Monday, July 31, 2006

Commercial Appeal - The Bully Pulpit of Bigotry

Pesky Fly beat me to the punch on this one and put up a remarkable post. As far as I’m concerned, the word “Fucktard” is now the sole property of the bloggers at The Flypaper Theory. I’ve edited it out of the few posts where I’ve used it, replacing it with “asshead”. I’m content with that. Anyway, check out the preeminent, primo Pesky and then join me back here, because as you might have guessed, I’ve got a thing or two to say about this too.

Just before I left for work this morning, a good friend hit the Freedonian mailbag and gave me a head’s up about an article in the CA. It’s long been my second favorite local publication; I like actual reporters, and you can’t beat the Memphis Flyer for reporting. The Commercial Appeal has devolved into a stenography pool and Wendi Thomas.

But never did I expect them to become a dictation forum for panderers to the lowest denominator.

From this morning’s cover story:

Over the last weeks, several African-American groups and candidates have roundly criticized Cohen for joking that his voting record makes him seem like a "black woman" and for his statement that he would ask to join the Congressional Black Caucus if elected.
"He thinks he's going to go in there and trick the CBC," said Julian Bolton, who has questioned if, as a Jew, Cohen can best represent a largely Christian district. "He thinks they'd be honored to have him. The only reason he wants to join is that he wants to get money for Israel."

Let’s flip the roles here for a moment. Imagine, for a moment, that Steve Cohen has said “Don’t elect Julian Bolton. He only wants to send money to Africa.”

There’s no way the Commercial Appeal would have run that without running some quote afterwards from a leader in the black community talking about how absolutely retarded that statement was. Nor should they. It would be absurd on its face. Julian Bolton is almost certainly of African descent, but he has no deep connection to Africa. He’s an American, a Tennessean, and a Memphian. Steve Cohen is Jewish, but he’s not Israeli. He’s an American, a Tennessean, and a Memphian.

Bolton went from pathetic to Pat Buchanan today, and the Commercial Appeal gave him a bully pulpit.

Of course, Julian Bolton was not the only candidate in this race to get in some free shots without getting called out on it.

Also from this morning’s cover story:

"I deserve an apology from Steve for calling me anti-Semitic," Stanton said. "Steve wants to set up the Christian vs. Jew, Black vs. White dynamic. It's desperate."

Okay, anyone that has described Ed Stanton as anything but a moron deserves to be lambasted for an appalling lack of integrity.

Helloooooo? Memphians were not hallucinating those push poll calls from your staff, you assclown. And I dare you to call them liars.

But the Commercial Appeal let that go unchallenged. You would think that they have all these people that they call “reporters” on staff, and someone could look into it and say “Stanton’s lying”. Instead, they let it go. Apparently, you’re allowed to bash Jews in the Commercial Appeal. Something that Jewish business owners should think about when it comes to spending advertising dollars.

The Cohen campaign has not been picking fights, as this ridiculous smear piece made it sound. The Cohen campaign has been on the receiving end of racial smears that no one would tolerate if it was someone of any other race. And you know what? They haven’t launched any kind of counteroffensive. They not only haven’t been picking fights, but they’ve not allowed themselves to be sucked into this sheer stupidity.

Part of me wants to believe that the article was written in an attempt to show what assheads these two truly are. But the fact is, it doesn’t read that way.

It is an absolute disgrace that Memphis politics have come down to this. But it’s an even bigger disgrace that the Commercial Appeal has allowed itself to become the mouthpiece of intolerance.

Shocking Development in the Republican Senate Primary!

There appears to have been a shocking development in the US Senate Republican Primary in Tennessee.

Fact Check, the site that seemed to have handled the 2004 presidential race in a way that can only be described as “Fair and Balanced”, has looked at the Republican Senate Primary and reached the conclusion that the Republican candidates are lying.

Click here to read “Devolution In Tennessee”.

In a perhaps even more shocking development, The Commercial Appeal, also considered by most to be “Fair and Balanced”, actually covered it.

It’s a day of shocking news all the way around. Next thing you know, Nikki Tinker will announce issue positions with some actual substance and Mel Gibson will become a spokesman for the Stanton campaign.

A Breath of Fresh Air…

In all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of the Steve Haley event held at his house this afternoon. I certainly support him--- I’ve made my feelings on Ophelia Ford abundantly clear in the past. I met him when he was running against her the first time around, and I certainly liked him

I figured I was just going to another event. Meet the candidate, shake hands, etc. I’ve been to many, and I’ll no doubt go to many more in my lifetime.

But this one was anything but typical.

I’m guessing that somewhere around fifty people gathered to hear three of the most electrifying political speeches delivered in this area since… I don’t know when.

First out of the gate was Brad Watkins. Now, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Brad Watkins grow as a leader over the last couple of years. I’m proud to say I was there when it first started, when I met up with him and Merritt Haine in Otherlands Coffee Shop for the first meeting of what would come to be known as Democracy For Memphis. He’s grown into his role as organizer, and has turned into one of the better speakers in local politics. And this afternoon, he gave the most powerful speech I’ve ever seen him give. He spoke about campaign finance reform, which has never been a barn burner of a topic--- But he made it one. And for the record, I thought he was delivering a hell of a speech even before he quoted me. I beamed with pride at having been quoted and mentioned by name in such a good speech.

Next up was Rep. John DeBerry, State Representative for District 90. I get out to political events. From what I hear, he does too, although until today, I’d never met him. And I live in his district. So again, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

To say I was impressed would be an understatement. As he spoke, I could imagine him speaking in front of much bigger crowds. The thing that holds him back from it though is actually the very thing that’s great about him--- He doesn’t do fundraisers. He spoke about the need for legislators to be free of special interest money. Unlike other politicians that talk about that, he walks the walk. It was an amazing speech, and I can’t help wishing that he was running for higher office.

Then Steve Haley came out and spoke himself. He’s a truly remarkable candidate with a polished speaking style honed over his years as an instructor at Southwest. He hit on many of the same points that Brad and Rep. DeBerry hit on, but remarkably, it never got tiring.

So… How much do you think Ophelia Ford is speaking out on campaign finance reform? Never mind. Stupid question.

Afterwards, Autoegocrat, Leftwing Cracker, West Tennessee Liberal, Brad Watkins and I talked to Tom Guleff, a candidate for the Republican nomination in the Tennessee 9th District Congressional Race. I’m not sure how wise it is for me to endorse a candidate in the Republican primary--- I’m more than a little concerned that hardcore Republicans would see me liking a candidate as a bad thing. But you know what? This is precisely the kind of guy they need. I told him this to his face, and I’m telling anyone who reads this now--- If there were more Republicans like Tom Guleff, there would be more Republicans. I’m sure that if we sat down and talked about issues, we would find plenty to disagree on. But he’s a hell of a guy. He graduated West Point and went on to serve in the First Gulf War with the 101st.

Guleff will have a hard time beating the mountains of money his opponent has spent. But I certainly hope he does. And the Commercial Appeal happens to agree with me.

All in all, a remarkable event. Those of you who missed it happened to miss one of the best political events in a long time.

Autoegocrat has an audio recording of some of the speeches. If he gets us a transcript, I plan to link to it.


My good friend Autoegocrat has posted the mp3 files and transcripts of the speeches yesterday. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Papa Top's West Coast Turnaround

Country music, under normal circumstances, is not my thing.  I love Johnny Cash’s music.  I like Willie Nelson, but I think that may be as much about who he is than the music itself.  My father loved the old time country music singers, and he and my mother used to listen to Patsy Cline fairly often.

But that’s roughly where my knowledge of country music ends.  In fact, when I was asking my friend David Holt a couple of weeks ago if Papa Top’s West Coast Turnaround was good, he looked at me and said “Do you like Whiskey River?”  I said “Well, it sounds like a hell of a vacation spot.”  

From talking to him and talking to Chris Davis, the lead singer of the band, I eventually figured out that the show was old time country, the kind my parents used to listen to.  The kind before country became pop with bad hair and bad clothes.  No Marty Stuart mullets, and no Shania Twain shaking her rack while singing something that would be considered rather mediocre were it correctly categorized as pop (Not that I mind seeing her shake her rack, mind you) at a Papa Top show.

I arrived at the show last night to find Chris standing at the door.  Their regular door guy couldn’t make it, and they forgot to line someone else up.  Many years ago, I was a musician myself--- No way could I let one of the musicians stay off the stage because he had to work the door, and that’s the choice they were facing.  So my knowledge of their first set is a bit shaky.  I know they started it off with a good rendition of “Ring of Fire”, which I consider to be all the payment for my services that is required (And “Folsom River Blues” was like getting a huge tip).

Toward the end of the first set, Chris got on the microphone, thanked me for working the door, and told me to get out there and have a good time.  And that’s precisely what I did.

I went over and joined my friend Autoegocrat at the front of the stage for the remainder of the first set and the entire second.

We were treated to a show that is country music the way it’s supposed to sound.  No synthesizers.  No cheesy choruses that sound like Def Leppard singing with a twang.  Gritty, not always pretty music played by aficionados of what is unfortunately a dying genre.

The fiddle player (I’m just country-uncouth enough to have real problems with calling that instrument anything other than “violin”) had never even seen the band, much less played with them before sitting in on last night’s show, yet fit in extraordinarily well.

Here is what is easily the finest thing I can say about Papa Top’s West Coast Turnaround:  My Dad would have loved them.  So much so that it almost felt wrong watching them without him.

Thanks Chris, for an excellent show and an excellent evening.  I’ll definitely be looking forward to your next show.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Playbook

As most know by now, Harold Ford Sr. and A.C. Wharton both opened their wallets for Julian Bolton in the TN 9th District Congressional race.

What very few are talking about is what this actually means.

Nikki Tinker has been playing up the “I worked for Ford Jr.” angle in an attempt to make herself look like the heir apparent. Ford Jr. hasn’t had a close race since getting elected. Particularly not last time, when the GOP ran current Democratic contender Ruben Fort in the hopes that nearsighted old ladies would accidentally pick the wrong name.

So presumably, if Nikki Tinker was in as tight with the Ford family as she seems to want us to believe, then she should have no problem pulling off an endorsement, right?

So… Where is it? Where’s the check? I just ran a search on Open Secrets, and no one named Harold Ford has given any money to Nikki Tinker.

What gives?

If not for yesterday, I would have guessed that they wanted to stay out of it. The only Ford running in this primary doesn’t need the money--- MySpace doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

There’s a larger consequence to Ford Sr. giving money to Julian Bolton--- And it’s not unintentional.

With his tacit endorsement of Julian Bolton, Harold Ford Sr. is running something of a misdirection play.

He doesn’t want to come out in favor of Cohen. But he’s done the next best thing.

It could hurt his standing in the black community if he picks the one white/ Jewish candidate when there are a dozen black candidates to choose from.

Does he throw his support behind the one contender out of that field that actually has a little momentum? No. In fact, by writing that check to Bolton, he threw a roadblock in front of her. Now, Bolton is the one with the upward momentum.

Ford Sr.’s name is still treated with enough reverence around here to make sure that Bolton is going to pick up five or six points out of this. If Tinker is lucky, she’ll hold steady at 17%. But I suspect that some of those voters shifting Bolton’s way will be coming out of her pocket.

Harold Ford Sr. is a very intelligent man. He does nothing by accident. His motives aren’t always obvious, but they’re always there.

He’s done exactly what he wanted to do. He’s handed this election to Steve Cohen.

Is it conjecture? Sure. But try and explain it some other way.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Dear Emily...

Carrie Giddins

I can’t begin to fathom what your organization was thinking.

You once seemed to be somewhat selective in the company you kept. The smart women, the women most likely to succeed… It makes one of your recent choices puzzling.

Hooking up with Nikki Tinker, simply put, was a stupid mistake more worthy of a political novice than an organization as (perhaps formerly) respected as Emily’s List. She stands for absolutely nothing that your organization claims to. If she does, then much like every other issue imaginable, she’s lacked the guts to say so.

But--- And this is where your total lack of knowledge of this city and its people really shows--- You joined in on attacking a man that has been magnificently progressive on the issues that are important to women. That decision was so ludicrous that it makes dropping the kids off at Michael Jackson’s house look smart by comparison.

Have you grown so comfortable in your position that you’ve begun to believe that credibility grows on trees? Do you believe it just magically reappears once this campaign is over?

Take a good look at some of the comments we’ve been seeing. These are all women that you’ve managed to alienate with this fiasco.

  • …Suffice to say that any support previously given, or contemplated in the future, to Emily's List, is hereby sincerely regretted. Between the Kurita snub earlier this year and the current attack on one of the best supporters that liberal women have ever had in this state, the "List" has burned its bridges with me. Hope Tinker and the "List" go down in flames...

  • …Recently you sent an attack piece out in Memphis against State Senator Steve Cohen, a Democratic running for Congress. The piece accused him of being anti-family, anti-education, and pro-sex shops. Nothing could be further from the truth. I understand Emily’s List supporting Nikki Tinker for Congress. What I do not understand is them seeking to damage or destroy a good Democrat who has done nothing but work for our issues. This action has really damaged your organization’s credibility with me...

  • …In reviewing this glossy color 8.5" x 22" mailer, I see very little relevant information about Ms. Tinker juxtaposed against a few emotional, inflammatory and misleading words and pictures which suggest that Senator Cohen has been anti-education in Tennessee… I trust this scurrilous piece of dirty politicking will backfire against your candidate with the same furious intensity felt by the moral majority in the lottery vote. I also hope your near-sighted supporters in this region will look more closely into the organization known as Emily's List when they prepare to open their wallets again…

Those writers are not men. They are your base. Some have given money to your organization before. And some of them never will again. And some of them are going to talk every chance they get about the slipshod job your organization has done scouting candidates in this area.

For the sake of your own credibility, I suggest rethinking this whole Tinker endorsement. I can understand if you don’t feel up to endorsing a male candidate--- But you clearly stepped over a dollar to pick up a dime in this race.

I hope you’ll seriously reconsider this. The mistake was a big one, but you have a chance to wipe the egg off of your face.

Head to Head: Cohen vs. Tinker

So I went to the Tinker website, and I was simply stunned at how little she actually says.  Particularly since her Anonytrolls have been bombarding several of the local bloggers with comments about how much she talks about “the issues”.

For contrast, I provided some of Steve Cohen’s platform on here.  I wanted to show people the difference between Nikki Tinker and a serious, qualified candidate.

One has accomplishments to point to and plans to tell you about.  The other speaks in broad, sweeping generalizations, and has roughly the same list of accomplishments as Ashlee Simpson.

First, Nikki Tinker on Healthcare:
Nikki Tinker believes the number of uninsured people in our country is inexcusable and should be a national priority.  She believes that the federal government must ensure the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare.  Congress should also fund initiatives to help small businesses purchase affordable private coverage.  She also favors publishing physicians’ charges so that consumers can comparison shop and a national healthcare program that provides health care coverage for all Americans.

Not very much to it, is there?  Everyone thinks the number of uninsured people is inexcusable and should be a national priority.  Duh.  Hell, I don’t even think there’s a Republican that would say otherwise.  They’d certainly have a different approach than a Democrat would, but her answer really doesn’t allow us to see what side of that particular fence she’s on.

Now, let’s compare that to a candidate that has something he can run on:

Steve Cohen on Healthcare:I support the principle that adequate health care is a fundamental right for every Memphian. The U.S. health care system works well for some and not at all for tens of millions. For normal working people in Memphis who have insurance coverage health care premiums, deductibles, and co-pays keep rising. Many have no healthcare benefits after retirement or divorce.
  1. I strongly opposed TennCare cuts and proposed an alternative to keep hundreds of thousands insured.

  2. I cast one of the essential votes as a County Commissioner to build The MED.

  3. I secured money for the Brannon McCulloch Primary Health Care Center in Binghamton, for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and for The MED.
Memphis has the highest rate of infant mortality among the 60 largest cities in the U.S. Babies here die at twice the national average. The most frequent cause is premature birth attributable to bad nutrition, addictions (drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes), lack of transportation, and lack of education about pre-natal behavior and care. I'll work to obtain money to improve pre-natal health care (including counseling) and better access to health care for children.
Medicaid and Medicare are part of the humanitarian safety net that represents the best of America. I will work hard to support them and allow states more flexibility in its Medicaid (TennCare) plans.
I favor permitting importation of high-quality, lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada. The Food and Drug Administration should serve the people not the drug manufacturers.
I will seek to increase funding for research into the cause and treatment of Alzheimer's, AIDS, cancer, and diabetes.
I will fight for a fair relationship between the way corporate executives provide health care for themselves, before and after retirement, and the way they treat employees.
See how this whole thing works?  He sets it up by acknowledging there’s a problem.  Unlike Tinker, he goes on to tell you what he’s done to address that problem so far in his career (Which stands in stark contrast with a corporate attorney that screwed up the benefits plans of Northwest Airlines employees) and what he wants to do as a Congressman.

That’s the difference between prime time and not ready for prime time.

I would say you could do that on every issue, but I would be lying.  For Darling Nikki only has semi-positions on six issues on her website.

And strangely enough…  The beneficiary of a hit piece by Emily’s List is the only candidate in this comparison that doesn’t have Women’s Issues on the site.  Imagine that.  The man talks about women’s issues.  The woman couldn’t care less.

Still, I’ll give you links to compare the rest.

Tinker vs Cohen on Crime

Tinker vs Cohen on Civil Rights (Personally, I agree with Tinker on the need to regulate the “payday advance” places, but is that really a civil rights issue?  I’m white, but if I’m poor enough to use them, they’ll charge me the same usurious interest rates as anyone else)

Tinker vs Cohen on Foreign Policy (Don’t believe the war in Iraq was a good idea?  Only one of these two had the guts to state a position on it)

Tinker vs Cohen on the Deficit

Tinker vs Cohen on Education

Now, you no doubt have plenty of time on your hands.  After all, only one of these two had anything to say about the following issues:

Energy Issues
Job SecurityCovenant with Black America
Seniors (For shame, Miss Tinker.  Aren’t they one of your key constituencies?)
The Environment
Constituent Services
And I’m a little puzzled by this one, but Pet Protection.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

14:55, 14:56, 14:57...

It appears that Nikki Tinker's weak-minded staff has decided to anonymously post drivel on the blogs of everyone not endorsing their sad excuse for a candidate.

Tell me--- Do you think that by coming here and making asses of yourselves, you've helped her chances of getting elected? Tinker's Tools are alienating even more people than the Stanton staff has. And considering that a friend of mine nearly ran a Stanton staffer down with his car to get him the hell out of the yard, that says quite a bit.

Look, you backed the wrong horse. You backed someone that took as much money from Republicans as Republican candidates have. You backed someone who answered every substantive question with "I'm not prepared to talk about issues at this time" or "My Grandmother raised me". I don't give a flying shit if she was raised by wolves, I wanted to hear why we should elect her. By the time she got around to talking about things like that, it was too late--- There was a better candidate in the race with a proven track record. Tinker spent six months deciding what she wanted to say about the war. Cohen attended anti-war rallies. See how this whole thing works?

Let's have a look at what passes for logic out of the Tinker camp, shall we? These people chose to remain anonymous, but they deserve their fifteen minutes of fame, right?

Read this. And know that these are the people Nikki Tinker plans to take to DC with her.

When a black woman out risies a Jewish man, that speaks volumes about how far we have come. (I'm guessing "risies" is supposed to be "raises", which means the sentence translates to "Jews are supposed to be better with money")

Tinker hasn't done anything to anyone. She has talked about issues. She has met with the elderly. Go to her website. Look at her ads.

You all are anti-black women.

Hats of Tinker she has served on many boards.

She had met with voters. Her mailers are fantastic. Kudos to EMily's List and Tinker. We are going to Washignton. Cohen hang on to your hat we are going to blow by you.
Tinker is fearless and she is a fighter. (Bold words, considering that it's only in the last couple of months that she's stopped saying "I'm not prepared to talk about issues at this time")

Emily's List doesn't support losers and Tinker will win. Mr. Holt.....don't look for a summer internship with the Tinker Congressional Office.

Cohen......Whitman will kick your behind for the state senate seat. You won't have anything left. I hope you don't humiliate yourself and let him defeat you. Give it up. Sit down and shut up.

Nikki Tinker hasn't done much for Memphis, but she is our next Congressperson.

Pam- Can we really take you seriously, since you are on Cohen's payroll?

Tinker will work to repair the racial divide caused by white liberal bloggers and COhen's staff.
(Yeah, so three black candidates start Jew-baiting, and it's our fault. Asshead.)

Have you had the courage to ask Ms. Tinker out on a date? I know that all of these attacks stem from a repressed longing to stroke her cheek and plant a sweet kiss on her lips.

Thanks for pointing out the Red X, Wintermute. I've fixed it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

But Is This Tinker's HQ Or EMILY'S List HQ?

It's one or the other, based on the return address from Tinker's mailout.

Hat tip to Wintermute for snapping these pictures.

9th District Revisited

After reading the news and local blogs today, I thought this race was worth revisiting.  You know, what with the seismic shifts brought on by Joe Towns getting out of the race and telling his single digit list of supporters to vote for Julian Bolton.

There are some genuinely good people in this race.  Many of them are people that I would personally like to see in office.  In fact, I wouldn’t even rule out seeing them in the 9th District seat.  Someday.  Not today.    When Joe Torre is looking to complete a Yankees lineup, he looks for people that have held a baseball bat before, players that have been standouts when they played in the minor leagues.  He doesn’t pick a neophyte that seems nice and has potential--- He picks seasoned players that he believes have the potential to go on and become even greater.

  • Lee Harris seems great.  I look at him on the issues, and I find myself agreeing with him more often than not.  Let this man get some legislative experience, and you’ve got not only a contender, but a leader in the years and decades to come.  I don’t know what area he lives in now, but I know he grew up in Whitehaven.  There’s an ethically challenged and vulnerable state senator whose district winds through Whitehaven (I’m not 100% sure where the district lines are drawn, but I know this senator’s campaign HQ was in Whitehaven) that I would love to see Mr. Harris replace.  From there, he can build a relationship with constituents, develop a solid reputation that stretches outside his district, and challenge for the seat of his choice from there.

  • Ruben Fort – What the hell are you doing?  Do you even know?  Your best hope was in 2004, when you ran against Harold Ford in the hopes that some half blind old ladies would get the names mixed up and vote for you by accident.  Of course, you were a Republican then.  Far be it from me to suggest crime, but if you rob a bank, you’ll get better face and name recognition.  Maybe strike up a deal with E-Cycle.

  • Marvell Mitchell – Something interesting happens if you click on the “issues” banner of his website.  Where everyone else tells you where they stand on the issues, he asks you to tell him what’s important to the people of the 9th District.  Sorry, but I think you should have a better grasp on the issues by now.  You have yet to tell anyone why they should vote for you.  An elected leader should be responsive to his constituents--- But you’ve not only told us nothing that you stand for, but you’ve led us to believe that you stand for nothing.  Are we to believe you’re going to fly back from DC and put a poll in the field before every vote in the House?

  • Ralph White – I went to his website and found it to be extraordinarily light on the issues.  With what he did talk about, it looked more like he was running for a local office than a federal one. He is, though, a motivational speaker with the “5 Steps to Success” on his website.  So I decided to take his advice.  Step 1 is to evaluate your current position.  My current position is that I don’t have any idea if Ralph White carries heavy enough lumber to be a congressman.  Step 2 is to visualize my desired outcome.  Okay, I would like to know if Ralph White carries heavy enough lumber to be a congressman.  Step 3 is to create a plan for moving from the starting point to the goal.  Okay, that’s why I went to the website.  Step 4 is to take steps and act on my plan.  Okay, I clicked on the issues thing and found more self-help drivel than useful information.  Step 5 is to repeat steps 1-4 if necessary.  Sorry, there are only so many times I can read the Ralph White website in search of something of substance.  Substance on the White website is as elusive as Iraqi WMDs.

  • Bill Whitman – I looked at his website, and I think that on many (Not all--- He and I would have a good argument over a woman’s right to choose) issues, he’s on point.  He falls into the same category as Lee Harris--- Please run for something else.  Get the experience and gravitas that are necessary to stand out in a race like this one.

  • Tyson Pratcher – Before anyone feels the need to tell me, I’m aware that he dropped out.  But he falls into that Lee Harris/ Bill Whitman category.  I want to hear more from you.  But 2006 is not your year.  You play in the minors before the Yankees call you up.

  • Joe “MySpace” Ford.  Uh huh.  Next.

  • Laura Davis-Aaron – Who are you?

And now we come to the candidates that I absolutely loathe.

  • Ed “Southern Strategy” Stanton – Why do I call him “Southern Strategy”, when the Southern Strategy is clearly a Republican ideal?  Because he’s running it in reverse.  Stanton has decided that he can do without every non-black vote in the district as long as he solidifies the black vote.  He’s not the only one, mind you.  Perhaps the reason I’m so angry over this is simply that I feel betrayed by the Stanton campaign.  I didn’t get to attend the candidate forum--- I listened to a tape recording of it over the course of a car ride to Nashville with Brad Watkins and Frank Burhart.  I was excited by what I heard out of Ed Stanton.  We were working with a candidate for another office at the time, and we deliberately held out on mentioning the abysmal infant mortality rate in Memphis simply because Stanton was talking about it, and we wanted him to own that issue going into the primary.  No way were we gonna steal his thunder on it.  And how did he follow it up?  By playing the race card the first chance he got, and every opportunity he’s had since then.  When I’m looking for someone to vote for, I look for a man of the people--- Not a half-man that represents some of the people.  Your campaign over the last few months has lacked the substance of a loose bowel movement.  If you never stink up Memphis politics again, it’s still too soon for my taste.

  • Ron Redwing – Much like Stanton, only with less substance.  All he can come up with as a reason to vote for him is “Vote for me or a white guy gets the job” (Which differs from Stanton only in the sense that Stanton says “Jew”).  I keep thinking back to Dr. King, who wanted us to judge a man by the content of his character… And I find that Redwing has no character.  Bye bye, Ronnie. Your stench is so overpowering that I have a tough time saying the name of my favorite hockey team.

  • Julian Bolton – The last time I wrote about the candidates, I lamented the fact that you’d served for over two decades on the Shelby County Commission without really building enough of a record to run on.  Unfortunately, in an attempt to build more of a name for yourself, you seem to have taken the Stanton/ Redwing route.  He was recently quoted in the Commercial Appeal as saying "We need someone who's going to put our interests first.  Do you think he's going to be able to do that with all of that going on in Israel?"  Captain Subtext wasn’t very subtle here.  He said, in essence, “A Jew can’t represent you.”  Of course, what he also said, quite accidentally, was “I don’t have the gravitas to tackle one of our biggest foreign policy issues these days”.  After all, did he not just say he wanted to ignore the war between Lebanon and Israel, which even besides the human toll, further destabilizes the foreign oil markets?  Isn’t a hike in gas prices something that affects the 9th District?  How sad is this?  Someone with over two decades’ experience still isn’t ready for prime time.

Last, but not least of the candidates I won’t be endorsing is one that I couldn’t bring myself to put in the list with the others simply because she’s pissed me off enough to defy categorization.

Nikki Tinker started off her campaign with even less substance than Ralph White, which is near unimaginable.  It’s only in the last couple of months that she’s had anything to say other than “I’m not prepared to talk about the issues at this time”.  If that’s the case, then why in the hell were you running?  Did you need more office space?  Did you just like the title?

And now… You’re still not talking about the issues very much.  You sent out a libelous mailer that devoted so much time and space to attacking Steve Cohen (Mostly on spurious, false charges) that it took a couple of glances to realize who sent it out.  The campaign literature reads like the copy was written by Karl Rove or Lee Atwater.

You went from irrelevance to outright stupidity over the course of the last few months, and it’s not been overlooked.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the same room as you.  I held my tongue.  I tried to remain civil.  I thought you were a pretty worthless candidate at the time.  I’ve simply got no use for anyone that waits until six months after starting the campaign to develop a platform.

Next time, I won’t.  And if it means I get the opportunity to publicly embarrass you, then all the better.  Your attempt to make yourself sound like a frontrunner have been noted, but we all know that you’re going to be battling for third place.  That’s still a couple of places higher than you deserve to be.

Now, on to more pleasant subjects.

Please allow me to reiterate my support for Steve Cohen in the 9th District primary.  I’m not backing him because his skin color is closer to my own, as the Stanton/ Redwing/ Bolton-ites love to claim.  I’m backing him because he has decades of experience running clean campaigns, legislating a true progressive agenda (Although even I would go a few rounds with him on his opposition to gun control and his position on capital punishment), and serving his constituents like no other representative out there.  

I had never even had any substantive conversation with Cohen until a couple of weeks ago, and it reinforced everything I thought about him.  He’s the real deal.  He’s ready for prime time.

Steve Cohen…  The next Congressman for Tennessee’s 9th District.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


At this time last year, we only had 90 murders in this city. It's sad that ninety almost seems like an acceptable number now.

Memphis is like a great ship, upon a torrential wave... And the captain has let go of the wheel.

It's not hard to predict where the murders will take place. Put a pushpin on the map for every murder victim that goes toes up in this city, and you'll find that you run out of room in certain parts of the city.

They're the parts of the city that the mayor and city council have given up on. They're as abandoned as the poor people of New Orleans were a year ago. And the mayor is George W. Bush, standing off to the side and saying "We dodged a bullet".

The mayor and city council can't even find the money in the budget to pay a decent wage to our policemen. It's not their fault--- They're doing all they can with extremely limited resources. And there's a certain point on the pay scale when you can no longer ask people to take a bullet. We're there.

Our local government is as ineffective as Iraq's. And I'm thinking it's high time we look at doing something about that.

If you fail as abjectly as our local government has in its primary function--- The protection of the people of the city--- Then you don't deserve the job.

The Commercial Appeal has a list of the 100 victims so far this year. See if you can detect a pattern or two. If you can, then you're smarter than our city council.

The Truth in Black and White

Once upon a time, nothing terrified white people more than the idea of facing black people as equals.  And nothing terrified black people more than white people.

And with good reason.  Cowards, some in white robes, and some so indifferent that they didn’t even bother to hide their identities prowled the night, hanging “Strange Fruit” from the tree branches that hung over the streets of our city.

Times changed.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became the conscience of a nation.  I’m filled with pride every time I see his name being treated with the reverence it deserves.  He came to help black Americans, but he ended up giving white Americans their souls back.  His “Dream” is yet unfulfilled, and forever gives us a distant star to reach for.

I look at this city, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that most of us have embraced that dream.  With every day that passes, we whittle away, if not bludgeon outright, the ignorance of decades past.  Every generation is more enlightened than the one before.  I’m hoping that by the time my grandkids are old enough to have any concept of racism, they’ll have to Google “the n-word” to find out what it means.  I cringe every time I hear it, but who knows--- The black kids that use it casually to refer to one another have the right idea.  By owning the word, by making it theirs, they strip away the power of it.

But sometimes, I look at the city around me and wonder just how far we’ve come since April 4, 1968.

Blacks can certainly hold positions of power now.  We have a black mayor, black city councilmen, black legislators representing us in Nashville, a black county mayor, black county commissioners, a black congressman representing the 9th District, and if I have my way, a black representing us in the US Senate starting next January.  I may not take pride in every black individual in our government, but I don’t take pride in every white individual in our government, either.  

I’m more concerned with the socioeconomic aspects of the greater Memphis area.

I’m white.  In fact, I’m not even sure how accurate it is to call me white.  I’m paler than they are.  If I wore shorts, my legs would glow in the dark.  I’m whiter than white, but I pass for white quite easily.

Because of this, people feel like they can take verbal liberties around me that they wouldn’t take if I was darker.  A white woman I was talking to several months ago saw nothing wrong with complaining to me about the “stupid black people” at the cable company.  An old white man I was talking to several weeks ago thought nothing of telling me that he hated being in the hospital because of all the black people that worked there.  Both times, I was in a business situation and not in a good position to tell these ignorant people what I thought of them.  I sternly assured the old woman that there were just as many stupid white people at the cable company (I couldn’t bring myself to lie and say that Time Warner Memphis is a hotbed of competence, or even adequacy) and asked her not to talk like that around me anymore.  And the old man went whiter than my legs when I lied and told him I was engaged to a black girl that worked in his hospital, and said that the people he insulted must have done a good job since he was standing there.

But even incidents like that aren’t the most worrisome.  They’re relatively few, and fewer still as the years pass.  Idiots will always be with us, and I’m grateful when they identify themselves.  I’m more concerned about something less obvious---

White flight.

The more ground that is gained by blacks socially, politically, and economically, the further wealthy white people will move to get away from them.  While part of me wants to say “Addition by subtraction.  You make our city stronger by leaving it”, I’m also painfully aware that they take our tax base with them.

A few months ago, I went canvassing with a black candidate (Reginald Fentress--- Give us a decent campaign budget, and we’ll get him into the Governor’s Mansion).  We were fairly well received in Harbor Town, even by a white couple that assured us they weren’t voting for him.  Reginald’s a fighter, so he stood there and talked with them, trying to persuade them.  The woman talked about how ethnically diverse Harbor Town was, and she casually mentioned that the last place she lived in was teeming with racial diversity.

“Ma’am, if you don’t mind my asking, where is that?”

She didn’t miss a beat, looked up and said “Halle Plantation”.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Halle Plantation.  I’ve been there many times on business.  It’s a subdivision in Collierville.  I’m no real estate appraiser, but there’s not much in Halle Plantation that I could imagine selling for less than $400,000.  There may be a few non-whites living there, but I’ll be damned if I’ve ever seen them.  I’ve seen black housekeepers.  I’ve seen Asian gardeners.  I’ve seen Mexicans cutting the grass and building more overpriced houses.  But as far as living there, I would guess that Halle Plantation is about as racially diverse as the Mayflower.

I wanted to stand there and argue with her.  I really did.  It would have been so easy.  But the sun was setting, and Reginald and I had much more ground to cover.

That was back in March.  Here it is, the end of July, and the skewed idea of racial diversity that this woman had in her mind still haunts me to this day.

Every day I wonder…  How far have we come?  And does anyone know where we’re going?

My guess would be Fayette County.  White flight will keep moving east until it finally reaches Jackson.

But there’s a great upside.  I don’t have to spend my days listening to the Archie Bunkers of the world whining that things aren’t the way they used to be.  I don’t want to live in a world that they would be happy living in.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Meet the New Coulter, Same as the Old Coulter

So the Augusta Chronicle has ditched the Coultergeist…  But is this what passes for an improvement?

“We think you'll like Michelle Malkin. The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Malkin has burned a meteoric trail since her start as an editorial writer/columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News in 1992. She also was on the editorial board of the Seattle Times, and was a Warren Brookes Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”

How about an even bolder idea--- Why do you need hate speech at all?  Is Malkin an improvement simply because she bashes immigrants (Despite being the daughter of them)?

Actually, what do you say we cut through the bullshit and call it what it is?

From the editor:

“…Ann Coulter has long been known for her acid tongue. But much of the hand-wringing by her critics has been, and still is, the result of the fact that she is ruthless in pointing out their hypocrisy and flawed thinking.
But biting commentary is one thing. A personal attack is another - such as when she slammed several 9-11 widows for backing Democrats and allegedly milking the tragedy for political purposes. That charge alone isn't necessarily unfair, but to suggest they were "enjoying" their husbands' deaths and calling them "witches" - well, that's where stridency crosses a line...”
So…  The editor of the Augusta Chronicle thinks Ann Coulter has a point when she says something outrageous…  But won’t stand behind her.
It’s not very often that an editor comes out and proudly says “I’m a partisan hack” and manages to say “I have no balls” at the same time.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Reposted in honor of Fearless (snicker) Leader’s NAACP Convention Speech…

He lamented the lack of black support for Republicans.  It might help to remind him why.
“Probably nothing.” - Jeb Bush when asked during his failed 1994 campaign for governor what he would do for Florida’s black population.
“Conrad, how can you live in Washington with all the n***ers?” - Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) telling a newspaper editor about a question he was asked by a rancher from his home state. He told the rancher it was a “hell of a challenge”.
“[Little Joe, the gorilla that escaped from Franklin Park Zoo was] probably a METCO gorilla waiting for a bus to take him to Lexington.” - Talk radio host John Dennis. METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) is a desegregation program that buses Boston’s inner city children to suburban schools.
“They are 12 percent of the population. Who cares?” - Rush Limbaugh, responding to a caller that said that black people need to make their voices heard.
“Headline: Orangutan escapes at zoo, runs for county executive. [Cues jungle music with monkey sounds] Freakin’ monkeys loose up at the zoo again. That’s really fine, really fine. Yeah, yeah, and he’s running for county executive. What is with that?” - Talk radio host Bob Lonsberry, commenting on the campaign of African-American Mayor William A. Johnson for Monroe County Executive.
“Just turn Ashley [Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk] loose and let him arrest every Muslim that comes across the state line.” - Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
“If I see someone who comes in that’s got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over.” - Rep. John Cooksey (R-LA)
“Quit looking at the symbols. Get out and get a job. Quit shooting each other. Quit having illegitimate babies.” - State Rep. John Graham Altman (R-SC) commenting on African Americans who supported the proposal of Governor David Beasley to remove the Confederate flag from all state buildings.
“Because I’ve got the greatest physique in the world, I’m sharp, I’m super talented.” Then he stood up, walked down the hall, looked over his shoulder and said “And I’m white.” - Black bodybuilder Rick Wayne, recalling a conversation with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“That’s right. I thought he [Schwarzenegger in his first debate] did a good job. I--- California is not Mississippi. And you’re not going to get the kind of people that I really like.” - Bob Novak
“Head Start is a godsend for Mississippi. Some of those kids would be better off sitting up on a piano bench in a whorehouse than where they are now.” - Then candidate for Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour, former Republican National Committee Chairman
“My picture is in the public domain. It gets published in newspapers every day.” - Haley Barbour again, this time commenting on why he would not ask the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist and anti-Semitic organization, to remove a picture of him with some of their members at a CCC cookout from their home page.
“Does the C of CC oppose racism? The word racism was concocted by a communist ideologue in the 1920’s. The purpose of racism was to instill guilt and shame in the minds of white people and to stir racial hostility among blacks.” - From the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens. In addition to Haley Barbour, Trent Lott and Bob Barr have addressed this group.
“I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.” - Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) at Strom Thurmond’s one hundredth birthday party
“If you want to know what America used to be--- And a lot of people wish it still were--- then you listen to Strom Thurmond.” - Rush Limbaugh
“His patriotism, courage, and lifetime dedication to South Carolina and his nation will always be remembered.” - George W. Bush, Thurmond’s one hundredth birthday party
“I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our nation’s campuses.” - George W. Bush, praising the Supreme Court for handing down a decision he had lobbied against upholding Affirmative Action
“As long as he can fuzz it up just enough, he is OK.” - Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, advising Bush on how to spin the Affirmative Action decision
“Yellow monkeys.” - Talk radio host J.R. Gach commenting on Japanese fishermen that were accidentally killed when a submarine resurfaced under them.
“Slant Eye to Slant Eye”. Talk radio host Rich Michaels referring to Connie Chung’s “Eye to Eye” program.
“Jane, come here. Me Tarzan!” - Boston Immigration Judge Thomas Ragno, addressing a Ugandan woman in his courtroom to hear her petition for political asylum.
“Aside from doing a rain dance and making it rain--- We’ll assign that to Senator Campbell--- I’m not sure what we can do.” - Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) suggesting that Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the only Native American in the Senate, might help alleviate the drought of 2003
“The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.” - El Rushbo again.
“It is time to face the reality that, according to no particular plan, America is being degraded, disunited, and endangered by a powerful flow, wave after wave, legal and illegal, of poor, unskilled, and uneducated people into our country, many of whom have no interest in becoming Americans or learning the English language. Unable to join the American mainstream, they will fester in ethnic ghettos, work for sub-standard wages, reproduce, vote the straight Democratic ticket and provide cover fire for the terrorists. As they say down Mexico way, “loco, completamente loco.” - Linda Bowles, Border Blowback, Townhall
“Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two ingredients have diminished is in the direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arrisen [sic] can be directly traced back to our departure from God’s Law and the disenfranchisement of White men.” - State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC) emailed this in a letter to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, having received the letter himself from “the administrator of an internet site that asserts that Christianity is a White religion and that the Western world is made up of Christian white nations.” Davis defended the mailing: “There’s a lot of it that’s truth, the way I see it. Who came to this country first--- The White man, didn’t he? That’s who made this country great.”
“As late as 1959, 78 percent of all black families were intact and less than 2 percent of black children were reared in households where the mother was not married. This was before civil rights legislation, before the Voting Rights Act, and before the war on poverty. Blacks were still being lynched in the South, but black families were mostly together and provided a strength for their children that is no longer there.” - Cal Thomas, The Things That Matter Most
“Black ministers should not be involved in politics. I thought there was separation of church and state.” - Talk radio host Bill Cunningham, who has no such criticism of Pat Robertson, Focus on the Family, et al
“If they didn’t observe Martin Luther King Day there’s be trouble from the savages. They’re not satisfied with every third street being MLK Boulevard, named after that scumbag Marty.” - Talk radio host Bob Grant
“We have in our city… in our nation, not hundreds of thousands but millions of sub-humanoids, savages, who would really feel more at home careening along the dry deserts of eastern Kenya, people who, for whatever reason, have not become civilized.” - Talk radio host Bob Grant
“His kind do have that problem [of forming words]. Maybe they weren’t intended to speak a civilized language.” - Talk radio host Bob Grant commenting on a black caller
“On the evolutionary scale, you’re about 25 generations behind me.” - Bob Grant again, talking to a black caller
“It’s hard to imagine now, but by the late 1980’s AM radio was nothing short of a dying medium… Sure, there were a scattering of great stations and great personalities out there-among them people like Barry Farber and Bob Grant in New York whom I listened to avidly. But they were the exceptions.” - Sean Hannity, Let Freedom Ring, p. 259

And the Band Still Plays On

A couple of days ago, Pesky Fly wrote a remarkable and moving piece for his friend T. By all accounts, T is the kind of friend everyone should have, and he just left this world a poorer place on Tuesday when he succumbed to AIDS.

I wasn't fortunate enough to know T, so I'll leave it to Pesky to talk about what a great guy he was. But it got me thinking about the nature of life, disease, and politics.

I came of age in the Age of AIDS. I was only thirteen or so when we first started seeing the "celebrity" AIDS deaths that made us think about this disease as a nation. I certainly wasn't having sex in the days before AIDS, so it's hard for me to imagine a world without this specter hanging over us.

When I got older, and it first started occurring to me that I might not end up as a rock star with a cocaine habit and two supermodels on my arms (Much like Robbin Crosby , dead of AIDS), I considered going into research science (Of course, my lack of science proficiency foiled that idea). I had read the Randy Shilts masterpiece ... And the Band Played On, and all of a sudden, my heroes had gone from Eddie Van Halen and Gene Simmons to Dr. Don Francis and Dr. Jim Curran.

Francis and Curran picked up on AIDS when it was (As far as anyone knew) a mysterious pneumonia that had killed half a dozen gay men in San Francisco and half a dozen more in New York.

Those two men tried like hell to get some funding to research this new disease. These men were scientists, not ideologues. They knew that infectious disease doesn't have a sexual preference.

But they were battling the Reaganistas, and the Reaganistas treated science as an issue of demographics. Gays don't vote Republican often enough, ergo not their problem. In order to get what little funding they did, Francis and Curran had to perform an end run. AIDS patients often develop skin lesions called Kaposi's Sarcoma. KS is normally benign, and simply means that seventy year old Mediterranean men would be less handsome as they went on to die of something else. When they asked for funding to research a disease hitting gays, the Reaganistas said "not our problem". When they asked for funding to research a disease hitting elderly men, that was a demographic that Reagan wanted to help.

In America, AIDS tore through the gay population first. At the risk of having this interpreted wrong, it's a miracle that it did. Gay people are certainly no less deserving of life than myself--- I'm not saying that at all. But its early spread in America was tracked through a relatively isolated population rather than a random cross sampling of America. Had this disease been spreading among the general population, it would have been so difficult to track that we might just now be reaching the point where we can develop an HIV test. The early scientists tracking the disease were finding common traits in infected people, but it was an epidemiological cluster study that told them how it was spread and what to look for in blood samples.

I'd like to say we live in more enlightened times now, but I'm just not so sure. We all know that disease has no sexual preference, but on some level, most of America thinks "gay" when we hear "AIDS". And sometimes, that stigma that is associated with it keeps people from reaching out to us when they need help.

Last year, the HIV infection rate remained steady among whites, but doubled in blacks. I don't know the answer to this problem. I really don't. I'd like to see infection rates dropping off among all races, but doubling in the black community is a terrifying prospect.

I'm very lucky. I've had no friends die of AIDS. My dream is that we get this thing under control enough that I never have to.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Morons of the Right: Part 61,254,985

It’s not very often that we see such a profound, shining example of Right Wing Dumbth. How, pray tell, can you see something like this and not comment on it?

The Onion wrote a satirical piece in which a woman told readers how “psyched” she was to be getting an abortion. Some choice nuggets from the article:

"Those pro-life activists made it pretty clear that, unlike me, they actually think abortion is bad and to be avoided. Are they nuts? Abortion is the best!"

"It wasn't until now that I was lucky enough to be pregnant with a child I had no means to support."

"I just know it's going to be the best non-anesthetized invasive uterine surgery ever!"

It’s painfully obvious to all sentient life forms that the piece is satire, parodying the talking points of single issue abortion zealots that would vote for Pol Pot if he came out and said that he didn’t support a woman’s right to choose. They pretend that teenage girls spend the weekend shagging away and stop by a Planned Parenthood clinic on Monday morning, where they’re talked into a procedure they don’t want by a latter day Freddy Krueger that stands to make big bucks off of performing abortions (All right wing talking points used on me at one point or another by anti-abortion zealots, condensed and combined for your convenience here).

In other words, the article would only be taken seriously by a person with less brainwave activity than your average rock.

Enter Pete of the “March Together For Life” blog, who I’m pretty sure thought he was writing something profound with this:

To sum it up, Miss Weber said:

"I realize there are people who will criticize me, calling me selfish and immature because I took "the easy way out." I realize there are those who will condemn me to hell for what I'm about to do. Well, I don't care what they say: It's worth it for all the fun and laughs I'm going to have at the clinic. So listen up, world: I'm pro-abortion... and I love it! See you at my post-abortion party, everybody!"

Miss Weber, you have killed your child, which you admit is a baby/human being, intentionally. That does make you an admitted murderer. I'm not going to "condemn you to hell", I'm going to pray for your forgiveness and for the suffering which you will endure when you realize what you have done. Every baby you see from that moment on is going to wake you up to the realization that you killed your child.

There you have it. It’s not very often that the dumbest people in America are kind enough to wear a sign saying “Yoo Hoo! I’m a moron!” So we should probably all thank “Pete” for his kindness.

Hat tip to Jilly Jill of The Young Turks.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

7/19/06 - The Day Alberto Gonzales Got Deported

Senator Arlen Specter looked at the Attorney General and sternly asked "Many other lawyers in the Department of Justice had clearance. Why not OPR?" It was a reasonable question. When an illegal wiretapping program flourishes under the nose of the Justice, someone has to answer some questions.

Alberto looked at him and said "The President of the United States makes decisions about who is ultimately given access."

Upon retuning to his office after the hearing, Alberto found a handwritten letter from the President:

"Dear Gonzo:

This Administration will no longer be requiering your lawyering services. Condi says you don't play for our team no more. And Laura don't like you, and the twins say you ain't kool at all. I wanted to trade you, but there wasn't any offerings. Halliburton don't want you neither, so we are deportating you back to Guatimalla.

Gooder Wishes,

You're Former President, W"

His protests, at that point, did him no good. His own party, particularly Tom Tancredo, rallied against him and sent the Minutemen to escort him all the way from the Potomac to the Rio Grande.

Actually, given his years of service, W intially considered offering deportation transporation in exchange for a promisory note. But Condi realized that it was not a good idea because Gonzo was getting out of the US so they would, more likely, never get the trip fare back.

And thus began the saga of Alberto's adventure. He walked across the desert, traversed The Wall (Which is about ankle height these days, slightly shorter than Hadrian's Wall), swam across the Rio Grande and sang a rousing chorus of Neil Diamond's "They're Coming To America" for the immigration guards as he left the land of the free.

Once he found himself on Latin American soil, he realized something. He had tried so hard to distance himself from all things Hispanic that he had actually forgotten the language. He spoke it about as well as W speaks... Well, English.

He was looking for shelter, a friendly face, and possibly a midget hooker with a donkey. And as luck has it, there was a cantina full of very friendly brown people not too far from the other side of the border.

"Excuse-o me-o", he shouted to the lady behind the bar, showing the "ugly American" ideal that all "furners" understand what you're saying if you speak loudly enough. "Cual is-o the Mexican-o word-o por Tequila? My quiero by-o for-o all them dude-os in da casa."

"Sure, motherfuck-o," replied the lady behind the bar," they all just arrive from Guantanamo this morning and they have been waiting for your ass-o"

And for the second time that day, poor Gonzo found himself in a room full of people expecting answers --willing to do anything to get them...

A Pam and Rick Joint

Monday, July 17, 2006

I'll Get By With a Little Help From My Friends...

I generally try to avoid writing the "what I've been up to" posts. I'm an avid reader of Serrabee's over at Rock'n'Roll Minor Planets, and any kind of "a day in the life" posts that I could do come up woefully short against hers (If you're not an avid reader of hers, you should be).

But I've had a lot of things going on lately that simply defy categorization. They don't really add up to posts of their own, but they're worth writing about.

I make it a point to miss Drinking Liberally as seldom as humanly possible. Beer, good conversation, more beer, good people, and a shitload of beer add up to a great evening. Sarah, Brandon, and Pam have built something extremely cool there, and it's hard to walk away from any DL event not feeling better than you went in (Unless you've had a touch too much, then you're stumbling and fighting against gravity).

Last week was a particularly good one to attend. We've had several candidates stop in and visit with us before. But having Steve Cohen stop in was like having a rock star in attendance. I had met him only very briefly before the other night at "greet and grip" events here and there. Last Thursday was the first time I've had occasion to have any substantive conversation with him. It only reinforced my earlier statements on him--- This man is the real deal. Vote for him in the Democratic Primary this year, then send him to Congress.

Gina Cooper of The Yearly Kos was in town as well. TYK has her travelling the country, looking for ways they can help local bloggers build their own blogospheres. In all honesty, I'm not sure that any of us came up with anything. But you know what? It's all good. She was great to talk to, warm, witty, and intelligent. We're all the better for having met her. You can never have too many cool people in your life. They're like Jello--- There's always room for more. And she's a native Memphian, which means she can find her way around the city better than several of the candidates in the 9th District primary.

The usual candidates were there. My ever-so-sexy blogging partner, Pam, Pesky Fly, West Tennessee Liberal, the Three Sarahs (Sarah of Lantana Projects, Serrabee of the aforementioned Rock-n-Roll Minor Planets, and of course, Drinking Liberally Sarah and her husband Brandon), Kevin Gallagher and Liz Rincon of the Cohen campaign, David Upton--- It was like a phenomenal cocktail party, and everywhere you turned, there was a great conversation going on.

I know there are literally dozens of people I haven't mentioned yet. Please don't be offended--- Between me and David Holt, Dish ran out of Guinness. After about 9:30 or so, things get blurry.

I say and do a lot of things on here that people could easily get pissed off about. Anyone can log onto the internet and anonymously post things to piss people off (Like the Stanton supporter that keeps showing up on everyone's blogs). I'm proud of "owning" every comment I've made about someone. I've pissed people off, and I'm proud to have done so. It's not that I don't care--- It's that sometimes, your measure of success is pissing off the right people. And I like to know how I'm doing.

Some bloggers prefer to remain anonymous. I don't blame them. It's a messed up world out there. Everyone should be comfortable with what they're doing. With the things I say and do, it feels like I would be less legit if I hid my identity.

The other night at Dish, I'm in the XY room returning some of the Guinness I rented for the evening, and a young fellow that I had met before at one of the Drinking Liberally events asked me if I was a blogger. I told him I was The Freedonian, and he said "I've read your blog. You don't give a f**k, do you?" I wasn't quite sure what he meant at first, so he said "You just lay it out there. You don't hold back." He told me which campaign he was working for (Not one that I have bashed for race baiting--- Had Cohen not entered the race, his guy would be one that would be in the running for my vote) and encouraged me to keep it up.

This one's for you. Thanks for the encouragement.

John Dean in The Boston Globe

First, allow me to say that I'm an admirer of John Dean. He's certainly more conservative than me, but time and again, he's demonstrated more integrity than anyone else associated with the conservative movement. His book Worse Than Watergate is a must-read, and I plan to get his book Conservatives Without Conscience.

I just got finished reading an op-ed he wrote for the Globe, "Triumph of the Authoritarians". What he writes about the current administration is as accurate as ever, but I'm more than a little concerned about the rose-colored glasses with which he views the conservatives of decades past.

He refers to himself as a "Goldwater Republican". I'm certainly aware that when people say that, they're referring to the fact that Goldwater always went to great lengths to put himself over as a compassionate conservative, which simply means he didn't feel that hosing the poor was necessary to be a member of the "club".

It bothers me quite a bit that this myth seems to continue to this day. Goldwater certainly didn't feel the need to put the screws to the poor--- Just as long as they were white and poor. Goldwater marked the beginning of the "Southern Strategy" of American politics (Although it wasn't called that until Nixon ran four years later), in which the Republican Party made a calculated decision that they could do without black voters as long as they solidified the "Angry White Male" vote.

At the 1964 Republican Convention, his delegates actually spat on and insulted black delegates on the floor. When he won the nomination, George Wallace actually dropped out of the race--- He said that his presence was made "superfluous" by Goldwater at the top of the ticket.

I'll always find it more than a little tragic that to a Republican, the best example of compassion still involves blind hatred of a cross section of America.

Is that to say that John Dean is a bigot? Of course not. Simply that he bought into the hype.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Prominent Democrat???

I took WMC-TV to task on this site once for sloppy, slanted reporting (Be one if you must, but being both should get you voted off of the island). And it appears they've done it again.

Richard Fields circulated a letter naming all the people that he endorses for office this year. And of course, since he bashed Democrats, Jason Miles (A repeat offender) was quite interested.

He's a prominent Democrat, as are many of the candidates he's criticizing.

Hmmm... Now it seems to me that if the purpose of a poorly written line like that one is to lend credibility to Fields' bashing (Using the noted Fox News strategy--- Find someone that was at least once connected to the Democrats to do the hatchet job), then might it also have been noteworthy to mention that he is no longer allowed on the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee because he was doing pro bono legal work filing a lawsuit on behalf of a Republican to displace a Democratic candidate.

Let me repeat that for those who do not understand the distinction--- Terry Roland did not hire Richard Fields to file a suit for him--- Fields did it pro bono. As in Latin for "for the good". As in not charging Terry Roland a red penny for his services. If Fields had been paid for the case, no one could have or would have said a word to him about it. He went to Roland and said "This one is on the house".

This guy's a "prominent Democrat" for sure--- A "prominent Democrat" in the Dick Morris tradition, the "I'm taking my marbles and going to the other side" tradition.

Like I said last time, Miles should get the hell out of town. His philosophy, his lack of talent, and his lack of integrity could all be put to use at a higher pay scale working for Fox News.

Take That, Cracker!

There's mourning in Crackerville today.

Rivera saves No. 400 as Yankees sweep White Sox

Saying anything else feels like gloating, which is certainly unwarranted, as his boys have a slightly better record than my boys.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Keeping Abreast

20/20 did a report earlier on the "debate" over breastfeeding. It seems that the federal government has sunk money into a PR campaign to encourage... Breastfeeding. Which means, at the very least, that Halliburton doesn't have a line of baby formulas getting ready to ship.

They've done some rather outrageous commercials for it. One shows two pregnant women logrolling, and yet another shows a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull. The ad says "You wouldn't take chances with your child before it's born. Why would you after?"

Does anyone see a correlation between a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull and a loving mother feeding a baby with a bottle? It's an insulting ad campaign.

But even beyond that... How much tax money did they piss away on this that could have gone to something more important?

How about an ad campaign encouraging better prenatal care? Or God forbid, how about skipping the ad campaign and actually FUNDING some prenatal care?

The Memphians reading this site, if they're not aware, should be briefed on something. Most of the local bloggers have discussed Aimee Edmondson's magnificent, award winning series for the Commercial Appeal "Born to Die" about the absurdly high infant mortality rate in the 38108 ZIP code. If you haven't read it, click here for parts I and II. They're magnificent, shining examples of what journalism should be all about. Here's a terrific blog posting from Pesky Fly that discussed the article.

For those who don't feel like clicking the links, allow me to give you a Reader's Digest version: There is a part of this city where the infant mortality rate is four and a half times the national average. In 38108, 31 in 1000 infants born will die. That's a dead baby every 43 hours. The picture accompanying this article isn't from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, nor is it a picture of cleanup from the Rwandan Massacre. It was taken at Shelby County Public Cemetary, the Potter's Field for the indigent of Memphis. It lies in the shadow of perhaps our most magnificent monument to capitalism, the Wolfchase Galleria.

31 in 1000 kids aren't dying in that ZIP code because they didn't take to the teat. They die because babies are giving birth to babies. They die because a doctor's appointment is a status symbol in 38108. They die because due to any number of social factors, their young parents never learned any parenting skills.

And they die because good people hear about the problem, shrug their shoulders, and go on about their day.

Remember all those grass huts you watched get washed away in the tsunami in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago? Their kids are more than twice as likely to live than a child born in a miserably poor section of our own community. In fact, there are 126 nations with better infant mortality rates than 38108. In Ukraine, a child growing up in the shadow of Chernobyl has a better chance of growing up than a baby born in our own community.

So while I find the ad campaign insulting, that's not even what bothers me the most about this. What bothers me the most is that worrying about how a woman feeds her child when here, in our own commmunity, we dig mass graves for newborns feels a little like cleaning the curtains when the house is on fire.

The Passion of the Christ

News of the Day

Just a brief wrapup on all that's notable, and quite a bit that's really not.

  • Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert went into the hospital yesterday. Early reports were that he was suffering from a skin infection, but we're now hearing sketchy reports that he is, in fact getting a man-boob augmentation in the hopes of putting to rest the rumor that he and Former First Lady Barbara Bush are in fact the same person (Have you ever seen them together?).
  • A new article soon to appear in GQ alleges that Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff hatched a scheme in they would ask black churches to, in lieu of lobbying fees, take out life insurance policies naming them as beneficiaries if the church elders died. Reportedly, they were quite disappointed by the absence of the promised forty acres and a mule. Early readers have been surprised not by the depth of the depravity, but for the surprising depth of an article in GQ sandwiched in between fashion advice and an interview with a swimsuit model.
  • A scant two months after voting to build a fence along the Mexican border, the Senate killed Senator Jeff Sessions' (R-AL) plan to actually fund the fence in a 71-29 vote. Several Senators said off the record "It costs too much. I know some Mexican guys that will do it cheaper."
  • Almost a year after the devastation of Hurrican Katrina, residents of New Orleans are still waiting on the new roads, schools, and electrical grids to be built. After watching Fox News for a few minutes and hearing them talk about how swell rebuilding Iraq is going, Mayor Ray Nagin is reportedly trying to start a rumor that he has weapons of mass destruction.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tom Ten Reasons To Go To Drinking Liberally Tonight

10. They've got booze there.

9. If West Tennessee Liberal shows up, you can watch a Sunday school teacher get drunk and curse about politicians.

8. Sarah and Brandon are incredibly cool hosts.

7. Seriously, they serve booze there. I shit thee not.

6. You've got to hear Chris Davis's story about the two pretty girls that woke him up on July 4th.

5. People that have not won on Trivia Night at Flying Saucer must come and behold the glory that is our winning certificate. It's the next best thing to a Super Bowl ring.

4. Our regular Beer Goddess, Audra, is easily the cutest waitress in town.

3. The lovely Pam is almost always there.

2. Gina Cooper of Yearly Kos will be there tonight.

1. Did I mention they serve booze?

Tonight at Dish (Corner of Cooper & Young) starting at 6:30.

Every Breath Bernanke Takes

R. Glenn Hubbard, the Dean of Columbia Business School is a former chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. Apparently, he wanted to be appointed Federal Reserve Chairman. Some of his students got together and made this hilarious video.

Republican Senate Debate Drinking Game

We political wonks are strange creatures. Only we, of the entire human race, see a televised political debate as a reason to get together.

This Sunday night at 7 PM, we will be treated (?) to the Tennessee Republican Senate hopefuls on Channel 3. It seems like wherever we go, beer flows like wine. And it's just as well--- Try playing this drinking game with the hard stuff, and people will be so blotto that any bar where this game is played will turn into a de facto flophouse for those of us too hammered to drive home.

  1. Any time Van Hilleary speaks, he's going to say something nucking futty. It's just his nature. He's a right wing Mongo, only he doesn't know it yet. Any time he says something crazy, everyone has to shout "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs". The first person to shout it is immune; Everyone else must take two shots.
  2. Any time one of the candidates blames illegal immigrants for the myriad of problems facing America today, everyone has to start singing "La Bamba". The person who knows the most lyrics is immune; Everyone else takes two shots.
  3. Any time one of the candidates mentions "gay marriage" or "family values", the first woman to sing the chorus of Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl" is immune, and everyone else takes a shot. If it's mentioned in the context of a swipe at Julia Corker over the Facebook thing, everyone else takes two.

More to come... Got anything to add, Pam?