Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: The Year in Sex

Now that I have your attention, and you already have your day pass (see below), you really must read the article with the same headline as above. Now, some of the information I could do without (e.g., a Kid Rock sex video - no thanks), but over all it's pretty funny stuff. Kind of amazing how completely gross celebrities seem to be these days - or maybe not.

This passage caught my feminazi eye (see, this post really is about politics...sexual politics, not just beach read trash):

In a startling display of rugged Slavic candor, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russia's Liberal and Democratic Party leader, this fall revealed that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized his country's policies in Ukraine only because she's single. In an exclusive Pravda interview delicately headlined "Condoleezza Rice's Anti-Russian Stance Based on Sexual Problems," Zhirinovsky explained that "Rice released a coarse anti-Russian statement ... because she is a single woman who has no children ... Such women are very rough ... They can be happy only when they are talked and written about everywhere: 'Oh, Condoleezza, what a remarkable woman, what a charming Afro-American lady! How well she can play the piano and speak Russian!' ... If she has no man by her side at her age, he will never appear. Even if she had a whole selection of men to choose from, she would stay single because her soul and heart have hardened."

Incidentally, I am totally not making this up. "Condoleezza Rice needs a company of soldiers," Zhirinovsky continued. "She needs to be taken to barracks where she would be satisfied. On the other hand, she can hardly be satisfied because of her age."

Am I alone in thinking that what this dude needs is one hour as a guest of Oprah Winfrey?

In December, Zhirinovsky picked up some surprise support from Laura Bush, who declared in an interview with People magazine that "Dr. Rice, who I think would be a really good candidate [for president], is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she's an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job." Bush's eyes then briefly came into focus and she was able to spit out the words "Help me!" before being reconnected to her sedative drip.

But here is the paragraph that has me really thinking that, no matter how much things change, they just stay the same (sigh)...

At Forbes, Michael Noer earned himself a fan club by arguing that men should not marry career women because they will be less likely to vacuum the Cheetos off the floor, take care of you if you're six -- I mean sick -- or bear you hordes of children. Ex-New Yorker writer Caitlin Flanagan agreed, letting women know that if they just quit their jobs and gave enough BJs, their husbands might love them enough to support them through cancer.

Go read the articles linked. Forbes is not The National Enquirer or Hustler. I work (more than 30 hours a week) in a very male professional business world. The fact that Forbes would publish an article entitled "Don't Marry Career Women" - when, as Salon's Rebecca Traister puts it, what the author really means is "If You Are Really Self-Loathing and Weak, Try to Find Someone Who Doesn't Work and Will Consent to Live With You Out of Financial Desperation for the Rest of Her Life" - is pretty damn discouraging.

I haven't read Caitlin Flanagan's book, To Hell With All That, which is the subject of the Salon review linked above. But if, in fact, her premise is that her husband took good care of her during her cancer treatment because she (a writer for the The New Yorker, so how is that a stay at home mom, anyway?) had submissively subverted her career desires and goals to his in order to fulfill some Ozzie and Harriet fantasy of hers, thereby earning his love and care, that is just pathetic. It's enough to make any self-respecting working mom (and cancer survivor like me) even more tired than she is already trying to be all things to all people.

On that note, I have to go - at the Prince's repeated request - and call the parents of some proposed teen party for tonight and make sure they're not going to be shooting heroin or anything, like the good working mom I am.

Happy New Year!

Not Paying Attention to Everything

Over at Salon, Juan Cole has an informative article about the manner in which Saddam Hussein was tried and executed and how, like everything else connected to the Iraq war, it was handled pretty much in the absolute best way possible to ensure that it would not result in national reconciliation or progress but, instead, continued civil war and sectarian violence. In the end, Saddam has been turned into a martyr for Sunnis, even those who hated him. (Salon is a subscription site, but by enduring a short ad, you can get a day pass and read everything on the site for 24 hours.)

I have to admit that when I hear Saddam Hussein, the blotter in my brain comes up with WMD, and WMD yields Iraq, and Iraq suggests George Bush, and before you know it, I'm turning the page and thinking, next. It's kind of embarrassing to admit, but I guess I've adopted this avoidance mode as a survival tactic these last six years. As I've told many people, I've gotten in touch with my inner-Reagan era self (revealing my advanced age) in order to shut out the depressing evidence of the Bush regime. There hasn't been any other way to keep my dignity as an American; I guess I'm just a Dixie Chick in spirit.

I'm a bit ashamed to be learning all these facts about the trial and execution just now. But I guess Juan Cole hasn't spent the last year working on Shelby County Commission elections and learning Robert's Rules to keep Del Gill from hijacking SCDP executive committee meetings and such. So I'm going to give myself a break for not paying attention to everything.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Great Commentary on Herenton and the Mayor's Race

Over at the Smart City blog, they have their usual unique and astute analysis of why Mayor Herenton should step aside. In addition, they make the point that someone from another walk of life than politics is likely to bring a new way of looking at things to the position that could be the difference between living in a good city vs. a great one. Where are those people who are willing to leave their wonderful careers to take the job? Surely, we have some folks who want to be take Memphis to "great city" status!

LWC has some thought provoking discussion on the topic of the mayor's race, too.

Check it out.

Someone please make Al Gore run.....

It is not even 2007 yet, however; the 2008 presidential race is already revving up. Several big names have already tossed their hats into the ring, but I'm not very happy about our current options. I personally wish Al Gore would run because he could simply say, "Look what happened last time I wasn't placed in the oval office". He also has real experience, and he makes us think back to better times under President Clinton. In a Democratic primary he could easily gain grassroots support throughout the environmental movement. I'd like to see a national college campus-based internship program that would utilize environmental activists and college democrats on campuses across the country. The main thing Gore would have to do is be himself. In my opinion, he played too close to the middle during the 2000 election, and by doing that he did not come off as natural. Since the 2000 election, I've seen him give speeches about the war in Iraq, and I saw him give the Inconvenient Truth slide show speech in Nashville at Vanderbilt. When he gave those speeches, he didn't come off as stiff and bland as I perceived him to be in 2000. He spoke from his heart. I believe that if he could pour that same passion into a presidential race, then he could rise above the other superstars who have either announced or hinted at the fact that they may run. However, he and everyone close to him seem to kill my hopes at every interview/opportunity. It is too bad though because a Gore/Obama ticket would be amazing. As for some of the other possible Democratic candidates.......

Sen. Barack Obama: I saw him speak at a Ford Jr. event last spring, and he really got me with his speech. I'd so jump on the Obama bandwagon if it weren't for the fact that he has so little experience. He's got a fire inside of him, and he moves people when he speaks. However, he was a State Senator before becoming a U.S. Senator, and he's only been a U.S. Senator for two years now. I think he would make an excellent VP choice, but he simply doesn't have the experience to run for President.

Sen. Hillary Clinton: She finally backed off her staunch support for her vote allowing the pre-emptive strike on Iraq, however; she is simply not electable because of the Republican attack machine. I like many of the causes that she supports, and I'd love to have a woman president. I just don't think she'd be the right choice.

Sen. John Kerry: He would probably be the worst choice this time around. He was treated unfairly in 2004, but his recent "botched joke" and the past presidential election will not allow him to advance past the primary.

John Edwards: He's probably my current favorite of the pack since he has been through a recent presidential election, and he didn't seem to take on the damage that Sen. Kerry took from the 2004 election. He's charismatic, talks a lot about poverty, and he served a full Senate term in a southern state.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: I love the guy, and I think he will bring a lot of important issues to the table. However, even though he's married now, he simply has no chance.

Gov. Mark Warner: He says he's not going to run, but if he ran he would be the safest choice for a win in the general. He has an 80% approval rating in Virginia. Wouldn't it be nice to see Virginia go blue in a presidential race?

Gov. Richardson, Gov. Vilsack, Sen. Biden, Sen. Bayh: I really need to learn a little more about each one, but none of them really jump out at me. Governor's seem to do a little better than Senators in presidential races since they don't have a voting record that can been used against them though.

And on the Republican side:

Mayor Giuliani: Nice guy, but a pro-choice candidate who is moderate on gay marriage will not make it through a Republican primary. If he did, then I don't know if we could beat him.

John McCain: I used to have a lot of respect for him, but I'm disappointed that he's willing to change his stances in order to appeal to the conservative base. I liked the fact that he appeared to think on his own, and I feel like he's lost that now although the public may not perceive it that way. I think he would definitely be our biggest threat out of the bunch in the general though.

George Allen: Just kidding :) . Senator Webb took care of him for us.

Condoleezza Rice: I don't see her running, but if she did I couldn't see her making it through the Republican primary.

Gov. Jeb Bush: He knows better than to even try with the reputation that his name now holds.

Sen. Chuck Hagel: My personal favorite on the Republican side, but I'd prefer a hard-line conservative opponent because he/she would be easier to beat in the general.

Gov. Romney: He seems to have a lot of charisma, but I just don't see him making it through the primary either (even though he's pretty conservative for a New England Republican).

Newt Ginrich: I believe he announced that he wasn't going to run. However, it would have felt great to beat him in a general.

Sen. Brownback: Something tells me that he would do well in the primary. He would also be an easier candidate to defeat in the general because he leans pretty far to the right.

Sen. Frist: I'm so glad that he seems to have no chance. Bringing up the Terry Schiavo incident on the Senate floor didn't help him like he wanted it to. Reports about his stocks didn't seem to help either.

I'm sure that I left a few people out so feel free to talk about your favorites/predictions.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's A Family Tradition...

A quick note to say that I will indeed be back to blogging soon. We went out of town to see my family and then Margo's family. Funny how exhausting "vacations" can be isn't it? I'm back home today, only to leave in the morning. We've developed a weird family tradition of going to funerals during Christmas. In the last three years I've had a grandmother, great grandmother, and now Margo's aunt die during Christmas. Hopefully, that tradition will be broken soon. If not, I'll have to start adopting lonely bloggers into my family to help keep some distance between the grim reaper and myself. Don't got any plans next Christmas do you Freedonian? What about you Auto?

Anyways, my man John Edwards should be announcing tomorrow. Expect me to shill away for him as the campaign heats up. I hear Iowa is always nice in December and January...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wish No. 2 for 2007: A New and Improved City Council

I can hardly wait till October, 2007. That's when elections for all of the City Council seats will occur (as will the mayoral election). I think we can count at least 4, maybe as many as 7 or 8 seats, that will be open. i.e., either no incumbent or one who is legally and/or politically challenged. That's not to say that those under indictment will graciously step aside and not run again - we here in Memphis seem to have a knack for electing exceedingly shameless leaders.

But the landscape has opened up a whole, whole lot for good folks with day jobs, talent and the commitment to serve the community to run. Just to review...

District 1 - E.C. Jones seems to be having some troubles explaining his car lease from Joe Cooper, and would appear to be vulnerable to an effective challenger

District 2 - Brent Taylor, a possible open seat if he decides to forego re-election to focus to his funeral home business, as we've been hearing

District 3 - Tajuan Stout Mitchell - open, she's taken a job with city government

District 5 - Carol Chumney seems intent on challenging Herenton for mayor, most likely open

District 6 - Edmund Ford, under indictment on several counts of bribery, if not open, then vulnerable to challenge

Super District 8 - Rickey Peete, ditto

Super District 9 - Word is that Jack Sammons may not run again

Who are we going to recruit to run for these positions?

Word is that former Democratic party chair Jim Strickland is running in District 5. Jim would be great in that position. These are officially nonpartisan races, but as I learned the hard way with last summer's judicial elections, that is sometimes the case in name only.

So, who are some good Democrats/progressives that you'd like to see elected to the City Council? Go here to view a map of the districts.

I would hope there could be some strategic planning to this so that the vote doesn't get splintered along racial or other lines and prevent the best candidates from winning. This is where a strong local party would be a real asset. If the local party had clout and money, in both of which it is usually lacking, then there would be some planning and influence by the party in identifying and recruiting candidates, and the ability to meaningfully support great people who decide to run.

This is a rare opportunity to elect a significant number of honest, thoughtful and, dare I say it, visionary leadership for Memphis. We'll see how it unfolds, and I hope next October to feel as excited and happy about the local leadership landscape as I did on November 8 about the Congressional situation (Tennessee excepted that day).


Update: Before I get clobbered by those who do not work outside the home, so to speak, let me clarify that by referring to people with day jobs, what I mean and should probably say instead is someone who is not primarily attracted to run for the City Council because of the pay or perks of the position. Retirees and other stay at home persons are not excluded from my definition of someone we would want to represent us.

Kevin Gallagher Withdraws from Senate Race


December 26, 2006

Kevin Gallagher Withdraws from Senate Race

Memphis, TN - State Senate candidate Kevin Gallagher announced earlier today that he is withdrawing as a candidate in the Democratic primary to fill the State Senate seat vacated by Congressman-Elect Steve Cohen.

In a statement made to friends and supporters, Gallagher said he entered the race to ensure Memphis would continue to be represented in the State Senate with the same integrity and commitment to service that it had known for the past 24 years under Cohen, its former Senator.

"I was bolstered by the encouragement of Congressman-Elect Cohen and that of many of his long time supporters," said Gallagher. "However, with the entry of State Representative Beverly Marrero in this race, I believe the traditions of service we have come to expect can best be assured with only one of us in the (State Senate) race."

Gallagher continued by endorsing Marrero and encouraging others to support her. "I have a great deal of respect for Representative Marrero and running against each other would have done a disservice to the people of our district. I look forward to her victory in the Senate race."

Gallagher did not comment on speculation he would seek Marrero's vacant District 89 House seat, in the event of her senate election victory.

Wish No. 1 for 2007: Democratic County Commission Calibration

What with work travel, the holidays, and such, this is the first chance I've had to weigh in on how our new County Commission Democratic majority is doing.

The Prince is playing his new PS3 at the moment (amazing how not buying the family grownups any presents frees up the dough to further spoil your child) and allowing me to share in his presence but, as with most 14 year olds, not desiring any interaction with me other than the placement of various food items at his feet. So now I have some time to give my 2 cents worth on this topic.

There's a terrific mixture of business and political experience, intelligence, independence, and new and seasoned leadership in this Democratic group. So far, however, on two issues important to Democrats and the community, it seems to me that they've misstepped. I'm confident they'll find their stride in 2007, but it would be helpful to that end if they reflected on what went awry on two recent votes.

On their first strategic vote, the issue of authorizing a second Juvenile Court judge, the Democrats on the Commission threw down the hammer. They voted in sync (along with Mike Carpenter, in a pleasantly surprising show of independence) to authorize the second judgeship, refusing to allow a two week delay proposed by Commission Republicans to study the issue -- because they had the votes and they could. They thereby invited retribution from the Republicans, which they promptly got in the form of a lawsuit filed against, among others, each of the Democratic Commissioners, for emasculating Curtis Person's election as Juvenile Court judge in August. In addition to constitutional arguments against the Commission's authority, the suit alleged violations of the state Sunshine Law.

And, indeed, Deidre Malone - a smart, confident and gracious woman who exemplifies the kind of local leaders we need a lot more of - had to eat crow very publicly and admit that she had inadvertently broken that law in an ex parte conversation with Mike Carpenter before the Commission meeting on the issue. (More on the Sunshine Law in another post.)

Adding to the controversy, Commission Sidney Chism announced to the press that he was in support of Veronica Coleman, unsuccessful challenger to Person, for the second judicial appointment. This led to several over the top diatribes by the Commercial Appeal against Coleman and accusations of cronyism, heavy handedness and political manipulation by the Democrats. The ensuing PR debacle was defused when Deidre brought the issue back up and the Commission reversed its earlier vote, authorizing town hall meetings and a study of Juvenile Court reform by an ad hoc committee - just as the Republicans had wanted.

I understand from various attorneys that there really is a pressing need to redesign the dysfunctional system at Juvenile Court, but is there any doubt that the Commission Democrats' hasty action cost them political capital and set an unfortunate tone for the new Commission? At the end of the day, the Democrats still have the votes to make the second judgeship a reality, but the handling of the situation was unfortunate.

Then, last week, when the Commission met to appoint interim replacements for former state Representative Henri Brooks and former state Senator Steve Cohen - mostly, but not completely, symbolic votes given that that the winner of the special elections for those positions will take office in March - the Democrats blew it and, by a disjointed lack of cohesion, allowed the Republicans (with the help of two Democratic Commissioners) to easily ensure that Republican Commissioner George Flinn's son, Shea Flinn, won the appointment.

I don't know Shea Flinn, but he seems to be a sincere Democrat, and has publicly pledged to vote for John Wilder, a commitment vital to Democrats in the legislature. As someone whose ties to Republicans have allowed others to question my political allegiances, I won't question his commitment to the Democratic party just because his father is a Republican.

He is well regarded by local white progressives. However, in conversations with African American progressive friends, points that have been made are: why the complete failure of the local blogs to note the nepotism and conflict problems with this appointment or that Shea's qualifications resemble Jake Ford's at least in the sense that his work experience consists totally of working for his father? If his name were Chism or Malone or Brooks, would not these points have been made?

What appears to have happened is that Commissioners Malone and Chism came to the meeting adamant on appointing attorney Robert Spence, who is running for the Senate seat, over the stated objections of other Democratic Commissioners who preferred a placeholder appointment to giving one candidate or another a leg up be bestowing incumbency on them. J.W. Gibson had promised his support to Joseph Kyles, an unsuccessful 9th Congressional primary candidate, as had James Harvey. Steve Mulroy tacitly supported New Path co-founder and computer business owner Cardell Orrin (who I supported and on whose behalf I lobbied all of the Commissioners). But Steve, who I and others recruited to run for the Commission, so he obviously has my support and admiration, quickly signaled his willingness to vote for Flinn, a former student and research assistant at the U of M law school, over Spence when it became apparent that there would be no room for a Democratic intra-party compromise.

This whole set of dynamics enabled the Commission's Republicans to sit back like cats who ate the canary and dominate what should have been an occasion for them to defer to their Democratic colleagues' choice. Unfortunately, this situation (which included George Flinn's seeming pride, and obliviousness to his conflict of interest, in voting for his own son - what IS wrong with these people?) gave us a display of "every Democratic Commissioner for him/herself" and, when all was said and done, left them in a very public state of disarray, with Sidney Chism publicly unhappy with James Harvey's display of independence in supporting Flinn along with Mulroy.

Some might say, the appointment is only for a short period, so why the fuss, Desi? The reason is that it was another embarrassing public misstep for the new Democratic majority. More discouraging, it allowed nepotism to prevail, and pretty much across the board resulted in Commissioners voting for who they knew, not for who might have been the best choice. And in this era of local cronyism and corruption, is this really the message we want our new Democratic majority to help send?

As I said at the beginning of this, I fully expect our Democratic commissioners to hit their stride in 2007. I'm personally happy to see that we have some independent thinkers of both parties on the Commission, which I think will help keep everyone on their toes. But what we don't want is missed opportunities for the Democrats to make their mark on local issues that Democrats care about. So let's hope the new year brings some unity - always a challenge for Democrats, it seems - coupled with better political intuition to our Democratic Commissioners.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Bummer: James Brown, R.I.P.

Well, checking for anything of interest to share and found this .

James Brown, the legendary R&B belter, a singer and songwriter who created a foundation for funk and provided the roots of rap, a man of many nicknames but a talent that can only be described as one of a kind, is dead.

Brown -- known variously as "the Godfather of Soul," "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," "Soul Brother Number One" and "Mr. Dynamite" (and often introduced as all of the above) -- was known for his elastic dance moves, razor-sharp musicianship and all-stops-out performances.

He was, literally, an impossible act to follow: The Rolling Stones were said to have been terrified to come on after Brown in "The T.A.M.I. Show," a 1964 concert that appeared on film the next year. ("Nobody could follow me," Brown told "T.A.M.I. Show" director Steve Binder, according to a Los Angeles Times article.) Brown's performance in that show even earned an ovation from the backing band.

"You have the Rolling Stones on the same stage, all of the important rock acts of the day, doing their best -- and James Brown comes out and destroys them," producer Rick Rubin wrote in Rolling Stone.

His influence was broad and deep. He was a soul innovator, bringing a churchy rawness to R&B with his early hits "Please, Please, Please" and "Think." He essentially created funk with mid-'60s songs such as "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Cold Sweat." His grooves were sampled by rappers and hip-hop artists.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas, Baby

A friend of mine reported the following interaction with her 8 year old daughter this week, who was playing with the Nativity scene figures in the living room:

Piglet: "Here's Joseph, and here's the Virgin ... Mom, what's a virgin?"

Mom: "Well, that's a woman who's never had sex."

Piglet: "Were you a virgin when you married Dad?"

Mom: "Why, yes, I was ...[nose grows]"

Piglet: "Ok, here's Joseph, and here's the Virgin, and here's Harold [a shepherd], and they're fighting over Mary. And Joseph says, let's name the baby Jesus, but Mary doesn't want to name the baby Jesus.

...Mary says, Let's don't name the baby Jesus -- let's name him HAROLD, JR."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Wouldn't it be nice to elect a candidate who looked out for everyday people and not just the elite?

Wouldn't it be nice to elect a candidate who made his living helping others as a teacher and veteran rather than as a lobbyist and consultant?

Wouldn't it be nice to see an honest man running for local office?

Sigh... Too much to hope for isn't it? Although, if the rumor that E.C. Jones is on the way out are to be believed, I might know someone who fits the bill. It seems that I vaguely recall someone. What was his name? Oh yeah. Bill Morrison. Wonder what he's up to these days?

If Corruption Had A Last Name...

It would be spelled F-O-R-D. John Ford has gotten indicted a few more times.

Interim Replacements Chosen.

Congrats to Shea Flinn in State Sentate District 30 and Eddie Neal in House District 92 for being chosen for interim appointments to the state legislature. I was going to be happy as long as a non-indicted Democrat who wasn't running for reelection was chosen. Shea is a good choice. I don't know a thing about Neal, but he's a Democrat, he's not running for the permanent position, and I don't see wads of cash-bribes sticking out of his pocket, so he passes my test.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Don't You Worry About Peete...

Some of you have expressed concern that I have forgotten Councilman Peete in my nominations for Stupid, Criminal, Politician of the Year. Never fear. He gets his own special awards. First he gets his very own "soap on a rope."

Second he gets his very own special cell, reserved for VIP, frequent guests. In honor of his role on the Beale Street Merchants Association. He also gets to be buddies with a guy nicknamed Beale Street Bubba. Bubba likes to have new buddies. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Stupid, Criminal Politician of the Year

Vote Here!

I am working under the shaky presumption that there won't be any more of our beloved crooked politicians indicted this calendar year. As such, for the next week they will be competing for the coveted and highly contested Stupid, Criminal Politician of the Year Award for Shelby County. There have rarely been so many great candidates in one year. So vote early and often (this is Memphis, after all.) In keeping with the spirit of the competition, feel free to use dead people's IP address after you vote from yours.

My personal votes:
1. Roscoe "Fast For Me" Dixon
2. John "I'll Shoot You Dead"/"You Ever Try to Feed Fourteen Baby-Mamas" Ford
3. Joe "I eat three buffalo, take two bribes, and lose one election every day by lunch" Cooper
4. Jake "I don't remember how many times I've been arrested or whether or not I did, in fact, assault my girlfriend" Ford

But don't just go with my choices. Have some fun. There are so many to choose from. They're all stupid, criminal politicians in my book.

Friday, December 15, 2006

State Senate District 30

I'm starting a poll for blog readers concerning the race to replace Steve Cohen in District 30. The link is here.

My thoughts:
Robert Spence: I think Freedonian pretty well slashed up Spence here.

Larry Parrish: I shutter at the very thought. However, if you think porn is the most pressing issue in our community then he's your man.

Charles Hopkins: Who?

Beverly Marrero: She's my state rep. I have tons of respect for her, but I don't want to have to pay for another special election for her to do the exact same job that she does now if there is a viable alternative. Also, this election will be extremely low turnout and could be snuck into by a one-and-done Republican. That would remove Wilder as Speaker (as hard as that is to fathom.) Beverly doesn't have a reputation as a strong campaigner, and she will be hamstrung when it comes to fundraising because she will be in session during the campaign.

Kevin Gallagher: I've gotten to know Kevin fairly well over the past few campaign cycles. He'd be a progressive to a similar extent as Marrero. However, he won't have his hands tied when it comes to raising money, he has a strong and active campaign staff and volunteer corps, and his victory won't necessitate more of our money getting spent in another election. I like the idea of both Kevin and Beverly serving in Nashville. Beverly stays there either way. Therefore, I'm supporting Kevin.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Request for Libertyland From Commissioner Mulroy

We have a chance to save the park with a $5 million investment that for once didn't require a tax incentive, a PILOT, or a bribe. It will allow kids who can't afford to go to Hot Springs an affordable amusement park; bring those part-time jobs back to inner-city teens and help with teen crime; and save the Grand Carousel and the Zippin Pippin from the fate of the Memphis Belle. It'll bring in brand new rides and the place will be better than ever.

I was hoping you might encourage folks to email TODAY and give the C-A three lines on why the City Council should do the right thing next Tuesday and approve the deal. Or, call their City Council folks and tell them the same. Let's have some happy news coming out of City Council for a change.


The HotButton issue for the Commercial Appeal will be 'Should the Memphis/Shelby County Fair Grounds be turned into an Amusement Park?"

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Home >> Elected Officials>>City of Memphis Officials

125 N. Main St. 38103

District 1
E. C. Jones
2920 Vista View St. 38127

District 2
Brent Taylor
736 N. Ericson 38018

District 3
TaJuan Stout Mitchell
3558 Acacia Dr. 38116

District 4
Dedrick Brittenum, Jr.
1161 E. Parkway S. 38114

District 5
Carol Chumney
38 Charleston Sq. 38122 (901)327-8528

District 6
Edmund H. Ford
194 Golf Club Cir. 38109

District 7
Barbara Swearengen Holt
1636 Sydney St. 38108

District 8, Pos. 1
Joe Brown
1024 Terry Cir. 38107

District 8, Pos. 2
Rickey W. Peete
915 N. McLean Blvd. 38107

District 8, Pos. 3
Myron Lowery
66 Monroe Ave. 38103

District 9, Pos. 1
Scott McCormick
8895 Hickory Trail Dr. 38018 753-6014

District 9, Pos. 2
Tom Marshall
5109 Greenway Cv. 38117

District 9, Pos. 3
Jack Sammons
208 Saint Albans Fairway 38111

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Democratic Senator Suffers Stroke

Democratic Senator Tim Johnson has had a stroke. Details are not yet available.

I'm Not a Racist - But You Are: Another Interesting Poll

Per another CNN poll:

Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.

But few Americans of either race -- about one out of eight -- consider themselves racist.

Here's the rest of the story.

Are we ready for a woman or black president?

According to a CNN/Reuters poll, yes - or maybe - depending if you believe people are telling the truth.

Is America ready for a female president or an African-American president? We asked, in the latest CNN poll by the Opinion Research Corporation.

Sixty percent of voters said, "A female president? No problem.'' Both men and women agree. Do Democrats see a problem? Nope. Seventy percent of Democrats say the country's ready for a female president. Perhaps they have one in mind.

How about an African-American president? A slightly higher number, 62 percent, see no problem with that either. Whites are a little more confident than blacks that the country is ready for a black president. But a majority of blacks believe the country is ready.

Can those results be trusted? Polls are not always reliable when they ask people about prejudice. As CNN's polling director, Keating Holland, noted, "Sometimes people will hear a question and give pollsters the answer that they think the pollster wants to hear.''

I had a conversation last weekend with a prominent local African-American who told me unequivocally that there is no way America is ready to elect a black president. Then, on Monday, I had lunch with an African-American lawyer who made a face when I asked her.

I wonder if we here in Memphis have a skewed point of view about race given our unique demographics (no math major here, but around 60% black, 35% white) or whether my African-American conversation partners are right. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

God Bless Texas

Looks like we might well be scoring a huge upset victory in the final Congressional race of the 2006 cycle (barring the Florida fiasco being overturned.)

I Forgot One.

I also added Theogeo to the sidebar. She's one of the few local bloggers that I read that I don't know in real life. She's a great writer with cute ferrets. And I'm still laughing about her "precious" post.

Sidebar Additions

I took off some out-of-date sites from my sidebar and added some great Tennessee blogs. Volunteer Voters offers one-stop-shopping for much of the Tennessee blogosphere. The site is ran by a paid blogger for WKRN in Nashville. A.C. may be a conservative, but he's one I can read without throwing stuff. Sean Braisted is a local progressive blogger up in Nashville who is always worth a read. Newscoma is a small-town newspaper editor in Northwest Tennessee, who's as likely to write about Big Foot as politics. I also added a link for the forthcoming site for Kevin Gallagher's campaign for State Senate District 30.

I promise that a real blog post will come soon, there's just a backlog of things I have put off during the month leading up to finals.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The WTL is Back...

And tired. So I just finished the last of the dreaded first semester law school finals. I should be back to the normal blog rounds tomorrow. I will also be updating my blogroll with some great Tennessee blogs that aren't quite as local. Before I get around to all that, I wanted to thank everyone who has been holding down the fort while I've been gone. Feel free to stick around.

So nothing interesting has happened while I've been gone has it? You know, something like the Titans actually winning a game or more of our beloved corrupt officials going down? That's good. I wouldn't have wanted to miss anything.

The National Conference for Media Reform will be in town next month and they are giving out press passes to bloggers. Speakers such as FCC members, Jesse Jackson, Bill Moyers, etc. will be there. I can't make it, but surely someone out in the blogosphere can. It sounds interesting and like something we should report on. Now, I have to go find my wife and make up for two election cycles backed up to finals without a break. I suspect it will involve a lot of dishes and vacuuming. Sigh...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mother Mary

I've been thinking about Mary Cheney since the news broke that she and her lesbian partner are expecting a baby next year.

Just about the only thing that makes Dick Cheney seem like a human being to me is the fact that he loves his openly gay daughter. The fact that she, too, is a neocon may be a mitigating factor. But nevertheless, when I think how, as a Christian, I am supposed to love my neighbor, and that it means HIM, I cling to my recollection of the 2004 vice presidential debate when John Edwards brought her and her sexuality up and Cheney's dignified refusal to discuss her made Edwards look cheap. If only he disported himself in that manner about 100% of the time....

Anyway, I was reminded of the impending birth of Baby Cheney today as I watched a lesbian couple at my church have their second baby baptized. This is a family where both mommies have had a baby, serve on the altar guild, teach Sunday school classes and attend church with their four year old daughter more faithfully than I and Desinator, Jr. do lately.

I don't know what they are teaching their kids to call them. I also don't know what legal arrangements they have been able to make, if any, to assure that their children will be secure in their two parent household. Or to assure that the father(s?) of their kids can't decide to exert their paternal rights and seek custody of the kids.

When I think how much courage it must take (and will take over the years) for them to present themselves to their employers, to the kids' schools, at birthday parties, sports activities, ballet lessons, as the openly gay but otherwise completely traditional family they are, I realize how much I take seeing them in the pew a few rows ahead of me for granted. They pull it off with so much grace, this family thing, that no one pays any attention to the one tiny distinction that makes them different from almost all of the other intact nuclear families in church.

I thought today as I watched their newborn son being baptized - what will they tell the kids when they ask where they came from, or how do you get pregnant, or why do I have two mommies, or all manner of other questions that inevitably get asked by little kids and throw parents into a tizzy.

The media had a brief field day with Mary Cheney's announcement. People all across the political spectrum felt free to pontificate about her deciding to become a mother - from conservative disgust at her violating fundamentalist moral code regarding "marriage between a man and a woman" to liberal disgust at the hypocrisy of her working to elect and retain a president whose administration has callously used GLBT folks as a sacrificial lamb in order to get their folks to the polls.

Deciding to become a parent is one of the most irrational decisions a person can ever make. I think it's a mistake to make judgments about this situation based on logic and reason. Parenting, when not done in a materially pathological manner, is really the ultimate sacrifice (short of dying in battle). It is also the ultimate gift to yourself, since most children give a parent way more love than they deserve (until they become teenagers, anyway).

So I say to Mary Cheney, you go girlfriend.

I really can't imagine how she and her partner will navigate the ultraconservative world they live in. I doubt they will live around people like you find at Calvary Episcopal Church who won't bat an eye at their lifestyle and will love them just like any other family with little kids. But maybe embarking on this adventure of creating life and raising up a person they will call theirs (regardless of the legal truths) will help Mary and her family find the courage and grace that the two mommies at church display.