, and it makes them look incapable of governance, when they work hard for their districts and generally do what their constituencies want.

As for Kelsey, quit bitching; you wound up as chair of the Civil Practice subcommitee of Judiciary. Don't you think it's time you started practicing some civility? You may not be as safe as you think, pal, so straighten up and act like a leader.

Unless you want to end up like Blagojevich.

UPDATE: The CA has a word for Kelsey's act: EXTORTION.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tomorrow is the day a new TDP Chair is elected

And I am in agreement with my state ExecCom members that it should be Chip Forrester. While, yes, both he and Charles Robert Bone have been involved at the highest levels of recent campaigns, and I do like both of them, having had the opportunity to speak with them, I believe Forrester has a better idea for direction of the party.

Bone is also supported by the very people who have led this party to the brink of collapse; Bredesen, Lincoln Davis, the big-money donors who love the Republican-lite approach to campaigning that has seen us win only two state-wide elections since 1990 (and since those were Bredesen, do they really count?). They have dropped veiled threats that they will pull out of the party if Forrester is elected.

To which I can only say....

GOOD. Don't let the doorknob hit you on the ass as you're leaving, OK? What have you done for this party other than pull it away from its populist roots and back people like The Honorable Phil Governor, who has made Don Sundquist look like Hugo Chavez in comparison? NADA. ZILCH.

So, if you're a real Democrat, you'll stay and take a role in shaping its' future. If not, you'll take a hike and you won't be missed.

So, TDP ExecCom members, if you are undecided, please vote for Chip, he'll take us in the right direction, CRB won't, good guy that he is.

Thanks for your time!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

With Liberty, Justice, and ACCESS for all..

From Free Press..

Party at Foggy Bottom!

Listen to the reception Secretary of State Clinton receives as she arrives at Foggy Bottom for her first day of work!
H/T to AmericaBlog....

For our readers in Davidson County

I have a question: have you voted today in the English Only referendum?

GO. NOW. VOTE NO to stop this latest attempt to codify xenophobia, which will only hurt Nashville now and in the future, as companies recoil from open expressions of racism such as this.

Any questions? I thought not.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Land is YOUR Land

I saw this and had to put it up. Lauren is doing as well as can be expected, thanks to all of you.

This is from yesterday's concert, with perhaps our greatest living folksinger, Pete Seeger. This is for Lauren, this is for me, this is for all of us.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Well, FGF didn't last long...

I'm out for a few days, family reasons, will be back next week. I'm still in town and on email, but LWC is on hiatus until next week.

Feel Good Friday for 2009 begins for me

I love me some Waylon...

Your one-stop shop for all writings LIBERAL in this area

Vibinc has brought back and re-worked MID-SOUTH LIBERALS to encompass the writings of lefty bloggers from every end of this great state of ours, and you should read it.

He includes all your favorites, from yours truly to our beloved Newscoma to Aunt B. and all who share the beliefs of liberty, equality, fraternity, and pissing off the Right. Go there now and bookmark it!

And, of course, it's on THE ENDLESS BLOGROLL!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Speaker Emeritus, Part 2, and other things.

Judging from the post below, and comments on Rep. Campfield's Facebook page (He is one of my Facebook friends because I find him fascinating, even if we agree on little), the Republicans are PETRIFIED of the Speaker Emeritus idea for Jimmy Naifeh.

Now, if this turns out to be anything more than an honorary title, then I have problems with it, OK? So, far, NOTHING indicates that this is anything more than an honorary title for someone who served in the office longer than anybody, IIRC. Remember, the Speaker can ask ANYONE from the House membership to sit in the chair if he chooses; this is done frequently in Washington, and I believe it can be done here.

I also note that Speaker Williams voted with the Republicans on all three constitutional offices (although, as The Rep has noted, each race was effectively over after the Senate gave each Republican a five-vote lead coming out of there) and he is in charge. Now, it appears that the committee assignments have yet to be done; however, the Lege is on recess until February 9, so we should know something by then.

At that point, we will get some idea of how this is going to shake out. Right now, Kent Williams is the most powerful person in the legislature, because he is the 50th House vote. He is no liberal by any means, and while Mumpower and his troops will not have the carte blanche they thought they were getting, I suspect that they won't be shut out, either.

Does Williams owe Naifeh and Odom? Well, hell yes he does, but to what extent? Williams knows if he looks like a puppet for EITHER Naifeh or Mumpower, it will hurt him back home. His area is OLD-SCHOOL Republican, long before the new breed of Gingrichites arrived. Williams beat Mumpower's guy TWICE, so Williams knows if he does what his district wants, rather than what the party tells him to do, he will be just fine, even if he's not Speaker in the 107th General Assembly.

There needs to be serious reflection for Mumpower, Casada and the other 47 in his group, as there are a few in that group for whom I have a deep respect. Stories like this make the Mumpower group look like bumpkins who've come to the big city for the first time, not people who have been asked to govern. As is often said to football players who over-celebrate a touchdown, act like you've been there. Even if you haven't.

We are three weeks away from the actual work of the session, with committee assignments and the Governor's undoubtedly dire budget address. There's a hell of a lot of work to do for this state and not much time to do it. EVERYONE needs to focus and remember why they are there, and it's not about your press clippings. As we were reminded this week, it ain't about the talk, it's about the walk.

In other news, I am an idiot for not telling you about this, because for the last two weeks I have been devouring a new website set up by Sadcox and our beloved Newscoma called NewsTechZilla. It's all about news, technology, journalism, and lots and lots of good stuff. Go check it out, you should subscribe to either the email or RSS feed, or both, as I have done. It's got the 'Coma touch, so it's top-notch! You'll also find it below and to the right in THE ENDLESS BLOGROLL, of course.

Now, to my crackpot predictions for the NFL.

It's an all-BIRD Super Bowl, my friends, as the Arizona Cardinals, (the Norman Chad Team of Destiny) led by 78-year-old Kurt Warner, will defeat the Philadelphia Eagles and face the Baltimore Ravens of rookie sensation Joe Flacco and ultimate gangstas Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who will send Ben Roethlisberger to the emergency ward while humiliating the Steelers at Heinz Field. Remember, with these picks, you're getting your money's worth!

That's enough for now, I ponder a FGF pick for the morning.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh heavens, the GOP is in FULL PANIC mode again.

I really think that Speaker Williams ought to have a cardboard cutout of Jimmy Naifeh to put in the Speaker's chair whenever he has to step away for a moment; the Mumpower 49 would have multiple coronaries.

The latest comes from a WSMV report that a resolution may be introduced in the House tomorrow to create a CEREMONIAL title for Naifeh, that of Speaker Emeritus, and the GOP is going BERSERK.  Go watch GOP Assistant House Leader Glen Casada in that video, and see if he isn't on the verge of collapse.
Even our own Aunt B., for heaven's sakes, got the twitches about this, for some reason.
What this suggests to me is that Mumpower and Casada, by apparently NOT considering for a moment that they needed to do some SERIOUS ass-kissing for a guy they tried to beat TWICE and failed, sealed their own doom. 
They are idealogues and zealots and haven't the faintest idea how to actually RUN anything, and they have proved that running the Tennessee House of Representatives is WAY above their capabilities.
There ARE good people on the other side of the aisle, folks; I would mention some of them by name, except that I'm afraid the mullahs in charge of the Mumpower Jihad would make their lives a living hell and question their motives.  They are going to be hurt by this, and, by extension, so are we.
We need TWO strong, capable, parties in this country, and clearly nationally, and in the Tennessee House, we only have one functional party.  The sooner the House Republicans figure out that they will wind up tossed out if they keep following Mumpower, the better off they will be.
I'm not holding my breath.
Now, if we could just build a statue of Naifeh outside the House chambers.......

Go read Mack

He has a great piece up at Coyote Chronicles about the speaker election:

Didn’t we just go through several years of folks having to sign loyalty pledges to attend GOP events? Isn’t the very act of pledging immediately putting you in opposition of your own intelligence and intuition? Does anyone else out there find loyalty pledges alarming?

I think if you lead, and lead carefully yet confidently, people will follow. Demanding that they do so up front seems so….needy.
Great stuff, read the rest here.

Speaker Williams punks Brian Kelsey for the second straight day!

Heh, Pith In The Wind has all the excitement!  

"Any other personal orders?" indeed, sir, indeed.  Well played, Speaker Williams, well played.

I think I could get used to saying Speaker Williams.

Peanut Butter Jelly with a baseball bat indeed.  Ok, I'll stop now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So what do the Mumpower Republicans do at this point?

Speaker Williams has apparently promised to appoint BOTH Republicans and Democrats to committee chairmanships.  

Should the Mumpower 49 turn up their nose at the chance to share power and look like overly partisan fools at a time of financial calamity in the state, or do they take what's offered and call the bluff of the Williams 50?  

The average Tennessee voter doesn't give two shits about the inside-baseball stuff that you and I love to the pit of our souls (if you didn't, you wouldn't be here reading about this, now, would you?), and we know that hurt Democrats when it came to the Kurita situation.  WE knew what happened, but the average voter didn't want to know, or care.  They just knew that Kurita won her election and had it taken away from her by those evil Democrats.

And they made us PAY.

So, Mr. Almost-Speaker-But Still-GOP-Leader Mumpower, what are y'all going to do?  Are you going to spend the next two years in a snit, bitching about what could have been, or are you going to learn what it means to govern?

The people of Tennessee are watching.

Gee, anything happen today?

Holy moly, what a day. 

In case you've been in a cave, an East Tennessee Republican was elected Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives today.  Only, his name was NOT Jason Mumpower.

Meet Speaker of the House Kent Williams (R-Elizabethton), who fulfilled his oath to vote for a Republican for Speaker by voting for himself.  Coincidentally, all 49 Democrats voted for the more moderate Williams over the staunch right-winger Mumpower of neighboring Bristol, giving Williams a one-vote landslide victory.

Williams then allowed the outgoing Naifeh the chance to finish the day as the Speaker, nice touch, eh?  

Excuse me for a moment, I can't really keep this in any longer, I'm sorry... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! PWNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! W00T!

Ok, thanks for indulging me, at least I didn't go and uh, wait, oh hell, here it comes:

Ok, so that's rubbing it in, I'm sorry, I'll try to do better.

My understanding is that Williams initially got elected by beating one of Mumpower's folks in the 2006 primary, and that Mumpower tried to beat Williams with the same guy last year, but couldn't.  Now, it could be just me, but might Mumpower not have thought that maybe Williams might just be ready for a little payback, especially since they don't see eye-to-eye on the direction of the Republican Party?  I guess not, Mumpower thought he had a massive mandate for change, even with a ONE-VOTE MAJORITY.

Jeff Woods at the Nashville Scene has this account of how it went down:

The plot was hatched over coffee during the Thanksgiving weekend. House Democratic leader Gary Odom went to Elizabethton to meet Kent Williams at his restaurant, Dino's. Out of the blue, Odom asked Williams how he'd like to be the speaker of the House.

"I think his first reaction was he thought I was joking because he knew Speaker Naifeh was working diligently to find the 50th vote," Odom told reporters a few minutes ago. "We were looking for an alternative in case it became necessary, and it became necessary."

That didn't happen, though, until 5 o'clock last night when Naifeh finally gave up on his own hopes and went to Williams to seal their deal. When the session started today, many Democrats weren't even aware of what was about to happen, Naifeh said. That's why Democrats moved for a 30-minute recess, to give themselves time to brief the party's members. (The wily Odom told the House he wanted the recess to give everyone time to take pictures with families in attendance on opening day.) Freshman Republican Terri Lynn Weaver, a gospel singer and apparently not the sharpest knife, unwittingly played into Naifeh's hands when she pushed the wrong button and mistakenly voted with the Democrats to allow the recess.

"It was not widely known and it had to be explained to the members of the House Democratic Caucus," Naifeh told reporters. But if Weaver had voted as she intended, "We would have found another way," Naifeh said.

By and large, the best coverage of the day if you weren't watching it unfold online, was Adam Kleinheider, who has this covered from every angle possible.

Just sit back, read Post Politics and take it all in.  If you were a Democrat, it was awesome.  If not, well......

Other coverage:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Well, they've improved ONE thing

While we know that, as a general rule, GOP policies are for shit because they hurt the working people at the expense of the wealthy, give them this much: they build a badass website. is the new website for the Lege, and the legislators' email addys will change to have at the end, so note that.  It has MUCH better district maps, and I am still playing with it.  Webheads, go check it out!

H/T to Vibinc!

"Actually this was a bi-partisan affair between Ramsey and Naifeh."

Oops, my mistake, thanks for the fix...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Something amazing happens TONIGHT at the Center for Southern Folklore

REMINDER, this is TONIGHT and a few tickets remain, so COME ON DOWN!

We proudly present..

An Evening with Bobby Rush Print
Friday, January 09 2009, 8:00pm - 5:00pm

ImageAfter spectacular performances at the Center's 2007 and 2008 Memphis Music & Heritage Festival Mr. Rush said, "I want to support an organization that unites Memphis' culture, music, history and arts the way the Center for Southern Folklore and its Festival does. I hope all my fans join me in supporting the Center on Friday, January 9, 2009."

Bobby Rush, performs a rare solo acoustic benefit concert for the Center for Southern Folklore. Admission is $75.00 per person and includes regional foods, beer and wine. The evening will include performances by Mr. Rush plus an on stage interview where audience members will have a chance to ask Mr. Rush about his musical career.

learn more about Bobby Rush

Get your tickets Now!

Location: Folklore Hall
Contact: yourevent@southernfolklore.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 901.525.3655
$75.00 (includes food, beer & wine) This Event supports the Center for Southern Folklore. Please join us and consider buying a ticket as a gift!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mid-South Community Organizers meet tomorrow night!!

The first meeting of the Mid-South Community Organizers will take place Thursday evening at 6 PM at the Poplar-White Station Library at 5094 Poplar Avenue, and will last until 8 PM.

They will set goals for 2009 and plan for an upcoming Community Service Day, come on out and be a part of this up and coming group!

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: MSCO is assisting the Nashville Community Organizers in fighting the odious and xenophobic English Only ordinance that is on the ballot up there. If you want to help fight this garbage, go here.

Great news from Nashville!

After a brief hiatus, Sharon Cobb has returned to the blogosphere, for which we are all delighted.

Crazy 2010, Part 2

Well, the 2010 race is getting in our face whether we like it or not.

Former Senator (and long-distance diagnostician) Bill Frist bowed out of the GOP race this weekend, giving some reason that, frankly, I ignored.  The GOP side got downright crazy, with Knoxville Mayor (and Pilot Oil scion) Bill Haslam getting in (and apparently receiving the blessing of the GODFATHER himself, Howard H. Baker, Jr.).

Haslam joins Chattanooga Congressman Zack Wamp and, inexplicably, our own Attorney General, Bill "No Deals" Gibbons, who has no base outside Big Shelby of which I am aware.  Also talking about the race on the Elephant side is Rep. Beth Harwell of NashVegas (former TRP Chair), but apparently NOT Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood.  

Damn, we just can't get rid of her, can we?

On our side of the line, former State Representative Kim McMillan of Clarksville is mulling the race, as is Congressman Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall and State Senator Andy Berke of Chattanooga, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last week.  Add to that the name of former TDP Chair Doug Horne, who seems interested should Davis decide to stay in DC.

Who have we NOT mentioned here?  Hmmm, maybe THIS guy?  While Harold DOES still have a place here (says an unimpeachable source), his heart, to me, is in the NYC and DC areas, where his wife and his job happen to be.  And, about his wife, cutie that she is, how would that play A) in the western sections of Big Shelby and B) in the rural areas of Tennessee?  Come on, while it's something none of us like to talk about, you KNOW it's there.  I think it's ridiculous, but I'm a Damn Dirty Hippie, so what do I know?

I'm just not sure that Harold's political future is in this city, or even this state.  New York?  Now, that's another matter entirely.  His is a face for mass media, which you WON'T find in Tennessee unless you're Faith Hill or Tim McGraw.

Much will shake out over time, as people come to realize that while Haslam has more money that Croesus, no one really knows him west of Knoxville.  Horne has money, but Berke seems to have an idea about where he would take the state, and it's closer to my direction than anyone else whose name has been discussed.

Frankly, if a gubernatorial candidate wants my vote, all she/he has to do is come out in support of A) a graduated income tax combined with B) a drastically lowered (and CAPPED) sales-tax AND the elimination of the local option on sales taxes.  Look, I'm a Cubs fan, why not dream big?  Maybe some day we'll be like all of our bordering states and do something smart to stabilize our revenue in Tennessee.

Then again, we just gave control of the Lege to the Republicans.  Oops.

Monday, January 05, 2009


As of the moment this posts, your semi-humble Cracker hits the big 5-0, and I intend to hit it hard.  A lovely party was thrown to celebrate this event on Saturday night, as my friends and family who could attend joined in lampooning and roasting me to a well-done state.

And well-done it was, with thanks to Rusty, Ann, Pete, and as always, the love of my life and the beneficiary of my insurance, the Lovely Lauren.

Today begins the return of regular blogging; please tell other folks that I'm just old, not dead, and we are beginning to crank back up in earnest!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The GOP race is getting crazy....

I just found out a while ago that A) as expected, former Senator Bill Frist is NOT running for Governor in 2010, and B) that means our AG Bill Gibbons IS running, and Senator Mark Norris of Collierville is considering a run.

OK, let's all take a deep breath here.  Even though Terri Schiavo's long-distance diagnostician is out, let's look at the GOP candidates who are probably in:

1) Gibbons, who happens to hail from the county with THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING REPUBLICAN PARTY, is not nearly as well-known outside Big Shelby as 2) 7th District Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn or 3) 3rd District Congressman Zach Wamp of Chattanooga.  And NONE of them have the financial wherewithal of 4) Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, he of the Pilot Oil Haslams.

Which makes me wonder why 5) Rep. (and former TRP Chair) Beth Harwell (R-Nashville),  6) Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey of Blountville and 7) Mark Norris all think they have a chance.

Seriously, this is going to be about Blackburn's notoriety, Wamp's determination, and Haslam's money.

The good news is that, just as I had hoped, these folks are responding to new-found power about the way one would expect folks who have been out in the wilderness for 140 years.  Now, I suspect that when all is said and done, we'll be down to 3 or 4, and then we can sit back and watch the fun.

The bad news is, who the hell do WE have right now to go against them?  Kim McMillan? Uh-uh.  Lincoln Davis?  Hell, the REPUBLICAN might carry Big Shelby.  Junior?  He may still have a house here (as I was recently informed), but his heart is where his wife is, in the heart of Manhattan.  Our Congressman?  I would take a bullet for him, but I like him where he is just fine.

So, we have to get our house in order PDQ in order to keep this lot out of Curtisswood Lane.  don't worry, we're working on it; just watch this space.  The Cracker is back and ready to rock as I hit the 5-0 on Monday!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Our thoughts and prayers...

Go out to the families of Circuit Court Judge Rita Stotts and General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Anthony Johnson, both of whom passed away today.

Please remember them and their families.