Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Message From Wade Munday

Wade, for those who may not know, is the former communications director for the TNDP, and now seeks its Chair.  While I have no vote, I urge those who do to support him.  His message:

Dear Executive Committee members,
Despite the hope of a New Year, our party faces many challenges.  I am writing to ask for your presence and your vote at the next meeting of the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee on January 8th in Nashville.  In our search for unity and a new party chair; however, let us not forget the unprecedented economic hardships our neighbors are going through each day. The Democratic Party reflects the values of Tennesseans concerned about longstanding job creation.  Our immediate priority is to work together for our neighbors struggling through these hard times.
When Republicans begin to govern, it is imperative that we communicate more effectively.  Eight years of a Republican presidency wreaked havoc on our economy and environment.  People suffered. There is no reason to believe that four or eight years of the same governance in Tennessee would be any different.  And on behalf of concerned Tennesseans of a younger generation, we will not be silent about a Republican Party that governs without regard for individuals and their families. 
My plan to lead our party into a new era starts as we develop our message and build a robust communications infrastructure. In the process of getting that message to every corner of the state, we will engage future candidates at every level of government; candidates concerned about improving their communities.  We will equip them to the best of our ability with media training, policy and research briefings, and by maintaining close contact with them throughout the election cycle.  As your chair, I will be on your side in the messaging battle.  We will present a unified voice to the people of Tennessee.
Your state party will be managed efficiently, utilizing the strengths of our volunteer-led groups and individuals.  My first goal is to eliminate wasteful spending and to trim excess, beginning with the salary of the chair.  I will propose that the roles of the chair and the executive director be combined for a probationary period.  I will propose new uses for updated technology and social networking tools.  Ironically, our current investments in technology have been more expensive to implement and manage because of a lack of understanding about their functions.  As a former director of a non-profit organization, I know how to manage an organization and its resources.  I have successfully raised capital and led a large team of staff and volunteers.  I propose we rethink our organizational structure at this critical time.

I will lead in such a way that the next party chair in 2012 will inherit a clear message for voters, an efficient organization, and a unified.  The Tennessee Democratic Party is not dependent upon one individual to implement a two or a four-year plan.  Thinking in those terms already limits us to the capabilities of an imperfect person.  Thinking in those terms also limits us to only two or four year plans. Together, as we strive for more perfect unity, we can become a force more powerful in our state. 

I have lived through the experiences that have made Tennessee a much different place than it was fifty years ago.  Through those experiences I have understood rural and urban voters.  I studied ministry at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and I respect the freedom of religion as much as those who choose not to practice any religion.  I grew up the son of a postal worker in Middle Tennessee, but I have mediated arguments between executive board members.  I have the leadership qualities that can bring us together at this point in time.  I respect the term of service that the current chair has offered to us, but he is incapable of uniting our party.  Integrity begins when we admit what we cannot do.  Courage is when we develop a plan to overcome our long odds.  Right now we must concentrate on these things first: establish our message as the minority party in Tennessee, build up our Democratic organization, and elect a unifying leader.  The least we can do is to leave Tennessee better than when we found it.  I plan to take my stand as someone willing to do that now, and to build up the future of our party.

I look forward to seeing you on January 8th in Nashville; and following that, I anticipate being in your districts immediately.  Have a happy New Year.
Respectfully submitted,

Wade Munday

Friday, December 24, 2010

The ONLY Video I Would Put Up for Feel Good Friday On Christmas Eve

It's Nat, of course.  May you all have the greatest Christmas ever, see you back Sunday or so with my take on the coming takeover of SCS by MCS, won't it be glorious?  Peace, friends.

Nat King Cole  The Christmas Song
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Monday, December 20, 2010


The MCS Board voted 5-4 to let the citizens of the City vote on whether to surrender the Charter, leading to merger with SCS.

And on the same night, the Bears CLINCHED the NFC North, whipping the Vikings 40-14 (note: Johnny Knox dropped a sure TD and knocked me out of my Fantasy playoffs).

Oh, and this picture makes me think that's Tomeka Hart looking down at Jeff Warren after the vote:

Courtesy AP and the Chicago Sun-Times

You have to read Ross today

Go check out his adapted version of A NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

Deflation - a Video

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jeff Warren: Peace In Our Time?

Yes, if you guessed that was a Neville Chamberlain reference, you would be correct.  My School Board Commissioner, whom I like and for whom I voted (and probably will again) has a well-meaning op-ed-piece in this morning's Commercial Appeal suggesting that we need to sit down and talk with our friends across the border of the city limits in Shelby County to prevent wholesale destruction of our county and city's educational systems.  Hell, I agree with a lot of his piece, until he writes this:

We also cannot legislate a conscience or sense of morality. We have proved that forced busing weakens public education. We have a more segregated MCS than we had before busing. Why does anyone think that forcing county residents (some of whom moved away from Memphis to get away from forced busing) to merge with MCS will produce different results? We need a different approach. We need MAD: Mutually Assured Dedication.
Just what does that entail? MCS would agree not to relinquish its charter and SCS would not accept special-school-district status. If either school district did not live up to the agreement, the other would be entitled to deal its trump card.
MCS automatically would be part of the new SCS special school district if SCS obtained that status. Likewise, SCS would automatically be allowed to form a separate special school district should MCS try to force consolidation by renouncing its charter.
Commissioner Warren suggests that we give up the last bit of leverage we have in this city? Sir, let me put this in the plainest of terms:  you do NOT negotiate with economic terrorists.  You do NOT try to shake hands with werewolves, you break out the silver bullets and SHOOT THEM.  APPEASEMENT DOES NOT WORK.  If he were alive, you could ask the aforementioned Mr. Chamberlain.

Commissioner, every Shelby County GOP legislator could try a faux attempt to stop such legislation (with a nod and a wink, no doubt) and watch "helplessly" as the SSD bill sailed through both houses and got signed by the Governor. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE POWER TO DO IT.  They have waited for 35 years to have this chance, and don't think for a second that they won't pass this legislation.

Oh, the residents of the areas in the county outside the city will cry and scream and threaten to sell their houses, but how many of them have underwater mortgages?  Think they will be ABLE to sell them at anything close to what they paid, even if this fails?  I'll let Senator Clay Davis of Baltimore, Maryland answer that one.

In short, we have them by the short and curlies, and we need to act NOW.  Monday is the earliest possible moment, and I urge EVERY MEMPHIS CITIZEN to contact their MCS Commissioner to urge them to vote for surrender of the MCS Charter.  Ok, don't bother with Reverend Whalum, he can't be moved, but work on the others.  We MUST surrender this charter; John Branston was spot-on in his Flyer column this week and he says the very same thing!

Ross also has a great piece up on this situation; he's more well reasoned and nicer about this than I am, but well, that's why you come HERE, isn't it?  :-)

I will end this by stealing a line from a guy who also happens to be from my old home town of Dixon, IL.  To paraphrase ol' Ronnie:


Thursday, December 09, 2010

We have a candidate in District 98!

Antonio "2Shay" Parkinson, the hardest-workin' man in Frayser and Raleigh, announced on Facebook that he is a candidate to succeed his mentor, the late Representative Ulysses Jones as representative of House 98.

While we do not yet know who else will run, I believe he would be the best candidate to succeed the North Memphis firefighter who became a powerhouse in Nashville.  I support Antonio for this office.

Here's a nice video from the Census Bureau that explains reapportionment

OK, time for Big Shelby's Democrats to get off their butts

In case you were doing other things yesterday, the Gov-elect, Bill Haslam, swooped into town long enough to grab our Attorney General, Bill Gibbons, and take him to Nashville as the state's incoming Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner.  Deputy AG Amy Weirich, who has served as deputy since August of this year, was named to succeed AG Gibbons, and she announced right then that she would seek a full 8-year-term in 2012.

All right, Democrats, what the hell are you going to do about this?  I yelled and screamed the last time Gibbons was up that someone needed to start raising money early and get ready to run.  No one did, Gail Mathes got in at that last minute, did what she could with little cash, and was summarily squashed.

What we do NOT need is some fool getting in the AG race with no money who thinks that just having the Democratic nomination will guarantee them victory; how did that work last August?  The SCDP, RIGHT FREAKING NOW, needs to start screening candidates, even though the actual election will not be until August 2012.  They need to find good candidates who understand how to run county-wide, and can raise the money to do so.  They need to find people who are WELL-QUALIFIED for the position, and tell those who have no money and are just looking for a job to stay the hell out of the race.

Yes, they DO need to do that.  Technically speaking, Democrats make up a majority of this county, yet our county offices are almost all held by Republicans.  Why?  Because even the good candidates that we had last year (and there weren't that many of them) couldn't raise any freaking money and depended on the Party to carry them.  Again, how'd that work for them?

(Ahem.  I am certainly aware of the problems with the Election Commission.  Yes, the machines sucked.   Yes, there were enough questions that the election should have been tossed.  But that was NOT why our African-American Democratic base did not turn out, and if you think so, you are deluding yourselves.)

So, Van Turner and the ExecCom, whatcha gonna do about this?  This is EXACTLY the type of thing that you folks need to be looking into.  Start recruiting candidates and doing what it takes.  By the way, you can find more than one; your job is to get as many as you can so that the base will be EXCITED about voting, and to discourage the people who run because they need a job from running.

Find candidates who won't be afraid to go to the eastern parts of the county to campaign (and not just at the G-Town meetings, either).  Find candidates who will do targeted mailings and knock on doors and not just go to rallies in the home areas.

Happy Holidays, SCDP, you have a big job to do, and you need to start NOW.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

30 years ago tonight

If you were, as I was, watching Monday Night Football, you heard Howard Cosell give us this awful news:

I will never forget it as long as I live.

Yoko has a lovely remembrance of John Lennon in the Times today.  He is still very much missed.

My friend Mike Brester took this photo of Strawberry Fields in Central Park:

Here's Rachel on Obama's Capitulation

Friday, December 03, 2010

A Late Feel Good Friday

NashvilleNewscoma, I see your Tori Amos and raise you Marvin and Tammi!

RIP Ron Santo

The legendary Cubs 3rd baseman (who should be in the Hall of Fame) and broadcaster for the last 20 years passed away this morning due to complications from bladder cancer.

It is a travesty that the Veterans Committee never voted him into the Hall of Fame.

I had the great fortune to be there in 2003 when his number 10 was retired at Wrigley Field, here's a picture of Ron talking to ESPN analyst Dave Campbell: