Saturday, April 29, 2006

Selling Public Forests

The Federal Government has a plan to sell public forests here to pay for rural schools in other states. Think it's stupid? The public comment period ends Monday so contact the U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth before then. The phone number is (202) 205-1661.

Lamar Better Watch His Back...

I've gotten two emails from the Kurita campaign lately, and she's hitting a talk show this weekend. Methinks the lady does not want her email list to go away.

Genocide in Darfur.

Please go and check out autoegocrat's (and here) and freedonian's blogs on Darfur.

Friday, April 28, 2006

About the National Anthem Controversy...

My take on it is that the National Anthem should only be sang in a true-blue American language... Navajo or Sioux...

Final Early Voting Election Numbers

Thanks again to Gale Jones Carson.

Black 6,847 (41.5%)
White 7,530 (45.6%)
Other 2,119 (12.8%)

Republican 7,207 (43.7%)
Democrat 9,288 (56.3%

I have a feeling there will be a lot of these posts...

Thanks to the Cracker for starting this one off.

This came from Ron Redwing today:
The Plan to Seek Clarity out of Confusion WHEREAS in the Ninth (9th) Congressional Race, we have multiple candidates. Many of the Candidates are not known well enough to be elected and will only divide the vote. For the first time in thirty (30) years Memphis could be without African-American representation in the U. S. Congress... They have held political forums with the objecitve of listening to the various candidates and conducting straw votes in search of a consensus Candidate for the 9th Congressional Race.

He goes on, as has Lasimba Gray to ask that there be a consensus black candidate.

At a previous forum, an issue was also made about Steve's religion (Steve Cohen is of course who this is all about.)

I'm not going to say that skin color shouldn't come up as a factor in this race, because this is Memphis and skin color ALWAYS comes up in everything.

However, let's look at Steve Cohen's voting record. Let's look at Julian Bolton's record. Let's look at the state rep who jumped into the race's record (I'm drawing a blank on his name.) Let's look at everyone else's record. What? You can't? You can look at the record of Bolton and Cohen and make a reasonable guess of what kind of Congressmen they would be. You can't do that with the others. Please show me how Sen. Cohen's record would be harmful and totally out of line with the black community?

Is Ford's record more in line? Will Tinker's be? Will Redwing's be?

Going by the logic that a majority black district must never have anything but a black representative, then Tennessee (Ford Jr.) and Illinois (Obama) should only ever have white Senators. That's BS. I'd vote for Obama if I had half a chance, and I'll be voting for Ford as well.

Maybe we should trust voters to make the right decision instead of trying to power-broker the race down. This is a Democracy last I checked, and no candidate has the responsibility to bow out just just to mantain a certain racial division.

I'm fine with a black candidate winning. There are several I like quite a bit as I have mentioned in several posts. What I'm not fine with is hearing that a white candidate running is somehow trying to "steal" a seat. We like to complain about racial division in this city, but it's not only racist whites who are prejudiced. I hear people complain often (if you're on the EC you can probably name one name right off the bat) that white Democrats won't vote for Black Democrats in county-wide races. (I have on countless occasions. Joe Young and A.C. Wharton among others just a few days ago, but I'm not saying there aren't some who don't.) It looks like that street runs both ways, though.

Politics isn't a civil game, but we are all Democrats, and it is hard to join hands again in the general when things get too nasty which they may well. If Cohen best represents the district, great. If Redwing does, great. Let's leave it at that.

Shout Out to Bill Whitman!

This isn't an endorsement, but I do want to use this post to give a shout out to 9th Congressional District Candidate Bill Whitman. Bill has an excellant website with quite a bit about issues for a change. He also held his own back at the DFM candidate forum a few months back despite not having any prep time or being given the questions like the other candidates were (I believe he had just jumped in the race that day or the day before.) He has a campaign blog which is a fun side dish. This post is going up because Bill hasn't been afraid to take stances even if those stances are going to bite him in the butt with many people, he is young, smart, and fresh, and is quite open and approachable.

Let's take a look at the guy on the issues:
1. He takes Bush to task on the deficit.
2. He supports a living wage.
3. Along with Stanton at the forum, he addressed the insane issue of our 3rd-world-country rate of infant mortality.
4. He wants to protect social security from risky privatization schemes.
5. He's against the senseless war.
6. He wants to increase funding for Peace Corps and Americorps.
7. He say's he's pro-life in all aspects (against abortion, senseless wars, our insane healthcare system, etc.)

In short, he's a fiscally moderate, pro-life, progressive Democrat.

Some would try to argue those first two don't go with the third, but I don't buy that. Democrats are the party of fiscal sanity, and you can be a good Democrat even without being 100% pro-choice. He's doesn't seem to be very different from where I am on the issues.

Memphis could do much worse, and I think he should get more attention than he has. That doesn't mean he's the candidate I'll be in the trenches with, but it does mean that he is a candidate that has my respect and best wishes.

Mulroy Canvassing

If you want to be part of taking back the County Commission then why not hop on over to 755 South Graham with me Saturday at 10 or Sunday at 1 for the last weekend push for Steve Mulroy?

Congressional Endorsements...

I've had many, many people asking if I am going to make an endorsement and work for a candidate in the 9th District race or if I will stay neutral. I've been more concerned with the local primaries, but I will stick my big nose in that as soon as May 2 ends. I've got a distinct preference in that race, but I'll wait until May 3rd to jump into that campaign. In the mean time, I'd love to have ya'll's thoughts on this race. Who do you like? Who do you hate? I already know P-Donkey's falling head over heels for Nikki Tinker, but what about all the rest of you? It's no secret that I like Steve Cohen, Joseph Kyles, Ed Stanton, and Tyson Pratcher. Steve's record of fighting for progressive values can't be beat. Kyles can go off like a preacher and stir you up. Stanton is fighting hard, doing well, and brings up the issue of our abysmall infant mortality rate, and Tyson is a charming, smart guy with connections to spare. I'm turned off by Nikki Tinker's reluctance to talk about issues and come to forums. Ron Redwing and White got me riled up at the DFM forum by going on an anti-immigrant rant. Fairly or unfairly, I'm not going to support Joe Ford Jr. no matter what he does because a Congressional seat is not a family heirloom to be passed from generation to generation. Now your turn... Flame away...

Last Chance...

Are you tired of candidates who want your vote but don't care about you? Are you sick of the media not focusing on what really matters? Does it drive you crazy when candidates who shouldn't be allowed out of the house win elections to run our communities and country? Don't tell me. Tell them.

This is it. The weekend before election day is here. If you haven't already, find a candidate you like and get out there for them. This weekend and Tuesday (Election Day) are your final opportunities in quite a few races to have an effect. Voting's a start, but just think how much more right you can have to complain when you actually bust your butt for a candidate you support. Democracy is a powerful tool, use it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

There's a New Blogger in Town

Check out a new blog by fellow DFMer, Rick Maynard.

Going Negative...

First off: This is me ranting, and NOT from the Mulroy campaign in any way.

If Joe Cooper wants to go negative and try to paint Steve Mulroy as unethical, maybe turnabout is fair play. Instead of trying to run a positive, issue-based campaign, maybe Steve should have been out there saying:

Joe Cooper served a term in prison for crimes committed when he served on the County Court (what the county commission was called back then) as a Republican.

In the 1970's Joe ran as the Conservative Republican alternative to a Republican Conservative Congressman.

He has repeatedly advocated selling off Shelby Farms, one of the treasures of our county.

I've heard from several sources about having signs put in their yard by the Cooper campaign without permission, stealing of Mulroy signs, surveys that are erroneously attributed to the Mulroy campaign, etc.

And the list of treasures could go on.

Of course Steve didn't do that. He talked about being a community activist, ensuring the integrity of our voting system, fighting the debt, creating jobs, protecting parks, etc. How dare he? The unethical bastard! (Oh and didn't Cooper say in the CA that he would move into a different city council seat to run for that seat? Can we spell hypocrite? Apparently the pro-Cooper person who has commented on my blog can't.)

Letter From Rick Maynard

I was watching Dateline last night and saw an interesting news promo. “He represents Ophelia Ford and is running for County Commission. But did Steve Mulroy’s wife commit voter fraud?” Having met Mr. Mulroy before, I found this a bit surprising, so I watched your news coverage.

And I feel that a round of congratulations to your news staff are in order. For you have managed to find voter fraud where there was indeed no vote cast. A first in the annals of crime, I do believe. After last night’s story, I’m genuinely looking forward to your hard hitting exposé of the car theft ring that never actually stole a car.

For a moment, I thought I was watching “Minority Report”, and you were covering crimes that had not even been committed yet. Even that fails to make sense, as Amy Mulroy updated her voter registration before ever casting a vote that was tied to that address and well before your would-be Sean Hannity called it “voter fraud”.

As I watched your coverage of the voteless “voter fraud”, I asked myself “Are these people supporters of Joe Cooper’s? Were they perhaps starstruck by him getting that master thespian Larry the Cable Guy to do his automated calls?”

Then I saw your coverage of the gas crisis. In that “Fair and Balanced” piece, your news team managed to complain about Democrats making an issue out of high gas prices more than you complained about the high gas prices themselves, which were a byproduct of several failed Republican-instituted policies. If all of your coverage looked like that, you would accuse the widow of a murder victim of being a “whiner” and let the killer off the hook.

Alone, the Mulroy hatchet job didn’t tell me much. Coupled with your gas crisis story (“While the president has ordered an investigation into price gouging, some say Democrats are using the gas price issue for their political gain”), it becomes much more apparent what was actually happening.

Your ham-fisted attempt at influencing the political process has been duly noted. I hear there’s an opening at Fox News--- Perhaps you should submit résumés. This kind of coverage would fit right in over there. For the record, I hope I’m being overly harsh on you. I don’t watch your newscast as often as I should, and perhaps last night was an aberration rather than a pattern.

But you can bet I’ll be watching closely for the remainder of this election season. And I sincerely hope that I’ll see less coverage out of your news team that reads like something written by Mike Fleming.

Rick Maynard

Joe Cooper's Suit Dismissed

Joe Cooper's lawsuit challenging Steve Mulroy's lawsuit has been dismissed.

Political Crap

This is bullshit. I have to get back to my job rather than commenting on this stupid crap. Before I do, however, let me ask a rhetorical question. Anybody find it amusing when Cooper is attacking another candidate about ethics?,1426,MCA_1496_4653408,00.html

After you vote...

If Drinking Liberally is too college for you, why not head north into Naifeh Country for Coon Day?

Early Voting Statistics...

Thanks to Gale Jones Carson for this:

Early voting ends Thursday, April 27, 2006
As of Wednesday, April 26, 2006 8,539 people have voted.

Black 3,451 (40.4%)
White 4,021 (47.1%)
Other 1,067 (12.5%)

Republican 3,746 (43.9%)
Democrat 4,792 (56.1%)

Male 3,642 (42.7%)
Female 4,895 (57.3%)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Not Bad Choices...

Pesky weighs in on who should replace Ophelia in the interim, and I can't deny that they fit well.

Joe Young's Ad

Joe Young asked me to cut a radio ad for him at 680 AM. Here's the text that will be running:

Hi. This is David Holt. As a Vice Chairman of the Shelby CountyDemocratic Party and operator of the blog "Confessions of a West Tennessee Liberal", I have had the privilegeof working with Joe Young in various roles within the Democratic Party. And there are few people who I could say are as intelligent, honest, and hardworking. Joe brings the kind of efficiency, honesty, and work ethic that we desperately need in Shelby County government.

I'm also a Memphis City Schools teacher and have been constantly impressed by what a great role model Joe has been for his children whom you rarely see him without. I am proud to cast my vote for my friend, Joe Young, for County Clerk, and I hope you will be as well.

Progressive Pep Rally

Organized by: Democracy For Memphis Democracy for Memphis is hosting a house party to fire up progressive activists for this year's campaign season. This party, which we're calling a "Progressive Pep Rally" will be held on Saturday, May 6 at 6:30 PM.Aside from a great networking and social event, the Progressive Pep Rally will be the venue for the Memphis premiere of the Academy Award-nominated documentary film, "Street Fight", which depicts an upstart progressive candidate fighting an entrenched machine politician to become mayor of Newark, New Jersey.Our Progressive Pep Rally will be part of a series of house party events all across Tennessee that links Democracy for America supporters across the state together via conference call to form a campaign plan to elect progressive candidates this year. Special guests on this conference call will be Jim Dean, Chairman of Democracy for America, Adam Werbach, president of Ironweed Films, and other special guests to be announced.The Progressive Pep Rally will be held at Neil's Bar & Grill, which is located at 1835 Madison Ave. in Midtown. Donations of $20 per person (or more) are requested and will go to Democracy for Tennessee's PAC, which is committed to electing the next generation of progressive candidates all across the state, up and down the ballot.Candidates are invited to attend, as are Democratic and progressive activists. For more information, contact Brad at 237-2563 or Event Date: Saturday, May 6, 2006 Event Time: 6:30 PM Venue Name: Neil's Bar & Grill Address: 1835 Madison Ave. City: Memphis State: TN Zip Code: 38104 Phone Number: 901-278-6345 Website:

Help Reginald Fentress Win!!!

Event Title:
Leading By Listening-door to door
Event Type:

Organized by:
Democracy For Memphis

First of all,I want to thank all of you who have given of your time, and effort in our campaign to elect Reginald Fentress to the County Commission.Now we are entering the final leg of this race, and Fentress needs our help just one more time. This Saturday Reginald will be once again be going door to door, answering people's questions, talking about real solutions, but mostly listening to their thoughts, ideas and concerns. The Fentress Campaign is looking for volunteers to canvass across the district. Fentress himself will be in the field and would like to have you join him.This Saturday at 10:00am at the Home Depot at 1627 Poplar Avenue at the corner of Poplar and Avalon. However if you cannot attend, or live inside district two you can really help by volunteering to canvass your own neighborhood. Democracy For America is about people powered politics, so let's roll up our sleeves and get to it.*****Those seeking to canvass around their own neighborhood should contact Brad Watkins at 901-237-2563, be contacted and supplied materials.

Event Date:
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Event Time:
10:00 AM Central

Venue Name:
Home Depot
1627 poplar ave
Zip Code:
Phone Number:

Jackson Day

Because I am about to again be an impoverished student (albiet significantly less impoversished than in undergrad because I can now mooch off my lovely, gainfully employed wife) I wasn't planning on going to Jackson Day. Unless there was a horrible typo, though, it looks as if the tickets this year are only $40. That's not too bad.

JACKSON DAY TICKETS ONSALE: Ticket sales began Monday, April 24 for this year'sJackson Day celebration, which will be held on Saturday, June 24 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Tickets may be purchased byvisiting the Tennessee Democratic Party web site ( or by contacting your county party chairperson. Ticketspurchased by Saturday, June 3 will cost $40 apiece. The price for all tickets purchased after that date-including those bought at the door on June24-is $50. Guest speakers are Governor Phil Bredesen ( and 2004 Democraticpresidential candidate General Wesley Clark ( "The theme of thisyear's Jackson Day is Tennessee Democrats: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman BobTuke said. "We will focus on Tennessee values, including Americana and patriotism." Tuke added that he expects to be joined at the historichome of the Grand Ole Opry by well-known music and sports celebrities. "With our party's strength coming into the elections, we'll have people fromaround the state gathering to build momentum for a Democratic sweep this fall," he said. Click here for a sneak peek at the artwork for the Jackson Dayprogram and posters.

Republicans Embrace Recycling...

This is great. I love Bob Tuke.

REPUBLICANSFINALLY EMBRACE RECYCLING: In honor of Earth Day, TennesseeDemocratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke congratulated his statewide counterparts in theRepublican Party for finally embracing recycling by reusing "three failed candidates from the DonSundquist era" in the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by BillFrist. "Rather than letting Ed Bryant, Bob Corker, and Van Hilleary languish on the junk heap of Tennesseepolitical history, the GOP rolled them back out so voters can reject them again," Tuke said. "I guess it's admirable that they have finally seen thevalue of reprocessing their castoffs." Calling them members of the "Sundquist Class of '94," Tuke noted that all three of the GOP Senate candidatesappeared on the statewide political scene in the same year that the pro-income-tax former governor won Tennessee's highest office: Bryant andHilleary as candidates for the U.S. House and Corker as a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat eventually captured by Frist. Corker, after beinghandily thrashed by Frist in the Republican primary, went on to become a trusted fiscal advisor to Sundquist as commissioner of the Department ofFinance and Administration ( Bryant and Hilleary were thumped in statewide races in 2002, the final year of the SundquistAdministration: Bryant by Lamar Alexander in the U.S. Senate primary and Hilleary byPhil Bredesen in the gubernatorial race. Tuke said it's no coincidence that the careertrajectories of the three have followed that of Sundquist. "They rose with Sundquist, and they fell with Sundquist," he said. "In most cases,recycling is good, but I don't think anyone in this state wants to bring back the days of Don Sundquist. It's best to leave some things in thediscard pile."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ahhh.... Can you feel the love?

Ford posted on a national blog and is feeling lots of love in the comments from several local bloggers and other activists. On the flip side, I got to hand it to Chris Jackson, he is always on message for his guy. I'm not quite the bomb-thrower that some of my fellow bloggers are, so I probably will keep my comments tame over the next few months about the guy who for better or for worse will be our Senate nominee. Whatever I think about the candidate though, it's good to get some fellow youth involved and active. Hats off to soon-to-be county commissioner Chris Jackson.

Happy Anniversary!

To my fellow bloggers, the Foshees!


Lee Harris advertises on a blog and praises Kurita. If his people read this, I'd be glad to offer my blog to candidates for advertising for only a quarter a day. :-) That's about the same rate I get paid for coaching once you factor out the gas.

Lee Harris Advertises on National Democratic Blog

Immediate Release

MEMPHIS – Lee Harris, Democratic Candidate for Congress, unveils his first Internet advertisement on the popular Democratic website and blog, Democratic Daily (

“The Internet is an increasingly important tool for getting out our message and fundraising. Rosalind Kurita used it masterfully in her campaign for the Senate. Similarly, we plan to use the Internet liberally – no put intended. And we wanted the first Internet ad in this race to reflect one of our campaign’s core issues, lifting the federal minimum wage.”
At 27, Lee Harris is the youngest law professor at the University of Memphis and the youngest congressional candidate in the country. He grew up in Whitehaven in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the son of a city school teacher and an air-conditioner repairman. He went on to graduate from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and Yale Law School in New Haven, CT. Harris teaches Poverty Law at the University of Memphis. Please call (901) 210-4429 for further information and go to to learn more about Lee on the Web.

A Resolution By Del

For the record, I'll be voting against this one.

Secretary Lester,

I am submitting the following RESOLUTION for consideration by my fellow committeemen at our May 4, 2006 Executive Committee Meeting. This Resolution is a “loyalty event” that requires action BEFORE participating in our convention process. I believe this will strengthen our Party's efforts going forward.

Where As, Building Loyalty for the Democratic Party name is Job One of the Executive Committee...

Where As, Our Local Party has a Covenant of Beliefs and Values...

Where As, Our next Biennial Convention (est. April 2007) is about a year away...

Where As, Tennessee has no State Wide Party Registration process...

Where As, Party Identification is usually derived from Primary Vote Participations...

Be It Resolved, The Democratic Party of Shelby County commits to adopt a rule for the 2007 Biennial Convention that will EXCLUDE any participating voter who shall have voted in a Republican Primary between August 1, 2006 and the conclusion of our 2007 County Convention.

Del Gill

Executive Committeeman, District 85

Candidate for Democratic Nomination

Last Weekend For Canvassing!


The 5th District seat will be the KEY to determining whether the next County Commission is majority Democrat or Republican as the other 4 district seats will likely split 6/6 as they are now.

STEVE MULROY NEEDS OUR HELP! We have an opportunity to elect a superbly qualified Memphian to be the 7th Democrat on the County Commission!!

It doesn’t matter if you live in the 5th, the outcome will affect us all and we cannot let Joe Cooper represent the Democratic Party in this critical race in a repeat of 4 years ago.




Sign-up by calling Liz Rincon at 355-5220 or
email Liz at

Monday, April 24, 2006

Roland Won't Take Seat

Terry Roland has asked that he not be considered for the interim seat in District 29.

There Ought To Be a Law!

It seems profoundly elitist and undemocratic for a major sports playoffs to be only on cable television. Surely I'm not the only one left without cable! All you fellow cheap-skates and poor sports fans join with me and take to the streets in protest! How dare they not show the NBA playoffs only on the static-filled (and weather-alert filled) networks that I am limited to!

She's Back...

Sorry, Mike, but Wendi Thomas just can't stay away. She'll be back back working at the CA next month.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Let's Do Something Besides Politics

Little steps can make a difference. Go to and switch yourself over to green power. For just 8 bucks a month you can save the equivalent amount of energy as recycling 15,322 aluminum cans, 1,766 pounds of newspaper, or planting an acre of trees. The money goes into increasing the amount of clean, alternative sources of energy used by the TVA. Most of that energy comes from wind power. If you can afford it (and I saw you at Starbucks!) then do it! The more you do, the more right you have to complain. And I love to complain so I have a lot of work to do!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wrestling Victories...

Great work to the White Station wrestlers who racked up four silver medals in the regional freestyle and greco-roman championships today! Cal Lee, Patrick Wilson, and Gabe Holley.

Judicial Endorsements

Resolution for the Shelby County Democratic Executive Committee to Endorse Candidates for Judicial Offices for the August 3, 2006 General Election.

The Shelby County Democratic Executive Committee resolves to examine candidates for judicial offices for the August 3, 2006, General Election for the purpose of endorsement as the official Democratic candidates.

I. The Committee authorizes the Elections Committee to study and recommend candidates in judicial races.

The Elections Committee shall examine candidates through means such as, but not limited to, past primary voting choices, past public support of other candidates, and interviews before the committee.

The Elections Committee will be charged to recommend no more than one candidate per race. All recommended candidates should be considered bonafide Democrats and should possess a general philosophy that is amenable towards Democratic Party values.

The Elections Committee should concentrate primarily on the judicial races that do not have an incumbent running as these are the races where an endorsement can have the greatest effect.

A majority of the members of the Elections Committee must be in attendance for a quorum to exist.

To be recommended, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes of those in attendance at an Elections Committee meeting.

The Elections Committee will present their recommendations at the June, 2006, meeting of the Democratic Executive Committee.

II. The Democratic Executive Committee will consider each judicial race for the purpose of endorsement as the official Democratic candidate at the June, 2006, meeting.

The Committee may elect to endorse the Elections Committee’s recommended candidate, to endorse another candidate, or to choose not to endorse any candidate in a race.

An endorsement shall require a majority vote of members in attendance.

Endorsed candidates may freely use the nomenclature of “Democratic Nominee” in their individual campaigns as they see fit for the purpose of assisting in their efforts to win election.

Proposed by Dwayne Thompson and David Holt

Friday, April 21, 2006


I hate to sound like the conservative Southern Baptist I was raised, but what the Hell is going on in our culture? I teach mostly freshman and one of my students has been telling everyone that she's pregnant. She's 14 and is incredibly excited. A group of girls decided to spend the class period listing names for the baby. The girl is smart and a good student who could easily go to college. What are the odds of her doing that with a baby? Slim to none. Why is it that so many of the young girls today view teenage pregnancy as a badge of honor? This is crazy.

Too Good Not to Post

Listen Up Liberal Ladies!

Politicians throughout the South are trying to legislate your orgasms.Last month, the TN legislature dropped a bill that would have made the sale, advertisement or exhibition of any 3-D object used for stimulation of human genitals illegal.A week later the MS Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a nearly identical Mississippi law.We, the ladies of Drinking Liberally of Memphis think that the only appropriate response to something so horrifyingly ridiculous is to have one big laugh.We invite you to join us in a pleasurable protest of a ridiculous law.If we invited you to a party like this in Mississippi, we would be breaking the law!
SUNDAY, APRIL 23RD 7:00 PM NEILS1835 Madison (at McLean)

Buy a raffle ticket, and you may win a Rabbit.Bring the most friends to win a Silver Bullet!memphis@drinkingliberally.org by Drinking Liberally ( subscribe to this list visit unsubscribe from this list visit

Corker Starts to Spend

Bob Corker has raised more than his Republican opponents but has been hording it like a miser. He has just released his first television ad which ran locally during Oprah (I wasn't watching I swear! I just turned it on as I blogged!) You can see it here. I didn't really notice how good it was because I wasn't paying much attention. I have always thought that Corker would be Ford's toughest opposition. When given a choice between a moderate Republican and a moderate Democrat, Tennesseans currently will pick the Republican. At least against the other two, Ford would be running against someone who could be painted as a hard-core conservative and rubber-stamp for Shrub versus a moderate, fresh, above-party-labels statesmen in Ford (Don't throw tomatoes, fellow bloggers! That is how he will want to be portrayed.) Corker also has shown a strong ability to raise money (albiet not as strong as Ford's.) I don't have a dog in any Republican primary race, but I can't decide if I want Corker to win or not. In my mind (admittedly not in current polls but Corker hasn't spent his money yet) a Corker victory would be a huge blow to the chances of the Dem's taking back the Senate with a win in Tennessee (not that we'll be taking back the Senate this year), but at the same time if we lose, I would much rather lose to Corker who has a reputation as somewhat moderate, and is tolerated by several East Tennessee Dems, I know than the other two knuckleheads.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Get on the phones!

And let the County Commission know that you won't stand for them to steal the election for Roland. Let them know that you want someone independent and unaffiliated with this race to fill in District 29 until the next election. Let them know that the person who fills the seat should be the type of person voters would choose to represent the district. The phone number is 545-4301. The districts and their represntatives are here:

District 1
Marilyn Loeffel
George S. Flinn, Jr.
John Willingham
District 2
Walter Bailey, Jr.
Julian Bolton
Deidre Malone
District 3
Joe Ford
Michael Hooks
Cleo Kirk
District 4
Joyce Avery
David Lillard
Tom Moss
District 5
Bruce Thompson

If you don't know your district then look here.

I'm just running off at the mouth, but I suspect the best chance we have to sway a Republican may well be Bruce Thompson. He tends to be somewhat moderate, isn't close to the party leadership, and isn't running for election. If you live in District 5, make sure you call. John Willingham also tends to be a bit of a maverick, although his running for the mayor's seat may make it less likely he would buck party pressure.

Shelby County Board of Commissioners Office 160 N. Main Street, Suite 450Memphis, TN 38103Phone - (901) 545-4301FAX - (901) 545-4283

Also, the Commission's regular meeting will be April 24th at 1:30 PM. Let's get as many people there as possible.

Mmmmm.... Slugs...

Cracker asked... I answer... A slug burger is a hyper-regional food that is only found in a few small Southern areas like Selmer, Booneville, and Corinth. It's left over from the Great Depression when people didn't have enough money for meat. Instead, they'd take a little bit of ground beef and extend it with a lot of soy flour, corn, or crackers and deep fry it. The one's I am used to use soy flour. They're squashed flat and thin and served on a bun with pickle, mustard, and ketchup. They sound weird, but they are by far the most delicious food known to man. The slugburger festival is a festival held every july in Corinth, Mississippi just down the road from Selmer, Tennessee. Normal festival stuff. Music, kid stuff, and lots and lots of slugburgers... Mmmm.... In my opinion, a slug burger should always be eaten with a nice, cold Dr. Pepper, preferably one with an old-fashioned lid. None of them new-fangled screw tops for me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

District 5 Forum

A reminder.
Steve Mulroy will participate in a Candidate Forum for the 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans in the County Commission District 5 Primary. The Forum will be in the Colonial Middle School auditorium located on the corner of Colonial between Park and Quince on the corner of Sea Isle. The Forum starts at 7:00pm and is expected to end between 8:00pm an 8:30pm.
Please attend the Forum and bring a friend to demonstrate your support for Steve.
Lynn Strickland

The WTL's Favorite Memphis Festival is Back!!!

And no it's not the Bluegrass Festival or Slugburger Festival (fine events both but I said MEMPHIS.) It's the Big Fat Greek Festival at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Music, crafts, culture... Blah...Blah...Blah... Come for the food!!! You won't find better food this side of my grandmother's house. So come on down on May 12th or 13th. I live just down the road so if anyone wants, I can give you a tour of my humble abode for the low-low-price of just $19.99. Buy one, get one free if you mow my yard. Maybe I should sell parking too? Hmmm... It would make me some money and kill the grass so I wouldn't have to mow this summer.

This isn't political, but it is a lot of fun. I did run into A.C. Wharton there last year, but I was more concerned with my kebab than networking. You will be too.

Coalition for a Better Memphis

The Coalition for a Better Memphis has issued their scores for county commission candidates. You may note that WTL-endorsed candidates Steve Mulroy and Reginald Fentress recieved the highest scores in their respective races. The other endorsement made, D. Harris was no slouch himself. Rather than looking at the numbers (I'll be honest that I haven't researched how they came up with them) read their answers. You'll likely find yourself in agreement. If so, than please get out there and vote. May 2 is approaching fast.

Sharpen your pitchforks...

If the commission tries to appoint Roland it would be a giant slap in the face to the residents of district 29. Appointing a conservative, white, Republican in an overwhelmingly black, Democratic district in insane. If they try this, we need to show up in force at the meeting with pitchforks at the ready. You can argue that this vote isn't about politics, but about principal. Fine. But appointing Roland would be nothing but partisan politics and stealing of an election in just another form.

Ophelia Ousted

The full senate voted to oust Ophelia Ford from the Senate. I wish we could just fast-foward this one to the election. 26-6 was the vote with Sen. Cohen arguing and voting against it. She's actually going to stay and sit in the gallery. David Cocke, her lawyer will probably file suit. The county commission will vote to fill her seat. I am torn about how this vote should have gone. There were arguements I could buy for removal, but there is NO arguement I can buy for Roland being seated. He DID NOT win the election. He also will NEVER win a non-special election in that district. In the past the commission has replaced people with the party that represents that district. They need to appoint a fairly independent person who is NOT involved in this race.

Jackson Baker Visits My Hometown

And writes a lovely article about it's various tourist attractions and assorted quirky and endearing traits.

Okay, fine. He writes about a homicide. Still, it's the best press coverage we've gotten since our police chief helped a prisoner escape from jail because a jailor got her pregnant. Which in turn, was the best press coverage we'd gotten since the prisoner fell through the prison floor while banging on the bathroom wall and sued. That itself was the best coverage we'd gotten since three prisoners escaped and no one realized they were gone until one came back and asked to be let in. One of his buddies was found under his ma's bed.

In short, I sure do miss home. Reading it made me want to stop back by and eat a slugburger. Likely not the effect he was going for, but oh well. Oh and a shout out to Ms. Killingsworth and Ms. Wilkerson, two elementary school teachers of mine who go to that church and have been appearing in quite a few articles of late.

P.S. Jackson, if you were heading down to Selmer, you could have at least let me know and picked me up some slugburgers from Wink's.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rooftop Party for the College Democrats...

With any luck a few loyal readers will get to pick up hot, liberal college chicks (or hunks depending on your preferences) . Barring that, you can have a good time and help the future of the Democratic Party raise some money.

SATURDAY APRIL 29, 2006 – 7:00 PM
Suggested Contribution: $ 30 Students $10
For RSVP or more information please contact:
Pamela Saavedra
(901) 239-0021 or
Leslie Byrd
Carol Chumney
Nancy Clayton
Sen. Steve Cohen
David & Margo Holt
Matt Kuhn
Nancy Kuhn
Rep. Larry Miller
Ryan & Stacey Lutrell
Pamela Saavedra
Ed Stanton III
David Upton
Rep. Joe Towns
Jim Vandiveer

Anti-War March Article

There are pics with this, but I can't manage to post them at work.

Memphis--On March 19, approximately 300 Memphians took to the streets to demonstrate against Bush's inhuman war on Iraq. We marched under threat of rain, a fact that undoubtedly reduced the numbers of citizens who wished to join us. Because of the weather, we held our rally in the Sanctuary of the First Congregational Church on the corner of Cooper and Walker and marched to Overton Park after.
With Peter Gathje, Professor of Religion at Christian Brothers University, as our moderator, Nabil Bayakly gave a Muslim prayer and then we heard from three women who spoke from their own perspectives about the impact of this deadly war on women. Allison DeVante, an Army veteran, first sang and then spoke of being raped by a superior officer. As has happened so often, her rapist got off scot-free while she continues to suffer from the cover-up. Can you believe, she sang, he treated me like it was an ordinary day…Just thrown away. You must believe me, he treated me to my darkest day. She pointed out that over 2,300 servicewomen have been raped serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Brenda Pearson of Military Families Speak Out spoke next. Her organization is made up of more than 3,000 families who oppose the war and have a loved one who served, is serving, or died in this war we were all protesting. Her organization demands that the troops be brought home now, and cared for when they get here. She said that "Politicians who say we need an exit strategy are only trying to avoid the decision and are displaying cowardice…and they are condemning, on average, two U.S. troops each day to death."
Terry Moon from News and Letters Committee pointed out that over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the war began. She talked of the deteriorating situation for women in Afghanistan and Iraq, and how Bush used the language of feminism as justification for his attack, while making war on women in the U.S. She said, "Women show that peace is more than the absence of war, and freedom is more than the right to vote." She stated that we needed to extend solidarity to those in Iraq fighting both U.S. imperialism and religious fundamentalism.
Paul Dekar, a Professor of Theology at the Memphis Theological Seminary and a member of the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, asked for a moment of silence for Tom Fox, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams who had been abducted in Iraq and murdered the week before. Dekar spoke about the meaning of the deaths in Iraq, gave a report on the World Social Forum in Venezuela, and stressed that "when the people lead, inevitably the leaders will follow."
Mike Montgomery of the Memphis Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, spoke next on the need to take care of people here in the U.S., singling out healthcare and education. He talked of those who have died here in Memphis because of Governor Bredesen's cuts to TennCare. He called for us to make a strong stand and to put people over politics and party. He pledged to continue to fight for better education, a living wage and dignity, and to fight against crime and racism.
Gail Tyree of Grassroots Leadership spoke about the successful struggle to stop privatization of Shelby County prisons. She reminded us that nothing changed with Vietnam until the people took to the streets, which is why she was glad to be with us today. She spoke about how her son is being aggressively recruited by the military and how she appreciates the counter-recruitment work of the Peace and Justice Center. She pointed out that we are all casualties of this war and we need to take a conscious decision to finance this protest to say enough is enough!
Lastly, Jacob Flowers spoke from the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, and thanked those who helped make the demonstration possible. He pointed out the 350 pairs of boots set up in the sanctuary representing National Guard Soldiers killed in Iraq. He said that for every pair of boots, there was also a family in mourning, a community without their first responders, and a nation as a whole that is suffering as more youth are sent to die for our president's lies.
After the talks, we were ready to take to the street. While we chanted and held signs, the most moving and graphic part of the march was the "Faces of the Fallen," pictures of the faces of hundreds of military men and women who had been killed in Iraq. The 8 ½" by 11" pictures were strung together to form a moving line of the dead, carried by those who tried to keep the war from happening in the first place. The length of this display, the Black, brown and white faces, most young, moved those in cars waiting for our demonstration to pass as well as those on the street, many of whom spontaneously joined the march.
What was amazing about this march, but has also characterized the last three Memphis marches against the war in Iraq, is the joy that people felt. The tremendous relief to be putting our bodies out in the street to finally be voicing, emphatically our opposition to this war was palpable. Bush and his administration have tried to make us think that we have no control over our future. But this march, and others like it across the country, show a different reality: a determination to take decisions like war and peace into our hands--where they have always belonged. Our decision in this case was loud and clear: END THE WAR NOW!
--Terry Moon

Living Wage Article

There are pics with this, but I can't manage to post them at work.

Progress Made, Victory Possible:
The Memphis Living Wage Campaign Reaches a Turning Point
By Amy P. Jones
Isela works full-time as a janitor and makes $7 per hour, with no benefits. She and her children live with her stepfather because her wages are not enough to cover rent in addition to other living expenses. Even though she works full time, Isela struggles to make ends meet and lives below the poverty line. Her employer is a recipient of a 25 year PILOT property tax freeze from the City of Memphis, saving the company millions of dollars in taxes.
There are thousands of other Memphis workers that can identify with Isela’s story. This is why thousands of Memphians have called on the City Council to pass a living wage ordinance. The Memphis Living Wage Coalition believes that no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, especially when their employer receives special tax breaks from the City of Memphis. The Coalition is calling on the Council to pass a living wage ordinance that guarantees a livable wage to full-time and temporary City employees, as well as workers at companies receiving City contracts and subsidies such as property tax freezes. If the ordinance is passed, workers at these companies will be paid at least $10 per hour with health insurance benefits or $12 per hour without benefits.
The Living Wage Campaign has reached a critical juncture. More than 150 living wage supporters delivered 5,000 petition signatures to the City Council in October, telling the Council that Memphis needs a living wage ordinance. In February, the Council passed a resolution in which they agreed to pay full time City workers a living wage by July 1st. The resolution also directs three committees to present recommendations to the full Council on whether or not temporary City workers, City contractors, and companies that receive tax abatements should be included in the ordinance.
The Living Wage Coalition sponsored two living wage town hall meetings in February. After hearing from community leaders, clergy, and workers about why the ordinance is urgently needed, City Council members were asked to state whether or not they will vote for a strong, comprehensive ordinance that guarantees a living wage to workers on City contracts, workers at companies that receive subsidies such as PILOT tax freezes, and full-time and temporary City workers. For information on the pledges that Council members made at the meetings, visit
More recently, 270 living wage supporters participated in a 40-hour fast for the living wage and urged City Council members to pass a comprehensive living wage ordinance. As part of the fast, sixty-two Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy sent a letter encouraging the Council to vote in favor of this ordinance.
“We are pleased to see the Council taking first steps on the living wage,” says Rebekah Jordan, the Executive Director of The Mid-South Interfaith Network for Economic Justice. “It is up to us to ensure that Council members fulfill the pledges they have made to pass a strong living wage ordinance that covers all City workers, City contractors, and companies receiving tax subsidies.”
The Memphis Living Wage Campaign has been endorsed by 43 faith, community, and labor groups throughout the City, including The Shelby County Democratic Party. For more information about The Memphis Living Wage Coalition, visit or call (901) 332-3570.
Amy P. Jones is the Living Wage Intern at the Mid-South Interfaith Network for Economic Justice.

Joe Cooper Interview

Joe sent the following to be included in the paper:

Joe Cooper for County Commission
District 5
RE: Response to Questionnaire
Name: Joe Cooper
Age: 60yrs (8.28.45)
Job: Business Consultant
Political Experience: Former Shelby County Commissioner
Served on the Law Enforcement, Budget, and Public Buildings
Former member of the Convention Center Commission
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Major in
Finance from University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Graduate of Central High School, Memphis
Family: Married with two (2) children
Response to Questions:
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
I am a devoted resident of Memphis and Shelby County who has maintained and sustained a diligent service to the community throughout my adult life. I founded the Memphis Thanksgiving Day Dinner Program, which has fed over 150,000 needy residents on Thanksgiving Day in the last 20 years. While my opponents, each have good intentions, I believe that my knowledge of the governmental process will better enable me to effectuate the changes needed for the constituents of District 5.
How would you deal with Shelby County’s $1.7 billion debt?
While serving on the Shelby County Commission (formerly known as the Shelby County Quarterly Court), I never once voted for a tax increase. The only way to manage our debt is to find alternative measures to generate new revenue sources, while responsibly reducing government programs that provide the least amount of good for its constituents. Pilot Programs must be scrutinized to ensure that benefits promised are benefits delivered. Otherwise, corporate entities must pay their fair share.
Funds for construction of city and county schools have largely driven the county’s borrowing. What should the County Commission do to address this issue?
Comparing Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools’ construction has been challenging at best. While County Schools have been typically constructed at more reasonable costs, they have not proven to be durable facilities; Memphis City Schools has, until the recent past, spent beyond the National Indexed Average for the construction of their facilities. The County is on the right track by establishing a Needs Assessment Committee whose mission should include the stabilization of cost and the ability for City and County residents to better understand and compare these facilities.
The Tennessee Waltz scandal has highlighted the issue of ethics in government. How would you propose the County Commission address the issue?
The County Commission must adopt an Ethics Ordinance disallowing any conflicts between Shelby County Commissioners and those entities doing business with the County. I intend to support the findings of the County Attorney’s upcoming recommendations for a strong resolution to this current dilemma.
What is the greatest issue facing your district and what remedy would you propose?
Property taxes provide the primary source of revenue for Memphis and Shelby County residents. This practice cannot continue without the unintended affect of chasing constituents away from our community. We must reduce services, reduce debt, and increase our ability to generate new revenue streams in the immediate future. Otherwise, the current trend of outward migration will continue to erode the core of our community.

Interview With Steve Mulroy

What do you want voters to know about you?

I teach at the U of M Law School. I’m a former civil rights lawyer for the Clinton Justice Dept. and a former federal prosecutor who’s very concerned about crime in Memphis. I have the endorsements of Sen. Steve Cohen, County Commissioners Deidre Malone and Joe Ford, Councilwoman Carol Chumney, and Rep. Mike Kernell, among many others (see my website at for a fuller list).

Why are you running for the county commission?

I have long been involved in community activism and political volunteering on various reform issues, including election reform and fighting to save Libertyland. I hope to be more effective in achieving reform as a decisionmaker on the Commission.

What issues do you think are most important for the county?

People are leaving Memphis because they don’t feel safe on their front lawns. That’s got to change. Flight from Memphis shrinks the city’s tax base. If people move to eastern Shelby County, that requires more infrastructure, further straining the county budget. If they leave the county altogether, the county loses tax revenue and economic growth. We need to make Memphis more livable so this doesn’t happen, by fighting crime and spurring revitalization of city neighborhoods.

If you won the general election and were able to give Democrats control of the county commission, what would change?

I would make sure the Commission focuses on the needs of working families first and foremost, without regard to a constituency’s ability to make campaign contributions.

What is it about your candidacy that can win in August?

I’m a qualified professional and a tireless campaigner. I’m not saddled with any suspicion of corruption or history of taking misguided and unpopular positions, like selling off Shelby Farms to development. I’m a consensus-builder by nature, someone adept at finding common ground with moderate and independent voters while not abandoning core values. And, I’ll have the backing and advice of some of the smartest and most experienced campaigners in Shelby County.

Why are you a Democrat?

I believe that government has a vital role in affirmatively trying to better the lives of the least advantaged members of society. The primary thing I think about in making policy judgments is whether the policy helps or hurts the least among us. This is the essence of Democratic values.

The Blogs are Coming

Figured I'd post the four articles I was responsible for in the Shelby Democrat paper that should be going to print Today.

The blogs are coming! Sounds like a quote from a cheap knock-off of Star Trek, doesn't it? Well blogs are more than that. They're a new type of media that has changed politics in this country. What is a blog? Basically, a blog is just a website about a certain topic, such as local politics, where the newest entry is put at the top of the page. Blogs are frequently updated and allow readers to participate in the topic by making comments, forwarding entries, etc. National blogs such as have helped to power the candidacy of Howard Dean, Paul Hackett, and others.

Blogs are useful because they cover niches that other types of media often ignore or misrepresent or do not cover in depth. Say you want to know about the local congressional race. On any given week the local news or newspaper is unlikely to have covered the race. If you surf on over to a local blog, however, you can find the complete audio of the candidate debate held recently, thoughts on the race from local political watchers, links to all the candidate websites, information about fundraising numbers, rumors, attacks, events scheduled for the candidates, and much more.

Whether you want hot gossip, shrewd analysis, intelligent debate, not-so-intelligent debate, or just good old fashioned rabble-rousing, blogs are where itÂ’s at. So go on over, sound off, and let your voice be heard.

A Few Local blogs of note (I'm sure that there are no few that I left out, but this will give readers a taste of the variety of flavors in the local blogosphere.): (A central location that many people start at before digging into the Cracker's vast collection of links to other blogs.) (A blog ran by a vice-chairman of the Shelby County Democratic party who in the spirit of full disclosure also wrote this article.) (A blog that deals with both local and national politics with no small dose of outrage.) (A blog ran by an activist who got involved because of the Howard Dean campaign) (Likely the most frequently updated local blog. The Flypaper Theory has a large cast of regular contributors, including local political columnist Jackson Baker.) (A blog from a former Wesley Clark for President activist who is now the manager of Steve Mulroy's campaign in District 5.) (A clearinghouse for blogs in Tennessee that cover local issues.

These last two blogs are not Democratic but are frequently read by people of all political stripes. (A local libertarian blogger.) (It's hard to describe Thaddeus in easy termsÂ… You'd just have to go there to understand.)

WARNING: Reading these blogs is dangerous to your productivity at work as you will find yourself checking back frequently to get the latest scoop and raise a ruckus yourself. Consider yourself warned. (Not that I would ever do that. Stupid firewallsÂ…)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Congrats to autoegocrat...

Didn't know the C.A. realized there were local blogs but autoegocrat got blogrolled in Sunday's paper. Now I have to ask for his autoegograph.

Bubba Shot the Jukebox...

And it warmed this West Tennessee Liberal's heart to see "Proud to Be a Democrat" and "Veterans For Kerry" stickers at a country music concert. Also, it's amazingly refreshing to have a full day with no political activity whatsoever.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I don't quite know quite what to think about this...

Everyones favorite blogger, no not Leftwingcracker. No. Not Peskyfly. No, I don't mean Autoegocrat. Or Polardonkey. Or Brassmask. I meant me, dagnammit! Anyways, as I was trying to say, I have recently become a topic of discussion at a pro-life blog.

Memphis is doing something right...

Far be it from me to find something good in the paper and post it in a blog, but how about creating jobs in Orange Mound, helping Memphis to enter the burgeoning field of alternative fuel technology, helping farmers, decreasing our dependence on foriegn oil, and having the city use more energy efficient vehicles? Surely not...

Learn the signs...

It is important for your own safety that you learn to recognize the signs so that before someone can ask "Would you like to read this great story I just wrote?" or "Guess what, I just wrote a great rap about the difficulties faced in life as a teacher of 14 year old thugs..." you can run, hide, and change all of your contact information without leaving a fowarding address. Why? Because you failed to notice the signs just now. As such, you will now be subjected to a crappy story that I churned out when I should have been doing something productive. Please continue to the post below for your abuse... Hey! Come back here, I see you!


     "Welcome to McDonald's, may I take your order please?" Michelle asked.  
      Robert looked at the girl as she tried to decipher the static-filled message that came back.  It sounded something like "I want a Supersize static meal with an extra static."  He figured he'd just make up a few cheeseburgers and a Big Mac and hope that worked.  It wasn't like anyone ever checked what they got in the drive-thru anyways, especially during the busy-time.  Michelle asked the man to repeat his order then pushed a few buttons on her monitor.  She seemed beautiful to him, with her purple-tipped hair framing her overly made-up face with its green lipstick and matching eye shadow.  It seemed to clash rather cutely with the XXL purple McDonalds' shirt that draped over her eight-months-pregnant belly.  He figured he loved her.
     "Hey, Sexy," she yelled at him.  "Make those cheeseburgers without onions, please."  Robert felt his face redden.
      "Why don't you ring them up right then?  Sandwich Boy here only makes what comes up on his screen," the tattooed grill cook, who liked to be called Big Daddy, shouted back.  
     "Please, Robbie," she said.  She smiled and blinked her eyes at him.
     "Okay," he said.  Normally he hated being called Robbie or Rob or any other annoying variation of his name, but not when she did it.  
        "Thanks, Hon," she said then swiveled on her stool to hand change out the drive-thru window.
       "Quit flirting and make my damn orders," a woman shouted from the front.
       "Man, you better make those burgers or F-Bid's gonna eat your ass," Big Daddy said as he flipped burgers over on the grill, trying to drain off the visible blood so he could serve them with less cooking time.  
       F-Bid stood for Fat-Bitch-in-Drive-Thru.  The grill workers had pet names for everyone who worked the register, especially those who worked in the drive-thru.  Their job required them to keep their delivery times below ninety seconds, which they thought gave them full right to holler back orders whenever they felt like it.  The grill-workers generally had a screen full of other orders that they purposely made first.  The tension this created resulted in the nicknames of all the drive-thru workers including the words bitch or slut-ass-hoe.  Robert splattered a blob of ketchup on a bun, skipped the mustard because the dispenser was clogged from not having been washed since the last health inspection, dropped a pickle onto the red glob, and slapped some meat on the bun with his hand.  
      "You better use those tongs boy," F-Bid said from the front.  
      "Aye-aye captain," Robert said.  He saluted with one hand and tossed the burger into the warming bin with the other.  She scooped it up jealously and walked off muttering obscenities.  
      Big Daddy snickered as he slid a tray of meat into the cabinet beside Robert.  "Boy, you gonna give that bitch a heart attack.  Keep it up."    
      Robert went back to making sandwiches until he got his screen cleared off then started to wipe his table with a dirty rag.  "Ya'll ain't busy.  Get me some ice cream mix from the back," F-Bid said from her register.
      "Get it yourself," Big Daddy yelled as he delicately poured the grease from the side of the grill into a bucket full of the dried nastiness.  "We ain't your slaves."  
     "Fine," she said and stomped through the grill to the back.  
      Robert picked up a metal Special Sauce gun, loaded it with a mostly empty sauce container, and fired at her.  The chunky peach-colored sauce splattered all over the back of her pants, and she never noticed.  Big Daddy started laughing so hard that he spilt the grease on the floor.  He lay down the grease trap and picked up a mop, still laughing.  Robert put the gun back into its metallic holster atop the bar and picked up his rag again.  He looked over at Michelle as he cleaned.  She was putting Happy Meal toys in bags as she waited for her next customer.  After a few minutes, she emptied the toy box.  She jumped a little bit, trying to knock the next box of toys down from a shelf.  Robert lay down his rag and walked over to her.  "Let me help you with that," he said.   He reached up and got the box down for her.
      "Thanks," she said.  "You're always so sweet."  She went back to her toy bags, and Robert walked back to his station.  The annoying beeping of new orders started coming from his screen.  He dropped two cheeseburger buns and a Big Mac bun into the toaster without even looking to see what the order was.  Odds were, that would cover part of it.  As he made the orders, he thought about Michelle.  He'd ask her out tonight while they were closing.  She'd have to go to the back to stock while he washed dishes.  They'd be alone.  That would be the perfect time.  He'd thought that before, but he had never actually worked up the courage when the time came.  He'd be suave this time.  He'd compliment her outfit.  No, that wouldn't work; she had on her work clothes.  
      Robert tossed a sandwich into the bin and dropped a Quarter Pounder bun into the toaster.  Maybe he could compliment her looks.  Something charming...  Oh, who was he kidding?  He wasn't suave, charming, or anything like those words.  He wasn't even that great of a catch.  But he liked her, and he didn't mind the baby.  Actually, he kind of liked the idea of a baby.  He was only nineteen, but he figured he'd be pretty good with kids.  He used to baby-sit his aunt's kids when she went out of town.  His friends had always made fun of him, but the money wasn't bad.  Besides, it had been kind of fun.  Robert smiled.  He could help her raise the kid.  After a few months, she might even be willing to marry him.  
     Marriage?  He was pretty young, but the idea didn't scare him as much as he expected it to.  Being a single parent wasn't any way for an eighteen year old girl to end up.  It just didn't seem right.  He could save her from that.  He'd be her hero of sorts.  A hero…  That idea didn't sound half bad.  He could work real hard, the store manager had been hinting at promoting him to manager recently.  After a few years, maybe she wouldn't even have to work.  Once he got promoted to store manager, he'd be making pretty good money for someone with just a GED.
      "Go away, damnit," Michelle said.  "I don't want to talk to you right now.  Please, Derrick."  
      Robert looked up from the chicken sandwich he was dressing.  Michelle was arguing with someone outside who he couldn't see.  Robert's fist clamped onto the bun as he heard the name of Michelle's bastard ex-boyfriend.   The muscles in his neck clenched tightly, and it sickened him a little to think that it was probably Derrick's baby growing inside her.  The bun was crumpled and torn so he tossed it to the side.  After wiping the mayonnaise that covered his palm onto his shirt, he dropped another bun into the toaster.
     Why couldn't that bastard leave her alone?  He had already done more than enough damage.    If she started to get too upset, he'd show that jackass where he could go.  Robert smiled again as he thought about the pleasurable sensation of smashing in Derrick's big nose.  If she started crying, he'd walk over to them.  "Is this guy bothering you?" he'd ask.
      "Why don't you mind your own business?  I'm talking to the bitch, so butt out," Derrick would shout back.  
     "Don't talk about her like that," Robert would say.  Then he'd punch him, grab him by the collar of his shirt, and pull him into the store.  Robert would pummel the three-hundred plus pound gorilla into the floor.  That would be nice.  She'd probably be pretty grateful to him, maybe even a little proud.  Afterwards, she'd confide that she had always had a crush on him and was too shy to admit it.  Robert would say that wasn't anything to be ashamed about and that he felt the same way.  Then they'd start dating, she'd want him there at the hospital when she delivered the baby, he'd drive her home afterwards, and everything would be great.
     "What's taking so long on the sandwich?" F-Bid asked.
     "Sorry, I dropped the first bun on the floor," Robert said.  He wrapped the sandwich up and handed it to her.  
     "Don't apologize to F-Bid; you'll spoil her," Bid Daddy said.  Robert didn't say anything as he cleared the order off of his screen and started on the next one.  "Hey F-Bid, Sandwich Boy said he'd throw all your burgers on the floor if you yell back here one more time."  
     A balding white man with gray hair leaned over to peer back into the grill.  "I changed my mind.  I think I'll just have an ice-cream cone," he said.  
     Michelle had stopped arguing and was sitting on her stool sobbing.  Robert glanced up at the video monitor and could see a long line of cars winding around the building.  "Hey Big Daddy, will you make sandwiches for me for a sec?"  
     "What?  Boy, I don't make no sandwiches.  You think this meat's gonna to cook itself?"  
     "Come on, please.  You have enough meat cooked to last us for the next week.  I'll empty the grease traps for you after we close"  
     "For both grills?" Big Daddy asked.  
     "Sure.  Just hurry up."  Robert dropped a few buns into the toaster then walked toward Michelle as Big Daddy took his place.  "Are you okay?" he asked when he reached her.  She was hunched over the salad cooler with her head in her arms.  
     "What?" she asked, raising her red-eyed face.  "Oh, I'm fine."  
     "Why don't you go sit down in the break room for a while?  I can take over for you."
     "Thanks.  I need a cigarette, anyways," she said.  She took off her headset and battery pack and handed them to Robert.  
     Robert looked away from her as he fastened the battery pack around his waist and put on the headset.  "Are you sure you should be doing that?"
     "Doing what?"
     "Smoking, since you're, you know…" he stared into the corner of the wall.  
     "You're something else, you know that?" she said.  "The way things are going, smoking's liable to be the least of this kid's problems."  She walked into the back and out of sight.  
     "Welcome to McDonald's.  May I take your order please? Robert said.  
     "Do ya'll sell Whoppers?" a voice said in his ears through the loud roaring of a pickup truck's engine.  
     "No sir, that's Burger King.  We have Big Macs though; they're even tastier."  Robert rolled his eyes at how chipper he sounded, but the stupider you sounded, the less the customers and managers complained.  
    "I'll have one of those and one of your biggest fries and uh… um… one of those ice cream drink things.  You know, with the candy and everything."  
    "A McFlurry, sir?  What kind?"  The man gunned his engine and pulled up out of range of the speaker without answering.  Robert rang up an Oreo McFlurry and started to take the next customer's order.  
     A few minutes after he took over Michelle's spot, the manager, Stacy, stuck her head out of her office where she had been having phone sex with her boyfriend for the past hour.  "What are you doing in drive-thru?" she asked.  
    "Melissa just needed to go to the bathroom," he lied.  
    "That girl is always in bathroom.  She needs to just have that little brat so she can do her job without having to run to tinkle every five minutes."
    "It's not her fault, ma'am," Robert said.  
    "I guess not, but she's running up my service times.  The district manager has been all over my ass about how slow we are.  When she gets back, I need to talk to you in the office."
     "Okay, ma'am," he said.
     Melissa didn't come back for nearly an hour.  When she did, she pinched Robert's butt and lifted the headset off his head.  "Thanks," she said.  "I feel a lot better now.  This thing's got me all emotional, is all."  She motioned towards her protruding belly.  
    "I understand," Robert said, blushing again.  He unhooked the battery pack and handed it to her then walked towards the manager's office.  He glanced toward the grill.  Business had slowed and Big Daddy was half-heartedly sweeping the floor.  He had everything under control, so Robert went in.  
    Papers were strewn haphazardly around the office, and Stacy sat on a stool by the ten-year-old computer, playing a game on her cell phone and smoking a cigarette.  "It took you long enough," she said.  
    "Sorry.  The ice-cream machine jammed again, and I had to fix it."  It was so easy to lie to her and most of the other managers.  They never paid any attention to what really happened.  Once they trusted you, they let you run the store and you could make up whatever lies you needed to cover for your friends and make yourself look better.  He was the best liar in the store, and he hoped it was about to pay off.
    "Thanks for taking care of that for me.  I was busy, uh…, doing reports or I would have taken care of that myself."  
     "It wasn't any trouble," he said.
     "You know we've been thinking about picking a new manager, don't you?"  
     "Tammy mentioned it," he said.  
     "Well, I'm the store manager now so I get to decide.  All of the other managers' recommended either you or Michelle.  I like her, but I think you'd be even better for the job.  What do you say?"  
      Robert's heart thudded excitedly.  That would mean a 2-bucks-an-hour raise.  He was barely paying the note on his used car as it was, and the extra cash would be a godsend.  It was even worth that time he had to dress up in that damn clown suit for some kid's birthday party.  
     "Thanks a lot," he said.  He glanced out the open doorway to where Melissa was standing by her register.  She was flirting with some guy in a Cadillac that had come through drive-thru.  His chest felt a little heavy.  He wouldn't ask her out tonight; he probably wouldn't ever ask her out.  He was just a shy little prick.  How the hell was she going to take care of a kid when she made less than six-dollars-an-hour?  
     "Your training will start Monday then, okay?"
     "Sorry," Robert said.  "I think I'd rather stay working in the grill."  
     "What are you, stupid?" Stacey asked.  
     "Guess so."  He walked out of the office and over to the grill.  Big Daddy was trying to cook meat on four grills at once while making sandwiches too.  
     "Took you long enough.  Was she giving you a blowjob or something?" Big Daddy asked.  
     "Michelle, come in here when you get a chance," he heard Stacy say from her office.  
     "Something like that," Robert said with a sly grin then dropped a few buns into the toaster.                                

Tax season ends today!

I will be married again!!! Yay! I hate January-April! Although I will have to tell all of my side girlfriends not to come around for a few weeks. (Please, don't kill me when you read this, Margo. Put down the gun, Babe... Ahhhh... Maybe, I should have supported gun control when I had the chance.)

Abortion... Ahhh.... I can't talk about that!

A good pro-life Democrat has emailed me about my own views on abortion. It is sad that we make it where a Democrat is scared to say in public what his/her views on abortion are. Here's what I told him/her.

I'm a flipp-flopper on abortion. I have deep moral and religious problems with abortion. To steal a line from Jim Wallis, I believe in a consistent ethic of life and do not support abortion, the death penalty, or most wars. (Unlike some people though, this belief makes me support, not oppose, stem cell research.) The woman's rights are vitally important, but so are the child's. I wouldn't support totally ending abortion, however. If abortion was banned totally that would just result in deaths from back-alley abortions and other desperate measures that would destroy no small number of women's lives. I support significant limitations on abortion, however. I might even support not allowing it outside of the first trimester except when the mother's life is in danger.

The Republicans don't really want to make a difference on this issue, though. Case in point, they could easily have the votes to ban late term abortion, but since they insist on not allowing a mother's life exception it will likely be struck down by the Supreme Court again. That is what they want. If they made a difference then they would lose the wedge issue. We need to have more sex ed, prenatal care, job training, better access to health-care, etc. to decrease the need for abortion. It makes me sick when some conservatives claim that anyone who supports choice in any way is a demonic, baby-killer, while at the same time they oppose ways of decreasing the need for abortions. At the same time, there are members of my own party (I'm not at all saying all pro-choice people, but we all know people like this) who make it out that anyone who doesn't think abortions should be freely allowed any time, any place with no moral issues involved is a woman-hating Neanderthal.

Excuse me, Mr. Democratic Leader,

Now I didn't support Ophelia in the primary last time, and I won't this time, but this removal stuff is B.S. The term is almost over, and there is no proof that there were enough contested votes to change the election even if all of them were illegal and went for her. But the Senate committee voted to void the election. Two Democrats joined them. One of those Democrats was my own beloved Senator Jim Kyle. Uh, excuse me Jim, but what the Hell?!?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Do I really want to get in the middle of the Ford/Kurita storm?

Well, this is a blog after all... (sorry about the rambling...)

It's amazing that I'm allowed to have any role in Shelby County Democratic politics, because I am not at all a fan of Mayor Herenton or Harold Ford Jr. Even ignoring her ideology, Kurita was more electable. She is a rural Tennessee nurse, who wins in a Republican district, and loves to shoot skeet. She was also a fighter and focused on a lot of the issues I care most about. Ford isn't in line with me on several issues and is going to have a Hell of a time in the general. In rural Tennessee, Memphis is not looked on well at all, and the Ford name is looked at as part of the problem. Many people I know back home actually think John is Harold's father. It will be very difficult for him to get past that. People often argue that Ford shouldn't be brought to task because of what his family does. To a large extent, I agree with that. I would hate to be judged by what any number of people in my family do. However, it was Ford's family background that got him elected in this first place. Fairly or not, his family will be an issue in November. I understand, however, that Ford was almost completely unbeatable in the primary, for a number of reasons. I accept that but am still pissed off that the DSCC took sides in this. Looking at their batting record lately doesn't convince me to give up thinking for myself.

I believe in contested primaries. Nothing makes me madder than when someone tries to tell someone else that they aren't a good Democrat because they aren't all uniting behind one candidate. I'm speaking to Ford and Kurita supporters both there. We've all done it. I was perfectly willing to fight the good fight and give some money and a little time to Kurita, lose badly in August then vote Ford in the general. I think Ford will lose in November, but I hope I'm wrong. Ford is better than Van or Bryant any way you slice it.

I am a liberal in most ways. I support universal health care, a higher minimum wage, environmental protection, and equal rights. However, I am certain that if I was magically appointed to Congress I would at times bear the wrath of my fellow liberals and bloggers on abortion, spending, welfare reform, etc. Because on these issues some would not see me as a liberal, although I see myself as one on them.

My point is that I don't support some sort of ideological test because there are issues where good liberals can disagree. It takes 50%+1 to win and Dennis Kucinish doesn't have that. Just because someone has moral qualms about abortion doesn't mean they should be outcast.

I also don't support "electability tests." Sometimes we have candidates pushed on us by those above as the candidate who can win. I worked for Kerry. I gave money. I voted for him in the general. How many people really liked him best? Did electability win?

For me, what carries the day is whether the candidate shows that he or she has beliefs that they will stand up for and not first think about how it looks. Winning elections is vitally important, but does it do any good to win if we don't have a reason to win? Kurita seemed like she did have beliefs, and she would fight for them. I have never gotten that from Ford. He is a nice guy, a smart guy, and a fairly stereotypical politician who has been planning his presidential campaign since prep school. I guess that is a cheap shot, but it's true. I'd probably have done the same thing with his background, but it still doesn't exactly bode well for his being in touch with regular people.

I'm willing to make some concessions to electability in a Southern Senate race. I'm not willing in an urban, majority minority, Democratic district which is what Ford has represented for years. I am going to vote for him in the general, and I am willing to bet that when it comes time most Kurita supporters will. Most bloggers will. Most liberals will. We won't be happy about it, but we also don't want to help the Republicans win another election.

I don't relish the fights with other Democrats that some people do. Most Kurita supporters are good Democrats. Most Ford supporters are good Democrats. I'm not going to participate in the name-calling that I am sure is happening out there while I am at work. It's just not my thing. However, I'm also not going to just roll over and get to work for Ford. He gets my vote and nothing more. He hasn't earned my passion or my time.

My complaint about the Green Party is that they walk right into the roll of spoilers in big races like President and Senate but in many places ignore the small races. This alienates people who might be supportive later. Instead they should focus on city council races which they can win and build a farm team.

People who want progressive, non-establishment, fighting Dems should do the same as Democrats. The political establishment isn't just going to say "okay let's try it your way, maybe we are morons." Let's build candidates who can win a county commission race, or a state senate race, or a Congressional race and then move up with them as more than just long-shot protest votes. This state isn't going to be changed from Red to Blue overnight from the top. We have to create a movement at the local level across the state that gradually drifts upward. Forget this fighting. I'm going to go work for someone I give a damn about.

Elections/Elected Office FAQ

Hats off to Leadership Memphis for this quite useful document.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Down to the wire...

Here I go again... Want a progressive, Democratic County Commission? Early voting has started and now is when your time can really make a difference. Join Steve, myself, Margo, Mike, Shawn, Lynn, and all the gang as we engage in grass-roots politics at the most basic level. Meet at Steve Mulroy headquarters, 755 S. Graham. We'll head out for door-to-door at 9:30 and 1 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. I'll see you there!

From Rosalind

Dear Friend & Supporter:
Today, I have advised the Coordinator of Elections for the State of Tennessee that I want to remove my name from the ballot in the Democratic Primary for the United States Senate. I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate this year.
For the last year and a half, I have traveled across the state and met wonderful people. I have been to strawberry festivals and bean suppers. I've been in parades, cafes, museums, nursing homes and schools speaking to the people of Tennessee.
My travels across Tennessee have given a new depth of meaning and urgency to my work on issues of importance to real people and families.
I have observed first-hand how important it is that we help our children reach their potential and I feel strongly that more of Tennessee's children need to go to college. We've got to work to make that happen.
Also I have come to a new level of awareness of the importance of jobs and economic development. We must have a real strategy to keep jobs in Tennessee. I have been to communities that have been devastated by the loss of local employers. And, in most cases, the families that lose their jobs also lose their healthcare insurance.
In this campaign, I have been able to hold the hands of senior citizens in nursing homes and look into incubators of premature infants in neonatal intensive care units. I have been able to visit clinics run by student nurses and see Red Cross workers comfort refugees of disasters. Healthcare is an issue that impacts us all and we must find a way to make it accessible to those who need help.
I want you to know that I've never forgotten that this all started when I went to my children's school and discovered they didn't have a lunchroom. It wasn't easy, but we got that lunchroom built. That's when I first realized that one person could make a difference. That experience led me to this life of public service and I promise to continue my work for the people of Tennessee.
The reward is in the journey. I want to thank all of those who supported me with their time, their talent and their money. I have made many new friends and met so many people who share my vision for a better Tennessee and a better America.
I feel confident that my journey in public service is not over. There are other fights to fight, other roads to travel and many ways to make a difference.
Again, thank you all for your support over the last few months and for your commitment to making a positive change in Tennessee and America. I continue to believe that I am my brother's keeper and that each of us has an obligation to make a positive difference in the world.
State Senator Rosalind Kurita

MEA? What's the deal?

How do you not endorse a progressive teacher who is running for the County Commission? It seems like Reginald Fentress would be the ideal candidate for you. What's up with that. I'm a member, and I think I want to ask around and find out what's up with that.

Can't say that I'm surprised...

But it still sucks... I hope someone carries what she says when she withdraws. Kurita 2008 against Alexander, maybe? Or would the DSCC screw her then too? She was a fiesty rural Democrat, and those are always near and dear to my heart. Really though, she was always a longshot. She already took it this far; she might as well have finished. Ford 2006 for me, I guess. Ugh...

Go Francine!!!

Now, I don't normally blog about national politics, because sharper minds than mine already have that well covered. However, Francine Busby is running in California's 50th District in the heavily Republican district being exited by convicted criminal Duke Cunningham. She kicked butt in the special election and is headed to the runoff. Want us to have a Democratic wave in 2006? Skip the coffee this week and give Francine $25.

DFM Endorsements...

Democracy For Memphis has endorsed Steve Mulroy and Reginald Fentress for County Commission.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

About Me Running ...

I guess I must have a big ego, but the idea of me running for the County Commission as Cracker, Brad, and the fair number of people who have emailed me mentioned, strongly tempted me. In District 1 any Democrat would be a sacrificial lamb, but that is not a bad thing. In case the Republican gets caught eating babies, we're ready. Also it helps the county-wide ticket, helps to give wilderness Democrats something to vote for, and helps to build the party in that area. However, as my wife made sure I realized (and I already did...) in the off chance that Flinn did get caught during his weekly baby-eating excercise, I would not be able to serve. Law school is about to start and it is literally not possible to miss every other Monday and pass. And one thing I have learned in the 8 years Margo and I have been together is if the wife say's no, it behooves you to listen.

Also, I don't do anything half-ass. If I am going to run to be a pain-in-the-Republican's ass, I want to be a MAJOR pain in their collective asses. In this election, I think my time would be better served helping great candidates like Steve Mulroy, D. Harris, Reginald Fentress, and Joe Young get elected. Those people who emailed me and offered to help in any campaign I ran, thank you so much. Please go and help one of these great guys.

Now, in four years this race comes up again. It is like a punch in the gut seeing these knuckleheads run unopposed in the general election again and again. I don't think I'll let that happen. Margo has promised not to kill me at that point, and there will at least be a way I could serve then in the unlikely miracle that I won.

If I do that though, I won't just have my name on the ballot though. There's no reason in taking money away from competitive races like District 5 for District 1, but I can go out there and knock on doors and work the phones and speak at events like there's no tommorrow. Odds are the incumbent would throw a ton of money at the race just in case. That's a ton of Republican money that won't get spent where they would like to use it.

Someone in that district needs to be talking about the living wage. Someone needs to be talking about the debt. Someone needs to be talking about Pilot reform, smart growth, education, health care... If no one else will, I'll get off my ass and do it myself. Just give me time land a new job first. :-)