Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Science is dum

Apparently, it isn't enough for the President to deny the existence of global warming - he decided to take it a step further and pressure the scientists to remove any mention of it from their reports.

According to this article, 46% of the scientists surveyed reported that they "felt pressure to eliminate the words “climate change,” “global warming” or similar terms from communications about their work."

We already know that Bush and his crew either dislike or distrust science, but to actually pressure the scientists to lie in what is supposed to be a factual report is disgusting. The thing that these people seem to have trouble understanding is that scientific facts are truth, they are not open to interpretation. 2 + 2 = 4, red + blue = purple, water + cold = ice, etc. These things are scientific and right, you just can't come in and say that the country would be better if we all believed that 2 + 2 = 5. I don't know how to make it any clearer.

And to the person who had the "truth" fish eating the "Darwin" fish on their car in the parking lot the other day - please take that off your car, it makes us all stupider just by existing.

I'll Support Your Surge...

Mr. President,

You say we have to win in Iraq and that we need more troops to do so. Believe it or not, I can support that, but only if you make a concession as well. You see, in the last two months one of my younger brothers and my wife's first cousin have been sent up. That's not even counting others I know who have gone before that. If you would kindly send two members of your immediate family, as well as two members of the immediate family of every Congressman who voted for the war then I will gladly support your little adventure. Heck, I'll even join up myself (I'd have already been over there if my wife hadn't smacked some sense into me years ago.) If you can't do that then maybe you don't have the balls, brains, and good sense needed to send our troops off to fight. If that's the case then it's high time you started bringing our boys and girls back home.

DemocratICally yours,

A Pissed Off Redneck

Monday, January 29, 2007

Did We Miss the Rapture?

So Dabney and I are the only two contributors left on the blog. Either the others were brought up to heaven over night (dangit, I hate it when I have to go through tribulations,) or there was a mass rebellion against my tyrannical rule carried out without informing me. Assuming none of those things happened, I think the blog somehow got switched over to the "new blogger" and it requires a google id to be on the list now. Next time ya'll want to post just register for one. It will walk you through it on the main page and won't take but a minute.

Convention Documents

Click here to get a draft of the upcoming convention rules and two competing proposals for delegate allocations. The page will be updated when they are officially adopted by the executive committee Thursday. Several people have asked for me to do another edition of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Local Party Convention." I'll do so very soon. If any of my lawyer friends will write my legal methods paper for me tonight then I'll do it right now.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Appointed County Officials?

It is kind of an interesting problem to have. According to this article in today's Commercial Appeal, some of our county positions - assessor, county clerk, register, sheriff, and trustee - may have to become appointed positions rather than elected positions.

After last year's elections, I think it would be great to take the politics out of what are essentially - with the exception of sheriff - administrative offices. It would allow people who have been working in the county offices a chance to advance into running the offices. The clerk races tend to attract people who are looking for a good county paycheck versus those who actually know how to run the office.

I am sure that this will turn into a huge political football before it is all said and done. I just hope that the end result is what is best for all of us.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Congrats...

Congrats to both our Democratic winners from last night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Proud to Be A Democrat

I love Jim Webb. Tester too. You feel that? It's the feel of the party growing again. Feels good, eh?

Merlot With Marrero?

Now there's a candidate of the people. How many other stereotypes can we reinforce today?

Monday, January 22, 2007

21 months to go and we already need a cheat sheet

I am working on a longer entry right now, but I wanted to post this very helpful list I have found of all of the Presidential candidates - Democrats and Republicans, announced and those still just thinking about it. It is from the New York Times, so registration may be required.

There are a lot of people on the list, and I am sure we aren't done yet. I know in 1992, Clinton, it seemed, came out of nowhere and then stole our hearts and minds, so I wouldn't be surprised if the next President is not on the list yet.

If nothing else, it will be alot of fun to watch the race.


p.s. I found the list originally posted on this blog. The blog was started after Bush's re-election by some people who write and manage a couple of other sites that I love. They wanted a place to channel their anger and frustration and I think they do a pretty good job. Some of the contributors are Canadian and so there occasionally is some good comparison stuff on there.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Maybe we could have a telethon

John Ford can't afford an attorney

Apparently, the citizens of Tennessee will be paying for a public defender to try and get John Ford acquitted on the charges that he was defrauding the citizens of Tennessee while representing the citizens of Memphis in the Senate. If you hear a noise, it is probably the sound of me banging my head against the desk. I am all for everyone having their day in court, and being innocent until proven guilty, but c'mon.

Maybe he should pawn his watch or get his (ex?) wife to defend him.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tonight's Senate District 30 Forum

Fifty to sixty people attended the forum at the Ben Hooks Central Library tonight, co-sponsored by New Path (a nonpartisan local PAC) and Midsouth Democrats in Action and moderated by Leon Gray. Beverly Marrero and Robert Spence, the two Democratic contenders in the primary election January 25, and Larry Parrish, the sole Republican candidate, answered questions on, among other things:

* the biggest issues facing the district (consensus: crime and education and, per Parrish, race relations)

* lobbying and ethics - all for strict ethical reforms, although Marrero maintained that some of last session's reform proposals bordered on silly, like prohibiting accepting coffee from a constituent

* their qualifications for the position - which has become, following the 2006 9th Congressional district race, somewhat of a racial hot potato among Democrats since Spence's educational and job credentials outshine Marrero's, and since much was made by Cohen's primarily white supporters (including me) of his qualifications for Congress over his primary opponents' and, subsequently, Jake Ford's

*their views on abortion (no surprises there - the Democrats are traditionally pro-choice; the Republican is pro-choice - for the unborn child)

* the death penalty (again, no surprises - Parrish is for its expanded use and the Democrats are against it)

* their views on a state income tax - none had a well prepared, in-depth viewpoint on the issue, but, surprisingly, there was a consensus on the need for enough resources for government to provide for its citizens

* term limits - no one was in favor of terms limits, all were in favor of ethical lawmakers

* solutions for problems in education - it was hard to follow any of the answers which tended toward stream of consciousness

* how a state senator could assist in general economic and minority business development - Parrish and Marrero gave advice on how to become a small business owner while Spence promised to work to increase the state's contracting with minority business, and pointed out that minority business gets about 1% of Tennessee's contracting business compared to Maryland's 26%

and several other issues.

I was not the only one struck by Larry Parrish's unknown and unexpected views on some topics like the environment (he agrees with Al Gore, refused to defend the government against Citizens for Overton Park when offered the case by the U.S. Attorney in the 1960's) and support for populism, his candor in raising racial divisiveness as a big issue facing the district, and his work in his youth for JFK and other Democrats. Who knew? The man is an unexpected amalgam of extreme moral rigidity and expansive thinking, and also more intuitive than strategic Don Quijote-like dreams of public service. Unfortunately for him, the audience was made up almost exclusively of progressives.

Marrero had a clever answer for the qualifications issue - she admitted that she is an "auto-didact", in one short phrase admitting that she lacks academic credentials and establishing that she isn't just self taught, but very well and intellectually self taught.

Robert Spence's answer to the qualifications issue was gracious and refreshing in that, instead of pointing out his academic and professional credentials (which, to be honest, he had enumerated earlier in introductions), he mentioned being a husband and father and someone who hopes to be worthy of the public's trust by the way he lives.

Had I never read or heard of Freedonian's or Rich Field's excoriations of Spence's alleged ethical issues, conflicts of interests, professional lapses in judgement, etc., despite my earlier decision to support Marrero, I would be very favorably disposed to support him, even though he lacked well developed stands tonight on certain issues like education and tax reform. In addition to his generally favorable presentation tonight, he is fervently supported by people I respect highly, like County Commissioner Deidre Malone.

Furthering this leaning, Marrero definitely comes across as having good sense and idealogical positions I support, but didn't come across as having well developed positions on various issues despite having been in the legislature for 3 years.

I have friends, both black and white, who have said Marrero is getting by unfairly without being subjected to the intense scrutiny that Spence is. I have friends, both black and white, who say that support of Marrero over Spence, with his clearly superior credentials, smacks of white progressive racial bias. But I also have friends, both black and white, who support Marrero over Spence despite the disparity in credentials, because of some of these issues raised by Freedonian and Rich Fields or because of her legislative experience. As for me, I have some sifting and sorting of information and weighing of pros and cons to do before I go vote.

All conflicts of interest of my own aside (being a member of MSDIA and an organizer of the forum), I am so glad that such opportunities exist to become better informed. This promises to be an interesting primary election and is important given all the turnover in the Shelby County Senate delegation in the last year. Turnout will probably be low, and it will be interesting to see how the votes break down by precinct and race.

Note: Early voting ends Saturday, and the primary election is next Wednesday, January 25.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Several Things...

1st:
From Myra Stiles:

For your information:

Today I confirmed with state Democratic headquarters that the date for
the COUNTY CONVENTION should be between (and including) March 24th to
March 31st. Assuming that we would choose the latest date, March 31st,
we would have to have W/P meetings 20 to 40 days prior to the 31st.
The w/p meetings would have to be on March 10, March 3, or Feb. 24th,
assuming we would want them on a Saturday. These dates were just
established last Saturday, and the state party has not yet sent out a timeline
to county committees. That should be done later this week.

Functionally, these dates mean that the full executive committee will
have to make several important decisions at the February meeting,
confirming recommendations from the convention committee. The convention
committee will meet and recommend dates for the convention and the W/P
meetings, location of the meetings, rules and allocation of delegates for
the convention, and any other procedural matters affecting the meetings

2nd: I have added a new local blogger to my list. Check out Vibinc.

3rd: I believe Obama will be announcing today. I haven't made up my mind about him, but I would like to be impressed. The candidates I am looking at are in order Gore, Edwards, Obama, Richardson, Clark. What about ya'll?

4th: I have switched comments over to registered posting and removed word verification. It should only take a moment to register and you can keep the same name and password for pretty much all the local blogs. You can also make it remember your password. This will keep away spam with less hassle then word verification, and make it easier to differentiate posters while maintaining anonymity.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Memphis, Love It or Leave It?

We are incredibly lucky to have the brilliant analysis about our city and county that is available on the Smart City blog.

Below is an excerpt from a post about Mayor Herenton's proposal for a new stadium. This excerpt doesn't actually contain Smart City's cogent reasoning on why the plan to build a new stadium at the Fairgrounds under current use conditions is an idea that is best forgotten.

The excerpt below is just a lead-in to the real analysis on the stadium idea - it's a bunch of statistics about Memphis that Smart City's blogger happened to be reading on New Year's Day (ok, I feel like less of a nerd if this sort of light reading is their idea of how to ring in the New Year). The statistics on Memphis are enough, if they don't stop you dead in your tracks, to inspire you to fight even harder for better leadership to get us out of this sinkhole we seem to be in as a community.

Check out these comparative facts about our community.

Where We Rank

It would be difficult to grasp the logic of a new stadium on the best of days, but at the moment that media coverage of Mayor Herenton’s speech began, we were reading Where We Stand: The Strategic Assessment of the St. Louis Region, the analysis by our river city sister of its key social, economic, fiscal, and physical variables.

St. Louis mapped out its competitiveness and quality in life by comparing them to 35 other metros, including Memphis. Just for the record, the others are Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Miami.

We’re # 1

So, with Mayor Herenton on the TV news talking about a football stadium, here’s a few rankings from the St. Louis report that attracted our attention. Here are the categories where we finished # 1:

• Families headed by single parents – 37.3%

• Families in poverty – 14.9%

• Smallest percentage of adults with advanced degrees – 7.9%

• Smallest number of firms (with employees) owned by African-Americans per 100,000 of African-Americans – 192

• Smallest number of firms (with employees) owned by women per 100,000 of women – 404

• Births to teen parents – 14.7% of total births

• Persons with disabilities living in poverty – 26.9%

• Unwed parents – 46.9%

• Individuals living in poverty – 17.7%

• Children living in poverty – 25.8%

• Metro crime rate – 6,961.3 crimes per 100,000 population

• Metro property crime rate

• Metro violent crime rate

• Fewest arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments per 100,000 – 21.7

A Symbol of Misplaced Priorities

It’s worth mentioning that Memphis was nosed out of the # 1 position, but remained in a strong second place in some other categories: change in the percent of population living outside the principle urban county, children aged 5 to 15 with disabilities, diabetes risk, infant mortality rate, deaths from motor vehicle crashes, lowest percentage of adults with bachelor’s degrees, and subprime refinance loans.

Put simply, we’re hard-pressed to identify any one of these problems that a football stadium would improve.


It's not that we don't know Memphis has a high poverty rate, undereducated work force and high infant mortality rates. But I feel a real sense of shame knowing that we are such losers compared to all these other major cities.

Like global warming, problems like these present a window of opportunity in which to focus and find solutions. If we don't get with it, by the time we get focused, it could well be too late. We really can't afford to keep electing leadership that fosters such a lack of confidence. The fact that we are such leaders in population hemorraghing is clear evidence that time is running out.

Memphis, love it or leave it - as the Mayor told the Memphis Rotary recently? Considering Memphis' condition versus the choice to live elsewhere, I think it takes a special kind of love, or maybe having no other choice, to stay.

Bill Moyers' Incredible Speech

Bill Moyers spoke at the National Conference on Media Reform that took place Friday through this morning here in Memphis. I had hoped to attend but didn't get there.

Find an hour, sit back and listen to this powerful, powerful speech he gave Friday morning.

So What Does a Desirable Shelby County Democratic Party Chair Look Like To You?

David Holt posted on the topic of who might run for chair and asked for input last week.

So who’s running for chair? No one’s declared yet, so feel free to speculate away....[See below for David's list of possible candidates]...What do you think of these folks? What names do you want to add to the list?


I didn't really notice any comments that were responsive and forward looking on the topic of what we want in a chair and who we might want - most were criticisms of the current committee or of factionalism. And then it disintegrated into a Del vs. Desi slingfest (my bad for participating in that).

So, let's hear from you - who do you hope will run, who would you support and why? What does the party need in the way of a chair? Does race enter into the consideration? What is it that you want the party to accomplish or become or do for this community and, therefore, what kind of person should we be seeking to lead us through 2008? (The chair's term is for one year, but it seems tradtionally that it is a two year gig.)

Have at it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Senate District 30 Candidate Forum - January 17

MidSouth Democrats in Action (MSDIA) and New Path host State Senate District 30 Candidate Forum


When: Wednesday, January 17, 2006

6:00pm-8:00pm


Who: MSDIA, New Path (PAC)


What: State Senate District 30 Candidate Forum


Why: MidSouth Democrats in Action have partnered with non-partisan Political Action Committee, New Path, to host a forum for all candidates running for election to fill the State Senate District 30 seat vacated by recently elected Congressman, Steve Cohen.

Our primary goal is to raise the awareness level and increase voter turnout. The forum will give all candidates the opportunity to express their positions on the issues, meet and mingle with members of the community and answer questions relating to their candidacy.


Where: Ben Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave - Meeting room C

Note: Leon Gray, former host of Progressive Talk Radio 680, will serve as moderator.

Media Contact: Tarrin McGhee, (901) 517-2870

(Program Director, New Path)

UPDATE: Candidate Robert Spence will not be able to participate in the forum due to an unavoidable conflict. However, he will be represented by supporter and County Commissioner Deidre Malone.

Failure of Leadership on Crime

Given all the concern about rising crime locally and the many other competing needs for government resources, it seems, well, almost criminal that Memphis and Shelby County law enforcement officials are more interested in fighting turf wars than doing whatever it takes to fulfill a pledge of functional consolidation that was made a few years ago. The latest joint crime task force to disintegrate, following Memphis' withdrawal from the joint interstate drug interdiction and the Metro Gang Units, is the Metro DUI Unit.

The breakup is "very, very regrettable," said Memphis Shelby Crime Commission head Michael Heidingsfield. "There is a tremendous value in integrating resources."

I'm pretty much like Will Rodgers on this topic - all I know is what I read in the papers. (Actually, living across the street from the former home of the UT professor busted last spring for running a meth ring, and watching that investigation and bust unfold, I know from personal experience that the Shelby County drug unit was on the ball and the Memphis police were not.) Maybe some who comment here know more about the dynamics here and can enlighten me.

But reading Memphis Police Chief Larry Godwin's statements that "functional consolidation doesn't work" and "the issue with me was control, visibility and accountability" doesn't give me a good feeling about Memphis holding up its end of the bargain.

Godwin said he got out of the drug interdiction unit because he didn't like the way seized drug funds were distributed.

He said his officers were making the bulk of the seizures, but had to share equally with the county.

"We have seized more than anyone, and I want the funds staying in Memphis," Godwin said.

Luttrell said it's true the city seized most of the money, but his guys were getting most of the drugs.


It's regrettable that these guys can't do whatever it takes to work things out so that taxpayer dollars aren't spent on duplicative services and a comprehensive approach to crime control can emerge. But with two governments, and budgets, there is no requirement to work together and lots of incentive not to.

You can say what you want about Willie Herenton's ego and inability to build consensus, but I have always admired and agreed with his pro-consolidation stand. Not only would it save money, but the mere existence of the two governments allows those who have fled Memphis for the surrounding suburbs (not all, but mostly, whites) to officially count themselves NOT citizens of Memphis and further their "that's your problem" mentality. Which, when you think about it, is really stupid. You can't run far enough to escape the ever worsening problems of urban blight and crime that are exacerbated by suburban flight - especially when thousands of people march like lemmings out to live in new developments that, before long, replicate the problems they were fleeing.

Memphis won't become a great city until attitudes like this - which impact the economy, education, neighborhoods, the workforce, etc. - are addressed by leaders with the political courage and will to come up with a vision and stick to it, regardless of the impact on their turf.

How's This For Un-American - Or Why I'm So Relieved That Congress Is Democratic

I was truly disgusted to read in the New York Times this morning that Charles Stimson, the senior Pentagon official in charge of the Gitmo detainees, who is a lawyer no less, believes it is unpatriotic for lawyers to provide pro bono representation to the detainees. This slimemold decided to use his position to try to strong arm these lawyers by naming names and suggesting that these law firms' corporate clients give them an ultimatum - you can't be our lawyer if you represent - FOR FREE - the detainees, for whom hardly any basic Constitutional protections of our legal system apply. Instead, Mr. or Ms. Lawyer, you should be spending your time on mergers and acquisitions or labor and employment or litigation for Fortune 500 companies.

Now, I'm a corporate lawyer. And I think that representing corporate clients is nothing to be ashamed of. But to suggest that it is appropriate and patriotic for a lawyer to make money (and national law firm lawyers make some real money, folks) furthering commercial interests, yet, it is sleazy to give of your time and talent to uphold our system of law, tells me that this guy has a serious misunderstanding of the ethical rules that apply to lawyers.

Right after that, I read Murtha's call to close Guantanamo before Congress provides any funding for Bush's surge. It just makes me so grateful that the American people finally saw this administration, and people like this guy Stimson, for the Un-American weirdos they are.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Any Wanna-be Bloggers Out There?

The National Conference for Media Reform is in town this weekend. It looks to be quite an event. I wish I could go, but life has a tendency of getting in the way of things. If any of ya'll are going, I'd love a report. I'd be glad to hand over a set of blog keys to get some first-hand coverage. Drop me a line if you'd like to do so at davidkentholt@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No

From the Memphis Flyer , Harold Ford, Jr. may become the head of the DLC. Now, I am not really familiar with everything the DLC stands for, but Harold Ford, Jr. heading any organization with "Democratic Leadership" in the name of it makes me a little nervous. Also, if you click on the homepage, Gov. Bredesen is listed as the "New Democrat of the week." So, obviously, this group is a little less liberal than I am.

It does take all kinds of democrats to make the party thrive, but I am a little tired of the centrists. I have said it before, and I will probably continue to say this, but I am looking for a good liberal Democrat to represent my voice. I am tired of watching people who claim to represent me move closer and closer to the center. I was listening to some people talking the other night about how a liberal can't win statewide in TN, and maybe they are right. Maybe the things that drive me politically don't translate across this state, but I've got to tell you, I would really enjoy watching some people try for a change.

With '08 coming up, I am trying to find some people who are willing to stand up and say that they are pro-choice, gay loving, pro-environment, ACLU supporting, campaign finance reforming liberals with a capital "L." So, if you know some people who fit that description, let me know about them.

In the mean time, I will be living in my imaginary happy place where Aaron Sorkin writes the speeches for my President, and I can dream of working in Washington with Josh Lymon.

Hooked On Phonics...

Do me a favor, will you? If you're going to get mad at me for something I say on my blog, it might help to actually read what I said. Case in point, I've gotten two emails this week about the Senate District 30 race. One email implied I was a racist for supporting Marrero over Spence. Get this, the other email told me that I was blinded by my "Ford-hatred" in opposing Marrero.

The emailers are welcome to go back through my archives. If they did so, they'd notice something. I haven't taken sides in that race. I'm not going to. I supported Kevin because he's a friend whom I respect. He dropped out. Although I like Marrero, I'm angry at her asking me to spend money on a new election for her to take the same job she has now. I don't know Spence. I've never met him or heard him speak so I'm not likely to join up his team. The thing is, I'm busy and indifferent. That is neither "Ford-hatred" nor racism. I'm getting pretty sick of local politics lately. Constantly being told my own motives is one of the reasons why. Rant over. Back to class.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Presidential Campaign Links

I have linked to John Edward's presidential campaign page on the left. I'll link to the homepage for other Democratic presidential pages as they go online (and as you folks send them to me.) Being biased as always, I figured I'd link my guy first.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Eat the Rich...

So, I've been reading about John Ford's prized $50,000 Rolex watch lately. Does that make anyone else want to gnash their teeth? This is from a guy who keeps trying to get out of paying for his own children. The idea that ANYONE would spend $50,000 on a watch makes me want to find a rich (or corrupt) bastard and strangle him.

On another issue, is anyone else rolling their eyes at the "basketball violence" hand wringing? I mean, don't get my wrong, I don't think athletes should be throwing punches (outside of boxing, and MMA,) but have any of the anchors whining about this all the time ever watched hockey? I guess a bunch of white Canadians beating the crap out of each other in Buffalo isn't news. Sort of the reverse of what happens with kidnapping victims and the news.

Anyways... I hate the news... Whine session over...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

And then she started naming names...

So who’s running for chair? No one’s declared yet, so feel free to speculate away. A few names I’ve heard dropped with some fragmented (and totally positive at this point) descriptions for the few of you who don’t know them. (I know most of these won’t be running and will probably email me and ask what the heck I’m doing but I’m just listing names I hear people ramble about as possibilities.) What do you think of these folks? What names do you want to add to the list?

David Cocke: Former party chair (twice I believe.) Generally respected and liked by most. Long experience with the party. Often represents Fords in court such as trying to prevent Ophelia Ford’s election from being overturned.

Gale Jones Carson: Another former party chair who is generally liked and respected by most. She’s worked as Mayor Herenton’s press secretary for years and has recently decided to leave to go to MLGW.

Desi Franklin: A leader in MSDIA, former 2nd Vice Chair, current steering committee member. She was also County Commissioner Steve Mulroy’s treasurer. And of course, a member of the WTL blogging team.

Joe Young: Long-time executive committee member and mental health administrator who ran for chair two years ago. Although he did not end up with many votes he was the initial choice of many such as Brad Watkins, Steve Steffens, Myra Stiles, and myself two years ago.

Steve Steffens: Dean of the Memphis Progressive Blogosphere. Former executive committee member. He’s a “hack from way back.” He tends to get along well with and fight with people on all sides.

Brad Watkins: Member of the executive committee, activist for many causes such as the living wage, a man who loves a good protest, leader of Democracy for Memphis, and another member of the WTL blogging team.

Cherry Davis: 1st Vice Chair of the SCDP. She also had the most committed votes for chair before she dropped out. However, she’s also chair of the convention so probably won’t be running.

David Upton: Long-time activist and go-to person for a lot of people in local politics.

Matt Kuhn: Current chair who says he isn’t running again. Former staffer to Congressman Tanner.

Tyson Pratcher: Candidate for Congress in the 9th District. Former staffer to Senator Clinton. If he did run his campaign pitch would probably consist of (and need little more than) “Clinton… Kennedy Day… Cha-ching…”

Del Gill: Long-time member of the executive committee, former candidate for chair, former candidate for the county commission, former parliamentarian.

Carlee McCullough: Candidate for judge against Arnold Goldin. This name and the next two are one’s I wouldn’t expect to run but I have had someone specifically say they might be running.

Reginald French: Candidate for sheriff against Mark Luttrell. He has also been a close associate to the city mayor for years.

Rita Clark: Property assessor and someone who makes it to most Democratic events in the area.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Job Opening

It’s hard to believe, but it’s about time to go through the biennial Democratic blood-bath that is our local convention. It will be in March and April (for those of you not familiar with the process I’ll write about in detail after the dates are set.) In the mean time, why not get started thinking about the next chair that will be chosen at the convention. Not names yet, but strengths. What should our new chair be like? Add your comments as you please. A few quick thoughts by me:

Fundraising: One of the most important (and most difficult) jobs of a party chair is to raise money. We need a chair with the connections to do so, the time and dedication to do so, and the flexibility to combine both traditional fundraising approaches with novel ideas.

Time: To be a strong candidate for chair you have to be busy and accomplished. To be a good chair you have to put in tons of time for little personal reward. We need someone who can devote the sort of time needed to move our party in the right direction.

Delegation: A successful chair also needs to know how to bring others into the leadership, give them roles, and not micro-manage them (while still making sure everything gets done.) People need to be made to feel important and involved. No one person can do this job right. It takes a village and all that jazz…

Experience: Do we need a fresh face not beholden to anyone or an old pro who already knows how to get things done? Whichever it is, better show me some pretty solid proof that he or she has what it takes to herd cats and do it well.

Factions: Politics involves struggles, alliances, and compromises. It’s inevitable that the much-derided presence of “factions” emerges. No one can be involved in politics without getting painted (whether they are so or not) as in somebody’s camp. It’s not so important that we choose someone without factional ties. What is important is that we choose someone who can be respected by and work well with all types.

Strength: The chair has to work with others and compromise, but he or she also needs to know when a leader’s job is to say “enough talking”, shut everyone up, and act even if it requires stepping on people’s toes.

Vision: I want to hear a vision for the party from the candidates. In two years how will we know if you have been successful as chair? What will have been accomplished? What should the party look like long-term? What are the purpose/goals/etc. of the party?

There are other equally important components to the chairmanship, but this blogger has a full plate and has to go. Add your own, and let’s keep this conversation going for a few months.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Name the 5 Biggest Issues Facing Memphis in 2007

Just name them off the top of your head. You have 5 seconds. Done yet? Here's a quick list off the top of my head: Infant Mortality, Crime, Poverty, Education, Sprawl. If I had more time the list would likely change slightly. You know what it wouldn't include? Lap dances and new stadiums. Listening to our "major newspaper" and local officials one would think those issues are the ones that matter most in this city. The CA and council spent much of the month I've been out of commission arguing about whether they need to crack down on illegal lap dances. Now Herenton comes out with the idea that we need to spend a 100 million or so on a brand-spanking-new stadium for the Tigers.

Maybe those issues are important. I could really care less about either, but assuming they are important, let's look at our priorities. Would cops be better suited busting up drug rings, curbing gang violence, investigating robberies, and responding to domestic violence calls or would you rather them be on the look out for whether the local strip club allows lap dances?

Would 100 million dollars (I'm making that number up, but he didn't give a number) be better spent on building a football stadium for a college team (a pro-football team WILL NOT be coming to Memphis. The Titans are too close and we can barely support a pro basketball team in a basketball-crazy city) in a weak conference that has had a grand total of 3 winning seasons in my lifetime or would it be better spent improving our schools, providing prenatal care to poor mothers, job training, or attracting good jobs? Memphis has Autozone Park, the Liberty Bowl, the Coliseum, the Cannon Center, the Pyramid, and the Fed-Ex Forum. I'm sure I'm missing some. Did those cure the city's ails? It hardly looks like they did. Mr. Mayor, I've never been you're biggest fan, but lately I haven't had anything to be angry with you over. That just changed. Where the hell are real leaders in this city?

Oh, and if we don't have any problems in the city besides the lack of a new stadium and strip clubs that are too wild then I'll gladly take a partial refund of my property taxes in lieu of spending money on those issues. I could stimulate the economy and all with the extra cash. Hey look, I just found yet another priority before those.