Saturday, September 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Pam!!!

My lovely blogging partner is turning another year more beautiful today.

I first met her a little over two years ago on the Kerry campaign (Sigh). She was beautiful inside and out, a true genius, and someone that was genuinely fun to be around.

And you've got nothing but better since then, Pam.

Over the last year, I've had the good fortune of getting to know her much better. I've listened to her as she's spoken. I've gained greater insight just by sitting across from her and absorbing her wisdom. I've laughed until my ribs ache at her amazing sense of humor. And as a result, I asked her over and over until she agreed to come here and join me on this site. It's been stronger ever since she signed on.

Today is her day, and I would be forever grateful if you would join me in raising a glass to Pam. For the day of her birth is a day worth celebrating.

Think we could talk Bredesen into making it a state holiday for next year? I think I'll look into that.

Happy Birthday, Pam.

Disgusting. Disgraceful.

MAF54: did any girl give you a haand job this weekend
Xxxxxxxxx: lol no
Xxxxxxxxx: im single right now
Xxxxxxxxx: my last gf and I broke up a few weeks agi
MAF54: are you
MAF54: good so your getting horny

This is an exchange between Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL 16) and a sixteen year-old congressional page.

There’s a level of depravity that goes beyond the obvious. Gay, straight, or all of the above, sixteen year-olds should obviously be off limits, and it’s a disgrace that Mark Foley was walking the hallowed halls of Congress.

No, the greatest depravity was not even his--- Dennis Hastert has known about this for eleven months, which makes him the Cardinal Law of Capitol Hill.

Eleven months is half a lifetime to men who live and die in two-year campaign cycles. Just think about how long that is--- If you got pregnant the day Hastert found out about this, you would have a two-month-old child by now. Rescue workers were still digging New Orleans out from under cascades of mud while this was going on. This is three marriages ago for some movie stars.

What exactly did the Republican House leadership do? They advised pages to not socialize with Mark Foley. In the meantime, Foley co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children (And also the Congressional Beef Caucus, which now takes on a whole different subtext).

The voters deserve to know, and they deserve to know before they decide whether or not to send Dennis Hastert, Rodney Alexander, Thomas Reynolds (Head of the National Republican Congressional Committee), and John Shimkus back to Congress. Each of these men were promptly notified of this problem and took no action against a cohort of theirs that was preying on sixteen-year-old children.

What did they know, and when did they know it?
Who else did they tell?
Did it occur to anyone to try and remove him?
If an average person solicits sex with a minor, they go to jail. Why has it taken almost a year (It would have been longer if not for external pressure) to do so much as refer this to the Ethics Committee?
How far did this go at the NRCC? How many people involved in that organization were knowingly shoveling campaign money into the coffers of someone they knew to be a pedophile?

We deserve answers, and we deserve them almost a year ago.

Friday, September 29, 2006

From an Asset to a Liability

I'm getting word today that Bob Corker has started push polling against Harold Ford Jr. in the US Senate race. One of the questions deals with voter fraud in the Ford family. Vehemently Pro-Ford blogger Chris Jackson has denied that anything of the kind ever took place.

Not so fast, Mr. Jackson. Even if you accept the theory that Ophelia knew absolutely nothing about the cemetary vote that turned out for her in the special election against Terry Roland, there's still a problem.

Isaac Ford, who lives well outside of District 29, voted in that election. His was one of the "Big 13" contested votes, along with radio host Jennings Bernard.

You've got Isaac running around like a loose cannon, Jake humiliating the family by not knowing enough to discuss any issues, both of them showing up at Harold Ford Jr. events, and now they're being used against Jr. in a push poll.

What does it take to get Harold Ford Jr. to shuffle off the albatross around his neck?

Wish Sarah a Happy Birthday

I feel safe in speaking for my lovely blogging partner Pam in wishing our dear friend Sarah Rutledge, founder of the local Drinking Liberally chapter a happy birthday today.

You're not getting older. You're getting better, I assure you. And she's still young enough to think of a birthday as a good thing.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Political Lesson for Isaac Ford

“This was a straight setup. I’m disgusted we even showed up,” Isaac Ford grumbled after Monday night’s candidate forum. He had witnessed the same sad performance out of his brother Jake that the audience had, and was one of the few Jake Ford supporters in the room unwilling to pretend that he had made a good showing.

“What? The debate?” I asked. I was standing only about four feet away and had overheard an argument between a Ford supporter and a Cohen supporter only moments before.

“This was a fucking setup,” he said.

“How is a debate a setup?” I asked him. I won’t pretend that I’m a Jake Ford supporter, but I can honestly say that if they thought something was unfair, I wanted to hear about it.

Isaac looked at me angrily and said “It’s not a debate. It’s a forum, sir.”

“Okay,” I said, still waiting for what was unfair about the forum.

Instead of answering me, he looked up and said “What’s your name?”

“Rick Maynard,” I said, holding out my hand. I had spoken to him briefly the day before at his brother’s campaign rally, but I certainly couldn’t fault him for not remembering. I’m sure he met a lot of people that day.

“Rick Maynard, what do you do?” he asked defensively. I wasn’t really sure how that tied into what was unfair about the forum, but okay.

“I am a local blogger---“

And that was all Isaac had to hear.

“You’re a local blogger. That’s what I thought. You’re one of those Cohen bloggers, so get out of here. Get out of here. Write it all tonight. Write it all tonight. Enjoy writing to your white community, which is not gonna---

“You know, I---

“How the fuck did you get in here?”

I thought that was a strange question, as anyone could show up to the forum, but I ignored it. I had no hostile intent in this conversation, and I wanted to make that clear.

“I actually wrote a very f---“ I was going to say “fair piece about Harold”, but I was interrupted.

“I’m talking to my buddy here. I’m not going to conversate [sic] with you,” he said. I had actually been near the young man he described as “his buddy” before he was, as he was the one that had been arguing with the Cohen supporter, so I didn’t feel the need to walk away simply because Isaac arrived. I had actually wanted to talk to the “buddy” and get his take on the debate. He was obviously one of the few people in the building unashamed to defend Jake after that performance, and I wanted to get his take.

“I’m not trying to fight you,” I said, holding up my hands. I was going to say I simply wanted their perspective, and if they felt they were treated unfairly, I wanted to know about it. I will not deny that I support Cohen in this campaign, but frankly, I’m liberal enough to care if someone feels they were mistreated.

“Fight?” Isaac asked. “You’ll know when I fight you. “I’ll tell you that. I’m not going to fight you here in front of all these witnesses---“

“I wrote a very fair piece---“ I continued, trying to head off this argument.

“--- so I can go to jail,” he continued.

“I wrote a very fair piece about Harold today,” I said. I thought he came off sounding pretty good in the piece I had written for the River City Mud Bugle.

“Harold?” he sneered. “I want to talk about Jake.”

The way he said “Harold” caught me off guard. It was almost as though I had said some kind of dirty word. I admit, I didn’t even know what to say to that.

“What’s the name of your blog? What’s the name of your blog?”

At this point, I knew any chance of a rational conversation was over. I didn’t talk to him to get some kind of a public argument. I simply wanted to find out what, if anything, was unfair about that forum, but he wanted to make the conversation about me.

“Have a nice day,” I said, then turned and walked away.

I didn’t catch everything he said to me as I was walking off. And unfortunately, since I had my back to him, the digital voice recorder that was sitting in the front pocket of my shirt was pointed in the wrong direction. You can listen to it or download it here. If anyone can screen the room noise out of the latter part of the file enough to get what was said, then you’re sharper with audio software than I am, and I have no problem admitting it. I know the f-bomb was dropped a few more times, but I can’t honestly say I remember precisely what was said anymore. Someone else started a conversation with me as Isaac was still ranting, and I quit recording at that point.

Let this be a lesson in politics for the neophyte Ford brothers. A political operative that knows what he’s doing never loses his cool in public like that. They certainly don’t chastise people that they know are writers and say “Write it all tonight”. They don’t curse at people when media is in the room--- If I hadn’t recorded the conversation, someone else very well might have.

And they’re certainly smart enough to know that when they speak in public, they’re on the record.

Jake Ford is clearly not the only younger Ford brother that doesn’t know what he’s doing.

***UPDATE***
It's been pointed out to me that there was a problem with the earlier audio link. It should be repaired now, and can be accessed by clicking the earlier link or clicking right here. Sorry for the inconvenience.

***Update #2***
Fourth time is a charm, I hope. Audio links should be fixed.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's Not Even Funny Anymore...

I won’t pretend that I wasn’t backing Steve Cohen before last night’s forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. I’m a Democrat, and I’m unabashed and unrepentant for my support for Democratic candidates, unless they are simply unfit to hold office.

Nor will I pretend that Jake Ford did anything last night to swing my opinion of him. He looked like the little boy that tried on his father’s suit as he sat on the makeshift stage at the Benjamin Hooks Public Library. It was difficult not to feel at least a little sympathy for him as he struggled for answers to questions that someone that put at least a modicum of thought into his candidacy would have anticipated.

I’m not here to verbally decimate him for not having read the USA PATRIOT Act (Although I do take issue with the fact that he apparently does not realize it has actually passed already). Very few people have, including, unfortunately, most of the people that voted for it. Knowing the text of it inside out could take anyone months, as massive portions of it consist entirely of changing “the” to “a” in subparagraph fourteen of another law passed thirty years before. I’ll be honest--- I’m one of the few people in the world that actually enjoys reading something like that, and even I scrambled for the Cliffs Notes on that one after reading just a few of its three hundred mind-numbing pages.

But when you’re asked about Medicare cuts, you need an answer. It doesn’t have to be a great one, but you really must at least address it enough to let people know you care about the issue enough to look into it.

Jake had no answer. “I will defer now just to say that I will update my position on this question later as the election goes on.”

“Right now, I think Congress is doing a pretty good job of it” was part of his answer on whether or not he thought ethics reform was a good idea. We’ve got a congressman cooling his heels in a California prison cell. Another from Texas may well join him soon. Another from Louisiana is stashing cash in Tupperware containers in his freezer, and the only thing that Republicans, Democrats, and the White House can see eye to eye on is that we should all look the other way. We may never be able to fully grasp the scope of the cloud of corruption that followed wherever Jack Abramoff went.

But Congress is doing a “pretty good job”? If Congress got any worse, they would have to hold committee meetings in a parole office.

I’m not here to bash Jake Ford again. It’s superfluous at this point. I’m not up to the task of making him sound less like a suitable candidate than he made himself sound at the candidate forum. Words simply fail at this point. The Ninth District Dynasty ends here.

All that remains is for Jake to do what I know he had to be thinking as he sat bewildered on that stage--- It’s time for him to cut his losses and call it a day. This is an embarrassment to a family with a political legacy that, while certainly not flawless, is at least admirable.

I’ve spoken to Harold Ford Sr. before. If he was still running for office, I would be a supporter of his. I was a fan of his voting record since way before I was old enough to vote. Even ten years out of the game, he’s an intelligent, capable man.

I have my differences with Harold Ford Jr. I make no bones about it. He tends to latch onto “red meat” issues too often for my taste. But at the end of the day, he’s an intelligent, capable man.

Jake, from my brief encounters with him, seems to be a perfectly nice fellow. And on some levels, he certainly seems like a smart man. But when you’re looking for a representative in congress, you look for the extraordinary. “Smarter than the guy that cuts my hair” simply isn’t enough.

As he spoke about our need to pass the Patriot Act, I looked around the room. You tend to do that during the really surreal moments, as if to say “Am I hallucinating, or are you hearing this too?” While I didn’t run a survey to verify it, it appeared that Jake Ford was the only person in the room that didn’t know the Patriot Act was already on the books.

Jake, for the sake of your brother and the rest of your family, you have some soul-searching to do. Why are you running at all? What do you hope to accomplish? Are you driven by the need to make the lives of the people of this nation better, or are you running simply because it’s a cool job?

I’ve made a lot of jokes at Jake Ford’s expense. Sadly, we’ve reached the point where it’s more sad than amusing.

Jake, your chances of winning are not good. If some miracle happens, and Steve Cohen and Mark White get struck by lightning, then you will have become the one guy in Washington DC so ill-informed that George W. Bush looks like a tower of intellect by virtue of standing next to you.

Furthermore, you’re a bleeding wound to your brother’s campaign. As well as he’s doing in the rest of the state, he’s hemorrhaging here. Don’t ask Isaac--- I no longer believe he has your best interest at heart, and after the way he sneered at me for mentioning Harold’s name last night (More on that later), I certainly don’t believe he cares whether or not he destroys Harold’s senate campaign.. Ask Harold’s campaign staff. If you ask them for an honest assessment as to whether you’re hurting Harold or not, they’ll be looking for a back door to shove you out of before you even complete the sentence.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Educational Observation

As many of you know by now, Jake Ford did his media debut on Monday. On the same day, Sen. Steve Cohen addressed the College Democrats at the University of Memphis. I got to listen to Jake and Steve on the same day, which clarified my views about the characteristics that identify and differentiate each candidate. These events got me thinking about a particular issue that is very important to me: Higher Education.

Jake Ford’s GED and his unsuccessful college stints have opened the door to a fair amount of criticism. While I respect him for at least getting a GED, I wonder what has kept him for pursuing higher education. He is bright and articulate, and has a role model to follow in his older brother, who attended an Ivy League School for undergrad and went on to graduate with a JD from one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. So what’s the hold up?

I have many friends with GEDs. I also have many friends who did not finish college for one reason or another. Some of them were faced with a financial burden that, at that age, they were unable to sustain. Many of them dropped-out because they were young and irresponsible, and wasted their opportunities away. However, most of them regret not finishing their degrees and would like to go back to college but they can’t because they can’t afford it. They can’t afford to leave their bill-paying jobs for a degree that no longer ensures them the possibility of a better future. Nevertheless, many people fight against the odds and go back to school and finish their degrees. Among these people we find single mothers, people that struggle financially, people that have been out of school for years, and all sort of untraditional students that manage to beat the obstacles one way or another to accomplish their goals.

Jake Ford was evidently in the position that his will to go back to school could have been financially backed up by his family, and yet he chose not to. I can understand him being proud of having a GED and that he has had a good run at in his father’s company, but how is that an accomplishment?

Education is the cornerstone of democracy and better society. His disdain for higher education bothers me, as he does not seem to understand the severity of this issue. Students are troubled not only by the rising cost of college tuition and the prospect of a unstable job market, but also with the notion that pursuing this ideal means for many having to repay a debt almost well into retirement.

There is a broader economic impact to be considered as well. Educational loans do not stimulate the economy, so it is in the nation best interest to provide financial assistance to these students to ensure that their future earnings are not tied up in endless debts, but are instead invested in their future as saving accounts, health insurance, retirement plans, so on and so forth. Steve Cohen understands these principles and has fought fiercely for many years to make education accessible for those who value higher education.

At the College Democrats’ meeting, the students were asked how many of them were on the Hope scholarship, which is financed through the Tennessee Lottery. I would say that 40 to 60 percent of the students present raised their hands, and thanked Sen. Cohen for making that possible.

The difference is clear. On one side, we have a man that has fought for the educational dreams of students in Tennessee. One the other side, you have a guy that couldn’t even fight for his own.

Open Letter to Harold Ford Sr.

Dear Harold,

The game you walked away from a decade ago is not the same game you walked back into a few weeks ago. One of the most important differences is that the Ford name simply no longer means what it used to. Once upon a time, someone with Jake’s name could have shown up and blown through the primary process (Or for that matter, Joe Jr.).

Between Harold’s voting record alienating many Democrats, John’s indictment for bribery, and the cemetery vote turning out solidly for Ophelia, the name has lost much of its former luster. Being a Ford helps when all other things are equal, but means little when things are as radically unequal as they are in Jake’s race.

I doubt seriously that I have to recount the qualifications of Steve Cohen any more than I have to yet again point out the absolute dearth of qualifications in your son. If Jake wasn’t carrying your DNA, you wouldn’t be voting for him either.

But running him is your prerogative. It’s how you run him that is going to give you trouble, though. If things continue as they are now, you’re going to sink the campaign of Harold Jr. just to help Jake.

I’m hearing from sources inside the campaign that working for one Ford brother means you’re working for both Ford brothers at this point. This creates a massive problem--- Part of the money that is providing office space for Harold’s Democratic and Jake’s independent campaigns has been filtered through the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with the intention of getting Democratic nominees elected to office.

More has been given directly by donors wishing to send someone to the US Senate who, whether I agree with all aspects of his voting record or not, has the knowledge, experience, and gravitas necessary to hold higher office. They didn’t donate with the knowledge that they were buying a package deal that included sending a dropout to Congress and paying for his attacks on the rightful Democratic nominee in the 9th Congressional District race. I’m already hearing the first rumblings of a donor revolt, so you’ve no doubt heard them too.

You’ve got to put some distance between these two campaigns, or you send them both over a cliff. I know this dooms Jake, as none of the well-heeled donors are willing to line up behind him. But that distance will save Harold Jr.’s campaign. If he’s got a chance of winning this fall, this is it.

Jake doesn’t just lack gravitas. He’s the black hole of gravitas. He actually sucks it off of the people that stand next to him. They look like lesser candidates simply for being near him.

I know you have some joint appearances planned for the future. As someone who disagrees with Harold Jr. quite often, yet would like to see the Senate under Democratic control, I implore you to reconsider this strategy. The only way to save Jr. is to separate him from Jake.

Perhaps over the next two years, Jake can go back to school and earn some of the gravitas that he’s lacking now. He can learn what “insurgent” means before going to a place where he would vote on ways to combat insurgents.

Right now, he simply does not have what it takes. And if you continue on the path you tread now, you jeopardize Harold Jr.’s Senate bid.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Shaky Jake on the Radio

Derek Haire has written a terrific piece on it over at the River City Mud Bugle and posted the audio files.

Jake certainly exceeded all expectations of him during the interview. Of course, expectations were so low that he surpassed them by managing to get through the interview without urinating his pants or setting the station on fire.

Host Jennings Bernard did his best to make Ford sound good, but sooner or later, Jake had to speak for himself.

He did a commendable job verifying my eariler article about him campaigning in Harold's headquarters last week. All potential Ford donors would do well to consider whether or not they wish to be accomplices to Jake's smearing of the rightful Democratic nominee in the 9th District race. We've already connected the dots between Jake's campaign and an anonymously written website smearing Steve Cohen. If Harold is providing him with office space, how is your money being spent?

He stated that he doesn't believe candidates should be elected to lifelong seats. West Tennessee Liberal has already dryly noted the irony of someone named Ford saying such a thing, but here's something else to think about. How does it square with his statement that "I want what all Congressmen want. To be re-elected"?

He claimed that he didn't run in the Democratic primary because there were no debates or forums to talk about the issues, despite there having been close to a dozen. Of course, he also claimed that he didn't run because he wanted the race to be "about the people" rather than partisan issues. I'm sorry--- Was he against it before he was for it or for it before he was against it?

And when he tried to define "insurgent", all I could think was "Oh great. Yet another intellectually uncurious second generation politico wannabe that doesn't read the newspaper".

All in all, it's hard for me to describe Jake's performance. I want to use the phrase "Empty shirt", but I have a closet full of empty shirts at home that I think could have fared better.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The REAL Reason Harold is Helping Jake...

When you look at the abysmal lack of qualifications Jake Ford has for holding office, you can only ask “Why? What did we ever do to the Ford family that we deserve this albatross around our neck?”

Here’s the answer: Nothing. Much like when he’s voting in the House of Representatives, Harold Ford Jr. hasn’t even thought about the needs of the hardworking people of this district.

That’s not what it’s all about.

Assume for a moment that you have a brother like Jake. Even with the considerable wealth and clout that the family carries, they still couldn’t find a private school willing to sell this guy a diploma.

He’s got to have a job, or he’s going to spend his entire life living in your basement. So you put him to work in the family business, the Harold Ford Group lobbying firm.

But even that isn’t much of an improvement. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, so at some point in his unaccomplished career, that salary is tantamount to giving him an allowance.

How do you get this leech off of the family dole?

It’s “Welfare-to-Work” time.

Harold Ford Jr. is supporting his brother simply because he’s tired of supporting his brother. This moves him off of the Harold Ford Sr.-administered welfare and into a job where it’s forgivable (Perhaps even preferable, if you’re a Republican) to be as dumb as a box of rocks.

Don’t knock it. It worked wonders when George Bush Sr. was trying to find a job for his two little dullards.

This isn’t about hanging an albatross around our necks--- It’s a desperation move to remove one from their own.

So forget the well-educated, accomplished legislator running against him. While that guy was pushing for legislation that sends kids to college on the house, GED Jake was humiliating the family in a wrestling ring. While the well-educated, accomplished legislator was building a voting record that any state senator can be proud of, GED Jake was getting thrown out of school after school.

Isn’t that why we exist? To relieve the burdens of the Ford family? To fork over our hard-earned money in exchange for representation by someone I can only generously call a buffoon?

It’s Congress or bagging groceries. Frankly, I don’t think he could hold the grocery job very long.

If they want this withered fruit of the family loom to get a check issued by the federal government every month, they should encourage him to apply for welfare.

Friday, September 15, 2006

WTF?!

(In response to Freed's previous post and this Space Ninja's post)

Ok, people. Let's cut the BS. Moral support from Jr. to Jake I can understand and live with, but anything beyond that is a slap in the face of the voters of the 9th Congressional District.

I don't mind Jr. and Jake exchanging quips over the phone in regards to campaign strategy and tips, but I do have a HUGE problem with Jr. using his senatorial campaign resources --made available to him primarily by Democrats-- to promote and advance his brother's independent candidacy against the legitimate Democratic Candidate.

Many of the people that have contributed to Jr.’s campaign are also supporters of Steve Cohen. When they donated to Jr., they did not do so with the intention of financing his little brother’s campaign as well. Had they known that this scenario could happen, many would have more likely withheld their wallets as well as their votes. Jr. should know better. If Jr.’s supporters wish to donate to Jake’s campaign as well, they should follow proper and legitimate channels as established by law and give to Jake’s campaign directly.

Moreover, throughout the primary and until recently, many of Steve Cohen’s volunteers and interns joined efforts with Harold Ford’s campaign in promoting both candidates for the sake of Party unity and Republican defeat. And this is how Jr. pays them back?

Jr.'s use of this newly found brotherly loyalty and devotion to justify his "neutral" position in this race is as questionable as Jake's motives for running for office. Jr.'s covert operations and unofficial endorsement of his brother in this race is an offense that should not be tolerated, especially in light of his brother’s direct involvement in the slanderous website attacking Sen. Cohen.

I expected this behavior from Jake, but I am truly disappointed with Harold’s role in this mess. I thought he was above this kind of deception and I thought he cared more about the constituents and supporters he has represented for the past 10 years. Evidently, he cares as much for the 9th District as W cares about the environment. Due to these incidents, plus many more still under development, I have sadly reached the conclusion that neither one is fit for public service. What a shame.

Kudos to the U of M College Dems!

"Anonymous, pissed off source" dropped me a letter in the Freedonian Mailbag today.

The College Democrats met with Harold Ford Jr. at his HQ today. After he spoke to them, he let his asshead little brother speak to the volunteers that showed up.

Asshead is apparently running his campaign out of Harold's HQ (Something to ponder before sending Harold a check) and using his volunteer base as well.

The College Democrats did the right thing (Although perhaps not my favorite thing, which would have consisted of kicking both brothers in the nuts and dumping garbage cans on them as they lay on the ground) and made it clear that they are there to work for Jr. and ONLY Jr.

So keep that in mind if you ever feel the urge to send money to Harold or actually volunteer at his HQ--- You WILL be helping Jake too.

CORRECTION: I am now informed that he did not officially address the crowd, but he worked the crowd. The rest still stands.

If you give money, time, or support to Harold Ford Jr, you are now aiding and abetting his brother.

UPDATE:

When I was writing this piece for the River City Mud Bugle, I called the Harold Ford Jr. campaign HQ for comment. After running in circles for a couple of minutes, they gave me an "explanation" so ludicrous that it belongs in The Onion.

Harold and his brother kind of look alike. Maybe that’s where the confusion is.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

B-U-S-T-E-D

Would you elect a congressional candidate that does not dare to confront his opponent overtly? Someone who has so little substance that he must disguise his identity to cowardly attack others? Would you vote for someone who is so incompetent that he can’t even protect his own anonymity from being discovered?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you have selected Jake Ford to be your next Congressman. Congratulations – please [don’t] play again…

Jake Ford has being identified as the driving force being the slanderous website attacking Senator Steve Cohen. Although he almost did a decent job at keeping his involvement secret, he was outsmarted --and outed-- by a group of concerned individuals, collectively (and sometimes infamously) known as “The Liberal Bloggers.” Can you say B-U-S-T-E-D?

Can you imagine this guy in Congress? Hypothetical scenario here: let’s say that W does start a war with Iran. And here is the letter that W gets from the 9th Congressional Dist. House Representative:

“Dear President:

I do not know what my constituents think about this issue, because I haven’t asked them. Nor can they reach me, as I prefer to remain anonymous. Yet my years spent at the Ford School of Politics instinctively tell me that they agree with me on this issue. I urge you to listen to my constituents and follow my instincts about this war as well. Otherwise, I will be force to make justice prevail by revealing your “true” intentions in a tell-all website and I will write a letter to the corresponding authorities to demand further inquiry upon my claims.

Yours Truly,

The Congressman that dare not speak its name

What’s next? Body-slamming in a mask, cape and tights?

As much as I want to poke fun at this issue, my sense of humor is being slightly overshadowed by real concern. It appalls me that he is so inclined to deceive and smear from the get-go, as opposed to running a clean campaign. In all due fairness, all we know so far about him is that his last name is Ford, he is African-American, and he is willing to cheat and slander his way to his big brother’s former seat. The only decent campaign activity on record to this day, is that he has put up signs. But what do we know about his position on issues? Nada. And about his accomplishments? Zero. Community service? Zilch. Tax returns and personal finances? Zip.

Did he not pay attention to the primaries? Tinker’s muddy campaign mailers and Bolton’s attempts to create racial divide did not work. On the contrary voters were offended and voted them both off the show. Does he really think the key to making the Tinker/Bolton strategy work better is to do the same but “anonymously”?

The bottom line is that a person who is capable of planning, engineering and executing such a fiasco is inept, untrustworthy and vile. Call me picky, but those aren’t exactly the “qualities” I look forward to in a congressional candidate. Specially, when his opponent --the legitimately elected Democratic candidate-- is known for the embodying the exact opposite characteristics for 25 years… and has a record to prove it.

We cannot let Jake Ford represent us. The last thing we need in Congress is yet another can’t-speak-truth-to-power coward claiming to be a real Democrat.

A Sad Ending To an Era...

One of the great things about this blogging gig is that in addition to writing, I get to promote the truly remarkable work of my fellow bloggers.

Do yourself a favor and pay a visit to Crackerville. "A Sad Ending To an Era..." is what this thing is all about.

Bravo, my friend.

The Fucktard Alert Level is…

Green, apparently.  I’m still alive.  You are, if you’re reading this.  And no global nuclear war broke out last night, despite the dire warnings of the House of Yahweh.

So I wanted to follow up yesterday’s phone call by contacting the whackos directly yet again.  I gave them plenty of time just in case they were in some different time zone.

Don’t try this at home, kids.  But if you do, their phone number is 325-893-5899.

HOY:  House of Yahweh.
ME:  I want to file a complaint.  I would appreciate if you would connect me to the proper party.
HOY:  What’s the nature of your problem?
ME:  You guys told me there was going to be a global nuclear war, and that I was quite likely to die.  So I figure there’s no better way to go out than sex, but the only girl around was really ugly.  I thought “Why not?  Not like I have to call her tomorrow”.
HOY:  This is impro---
ME:  So now, I not only have memories of this, but she knows where I live.  Do you realize how bad this is?  We thought we were going to die, so we didn’t use protection.  If we have an ugly baby, it’s your fault!
HOY:  Hold, please.

I have to hand it to them.  They came back to the phone fairly quickly once again.  If they weren’t rabid lunatics, I would recommend hiring them at the cable company.

HOY:  May I help you?ME:  Well, since you guys had me thinking we were all going to die in a nuclear holocaust last night---
HOY:  Have a good day, sir.
ME:  But if that woman from last night is pregnant, the ugly baby is on your conscience.
HOY:  Good day.
ME:  Do you know what a fucktard is?
HOY:  [Click]

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fucktard Alert!!!

Yes, I'm aware that I pretty much abandoned use of that word so that the guys at Flypaper Theory could continue with their mastery of it. But no word seems to match this level of stupidity, except maybe "Jakiness".

A group of heavily armed whackos in Texas called The House of Yahweh have pooled their collective biblical knowledge and arrived at the conclusion that the world is breaking into nuclear war TODAY. They're granting interview requests for AFTER the 12th, so they apparently believe they'll survive.

I found their website, and there it is on their homepage---

Today's Religious World Does Not Know The Prophecies Of Yahweh: Nuclear war will start September 12, 2006, but that is not the end.
You need to put this date on your bathroom mirror. You also need to make preparations for the dark days ahead, which will affect every person on earth. However, there is a way of escape. There is a place of safety but like their unbelief in the Sabbath, the world will not believe this message, neither will they repent of their sins of murder, fornication, or theft. You need to start training now in the ways of Yahweh.
A friend of mine tried to call their 800number to rib them about it and got voicemail. I tried their toll numbers, (325) 893-5899 0r 672-5420(Give them a call--- You know you want to!) and got a live person on the other end.
HOY: House of Yahweh, may I help you?
ME: Yes, I read about your nuclear war on the internet, and if I read it on the internet, it must be true, right? So tell me... Should I bother recording "House" tonight?
HOY: Excuse me?
ME: Well, it's an important episode, and I'd hate to miss it. Should I watch it when it's actually on, or am I relatively safe recording it? What time does the war start? Are you on Central time?
HOY: Please hold for a moment.
Had they left me waiting very long, I was probably going to hang up. But within a few seconds, another woman was on the phone.
HOY: May I help you?
ME: Yes, I'm trying to get more information on this nuclear war. Does this mean I shouldn't bother setting my timer to record "House"?
HOY: What?
ME: "House". You know, TV show about a grumpy doctor. I really hate missing it, and I was just trying to find out if the world is going to end after or before it.
HOY: Have a good day.
ME: How can I? I might get nuked before my favorite show!


Wait 'til you hear my phone call to them tomorrow when the war doesn't happen.
Anyway, here's a YouTube clip of some of their stupidity.

Pesky, you may have chosen "Fucktard of the Week" too soon.



Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11

Everywhere I've looked today, there's been some maudlin "We'll never forget" item on every newscast. For the last week, the airwaves have been flooded with one dramatization after another. The largely fictional "The Path to 9/11", which largely whitewashed the action (Or lack thereof) of the first eight months of the Bush White House. "The Flight That Fought Back" on Discovery HD, which dramatized the gallant fight put up by the passengers of United Flight 93, who deserve our eternal respect and gratitude. And President Bush took to the airwaves to say... Well, nothing really, except to reiterate that he still thinks it was a smashing idea to go to war with one of the few nations in the Middle East that contributed no personnel and no money to the operation.

I wish I could be maudlin about it. I wish I could do as so many in the media seem to, forget about it for 364 days a year, then torture myself with bad TV as a form of penance.

But I don't have it in me. In five years, I've seen the video of the planes hitting the towers and the towers crumbling so often that I can honestly say it has no effect on me.

That's probably because my blood has boiled every day in the five years since I saw it on live TV. Want to know where the "angry blogger" you see came from? Probably not, but you're going to see it anyway if you read this.

Two weeks before 9/11, FBI Deputy Secretary John O'Neill resigned in frustration from his job because the White House wouldn't let him investigate the Saudi ties to al Qaeda. He presciently took a new job as Director of Security at the World Trade Center and famously said on 9/10/01, "Something big is coming, and it's coming soon".

He'd been paying attention. While the guy sitting behind the nicest desk in the White House had been viewing the Oval Office as a nice place to stop between vacations, O'Neill had been following the money trail from the Cole attack.

He wasn't the only one that knew something was coming. Outgoing National Security Adviser Sandy Berger handed off a massive file to Condoleezza Rice with the ominous warning "Learn this. You'll be spending more time on al Qeada than anything else." Goes to show what he knew--- Condi didn't get around to reading it until July 2001, and has spent much more time on Iraq since then.

On August 6, 2001, the president was briefed on"Bin Laden Determined To Strike Inside US". It spooked him so badly that he was almost late for a trout fishing trip in Crawford. Clearly, he took this threat seriously.

Fast forward a month and five days.

I didn't know her then, but one of the most important people in my life was breathing in toxic fumes (Fumes that Rudy said were safe, incidentally) inside her apartment while the "Resolute One" was "staying the course" in a Florida classroom with "The Pet Goat". She had just turned twenty-five a couple of months before that. Her whole life was out in front of her.

So were the lives of the people on the planes, the people in the towers, the people in the Pentagon, or the hundreds that lost their lives while trying to save others. They all deserved better. They deserved a government that actually cared enough to try to prevent the attacks that killed them.

Two weeks later, the president went out on a limb. He had incredible approval ratings back then--- After a day like that one, the country would have rallied around an egg salad sandwich. Unfortunately, we didn't seem to have an egg salad sandwich handy, so the nation rallied around him.

He looked into the camera and said that he was going to get Osama bin Laden dead or alive. By that time, the last survivor had been pulled out of the rubble almost two weeks before.

That's been 1820 days now. Our government did a fine job displacing the Taliban, but unfortunately, no one bothered to watch the back door. And Mr. "bring them to justice or bring justice to them" got tired of looking for someone that actually hid, moving on to fight a guy that had nothing to do with 9/11 but was easier to find.

And life moved on. George W. Bush has managed to turn his incompetence into a plus, wielding 9/11 as a stick anytime he's met with even the slightest political resistance. "Don't want to vote for my budget? Have you forgotten what it was like when those towers fell?" The flag-covered caskets of firemen have been replaced by the flag-covered caskets streaming home from Iraq. And the president continues to prove the old adage "When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail", because in the face of all logic, all he has is "stay the course".

So I am.

I was angry when I learned of the neglect that led to the worst day in American history. I was angrier still when it was used to push for a war that had nothing to do with the attacks. And I was absolutely furious when it worked, and "Shock and Awful" went into effect on March 20, 2003.

But through it all, I had something that calmed me. It was that young Manhattan woman I talked about earlier. Several months after the attacks, the despair she felt as she looked at that big hole in the Manhattan skyline came to be too much for her. She moved to Seattle in 2002, where she expected to be wildly unpopular at baseball games whenever the Yankees came to play the Mariners (Although she was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Yanks had a solid following even there).

She and I crossed paths in early 2003. I made her laugh when she cried at night; She took the edge off of my anger. We did that for each other for years. Occasionally, we'd switch places. I would tell her about one outrageous thing or another that the White House had done that day, and she would get so frustrated she couldn't even speak. "What do you mean he--- How could he--- [sigh]"... The sigh was so damn cute that I found myself winding her up just to hear it.

But there was something else going on.

By the time Mr. Resolute made his "wanted dead or alive" statement, she'd had something growing in her lungs for weeks. By the time she entered my life, she had a persistent, though not particularly menacing-sounding cough. I always thought it was a bit strange for someone who had never smoked a day in her life, but it was there. We always figured it was something she was exposed to that day, and I always thought I might lose her before her time because of it.

I just wasn't prepared for how soon.

She sighed her last on February 23, 2006. The light that she carried with her everywhere she went was forever extinguished. She had been officially diagnosed with lung cancer only two weeks before, and it had spread through her body at an alarming rate. The pain in her back that she had thought was the lingering effect of a car accident was actually a rapidly growing tumor.

She shared the fate of the other 9/11 victims. She had a few more years walking around than they did. But their fates are forever intertwined.

I don't need to see the towers crumbling. I don't need to see the planes flying into them. I don't need a reminder every September.

I carry it with me every day.

And if I don't wrap this thing up soon, it will 1821 days since he said "dead or alive". And that will mean I'm simply one day more pissed off than I already was at that feckless dilettante that masquerades as a commander-in-chief.

Halimah Abdullah's Literary Offenses

With all due apologies to Mark Twain for borrowing his title... Given that the subject of this piece writes so badly that even James Fenimore Cooper looks like Bill the Bard by comparison, it seems fitting.

For those who aren't aware, Abdullah the Butcher wrote this in the Political Notebook:

If you can't beat 'em, blog 'em... Former Ninth Congressional District candidate Joe Ford Jr. grew tired of constantly responding to "flames," those personal, derogatory attacks on the Internet.
So he decided to fight cyber with cyber and wade into the flotsam that is local blogosphere punditry through his own site:
remixxworld.blogspot.com.

"Wade into the flotsam"? Is that what she calls writers that, unlike her, have firm enough a grasp on the English language to know that zoning laws dealing with whether or not adult shops can remain open on Sundays are not "sex crimes"?

Is "flotsam" defined as "people smart enough to know that black candidates playing "smear the Jew" isn't "Race-tinged back and forth between some African-American groups and Cohen"? After all, last time I checked, for it to be "race-tinged back and forth between some African-American groups and Cohen", Cohen would have to have fired back at some point, right? Wouldn't a journalist have been able to establish something like that? Are they not teaching anything about investigative journalism at whatever Clown College taught her to string a sentence together?

This, unfortunately, is the state of political coverage at the Commercial Appeal. Everything political runs across the desk of either this buffoon, or their better-known op/ed columnist that managed to turn a little girl's hairstyle into a six-part series.

Ready for the punchline? Who does the Commercial Appeal want moderating their congressional debate?

You guessed it... Halimah Abdullah. Her first two questions out of the starting gate will be "Senator Cohen, is it true you're a doodyhead?" followed up by "Tell us all how it's possible to be so great, Jake".

If this is the best that Chris Pecker can muster over at Memphis' "paper of record", then it's time to relegate the Commercial Appeal to its proper status as the "birdcage liner of record". For its coverage is worth little else.

I do not work for the Flyer, nor am I affiliated with it in any way; But when Jackson Baker, Chris Davis, or John Branston clip their toenails, what they discard has more journalistic talent than can be found on the Commercial Appeal's entire masthead.

I've bought my last Commercial Appeal, unless I see an issue with the headline "Talentless Hack Abdullah Indicted for Literary Offenses" with the subheader "War Crimes Against the English Language!" underneath.

PS: Hat tip to Wintermute for giving me a shout about the "flotsam" line.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sneak Preview of Bush's 9/11 Speech

He's reserved a few minutes of network TV time for Monday night, and yep, it's been leaked.

Fellow Amerrcans,

Five years ago today, I was reading stories with some kids. Some guy comes up to me and says "Mr. President, we're under attack". It was a real pain in the ass, because we were just coming to the good part of the story. Now, people have been mean to me because I sat and read "My Pet Goat" for a while longer, but them people have it all wrong. It's called "THE Pet Goat". That durn goat eats everything, and it's the funniest damn thing since I said "pull my finger" to Tony Blair's wife during a state dinner.

Anyhoo, on 9/11, or shortly thereafter, I made a solemn promise to my fellow Amerrcans. "Osama bin Laden, wanted dead or alive". I didn't realize at the time that he had been framed by Saddam Hussein. Now, now it looks like Saddam was framed by Mahmoud Ahme... Ahme... You know, that guy in Iran. We're now hearing reports that Fidel Castro's brother might have had something to do with it too.

I'm now in my second presidentiary. Iraq's new president is in his first presidentiary, only he doesn't call it a presidentiary because he's not a presidentiarier. I'm working to secure his promise that both platoons of the new Iraqi military will help us look for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in Iran, or wherever they may be hiding.

It's very important to remember that even though most of those nineteen hijackers were Saudi, their leader was Saudi, and most of the money behind the terrist group was Saudi, it was an Iraqi operation. Because otherwise, people are going to rise up and toss me into the streets. I'd like to thank Congress for the bipartisan effort to save my tuckus. The efforts of brave and honorable men like Bill First, Duke Cunningham, and Tom DeLay would mean little were they not helped by Democrats like Joe Lieberman and Harold Ford on the other side. I love you too, Harold.

I heard this report last week that I find disturbing. See, it turns out there are three different kinds of Iraqis. The Sunnis, the Shia, and the... Um... Other ones. Who knew?

Anyhoo, I'm hoping that Amerrcans will join me in building a gooder, stronger Amerrca. Like that Six Million Dollar Guy... "I'll build you stronger... Gooder..." He he...

But first, I'm asking all of you to join me in a moment of silence, during which I'm going to run for the door. I got to the good parts five years ago, but I'm still a few minutes shy of actually finishing "The Pet Goat".

Thank you and God Bless.

Look! A weapon of mass destruction! [Runs for the door]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Winner Is... Willie Herenton.

Mayors Wharton and Herenton held a joint press conference yesterday to endorse State Senator Steve Cohen in the 9th District Congressional race yesterday. The endorsement was not a huge surprise--- I think most of us expected it.

But Herenton scored HUGE in it. You can watch his full comments by clicking here and clicking the video links on the left side of the page. Some choice excerpts from his words to the media after the press conference:

"How can anybody in their right mind can think that Jake Ford is better qualified to serve this 9th District than Steve Cohen? It makes no sense to me."

"I have nothing against Jake personally, but his qualifications are nowhere appropriate for him to represent the 9th Congressional district when compared to Steve Cohen. I mean, that's real simple."

"I've resented for decades the politics of the Ford family. The family seems to think that they should have a monopoly on all elected positions in this state and this county. I've always rejected that."

Had Harold actually been willing to do what his supporters expect all of us to do (Swallow the distaste and support the duly nominated candidate), yesterday's press conference would barely have caused a ripple.

Instead, he handed Mayor Herenton a knife to plunge repeatedly into the heart of not only his own campaign, but the political fortunes of his entire family.

For once in his long career, Herenton is in a position to make himself the good guy in the story by backing not only the legitimate Democratic nominee, but the only qualified man in the race. With his scathing comments, he drove a wedge between those who support Cohen and those who support Harold Ford Jr.

But here is the most important thing that happened yesterday.

Harold Ford Jr.'s political career has always depended on him being "the good Ford". By taking the "You don't get to choose your family" position, he's been able to clearly delineate the difference between himself and the likes of John Ford. He's been the "un-Ford". The "low carb" Ford.

No more. He has allowed the mayor to redefine him as a part of the family that "thinks they should have a monopoly on all elected positions in this state and county". His silence has made him just as "Ford" as John.

Harold Jr. got 333,000 votes in the US Senate primary this year, and 89,000 of those votes came from Shelby County. How many of those votes did he lose yesterday?

Only one thing is certain: The mayor just made himself much harder to beat in 2007. All of the people in this city that have a distaste for the lesser members of the Ford family have now been handed an alternative.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Infant Mortality Redux

All I can say is "It's about damn time".

If anyone affiliated with the municipal government read Aimee Edmondson's award-winning series for The Commercial Appeal about the high infant mortality rate in the 38108 ZIP code referenced here, there's been no evidence of it.

Ditto for the county government. Ditto for the state government. And don't even get me started on the feds.

So it was nice to see this on the Action News 5 website today:
A class action lawsuit claims to prove that there is a link between the infant mortality rate in one Memphis neighborhood and the chemicals that polluted a nearby creak.

Okay, it was less nice to see that whoever wrote the copy for that story can't spell the word "creek" properly, but the news is good.

The case will be tried by Javier Bailey, recent candidate for Chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee, and focuses on one company, Velsicol. The suit alleges that the high infant mortality rate is the direct result of chemical spills into Cypress Creek.

I don't know that there's only one factor, and I don't know that Velsicol is the culprit. Every time I've wondered about the infant mortality rate there, my thoughts have run back to the North Hollywood Dump, a former Superfund site allegedly cleaned up in 1997. Of course, it was in such nasty shape that the dumping that took place there in the 1930's and 40's was still considered to be a problem in the 1980's and 90's.

There are many other factors that could lead to a high infant mortality rate as well--- Lack of prenatal care, high teenage birth rates, and abject poverty, among others.

Those require a lifetime investment in time. And these communities need to elect leaders that are willing to work on those problems. If they can't speak to the issue, then don't give them the job, ferchrissake.

If there's an outside factor that is causing that rate to go up, the people deserve to know. And lawsuits such as this one are how that happens.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Big Surprise... Barbarians at the Gate!

The news out of Washington today is that the GOP has decided to table immigration "reform" for the coming year, ostensibly because of the impasse between the Senate's idea of immigration overhaul, which could eventually lead to citizenship for some, and the House's idea of it, which consists of saying "There are way too many brown people here".

Of course, the real story is this: Much like all of the other wedge issues Republicans use to try and divide Americans, this is not a "problem" that they wish to solve; It's simply something for them to complain about in an election year.

How many times can they run the "barbarians at the gate" electoral strategy without their voter base ever wising up?

Terrorism: "Islamic extremists are coming to destroy your country and your way of life... And only WE stand between you and them. " Meanwhile, we're coming up on five years since "Wanted dead or alive", and Osama and his lieutenants are on TV more often than the guy that played Urkel.

Gays: "Homosexuals won't be happy until your marriage means absolutely nothing. They're here to destroy your beliefs and your culture, and only WE stand between them and you." Meanwhile, there's little evidence that gay marriage is anything but a shell game designed to bring out religious voters every election year. Want some evidence? Why was the anti-gay marriage constitutional emendment not on the ballot here in 2004 when all those other states ran it? Because there was no Senate seat in play in 2004, and the GOP was going to win TN by a comfortable margin anyway. This year there's a Senate seat in play, so it's back to "gay bashing as political strategy".

Abortion: "It's murder! Elect us and we'll get rid of it." Meanwhile, we're coming up on 35 years since Roe vs. Wade, and the Supreme Court that was supposed to be some miracle salve to get rid of it has been in place for some time now. Much like a doctor performing a brain scan on the president, their voter base is standing around saying "Where is it?"

Immigration was "barbarians at the gates" at its most pathetic, though. Reasonable people can disagree over abortion. Reasonable people can disagree over startegy against terrorist groups (Although there aren't too many reasonable people left willing to make the case that attacking the wrong country was a smart idea). It's less reasonable to believe that two gay men being allowed to marry affects your own marriage somehow, but you don't have to be completely insane to take the conservative stance.

But the immigration issue is a whole different story. The greatest luxuries are made by the most humble of hands, as you'll see if you visit any construction site in Germantown, Collierville, or Cordova. You'll find a group of otherwise honest people that escaped a nation with no economic opportunities that entered this country without crossing the t's and dotting the i's. They're hardly the first undocumented people to enter this country--- The "wop" insult handed out to Italians meant "without papers".

Mexicans are the new Italians. And the new Irish. And the new Chinese. And the new "every ethnic group that small minded Americans see fit to portray as the enemy".

It's sold to us as a "security issue". So tell me--- How many 9/11 hijackers entered this nation through Mexico? If stopping immigration as a security issue was legit, don't you think there would have been a radical decrease in student visas, the means through which they actually entered? There were only 512 more rejected last year than in 2001, so we can rule that out.

It's language and culture. If you don't believe me, try listening to rightwing mouthpiece Michael Savage sometime. There are barbarians at the gates--- And only THEY stand between them and you! Panic! Run for the hills! If we don't build a giant wall (Using cheap Mexican labor, naturally), they'll destroy this nation by building cheaper housing!

The goal of every liberal this year should be the education of some sap that's bought into a wedge issue argument, so they can see the truth--- That Republicans will never fix a problem today that they can run on tomorrow.