Thursday, August 31, 2006

But It's Socialized Medicine!!!

Which is wasteful and dangerous and bad right?

Harumph....

Republicans might want to check their polls on health-care. The so-called pro-government conservatives they like to stir up with abortion and gay marriage can be sold on universal healthcare fairly easily.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Welfare

I was reading my civ pro and heard two people arguing about welfare. I was trying to get my stuff read so that I could actually see Margo, so I didn’t take part in the debate. I did listen to their arguments, however. Basically, they both repeated talking points, one from the right and one from the left. Right-leaner argued that welfare is just rewarding people for being lazy and they should be left to sink or swim on their own. Left-winger felt that everyone in the world was oppressed and that right-winger wanted to take money from poor people to give to rich people.

I haven’t put any serious thought into it, but there is definitely middle ground. Welfare of some sort is necessary unless you are of the opinion that we should let poor people and their children starve. It is also true though that our current system is deeply flawed and creates a culture of dependency. This isn’t a racial issue, as some like to say, though. I have a good number of family members who are or have been on welfare, food stamps, or some other form of government assistance. Some of these family members almost never work even though they could and live off of the government just like their own parents did. It may be a right-wing talking point, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Can we agree to the idea that poor people should both work and be able to make ends meet? If so, why isn’t welfare designed to achieve this goal? My off the cuff thoughts are this: We should provide childcare to people who qualify for welfare so that they can work. The government should give these people jobs of some sort. This could be done through a public-private partnership with companies with the government supplementing the incomes of the workers and/or providing tax incentives to the companies. If those sort of jobs could not be found, then a Civilian-Conservation-Corps kind of job program could be created doing work for the public good. They could work half the week, and spend the other half of the week in job training or GED-programs. After they finish the job-training program (and programs in child-rearing, money-management, or whatever they needed), the government should assist them in finding a job that pays enough to make ends meet. This program would support those who are in need of it without creating disincentives from working. To get help they would have to work. It would provide them with the training they needed to survive on their own. It would also get people off the welfare rolls and help to break the cycle that lets their children enter the same situation (therefore decreasing costs to the rest of us.) Anyways, that’s just a quick rambling between classes. Pick it apart if you like, I’m sure it has some holes, but I stand by the basic idea.

Disclosure, I don’t know exactly how this compares to welfare-to-work programs, etc, that have been in existence. I could put hours of research into it, or I could just click publish and get back to being productive.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Health Reasons...

Really? Is the state legislature even in session? At least it wasn't "a desire to spend more time with my family" again. That line gets tiresome. Anyways, she did the right thing. So now we (the executive committee) have to pick a replacement. Thoughts? I am snowed under at the moment, so my thoughts will have to wait. But feel free to flame away.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thank You, Joe.

It is my understanding that Joe Ford Jr. has stated several times that he is supporting the Democratic nominee, Steve Cohen, in the 9th District race. He should be commended for this. As Joe knows, when you become a part of a party primary, you should stand behind the decision of the party primary. I've never been the biggest fan of the Ford's or of political dynasties in general(as liberal as I am, I'm not fond of the idea of the Kennedy clan either, both Bobby's excepted.) However, I like that Joe is progressive, ran a positive campaign, and seems like a bright capable person. I hope he sticks around.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Vote Now

Dear Dave,

"Can Democrats win the House is no longer the valid question. The question is whether Republicans can do anything about it."

-- Amy Walter, Non Partisan Political Analyst, New York Times, 8/10/06.

Democratic grassroots energy has given us the momentum as we head into the final 10 weeks before the election. Even more exciting is that you can feel this energy in every one of our House campaigns. Hundreds of volunteers are joining in across the country.

We have gotten such an overwhelming response to our "Candidate for Change" contest that we're extending the deadline!

Right now it's neck and neck, so we're keeping the voting open five more days to make sure everyone has a chance to cast their vote.

The top three winners of the contest will get a fundraising email from the DCCC, a volunteer phone bank run out of Democratic National Headquarters, a feature spot on the DCCC website, and a chance to talk with our supporters in a DCCC online chat. Votes have been flooding in, but the outcome is still very much in doubt. Have your say now.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Vote For Your Candidates Now!

Every ounce of help we can give our candidates is crucial. The Republicans have their special-interest cronies attacking our candidates day after day -- the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) will be spending more than $10 million trying to ensure they maintain a Republican Congress that will vote against raising the minimum wage, in favor of endless corporate welfare, and against decent wages and labor standards for working Americans everywhere. Right-wing extremists like James Dobson are holding rallies in key battlegrounds to rally their base with the worst vitriol imaginable.

The "Candidate for Change" contest is about our candidates who are at the top of the Republican target list, directly in the line of fire. They are the Democrats from the DCCC's Red to Blue program, which means they have proven they can win the pivotal battles in the media, in fundraising, and on the ground. But if there is another Democrat inspiring you, definitely write them in as your choice in the "other" box. We've already seen grassroots communities supporting several candidates not listed on the page mobilize to put their favorites in the running.

Only a handful of votes are separating the ten great candidates at the top of the list right now -- Patrick Murphy, Joe Sestak, Tammy Duckworth, Patty Wetterling, Lois Murphy, Ron Klein, Mary Jo Kilroy, Darcy Burner and Zack Space -- but others are well within reach. The extended voting will give all of the campaigns the chance to reach out to their supporters and at the end we'll have three winners. Vote for your favorite candidate before it's too late.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Vote For Your Candidates Now!

Here at the DCCC, we know our candidates can win and they are giving Republicans the fights of their lives. There are so many great Democrats to choose from, I hope you'll take the time to vote.

Sincerely,


Karin Johanson
Executive Director, DCCC

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Vote For Your Candidates Now!

From the Morrison Campaign

Dear Friends,

Some people have contacted me and want to volunteer for the Bill
Morrison campaign but are unable to make the Saturday meeting (August
26, at 10:00am, Germantown Library). So I have scheduled a second
meeting on Sunday August 27 at 1:00pm at the Germantown Library. The
two meetings will allow people to sign up and volunteer in all
capacities. People should attend the meeting more convenient to their
schedules. We are trying to get as many people as possible to help
and this second meeting should accomodate that end.
If you could send out this letter to your contacts I believe we will
be able to reach enough voters to win the 7th Congerssional District
for Bill Morrison.
Thank you for your support
DZak

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mid-South Interfaith Stuff

Updates from the Mid-South Interfaith Network for Economic Justice

In the interest of not sending you 4 different emails, I'm combining the following updates, events, and action alerts into one:

1) Faith and Labor Picnic is Coming Soon (Volunteers and Cookie Bakers Needed)
2) Answer the Commercial Appeal's Hot Button Question on the Living Wage by Wed.
3) There's Still Time to Tell Your Counicl Members that Suggesting a Living Wage is not Enough (includes links to recent media coverage)
4) Interns and Volunteers are needed this Fall for the Living Wage Campaign

1) The 4th Annual Faith and Labor Picnic Will be September 4th
The Faith and Labor Picnic is almost here. You won't want to miss out on the great food; music by special guests William Lee Ellis, Valerie June, and Steve Lockwood; and the chance to douse our friends Jacob Flowers, Brad Watkins, Pete Gathje, and Fred Ashwill in the dunk tank. For full details on the picnic, visit http://www.midsouthinterfaith.org/index/donate/picnic.htm

Volunteers are needed at the picnic for the 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. time slot. We also need people to bake homemade cookies. If you are willing to help in either way, please email Rebekah Jordan at msinterfaith@yahoo.com

2) Answer the CA's Hot Button Question on the Living Wage
The Commercial Appeal is asking people to answer in 2 or 3 sentences whether the City Council should pass a living wage ordinance. Responses are needed by August 23rd (Wednesday.) Show them that the majority of Memphians want a living wage by sending in your response: http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/hot_button/article/0,2845,MCA_25350_3721974,00.html

3) There's Still Time to Tell Your Council Members that Suggesting a Living Wage is not Enough
Some Council members want to water down the living wage ordinance by only suggesting service contractors should pay a living wage instead of requiring them to. Tell the City Council that the men and women who keep our city buildings clean and secure deserve better than this. For the full action alert, including a link to the Commercial Appeal and Memphis Flyer's recent positive editorials on the living wage, go to: http://www.midsouthinterfaith.org/index/living_wage/current_action.htm

4) Interns and Volunteers are needed this Fall for the Living Wage Campaign
With so much happening on the living wage campaign, and a final vote by the City Council expected this fall, we have an urgent need for interns and volunteers at the Mid-South Interfaith Network. For more information about internship opportunities, go to: http://www.midsouthinterfaith.org/index/internships.htm

If you are willing to volunteer in the office during the day time or at evening phone banks, please let Rebekah Jordan know at msinterfaith@yahoo.com



Rev. Rebekah Jordan
Mid-South Interfaith Network for Economic Justice
3035 Directors Row, Building B, Suite 1207
Memphis, TN 38131
(901) 332-3570
(901) 332-3532 (fax)
msinterfaith@yahoo.com
www.midsouthinterfaith.org
Make a secure online donation to the Mid-South Interfaith Network at: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=2312

Monday, August 21, 2006

Deja vu...

William Larsha, a fellow member of the executive committee of the Shelby County Democratic Party, apparently has been writing articles, passing out flyers, and will bring forth a resolution to endorse Jake Ford, a non-Democrat, over Steve Cohen, a Democrat. Such a resolution is out of order, and should not even be allowed to be brought to the floor because it violates the bylaws. It is also the case that members of the executive committee cannot endorse or work for opponents of a Democratic nominee. If this is the situation, then I am sorry but Mr. Larsha is no longer fit to serve on the board of a body whose sole purpose is to elect Democrats.

Not happy with Steve? That’s fine. Try to vote him out in 2 years. He won the Democratic nomination. He also polled second in most of the black-majority precincts. This isn’t a situation of whites trying to “steal” an election. More blacks supported Steve than supported almost any other candidate. I haven’t done the math, but Steve probably got either the second or third highest percentage of the African-American vote of the 15 candidates.

The idea that this MUST be a district represented by a black politician is absurd. What would you say if I voted for Corker over Ford because Tennessee is a majority white state? I’d be a racist. What has Jake done for the district? How would he represent the district better for black constituents? I’ve yet to hear a single reason to vote FOR him other than race.

I understand not being happy with the results. I’m not happy with Harold Ford Jr. I wasn’t happy with Roderic Ford. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to vote for Harold Ford Jr. because as bad as he is, he’s better than the Republican. What did I do with Roderic? I didn’t vote. I couldn’t vote for the Democratic nominee because I was given not one reason to, so I abstained. I didn’t work against him. I didn’t work for the other guy. I sat it out. Mr. Larsha, you are a Democratic party officer. The same is expected of you. You ARE allowed to vote for who you choose. You ARE NOT allowed to work against the party nominee AND remain a party officer. If I can bite my tongue then so can you.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Issue # 2: The Minimum Wage

Let’s see if I can get out a post before class starts.

Today’s shortcut citation page: http://www.raisemontana.org/.

The minimum wage has not been raised in ten years. Adjusted for inflation, it is about the lowest it has ever been. A full-time worker making minimum wage earns $10,712 a year. The poverty line for a family of three is $15,536, about 1/3 higher. As the wages for the bottom have decreased relative to inflation, the wages at the top have risen. The average CEO now makes 475 times what the average employee makes. This is not the case in other countries. In Japan it is 11 times greater; in France, 15 times greater; in Canada, it is 20 times greater; in South Africa, 21 times greater; and in Great Britain, 22 times greater. (Wall Street Journal, “Are CEO’s Worth Their Weight in Gold?” January 21-22, 2006)

People who earn these wages are normally on public assistance of some form. For the conservatives who oppose raising the minimum wage, why don’t we get these people off of the government and on their own? Let them work full-time and take care of their own selves and their family. Isn’t that what you want? Class is starting, so I don’t have time to do the research, but I would expect I could find evidence that this won’t raise costs particularly much, if at all. Low income people spend almost all of what they make. Compared to the high-income people who we gave tax cuts too, they are the most likely to stimulate the economy with their purchases. Their higher wages could also decrease the burden on the government from entitlement programs.

I’m going to go one better than raising the minimum wage. Let’s end the debate. Inflation averages 3 or 4% a year. We’ll never regularly pass increases in the minimum wage. Let’s tag it to the CPI automatically as social security is. Or better yet, let’s tie it to legislative pay raises. Every time they raise their pay, they’ll actually be helping rather than screwing the poor for once. Back to class!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Try This For A Moral Value: Sick People Should Be Cared For...

I can’t sleep. It’s now 4:30 in the morning. Seems like the perfect time for a rant, eh?

Strangely enough, I don’t talk politics all the time. That’s how I manage to actually have conservative friends, including the best man at my wedding, who is to the right of Genghis Kahn. I normally, don’t see any reason to bore or tick off non-political people. If they bring it up first though, all bets are off. During a recent discussion with one of these conservative friends, he challenged me to put my own positions up on my blog so he could tell me where I was horribly wrong. I’m not sure I’m anywhere near at the top of my intellect at the moment, but I thought I’d take him on the challenge over the next few days. Today’s issue: health care. (I’m too brain-dead to cite sources tonight. I’ll go fill them in later. In the meantime, the numbers come from http://www.pnhp.org or the books Bleeding the Patient and Healthcare Meltdown)

43 million Americans lack health insurance. Say that number again. 43 million Americans. That’s nearly as many people as voted for Bush in 2000. These aren’t people who won’t work. More often than not, these are people who work hard for a company that isn’t large enough to provide health insurance. 50% are employed. 26% are children. Others lack coverage because of a preexisting illness. 50% of bankruptcies occur at least in part because of illness.

Take my mother-in-law for example. Her husband worked for 30 years for GE. She got uterine cancer and had to undergo surgery and radiation. Even now, years later, she is still suffering the effects of the treatments. They were lucky, they had insurance. The problem is their insurance has a lifetime maximum. It will only pay $500,000 in their lifetime. She has already used $400,000 of that maximum. She’s only in her early 50’s. What happens when she uses the rest? What happens if he loses his job? No insurance will ever cover her again.

This is morally wrong. No one should work and not be able to go to the hospital. No one should be denied coverage BECAUSE they are sick. Can we think of a more evil practice? There aren’t many.

But then again, I’m a bleeding heart liberal. This is just the way it has to be. Right? Hardly. Let’s look at the numbers. We are pretty much the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t provide universal health-care. We also spend more than any other country on it. Per capita spending in the US on healthcare is $4270. That’s almost double the next highest spending country Germany at $2400.

But we get better care for our money, right? Wrong. We have worse rates of infant mortality, life expectancy, and a host of other measurements than these countries.

Not only is our system providing worse care, but it’s inefficient as well. We all know the lack of choices being forced on patients and health care providers. Dealing with such a hodge-podge system of insurance coverage is inherently wasteful. Not surprisingly, the number of health care administrators has increased 2348% since 1970. The old argument that “government creates wasteful bureaucracy” is moot here. The current system creates wasteful bureaucracy. Government run systems spend only a fraction on overhead that private systems do. The current system raises costs and risks lives in countless other perverse ways as well. For example, if I have Diabetes and no insurance and cut my foot, I likely won’t go to the doctor. I can’t afford it. Eventually, the cut will worsen to the extent that I am forced to go to the emergency room. I can’t pay, so the hospital and consumers pick up the tab anyways. The tab is now much larger, however, because of the higher cost of emergency care, not to mention any surgeries (I think I might need it amputated), etc. that my lack of care created.

What’s the solution? I’m open to many ideas. My personal favorite is a single-payer health insurance system. Such a system would provide coverage to everyone, replace our inefficient hodge-podge with one plan and one series of paperwork, and give patients choice of their health care provider. I think I should try to sleep again. There are still 2 hours left in the night. If you are interested in more, check out http://www.pnhp.org.

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." - Martin Luther King, Jr.


Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.--Wendell Berry

One Pissed Off WTL

It's 3:30 in the morning. Law school starts at 8. I still can't sleep. Grrrrrrr.......... This has to be Bush's fault somehow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Suggesting a living wage is not enough

Tell the Council Suggesting Contractors
Should Pay a Living Wage Is Not Enough


Call your City Council member(s) by next Tuesday, August 22nd.

As you may have seen in yesterday's Commercial Appeal article on the living wage ordinance, the Council is beginning to debate the various pieces of the ordinance that we have been pushing for during the past three years. The details of how the living wage ordinance is crafted will mean the difference between a law that will guarantee a living wage to thousands of workers and one that will bring few real improvements to workers lives.

Please take a minute to call your Council member(s) that are on the Economic Development committee and tell them that suggesting to city contractors that they pay a living wage to their workers is not enough; contractors should be required to pay a living wage in order to do work for the City of Memphis. Sample phone messages and email messages are below, as well as contact information for Council members. Please make your calls or emails by next Tuesday, August 22nd. At the end of this email is additional background on the contract issue.

Sample Phone Message:
My name is _______ and I live in your district. I urge you to
vote for a living wage ordinance that will require service contractors to pay a living wage, instead of just suggesting they should pay a living wage.

Sample Email Message:
Dear Council member _________,

As a Memphis resident living in your district, I urge you to vote for a living wage ordinance that requires service contractors to pay a living wage, instead of just suggesting they should pay a living wage. There are more than 125 cities and counties across the country with living wage ordinances that require contractors to pay a living wage. There are only 2 that just suggest contractors should pay a living wage. The two cities that have these weaker forms of living wage ordinances (Salt Lake City and Atlanta) only passed these versions because their state legislatures took away their right to pass a living wage requirement for contractors. Memphis should follow the proven model, adopted by more than 125 communities, that requires contractors to pay a living wage because this is the only way to make sure that the women and men who clean our City buildings and keep them secure are paid enough that they can take care of their families.

Sincerely,
Your name and your mailing address

Council Members to Be Contacted (Please contact both your regular district Council member and your super district members IF they are on the list below.)

TaJuan Stout Mitchell (District 3) 901- 576-6783 tajuan.stoutmitchell@memphistn.gov
Dedrick Brittenum (District 4) 901-259-7100 or 576-6784 dedrick.brittenum@memphistn.gov
Carol Chumney (District 5) 901-327-8528 or 844-7141 carol.chumney@memphistn.gov
Myron Lowery (Super District 8) 901-521-4300 myron.lowery@memphistn.gov
Rickey Peete (Super District 8) 901-576-6784 rickey.peete@memphistn.gov
Tom Marshall (Super District 9) 901-791-0115 or 576-6785

Don't Know Who Your Council Members Are? Call the Mid-South Interfaith Network at (901) 332-3570 or send us an email with your full mailing address to msinterfaith@yahoo.com. You can also visit the Shelby County Election Commission precinct locator at: http://www.shelbyvote.com/locator/ (look under "City Council" for your regular district number and "Super" for your super district number.)

Additional Background:
In yesterday's paper, Councilwoman Chumney said Memphis should model its living wage ordinance on Atlanta's, which doesn't require their contractors to pay a living wage and just gives contractors some preference in the bidding process if they do pay a living wage. The only reason Atlanta passed this weak version of a living wage ordinance is that the Georgia state legislature banned Atlanta from being able to pass a strong ordinance that required contractors to pay a living wage. Plus, after Atlanta passed this weak ordinance, the Georgia legislature passed yet another law that even overturned this weak version.

The 125+ other cities and counties across the country with living wage ordinances require their contractors to pay a living wage; this is the proven model that Memphis should follow.

For more background on the Living Wage Campaign, visit http://www.midsouthinterfaith.org/index/living_wage.htm

If you no longer want to receive email updates from the Mid-South Interfaith Network, please send an email to msinterfaith@yahoo.com requesting that you be removed from email lists.



Rev. Rebekah Jordan
Mid-South Interfaith Network for Economic Justice
3035 Directors Row, Building B, Suite 1207
Memphis, TN 38131
(901) 332-3570
(901) 332-3532 (fax)
msinterfaith@yahoo.com
www.midsouthinterfaith.org
Make a secure online donation to the Mid-South Interfaith Network at: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=2312

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy Birthday

To the always-cool Freedonian. How about a toast to him at the next Drinking Liberally? An even more belated birthday to Autoegocrat.

And also thanks to Serrabee for putting together a successful Blogger's Bash.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Don't Take My Word For It

http://memphisflyer.com/memphis/Content?oid=oid%3A18500

And Upton, why didn't you come and stand behind your man?

Kuhn Wins Chairmanship

Last night Matt Kuhn won the chairmanship over Jay Bailey. The rest of the officers and steering committee were reelected as well. This committee has had its problems, but I for one am getting sick and tired of the whole "the new people are Republicans who don't do anything" narrative. I'll speak for myself for a moment. For the last 2 months, I've been working 5-6 days a week for several Democratic candidates. I've also voted in every single Democratic primary since I turned 18. I've given money to the party on a monthly basis, plus at every fundraiser we've had since I got elected. That's more than the party has gotten from Jay Bailey in the past year in donations. Many other committee members worked equally tirelessly in this past election. Others did not. The work ethic is both impressive and depressing across the factions.

As for how good a job Matt has done, I'll say openly he really needs to be a stronger leader and excercise more control. However, this committee has not been a disgrace as the pissed off commenters claim. For example, the elections were disappointing, but no worse than in years past. We gained control of the county commission for the first time ever and got closer to gaining control of the other offices than we have in years past. As far as fundraising, we're about to hit the $100,000 mark. Not a record, but not a slacking effort either. As far as why we haven't gotten state and federal help for the August elections, these were local elections. The state and federal party have little interest in them. They're paying attention to November.

I have to respond to the comment that Matt's support was weak that is coming from my fellow committeeman Gill. First, he won 33-14. That wasn't very close. How many votes did you get in your races? 3? You love to complain about "non-bona-fide Democrats." Why don't you try working with your fellow Democrats for a change? If you don't like the way the committee is handling things, that's great. The next convention is coming up in March. Change it. Until then, let's all focus on November.

Why Is Jake Ford an Independent and Not a Democrat?

Well he answers that question on his webpage:

"I chose not to participate in the democratic primary on August 3, 2006 because I am running as an Independent Candidate."

Thanks for clearing that up, Jake.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Excuse me, Mr. Ford

Call me a flip-flopper. But this has me pissed. Ford, you’re not a Democrat when it comes to a host of issues. There is one reason and one reason only why I planned on voting for you. I want Democrats to control the agenda of Congress. Even if you’re a DINO, you still have a D next to your name and will vote for the party leaders who put forward the agenda. I’ve had worries about that, though. Do I trust you to stay with the party? If the Senate is divided 50-50 you will be under incredible pressure and temptation to switch parties. You’re ambitious, and I can see how you could switch parties to further your ambitions. If that’s your goal, then why the hell should I vote for you? Until you support Democrats, then I won’t support you merely because you’re a Democrat. I want one sentence from you right now: “I fully support all Democratic nominees, including Steve Cohen and Ned Lamont.” I don’t expect you to donate to them. I don’t expect you to campaign for them. I do expect you to at least verbally support them. Till you do that, I don’t have to vote for you to be a “good Democrat.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Matt Kuhn vs. Jay Bailey

As most of you know, Jay Bailey is running against Matt Kuhn for chair tomorrow. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lamont Wins!!!

Lieberman vows to fight on. Hopefully he'll wait a few days, let passions cool down, and change his mind. We'll see.

Democratic Women of Shelby County

Mayor's Poll

Democratic Women of Shelby County

August Meeting



The Cupboard Restaurant

1400 Union Ave



Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lunch, 12:00 Noon Meeting Time: 12:30pm



Guest Speaker for the August 12, 2006 Meeting

Steve Mulroy



Our New District 5 County Commissioner



Phone 901-272-1277

Invite your spouses and your friends!

Drinking Liberally Birthday Bash

And the Mayor's Poll

Somebody's turning one year old?
Oh no!
It will be hours of standing around talking about dirty diapers while
people try to get some poor kid to smear cake all over its face.

Wait a minute.
This is Drinking Liberally of Memphis' first birthday party?

You mean a night of hanging out with liberals, talking about politics,
issues and what a great year it has been while the wonderful staff at
Dish shoves cake and drinks in everyone's faces?
Count me in!

Join us Thursday to celebrate a whole year of liberal drinking here in
Memphis.

There will be cake, balloons, special drinks and a whole lot of liberal
drinking.


In the meantime, drop a birthday wish at our weblog or forum at
http://memphis.drinkingliberally.org

Drinking Liberally of Memphis
Thursdays
6:30pm onward
Dish
948 S. Cooper

See you there!

Sarah, Brandon and Pam
http://memphis.drinkingliberally.org
memphis@drinkingliberally.org

Mayor's Race

I got up this morning and noticed an interesting post over at the Freedonian concerning a possible candidate for city mayor. I’ve become enamored recently of this polling webpage I found so I thought I’d put this out there to see who ya’ll thought would make a good mayor. The current mayor is on there, as well as a wide assortment of city council members, county commissioners, and 9th District candidates. I’d be glad to add anyone else, but these just seemed like the likely suspects. I considered adding state legislators and school board members, but really couldn’t think of any that I thought might possibly run. So let your thoughts be heard.

Monday, August 07, 2006

An Open Seat

If (WHEN!!!) Steve Cohen wins in November, that will mean an open seat in the state Senate. Who do ya'll think would be good candidates? I've heard people speculate about David Upton, Beverly Marrero, Kevin Gallagher, Lee Harris, Tyson Pratcher, and Bill Whitman. What do you think about those names? Now, before anyone emails me, I'm not saying they told me they were running. These are just names people wag their tongues about, and I was curious what the feelings out there were.

Thoughts on Ford's Race

Several of my fellow bloggers have recently decided to lay off of Harold Ford Jr. through the November election. I’ve already done so, but I just thought I’d weigh in on this debate.

I do not agree with Ford on a host of political issues. I also do not think he is the candidate we could have run with the most state-wide appeal. I deeply wished we had been given a real choice in the primary. I voted for John Jay Hooker simply as a protest.

I will, however, be voting for Ford in November. I think he is most likely going to lose, but if he didn’t lose the direction the country is headed would change drastically. He doesn’t screw the base on every issue, but he does on too many for me to not become nauseous. If he won though, we would take back the Senate. If we take back Congress the following issues would be brought up: stem cell research, minimum wage increases, increases in access to healthcare, increases in funding for education, withdrawal from Iraq, investigations into government corruption, and increased access to financial aid.

These are issues that would not be brought up for a vote: a gay marriage amendment, more tax cuts, English as the official language, flag-burning amendments, etc.

If Ford voted against us on EVERY single issue, we’d come out ahead. He won’t, however. I don’t trust the man, but if the Democrats controlled the agenda the debate would be framed totally differently and he’d have a totally different set of bills to vote on.

Ideology is CRUCIALLY important. I’m a Democrat because I care about equal access to the “American Dream.” I care about the issues that will be brought up under Democratic leadership.

Those who complain about Ford (myself included) should put our money where our mouth is if he loses. You don’t like him? Get someone else elected. Did you volunteer for Kurita or give money? If you don’t like her, did you find a candidate you did like and call and write and meet with him to bully them into the race?

Do it next time. Complaining about politics is all well and good. There is plenty to complain about. Actually changing politics requires a lot more. When it comes time to vote in November, practical politics is the only choice I have left. The very next day, it’s back to changing the party though. The two approaches ARE not mutually exclusive.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sexy, eh?


Isn’t this a beautiful picture? (photo credit to Jackson Baker of the Memphis Flyer)



Let me send out a big thank you to Cohen’s campaign manager, Kevin Gallagher and his field director Liz Rincon. You guys rule, and are exactly who I’d want to have my back in a fight, political or otherwise. Great work, Memphis owes you a good number of Guinness' and very dirty gin martinis. And a big shout out to John Marek, Darby, and the rest of the gang as well. You rock too. The same goes to Lynn Strickland, Gilda Gant, Jody Patterson, Howard Cohn, and the rest of the huge Mulroy gang. Much love.

Disappointments and an Opportunity

There were some sour notes to the night. Most painfully, Regina Newman Morrison lost her race. It was close (1%), which makes it even harder to accept. Regina would have been a great judge. She still will someday, I hope. We almost swept the competitive county-wide races last night. At the last minute, we lost them all by a few hundred votes. My heart goes out to Sondra Becton et.al. You worked hard and came so close. That is a bitter pill to swallow.

All is not lost, however. In fact, we have an incredible opportunity. The Republicans are running scared. In 4 years we can sweep these races and they know it. I was not planning on running for reelection to the executive committee. It is a huge time commitment, that when combined with my other commitments (political and otherwise) I can’t really afford. Last night changed my mind. Matt, Desi, and a few others, I’m going to be talking to you soon. Our first year as a committee has been rocky. Despite that, we can have the legacy of being the committee in place when we took over the commission. Let’s add to that. Let’s lay the groundwork so that the next two committees can oversee us taking over the rest of the county. We do that two ways. Both have met resistance but who gives a care? We MUST recruit strong candidates. A lot of people resist this because “the party does not take sides in primaries.” I’m not saying take sides. I am saying talk people who are strong and qualified into running. Give new Democratic candidates in general some help in learning how campaigns work with trainings, etc. We need to start making phone calls NOW! If we can recruit a competent, energetic, and racially diverse ticket without baggage for next time and push hard earlier, we WILL run the tables.

The second thing we need to do, is freshen up on organizing. We need to get down to business on precinct organizing. We need to identify the Democrats, get them involved, and communicate with them at a micro-level. We need to get neighborhood leaders. If we put our manpower and resources into this in the off-time, it will pay off with dividends. We need to drive up turnout in our strongholds AND turn out Democrats in the wastelands who turn out for us for presidential elections but get missed in local elections. There may not be a lot of Democrats in Bartlett, but there are enough to put us over the edge. Let’s do this. NOW is the time.

Steve Squared

If you want good government, vote for Steve.  Any Steve, it doesn’t matter.

Last night was a great night.  Steve Cohen and Steve Mulroy ran great campaigns (And a shout-out to the non-Steve, Bill Morrison before I forget.)  They were both outspent.  They were both attacked viciously.  They both responded with positive, grass-roots, issue-based campaigns, and it worked.  

We now control the county commission for the first time ever.  I have faith that Mulroy will be an incredible commissioner.  And if he isn’t, I’ll call him up and beat the crap out of him until he is.  It is nice to see the good guys win for once.  Steve is the quintessential good guy.   The Shelby County GOP had to have messed their collective pants last night.  A decade ago THEY decided to have partisan local primaries.  Thanks to that decision, they will never again control the county commission.  This is our seat.  And we won’t be giving it up anytime soon.  

I’m not going to put any pressure on you, my friend, but the ball’s in your court and we’re all counting on you.  You can become one the chief faces of the Democratic Party in the county.  A face that is bright, competent, progressive, and ethical.  That’s an important burden to shoulder.  If you handle it well, it will mean great things for the county that is sorely in need of good leaders and sorely in need of a way being paved for more new leaders.  If you ever need help again, you know one blogger who will always stands with you.  

Be smart though.  Take a page out of Deidre Malone’s book.  Go to every community event you can find.  Cultivate a positive reputation, and be the guy nobody with a chance in hell would ever waste their time challenging.  Don’t even draw an opponent next time.  Then we can use that shoe-leather to move on to the next guy (and in the short term, you owe Mike a Saturday or two in October.)  

Steve Cohen has a second campaign that begins today.  We will celebrate now, but today starts the general election campaign.  He’ll take it seriously, and I hope and pray that everyone can now unite behind a real Democrat that is running.  For those of you who supported another candidate, I know what it’s like to lose a hard fought campaign.  It sucks.  You’re depressed, you’re angry, you wonder what the hell is wrong with the stupid voters.  Take a few days to get over it; then climb on board.  Even if Steve wasn’t your first choice, he’ll fight hard for all us.  You know you don’t really want Jake Ford or a Republican.  I’ll make you a deal.  You vote for Steve and I’ll vote for Harold.  Then, there can be a chance in hell of us taking back the House AND Senate.  

WHEN Steve wins in November, he needs to and will hit the ground running.  We all know he’ll be challenged one-on-one by someone in two years.  I’m confident though.  Memphis voters will look at the record of a progressive fighter that he will amass in D.C. and think, “Why the heck would I give that up.  He gives Bush the hell he deserves.”  He also needs to have the constituent service of legend.  Combine that with an incumbent’s financial clout and I’m not particularly worried.  

Wow...

It's 4 in the morning. I'm as sunburned as a person can be. I'm exhausted as heck. I'm almost as happy as I could be (I came damned close to being as happy as I can be.) I will blog A LOT tommorrow. For the moment, let me go sleep for a few hours.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Interesting Tidbits...

From the Memphis Flyer

http://memphisflyer.com/memphis/Content?oid=oid%3A18258

and

http://memphisflyer.com/memphis/Content?oid=oid%3A18261

Special Election Issue

Election Day is upon us!  I know most of us have to work, but if it is at all possible, grab a candidate you like and work for them.  Otherwise the terrorists win, and all that jazz.  Even if you have to work, you can still give an hour or two or three.  There’s not a candidate out there who wouldn’t love the help.  

I’ve made five endorsements in this election (although, obviously I am rooting for a lot more candidates than that.)  So I wanted to take this final chance and plug them.

9th District US Congress:  Steve Cohen.   Steve has a record of fighting for Tennesseans.  He’s done it in Nashville, and he’ll do it in D.C.  With Steve, we know what we’re getting.  There’s no chance of getting surprised by someone who claims to be a progressive only to take a totally different tack when they get there.     He supports real ethics and campaign reform, health care as a right, not a privilege, energy independence and environmental responsibility, and fiscal sanity.  Contrary to the claims by some commenters, Steve has run a positive issue based campaign.  Not once has he attacked his opponents.  He has defended himself from attacks.  That is not a bad thing.  If Kerry had defended himself more, we wouldn’t have Bush in office now.  Support who you want, I respect several candidates in this race.  But support them based on what they stand for, not on what you fear someone else stands for.

7th District US Congress:  Bill Morrison is running against Marsha Blackburn, a far-right-winger whose campaign expenditures to her son have flirted lewdly with the line of ethical behavior.  He’s a teacher who’s taking the fight to the enemy deep into their own territory.  You can check out his issues and I am sure you would find nothing a progressive would disagree with.  If you live in the district, please give this man your support.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know him a little during the campaign, and can say he would be an honest, principled representative who would do the state proud.  

County Commission District 5:  Steve Mulroy is going to swing the County Commission to the Democratic Party for the first time ever.  Steve is everything I could ask for in a politician.  He is brilliant, honest, and principled.  He has been in the US attorney’s office, a civil right’s lawyer under Clinton, and is now a tenured law professor at the University of Memphis.  He has led numerous grass-roots campaigns such as fighting for a voter-verified paper trail and saving Libertyland.  He also helps to provide legal aid to those who can’t afford it.  What I love the most about him, is the way his campaign is being run.  It is volunteer-driven, with the candidate in the trenches 24/7.  Steve has knocked on enough to doors in the last six month to best anyone but the ever-obsessive (in a good way, of course) Mike Kernell.  I will close with the highest praise for the man that I can imagine.  Someone who I know that worked heavily on his campaign with me and does not give out praise lightly compared him to the late, Paul Wellstone.  

General Sessions Division 4:  Regina Newman Morrison would make an incredible judge.  She has impressive legal credentials, as well as public administration experience as Assistant Treasurer of the city and Director of Youth Development under Gov. Ned McWherter.  You cannot speak with her without being impressed both with her intelligence and her kindness.  Her court is one that deals with a high percentage of cases in which citizens have no counsel.  Her calm personality, intelligence, and patience are exactly what we need in this courtroom dealing with people as individuals.  

State Senate District 29:  Steve Haley is indeed a breath of fresh air.  If elected he will fight for publicly-financed elections, improving education, tax reform, and I am sure any other progressive issue one can think of.  He is the kind of politician we all say we want, but then dismiss when they get here as someone who can’t win.  They don’t win because we don’t champion them.  Let’s put our money (well, volunteer hours actually) where our mouth is.

Blogger's Bash

9th District Poll

Serrabbee has organized the next Blogger's Bash. Apparently, she's such a party animal that it covers two days, Thursday, Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 13. Both are at the Young Avenue Deli at 7 PM. If, like me, you want to go to Drinking Liberally on Thursday too, just cross the street to Dish and come right back. Several candidates should be taking a victory drink through Dish, and several bloggers will be mocking them at Young Ave. Take your pick.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Final Early Voting Totals

9th District Poll

78,900 People Voted Early

Election Turnout By Race, Sex & Party



Black 31,650 (40.1%)



White 33,526 (42.5%)



Other 13,735 (17.4%)



Democrat 46,361 (58.8%)



Republican 31,677 (40.1%)



Independent 873 (1.1%)



Male 31,019 (39.3%)



Female 47,891 (60.7%)