Saturday, February 27, 2010

The one in which I have a polite disagreement with my friend

Steve Ross makes wonderful arguments at STP today why those of us who supported Jim Kyle should not be wailing and gnashing our teeth at the Senator's departure from the Democratic race for Governor.

He notes the following about Jim Kyle:
For Kyle, the reality is that he simply couldn’t raise enough money fast enough. Sure, he raised a sight more than most, but even back when he visited Drinking Liberally in the summer there were questions about his ability to raise money, or have a big enough stockpile to last through session. That’s just reality.
Yes, that's true, but I agree with Kleinheider here:
I must say, I don’t really see why. He has as good a chance at the nomination now as he did when he got in — maybe more. Nothing has really changed. Everything he cited in his press release he knew long ago.
So, I'm not necessarily buying this. You see, I personally like all of the candidates, they have been gracious and kind and nicer to this crazy blogger than I had any right to expect.

My problem is that the primary is BIG for people like me. HERE, and not in the general, is where we get to have our voices heard, where we can determine which candidate is closer to our liberal line than the others, which one we can truly support before they have to go all mealy-mouthed in the general. (Note to Goopers, Haslam is going to do you like Bredesen did Democrats, now's your chance to do something about it).

Kyle gave us RED MEAT, not inoffensive, aw-shucks patter. He would have been a LEADER, not a manager, as Steve Cohen once said of Phil Bredesen (and was he ever right about that). While I will vote for whomever comes out of the Primary, unless they show me something between now and August, I'm not too damned excited about it.

And, as President Obama could tell you from last year (but, due to his botching of things, will likely never see again), EXCITEMENT MATTERS AND DRIVES TURNOUT.

Now, Ross drills home the point that our problems are Party-wide:

Do we face a lot of challenges going into November? Absolutely. Republican candidates have raised a lot more money than the Democrats. The state is teetering further and further to the right as the Democratic Party becomes more fractured on many levels, one of the biggest of these being the rural/urban divide, which is second only to a lack of a clear and concisely stated Democratic vision and leadership from all quarters within the party establishment.

There’s a lot of suffering out there in the state, and while Tennesseans are a proud, stubborn people, the overriding sentiment is that our government has forgotten about the regular folk out there just trying to make a life in this crazy world of ours. In order to win, we have to demonstrate how we intend to positively impact their lives and instill hope in them that this is not only possible, but our number one priority.

If we can do this, we have a damn good shot at winning in November, but we all have to quit with the pity party, and get to work. Use whatever metric you want to choose your preferred candidate, but remember, at the end of the day, our job is to elect A DEMOCRAT, because as Democrats we believe that ANY Democrat is a sight better than even the most moderate Republican.

Go back and read that part about "a clear and concisely stated Democratic vision and leadership from all quarters within the party establishment." BINGO. These folks are still living off 1992 when it's 2010. They cannot figure out that a clear message defining who we are and what we're about can win, because, in their hearts, I don't think they believe it themselves, and that's the damn problem.

Yet, when those of us in the blogosphere, who have been on the ground for campaigns, suggest something new, they recoil from us and call us a bunch of dirty f-ing hippies. When we can solve THAT problem, I'll feel better about things, and not before.

Rant over.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hey! For whom will you vote now?

R. Neal has a poll going on at KnoxViews, why dontcha go over there and pick one?

OK, here you go, Janetta

As steamed as I am, I gotta put this up

Thank you Janetta, I needed this, Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack & John Hiatt on Lowe's classic WHAT'S SO FUNNY ABOUT PEACE, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING...

We Welcome (Well, Not Really) Our New Republican Overlords

Our only real chance to keep the Governor's Mansion has decided to give up the fight:

Jim Kyle for Governor

FEBRUARY 26, 2010
Contact: Katy Cutright | 901-543-8683

Kyle Withdraws Bid for Governor

Memphis Senator thanks supporters, continues to advocate for higher education reform

NASHVILLE - Memphis Senator Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) announced today that he will be withdrawing from the 2010 Tennessee Gubernatorial race, and issued the following statement:

"After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I have decided that I will no longer be a candidate for Governor of Tennessee.

It is clear to me that while our campaign had the assets to be competitive in the Primary, the legislative fundraising restriction, the economy, and my duties as Senate Leader have severely hampered my ability to generate resources which would have been vital to our success in the general election. Our state faces unprecedented budget and funding issues that cannot wait for the next Governor, and I plan to devote all my energies to working with Governor Bredesen and my colleagues in the legislature to ensure that the best interests of all Tennesseans are placed first.

I started this campaign for governor to help our state create the recession-proof jobs that will move us forward. My vision for accomplishing this task was to take "Higher Education to a Higher Place," and make our colleges economic engines for Tennessee. While no longer a candidate for Governor, I will continue to be an outspoken advocate to promote and define the solutions that answer our state's most pressing challenges, in both higher education and job creation. Perhaps, my exit from this race will enable some of my legislative initiatives, which will address these challenges, to be seen and heard more clearly.

For a guy whose Mom worked in a tire factory and whose Dad drove a truck, perhaps the most humbling support has been from Tennessee's working families. My parents' jobs were hard jobs, and because of the Unions they belonged to, they were able to provide a better life for our family.

I would like to thank each and every Tennessean who has assisted me in this campaign. I am proud to call Tennessee home. I have built a career in this great state, raised my family here, and will continue to pursue the same goal I set for this campaign: that we have a government that measures its success one citizen at a time."

Other Views

Sean Braisted


Speak To Power

I'm not dead yet, so here's FGF

Yeah, I've had stomach flu, so I haven't been here, hell, Trace and Steve had to do the show for me Wednesday. Enjoy one of my favorite Warren Zevon songs in the interim

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Cracker on radio??? Who ever thought this could happen?

Van Turner and Lexie Carter have been gracious enough to invite your humble Cracker, along with my STP partners Steve Ross and Trace Sharp on their KWAM990 AM radio show this Wednesday morning from 8-9. Oh, yes, and Thaddeus will be there as well.



Friday, February 19, 2010

Great idea! More FGF

Don Sandberg sent this to me, and it's a fun idea! In honor of this legendary Texas songwriter's visit to Memphis for Folk Alliance 2010 this weekend, we present Ray Wylie Hubbard's SNAKE FARM!

Enjoy for FGF - the last great WHO song

It's odd that this has been running on the freaking Weather Channel, but it has been. Remember this moment instead of the Super Bowl, OK? I'm off doing errands I would rather not have to do, but I do, and we'll leave it at that.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Great news from Nashville

Tom Humphrey of the KNS reports this in his Legislature News Notes today:

Sen. Ford Returns
Tennessee Sen. Ophelia Ford has rejoined her colleagues after being absent because of an illness.

The Memphis Democrat stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and thanked lawmakers for their prayers and said her doctors have given her a "100 percent good bill of health."
Ford, who is 59, missed the Legislature's special session on education reform last month due to flulike symptoms that resulted in her being admitted to a Memphis hospital.

Family members later said she suffered complications from an unspecified surgical procedure and could miss the entire legislative session.

When asked specifics about her illness Wednesday, Ford only said that she had gone into the hospital for something "very minor," and complications developed. However, she said: "I'm back to stay."

We are delighted at her recovery and hope that she is, indeed, back to stay.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Um, well, OK.....

As my STP co-blogger Steve Ross wishes all of you a Happy Valentine's Day (as I do), he advises that your gift could have been worse! (scroll to the bottom!)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

The picture doesn't tell the whole story

Deidre Malone opened her Headquarters today for her bid for Shelby County Mayor, as lots of supporters and public officials came to the opening, which was from 12-3. Many thought that it started at 1 and missed her wonderful speech, in which she talked about her experience as Budget Chair and Commission Chair on the Shelby County Commission. She brought the fire, and people began to swarm in.

Among those in attendance were County Trustee Regina Morrison Newman, Senator Jim Kyle, State Representatives Larry Miller and G. A. Hardaway, Democratic National Committeewoman Gale Jones Carson, and candidates for office such as Norma Lester and Reginald Milton (both County Commission Dist. 2, position 3), Danny W. Kail (Probate Court Clerk), Coleman Thompson and Carlton Orange (both for County Register) and lots of well-wishers and supporters.

To learn about and to be a part of the campaign to elect Deidre Malone County Mayor, please go here!

UPDATE: Jackson Baker covers this in more depth here and provides a video:

Friday, February 12, 2010

A quick, but hilarious feel good friday

Hat tip to EDSBS, hope to see you at Deidre's opening tomorrow.


Deidre Malone opens her County Mayor Campaign HQ THIS SATURDAY!

This Saturday from 12-3 P.M., Commissioner Deidre Malone opens her campaign headquarters at 3161 Poplar Avenue, across from East High School. The event is open to the public, so come on out and meet the next Mayor of Shelby County!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Soon, there will be none

Patrick Kennedy, the last member of his illustrious family to serve in Congress, announces his retirement at the ripe old age of 42. Now that we need them more than ever, there will be none left. Maybe we are doomed as a republic. Here's his announcement:

Our Congressman talks about THE MED and that campaign on WREG's Live at Nine


Because there's nothing more insane than telling a man he didn't really know his father

Watch this amazing exchange between Ron Reagan, Jr and Pam Geller of wingnut blogging fame, courtesy of Crooks and Liars, hat tip to Leigh for telling me about this at DL last night. (See why you need to show up?)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

AFL-CIO Endorses Steve Mulroy for Re-Election


for County Commission District 5

The AFL-CIO Labor Council has endorsed Steve Mulroy in his re-election bid for the County Commission District 5 seat. The vote was unanimous.

For more info about Steve, or to donate, please visit Contact Steve at

Here are more of Steve's endorsements-

  • AC Wharton, Memphis Mayor
  • Harold Ford, Sr., Former Congressman
  • Joe Ford, Interim County Mayor
  • Harold Collins, Chair, City Council
  • City Council members Janis Fullilove, Joe Brown, Shea Flinn, Edmund Ford and Jim Strickland
  • Former City Councilwoman Carol Chumney
  • Former Shelby County Commissioner Dr. Cleo Kirk
  • State Senators Beverly Marrero and Ophelia Ford
  • State Reps. Ulysses Jones, Joe Towns, Mike Kernell, Jeanne Richardson, and G.A. Hardaway
  • Tomeka Hart, Chair, Memphis School Board
  • Memphis School Board member Dr. Jeff Warren
  • AFL-CIO Labor Council
  • Pipefitters Union Local
  • Iron Workers Local Union #167
  • Plumbers Local Union 17
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 474
  • Howard Richardson
  • David Upton, State Democratic Executive Committee
  • Paul Shaffer
  • Former Shelby County Democratic Party Chairs
  • Current/Former Shelby County Democratic Party Committee members Desi Franklin, Cherry Davis, Diane Withers, Lynn Strickland and Dave and Diane Cambron
  • Novella Smith-Arnold
  • Fannie Clark
  • Reginald Milton
  • Billy Orgel
  • Brad Watkins
  • Jonathan Cole
  • Jocelyn Wurzburg, Happy Jones, and Paula Casey
  • Steve Sondheim
  • Carter Rosenthal, Roseleigh Neighborhood Association

WOW! My Senator has a GREAT new website

With a hat tip to my STP Co-Blogger T. Sharp, I discovered Senator Beverly Marrero's outstanding new website, go check it out!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Interesting post, eh?

Brother Carroll's fire and brimstone post about Steve Cohen's challenger was interesting, but I am not sure I can go there with him.

First, I am not at all convinced that Dr. Herenton can win this race. His campaign is essentially the same campaign with which Nikki Tinker ran twice and got pounded. A-ha, you say, but this is a historic figure we're talking about, the first African-American superintendent of Memphis City Schools and the first elected African-American Mayor of Memphis.

Well, he's not running for either of those, and he wouldn't be the first African-American Congressman from the 9th District, he would be the THIRD. Lots of people do love him in this city and he will always hold a special place in their hearts. Lots of those folks will go up and give him love and wish him the best and tell the Doc that they are behind him all the way.

And then, they will go vote for Steve Cohen because Cohen gets things done for the entire community, but the African-American community in particular.

The hardcore group of people who have never strayed from Dr. Herenton in all those races tend to vote in general elections in October and November. An August Democratic primary? Not so much. If they HAD voted in large numbers in a Democratic primary, the Democrats would have gained control of Shelby County government a decade ago; instead, they are still trying to win a majority of these elections.

A heavy Democratic turnout would certainly be welcome, but pardon me if I remain skeptical. Dr. Herenton apparently plans to run a campaign from the streets that says "we have no African-American Congressman from Tennessee, therefore vote for me". His only real hope is that he can trick congressman Cohen into putting his foot in his mouth and turn off African-American voters.

Congressman Cohen's predecessor, Harold Ford Jr., was African-American and he absolutely threw his constituency under the bus when he was technically our Congressman, voting for the Bankruptcy Bill and campaigning like he was a farmer from Lawrence County rather than as a Memphian. He was like his father only in that they shared the same name and look somewhat alike; otherwise, nada.

If Dr. Herenton wanted to run an issues-based campaign, he could probably pull it off, as he is an arduous campaigner; no one ever said he would be a slacker on the campaign trail. However, why is he running a campaign that has failed miserably twice? Here, he is NOT the historical figure, he is running to be one of 435 instead of running to be one of one.

Everyone is nervous, and I have no doubt the Doc will pull votes out of nostalgia, but I do NOT think he will beat Steve Cohen.

If he does, that says more about our city that I want to know.

I am going to make a few predictions

Right here, right now. Willie Herenton will win the race for the Democratic nomination and thus the 9th District Congressional seat. He doesn't deserve it by any stretch of the imagination for the reasons Wendi has said. Herenton is running because he feels like in 1990 he is the only candidate. In addition, this move by Herenton and his Flavor Flav like hype man Sidney Chism is exactly what is wrong with Memphis politics. Herenton has refused to build the bench of strong candidates. Herenton also is complaining about lack of representation and racism (using dog whistle tactics). He believes that only he can remove the seat from the iron grip of Steve Cohen.

Give me a break. If Herenton and Chism would not have fostered division and distrust within the local party, then Steve would have faced a stronger candidate the last two elections and would have most likely lost.

It is no wonder Herenton doesn't think anyone else could beat Cohen. When the list of young, energetic candidates is nonexistant who could do it because of your own insistence on cronism and division, no shit. When you do nothing but belittle and deride those who disagree with you, when you work with downtown developers who line your pockets at the expense of development in areas that need it, when you call racism on your own incompetent apointees being indicted on animal cruelty while people who paid you off aren't, no shit.

There are no other qualified candidates by your definition because you definition has only your picture Willie D. I wish you and Flavor Chism would have built a bench. I wish you and your Bomb Squad of campaign crew would have had a better campaign slogan then Shake off the Haters. Willie is not about Memphis, he is about himself.

On to the other races. Bill Haslem will win the Republican nomination and also the governorship. Sorry Jim. You will win the Democratic nomination though. The Republicans should win unless this year's General Assembly session is a disaster that we can lay at the Republican doorstep. Keep painting them in a negative light as a do nothing Assembly.

The 8th district race will be tight. I think Herron pulls it out if the Republican primary battle is as brutal as they say. Flinn probably won't win. Funnily, if we win, we will probably lose the seat shortly after. The Republicans are looking to make the district solidly Republican. Look for them to put a good deal of East Shelby over in that district from the 7th regardless. This will mean Lincoln and Bart's old districts will get hard to win.

Agree? Disagree? Prove me wrong.

We proudly introduce Speak To Power

THIS IS THE PROJECT I have been telling you about, working with my cohorts Trace Sharp and Steve Ross, and I want you to go check it out.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Its been 5 weeks today since it happened

There's a UFC PPV on tonight. When the last one was supposed to come on, two of my friends were coming over to watch the PPV with me until it happened that morning and we all dropped everything to rally around them. Its been 4 weeks since we buried her and it really hit me that she was gone physically.

She and I had an unusual relationship. She liked me enough, especially since her long time companion considered me in many ways the son he never had. She like my son, she was always his Aunt Lauren, never, ever would she be grandma. She helped push the woman who became my wife to take a chance and have a fling with me to get the bad taste of her last relationship out of her. For this I will always be eternally grateful. She found out that my favorite food is lasagna, only home made, I cannot stand store made, and she made it a couple times for me for my birthday.

I had written this originally after the funeral, but wordpress had lost it, and so I decided to wait until the appopriate time to put this up. I just checked as I wrote this and Steve had posted about the chili. I gotta say, I loved her chili. Took her recipe and I've tweaked it just a little to fit my love for thicker and spicier, but you can tell it was inspired by her.

She is in a better place and will soon rest at the four places she loved most of all in this world. She and Steve are always in my thoughts everyday and I miss the joy she brought into our lives both directly and indirectly. Even though I know she is in this better place, I still miss my friend and I think this scene from Shawshank Redemption fits well. I know she is in a better place, but I miss the brightness she brought into our lives, and I miss my friend.

Today, I threw away the chili

No, this is not the beginning of a really bad country song, this leads to what our beloved Newscoma calls an annoying autobiographical pause.

Today, it's been a month since Lauren died, and I am cleaning out the refrigerator because there were things that I couldn't get rid of that were starting to smell.

And then I got to the chili. It was the last thing she ever made for us, about three days before she went to the hospital. Today, there was mold on it, and I knew I had to do it, and I did. it seems really silly, but it was always wonderful chili, as those of you who have had it know very well. I couldn't eat it, but I couldn't let go of it, but today I did.

I am okay, surprisingly well, all things considered, and that is because of all 0f you. You who have been there for all of us ever since this happened, who sat with us in ICU and called or texted when you couldn't, who came to the wake and the funeral and who have checked on us constantly. You, who are the best friends any human could ever expect to have.

Because of all of you, I am here, and will be for the foreseeable future. Somewhere, Lauren is laughing and saying, "SEE! I TOLD you!" And she did, nearly every day.

The cats are a big part of this as well, giving me attention as well as demanding it, and it is always appreciated, they ground me very well, thank you.

So, I am going to get through this, with my faith and my family and friends, which includes you if you are a reader.

Enough of this, I want to tell you to watch this space on Monday morning, I have something wonderful to tell you about. It is a new project about which I am very excited and have been working on with two wise old hands. Be here at 8 AM Monday for the news!

No, LWC is not going away, this is in addition to the blog and I hope that you will love it. More good news, I hope, will come later this week, with the word of the return of a great blog which has lain dormant for a year or so, and we hope returns with a flourish, because we have missed it greatly.

All right, go enjoy your weekend and GO SAINTS!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Send prayers to Senator Ford

We learn this morning from the Commercial Appeal that Senator Ophelia Ford (D-29) is likely to miss the entire 201o legislative session, according to a statement from Senate Democratic leader Jim Kyle.

From the story:
But this morning, addressing his colleagues on the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis said Ford’s family advised him that her illness is severe and there is no expectation that she will return to her public duties soon. Adjournment of the legislative session is now targeted for late April or early May.

“I have been in contact with her family, who have advised me that Sen. Ford had a surgical procedure in December and has had complications from the surgery since that time,” Kyle told his colleagues. “She has been hospitalized for various periods of time. I do not know whether she’s hospitalized today.

“But their expectation -- and they gave me the expectation -- is that Sen. Ford is facing some severe medical issues and that we should not expect to see her in the Senate anytime in the near future. There is no date they have given me.

“I can only ask, and her family asks, that you keep her in your prayers. Sen. Ford has struggled with her health in the last several years. I don’t have a period of time I can say I expect her back. I would hope she would be back next week but I don’t have the expectation she will be back in the next several weeks. We hope to have her back before the end of session but the session we hope is going to be shorter this year,” Kyle said.

If this is the case, then Senator Ford needs to focus completely on her recovery. This is not the first bout with serious illness since her election in 2006, and one sadly must wonder if she can continue to serve her District, given her frail condition.

Her first concern must be her health; if she is unable to perform her duties, it is time to consider if she should step aside so that the 29th Senatorial District may receive the representation it now lacks due to these circumstance beyond Senator Ford's control.

If she were to step aside, achieve full recovery (as we all very much hope that she does) and then decide to present herself for public office, I suspect she would be welcomed back with open arms.

Should she decide to do so, then the Shelby County Commission would appoint her successor to serve through the general election in November, IIRC. If that becomes the situation, I would only ask that they appoint someone who would not seek the office on a permanent basis.

Senator, please get well, we're all praying for you.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Jim Kyle picks up a great endorsement

From the Kyle camp comes this message:

Ward Cammack Endorsing Jim Kyle for Governor

Ward Cammack will endorse Jim Kyle for governor tomorrow, breaking his silence since leaving the gubernatorial contest earlier last year. The Kyle campaign released that former gubernatorial candidate Cammack will participate in a conference call with Kyle to announce his support.

Cammack sited Kyle’s legislative record and belief that he has the ability to lead Tennessee in the right economic direction. This is the first endorsement by a former candidate in the 2010 gubernatorial race.

With Jim Kyle showing strong numbers in his first campaign finance totals released last week, the endorsement could send a powerful signal of the momentum the Kyle campaign is building.

For more information or to RSVP for the conference call number please call Katy Cutright at 901-543-8683.

WHEN: Thursday, February 4, 2010

TIME: 2:00pm CST

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The County Mayor's race just got more interesting

Sheriff Mark Luttrell has apparently decided not to run for re-election; instead he will run for his party's nomination for County Mayor.

He is clearly the most popular Republican in this very Democratic county, and means that my candidate, Deidre Malone, will have a tough general election fight. Here's my question: if this is now the circumstance, why is Interim Mayor Joe Ford still in the race?

As an APPOINTED replacement, the advantages of his "incumbency" are small to non-existent. He's a good guy and I personally like him, but he's never won a race outside his Council or Commission districts (remember how WWH waxed him in 1999?). if he were the nominee of the Democratic Party, Luttrell would beat him handily.

Not to mention, the Commercial Appeal would flog him mercilessly about his personal finances and would be digging for any scandal which which he may have been remotely connected. If he runs, there may very well also be a backlash against his son Justin, who is seeking Mayor Ford's old Commission seat.

Mayor Ford, you could ensure that the Democrats would have a good chance for victory this August; all you need to do is announce that you are not running for a full term. In so doing, you would be keeping your word that your political career would end at the end of August, and also keeping your respected political legacy intact.

Let's prevent a divisive primary that would put the Democratic nominee at a disadvantage in August. We would all applaud you for a statesman-like act.