Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from your Cracker, and read Charlie Pierce

We will all muddle through somehow, as I go through a wonderful Christmas, which will be even more wonderful when my Susan gets back from Jackson this afternoon.

Charlie Pierce speaks of Judy Garland, muddling through, and I believe, hope, which is what we all need.  Just remember, we can get through this, and we will endure.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Carol Chumney is the Democratic nominee for AG

Courtesy Steve Mulroy; this picture of Carol with Jackson Baker and Steve Mulroy was taken on my back porch.

I have received texts confirming that Linda Nettles Harris and Glenn Wright have withdrawn their petitions for the Democratic primary for Attorney General, leaving Carol Chumney as our standard-bearer.  Now is the time to get behind Carol, who is running against interim Attorney General Amy Weirich, who was hand-picked by former AG Bill Gibbons.

Weirich, who is apparently too ashamed of the GOP to list on her signs that she is a Republican, is a career prosecutor.  The question that needs to be asked, however, is this: does a long list of prosecutions equal JUSTICE?  I am hoping that Carol makes JUSTICE FOR ALL a key part of her campaign.

Yes, of course I am supporting her, as should you, unless you LIKE the idea of an AG who only sees one side of an issue.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Carol's in for AG

Just sent to me in email:


            -Chumney Files to Run for District Attorney         
            Contact: 634-6540

Today, Carol Chumney, trial attorney, former Tennessee state legislator, and Memphis City Council woman,  filed to be the next D.A. vowing to bring equal justice to all—including white collar criminals, and to enforce the highest standards of professionalism.

            “At the local courthouse, the lady holding the scales of justice, is a symbol that in our country noone is above the law.”, says Chumney.  “I vow to protect our community from those who prey on the vulnerable, such as senior citizens who are scammed by con artists, children and youth from sexual predators, families from domestic abuse, workers who are not paid  equally for their work, and the trusting public that suffer abuses from even the most prominent professionals in our community—lawyers, doctors, and bankers . When I take office as D.A. noone will be above the law anymore.”

            As D.A. , Chumney will enforce the highest standards of professionalism to those who serve the public, starting with that office.  The D.A. will serve the citizens equally and provide justice for all.

            Chumney brings over 25 years of experience as an attorney in state and federal courts, along with 13 years of state legislative experience passing laws to protect citizens from criminals. She is the former President of the Memphis Federal Bar Association, served as an appointee to two Tennessee Supreme Court Commissions, and as an office of the House Judiciary and  Children & Family Affairs Committees. 

            During her career, Chumney has been recognized for her outstanding service by the local women’s bar, and earned statewide awards for her work to protect victims of domestic violence, and for consumer protection.  

Monday, December 05, 2011

Well, Mr. Jackson, we have a small problem here...

Otis Jackson, currently on suspension from his job as General Sessions Court Clerk due to the fact that he was indicted back in July, has apparently decided that it would be an admission of guilt NOT to run for re-election to his position.  Toward that end, he has pulled and FILED a petition for re-election.

My question to Mr. Jackson would be this: Why are you not focusing on preparing for your defense in your trial?  In putting up a fight for re-election, are you not placing your liberty and the security of your family in jeopardy?  What on earth are you thinking?

Sir, you are entitled to the presumption of innocence until and unless you are proven guilty in a court of law. However, the perception that occurs when ANY office-holder is indicted renders moot their ability to perform their duties.  I am rooting for your acquittal, Mr. Jackson; if and when that day comes, you would then be welcomed back as a candidate.

Until that day comes, you should NOT be involved in any elective campaign; you need to think of your family, your workers in that office, and your obligation to the County of Shelby to remove that cloud which now hangs over you.  Then, and only then, should you consider seeking office again.

Toward that end, if you do not withdraw your petition prior to the end of the withdrawal deadline of December 15 at noon, I will then petition the Shelby County Democratic Party to decertify you as a candidate in the Democratic primary.  The potential that you could take the entire Democratic ticket down with you, should you be renominated in March, is too great.  You may not be thinking of your party, sir, but I am.

I do not take this action lightly; however, as a Shelby Countian, I am tired of the endless problems with office-holders, especially those who run under the Democratic banner.

Enough is enough, Mr. Jackson.  Put your liberty first, and withdraw your candidacy.

Like I don't have ENOUGH going on..

At the suggestion of our beloved NEWSCOMA, I have followed her to Tumblr.  No, this is not going away; in fact, I have something to say about Otis Jackson later tonight. 

Tumblr is for people who are too ADHD for Twitter.  Need I say more? :-)

Watch this space later tonight, as long as Zippy doesn't pee in the floor!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I have a favorite new website...

It's, the website for my friend and now County Commission Candidate Steve Ross, who is running as a Democrat to fill the seat of Mike Carpenter.  Carpenter resigned to take a job in Nashville.

Ross, for those of you who are regular readers here, is the author of the Vibinc blog, and a stellar observer of local policy and politics and would be a terrific Commissioner, and I will support him.  I hope that you will as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heads up! I am on Fox 13 News tonight!

I am on during the 9-10 hour discussing the OCCUPY MEMPHIS movement with Darrell Greene and Mark Skoda of the Tea Party.

I think I did well; watch and decide for yourself!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jim Kyle Says NO To A Run For AG

I received this in email, as many of you did this morning:

Share This:
Dear Steve,
Approximately two weeks ago, several good Democrats contacted me to encourage me to run for District Attorney of Shelby County. I am writing you today to decline their generous offer of support, and wanted to take a moment to explain why.
As you are likely aware, my law partner suddenly passed away earlier this year. Aside from the unexpected loss of a good and dear friend, his passing meant that the future of the business we had spent years building was in question. At that time, I told my lawyers, staff and clients that if they stuck with me, we would continue to move forward. They did, and we have. It would be unfair of me to tell them six months later that I was leaving the practice that I had promised to keep together. I have always tried to do the right thing, and I know that this is the right decision for both my family and the people close to me.
Please know that I still believe that a candidate with strong, united Democratic support can be successful in Shelby County. That’s why I wanted to tell you of my decision before the filing deadline. I wish the circumstances were different, but I am nonetheless thankful for the encouragement and the belief that I could make Shelby County a better place.
Jim Kyle

Thursday, November 17, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: State Senator Eric Stewart Announces Run for Congress in Tennessee’s 4th District

Eric Stewart Announces Run for Congress in Tennessee’s 4th District
Will put small business and political experience to work creating jobs and balancing budgets
Winchester, TN – State Senator Eric Stewart announced today that he will run to represent Tennessee’s 4th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging to put partisanship aside so we can protect our nation’s commitment to seniors, create jobs to revive our economy and reduce our massive deficit.

“Congress is broken and all we see is fighting, political posturing and gridlock from the folks we sent there to work on our behalf and solve the serious problems we face,” said Eric Stewart. “People are struggling.  Unemployment remains too high, and our economy is sluggish at best. Illegal drug problems continue to increase and many small businesses are hanging on by a thread, if at all.  All the while, Congress is only focused on slinging mud and pointing fingers instead of taking action to create jobs and reduce our debt.  I’m running for Congress to bring common sense back to Washington and put the needs of the people ahead of special interests, rigid ideology and petty partisanship.”

Born and raised in Franklin County, Stewart has owned a small business, ran his family’s business and served as s county commissioner and state Senator. In 2002 Stewart defeated a 12-year incumbent to win a seat on the Franklin County Commission and won a hotly contested seat for the State Senate in 2008.  That year, Stewart defeated a well-financed Republican in the General Election despite large Democratic losses in the district.

As a county commissioner, Eric Stewart pushed for budget cuts within county departments, pay cuts for county commissioners, and he supported tax relief for senior citizens.  In the State Senate, Stewart championed tax relief for small businesses that put Tennesseans back to work as well as breaks for military families.  He has supported measures to reduce and eventually eliminate the sales taxes on food.  Focused on cutting government waste, Stewart has only voted for balanced budgets.  Stewart is also a staunch supporter of public education in Tennessee.  He has worked diligently to improve the public education system in Tennessee and fought for the rights of teachers, students and parents. 

“I come from a family of small business owners, educators and people who give back,” Stewart said.  “We need representatives in Washington who understand that the people of this district are struggling, and are willing to roll up their sleeves and find common ground to solve the problems our families, children and small businesses face.  My focus has always been on helping people, creating jobs and improving public education in a common sense, fiscally responsible way.  You can’t reach these goals when folks in Washington care more about toeing the party line and keeping their job than they do about helping folks back home.  I look forward to listening to the hopes and dreams of the voters in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district, and taking their voice to Washington.”
For more information on the campaign or to sign up for the newsletter to receive regular updates, please visit the campaign website,

Friday, November 04, 2011

SCDP Voter Registration Drive

Are you registered?
This weekend the Shelby County Democratic Party will be out in the community conducting a voter registration drive. SCDP volunteers will be staffing locations all over Shelby County as part of the Tennessee Democratic Party’s “Drive to 200,000″ program.

Volunteers will gather at the IBEW Hall, 1870 Madison Ave. at 9 am on Saturday November 5th, and fan out to locations all over the county from there.

If you would like to help with this program, simply show up at the IBEW hall on Saturday at 9am.

The state party has set a goal of registering 200,000 voters statewide to help increase participation in elections, and inform the public about the newly passed Voter ID law. For more information about this law, and other voting requirements click here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Might THIS be what Kroger plans for their new stores?

My pal Mike Brester took this picture today of a billboard at Shelby Drive and Getwell Road.  The board on the left is for Fry's Food Stores, a grocery store chain primarily in the Southwest, particularly in Arizona, but NOT YET FOUND in the Memphis area.

After looking them up, it appears that they are owned by the Kroger Company, who just bought out the Memphis stores of Schnucks.  I don't know much about Fry's; however, the question has arisen as to whether some of the Schnucks-turned-Kroger stores might wind up as Fry's.

That would certainly make sense for the old Schnucks/New Kroger on Truse Parkway, around the corner from Kroger's recently renovated Mendenhall store and down the street from the "Baby Kroger" on Perkins at Poplar.  At the every least, it would be a new brand of store in the market, and would hopefully increase the choices for Memphis grocery shoppers.

SCDP Chair Turner Regarding Title X Funding and the Start of the Contract with Christ Community Health Services

Chairman Turner Regarding Title X Funding and the Start of the Contract with Christ Community Health Services
MEMPHIS – Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman Van Turner released the following statement regarding the beginning of the contract with Christ Community Health Services  (CCHS) for Title X services:

“For over 35 years Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis (PPGMR) has served the people of Shelby County by providing comprehensive Family Planning Services to families in need.  Despite their expertise and years of dedicated service to the community, politics has once again invaded the issue of reproductive health, endangering the future of thousands of people who have come to rely on their services.”

“Starting in February with Republicans in the State Legislature, and continuing with political pressure from Governor Bill Haslam’s Office, the County Administration of Mayor Mark Luttrell and County Commission, Republicans have declared war on Planned Parenthood in a misguided crusade against a procedure not even covered by Title X funds.”

“Ignoring evidence and the requirements of their very own RFP regarding personnel, Mayor Luttrell’s Administration engaged in a bid evaluation process determined to ensure that no Title X funds would flow to the most experienced provider of said services for a purely partisan political purpose.”

“Adding insult to injury, the County Commission, including three Democratic members, voted to affirm the contract with Christ Community Health Services (CCHS), despite mountains of evidence found both in the response to the RFP and public statements made by high ranking officials in the organization that they were either unprepared or unwilling to abide by all the requirements of Title X.  This outcome is unacceptable.”

“This week marks the beginning of the contract with CCHS.  We hope they will abide by the terms of the contract to the same high standards set by PPGMR, but we are also outraged that our government officials, from the State down to the County level would place the people of this county in a position of relying on hope alone rather than evidence and experience.”

“The stakes of this decision are high.  Taking into account the rate of teen sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, infant mortality, and high poverty rates associated with unplanned pregnancies, we feel this decision is irresponsible, tone deaf and reckless considering the challenges facing our community.”


References– Page 15 of County RFP# 12-007-02 states: “Provider’s Personnel. The Provider certifies that it presently has adequate qualified personnel to perform all services required under this Contract…

Page 13 and 14 of CCHS’s proposal notes that it will have to hire 7 people to carry out the contract including 1- Women’s Health Services Director and 6 – Family Planning Coordinators.

Here's an idea: Draft Jim Kyle for District AG

There are, at this point, only three people in Shelby County who have the name recognition, legal background and ability to raise money to beat Amy Weirich in the District Attorney General's race.

AC Wharton is staying Mayor of Memphis, and Steve Cohen is quite happy being our Congressman.  That leaves Senator Jim Kyle, who in all probability will lose his Senate District in redistricting, and he should consider it.

Carol Chumney and Glenn Wright have been considering the race for some time now, but to start now would put either of them at a financial disadvantage that would be almost impossible to overcome.  (Full disclosure: I have been talking to Carol about a race for a few months now.)

However, given that the Governor and the state GOP have made this race a priority, we as Democrats have but one Shelby Countian to turn to at this time, and that's Jim Kyle.

He is well-known and well liked in this county, and has a deep track record of public service. Jim Kyle would make a great Attorney General, and I urge him to run.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Haslam Cracks Down on Occupy Nashville

I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose, that this came down from Governor Haslam via the Tennessee Department of General Services, who is trying to drive the Occupy Nashville group off the Legislative Plaza:

Effective immediately and until further notice, all assemblies and gatherings of persons on the State of Tennessee Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds areas in Nashville, Tennessee shall require a use permit from the Tennessee Department of General Services.  Use of any portion of the Capitol grounds also requires the approval of the Tennessee Capitol Commission.

The Department of General Services may issue permits upon proper application and satisfaction of use fees, security and liability insurance requirements for use of the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  

Special use permits for the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds during hours outside of the 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. period may be approved at the discretion of the Department on a case by case basis.

Notwithstanding the above, the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds areas are closed to the public from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. daily and no person shall enter upon those premises during this curfew period without specific authorization by the State of Tennessee.  In no event shall overnight occupancy of the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard or Capitol grounds areas be permitted by any group or individual.

The foregoing policy is issued under the authority of T. C. A.  § 4-8-101 and in the interest of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.  Issued this 27th day of October, 2011 by the Tennessee Department of General Services.
 Is this constitutional?   I don't think so, but I'm not a constitutional lawyer.  I hope Occupy Nashville has one advising them so as to fight this attempt to keep Tennesseeans from lawfully assembling and protesting.

More here from Sean Braisted and Mike Byrd.

Van Turner Responds

The SCDP Chair takes issue with my post below; I offer his response, unedited:


I appreciate our criticism, but I believe it is one-sided and horribly misplaced.  I believe your blog should read more along the lines of asking Carol Chumney or Glenn Wright to step-up.  As we had discussed before, these two candidates have been identified.  I have personally met with both and asked for them to step-up because I knew Amy was working hard.  Jackson Baker in his article even mentioned the fact these were the two possibilities on our side.  Numerous calls have been made to both Carol and Glenn to get one to step-up. 

Now, I also believe you shot down the convention idea.  The convention would have least identified a candidate in about two weeks because it would have forced Glenn and Carol to get off their respective fences and participate in the process.  Now, what you can expect is more fence-riding until the December 8th filing deadline unless one of them makes up their minds to announce soon. This is exactly what we were attempting to prevent.  As it stands now, Amy will have another month and a half to campaign and raise monies without an announced Democratic contender.  Hopefully, this public discussion will prompt either Glenn or Carol to expedite a decision. 

So, on one end you fault us for the convention idea.  On the other end, you fault us for not getting off our rear-ends and having a candidate by now.  Also, I take issue with your last comment.  I believe we need to run candidates who appeal in a general-wide election.  What happens too often is that the primaries are like municipal races which are typically dominated by African-American voters, but unlike the primary,  independents and moderates are the swing votes in the general election.  A quick review of the results from 2002, 2006 and 2010 support what I am saying.  Now, this still does not mean issues at the Election Commission have not been a factor, but we have to at some point recognize that a county-wide race (general) is different from a city-wide race (primary). 

The idea behind the convention was to attempt to present candidates who are electable in a general-wide election.  When Democrats won overwhelmingly in 2008, we had just those types of candidates back then:  (1) Judge John Fowlkes, (2) Paul Mattila, (3) Cheyenne Johnson, and (4) Otis Jackson.  I believe the data indicates the type of candidate who can win county-wide and the type of candidate who cannot. 

In conclusion, I again take issue with you blaming us for everything when we have presented ideas and presented potential candidates and have been shot down.  I think a more constructive approach would be to urge Glenn or Carol to make up their minds and run because they have been identified and both have demonstrated an interest in running.  I am copying my Executive Committee on this response, and if you can, please post my response.


Van Turner, Chair
Shelby County Democratic Party

So much for THAT idea.

Hey, y'all, remember THIS?  It was from December 9. 2010 begging, pleading with the SCDP to get off their collective butts and get a candidate for District Attorney General going and raising money.

Well, there has been lots of hemming and hawing but NO REAL ACTION.  It's too damn late now, people.  A friend of mine passed on a fundraiser invitation on behalf of Atty. General Amy Weirich, a $500 a head event hosted by Governor Bill Haslam.

On the list of the Host Committee are FIVE well-known Democrats, THREE of them former SCDP Chairs: John Farris, City Councilor Jim Strickland and Rev. Keith Norman.  Also on the list are current Councilor Shea Flinn (as is his father, former GOP Commissioner George Flinn) and former Councilor John Vergos, no one's idea of a conservative.

They make sure to note that there is a LIMIT per donation of $2800, so you can gather that the current AG will have a HUGE war chest that will be difficult for any Democrat to overcome.  Way to go, SCDP, great work!

If this doesn't send a message to those who think that all we have to do is turn out enough African-Americans and we will win, I don't know what to say.  How's that working for you, anyway?

Bad news for the University District: Mason YMCA to close at end of year

This email was just sent to members of the YMCA, and was forwarded to me by a member:

The Mason YMCA will close on December 31, 2011.

Our Metro Board of Directors made the decision after commissioning a comprehensive study by A2H & Associates of the building's maintenance and repair needs. It was determined that renovations would cost approximately $2.6 million to complete these repairs, plus another $2-3 million to bring the facility to contemporary Y standards.

"Because the Mason Y has been a Memphis institution for more than five decades, this is a particularly tough decision, yet it is one that is prudent for maintaining the financial health of the overall YMCA of Memphis and Mid-South," says Keith Johnson, President & CEO.

Mason Y patrons are members of our entire YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South system, so they can attend any of the other eight Ys located throughout the city.

One of the strengths of the Mason Y is its community development programs that have been such an integral part of our mission, programs such as English as a Second Language, Conversational Spanish and Multi-Cultural Achievers College Readiness, as well as other Y fitness and wellness programs.

We want to assure you that we remain committed to these programs and will offer them in the community and integrate them into other branches so that they continue to be accessible to those who enjoy them.

We are pleased that the Mason Y has been successful in engaging the Latino community and will continue to be committed to multi-cultural programming through other branches.

Our roots are very deep in the community surrounding the Mason Y and we have worked hard to provide services and programs that are meaningful and contribute to the greater good of the neighborhood.

"We regret that it is too costly to maintain upkeep and operations of this building, but we will remain dedicated to providing community outreach and fitness programs that will be accessible through other branches," said Johnson. "For the good of the neighborhood as well as the YMCA, we hope that suitable developers can be found who will make the highest and best use of the real estate while complementing the neighborhood's needs and environment."

Please don't hesitate to call us at any of our branches if you have questions and we assure you that the great traditions of the Mason Y will continue to build strong communities throughout Memphis and the Mid-South.
 This is a punch in the gut for the University District, which had seen some hope with the demolition of Highland Street Church of Christ, a sign that construction will eventually begin on Highland Row.

This, however, removes an institution of a half-century for the area.  As a former member, this leaves a gaping hole in the neighborhood, and I would rather they had built a new facility than leave it completely.  Additionally, this means there are NO YMCA facilities within the 240 loop.  Like so many of the churches in Memphis, the YMCA has abandoned the inner city, except for the Downtown Y.  It is a sad day for Memphis.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

CCHC is talking out of both sides of their mouth

Obviously stinging from public rebuke of their receipt of a contract which they are unable to fulfill, Dr. Rick Donlon of CCHC put a op-ed piece in today's CA

Let's address this point by point, shall we?

But what about the other concern? Will Christ Community improperly use public money to propagate a Christian viewpoint on abortion or other sexual issues?

First, we've stated publicly that we'll comply with the Title X regulations. It's no secret that we have profound moral and ethical objections to abortion, but we believe we can fulfill our contractual responsibilities without violating our consciences. Title X is not about abortion; it's about the provision of reproductive health services to the poor and uninsured. We have a solid 16-year record of providing those services to Memphis' most underserved communities.
While he is right, that is what it is SUPPOSED to be about, I am not aware that they have provided reproductive health services to the community.  Assuming that they have, they certainly have not done so with the depth and breadth that Planned Parenthood has done for many years.

Now, to the meat of the argument:

Second, while we make no apologies for our faith in Jesus Christ (it's the reason we do what we do), we never force that faith on our patients. Any discussion about religious or philosophical issues is conducted respectfully and only after obtaining the permission of the patient.

Through surveys, we've found that a significant majority of our patients are interested in discussing faith as part of their health. To exclude such an important aspect of their lives is at best an oversight and at worst medical malpractice. Those who say that conversations touching on religion between doctors and patients are always improper are effectively trying to muzzle people of faith.
Sir, you are accepting a contract from a secular organization, Shelby County Government.  It is NOT your job as a contractor of services for Shelby County Government to evangelize.  If one of your patients ask YOU about religion, that's one thing; to evangelize to someone who may not want or need it is a violation of TITLE X regulations. 

How do I know this will happen?  David Fowler of Family Action Council of Tennessee says they are working to put a "crisis pregnancy center" in CCHC.  This is a DIRECT VIOLATION of TITLE X regulations.  Supposedly Drs. Donlon and Waller have denied this, but there's the proof.  In fact, I called on Dr. Donlon in the comments to ask him about this:
LeftWingCracker writes:
Dr. Donlon, if this is so, why is David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee stating that they are working with you to put a "crisis pregnancy center" in your facility, which is a violation of Title X regulations? Here is the link, lest anyone think I am making this up -
 I await his response.

Friday, October 21, 2011

CCHC is going to need more than prayers

This came to me today from a friend, it appears that Christ Community is afraid that they may lose the contract for reproductive health services that, frankly, they are unprepared to provide:

Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 7:14 PM
Subject: Prayer Request - please forward
We would appreciate your prayers for the work of Christ Community in our efforts to serve those in low income areas of Memphis.  Our staff is composed of doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners, and support staff who have responded to God’s call to serve the poor.  Our highly talented and committed professionals choose to work here instead of pursuing more personally lucrative opportunities; in fact, nearly half of our professional staff live with their families in the neighborhoods we serve, including Binghampton, Orange Mound, and Frayser.  Ministry is 24/7 for them.

If you follow the local news, you are probably aware that Christ Community  competed for a family planning grant to provide services to low income uninsured people; these funds were previously awarded to Planned Parenthood.  Our application scored highest, we have been offered the program and we are now gearing up to begin the program in early November.  Please pray that we will have the endurance and integrity to withstand the onslaught of those who are intent on our failure.  Daily, we are confronted with refuting the half-truths and misstatements coming primarily for the leadership of Planned Parenthood.  Daily, we have needy people intentionally sent to us by Planned Parenthood  even though they are fully aware that we are not yet able to deliver the services. Their intent is to embarrass us and report to the local media that Christ Community is unable to deliver the care.  Today, we spent a goodly amount of time defending ourselves to a CA columnist questioning the correctness and legality of any member of our staff inviting a patient to attend church.   We expect these tactics will continue with the intent of damaging our reputation and ability to serve. 

We are strengthened by the prayers of others on our behalf.  Even though our days now appear troubled, we are comforted by the love of Christ, by the remembrance of His suffering on our behalf, and the knowledge that God will prevail.
Please pray for Christ Community. If you have a network of prayer warriors, feel free to pass this along and ask them to pray on our behalf, too.


Burt (and Sandra, too)

Burt  Waller
Executive Director
Christ Community Health Services
2595 Central Ave.
Memphis, TN    38104

Understand here, outside of reproductive health issues, I have heard they do a fine job of providing care to those who cannot access other means of healthcare.  I would not question their commitment in areas other than reproductive health.

However, when it comes to reproductive health, their beliefs, no matter how deeply held, prevent them from providing the type of care REQUIRED BY FEDERAL TITLE X REGULATIONS.

To continue with this contract means that there is a real likelihood that Shelby County will LOSE these funds, ensuring that more generations of working and indigent women will NOT receive the healthcare necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Forget the abortion issue; the Hyde Amendment prevents Federal funds from being spent to provide abortion.  This is about reducing working and indigent women's access to birth control, which will only result in MORE unwanted pregnancies, not less.  THIS is why so many of us are enraged at the actions of the County Commission.

Simply put, Christ Community needs to withdraw from this contract for which they are unable to provide necessary services.  To do any less would be antithetical to what they have stood for prior to this contract.

UPDATE: Aunt B has a great follow-up to this post, pointing out something I had overlooked.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Democrats sink Planned Parenthood; so what do we do about this?

I presume you are all in shock, as I am, that THREE Democrats voted to take the Title X contract to provide reproductive health services away from Planned Parenthood and give them to Christ Community Health Centers

First, let's give props where they are due: Chairman Sidney Chism, along with Commissioners Henri Brooks, Walter Bailey and Melvin Burgess stood with Planned Parenthood and voted not to do this.  Sidney, if you run for General Sessions Court Clerk, I want a sign for my yard.

Who split and voted with the GOP contingent? James Harvey (apparently still looking for relevance after having been soundly rejected for Mayor of Memphis), Justin Ford (who apparently was LYING to Planned Parenthood supporters), and.........

Steve Mulroy.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Steve Mulroy.

How many progressive women (and men) worked their asses off to elect him TWICE to this Commission, gave him money, stood behind him when he made curious votes, and thought he would be a great candidate for higher office?  A hell of a lot.

He put a note on Facebook last night explaining his decision.  Go read it, I will wait.  Also, read the comments afterward.  He called me last night; I won't go into what we said, and I didn't ream him out, I was still in shock.

What he says is interesting, what he DOESN'T say moreso.  He does NOT say that he voted for the prevailing side in order to maintain vigilance in monitoring so that the contract may be revisited.  What does that tell me?

That he hedged.

On arguably the most important vote he has made as a Commissioner, he hedged, turning his back on women who supported him, many of them former (and, in some cases, CURRENT) patients of Planned Parenthood.  This is not going to be forgotten any time soon, if ever.

I understand his vote would not have flipped the result, and that he and James Harvey are term-limited, and we really have to live with them for the next three years.  But the symbolism of Steve Mulroy, darling of the Democrats, voting to pull the contract away from Planned Parenthood, is overwhelming.

And Steve is a smart enough guy to understand this.  THAT'S why a lot of us are stunned and hurt right now.

Oh, and Justin Ford? Do not EVER run for anything outside your little corner of Southwest Memphis again, pal; we will come AFTER you.


Given that Mayor Mark Luttrell (who is taking his cues from ALEC, the Koch Brothers-funded plan to gut government) is telling the Health Department what to do, it would not surprise me if it is their plan to do this so that the funds will be lost.  (Hey Democrats that voted for Luttrell, how ya feelin' right now? Sick as a dog? GOOD, because it's YOUR fault he is in there.)

My Aunt Kathy noted very succinctly that "many supporters of Planned Parenthood were there and their concerns do not seem to have been heard."  Exactly.  They and the thousands of women who depend on Planned Parenthood were cast out yesterday, with people who asked for their vote (and GOT IT) helping to cast them out.

This will not be forgotten, Commissioners.

UPDATE: Preach it, Aunt B.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I haven't said anything to this point about Curry Todd, and his DUI, but...

Well, as you know, Rep. Curry Todd (R- Collierville) was arrested for DUI in Nashville the other day.  He has become a national joke as the legislator who passed the Guns In Bars bill yet gets pulled over for DUI with a loaded weapon in the car.

Todd WAS the chair of a guns task force that had yet to meet, and he resigned from it.  Yet, as of this writing, he remains the Chair of the powerful State and Local Government committee, which controls redistricting.  Todd, to his credit, said he would discuss with Speaker Beth Harwell to see if he should leave that chairmanship as well.  Harwell, apparently on a trip with her daughter, has made little or no comment.

The TNDP, finally showing the fight many of us have been waiting to see, demanded Todd's resignation not only from his chairmanship, but from his seat.  Well, we can let the votes decide the latter, but their heart was absolutely in the right place.

Then, surprisingly, Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory), the Democratic House Caucus Chair, came out in a defense of Todd, for which he was smacked hard by the Nashville Scene's Jeff Woods.

Woods was not alone; my friend Steve Ross called out Turner, whom he respects, in this spot-on post.  For that, he received criticism from several people, directly and indirectly.  However, Ross, who had been in a wreck in his youth when he and his family were hit by a drunk driver, wrote back strongly:

The reality is, this probably wasn’t Curry Todd’s first time behind the wheel drunk either. It was the first time he got caught. Studies suggest drunk drivers get behind around 100 times before getting caught. Anything that minimizes this is a disservice to society.

It hurts my soul to say I agree with Ron Ramsey, but I do. Throw the book at him. I don’t have any pity for Curry Todd. He made a choice, a really bad choice, and he’ll have to live with the consequences. But don’t call it a mistake. That sounds way to accidental to me. This was no accident.

I don’t usually do these emotional outbursts. I like to try to be the rational one.
This pissed me off to my core, and my experience with drunk drivers is why.

In short, CURRY TODD COULD WELL HAVE KILLED SOMEONE.  WREG is reporting that Todd no longer lives in his district and that he recently underwent a divorce.   You know, I don't want to kick a man when he is down, but if his personal problems are preventing him from representing his district, then he has decisions to make.

And to my friends in the Legislature on both sides who are protecting him, don't.  Curry Todd is a grown man who willfully accepted the responsibilities of a public servant.  He made CHOICES, as Steve Ross noted, and he made bad ones.

This is beyond politics; one reason that people are giving up on politics in these parts is that they see absolutely NO ACCOUNTABILITY in Government any more.

Curry Todd must pay for what he did, with his chairmanship, if not his seat, and hopefully that will send a message to everyone in BOTH houses and the Governor's Mansion that people are sick of this crap.

Don't worry about Todd; he has a pension as a retired MPD officer, and in a few months he will probably get a cozy job in the Haslam Administration if he is forced to leave the General Assembly.

Legislators, it's time to stop protecting each other and start protecting your constituents.  Understand?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The One Where Some Of Us Try To Prevent The SCDP From Doing Something Stupid And Costly

First, I want you to read this post from my friend Gale Jones Carson, former SCDP Chair, longtime secretary of the TNDP and also a Democratic National Committeewoman.  In short, folks need to read this and pay attention; I will comment further afterward:

The Shelby County Democratic Party will be voting this Thursday nightOctober 13, 2011, to have a Convention rather than a Democratic Primary in March 2012

This is a major problem for several reasons: 
*     The Party would have to have the Convention next month so that they can meet the Election Commission's Dec. 8 deadline for names of the Democratic nominees to go on the March 2012 ballot.

*     Pulling together a Convention in ONE month is not practical -- no rules already established, location, money for public notices that many will not see, etc.

*   Thousands of Democrats vote in every election and normally there's only about 200 to less than 400 people who become delegates for a Convention (about 350 for the 2011 Reorganization Convention) with only 30 plus to about 80 plus people/delegates actually being able to vote for the Party Chairman and Officers.

*     Thousands of people vote in our Democratic Primaries but never participate in Democratic Party Conventions or other events/activities -- this right should not be taken away from them. During the 2008 primaries, 96,430 votes were cast in the Democratic column – President Barack Obama received 68,516 votes and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received 27,914 votes. This election is used as an apples to apples comparison because if we are to have a Primary in 2012, it would be during the March Presidential Primary in which the same candidate (President O'bama) would be on the ballot.

*     During a Primary, Democratic Voters have 10 days to vote early and participate in absentee voting if needed -- not so with a Convention. These two rights alone are taken away with a Convention.

*     Having a Convention rather than a Democratic Primary is unprecedented in Shelby County.

Democrats all over the Country are complaining that right to vote is being taken away from senior citizens, minorities and many Democrats, how is that different from what the Shelby County Democratic Party will be doing if the Executive Committee votes to have a Convention as opposed to giving all Democrats in Shelby County the right to vote in March 2012?

Hopefully, the Shelby County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee will vote to give ALL Shelby County Democrats the right to vote in the March 2012 Primary.

In addition, there is a precedent for moving the County primary to the date of the Presidential Primary in Presidential years: this has been done since our first County primary in 1996.  It costs the SCDP ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do this.  Repeat, it costs the SCDP ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do this.

Now, in order to hold this convention, a building will have to be rented, costing the SCDP money that it needs to do little things like HAVE A HEADQUARTERS, or SUPPORT THEIR NOMINEES IN AUGUST AND NOVEMBER. Little, unimportant things like that.  Why, then, should there be a Convention (when, in fact, they are going to have to spend money on a separate Convention to pick Obama and uncommitted delegates to Charlotte 2012?) when a primary that has worked in the past can and will work again?

Are you as concerned about this as we are?  GOOD.  Find your Executive Committee member here, and call or email them and tell them to stop this foolishness NOW.

PS. If you don't know what State House District you live in (AND WHY DON'T YOU?) go here to find out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

From Senator Jim Kyle and the LWV

As you may know, the Tennessee General Assembly is undergoing the once-a-decade process of redrawing the statewide districts to reflect the growing and shifting population. In order to raise awareness about this important process, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee is currently holding a contest to see which citizen of Tennessee can draw the best Congressional, State Senate and State House maps. Below is an invitation to a screening of the documentary Gerrymandering this Wednesday at The Evergreen Theater in Memphis. I encourage you to attend, and to explore
The League of Women Voters of Tennessee invites the public to a free screening of Gerrymandering, a documentary that takes a nonpartisan approach to educating citizens about the implications of redistricting – the redrawing of congressional and state electoral boundaries based on new census data. The documentary will be screened on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP to   
Location:         The Evergreen Theatre           
1705 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, Tenn.
Time:               Wednesday, Oct. 12
                        Film – 6:30 p.m.
Cost:                The event is free and open to the public.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Heads up!

I just received this from newly re-elected Councilor Myron Lowery -

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Was anyone really surprised at the election results?

I wasn't; AC Wharton got 65% of the vote, but I am really curious to see what his percentage was in primarily African-American precincts; I suspect Ed Ford Sr. did a lot better than any of us expected in those precincts.  He might have gotten 50% of the African-American vote. 

ALL Incumbents won in the Council races; Paul Shaffer was out raised in 9-1 by a 2-1 margin, and he lost by a 2-1 margin.  Of course, it can also be successfully argued that SD 9 contains one part Midtown, one part East Memphis and one part Cordova, and that favors more right-leaning candidates like Conrad.  So, sadly, Mr. Real Estate was returned.

The fun part of the night for me was watching Kemba Ford lead in District 7 for all but the last part, trailing presumptive favorite Lee Harris by a mere four votes at the end but ensuring that they will face each other in a runoff.  Harris, who had supporters ranging from Mayor Wharton to County Commissioner (and fellow UM law professor) Steve Mulroy, did not do as well as expected.

Indeed, the main question for many of us was whether Harris would avoid a runoff.  Now, he is in a runoff with someone with higher name recognition, which is critical in an election that will have an even lower turnout percentage than this one.  Both Ford and Harris need to spend most of their time between now and the election day knocking on doors and pleading with their people to turn out.  That will determine the Council's 13th member for the next four years.


From Drinking Liberally - Memphis:

The hosts of Drinking Liberally Memphis announce that they have made the decision to return to Midtown as requested by many of the regulars and will begin meeting at the Dublin House at 2021 Madison Avenue at Morrison Street Thursday, October 6 at 7 PM. 

Our hosts made this decision after hearing from former attendees and from current regulars who felt this was the right decision.

Dublin House has a great menu and great staff ready to serve you.  We have space for speakers and plenty of room for new members as well as old regulars who will be rejoining us.

Please be sure to join us for our Opening Night/Election Night party with Drinking Liberally Memphis Thursday Night, October 6 at 7 PM!

Wait, there's an election today?

Yeah, it sure hasn't seemed like it, has it?

Ok, here's who I voted for and who I would have voted for if I lived in their district:

Mayor - AC Wharton (reluctantly)

District 5 - write-in (sorry, Jim Strickland, can't let you just walk in!)

SD 9-1 - Paul Shaffer, because he is the best man for the job and I am tired of developers running everything.

SD 9-2 - Shea Flinn, despite voting with the White Brigade so often, does a very good job and asks the right questions.

SD 9-3 - I wrote in Steve Ross, because Reid Hedgepeth was inexplicably unopposed.  And we wonder why there was low turnout.

City Court Clerk - Thomas Long -the most underrated public servant we have, needs to think about higher office.


Council 1 - Kendrick Sneed - because Bill Morrison turned his back on those who got him elected, and began to suck up to Steve Gaines.  Fool me once, maybe, but not twice.

Council 2 - Sylvia Cox - she would be a progressive voice in the hinterlands, she faces an uphill battle against Bill Boyd, who knows where the bodies AREN'T buried.

Council 4 - Wanda Halbert - cringe all you want to, but look at her challengers and tell me there's someone better.  Every time I ask her about something, she responds, whether I necessarily agree.  She is the best in her field.

Council 6 - Edmund Ford, Jr. - if it were HIM running for Mayor instead of his father, I would be leading the parade on his behalf.  A thoughtful, hardworking Councilor, he deserves as many terms as the law will allow.

Council 7 - Scott Banbury - He lives and works in the district, and in Cypress Creek, not Harbor Town.  He may not be the candidate of the Poplar Corridor, but he's the right choice for this district.

SD 8-1 - sorry, I just can't recommend anyone here.

SD 8-2 - Janis Fullilove - Yes, we are all sadly aware of Janis's personal problems, how can we miss them?  At the end of the day, she votes correctly more often than not.  I wish she could get past her past, this is her last chance.

Harold Collins (3), Jim Strickland (5), Myron Lowery (8-3) and Reid Hedgepeth (9-3), as well as the City Court Judges were unopposed.  For the record, Lowery would get my vote in a heartbeat, and probably Strickland too, despite voting with the White Brigade.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Good writing everywhere that you should read

First, Steve Ross (who is seeking appointment to Mike Carpenter's vacated Commission seat, by the way) has a series on the war on Planned Parenthood.  Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here to see how all of this is an effort to hurt the women who relying on their NON-ABORTION services, which make up 97% of what they do.  Part 3 is in the pipeline.

Next, our beloved Newscoma writes of shared sacrifice and the real villains who are out there pillaging the 99% of us who are struggling to make a living.  It is, as one would expect, a terrific piece of writing.

Take the time to read all of them; it reminds us that there are those who are fighting back against the internal evil that is trying to destroy us and turn the USA into a third-world nation.