Saturday, February 28, 2009

And now, Stand By FOR NEWS!!!!!

In a post which will no doubt confound many of the readers of this little source of independent media, I am mourning the passing of an American Icon, Paul Harvey, who died in his winter home in Phoenix today at the age of 90.

Now, Steve, you say, he was a right-wing shit his whole life. Yeah, but he was MY right-wing shit. Having been born 100 miles west of Chicago, I grew up with him on my radio, ether on WLS (where he was on in Chicago until 20 years ago, when he went to WGN) or on one of the endless numbers of stations that carried him throughout the country. (Note - I listened to him here on Forrest City's KXJK-AM, a nice little station - I REFUSE to listen to WREC for anything but Tiger athletics).

He was an unmistakable voice, one that represented what we always thought of as Middle America, one that was inevitably to the right of me since I moved left, about the age of 12. Yet, even when he said something that made me cringe, he found a way to make me smile right afterward. Many's the time I would turn off Harvey for saying something, even subtly, that pissed me off, only to turn him back on the next day.

You see, he was a BROADCASTER in every sense of the word. He never tried to target any specific audience, he read the news with enough editorializing to notice, but never so much that you could stay mad at him for every long. That, my friends, is a talent we haven't seen in years, nor are likely to see again any time soon.

Unlike the hate-mongering assholes that fill our airwaves now, Paul Harvey could be right-wing without being vicious; he was like your right-wing uncle that made you wince yet would be the first to get you a beer when you went to see him. He had a hold on anyone 50+(which I am) that grew up within the sound of his voice. And when he created The Rest Of The Story, he endeared himself to new generations of fans.

In the end, since he lost the love of his life, Lynne (known as Angel, she was his producer until her death in 2008), this is not a surprise. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, as yet another piece of my childhood leaves with him.

Mr. Harvey, GOOD DAY.

This is your One Week Warning! Ward & Precinct Caucus Next Saturday

Shelby County Democratic Party
Ward and Precinct Caucus

Saturday, March 7, 2009
Airways Middle School
2601 Ketchum

Reorganization Convention
Saturday, March 28
Airways Middle School

Registration begins at 9 AM and closes at 10:45 AM on March 7
All those in line at the close of registration will be allowed to participate.
Meetings to elect delegates and alternates begin at 11:30 AM.

All Democrats registered to vote in Shelby County are encouraged to attend. The purpose is to elect delegates from each ward and precinct in Shelby County. The elected delegates will attend the County Biennial Reorganization Convention on Saturday, March 28 at Airways Middle School to elect the Democratic Party executive committee members who will serve two-year terms.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feel Good Friday returns yet again

Ok, so this is not a happy song, but I love it. Here's John Prine singing about "clean" coal:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The legislators go all 21st Century on us

The Shelby County legislative delegation has put up a new website at, go check it out!

There are links to each legislator, along with pictures and a community calendar. Nice job, it's something on which they can build.

Rep. Alvin King passes away, and Steve Cohen remembers him on the floor of Congress

Rep. King, who mentored legislators throughout Shelby County, passed away on Monday.
Here, our Congressman remembers this legendary and visionary leader:

It's here! go to the Hi-Tone TONIGHT!

We are skipping Drinking Liberally this week so you can attend the Straw poll!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Congratulations to Matt Kuhn, newly-elected County Commissioner for District 4, Position 3. However, I would be remiss if I failed to note that he was elected by the seven Democrats on the Commission to succeed former Commissioner (and new State Treasurer) David Lillard. To my knowledge, no Democrat has been elected by the voters of District 4 since the positions went partisan in 1994.

Matt is a good guy, but we are going to have to bust our butts to help him stay in that seat. He can work with anyone, so if anyone was going to be the first Democrat out there, he's the right choice.

My understanding is that, in the early rounds, some Democratic stalwarts (like Joe Ford, who initially voted for GOP former Commissioner Tommy Hart) went with the old unspoken agreement that a Republican shuld replace a Republican, just as a Democrat should replace a Democrat. However, by the 8th round, when the field had been winnowed down, the seven Democrats on the Commission united and broke out their strong pimp hand to smack down the GOP on behalf of Kuhn, who was then sworn in as the 13th Commissioner (and EIGHTH Democrat).

I am in support of Matt, but this is going to be a REALLY tough fight, and if he is going to represent his district, there are times when he can't vote the way you and I would like. Think of him as our Travis Childers, who has to vote more conservatively than the rest of his Congressional colleagues.

For those of you in position to do so, get out the checkbooks, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Germantown and Collierville, you've got your Democrat now; let's find a way to keep him where he is.

UPDATE: The CA article says he is NOT going to run for the seat.

UPDATE II: Polar Donkey suggests that this begins war in Big Shelby.

UPDATE III: Smart City appears to agree, perhaps not so vociferously.

How do we deal with this situation?

If you are a Tennessee Democrat and you follow the blogs, you are undoubtedly aware of the new TNDP Treasurer Bill Freeman, who, in addition to giving lots of money to Democrats, gave lots to Republicans as well:
Freeman also provided more details about his largest GOP contribution. "In 2004, my neighbor hosted a fundraiser for President Bush," Freeman says. "My son wanted to meet the President, so I gave $10,000 for two tickets. My motivation was not to help the GOP, it was to give my son the opportunity to meet the President of the United States. But, looking at the mess the Bush Administration has created in our country and around the world - this is not a decision I would repeat if I had to do over again."
No, I'm not too damned happy about it, either. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Well, this is a screw-up on the part of the TNDP; not a fatal one, but a screw-up. Yes, the TNDP also notes that
As a member of the Obama for America national finance team, Freeman raised over $250,000 for President Obama's campaign. Financial records dating back to 2002 also confirm that nearly 85% of Freeman's personal contributions - nearly $200,000 - have been given to Democrats - including donations to Democratic Congressmen Jim Cooper, Lincoln Davis, Steve Cohen, and Bart Gordon - as well as numerous state House and Senate Democratic candidates in Tennessee.
He damned well better have, after the earlier shit. Some of us in the statewide progressive blogger community are, with some justification, downright enraged over this situation:
Hey Mr. Freeman, at the same time you were throwing away your spare $10G so junior could shake hands with a man I’d only want to meet if I could tell him to go fuck himself, I was busting my ass for the Tennessee Democratic Party every single weekend to elect John Kerry. I went door to door in some of Nashville’s roughest housing projects, registering voters and talking about the Democratic ticket. I set up voter registration tables every Saturday. I burned up my cell phone minutes phone banking. Why? Because I'm a Democrat and when you see your country being destroyed by a party who treats the Constitution like toilet paper, you don't sit back on the sidelines. You get involved.

Oh, by the way: I hosted house parties too -- not at the $5,000 a ticket level, of course. I think one event raised about $7,000 total though, and we were mighty proud of ourselves. Glad to know all of that work was wiped away by a quick stroke of your pen so your kid could meet the president.
I have a hard time blaming her, except......

For the past 30 years or so, we have been hemorraging Democrats due to that bastard from my hometown, Ronnie Reagan. It took the utter collapse of the country to start bringing these folks back, but they are coming. We as progressives have had the run of the party (well, at least outside DC and Nashville) for years, and we are now faced with a dilemma, which Freeman puts in our faces: what the hell do we do with these people?

Do we send them back from whence they came, even though they were with us years upon years ago? Majorities are not always easy to maintain; however, that doesn't mean I think we have to get round-heeled about it. We DO have to have a certain sensitivity about it, but so should the TNDP in general, and yes, in Chip Forrester in particular. He had to know this would cause some bile to be spilled over this situation.

Chip is being hit from all sides now. As the trolls inundating Post Politics and Pith In The Wind indicate, there are a few people who wouldn't care if Chip cured cancer, they would still try to destroy him. These trolls are either Goopers, or, more likely, close confidants of the people who fought to stop Forrester's election. Some of them are losing money because of the change, and the fact that they can't make money off the TNDP tit any longer is causing them to attack relentlessly. To those people, let me say this:


Chip just took over, and he is having to rebuild from scratch. Bredesen has been a cancer on the party, and I eagerly await his departure from the political scene. Gordon and Davis may be in Gooper districts, but the whole state is NOT headed that direction, which the Goopers will learn to their shock and amazement in 2010.

While that felt good, I need to move on and get back to the problem. To the problem at hand, I say we have a duty to help re-educate these souls who have been lost, but now are found. We need to understand that they are going to have skeletons, especially in Nashville, where it couldn't be more incestuous with regarding to contributing to candidates. There have been lots of Republicans who contributed to Ned Ray McWherter (even though he never lost his true Democratic nature) and Phil Bredesen (who sold his to the highest bidder). Obviously, there have been Democrats (even in Memphis) who gave to Don Sundquist and to Lamar Alexander (and I'm still pissed about that, even if Tuke never stood a chance).

Until we build the party structure to the point where no one will do this for fear of political death, we have to be more accepting. No, I didn't say I liked it, but we're grown here, and if people are willing to confess and repent, we need to give them that chance.

Besides, who is more zealous than a convert?

UPDATE: Steve Ross weighs in over at Vibinc, has a very solid take on this situation.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's been busy, and it could get busier

As you may have read over at Vibinc's place, former House Majority Leader and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Kim McMillan of Clarksville came to Drinking Liberally last night; we hope to have pictures up later. She is friendly, down to earth, and impressed me that she has the personality and skillsets necessary to lead the state. It's still early, but I liked what I heard. go click on her name and check out the website.

Tonight, I attended a reception and then an impromptu gathering afterwards featuring House Speaker Kent Williams (CCR -Elizabethton), House Democratic Leader Gary Odom (D-Nashville), and House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). Williams impressed me off the bat as being someone who has a understanding of where we are as a state and that now is not the time for silliness, and as someone who will work with anyone, but NOT someone who suffer fools (Hello, Stuntbaby of Germantown) gladly. He is still very much a Republican, but one who knows that we have to get things done in Nashville, because people are suffering.

This is Speaker Williams' first ever visit to Memphis, and we welcome him as he tours the city this weekend.

I also met with SCDP Chair candidate Javier Bailey, I will be talking to him further as several of us in the blogosphere meet all Chair candidates. He understands the problems, we will talk more about solutions later.

Well, there will be more as the weekend goes on, it's time to hit the hay.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

BIG DL NEWS! Gubernatorial Candidate to visit Wednesday night!

Our friend Kerry Hayes has informed us that Gubernatorial candidate Kim McMillan will be coming by to speak with Drinking Liberally's Memphis group THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

Our gathering is from 7-9 PM at RP Billiards at 525 South Highland; Ms. McMillan is expected in the later part of the evening, so come on by and meet her!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

About the SCDP Chair

No, I'm not running; hell, for the second straight re-org, the schmucks on the ExecCom have scheduled the Ward & Precinct Caucuses on the same weekend as the North Texas Irish Festival, so me and the Lovely Lauren will not be in attendance. It's apparently March 7, don't know any more than that right now.

Oh well, as the song says, one monkey don't stop no show, so they will have to do it without me. That means, however, that I can attend the Convention on March 28 as an observer and reporter.

Right now, however, I want to comment. I hear that Jay Bailey has lined up the support of not only his boyhood friend David Upton, but that of County Commissioner Sidney Chism.

OK, you can get up off the floor now, the detente is still fresh and new, and the two once-bitter rivals for SCDP supremacy are working together on behalf of Bailey, who lost two years ago to Keith Norman. This, I suspect, does not bode well for longtime Chism friend Cherry Davis, who was considering the race and serves as 1st Vice Chair.

My sources indicate that either Van Turner or Lee Harris will run, but not both. One presumes they have the support of the MSDIA, but who knows? Add to that the candidacy of County Commissioner JW Gibson (a former Republican, he angered people last year by supporting Kemp Conrad for City Council over Democratic endorsee and longtime IBEW head Paul Shaffer), and we have the makings of a nice little free-for-all.

I'm not taking sides, but I have some things that I would love for the candidates to address.

First, while we know that winning elections are critical, but why should the party support candidates who run under our banner but stray too often from the beliefs of the Party and, more importantly, its constituency?

Second, considering how much the Obama campaign, locally as well as nationally, changed the way campaigns are run, how do we attract and retain VOLUNTEERS? You know, the people who help WITHOUT getting paid for doing it? How do we build that army and reduce the need for money (notice I said REDUCE and NOT eliminate)?

Three, how do we raise money from small donors in such an economically challenged climate? When you have to depend on fatcats for campaign contributions, they like to ensure that we show gratitude when something comes before the legislative body of your choice. We HAVE to get away from that, and how do each of you propose to do that?

Fourth, since one hallmark of officeholders seems to be patronage, how do we reduce or eliminate that? How does the SCDP in the future recruit and attract candidates who believe in public service, transparency in governing, and NOT in hiring their buddies and doing the old nudge-nudge-wink-wink for their contributors? In case you hadn't noticed, we have a REALLY crappy reputation in that regard here in Shelby County. While the Republicans revel in it, we need to avoid it ourselves. The SCDP needs to find people who can avoid such traps.

Last, do you, as candidates for Chair, understand that while winning campaigns is important, that's it's not the ONLY reason Parties exist? It's there to rally the troops, hold our elected officials accountable (to paraphrase Bill Cosby, we put you in there, we can take you OUT of there and put in another one that looks just like you!) and lead the way for liberal causes that we believe in. Oh, and attract people who want to aid in all of the above.

OK, as we have noted earlier, the MSCO is having a Straw Poll for SCDP Chair on Wednesday, February 25 at 5:30 PM at the Hi-Tone on Poplar at Tucker, and it's only $5 to vote after you talk to the candidates. Hell, ask some of the questions above if you like, or ask your own. I am going to do my best to attend and ask these questions, and I hope they have good answers, for the sake of the SCDP.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whatcha doing for Valentine's???

I have an idea...

Happy Birthday, Abe!!!!

Today is the 200th Anniversary of the birth of the greatest President this nation has ever known, Abraham Lincoln. He saved this nation from splitting in two, and wanted nothing more than to heal it when the Civil War ended. Sadly, he was murdered by the coward John Wilkes Booth just a few days later.

I wonder what he would think of what has become of the Party he created. Rest In Peace, Mr. Lincoln.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's get behind Senate Bill 209.

My Senator, Beverly Marrero, and my friend from House 89, Jeanne Richardson, are working together on this bill, which would enable terminally ill patients to use marijuana to ease their pain in their final days.

In certain situations, marijuana is the only thing that will reduce the pain and suffering of these patients, and it is a just and humane thing to do. There is no real justification NOT to support this bill, and I hope that you will call your legislators and ask them to support SB 209/HB 368.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No, I'm not gone, I'm coming back NOW.

It's just been busy, until last night and this morning, when I got little sleep due to, ahem, an active lower GI system. Let's leave it there, shall we?

All righty then. First, if you haven't been in awhile, come on out to Drinking Liberally in the heart of the University District Wednesday night. We are at RP Billiards at 525 South Highland from 7-9 PM (and sometimes later) every Wednesday night, and we'd love to see you.

We are now getting a sense of potential candidates for SCDP Chair, and some interesting choices are out there, from former Gooper/current Democratic County Commissioner JW Gibson, former president of the local National Bar Association Van Turner, longtime SCDP ExecCom member and officer Cherry Davis, 2007's runner-up Jay Bailey, and there are rumblings that 2006 Congressional candidate Lee Harris may take a run at the job.

This blog, along with others in the area, plan to be observers and reporters this time out; I am not planning, at this time, to make any kind of endorsement. I will, if they don't schedule the Ward & Precinct Caucus for the weekend that the Lovely Lauren and I are in Dallas for NTIF, attend and participate (as will she - BWAHAHAHA!). I will not make pronouncements as I have the last two times out. I intend to just let it wash over me, and cooperate with other bloggers who may have more in-depth plans (more later).

Whomever corrals the Convention and captures a majority of the ExecCom needs to be reminded of one important thing: last year nearly proved the SCDP to be completely irrelevant. The hell-on-wheels volunteers of Obama 08 in Big Shelby did it all without any help from the local or state Party (especially the state Party, who seemed frightened that Obama would take them all down, so they didn't campaign - and went down). Fortunately, now that Chip Forrester is working on righting the state Party, I feel better about our chances going forward.

And so it is locally, where it is time to re-organize. I really hope that ALL the Obama volunteers show up and take part in the W/P Caucuses, the Convention, and the SCDP afterwards. If it's the same old folks (I can say that as an old hack who's been around a while), the SCDP will continue to snooze and rest on the fact that the County is majority African-American, building little or nothing in the process.

Harsh, Cracker? Yep. Aren't you partially responsible? Yes, for not being loud enough or at the wrong time. I have a chance to help correct that, and I intend to, by providing the best possible information so that those of you who participate have the clearest idea in choosing the best possible ExecCom, Chair and Officers.

Whomever serves and runs the SCDP needs to start raising money ASAP and recruiting GOOD candidates for County offices for the 2010 elections. Now, while the ExecCom cannot take sides in a primary fight, they do need to A) ENCOURAGE people to run who care about providing the highest level of public service and B) DISCOURAGE people who are just looking to suck on the public tit and hire their buddies. That is NOT what government is about.

You want to yell at me about this, comment, or come to DL tomorrow night and yell at me in person!

Friday, February 06, 2009

I got yer Feel Good Friday right here, buddy!

here are the Carolina Chocolate Drops...

Hey You! Look what YOU did!

Look down below, and see that when we started Wednesday morning, we just tried to raise $1000 to give the TNDP a kick-start, and you helped us meet our goal TIMES THREE.

Thank you. If you haven't kicked in (and we believe in small donors, so even a fiver would do nicely) and you believe in what we are doing, kick in and help us meet our NEXT goal: ONE HUNDRED unique and individual donors. We need what, twenty-two more? If you haven't done so, join in!

Then, go check out the revamped TNDP site and see the video message from our Chair, Chip Forrester, who will give you a quick overview of the plans he has for our Party in Tennessee, which can only be accomplished with YOUR help and mine.

I'm in, what about you?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Chip in! Support the Tennessee Democratic Party

Chip in! Support the Tennessee Democratic Party

by Tennessee Progressive Bloggers


With the 2008 election results in the statehouse, new party leadership at the state level, and important upcoming 2010 elections for governor and state legislators, the Tennessee Democratic Party needs our support more than ever.

Tennessee progressive bloggers are launching an online “Chip in” fundraising blog-a-thon with the goal of raising $1000 for the Tennessee Democratic Party. This is a grassroots effort and we are not associated with the TNDP. All contributions made through this ActBlue page go directly to the Tennessee Democratic Party.

Please “chip in” a little or as much as you can to help Tennessee Democrats take back the House and keep a Democrat in the Governor’s office.

You can also go here!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Well, damn.

I really thought Larry Fitzgerald had won it for the Cardinals. My first NFL team is and always will be the Bears, but the Cardinals, since their St. Louis days, have been a close second. So, I was delirious when the Cardinals came from a 20-7 deficit to take a 23-20 lead with under three minutes to go.

Give it to Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes (pictured above - courtesy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), they made spectacular plays down the stretch, ending with what may be the greatest throw and catch in the history of the National Football League, and just like that, it was gone and the Steelers had won Super Bowl number 6, more than any other franchise. (Note, the Bears and the Packers still have won more NFL championships than anyone else.)

Well, congratulations to the Steelers, they won it out right.

At least we're less than two weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training!