2005/06/30

The Plan for Iraq

Speaking of Iraq, Fafblog has the best explanation of the Bush administration's plans for Iraq that I've found to date.

Your Guide to The Plan

Q: So what's the plan?

A: The plan is to stick with the plan! If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Q: Why do we need the plan?

A: To stop terrorists like Saddam bin Laden from building another World Trade Center in Iraq - just so they can blow it up again.

Q: That would be horrible! How is the plan stopping them?

A: The plan is the central front in the war against terror! We invaded Iraq to get Iraqis to fight us in Iraq so they wouldn't fight us at home.

Q: The plan has cleverly lured them to where they already were, only in terrorist form!

A: Now you're catchin on!

Q: Hey, I know! We should invade like a small cardboard box. When all the terrorists attack there, we'll jump out of the way, tape up the box, and throw it in the ocean! No more terrorists!

A: Hey! No peeking ahead at the plan! For the rest of The Plan>>

Iraq

Found this on the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center's blog.

HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THE STATEMENT…The United States should not have invaded Iraq, but now that we are there, aren’t we responsible to clean it up and ensure that there is no bloodbath when we leave? Full post>>

Breaking news

I just heard on Channel 5 a few minutes ago that State Senator Kathryn Bowers has held her fundraiser to erase her $40,000 campaign debt. Seems that only one of the invited quests showed.

2005/06/29

Mostly to partly lousy

I feel lousy. Been feeling lousy for the pass couple of weeks. I have always had sinus problems and the air in Memphis does not help. However, lately the problems have become worse. I can’t seem to stop coughing and sneezing. Doc L. has prescribed all sorts of inhalers but they don’t seem to be working. I do know that I am not allergic to anything. Doc L put me through the whole battery of tests about a year ago.

In addition to the coughing and sneezing, I am having problems sleeping. If I do get to sleep, I dream. Not good dreams. Strange dreams. About teaching. I have been out of the classroom for five years now and I am dreaming of teaching? That cannot be good. Last night’s dream was about closing out the school year and last minute record keeping chores. Can you say freaky? I can.

Talked to my cardio doc’s nurse this afternoon and told her the problem. She and cardio doc suggested boosting the diuretic. I tried it. The coughing and sneezing has not ceased, but they have decreased noticeably. That is a good thing. Now I just feel semi-lousy.

Anyway, all of this was to explain why posting has been light. I should be back up to speed in a couple of days hopefully.

2005/06/28

More on Shelby Foote

This just in

Novelist/historian Shelby Foote died today.

2005/06/27

Just in case you didn't know

With us all, may The Force be

Several posts back I mentioned that The Wife and I attended Saturday’s Shelby County Democratic Party Caucus held at the University of Memphis. (We were among those chosen to be delegates to the July 23 convention.) Below is part of Jackson Baker’s Memphis Flyer article on the caucus. Read it you must.

The first stage of the local Democrats’ reorganization is over, and after Saturday’s party caucuses at the University of Memphis, it is no easier than it was beforehand to predict who will be the next party chairman. But one thing was obvious: The affair was dominated not by either of the party’s traditional blocs (usually referred to as the Ford faction and the Herenton faction in a rough but accurate shorthand).

No, the leading influence on Saturday was – how to say it? – the Third Force, the New Force, or maybe just The Force! Full Story>>

2005/06/26

Bush’s brain revisited

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.

This is a direct quote from Karl Rove. Found it at Take the Fight to Karl by way of WTF Is It Now?. Is this statement divisive or what? Below is one of the many responses to Rove’s statement.

Really Karl, you prepared for war? How did you do that, play golf or have dinner at the White House? You make the conservatives sound so strong, yet, if I recall Karl, you have never severed. I also recall that your puppet Bush ran to protect Austin from the Viet-cong while his fellow Americans were dieing in the rice patties of Vietnam. Cheney had more deferrals than a tree has leaves. So I ask again, how do conservatives prepare for war?

You prepare for war by jumping on a tragedy to divide America, to further your agenda, to create a war that did not need to be fought. For the love of god, I would have been the first in Afghanistan; we should have turned that nation into a sheet of glass. The fact remains, not a single solitary person on any of those plans that were used against us in September 11th were Iraqi, furthermore most of them were from Saudi Arabia, a nation that we are currently bedding (screwing) our leader daily.

So in short Karl, you prepared for war by running under Bush's desk like a coward. You are a cowered, your boss is a coward, and his puppet master is a coward and the bulk of the conservative are yellow tailed cowered.

I have worn the uniform, I know what it is like to squeeze off rounds from an M-16, I know the joy of having an officer pin a medal to your shirt, I know the hardships of living off of 12,000 a year. I am a liberal and I HAVE PREPARED FOR WAR you [edited] coward.

Go read and get involved

Some of you CA readers may have noticed the full-page open letter from Memphis Truth today. These are good people fighting for a good cause. R.A.C.E. (Radiological Assistance, Consulting and Engineering, LLC) must be stopped. For more info on the group and its stand against go to MemphisTruth.org.

Let the voting begin

Saturday, The Wife and I joined over four hundred of our fellow Shelby County Democrats at the University of Memphis to choose delegates to the upcoming Shelby County Democratic Convention scheduled for July 23. There was quit a turnout. The article below is from the WMCTV site.

County Democrats see big turnout to elect delegates

Shelby County Democrats voted on new delegates today just weeks after state Senator Kathryn Bowers stepped down as party chairman amid a corruption scandal.

Today the county democrats packed the University of Memphis Student center.

State Representative Barbara Cooper says she thinks recent events may have prompted the big turnout.

"Somehow we've generated some interest, in the past we've had some, but something's come alive, maybe it's TennCare," said Rep. Barbara Cooper.

Bowers wasn't the only lawmaker to step down because of the Tennessee Waltz scandal. John Ford resigned his position as state Senator.

They call it intelligence, we call it …

This was in the CA’s Think About It section today. I thought it was an interesting fact.

Why call it ‘intelligence’?
100: Estimated number of U.S. intelligence
reports on Iraq that were based on a single defector.

0: Number of times the defector had ever been
interviewed by U.S. intelligence agents.

2005/06/25

Okay, so what have I missed?

Let’s begin with State Senator Kathryn Bowers. It seems that the senator’s campaign fund is $40,000 in debt. So she invites lobbyists to a reception at $250 a head. Isn’t this illegal? Just asking. Inquirin’ minds …

If I were a lobbyist and this is legal, I’d think twice about throwing my support (and cash) behind an indicted lawmaker. Know what I mean? For the full story go to Indicted Lawmaker Wants Help Paying Bills.

Then there’s the news that local governments can seize homes and businesses for private development. Come on people; this is just wrong. Granted, I haven’t been reading the newspapers or watching TV news for the last few days, but the last I time I checked we were living in the United States. Go to Seizing Property Excerpts for more info.

Life happens

Like the man said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” It seems that lately I’ve been preoccupied with my own bidness to the point of losing track of what has been happening in this town. It happens.

My distraction has been due to several personal but important events. We have a couple of friends that have needed help and support lately. Couldn’t turn them down; they’re family. Those two situations will be concluding soon. We hope.

Then there is the other son. We have known him for years. We met him through the local theatre community. A couple of years ago he joined the National Guard. This past December his guard unit was called-up and shipped to Iraq.

That’s just wrong. The guard should be guarding this nation, not Iraq. Okay, off the soapbox. Maybe later.

He's home on leave. Just two weeks, most of which he's been spending with his parents in Arkansas. He arrived in Memphis yesterday to visit other family and friends. By the time this posts, he should be back at his parents’ house. We all tried to spend as much time as possible with him while he was here. It is never enough time. By next Saturday, he will be heading back to the big sandbox.

It is never enough time.

2005/06/24

Edgar Ray Killen gets the max

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. -- Former Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was wheeled before a judge Thursday, an 80-year-old vestige of Mississippi's hate-filled past, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers.


Amazing. I expected him to be convicted. In this day and age, a Mississippi court could not do otherwise. What I did not expect was that he would get the maximum sentence of sixty years. The judge knew that a light sentence would not fly. The public would not stand for that. Anything over a year would not have made much of a different considering Killen’s age (80) and state of health. He would probably die before serving a year. So give him the maximum. Justice is served and a message is sent to all the others involved in the murders that are still alive. Mississippi is looking for you. When found, we will try you, convict you and sentence you to the maximum that the law allows.

For the full story go to Killen gets 60-years for killings of 3 rights workers.

2005/06/21

I'm really pissed

Like I said in the last post, it seems that bizarre things tend to happen whenever The Wife and I leave the state for a few days.

First, the hog-dog fighting bill was not passed. Now I find that U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander failed “to support a resolution that apologizes for the Senate's historic failure to pass anti-lynching laws.” Again, why?

Go to Just for the record, Sen. Alexander, you blew it.

I'm pissed

Last Wednesday, The Wife and I left for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It seems that bizarre things tend to happen whenever we leave the state for a few days. The last time we left for any length of time Herenton began his fourth term as mayor, declared himself God’s own choice and mightily pissed off the City Council. (January 2004)

What has got me so pissed? In yesterday’s Commercial Appeal, guest columnist Ann Chynoweth’s "‘Hog-dog’ fighting should be outlawed" discussed why Tennessee legislators need to ban this barbaric blood-sport. Many of us thought it would be banned. Months ago, Sen. Curtis Person (R-Memphis) and Rep. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) co-sponsored a bill that would have done just that. Said bill was approved by the Senate in April (29-3), but the House never brought it to a vote. I’d like to know why?

Go to 'Hog-dog' fighting should be outlawed.

2005/06/13

Okay, I am back, though not for long. (More later about that later.) And just what was this important bidness I had to deal with? It was my birthday. That’s right, June 12 was yours truly’s @%^&*%#@$^** birthday. What’s that? You didn’t get which birthday it was? It was my @#$%&*(*^*)** birthday. I was gone because I was busy doing birthday stuff.

Today I received a happy birthday email from an old friend. She's really not old, I’ve just known her for a long time. She’s someone I worked with years ago. Funny, she thought I was older than I am.

Back when I was 25, I thought you were much older. I thought you were generations older than me. Now I realize that you're only 13 years older! That's not so much anymore. Ain't life funny! You're even younger than you used to be!


That’s a compliment? I think it’s a compliment. At least it’s funny. Isn’t it funny? She thinks it’s funny.

All right, I’ll come clean about the age. I turned fifty-six on Sunday. Fifty-six. That’s not old. That’s not even middle aged. Not yet. The way I feel about it, I’ll be middle aged when I’m seventy. Or, maybe eighty. Besides, it’s not the number of birthdays. According to Garfield “it’s the aging thing.” For once, the cat is right.

The Son called to wish me a happy birthday yesterday. Right now he and the new wife are living in Biloxi. Because they couldn’t come up to see us he invited The Wife and me to come on down for a visit. Weather permitting, said visit will include deep-sea fishing. The Son has a bud with a boat. A big boat.

That’s what I meant about being back but only for awhile. Early Wednesday, The Wife and I will be heading for what Jimmy Buffett calls “the northern edge of the Caribbean”.

2005/06/11

The weather

This weekend’s blog forecast: light to non-existent. Got too much personal bidness to be dealin’ wid. Know what I mean? In the meantime, mosey over to Christine’s place and send her get well wishes. Then go see SKB's trip pix. Be back soon.

2005/06/09

RACE

Today The Wife, a neighbor and I went to the Land Use Control Board meeting at city hall. This meeting was supposed to approve or disapprove Radiological Assistance, Consulting and Engineering’s (RACE) application to build a low-level radioactive-waste incinerator facility on Presidents Island. For the most part, the community is, oh how shall I say it, “up in arms” over the prospect of these facilities being so close to their homes and schools. This opposition is a loose alliance of the local chapter of the Sierra Club, Memphis Truth.Org., the Riverview Collaborative Neighborhood Association and several other community groups. Saw several people I knew during my time spent in non-profits.

It was suggested by the chair of the Land Use Control Board that this issue be held until both sides had covered all bases. The representatives for the opposition groups all agreed. No date was set for the next meeting at which this case would be addressed.

My personal opinion about this situation: I don’t like it. The idea of a radioactive-waste incinerator so close to our homes and to the various (dangerous) facilities on President’s Island is not good.

For more information go to the Commercial Appeal article Board to consider permits for radioactive waste-processing plant. Also see MemphisTruth.Org.

City tax hike

The Memphis City Council has approved a twenty-seven cent property tax increase. What does that mean for Memphians? It means quite a lot actually. There will be those who will bitch and gripe at the twenty-seven cent property tax increase of course, but you have to ask yourself one question. Do you want city services at least back to the level they were a year ago, or do want to live in a dirty, unkempt city that doesn’t provide at least adequate services for it’s residents?
When the Memphis City Council approved a 27-cent tax rate increase and a new budget Tuesday night, it meant restoring many of the services that were cut recently. These services will resume at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1.

Weekly recycling pickups instead of twice a month.

Park mowing returns to twice monthly instead of once.

Daily litter pickups in parks instead of weekly cleanups.

Roadside mowing back on schedule.

Vacant lot mowing back on schedule.

Sharpe Planetarium reopens with increased admission.

Summer camps will start with fee increases.

Athletic leagues can take to the fields with new fees for teams that
aren't sponsored by the parks division.

Community centers reopen on Saturdays. Full story>>

2005/06/08

Well, duh

Son-of-a-bitch. Pardon my French; Americans finally get it. At least, more than half of them get it. More than half of Americans feel that not only has the Iraqi war not made them any safer at home, that U.S. casualty numbers are unacceptable, that Bush’s handling of the war stinks, but also that he’s doing a lousy job as president. It kinda follows, doesn’t it?*

Poll Finds Dimmer View of Iraq War
52% Say U.S. Has Not Become Safer

By Dana Milbank and Claudia Dean
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, June 8, 2005; Page A01


For the first time since the war in Iraq began, more than half of the American public believes the fight there has not made the United States safer, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

While the focus in Washington has shifted from the Iraq conflict to Social Security and other domestic matters, the survey found that Americans continue to rank Iraq second only to the economy in importance -- and that many are losing patience with the enterprise.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the number of casualties in Iraq is unacceptable, while two-thirds say the U.S. military there is bogged down and nearly six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting -- in all three cases matching or exceeding the highest levels of pessimism yet recorded. More than four in 10 believe the U.S. presence in Iraq is becoming analogous to the experience in Vietnam. Full story>>
*I lifted this story from this morning’s Washington Post. The WP considered it front-page news. This morning’s Commercial Appeal also carried this story; on page, 11 of section A. Sounds like the CA may have tried to bury it. I could be wrong.


2005/06/07

Bored?

Need something to do? Go visit Strong Bad.

Is this mike on?

It seems that John Ford made Leno again. Ford said “he's going to spend more time with his family.” Leno’s response; “You're under house arrest, that's not a choice, it's a sentence!"

Memphis, city beautiful?

Today The Wife and I were doing some shopping out east. Heading home, we by-passed the expressway and used the streets to get home. We connected with East Parkway at Sam Cooper Boulevard and continued south to South Parkway.

Surprises:
1. On all the medians between South Memphis and East Parkway at Sam Cooper the grass is at least a foot high;
2. Those same medians are covered with an unimaginable amount of trash.

I realize too well that the city (and county) is strapped for cash. I realize too well the reasons for the shortfall. Because of it though, Memphis looks horrible. Memphis was once one of the cleanest cities in the country. Now it is filthy.

2005/06/06

How long Lord, how long ...

This morning while watching one of the news shows, there was a report on the Michael Jackson trial. Like so many other people, I am so over hearing about the Jackson trial, or so I thought. There is a new player. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is now a spokesperson for the singer. Doesn’t it seem that whenever there is some event involving any type of celebrity, Rev. Jesse is there? It may be a rule, though it’s probably more of a guideline actually. I just wonder how long it will be before Rev. Jesse shows up here as a spokesperson for the Tennessee Waltz indictees? It could happen.

“He’s in excruciating pain,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who met with the singer, told CBS’ “The Early Show” on Monday. “The physical pain is real. There’s also a sense that he feels betrayed by those that he trusted and was betrayed before a jury.”Full story>>

South Memphis: Neighborhood Fun, Pt. III

We met the new neighbor this morning, we being The Wife, Gerry and yours truly. His name is Louis (I don’t remember the last name) and he seems to be about my age. (Don’t ask.) He seems to be a nice person. We hope so. We need more of the nice variety when it comes to neighbors around here.

The owner of the house introduced us to Louis. Right, Louis is a renter, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many renters care for the property better than the owner does. Some do not. It seems that we know the owner too. She and her family were living in the house when The Wife and I moved into the neighborhood.

The property I’ve been talking about is not the property I referred in South Memphis: Neighborhood Fun, Pts. II and I. That house is still empty. Louis is moving into the house next door to that one.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Louis.

2005/06/04

Haggue L. Smith, 1898 - 1977

Happy Birthday, Mama. I love you and I miss you.

2005/06/02

CA calls for resignations

By now, you should have read today’s Commercial Appeal. The CA’s main editorial headline was certainly an eye catcher: “Kathryn Bowers should resign”. The column makes a great case not only for Bowers’ resignation but also for the resignations of those other elected officials indicted in the Tennessee Waltz sting.

State Sen. Kathryn Bowers, indicted last week on federal bribery charges, said that she doesn't plan to resign because no one has asked her to do so.

Well, we're asking her to resign.

Not for her own sake, but for the sake of the constituents she was elected to serve.

Bowers has pointed out, quite correctly, that the indictments aren't proof of guilt.


"I have not been convicted of anything,'' Bowers said. "In the system we have, a person is innocent until proven guilty. And I am innocent. ... I would hope I'd be afforded the same opportunity anyone else would have, to have my day in court." Full column>>

"I guess they made some bad choices."

We have all been talking to people, reading about this Tennessee Waltz indictment case, and getting some unexpected reaction from certain quarters. There are those who feel that Ford (et al) is being persecuted because they are Black. This is the South, isn’t it? Someone is required to play the race card. (It is not so much a rule; more of a guideline really.) So why are a couple of the “et al” that were indicted White? Did you notice that the all fish they went after were both Black and White? Not everyone contacted went for the bait. For those that will say, “More Blacks than Whites were indicted,” I say think. Blacks are not a minority here anymore. We are the majority. We have not been a minority here for several years.

Then there are many who are crying entrapment. Of course, the F.B.I. was fishing, but fishing does not mean entrapment. Fishing usually occurs when there is some indication of wrongdoing. Moreover, don’t forget, those indicted had the option of saying no? As Tristen (one of the grandsons) would say, “I guess they made some bad choices.”

2005/06/01

More on Memorial Day, 2005

So what did we do Memorial Day? We went shopping. Shopping usually means a field trip to Home Despot. Let’s see; ten bags of top soil, eight bags of mulch, two bags of sand (for Gerry, a neighbor), and six gallons of sedum.

Once back at the homestead, Ida helped The Wife spread mulch on the front yard’s crop circle, helped build the impending rose garden in the outback, while I mowed and edged the front yard. All this while Magoo played with our Cheyenne and Mollie. Later we grilled chicken and ears of corn for dinner. (Translation: I grilled chicken and ears of corn for dinner.) That, with Ida’s hors d’oeuvres, Chinese salad, and The Wife’s heavily tequila-laced lemonades made for a grand feast indeed.

Memorial Day, 2005


Posted by Hello
These are my heroes. From the top, the photos are of The Mom’s father (Willie Smith), mother (Haggue L. Smith) and brother (Willie B. Smith). All three are buried here at National Cemetery. Willie Smith was in France during World War I. Willie B. served a tour in Germany during the early 1950s. Haggue is there because of her right to be buried next to her husband Willie. She certainly earned that right.

I didn’t go to see them this past Monday. I didn’t plan to go. I don’t have to go there to see or to honor them. Everyday I do that, wherever I am. They know I haven’t forgotten them. They know I still love and respect them, and they know I always will. They know.

These three helped raise me, therefore they know that I haven’t forgotten the lessons they taught. Lessons taught by example and through action. Lessons like being responsible for one’s own actions, standing up for what you believe, being respectful (especially to elders), the importance of fairplay, being compassionate but tough and always let your actions reflect your sense of honor and justice. They taught me to take a stand, even if it is an unpopular one, and that the majority doesn’t always get it right. And, never sit on the fence. Just, “Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” They know I have not forgotten. They know.

Isn't that sorta the idea?


Posted by Hello

So true, so true


Posted by Hello

Grand Daughter Liz

Last week I mentioned my grand daughter's graduation from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. Well, here she is. This is Liz and what she calls her $160000 receipt. We are so proud of her.

Posted by Hello

More on Deep Throat

This came in from today’s MSNBC First Read. I thought it sounded
interesting.

The Deep Throat bombshell doesn't just cost Washington its favorite parlor game. As NBC's Tom Brokaw has suggested, it serves as a reminder of the value of anonymous sources at a time when that longtime journalistic practice has come under criticism. It also gives the recently bruised mainstream media a lift by reminding them of one of the profession's more stunningly revelatory endeavors, in which the identity of a source was successfully protected for decades.

There are implications for Bush in both. First, the Deep Throat story utterly wiped from yesterday's news lead Bush's Rose Garden effort to regain control of the overall Washington story after suffering three defeats last week, on the filibuster compromise, the House stem-cell vote, and the Bolton cloture vote. Judging from his tone, he seems even more determined to go around Congress and appeal directly to the public for support for his top priorities like Social Security. MSNBC First Read>>

Deep Throat

The man who took down Nixon finally comes out of the closet. Good on him!

'Deep Throat' Unmasks Himself as Ex-No. 2 Official at F.B.I.

WASHINGTON, May 31 - Deep Throat, the mystery man who reigned as Washington's best-kept secret source for more than 30 years, was not just any shadowy, cigarette-smoking tipster in a raincoat. He was the No. 2 official of the F.B.I., W. Mark Felt, who helped The Washington Post unravel the Watergate scandal and the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, a feat that he lived to see disclosed on Tuesday, frail but smiling at 91. Full Story>>
This came in yesterday’s email.

TEXAS SENATOR KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, RUMORED TO BE RUNNING FOR TEXAS GOVERNOR, MEDDLING IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GUN LAWS

In an attempt to curry favor and win NRA support for her planned run for Governor of Texas, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison unveiled S. 1082, a bill to repeal Washington D.C. gun crime laws.


This makes absolutely no sense. Dallas, the Senator's hometown, has the highest crime rate among the nation's largest cities for the seventh consecutive year and some of the most liberal gun laws. If she wants to do something about crime she should look in her own state and support efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

The hypocrisy of the NRA and its supporters is legendary. The NRA bans guns from its own convention year after year, yet does not want to give the citizens of the
District of Columbia the same right to make that determination. StoptheNRA

Happy 1st Day of June

Which one is possibly a sure Sign of the Apocalypse? Try number five.

JUNE IS:
1. Cancer from the Sun Month
2. Fireworks Safety Month
3. Gay and Lesbian History Month
4. June Is Turkey Lover's Month
5. National Accordion Awareness Month
6. National Bless A Child Month
7. National Candy Month
8. National Iced Tea Month
9. National Rose Month
10. National Scleroderma Month
11. Rebuild Your Life Month
12. Student Safety Month
13. Vision Research Month