Friday, July 31, 2009

More Jackson Browne

ContrAltoDelete liked our earlier Jackson Browne piece and sent this duet with Joan Baez on Browne's classic BEFORE THE DELUGE.

A different FGF for a new time

Today begins my new life in a newer residence with my best friend and love of my life, and a new era for this city in the post-Herenton era. What better way to start this day than with the opening track to one of the greatest albums, THE PRETENDER by Jackson Browne.
The song is called THE FUSE, and it is entirely appropriate. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Adieu, Mr. Mayor

He did it, folks.
The longest-serving (and arguably most influential while in office) Mayor of Memphis retired effective tomorrow, as his pension was approved, he gave official notice to Council Chair/Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery, and had a lovely retirement party in the Hall of Mayors, complete with his 88-year-old mother in the front row.

As we have been rough on him over the years, it is all too often easy to forget that no Mayor in my lifetime (or yours, either, I'd bet) did more to revitalize Downtown. It's easy to forget that his first three terms were the best of ANY Mayor in the city's history. When one examines the entirety of his tenure, he's still the one to beat, no matter how many times he pissed us off.
And yes, he was the first African-American elected to serve as Mayor of this city.

We have to remember that he did not cause the economic downturn that saw jobs and people exit the city, just as he did not cause the boom of the 90s. For most of his tenure, he had the right people in the right places, and they reported to him and he oversaw their work, which is what an executive is supposed to do.
Loyal readers of this blog could be expected to jump up at this point and yell WTF???? You have been beating this guy up for 4 1/2 years now, why the kisses on his exit? First, I wasn't blogging during his first three terms, when he deserved every kudos he could get, except when he was supporting Republicans. Which also means that secondly, I was blogging during his later mayoral years, when, let's face it, he was bored and wanted out, but didn't like his potential replacements. Since I was openly supporting one of them, I kneecapped him often.
Yet, he endured, and walks away, if too late, with the knowledge that no one, at least for the first three terms, has done this job as well as he has.
This, of course, does not mean I am in his corner for his Congressional race, t-shirt or no t-shirt. That, of course, is for another day and another time down the not-too-distant future.
In conclusion, Mr. Mayor, go have fun, get some rest, and we'll see you on the campaign trail. I may not necessarily be on your side in that race, but I would never count you out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A note to Senator Paul Stanley

OK, here's how it is: Neither I, nor anyone else, cares what Mackensie Morrison did before she was an intern, because this is not about HER behavior, it's about YOUR behavior.
As a Democrat, frankly, I could care less whether you resign or not, because your political career is finished regardless. It would be better for us for you to finish the term and let the brawl for your seat take place next August, when people would have to risk their State House seats to gain yours.
However, have you noticed that more tawdry things are being leaked about you every day? I have news for you, Senator, this will not stop until you resign. By the way, it's not coming from my side of the aisle, either, I would bet dollars to donuts that this is all coming from Goopers desperate to get the stench of your actions off of their party before things get even more out of control than they already are.
You are in an untenable position, sir, you have no way out other than the honorable one. (HEY! I meant RESIGNATION!) Do the right thing and go, or at least announce that you will not run for re-election. Of course, that may not satisfy many in your party, and anything else that might be in your closet will be aired for public consumption. The decision is yours, sir, and I don't envy you in the least.

UPDATE: CA and WMC-TV5 say he's gone as of August 10. He's on with Ferguson right now at WREC 600.

Monday, July 27, 2009

You've been waiting for this, here we go!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

From the ruh-roh department

One of my sources told me about something interesting that happened this week. Someone known to both me and my source was making a presentation to a group of 10-14 year-olds in the city one day last week regarding politics. I quote my source here, but remove the name of the presenter:
These kids are from all over the city but most likely come from families where the parents vote. (Name withheld) asked the kids about AC, Carol, Whalum, and Myron. With each, (he/she) asked why the candidates were running and their issues. For AC and Carol, the kids didn't why they were running or their issue. Whalum kids guessed education. But with Myron, most all the kids said he was running just to be mayor and the power of being in charge. Herenton has sunk Myron with that talking point. If the kids are saying this then the parents are saying this.

I hate to do this, but...

I have to turn off the anonymous comments because I am getting besieged with spambots. I hate this because I don't want to restrict anyone's ability yo comment freely, but i HAVE to stop the bots.

The Hat is BLOGGING. and we are all the better for it!

We will add, as soon as we are done with this post, NO CHASER, to THE ENDLESS BLOGROLL.
Written by the man who knows where the bodies AREN'T buried, longtime Democratic activist and consultant Mark Brown, this is a MUST read, one that you will want to visit often and add to your feed readers.
Welcome, Mark!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mongo In, Strickland Out

My Councilor, Jim Strickland, read the tea leaves properly and made the right call to not run in a potential mayoral special election. I WOULD like to see him as Mayor some day, I think he has the right temperament and the solid decision-making ability necessary to be the city's top executive. That he made this decision at this time proves that to me.

Here's his letter to the Facebook Group that sought him to run:
Dear Friends --

Thank you for the encouragement and support during the last several weeks as I seriously considered entering the special election Mayor of Memphis. I truly appreciate the faith and confidence you have in me.

After speaking with supporters, community leaders, and other Memphians throughout our city, I have decided not to run for Mayor at this time. I reviewed all aspects of the upcoming race and concluded that it was not the right time for me to launch a campaign for Mayor.

But make no mistake about it. I am still committed to our city and to work with the City Council to improve city services and the quality of life in Memphis for everyone. I will continue to push to make reduction in crime our number one priority. I look forward to working with our interim Mayor, as well as our next Mayor who will be elected in October.

I will always be appreciative of your efforts on my behalf, your encouragement, and your support. I am humbled by it all.

Thanks, Jim

Tom Guleff tells Paul Stanley what Stanley has yet to figure out

That it's time for him to go. Now, personally, I'd just as soon see Stanley finish out his term so the upcoming brawl to replace him could take place in the 2010 Primary, but they have to do what they have to do.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the health front, I'm going into move mode and a defense of the Mayor

Pick those jaws up, just because my T-shirt may be en route as we speak is not why I say what I am about to say.
First, I am better, thanks for asking, as I have been fighting an ear infection with antibiotics; I still hear poorly, but it's improving. It had better improve, as I am moving in with my beloved, who has decided she can endure any challenge or obstacle. Did I mention that Lauren is a saint? I digress.
As brother Ross has advised, there are SERIOUS flaws in the process for mayoral succession that the recent Charter Commission, and the City Council COMPOUNDED them with their approval of the minutes of the July 7 meeting, where they decided to accept Mayor Herenton's retirement of July 30, even though HE SENT THEM WRITTEN NOTICE OF RESCISSION.
Now, I believe he IS retiring, and retiring this year; you don't clean out your office for your health, you do it because you are leaving. He is tired of being Mayor and is ready to move on to the campaign and being in business with his son.
I do NOT for a second believe that he will leave office on July 30; I believe he will ask the Pension Board to strike that from their minutes on July 30, and submit a new letter with a new date at that time.
While the Election Commission, who should have listened to Shep Wilbun and Myra Stiles, might be able to back away from their decision to plan for a special election, it is the Council that will receive the brunt of the criticism for declaring a vacancy where none existed.
Had they listened to Harold Collins and approved his motion to delay approval of the July 7 minutes until 5:01 PM on July 30, they wouldn't be in this situation.
People I like and respect, like Myron Lowery and Jim Strickland and Shea Flinn voted for this, and I want to know why. Did you not see that you were being baited?
The Mayor was elected to serve between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, and he can leave at any time, but he has the right to rescind his retirement (which is why I believe the Mayor took great pains to use the word retirement rather than resignation) under the law.
Now, if the Mayor decides to postpone his retirement a week or two, he can (and WILL, I believe) challenge the special election in court due to the fact that there was NO OFFICIAL WRITTEN NOTICE OF RETIREMENT at the time they approved the vacancy.
This hurts any and all Councilors seeking to replace the Mayor in the special election, which will take place, but not at the time previously set. Bad move, folks.
The Mayor is in the right, here, folks, whether you agree with him or not. As you know, this blog hasn't exactly been a campaign site for Mayor Herenton over the years, but fair's fair. This NEEDS to be cleared up, and people need to ensure that when it happens, an orderly transition will take place. Mayor Herenton has serious, legitimate questions that need to be answered, and this is NOT about him, it's about US and the Memphis he leaves us.

OK, Mr. Mayor, I'm ready for my T-shirt, size 3XL!!!

Courtesy of myfoxmemphis and @joeysulipeck! Remember, you promised!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Paul Stanley's Terrible, Horrible, Awful, Not So Good Year

This has not been the best of years for Senator Paul Stanley (R-G-Town).
First, he loses his main job when Stanford Financial's local office is raided, along with all the other Stanford offices due to their alleged worldwide fraud, to which Stanley is NOT linked in any way. Still, losing one's primary source of income stinks.
Apparently, however, other things in his life weren't going so hot, either.
According to documents filed in Davidson County Criminal Court (Link courtesy of!) , it seems that District 31's Senator was being blackmailed by a man named Joel Watts of Nashville. Why, you may ask?
It seems Mr. Watts' girlfriend, a 23 year-old intern from Austin Peay named McKensie Morrison, had been carrying on a dalliance with the aforementioned Senator, he of the bill to ban gay adoption on MORAL grounds. Ahem.
After getting Senator Stanley to agree to a payment of $10,000, they met at a Mexican restaurant in the Nashville burb of Whites Creek, where he received the payment, and handed over a computer disk with incrimination pictures of the senator and Ms. Morrison.
Unbeknownst to Mr. Watts, Sen. Stanley had gone to the TBI with his predicament, and when the transfers were completed, they arrested the blackmailer.
This happened APRIL 9. Why in the name of all that is right and decent and moral are we just being told about this NOW?????
While Senator Stanley is announcing that he will resign his chairmanship of the Commerce Committee tomorrow (but NOT his seat, apparently), why wasn't this brought out, say, um APRIL 9??? WTH???
Let's also say that we need to show some empathy for Senator Stanley's family, who has had to endure the indignity of finding out his company was filled with alleged crooks and losing the primary paycheck at the same time, only to then learn he was being blackmailed for diddling an intern on top of that!
However, I am not as determined to show any empathy for HIM. As Jon Stewart once said, "Another conservative politician with a liberal penis". While I have no standing to ask Senator Stanley to resign his Senate seat as well, as I am not a resident of District 31. Those of you who DO, however, are welcome to have at it.

I get out of my sick bed for a minute, and what do I find?

This in my email inbox, which indicates that the Democrats may have a nominating convention for Mayor, which is a non-partisan race.
Chair Turner, with all due respect, this is a horrible idea. Understand that no matter whom you might endorse in such a convention, know that A) your ExecCom members will support whomever they damn well please regardless, which means B) they will undermine any Party efforts to coalesce behind any candidate.

There will be a wild, wide-open field for this race, because no elected official is up this year, so they risk nothing by taking a stab at the race. Everyone on your ExecCom has a friend, or more than ONE friend, who will be running, so they will stay with whomever they choose to support, regardless of who comes out of the convention.

To my friend and brother Mr. Gill: It's not 1991 any more, and people are not only comfortable with the prospect of an African-American Mayor, they EXPECT one. There are too many people in this race to have a consensus, so let it be. I've found that the community decides for itself which candidate they will unite behind, and it's wiser not to try to usurp their authority.

Back to you, Chair Turner: You've done fairly well so far, if you do this, it will make the Party look as disorganized as the old days, and no one wants this convention, except Mr. Gill. Please rethink this, and allow the people themselves to determine the best candidate for Mayor of Memphis.

UPDATE: You need to go to Reginald Milton's place, they're having a hell of a discussion about this, H/T to Diane Cambron!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I should have done this sooner, and I apologize to Rippa and to all of you, who could have been reading him sooner. He writes THE INTERSECTION OF MADNESS AND REALITY, and his latest piece concerns athletes who get too much money too fast, inevitably blowing it and going broke.

Many thanks to Autoegocrat who brought him to my attention.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We knew this was coming, but that doesn't make it a damn bit easier.

Walter Cronkite, the man who defined integrity in network news, has died at the age of 93.

Here's my FGF, GO CUBS GO

Yeah, we may be .500 coming out of the All-Star Break, and I still owe Kerry a couple of beers, but I haven't given up yet. From the immortal Steve Goodman, GO CUBS GO.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Firedoglake likes our post!

Don't believe me? Go HERE! They salute our earlier post where I gently ask our Congressman to TAKE THE PLEDGE.

Congressman, we need to talk for a minute

You know, this is kind of disconcerting. Our friend Jane Hamsher, as you know, really believes, as I do, that you need to TAKE THE PLEDGE and refuse to vote for any bill that does NOT contain a public option for healthcare. She points out some of the bills on which you have not voted as you had indicated you would; while I understand that compromise is occasionally necessary, it is not ALWAYS necessary, not when the Democrats have the majorities they do in each House.

I also understand the term used often by our hero Ted Kennedy, that "the perfect is the enemy of the good". However, in this case, I'd like to turn that spin around and say that, in the instance of the public option, half-assed and inadequate is the enemy of the necessary and the acceptable.

Look, I KNOW you know this, and that you have had your name on a bill with public option from the day you arrived. We know that in your heart, you know that taking the pledge is the right thing to do here. However, as Jane pointed out, you said this before on the war and then voted on the final vote, FOR the supplemental.

I know that, as a member of leadership, you are pushed to whip folks into making a vote for a cobbled-together bill. This, however, makes it even MORE crucial that you take this stand; it tells leadership that NO BILL will pass without a public option. Because any bill WITHOUT a public option is worthless and meaningless.

As one of your friends and supporters for 30 years, I also give you this very real reason to TAKE THE PLEDGE: if you vote for a bill WITHOUT public option, you will give Mayor Herenton the one thing he does not have right now.

A SERIOUS, VALID POLICY-BASED CAMPAIGN ISSUE. I can hear him right now stumping in New Chicago and Greenlaw, in Binghamton and Bethel Grove, telling everyone there how you sold them out on the most important issue that we face, showing how you really don't know the community as much as you claim.

You and I both know this can happen, and WILL happen if you don't vote for a bill with public option.

Look, let me help give you some cover on this. Right now, I am going to ask my readers to take a minute to call your office in DC at (202) 225-3265 or here in Memphis at (901) 544-4131 so that we can get it on record that your constituents are besieging your office and that you HAVE to TAKE THE PLEDGE. If you get enough calls, as others have received, the leadership will have no choice but to understand.

We ARE trying to pin you down and make you commit. If you and enough of your colleagues do so, there will be no chance that the Blue Dogs and the Goopers can stop public option, and we'll be on the way to making healthcare work in America.

If not, well, let's just say that I'd rather have to call Congressman Cohen's office than Congressman Herenton's office, but if you back down on public option, I may be stuck with the latter instead of the former.

UPDATE: when you make that phone call, do us all a favor and go here to provide some information on the fabulous WHIP TOOL!

Friday, July 10, 2009

We're less than two months away!

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival returns September 5 & 6, and the Center's Facebook page notes this:

If you haven't attended the Memphis Tradition - Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, surely, as a Fan of the Center for Southern Folklore, you have heard of it.

We are looking for committed volunteers to help out with stage management, kitchen, beer and merchandise sales, and lots of other fun stuff at this year's festival, September 5 and 6. That's Labor Day Weekend.

Volunteer by emailing, or calling Brian Paris at 901-525-3655, or visit the website at Center for Southern Folklore and fill out a volunteer form.

Has it really been 20 years since this came out?

One of my favorites, Don Henley with The End of the Innocence..

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In his own words

The Mayor sits down with Les Smith of FOX 13

Once again, Brad Watkins has the answer

From the comments on the post below:

Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #462

General Ross unveils a new and very unorthodox strategy for dealing with the Hulk. Ross orders his men not to fire, nor even pay any attention to the Hulk. When asked why Ross explains, that the Hulk is like a child acting out in reaction. The Army chasing him for all these years only escalated the situation, giving Hulk the thing he really wants, which is to prove that Hulk is the strongest one there is.
So once Ross ignore the Hulk, to the point of paying no attention to his rants and roars. The Hulk, very confused leaped away.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'm tired and I'm angry

The Council voted 7-6 tonight to accept something that no longer exists, the resignation/retirement of Willie Herenton. I predict this will not hold up in court, and that he will stay in office well beyond the end of this month.

I am beginning to believe that he set this up deliberately to embarrass the Council, particularly Lowery and Strickland. He is now jerking our chain, which is not the act of a leader, or even an adult. Unless the Mayor provides a new letter confirming retirement on July 30, he will not go.

I believe these actions are the actions of someone who is no longer stable enough to hold the office of Mayor. I believe an ouster suit challenging his capability to serve could be made, and succeed. I don't want it to ever have to come to that, but his actions are injuring this city to a point from which it may never recover.

Your thoughts?

This is not rocket science, people

The Mayor can clear this drama up very simply and very quickly. All he needs to do is provide a new letter to the Chair of the Council, Myron Lowery, advising that he will retire as Mayor of the City of Memphis effective on July 30, 2009. A-Ha, you say, he already DID that! A-Ha, I say, he then RESCINDED that yesterday.

This is why today's Council executive session stepped away from the resignation issue: the Mayor has rescinded his retirement/resignation. There is no effective letter at this time. If the Mayor doesn't issue a new letter between now and July 30, he's not going anywhere.

And if that happens, I am going to blame some of the people in this room, and that I do not forgive. The "community leaders" who begged the Mayor to stay on until February 2010 are the very people from whom Myron Lowery won't taken any mess. Leaders? Not so much.

Monday, July 06, 2009

He is really telling us that he's NOT going.

Mayor Herenton announced that he has decided NOT to resign/retire on July 10 as originally noted, but will resign/retire on July 30. He even sent a letter to Council Chair Myron Lowery, saying so. Except that he later sent an interesting letter of rescission, which you may read here, courtesy of the CA. Do YOU see any date of resignation/retirement there? No, and neither do I.

Therefore, citizens of Memphis, I dedicate the above video to the Mayor, who has decided to become Effie White.

I might remind you, they still got rid of her in the end. may we be so lucky.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

I just don't have any words for this....

It appears that future Hall of Famer Steve McNair, in my opinion the best quarterback to play for any football team in Tennessee, pro or college, was murdered in his condo in downtown Nashville along with an unidentified woman. The details are still sketchy, and it may be a while before we know the details, but this is very sad and very tragic.

He had more guts than any player I've ever seen, and he was a leader in Nashville on AND off the field, very involved in his community. He fought being underrated from the time he starred at Alcorn State, where he SHOULD have won the Heisman Trophy. He was underrated as a pro, but but the Oilers (and then Titans) on his back, and he carried them to within a yard of the Lombardi Trophy.

I agree with GoldnI; The Titans should immediately retire #9, as there will never be another. His family and friend are in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope they are in yours as well. Rest in Peace, Steve, you were the best.

It's going to be a very quiet 4th tonight at my house.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Now she 's done it, now I have to go nuclear!

It's been a race between me and Mabel's campaign manager to see who could out-Possum the other one. She started with The Race is On, I came back with a medley of The Grand Tour followed by Walk Through This World With Me, and thought that settled it.

No, she went and did it by putting up White Lightning. Well, I can't let that stand. I didn't want to have to do it, but I am. You know what this is, I don't even have to tell you.

Newscoma's right - it's a Possum kind of day!

She started it with The Race Is On, now we reply with George's masterpiece The Grand Tour, followed by Walk through This World with Me...

ContrAltoDelete brings us a completely appropriate FGF choice

In memory of the late great MJ, this could also apply to a certain city administrator who lives in Southwest Memphis.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Are you a Grizzlies fan?

You may not want to be after you read this guest post at 3 Shades of Blue talking about where the Grizz are as a franchise.
Here's the money shot:

So Heisley isn’t spending big money. He is spending the minimum money he is required to spend and rather than pursue a Free Agent for a 4 or 5 year deal, he traded for a 2-year red herring under the guise of getting a 20&10 guy – but really just fulfilling his minimum economic requirements with only short term exposure and no regard for the impact on the basketball court (or the impact on the fanbase).

And that is the dirty little secret of the NBA that Heisley figured out this year. If you keep your salaries between the NBA minimum and $50 million (and the Grizz will not go over $50 million this year or next), keep your front office expense low and do a good job of renting out your CapSpace and available roster spots to Capped Out and Taxed Out teams, then you can be profitable on annual basis even in a small market and even without fans and even with only making a pretense of caring about winning. And that is a safer economic approach than investing in long term talent and hoping to increase revenues by generating wins and ticket sales.

Makes you want to give up, doesn't it?

All righty then

While the Senator from the 28th District has not yet made an announcement, he has filed his paperwork for a race for Governor. I must advise you, if Jim Kyle does indeed make an announcement to run for Governor, and I personally believe that he will, your humble Cracker might find it difficult, nay, impossible, not to support our fellow Shelby Countian.

No, not THAT fellow Shelby Countian, he's on the wrong side of the aisle, you know.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin', you know.

This is is why I'm proud to have Steve Cohen as my Congressman

No matter how many times Fox13's Ernie Freeman tried to goad Steve into responding to the Mayor with an attack, he never did, he was as cool as the other side of the pillow, to steal a Stu Scott phrase. Here's the video, H/T to Kleinheider:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Let's think about that video and the upcoming interview, shall we?

By the way, the video was LWC post 1500, some applause, please! Thank you.

Now, you can call Mayor Herenton many things, but stupid isn't one of them. It has been suspected by many that he didn't leave until now because he wanted some say in who replaced him; he said he ran in 2007 to protect the city from Herman Morris and Carol Chumney. Well, while Carol's not doing so hot in our poll over on the right, she's giving Wharton a run for his money at this WREG poll.

Maybe he realizes that Wharton has had slippage because people are a little tired of him as well, and because they are figuring out that he wants Wharton to succeed him. What better way to get AC back in the good graces of those East Memphis and Midtown white folk than to take veiled shots at him like "it would have been UGLY" and "I would have DESCRIBED him"?
The Mayor did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday, people, given the last thing that he wants is a Chumney victory.

Well played, sir, well played, I doff my cap to you.

THIS looks awesome!

Jackson interviewed Hizzoner for this week's Flyer Cover Story, called The Exit Interview. It will hit the stands tonight, and on the website tomorrow. For a taste of what's to come, check out this video on the dinner Mayor Herenton had with Mayor Wharton:

Good Googily Moogily!