Thursday, August 30, 2007

If you don't read it, is it still news?

According to the Memphis Flyer and Thaddeus, the Black Ministers are now calling for a boycott of the Commerical Appeal because the paper "opposes Christianity."

I am sure the boycott has nothing to do with the negative publicity that the group is getting after their embarrassing behavior towards a sitting Congressman. I mean just because the newspaper took the time to expose a group of ministers to be bigoted and close minded in their dealings with a guest - I am sure that they had been planning to do this all along. Because you know, once again, this group of men has its pulse on the true issues effecting their congregations. Why would they take time to promote education or help in the crime problem, when they can fight against hate crime legislation and Godless newspapers.

I do think it is interesting that they are specifically calling out columnist Wendi Thomas. First of all, she is an opinion writer, not a reporter. She is allowed to agree or disagree with any organization she chooses and it has nothing to do with the philosophy of the newspaper. Second, she is one of the few columnists who actually uses bible verses to prove her points. I think there is very little evidence to support calling her the anti-Christian representative of a corporate entity.

Look, I have plenty of issues with our daily newspaper. I don't enjoy reading the paper as much as I used to. It is filled with filler articles and press releases, the sections I enjoy are constantly being truncated, and they still allow Michael Ramirez to publish his stupid cartoons. John Branston (of The Memphis Flyer) actually wrote a pretty good case for canceling a subscription to the local paper. However, I will not be canceling my subscription for as long as this stupid boycott is going on, because I do not want this group of people to take any credit for any lost circulation. I do not want them to think that I agree on any level with any of their views on Congressman Cohen or heathen journalists.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All This on One Page of the CA?

Your daily dose of race-baiting: “He’s not black and he can’t represent me… He can’t know what it’s like to be black.” Rev. Robert Poindexter about Congressman Steve Cohen.

Your daily dose of Republican sex: “I am not gay.” Republican Senator Larry Craig after being arrested for soliciting a male prostitute in the bathroom of an airport, and then pleading guilty on accident.

Your daily dose of life-summarization: “I talk too much.” John Ford summing up his life quite succinctly.

What a quotable day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vote For Me Because... Uh... Well...

From the Commercial Appeal today:
“Tinker did not respond to repeated phone calls for this story, but her Washington-based spokesman, Cornell Belcher, explained Friday that she’s not interested in talking issues or Cohen’s record yet.

“Here’s where we are, to be straight with you: At this point, we want her talking to voters and raising money.”

Over two years of campaigning, two federal elections, and she’s STILL “Not ready to talk about issues.”

I groaned over my coffee this morning “What the heck is she talking to voters about then?” And Margo said “Hi. I’m Nikki Tinker. I’m black.”

You know, if you want to find young African American political leaders from the 9th District race last year you can do a heck of a lot better than Tinker. Joe Ford Jr., Ed Stanton, Lee Harris, and Tyson Pratcher all ran issue-based campaigns that didn’t rely on trying to be some sort of money-dominated cookie-cutter candidate.

On the plus side, it will be fun to see some local political hacks beat the Washington money people again in ’08.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Monday Night Mayhem

Has everybody heard that the University of Memphis College Democrats are having a fundraiser on Monday night?

John Marek (law school student and fellow blogger) is ending his term as president of the U of M College Democrats, and he wants to leave them in good shape to help with all of the projects that they have coming up over the next school year.

You can go here and read the invitation.

Back in the days of yore when I was at the University of Memphis, I spent the summer working on the first Clinton / Gore campaign. When school started back in the Fall, I wanted to stay as involved as I could politically and I was shocked that the U of M didn't have an active College Democrats organization. My friend, Amy, and I wrote up an new charter and tried to recruit other people to get involved, but there just wasn't enough interest at the time to maintain any kind of organized group. I know first hand how important money and support can be to this organization. I also know that it is a great place for aspiring political leaders who lean left to learn how to be field organizers, fundraisers, and candidates.

I can't tell you how important the College Democrats are to the Memphis political scene. The Cohen Campaign would have been a very uninteresting place to work if we hadn't had all of these smart, ambitious, focused college democrats running around going door to door and carrying our message throughout the 9th District. Of course, the fact that they were all insanely good looking helped, too.

Come to Fresh Slices on Monday at 7:00 pm. I promise you will have fun and it is for a really good cause. Plus, have I mentioned that they are all insanely good looking? What else are you going to do on a Monday?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This Day in History

The United States started the Social Security Program

Japan surrendered

Cindy Brady was born

and so was . . .

The Freedonian

I have been reading his blog for about a year. He is consistently smart, funny, and pretty on target with his posts. I learn something new from him all of the time. Every now and then, we disagree - Big Brother isn't rigged any more this year than it ever is, that is a part of the show - and, even then, I respect his opinion.

So, Happy Birthday, Freedonian. I owe you a birthday cocktail. I can't wait to read more.

Now, go wish him a happy birthday, too.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I Heart Huckabee

Don't go crazy... I ain't endorsing any Republicans. I just wish a certain former Congressman had talked like this Southern Baptist minister.

Hattip to TPM and VIBINC for this.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

2007 University of Memphis College Democrats Fundraiser

"Building the Next Generation of Democrats"

2007 University of Memphis College Democrats Fundraiser

Monday August 27, 2007 – 7:00 p.m.

Fresh Slices
1585 Overton Park , Memphis, Tn 38112

Host Committee
Congressman Steve Cohen, Chair
Jim Strickland, Co-Chair
Chip Armstrong, Co-Chair

Dear Supporter,

With the 2008 presidential election approaching, it is vital that the youth becomes actively involved in the political process. As college students, we understand that our participation in the upcoming presidential election will be more important than ever, as we have the opportunity to elect officials that will represent and uphold the values of the Democratic Party at both the state and the national level. We need to make sure that we gain more seats in Congress, and put a Democrat in the White House to repair the damage caused by eight years of the Bush administration.

During the 2006 election, the College Democrats at the University of Memphis played a vital role in increasing voter turnout on campus and its surrounding areas. The College Democrats helped elect Steve Mulroy to the County Commission, causing the Democrats’ recent takeover of the County Commission. Members of the College Democrats served as staff on both Harold Ford, Jr.’s Senate campaign and Steve Cohen’s congressional campaign. Combined, these campaigns enjoyed over forty interns and numerous volunteers. Over 100 college students knocked on doors for Steve Cohen’s campaign and the rest of the Democratic ticket in the 2006 general election. We plan on working even harder in the upcoming 2008 election, and we hope to establish an internship program that will work directly for the party when they will need us the most.

A top priority of the University of Memphis College Democrats is to raise the funds and resources that will enable us to continue our efforts in helping to elect Democrats and cultivate new leadership. This year’s fundraiser will take place on August 27th at Fresh Slices in the Evergreen Historic District. The funds raised in this event will be used primarily to promote voter outreach efforts on and off campus, volunteer recruitment, canvassing, grassroots volunteer training seminars, GOTV events, internship programs, organizational meetings, and all the administrative costs that these tasks entail.
In advance, we thank you for the time and the effort that you have already invested in us, and we look forward to working with you in our support for the Democratic Party.

The University of Memphis College Democrats

John R. Marek, President Fall ‘05-Summer ’07
Michael Lipe, President Fall ’07
Jon Paul Hataway, Vice President Fall ‘05-Summer ’07
Kate Mauldin, Vice President Fall ’07

Suggested Contribution: $50

RSVP or more information please contact John Marek (901) 351-7695 or

If you cannot attend, but you would still like to contribute to the University of Memphis College
Democrats, please send your contributions to:

The University of Memphis College Democrats
2257 Nelson Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Speaking of Ron Paul.......

Considering the fact that I received huge blisters on my hands from putting up over 67 yard signs in one day for Congressman Steve Cohen, I have to hand it to the kids (I heard through some friends that it was a couple of guys my age) who put the homemade Ron Paul 2008 signs all over Midtown and East Memphis. Even though the signs are illegal, are going to litter the streets of Memphis, and are going towards a candidate who has as much of a chance of winning a primary as Kucinich, those guys did have some dedication to their art. However, I can't help but to laugh while imagining the type of young person who would support Ron Paul. I picture a college student that has been programmed by his very well-off family to vote Republican even if he disagrees with everything they stand for outside of economic policy/gun control laws. This guy has probably been picked on by many of his friends for the past 7 years for voting for Bush both times even though he disagrees with the war and is for the most part a social liberal. This poor guy finally found someone who is at least close to being a hero for him, but he will be stuck with another war loving Republican when the general rolls around in '08. If only we could get them to use that energy for our side...................*pictures thousands of envelopes being stuffed in a single night*

Monday, August 06, 2007

Duck Soup

This is from the Iowa debate the Republicans had Sunday. Note how proud of himself Romney is as he wets himself trying to find a chance to say "9/11". I ain't a Ron Paul guy, but it is fun to see him slap these morons around from time to time.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

OK - by now you have read the story and you know that there is a group of ministers who are attacking the Congressman on his vote (one that took place 3 months ago) on hate crime legislation.

First of all, I urge everyone to actually read the bill. There is absolutely no reference to hate speech in the bill. In other words, a preacher can get up in church and condemn homosexuality every Sunday from now until the end of the world, and it isn't illegal. What is illegal under this bill is telling a homosexual he is going to Hell, while you are beating them to a pulp or shooting them or something like that.

One of the groups behind the attack against the Congressman is the American Family Association. This group is used to protesting things that they don't understand. They protest movies that they don't watch, they boycott tv shows that they have never seen, and they love some good "action alerts." So, I really shouldn't be surprised that they either (a) didn't read the bill or (b) read it, but just don't understand it.

I actually understand Rev. Gray and his minister friends getting involved in this "issue." Given the fact that some of the people have already contributed to one of the candidates who will be running against the Congressman next year. You can see who is on that list here.

We have some religious activists who either haven't read the legislation or don't fully understand the legislation teaming up with some minister looking to help someone in their quest for political office teaming up together to try and fight an issue that doesn't exist because the bill they are fighting doesn't limit speech, only actions. That sounds like a winning combination to me.

My favorite part of the Commercial Appeal article is this part "Berryhill said the ministers he is talking to simply don't accept Cohen's interpretation.

"Even though he says that, we just don't believe it," he said. "If you get up in a pulpit now, according to the way we understand it, and if you say homosexuality is a sin, you have 'attacked homosexuality.' That's the way the ministers are interpreting this..."

Basically, the Rev. Berryhill is saying that even though they can read the bill themselves and not find one word limiting speech, they are choosing not to believe that the bill doesn't limit speech. I think that is what scares me the most about some of the very religious people. Even when presented with factual evidence, they would rather believe what someone tells them. That is how they end up debating scientists over things like evolution, too.

In 1994, when I was an intern in the State Senator Cohen's legislative office in Nashville, one of my least favorite duties was to answer the phone on Monday mornings. Every Sunday, the big churches in Nashville would preach about the evils of bringing the lottery to TN, and they would hand out these postcards with the legislative office's phone number on it. So, every Monday morning, the phone calls would go something like this:

Me: Hello. Thank you for calling Sen. Cohen's office. How can I help you?
Them: Did you know that you are going to Hell because you are helping bring gambling to TN?
Me: Thank you for calling.

So, you can see where I started to worry about my own salvation a little bit.

That is the problem with these kind of emotional reaction to issues that have some sort of moral implication to them. The truly well-meaning person who takes their faith very seriously suddenly gets lumped in with all of these nutjob radically religious people who pass out postcards threatening people with eternal damnation. That is why you then have to read letters to the editors like the ones in today's paper where people are forced to say, I am a Christian but I don't think people should be allowed to physically attack other people for being black or gay or something else like that, so I am glad my Congressman voted for a bill three months ago that tries to prevent that.

I guess my question to those who are in agreement with the people who are bombarding the Congressman with postcards and phone calls is what exactly do you want the Congressman to do? I mean, the vote was in May, so it isn't like he can stand up on the floor and say, "Madam Speaker, remember that vote I made on May 3rd? Well, I need to change it now." Votes aren't penciled in so that a Congressman can take some time and think about it and then change them when it is convenient. They are cast and recorded and they are permanent. And even if he could change his vote, which again - he can't, if you know the Congressman at all, you would know that sending a postcard to his office that threatens his eternal soul on an issue that you don't agree with is not the best way to change his mind about something. After all, he fought year after year to pass the lottery.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Deja Vu...

The Republican Party endorsed John Willingham for mayor. Read the article. It's like the Democratic judicial endorsements all over again. If they spend money on a Republican ballot then I'm going to rename this the Willie Herenton endorsement for mayor.

So... Anyone want to go make Democratic endorsements for City Council and Mayor? Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hide as people throw things at me for even joking about that.


Around the time Margo and I started dating, her mother found out she had cancer. She had surgery and radiation treatment over the next several years. She still has to go to the doctor to deal with some of the lingering side effects of the radiation and whatnot, but she’s been cancer free for seven or eight years now. She was lucky. They had health insurance. She was a stay at home mom, and her husband worked in a G.E. factory for 35 years. It’s a running semi-joke in the house that she’s not allowed to get sick again because there’s a lifetime maximum on how much the insurance will pay out. It’s not entirely a joke, however, the factory started shipping out more and more jobs to China. He figured his job would be gone any day, so he took the early retirement offer and the cut in pension that led to so he could be sure and keep his health insurance. They were lucky.

He started work at the factory soon after high school and kept that job his whole life. Those sorts of jobs aren’t really around much anymore. That’s why his sister works at Walmart. That’s why her children work at Wal-mart and Rent-to-Own. These sorts of jobs pay half as much, they don’t include benefits, and they won’t let you work full time. They’re also just about the only jobs left in Selmer. What if he had been born a bit later, and ended up working at Wal-mart out of high school instead of G.E.? Without insurance would she have gone in to the doctor early enough to catch the cancer before it was too late? What would have happened to them when the costs for the surgeries and radiation and checkups mounted? What would have happened to them when she fell down and broke her leg in three places last night because the radiation weakened her bones?

They were lucky. They have health insurance. I know others who aren’t. I know people who let their Diabetes go mostly untreated because they can’t afford care. I know people who’ve gone bankrupt because they got cancer. There is something wrong with someone working a 40 hour week for years and years and losing it all because of a disease they can’t control. There’s something wrong with a country whose biggest “moral issue” is who people have sex with in their own homes when people are sick and uncared for, when people are homeless and unsheltered, when people are hungry and not fed. I wonder which issues Jesus spent his time talking about? Certain pastors who are up in arms about a bill to increase funding for “hate crimes” should stop and think about their congregations. They should stop to think about their city. Are more people suffering in this city because of lack of healthcare or because someone wants to prevent hate crimes? Are more people suffering because of poverty or because we happen to have a white guy in Congress? Far be it for me to tell pastors a damn thing about religion, but it seems to me someone might have their priorities a little mixed up. The God I pray to is a God of love and caring for those less fortunate, not a God of politics and condemnation and self-righteousness. But what does this sinner know?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Electoral College Reform

North Carolina is likely about to switch to allocating electoral votes according to who wins each Congressional district. Maine and Nebraska already do that. Too bad we didn't get around to this when we controlled the State Senate. Aside from fairness, it would have picked up at least three votes for the Dems. This whole not having my vote counted for Presidential races thing gets old.