Monday, August 31, 2009

Better late than never.

Yes, I'm the last in with the Jackson Day report, but I have my set of pictures up here if you would like to see them. Of course, for video of the event, go see Vibinc here and here.

After arriving in town about 1, checking in to the hotel and grabbing lunch, Ross and I hit the Renaissance Hotel to grab our media credentials and go to the Shelby County reception, (kudos to Lexie Carter for putting together a great event) that featured Dr. Greg Rabidoux (running for TN-07), General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson, among others. My friends who are running against each other, Norma Lester and Reginald Milton were there, as was Sara Kyle stumping for Jim, and Mike McWherter.

As Ross tried (in vain, I might add) to drop off his video equipment early, I hit the Mike McWherter hospitality suite where Mike greeted me and introduced me to his wife. I saw Sidney Chism there, and finally had the good fortune to meet Brenda Autry, my Twitter buddy from Jackson, along with Hamblen county chair Landree Brotherton (whom I met at the TNDP Summit) and Jordan Huffman, VC from Washington County and co-blogger at Open Pen, the new East Tennessee blog that gives hope to Easterners that we WILL have Democrats in charge up there.

However, it was packed worse than Raifords at 1 AM, so I stepped out just in time to run into GA Hardaway, whom I spoke with for a while before heading downstairs.
After running a gauntlet (I kid you not, it was at least TEN different people from the Roy Herron campaign trying to sticker me. Since A), I was technically press and B) I HAVE a candidate already, I felt like Robert Stack in Airplane dodging people in the airport.

However, I got to the Convention Center area only to be met by our beloved Trace Sharp (Newscoma to the uninitiated) who promptly stickered me for Mike McWherter. Then, my pal Wade Munday from the Kim McMillan campaign stickered right afterward. I STILL didn't put on a Herron sticker, though. (Sorry, Roy, we still want you to come to DL, we will treat you right and Vibinc will cover you well)

Then, the media were let in about 5:30, as Ross and I were led to the media platform, where I learned my place quickly as all but one of the bloggers were put BEHIND the TV camera riser. (Just teasing, Amanda, you were great and gave us a lot of freedom, it's much appreciated). We were joined by Mary Mancini of Liberadio and Ilissa Gold (GoldnI) along with our old friend Jackson Baker of the Flyer, seated up front.

I was delighted to learn that we raised 600K for this event, along with over 6K from the buckets placed on each table that will go to the campaign of Ty Cobb (yes, there's another one) who is running for the vacated seat of Curt Cobb in District 62.

I was heartened by the long moment of silence for Ted Kennedy, who will be missed for generations to come. After a nice invocation by Becca Stevens, TNDP Chair Chip Forrester gave a rousing speech thanking all who helped put together the evening.

Harold Ford Junior gave a nice speech to introduce Al Gore, but to me it wasn't as strong as some of the speeches I heard him give while representing TN-09. Gore knocked the place down and cranked out a great speech, reminding everyone how great the Clinton-Gore years were.

Then Phil Bredesen came up to introduce Bill Clinton and zzzzzzzzzzzz....WHAT? The Big Dog was EARLY???????????? That's NEVER happened before! They moved him up ahead of entertainers Beth Nielsen chapman and Marcus Hummon, and did I ever feel sorry for them having to follow the greatest President of my lifetime.

Well, while I may not agree that we have to get SOMETHING passed on healthcare (sorry, half-assed just won't cut it) President Clinton DID call out the Congressmen for not getting with Obama to get the job done. Oh, and did I mention he gave a shout-out to AC Wharton? (Sorry, Myron, Carol, et al, but it happened, even if AC was home celebrating his anniversary with Ruby).

As I said, go watch the video at Vibinc, it's worth it.

AC's first commercial is out

Um, I am still up for grabs, so this is not meant as an endorsement. However, given the scenario we are in, this is a helluva video with which to start the campaign.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why we loved Ted

with a hat tip to Janetta and TPM, here is the Lion during the debate over a raise in the minimum wage:

Bill Day on the passing of Ted Kennedy

With thanks to Mark Ledbetter and Jeannette Warren for sending...

Our Congressman remembers Ted Kennedy


Memphis, TN – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) issued the following personal remembrance of Senator Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy (D-MA) who passed away last night.

“The United States has lost a great leader. Senator Kennedy influenced legislation affecting the oppressed, the poor, the disabled, the sick and countless students. He never lost those core values that he espoused in his presidential run and his Senate tenure -- even when he “sailed against the wind.”

“Senator Kennedy worked with Republicans, particularly Presidents Reagan, George H.W. and George W. Bush, and with Senator Orrin Hatch, to advance the causes he knew could make America better.

“On a personal note, I was proud to lead the efforts for Senator Kennedy’s 1980 presidential run in Shelby County, and serve as Kennedy delegate at that year’s Democratic Convention. I have treasured a photograph of him giving his famous speech about the dream never dying which sits on my desk.

“I was pleased to attend the birthday gala celebration for Senator Kennedy at the 2004 Democratic Convention held at the Boston Symphony Hall. Much to the Senator’s delight, he got a kick out of my distributing many of the “Kennedy for President in 1980” buttons that I still had. He joyfully directed the Boston Symphony.

“Senator Kennedy was a true statesman and worked to bring peace to Northern Ireland. I remember fondly seeing his trademark smile and humor in action when the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) came to address a joint session of Congress.

“Senator Kennedy was a tireless advocate for comprehensive, affordable and quality health care, including access to mental health care. He led the charge on creating CHIP that has provided millions of uninsured children the chance to start out life healthy. He fought to preserve the vital health care safety nets of Medicare and Medicaid that have helped seniors and low-income families have access to prescription drugs and doctors. In recent years, his dream was to make sure that all Americans have access to health care. Though he charted the course by which we all are sailing by today, I regret that he couldn’t captain the ship long enough to see his dream become a reality.

“I will miss Senator Kennedy most for his unwavering optimism and persistent fight to make tomorrow better than today. I will miss his leadership and counsel as Congress moves forward on debating the health care legislation that was so close to his heart. My thoughts are with his son, and my friend and colleague, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and the entire Kennedy family.”

The Lion Roars No More

Edward M. Kennedy has passed away from brain cancer at the age of 77.

He was our champion, a giant in a room full of midgets, a man whom despite many personal failings, never stopped fighting for that which was right and just, then and now and up until his last moments. To say that he will be missed is an understatement.

Our prayers and thoughts to his family, his friends, his colleagues, his constituents and to all of us who know that we shall not see his like again, sadly.

REMINDER - Jim Kyle to come to DL TONIGHT!!!!

In the continuing series of Gubernatorial candidates visiting Drinking Liberally, State Senator Jim Kyle will be appearing THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT, August 26. As he will be arriving between 7:45 and 8 PM, we will EXTEND our hours to 10 PM so that you will have time to hear him speak and ask him questions about his vision for Tennessee!

As always, we are at RP Billiards at 525 South Highland on the Strip, come on out!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Germantown Democratic Club Meeting

Germantown Democratic Club Meeting
Tuesday, August 25, 2009, 6:30 PM
Cozymel’s Restaurant, 6450 Poplar Ave.
Guest Speaker
Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery
&nb sp;
Join us for a time of socializing and political discussion.
Food and drinks are available for purchase.
We look forward to seeing you!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

AC Wharton HQ opens today at 3 PM

From Kerry Hayes:

August 22, 2009

Kerry Hayes | 901 481 5104

Mayor A C Wharton will celebrate the opening of his campaign headquarters
at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon at 5016 Park Avenue in the Eastgate Shopping
Center. The celebration will include remarks by the Mayor and his family,
the introduction of his campaign co-chairs, and opportunities for friends,
supporters, and volunteers to sign his petition for the upcoming special

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dinner and a Movie First!

I've decided the above phrase reflects my philosophy for the 2009 Mayor's race in Memphis. I noted earlier that my vote is up for grabs, and ANYONE has the chance to get it, save anyone who has ever occupied it for 16 years or longer.

However, even though there are a ton of people who have pulled petitions (30 + at last count), there's no sense in speculating until after the withdrawal deadline at noon on September 10. Should former Mayor Herenton actually file, (and I do NOT think that will happen, although one can never rule out any possibility with him), I suspect that, no matter how many people filed and stayed in, it instantly becomes a two-person race with Herenton and AC Wharton, as people who were shopping around for something different will go immediately to Wharton to stop the former Mayor.

Should Herenton NOT file, then the race becomes more interesting. Then people will pay more attention to candidates like Reverend Kenneth Whalum, Jr. or Mayor Pro Temp Myron Lowery, who seems to have moved past a shaky early start to work well with the Council and the directors.

Like I said, my vote is available (and some have sought it, I can say) but you have to work for it, and here's how to get it:

1) I KNOW what the problems are, tell me what your SOLUTIONS are, and I would like detail, please.

2) Are you for or against consolidation of government AND schools, and if so, in what form? If not, why not?

3) What is your plan to reduce crime other than just putting people in jail, because the jails are bursting and you can't lock up EVERYBODY, can you?

4) Without trashing any opponents, tell me what YOU'VE done in the community and FOR the community, and I mean the ENTIRE community, both downtown and the C, as well as the Poplar Corridor.

5) Given we live in one of the most poverty-stricken cities in the country, how can you as Mayor work to overcome that?

6) Lastly, if elected, would you run for a full term in 2011?

OK, no one has to answer these prior to September 10, when we know the field. After that, you've got until Early Voting starts on September 25 to be ready, so think about it.

If you like, I'll even print your response! OK, you've gotten your assignment, candidates, think about it and BE READY!

If you have fond memories of Jim Dickinson

as I do, then you need to go to Born Again Hippies and read Randy Haspel's tribute. Damn, the Festival will not be the same without his presence....

Sadly, this is right on target.

What Jeff said.

This is your two-week warning, the Festival is at hand!

Memphis Music & Heritage Festival Takes Center Stage

Downtown Memphis

Saturday and Sunday, Labor Day Weekend, September 5-6.

Memphis, TN. August 20, 2009. Center for Southern Folklore transforms a two block area of Main Street Labor Day Weekend Street September 5th and 6th for its annual Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. The festival runs from11:00 AM to 11:00 PM each day. The festival is a celebration of what makes the Memphis Delta Region so special…its music, arts and culture, said Center for Southern Folklore Executive Producer Judy Peiser. This 22nd Festival presents the musicians, artists, craftspeople, cooks, talkers, dancers and more who come together each year and show Memphians and tourists alike why Memphis is such a special place. There are five outside stages and two stages inside the Center for Southern Folklore. Best of all, admission to the public is FREE!

At the heart of the festival is the music. From dynamic soul man Bobby Rush to the wild man of rock, Jason D. Williams the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival presents over 400 musical performers who made Memphis the great melting pot of America's musical heritage and keep it cooking today.

The entire festival roster reads like a who’s who of both the traditional and contemporary Memphis music scene including: new South singer/songwriter Kate Campbell, rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess & The Pacers, insightful songstress Amy LaVere, neo-soul from Tonya Dyson & Green Onions, hip hop artist Al Kapone, the dynamic gospel sounds of Darrel Petties & SIP, country legend Eddie Bond, bluegrass jam band Devil Train; jazz-blues diva Joyce Cobb, authentic Delta blues from Blind Mississippi Morris and Brad Webb, jazz and swing with Johnny Yancey and the Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra, jazz-funk-and-fusion artists FreeWorld featuring Herman Green, reggae from Nathaniel Kent and Exodus; urban blues from The Daddy Mack Blues Band, jug band music from The Bluff City Backsliders, youthful jam band Tempeh Four, the energized Millennium Maddness Drill Team, and the list goes on and on.

Each year the Center celebrates the heritage of Memphis Music with the release of its annual Festival Poster and T Shirt (see attachment) designed by Tennessee artist Gray. This year the Center is proud to honor three legendary Memphis saxophone players Fred Ford, Evelyn Young and Sonny Williams who made their marks on Memphis Music and in the hearts of all of us at the Center for Southern Folklore, said Peiser. Throughout the Center’s history these musicians performed, assisted in educational programs and told and retold us stories of Memphis Musical History. These stories are archived in the Center’s Multimedia Archives and in films we produced like All Day & All Night: Memories from Beale Street Musicians. To learn more about the lives and careers of Ford, Young, and Williams, click on Festival Dedication.

The Festival will feature special workshops for aspiring musicians to learn from the masters. Blues/R&B/Rock performer David Bowen will perform a soul music set while talking about the guitar; Randal Morton will demonstrate his mastery of the five-string banjo; musician and noted ethnomusicologist David Evans conducts an impromptu seminar on jug band and blues music. In addition, there will also be two songwriting workshops – a joint venture by musical collaborators Mary Unobsky and Kim Richardson and one by acclaimed New South singer/songwriter Kate Campbell.

A special stage on Peabody Place will feature theatre, dance, drumline, and music for young folks and their families. They’ll be entertained by storytellers from The Voices of the South and musicians such as Joe Murphy’s Dandelion &The Raindrops and the Memphis chapter of Music for Aardvarks performing for younger festival-goers. The Trolley Stop Stage will feature two full days of cooks and chefs talking about making everything from Peach Cobbler to Fried Rice. And they’ll be plenty of time to hear artists and musicians talk about their work in the Heritage Hallway and the Center’s Folklore Store.

New this year will be the opportunity for festival goers to record their voices and music on 19th Century Cylinders. Martin Fisher, Manager of Recorded Media Collections at the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University will bring his old fashioned horn along so festivalgoers will have a chance to see how early recordings were first made. Even when he uses modern equipment, there’s nobody more retro than octogenarian Roy Harper who sings old time country tunes from the 1920s and 30s and talks about his long career and the history of real country music. The delightful Hattie Childress will show off the pillows and quilts she’s sewn from Crown Royal liquor bags as well as the homemade chow-chow and pickled peach preserves made from ingredients she grows in her garden.

In addition to shopping for great folk art, books and CDs in the Center’s Folklore Store over 30 artists and craftspeople will be on hand selling their wares. In Heritage Hall Center Archives Staff and volunteers will be on hand to talk about the Center’s newest online exhibit featuring the photography, audio recordings and filmmaking of Rev. L. O. Taylor. Festival goers will have the opportunity to screen and help identify images and hear recordings.

On Saturday September 5th Memphis historian Jimmy Ogle will give three walking tours of Downtown Memphis. Festivalgoers can meet Ogle outside the Center’s Folklore Store for a tour of Union Avenue at 12:00 PM, Beale Street at 2:00 PM and Cotton Row at 4:00 PM. Festivalgoers can make reservations for the tours by emailing or by signing up at the Folklore Store prior to the tours. Space is limited for each tour and reservations are encouraged. A donation of $5.00 per person is requested. The tours are free to FolkPass Holders.

Festivalgoers can purchase a CSF FolkPass. They become a VIP at the Festival and receive numerous benefits at the Festival and throughout the Year. Click here for FolkPass Details.

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival is produced by the Center for Southern Folklore with generous support for the Tennessee Arts Commission, Arts Memphis, Center City Commission, Memphis Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, SunTrust, Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, Southern Heritage Charitable Foundation, Blue Moon and MGD 64, The New York Times, How Sweet The Sound, I 55 Productions, Majestic Grille, Circa, Blue Fin, Shelton Clothiers, Arts on a Hot Tin Roof, Peabody Place, Mississippi Mud Coffee, Harkavy Shainberg, St. Blues Guitars, The Memphis Flyer, The Memphis Downtowner, Citadel Broadcasting, WRBO 103.5 Soul Classics, KIX 106, 98.9 KIM FM and many other individuals and businesses.

-0-For More Information, Images and Interviews:

Tim Curry


Stunning Gubernatorial news

The campaign manager for front-running candidate Mabel Sharp has been hired away by Mike McWherter, Aunt B. reports today.

Mabel, when asked for comment, merely snorted and was last seen heading for her campaign headquarters, also known as The Stable.

We are utterly delighted for Trace and hope, as always, that this means we may get to see more of her in Memphis!


Thanks to Jim Maynard for the heads up

Presented by Rep. G.A. Hardaway, Members of the Shelby County Legislative Delegation, Arc of the Mid-South, 100 Black Men of Memphis, Memphis Center for Independent Living, NAMI Memphis, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Tennessee Health Equity Commission, UT Health Science Center

Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time: 9 a.m. to 12 Noon

Location: UT Health Science Center
Student Alumni Center, 800 Madison (38103)

What’s in and what’s not in the federal HEALTHCARE REFORM bill?

How will HEALTHCARE REFORM impact TennCare and other state-run health programs?
The MED? Memphis and Shelby County Health Department?

Join us for this discussion with representatives of Federal, State and Local Government and HEALTHCARE professionals on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the auditorium at 800 Madison (parking available on Manassas). THE PUBLIC IS INVITED.

· RANDY ALEXANDER, Community Organizer, Memphis Center for Independent Living
· CALVIN ANDERSON, Vice-President, Federal and Community Relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
· JOE ARMSTRONG, State Representative (D-Knoxville); Chairman of House Health and Human Services Committee
· MERI ARMOUR, President and CEO, LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center
· JAY BAILEY, ESQ, Civil Rights Attorney
· TODD BROOKS, M.D., Medical Director, District 92
· JOE BROWN, Member, Memphis City Council
· KAREN CAMPER, State Representative, District 87
· MICHAEL R. CAUDLE, M.D., Vice Chancellor, Health Affairs and Government Relations, UT Health Science Center
· SIDNEY CHISM, Member, Shelby County Commission
· BRAD COBB, Executive Director, NAMI Memphis
· HAROLD COLLINS, Chairman, Memphis City Council
· JAMES COWAN, M.D., Kids Care Medical Center
· LOIS DEBERRY, Speaker Pro Tempore, Tennessee House of Representatives
· LATONYA ELLIS, Director, Tennessee Health Equity Commission
· GEORGE FLINN, M.D., Member, Shelby County Commission
· EMILY FULMER, Lead & West TN Organizer, Tennessee Healthcare Campaign
· TOMEKA HART, Executive Director, Memphis Urban League
· JIM KYLE, State Senator (District 28); Chairman, Shelby County Legislative Delegation
· JOSEPH KYLES, Vice-President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
· DEIDRE MALONE, Member, Shelby County Commission
· YVONNE OSBORNE, Ph.D., Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
· JEANNE RICHARDSON, State Representative, District 89
· MARY VINES, Chair of Nursing Department, Southwest Tennessee Community College
· RANDY WADE, District Director, Congressman Steve Cohen, Memphis Office
· JEFF WARREN, M.D., Member, Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners
· A C WHARTON, Mayor, Shelby County Government
· JERI WHEELER, Field Representative, Sen. Bob Corker, Memphis Office
· Memphis and Shelby County Health Department
· Tennessee Department of Health
· Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities


Emily Fulmer
West TN Regional Coordinator and Lead Organizer
Tennessee Health Care Campaign
Ph: 901-590-4873
Cell: 901-517-3204
Toll Free: 877-431-7083

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And everyone thought it was just me

Well, apparently I'm not the only local blogger asking Steve Cohen to take the pledge NOT to vote for a healthcare bill without a public option. Saying you support the public option is nice, but it leaves you wiggle room to vote for something less because the White House is pushing you to do so.

I want NO wiggle room. As I said earlier,

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.

And now, other bloggers are asking him why he's not taking the pledge. Jeff at the Pesky Fly asks, Polar Donkey asks why he doesn't take the same tack as Rep. Anthony Weiner of NY State, and Bob of 55-40, who would rather swallow broken glass than say a good thing about Willie Herenton, suggests that Steve may have to be primaried if he votes for a bill without the public option. UPDATE: No, that's apparently NOT what Bob said, he clarifies here. Cohen HAS to take the pledge.

No, I'm just not ready to go there by any stretch, but I've known him 30 years and consider him my friend. However, there's a hell of a lot of voters in the 9th District who HAVEN'T known him 30 years and may not be so willing to stay with him if he votes for anything less than the public option.

Steve, we know you believe it's the best plan; all we ask is that you stand up and block anything less from coming out of Congress. Your constituents demand it, and the very people you have always stood for in the past are COUNTING on it.

A bill without a public option is no reform at all, and I know you know that. Let's make sure everyone else does, too.

Finally, I steal this comment from Mr. Conspiracy at the Pesky Fly post, because it sums everything up for me:

What makes you think that if they sell out on a public option, they won't sell out on any other real reform? What makes you think that we won't end up with a bill that mandates we all buy private insurance whether we can afford it or not? What makes you think we won't end up with a bill that is nothing more than a huge giveaway to the insurance companies. The stock market certainly sees that possibility.

The public option forces all those other changes to take place. Without the public option, I suspect this will be nothing but a TARP plan for the insurance companies - funneling tax money directly into their pockets without any regulation or oversight.

You can't expect to influence asshole Senate Democrats to sign on as long as they have cover to not vote for the thing. As long as you give total power to Republicans, Blue Dogs and Joe Lieberman to kill any bill they don't like, you have nothing to bargain with. Only with the threat of mutually assured political destruction will we get a bill that actually addresses the problems. If Obama knows that he gets no bill without breaking one of the coalitions, he will bring he guns to bear on the weakest point. Signing the pledge strengthens our position. Not signing - signalling a willingness to compromise - will assure that when the time comes, Obama's big guns will be aimed at us, not the blue dogs, not the Conservative dems in the senate, who are the actual obstructionists and have alreayd shown their complete willingness to let people die for lack of healthcare.


Mid-Southerners for Choice Luncheon - PPGMR

Mid-Southerners for Choice Luncheon

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Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region is pleased to host a Mid-Southeners for Choice luncheon program on reproductive health legislative issues on Thursday, August 20, 2009.

What: Mid-Southerners for Choice Luncheon
When: Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Holiday Inn – University of Memphis, 3700 Central Avenue
Cost: $25 per person
Speaker: State Representative Jeanne Richardson
Topic: Tennessee State Legislature vs. Roe v. Wade
To RSVP: Call Shoshana Creech at (901) 725-3051

State Representative Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis) will speak about pending Tennessee legislation affecting women’s health care and access to birth control, including SJR 127, a proposal to amend the Tennessee state constitution in such a way that a woman’s right to privacy regarding abortion will no longer be protected.

Payment may be made online (click here), by phone or at the door. Cash, checks and credit cards accepted.

Note: If you RSVP and find you cannot attend, please notify us 48 hours prior to the event to avoid being billed for lunch.

Barney Frank knows how to handle these anti-Obama punks

For those who say I'm not respectful to the opposition, listen to how Barney handles this idiot who has defaced an Obama picture to look like Hitler:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A giant, a legend and just a hell of good guy has fallen

James Luther "Jim" Dickinson, a Memphis music legend if ever one existed, passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning at the all-too-young age of 67.

I had the profound privilege of working with him at the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival, and he was a gentleman, and a musician of the highest order. His impact on music, not just here but around the world, is known to Memphians and musicians everywhere. He worked with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan, helped everyone locally, and produced two children with his wife, Mary Lindsay, that became spectacular musicians on their own, Luther and Cody.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his friends, and his fans, of which I proudly count myself. Memphis music as we have known will not ever be the same.

OOPS!!! I made a mistake, Carpenter's HQ opening is TODAY, not Friday

And I apologize to the Carpenter campaign for any confusion this has caused!

Charles Carpenter is opening his SECOND HQ this afternoon, from 2-5 PM, at 62 South Prescott in Poplar Plaza, go check it out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Birch Interview with WWH

Great interview of WWH by Les Smith of FOX 13

Shorter WWH: In a crowded field, any fool could win, and I am not fond of most of them. If I get in, which I REALLY don't want to do, at least my base will solidify and we won't get Lowery, Chumney or someone like that. AC can have it next year. If these fools get out, and it's just down to three or four, I'll get back to playing golf and bashing Cohen.

Hey, have you checked out our calendar on the side here?

The creation of Jon Carroll, Steve Ross and I, we three are putting out a call to the Mayoral Candidates, the Senate 31 Candidates, and the Parties for events.

if you are having an event, in order to get it on the calendar, please send the following information to electionsmemphis at gmail dot com:

Name of Candidate or Party
Date, Times and Address of Event
Fundraising or Open Event

Send that information to electionsmemphis at gmail dot com and we will put it up as quickly as possible!

UPDATE: This calendar can also be found at The Daily Docket! If YOU have a BLOGGER blog, you too may have this calendar if you want, email me at sjs1959 at gmail dot com for the code.

UPDATE 2: Ross has found a way to make this work for WordPress blogs as well, here you go:

Download plugin
Get API Key following instructions on page
Upload plugin to "Plugins" Dir in WP blog
Insert Widget where you like

UPDATE 3: Wintermute kicks it up a notch for BLOGSPOT/BLOGGER sites, he has installed an auto-install button for the calendar. AWESOME!

The AC Wharton website is now up

From our bud Kerry Hayes at the Wharton campaign comes the following;

A redesigned version of, Mayor Wharton's campaign website, is now live. Particularly relevant new sections include: - specific areas and issues that the Mayor plans to address on day one. - his accomplishments so far, his reasons for running now, and his vision for the future of our city. Includes link for visitors to ask their own questions of Mayor Wharton. - a growing list of grassroots ways that people can positively impact the upcoming special election. - a place where friends and supporters can show their support for Mayor Wharton's vision.

Some areas of the website (such as Events and News) will continue to grow and evolve over the next few days.

More questions? or 901 481 5104.
Remember, candidates, if you have information like this to put up, send me a email at sjs1959 at gmail dot com!

He was only in Memphis a short time, but he made an impact

I refer, of course, to Ronnie Milsap, who is noted in Robert Gordon's must-have book, It Came From Memphis, for his time here, where he played with and for Elvis Presley. Today, for Feel Good Friday, we present Ronnie's 1983 hit, Stranger In My House, written by former NFL lineman Mike Reid. Enjoy.

EVERYONE for Mayor of Memphis

A Field Guide to Urban Memphis has hit upon the ultimate backlash to WWH's threatened run for Mayor:

Let's ALL pull a petition!!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Save the date of August 26: Jim Kyle comes to Drinking Liberally!

This is your less-than-two-week notice: State Senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Kyle will visit Drinking Liberally on August 26 between 7 and 9 PM!

As always, this is held at RP Billiards at 525 South Highland on the Strip, come on out!


Last night, I got to meet Kelly, the author of THE MEMPHIS LIBERAL at DL, and we welcome her to THE ENDLESS BLOGROLL. Interestingly, it turns out she knows Vibinc from events they had worked, so that was cool! Go check out her blog and enjoy!

Heh. We have a potential new candidate in the Mayor's race.

To steal a Pete Townshend line, MEET THE NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS.

Yes, Willie W. Herenton has picked up a petition to run in the special election to replace, well, Willie W. Herenton. I can't even get mad, I think it's hilarious. My thought is that he sees AC rolling to victory, and he's going to teach Wharton a lesson about who's boss in the Bluff City. Then, after having conquered Wharton and everyone else, he will wait until spring and retire again in anticipation of his race against Steve Cohen.

Given that I happen to believe that Wharton will get more votes from the white community than the black community, Herenton could very well win this thing, unless..........

The African-American community decides they've had enough, because it's in their hands now, and they need to determine for whom they will vote and why. Of course, I still haven't, but, before the election. I hope Whalum stays in to challenge the former Mayor if WWH files, THAT alone would be worth the price of admission.

UPDATE: The MDN article linked above now has WWH's statement which essentially attacks Myron Lowery for turning the city "backwards". Um, that wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Myron is trying to drive out WWH's old payrollers, would it? Just sayin', that's all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pictures from today and the text of the Kyle speech

Democratic National Committeewoman and Shelby co-chair Gale Jones Carson starts the proceedings by gathering elected officials.

Several notables in the crowd, from Senator Beverly Marrero on the left, standing next to retired judge Russell Sugarmon, Nancy Kuhn (front left corner) Labor leaders Paul Shaffer and Howard Richardson (center of picture)
The Senator's best asset, Sara Kyle, who is a former City Court Judge, former Public Service Commissioner and current member of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

The Senator and his family.

While he's always been on target talking about issues, it was his communicative abilities on display today that stunned me. It truly was the best speech I've heard him give, and one that will resound with voters on the campaign trail. Here's the text, courtesy of the campaign:

Remarks by Senator Jim Kyle

August 11, 2009

I’d like to thank Bill Morris, Regina Newman and Gale Jones Carson, my Shelby County co-chairmen who I know will help make sure Shelby County is Kyle County in August and in November next year.

Also, thanks to Matt Kuhn, my statewide campaign manager. Matt is on one leg today, but he will be up and running soon just like I am up and running today.

Thanks to the University of Memphis for allowing us to use this beautiful venue in the center of a great university, which is in the center of a great city.

I would like to thank each of you for being here today, particularly my brother, sister, sister-in-law, Betty Belle and her children, Belle and Rachel Peery, and other dear friends and supporters.

My children are here and I appreciate them for being so supportive and involved in this event and for being the kind of kids that put up with a senator daddy. Would you please give my daughters Sarah, Mary and Caroline, as well as my son Jim a round of applause?

And last but not least, my wife Sara, what can I say, isn’t it great to see her on the campaign trail and wasn’t that a great introduction! She is truly the best.

While I was born in Memphis, I grew up in Capleville, which at that time was a rural community closer to Mississippi than Memphis. My dad, the late Jimmy Kyle, returned to the family homestead when my sister Pam was born, and on Highway 78, near Shelby Drive, I spent my childhood, across from the school yard and baseball field which were the centers of our community life. Dad drove a truck for railway express and my mother, Louise Kyle, helped build tires at the Firestone tire factory in north Memphis.

My mother will be 90 years old in October. She doesn’t handle the heat very well these days and isn’t here, but she has never lost a box for me and will be out in force next November.

My parents’ jobs were physical jobs, and both my parents worked hard. The values of being frugal, being honest, and being trusted were engrained in me early by depression-era parents who wanted more for their children.

My life has led me to lead many roles: college student, law student, husband, lawyer, senator, democrat leader, and chairman of the Shelby county delegation. But the role that has defined me more than any other is that of a parent, who like Jimmy and Louise Kyle wants a better world for our children and laments the opportunities we fail to capture.

You know, the man who got me into the senate is here today. He is my brother, Mike. You can thank him or blame him, but in 1980 we were living together in a small house in north Memphis when one morning after hearing me comment about our current senator for what he thought too many times, screamed at me “I am sick and tired of hearing you complain, either run against him or quit” to which I replied, “Okay, I will.”

So I started that campaign that afternoon with two votes – mine and his. And his was soft.

That morning ultimately led to my election on June 10, 1983 and since that day I have been involved in the issues of the day in Tennessee. From “master teacher” to “bicentennial highway”; from “B.E.P.” to “prison reform”; from fiscal crisis to budget surplus; from B.E.P. 2.0 to pre-k funding.

I have been tested by the issues of the day, elected 8 times by those who know me best, and trusted by my fellow democrat senators as their leader since 2005.

Now what I learned from reforming our prison system, to reforming public education, to sponsoring and passing seven consecutive balanced budgets is that you plan for the long term. I have worked in partnership with our current governor Phil Bredesen to pass his legislative initiatives and I have been trusted to sponsor and pass every major initiative of his administration.

I am proud to be from Tennessee. We have a beautiful state and we are still the “volunteer state” as many charities will attest. We have a culture of self-reliance and friendliness unparalleled in this country. We can all be proud of our state and its people.

But Tennessee has some things we should not be proud of: First, our unemployment rate is one of the nation’s top ten. Over 10%! To put it another way, one of every ten people you see today will be unemployed. But wages of those other nine with jobs aren’t doing that great because wages in Tennessee rank in the lower third of our country.

Finally, Tennessee lags behind other states when it comes to what the census bureau calls “educational attainment”, and by that I mean the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees. Only 23 % have a college degree. 42 states are doing better. This is the reason we are paid less and have fewer job opportunities.

We can do better. Our children are trusting us to do better. That unemployed Tennessean trusts us to do better.

Ladies and gentlemen I have been tested by this life of mine. And trusted my whole life to strive to make things better. And I tell you today. We can compete and we can win!

This is how we will change our state and change our community. We start by taking a long-term view to higher education. We are going to have a higher education system focused on graduating students, not enrolling them. We are going to tear down the barriers preventing our citizens from getting a college degree.

In the coming months I will put forward an education plan that will help more Tennesseans afford college in two different but very important ways

We are going to start with those who have been frustrated by our current system and who couldn’t finish. As I understand it, there are over 30,000 Tennesseans who are one year from graduation and have stopped their education.

I am going to make them an offer they can’t refuse. We will use some of the reserves from the lottery and we are going create an incentive scholarship program that will help students return to college and finish their degree.

When this happens, overnight, we will increase our education attainment percentage and make our state more competitive for the high wage recession-proof jobs going elsewhere today.

And second, I make this promise to every Tennessean who enrolls in a higher education institution in Tennessee. So long as you are making sufficient progress towards obtaining your degree, we will never, never, raise your tuition. What you pay as a freshman you will pay as a senior!

We will take higher education to a higher place. We will restructure and refocus and build upon the progress Governor Bredesen has made. We will recharge our colleges and universities to make them economic engines for our state workforce.

A better Tennessee is a smarter Tennessee…But to do this, I need you.

It’s hot today but it will be hotter before this election is over.

Please… stand with me…walk with me…do it for yourself and your family.

In the height of the depression, my daddy had to borrow a pair of trousers to attend his high school graduation. But friends, he graduated…and I’m standing here today because he graduated!...

Let’s make a government that measures its success one citizen at a time.

And now…

At this time…

At this place…

In this moment…

For these reasons…

With you people…

For our people…

With the tests of my life…

With the trust you have given me…

I hereby declare my candidacy to be the 49th governor of great state of Tennessee.

Thank you, and god bless Tennessee and the United States of America.

Just a quick update here

Later tonight, we will have a post with pictures and a rundown on the Jim Kyle gubernatorial announcement, but let me tease you with this: despite my earlier concerns, he went out and gave the best speech I've heard him give in his 26 year career, and I told him so.

Watch this space.

I'm about to go to the Kyle announcement

But I almost decided to tell him where to put his campaign after something I read yesterday.

Now, a lesson in framing. I got up Monday morning and spit out my coffee after reading this CA article on Kyle's announcement, which had this little bundle of joy in it:

But Kyle has repositioned himself on an issue sure to haunt him: his vote for a tax-reform plan that included a state income tax in exchange for exempting grocery food from sales taxes and cutting the sales tax rate on everything else. As a member of the Finance Committee during former GOP governor Don Sundquist's push for tax reform, Kyle voted to send the bill to the Senate floor, where it was never called up for a vote after failing in the House.

"That was almost 10 years ago. I am against an income tax, and I will veto it. Phil Bredesen has proven we can manage this government without an income tax and frankly showed me I was wrong to consider an income tax."

What the fuck? This is the very reason I kicked Phil Bredesen in the balls on a daily basis since 2002, and this is a quote from a guy I'm preparing to support for Governor? Really, what the fuck?

Understand that two things are working at the same time here: 1) Tennessee DESPERATELY needs an income tax due to its horribly regressive tax structure and 2) the Goopers have poisoned the well on this issue to the point that if anyone supports it, they will probably be strung up on the spot. So, it's not that I wanted Kyle to actively support an income tax, I just wanted him to shut up about it.

No matter what the polls may say, WHOEVER is elected Governor is going to have to face an income tax at some point in their upcoming term, because the budget problems are only going to get worse, not better, and to dig yourself a hole like this is just plain stupid.

Not only that, by saying what he said, he reinforced the anti-taxation meme of the GOP, which HURTS Democrats and a progressive agenda. That's not acceptable.

Props to Kim McMillan here, who simply said to me, when I asked her about it earlier this year, that the people simply do not want an income tax at this time, and there is no point in pushing it. THAT, my friends, is a simple restatement of political reality, and does not reinforce any Republican meme.

Fortunately, Jim Kyle has LOTS of good friends here in Big Shelby working with the campaign, and my rage has been made known to him and I am hoping that this simple lesson in framing gets through to him. If we continue to discuss issues based on GOP definitions and framing, the Democratic Party here may as well not exist.

See you at the rally!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Amazing commentary from a reader of Andrew Sullivan

My buddy Mack from Nashville sent this link to an Andrew Sullivan column where one of his readers writes in and accurately describes the people who attempted and failed to disrupt the Cohen Town Hall meeting yesterday.

It sums it up better than anything I could say, as these folks don't want to have a discussion or conversation, like the conservatives that we grew up with. Oh, sure there are folks like Tom Guleff or Jim Coley or Steve McManus that you can reason with and talk civilly, but they have been out numbered by the people described here.

I'm not even excerpting it, go there and read it for yourself, it's awesome.

Rev. Whalum appreciates our coverage of his campaign

Just got this in email from him:

Yo, I appreciate your kind treatment of my infant candidacy on your blog. Just wanted you to know we’re on the way, and when we get there (full fledge on the ‘net) we’re gonna blow it up! It’s still VERY early…at least among those FEW of us who have significant name recognition among the voters who will actually DECIDE who the next Mayor of Memphis will be ;-)

In the meantime, I thought you might want to share this with your readers. If they’re interested in context concerning my church marquees, they might want to actually do a search of the Bible for the word, “ass” to see if it’s really in there. The marquee to which you refer was drawn from an actual quote in Matthew 21. Thanks again for your equitable treatment.

Kenneth T. Whalum, Jr.

"There is nothing more difficult than to take

the lead in the introduction of a new order

of things." - Niccolo Machiavelli

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cohen's Town Hall Meeting went well

Randy Wade is to be complimented as well; he arranged for security. There were actually idiots who brought guns (legally, it seems they had carry permits, but why did they feel they needed them?). Yes, you read that right, and Randy made them all check in with the Sheriff's Deputies on hand.

My Congressman allowed any doctor who wished to address the crowd to do so, and a wide range of physicians did so; unfortunately, only one, Dr. Jeff Warren spoke in favor of the public option. Steve, of course, supports the public option and said so. Him, I'm not worried about; it's the Blue Dogs who have sold their souls to healthcare companies (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Mike Ross, as well as Gordon, Tanner, and Cooper. Democrats, you are NOT as far as I'm concerned) who are pushing the White House and the leadership to back down on the public option. Bubba or no Bubba, I may stay away from Jackson Day so that I don't take a swing at one of these SOBs.

For more, my Flickr stream of photos with comments are here, and a great take from Steve Ross is here at Vibinc.

Friday, August 07, 2009

This is what we may be up against at Cohen's town Hall Meeting tomorrow

We NEED you there, however. while the meeting starts at 10 AM, try to get there EARLY, as the birthers have made a habit of showing up early. They are the MINORITY, and we cannot allow them to take the meeting over, like happened here in Tampa, video courtesy of Daily Kos TV:

See also this post from NYCEve at Kos (thanks to Jane Hamsher for the heads up)!

The meeting is at Bridges at 477 North Fifth Street, just off Auction west of Danny Thomas.
PLEASE BE THERE and let's keep the kooks and birthers from disrupting this important event.
UPDATE: Brad makes great points at WTL about how to respond to the protestors, please read it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Um, why is no one else talking about this?

Mike Cromer has been documenting the destruction of our downtown Cobblestones by the Riverfront Development Corporation at his blog, Memphis Cobblestones.

To get the idea about what's happening, go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

How the hell are they getting away with it? This Beale Street Landing project is little more than a boondoggle that allows former Herenton cronies to pocket public money, in my opinion. Great Job by Mike to bring this to light, and you all need to read these articles!

This Saturday night at 9 on Digital Channel 40

Here's a preview, H/T to Ryburn

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hey, whatcha doing Thursday night about 7 PM?

You know how the birthers are disrupting town hall meetings of pro-healthcare reform Congresspeople? I think that's a shame.

Because, I believe, the purpose of those meetings is to get more information about the reform going on and whether it goes far enough.

However, what about those Congresscritters who think you don't DESERVE health insurance, that the system is just fine (for THEM, any way)? Guess what, our old pal Marsha Blackburn is coming to town, and I think we should be there to greet her!

Thursday, August 6, 2009
7:00pm - 8:00pm
Macaroni Grill
6705 Poplar Ave
Memphis, TN

Gee, it would be a shame if she had to face a few dozen people who NEED real healthcare, wouldn't it? LET'S DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

KO nails the Blue Dogs who are selling us out.

I do have great insurance, but not everyone works where I do. What you are about to see from Keith Olbermann is why we push ALL of our Democrats to support a public option. Our own congressman has supported the public option, but refuses to take the pledge to NOT vote for a bill without one.

Let me repeat, before you watch Keith, that it is CRITICAL that our Congressman, who is part of the Democratic leadership, go ON RECORD that he shall not vote for a bill without a robust public option. He's not sold out to the Big Healthcare like the Blue Dogs, but if he votes for a bill without a public option, he is just as guilty as they are.

This is why I ask you to go to his Town Hall Meeting this Saturday and ask him to take the pledge, and if he refuses, ask him, nicely, why he won't commit.

Then, ask him why he wants to give Willie Herenton a real campaign issue, something the ex-Mayor does not yet have.

Thanks to CallMeIshmael for bringing the Special Comment to my attention.

Check out FOLKPASS!



Memphis, TN- August 3, 2009 - The Center for Southern Folklore (CSF) is offering a new way to support the Center while providing a package of significant upgrades for its many friends and supporters. By purchasing a special FolkPass for $50, CSF patrons can receive benefits throughout the year, including seating in special VIP sections at the Center’s annual Memphis Music and Heritage Festival which takes place September 5-6 Labor Day Weekend.

This FolkPass also provides validated parking, discounts in our Folklore Store and online store, tickets to two concerts in our Folklore Store during the year, and year-round access to Center online exhibits in a special supporter section of our website.

In announcing the launch of the FolkPass CSF Executive Producer Judy Peiser said, The FolkPass was created to allow friends and supporters of the Center to benefit from the programs and concerts we present throughout the year. It’s also a way to provide them special access to exhibits on location at the Center and online on the Center’s website. Throughout the years, the Center has benefitted from the generous support of many companies and foundations who help us produce our Festival and to digitize our Multimedia Archives. Now individuals can be part of this thriving CSF Support group and receive great benefits at the same time.

Founded in the early 1970s to document and present the music, arts, and rhythms of the people in the Memphis/Delta, the Center has expanded its mission to produce festivals, concerts and conduct cultural tours. During this time, the CSF has also amassed an invaluable collection of narratives and music that define the region. Michael Taft, Head of the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress, calls the CSF’s Multimedia Archives an important cultural treasure, which demands to be both preserved and made accessible to those outside the CSF. Recently the Center launched its online exhibit Taylor Made: The Life and Work of Rev. L. O. Taylor to showcase a selection from over 7,000 photographs, 100 lacquer disc recordings, 15 hours of film footage and numerous artifacts produced and collected by Memphis minister. L.O. Taylor from the mid 1920s to the early 1960s.

To order your FolkPass you can call the Center at 901.525.3655 or by going to the Center’s website, and click on FolkPass.

Cohen Town Hall Meeting this Saturday, PLEASE GO!



Memphis, TN – Got a question about Social Security or veterans benefits? Planning on going to college and need to know about financial aid? Maybe you just want to share your thoughts about health care, the economy, crime, or something else that’s on your mind.

Congressman Steve Cohen will be hosting a town hall meeting this Saturday, August 8 from 10 a.m. to Noon at BRIDGES, 477 North Fifth Street, Memphis, TN 38105. The Congressman’s entire staff from Washington, DC and Memphis will be on hand to answer questions or help Ninth District residents with a wide-range of constituent services offered by the federal government.

NOTE: Media interested in covering the Town Hall meeting are asked to RSVP to Steven Broderick no later than the close of business on Friday.

At this time, we’re only permitting still photographs during the town hall. For the privacy of our constituents, we will not be permitting video cameras to film during the town hall – video will be permitted prior to and after the event.