This just in from N.O.

New Orleans' mayor Ray Nagin declares martial law.

Update from the coast III

Just talked to Mike (in Gulfport). He and Barb are fine. Still no power, phones or water in their apartment complex but the survivors in the complex have banded together. A couple of them have cellphones, someone has a flat of bottled water, several have propane and charcoal grills and everyone has food. So they're feasting. They're all pooling their resources and taking care of each other. Someone even has a vehicle that still runs.

The authorities know their situation and have assured them that the cavalry should arrive sometime tomorrow.

Also from the email ...

Dear Friends,
This week millions of Americans fled Hurricane Katrina. Across the South families abandoned their homes and businesses, not knowing what would be there when they returned.

Many stayed behind and suffered devastating loss and injuries -- nearly a hundred have died that we know of, and hundreds of thousands need our help.America is at its best when we realize that we are one community -- that we're all in this together. That means that each one of us has the responsibility to do what we can to help the relief effort.

The Red Cross is a great place to start:

They are already moving people and resources into the region to help. Donations will provide clean water, food, and shelter for disaster victims. The Red Cross web site also has important information for victims and their relatives across the country.

Many local Red Cross chapters are organizing volunteers to travel to affected areas -- doctors and nurses to provide medical care, workers to build shelters, first responders to assist in rescue operations.

You can find your local chapter here to learn what you can do:

We are still learning the full story of the devastation, but there is no time to wait. Please do something now.

Thank you.
Friends of The Red Cross

And don't forget LifeBlood. http://www.lifeblood.org

First things first ...

Received this last night in email ...
The memphis area Junior Chamber of Commerce (jaycees)have set up a collection point at the Wal-mart on Germantown Parkway at Trinity. We will be taking items from 5 pm today until 11 and from 9 am to 11 pm on Wed, Thurs, Fri. You know the things that are needed. Non- perishable food items, water, bleach, toiletries, clothes, diapers, etc.
Do what you can.


Hooks Sr. indicted

Another Tennessee Waltzer. How surprised are we? It's almost insignicant compared to what's happening on the coast though. Almost.

Terry Harris, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced Tuesday that a two count indictment has been returned by a federal grand jury against Michael Hooks, Sr., Chairman of the Shelby County Commission. The indictment charges extortion of money, or taking bribes to influence official duties in the Shelby County Commission.

The indictment alleges that Hooks received $24,200 in bribes in order to use his influence to obtain county contracts for a FBI undercover operation.

The indictment is part of Tennessee Waltz, which was led by the Memphis Division of the FBI.

WMCTV, Channel 5

Jefferson Parish

Jeff Parish President. Residents will probably be allowed back in town in a week, with identification only, but only to get essentials and clothing. You will then be asked to leave and not come back for one month.

WWLTV, Channel 4 New Orleans



Update from the coast II

Just heard from our Gulfport friends Mike and Barb. The punch line; four and a half feet of water downstairs. They lost all the downstairs furniture and other gear. There's a hole in the second floor roof. Power and phones are out. The water's off. Mike's pick-up was up to it's windows in water. His small boat either floated (or walked) away.

Bottonline: The apartment is uninhabitable. That goes for the entire complex. Everyone's looking for new digs.

And Number One Son and the others that hatted up and split for Grayson Louisiana: they're good.

Update from the coast

Heard from buddies Mike and Barb about forty-five minutes ago (eight fifty-five). They live in Gulfport about a mile and a half to two miles from the water. They chose to batten down and weather instead of buggin' out. So far they have had some flooding and the patio is no more. Other than that (and Barb being scared to death) they are fine.

It could be worse. I heard that the first floor of Beau Rivage is under seven feet of water. Not surprised. It is right on the water. News reported that there are sailboats on U.S. 90. Sounds bad, but that's not a surprise either if you know where 90 is located. Not as bad as it could have been. So far.

About thirty minutes later, Number One Son called. He, the wife and her parents made it to Grayson Louisiana just fine. No problems. It hasn’t even rained in Grayson yet. They’ll be fine.


If you are not outraged, you have not been paying attention.

It seems that some have forgotten that we are fast approaching a Special General Election to be held September 15. We, being those of us who live in Tennessee Senate District 29 and House District 87. John Ford’s senate seat and Kathryn Bower’s old house seat need filling. At this point unless you’ve been living off planet you know why those seats are empty. So I won’t go into it here.

The democratic contender for the District 29 seat vacated by Ford is his sister, Ophelia. Ophelia Ford. I have a problem with this. Do you? If you don’t, you should. Just what qualifies her for political office? How has she served the people in the past? Where does she stand on the issues? When do we find out where she stands on the issues? Does she even know what the issues are?

The answers:
She hasn’t.
I don’t know.
We probably won’t.
Hell if I know.

To vote for a person who will not address the issues of the district,makes you stupid. To vote for someone just because their name happens to be Ford, makes you stupid. To vote for someone because their brother served,and that someone has no history of service,makes you stupid. To vote for someone who want even put up a sign letting you know there're running,because they feel that they have your vote in the bag is stupid.

You have to be stupid or the damnest fool in the world to allow yourself to be taken for granted.

And the kicker: She’ll probably be elected just because her last name is FORD. So what do we do?

Uh huh

Are we really surprised?

Thanks to Karen.

The NCCJ’s Anytown

Imagine if Anytown had gotten to us, the city's adults, before we were afraid to be vulnerable and real, before we stopped listening and started repeating rhetoric.

Imagine inner-city residents and suburbanites, Confederacy buffs and Revs. LaSimba Gray and Al Sharpton, gay Unitarians and Southern Baptists, bunking down in the same cabins for an entire week.

Would we have the same disdain for those who live where we don't? Would we need rallies and protests in the parks? Would churches waste a small fortune on newspaper ads denouncing homosexuality?

Let’s all hope that Diversity Memphis continues the NCCJ’s Anytown. All Memphis could use it.

Now go read Wendi Thomas’ column.

For more on the NCCJ >>


And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that, let freedom, ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi and every mountainside.

And when this happens, when we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Today is the anniversary of that day in 1963 when the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. There are certain documents that need to be reread occasionally. This is one of those documents.

For more info on the March on Washington >>

Southerners and war

I didn’t know this, though it doesn’t surprise.
“Politically and economically, the South remains the heart of our country’s military,” said Desiree Evans, a co-author of the report and fellow at the non-profit Institute. “The South stands the most to gain – and the most to lose – from the fortunes and misfortunes of war.”
For the entire report >>

Adam, Eve and T. Rex

The creationists are taking back the dinosaurs. Noah had baby dinosaurs on the Ark and dinosaurs lived in the Garden of Eden.

And, Dinny the roadside dinosaur has found religion.

Number One Son and Katrina

The wife is talking to Number One Son in Biloxi. He and the wife are just about to hat-up and head for her grandma’s place in north Louisiana inland. They’ll be on safe (safer) ground there.

For info on Katrina >>

For the National Hurricane Center >>


Economy 101

I’m one of those people who have little understanding of economics. Oh sure I can balance my personal checkbook and stick to a budget. Sometimes. However, it’s the country’s economy that often confuses. I mean, the Bush administration says that Americans are doing very well. Yet, Americans counter with oh no we aren’t. So what’s up with that?

This morning while going through the Commercial Appeal, I ran across an editorial by Paul Klugman. Klugman explained part of the reason for confusion.

According to Klugman,
The administration and some political commentators seem genuinely puzzled by polls showing that Americans are unhappy about the economy. After all, they point out, numbers like the growth rate of G.D.P. look pretty good. So why aren't people cheering?

While American families
… care about whether jobs are available, how much those jobs pay and how that pay compares with the cost of living. And recent G.D.P. growth has failed to produce exceptional gains in employment, while wages for most workers haven't kept up with inflation.
Works for me. I know this all seems too simple but there is more.

The Chainsaw Massacre Museum, Crawford and the Texas Sun …

Have you read Cheri DelBrocco’s Mad as Hell: 3 Days In Crawford, TX yet. If not, go read it.


It’s only rock and roll …

I saw the Stones when they were here in 1999 at Liberty Bowl Stadium. I saw them thanks to Number One Son (NOS). At that time NOS was working as a rigger/technician for a local lighting company. Understand the situation. When a band (or a solo performer) tours they’ll often bring just their lighting designer, a lighting tech (or two), a highly detailed light plot and key instruments that will be difficult to get on the road. The people needed to do the bulk of the set-up usually are hired from the local unions in each city. NOS and his boss were members of 69, the local stagehand union. They (like many others) got the gig.

About 5 PM the afternoon of the concert, I arrived home from school. My Loving Wife (MLW) had dinner on the table when I walked in. That was odd. She rushed me through dinner, told me (TOLD ME) to change into some comfortable clothes and rushed me out the door. Odder. We got into the pick-up and she drove. Did I have questions? You betcha. She answered none of them though.

I had even more questions when she pulled into the parking lot of the Poplar Lounge. I’ve downed a beer or two in many local “dives” but the Poplar Lounge was not one of them. (We’ll talk about Millers’ Cave and Green’s Lounge another time.) We hopped out of the pick-up. Here come NOS and his boss. NOS is carrying two cold beers (Heinekens). He hands one to me. Then he hands me an envelope. The envelope contains a ticket to the Stones concert. Wow. You cannot image how I felt.

The Stones were great. Of course, they were great. Would you expect any less from “the world’s best rock and roll band”? However, that was (almost) secondary to the fact that NOS had gotten me the ticket. He didn’t have to ask if I wanted to go. He just knew.

You know, this post was supposed be about the Rolling Stones' upcoming Memphis gig. I guess my fingers sort of wandered along the way. So just go read the article.

Change of scene

What’s wrong with this picture? Bush is vacationing in Crawford. He needs a break. So he heads for Idaho to vacation some more. Oh by the way, he will spend two hours with families of soldiers killed in Iraq while he’s there.

“I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake,” he said. “I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States.”

I wonder if any of the family members Bush will meet with advocate the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. You think Bush’s toadies have checked this out. Full story >>


Wendi’s Q & A

Did you read Wendi Thomas’ column today? If you did you should have noticed that it is mainly a series of questions? Did you insert your own answers? Yes, No? Well you should have. My answers are below.

Go. Re-read Wendi’s column and insert your own answers.

So that’s irony.

Run out? Not likely. They’ve been cloning N.J. in the funeral home’s basement for years now.

Then Lord help us.

It does seem that the local GOP is asleep at the wheel. Maybe they’re not a part of the try harder faction.

Why not? The city is strapped for cash. The contest’s winner could be appointed mayor, or dog catcher, or something.

Well it sure didn’t make me feel any better about MLGW.

Damn straight.

Uhhh …

Horribly sad doesn’t cover it.

I could play the “race card” here.

When parents started giving their kids bigger and more expensive “things” as indicators of parental love.

And, that’s a bad thing?

Where? Here in Memphis?

I would have thought so.

The whole meeting? What’s the max number for an entire meeting?

Works for me.

Maybe her meds were kicking in.

I’ll answer that one after I clean up the soda I sprayed out through my nose.

We could just vote him off the island, so to speak. On the other hand, we could call Pat Robertson. Maybe he has some ideas. Tell him Herenton’s undermining democracy in Latin America.

Naahh that wouldn’t help.

Nip it!

“Killing Chavez, who is visiting Cuba, would be cheaper than starting a war, AP cited Robertson as saying.” That’s television evangelist Pat Robertson we're talking about. That's what he told viewers yesterday. Apparently, ‘Ole Pat feels that Chavez (and Venezuela) is a potential problem (quagmire) waiting to happen. Therefore, we nip it in the bud, so to speak.

So what’s gotten ‘Ole Pat’s panties in a wad? There are the U.S. allegations that Venezuela is trying to undermine democracy in Latin America, and they are using their oil to do it. Then there’s the fact that Venezuela sells beaucoup oil to the U.S. and is threatening to dam off the spring. You really didn’t think it wasn’t about the oil did you?

‘Ole Pat is just doing what any conservative, patriotic, good Christian would do? Isn’t he?


Letter from Memphis

Ken Neill is confused. Neill is confused enough to publish another open letter in the Memphis Flyer to Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Friday night Neill attended the University of Memphis Law School Alumni Association's annual awards dinner at which Harold Ford Jr. was the keynote speaker.
I must say, however, that I left the banquet room even more confused than ever as to what exactly your attitude towards the Iraq conflict is today. More importantly -- despite your assertions to the contrary -- I had a hard time finding anything in your remarks suggesting that you have a clear idea of what our government's approach to Iraq should be going forward.

Neill had a lot more to say to HFJ. Read the complete letter >>

Burning what?

No longer working in theatre, I really don’t feel qualified to discuss it anymore but I did have to alert you to this. It could be fun. Or not.

Start me up …

Yesterday at Fenway Park in Boston, the Rolling Stones kicked off the North American leg of their current world tour and are proving once again that they are “the world’s best rock and roll band.” With Mick 62, Keith 61, Charlie 58 and Ron 58 they are also proving that age is no deterrent to playing kick ass rock and roll.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger attended the concert, but it seems he had an agenda different from most of the other attendees.

The Republican governor had a fundraiser planned during the concert, with guests contributing $100,000 apiece invited to watch with Schwarzenegger from a luxury

Gee, I didn't know Arnold was a Stones fan.


Ford on Iraq

“I support this war in Iraq. I supported it from the very beginning for one reason. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. Now, there are those who criticize and quarrel with this, and make the point over and over again that perhaps we shouldn’t have done it the way we’ve done it, and I would agree. But I wouldn’t blame the president, or anybody else for that matter, from waking up on September 12th and wondering aloud what would happen if Saddam Hussein and bin Laden married.

So spoke Harold Ford Jr. Friday night at the University of Memphis Law School Alumni’s annual awards banquet. I think we had all hoped HFJ would not fit into the standard Ford mold. We'd hoped he would be better than that, and in a sense he has been. However, from the beginning there’s been a problem. After hearing him speak you either come away unclear as to where he stands or certain that he doesn’t stand with democrats. Then there is his voting record. I can’t support him.

For the complete story >>

Just back the truck up …

I didn't read the Commercial Appeal this morning. Neither did the wife. So she's reading the CA tonight and mentions that there is an article about a financial consultant who works for the city and county and also owes those bodies nearly $50,000 in back taxes. The article goes on to mention that Mayor Herenton wants to pay this consultant's company $500,000 to conduct an efficiency study.

I also wanted to read the article. So I fire up the computer and guess what? The online article makes no mention of the fact that Herenton wants this consultant's company to conduct a $500,000 efficiency study. His name and the amount isn't even mentioned in the online article. Whasup with that, CA? That's a key part of the story. Why is it not in the online edition?

Check for yourself. Go to County, city fiscal consultant owes tax. Compare the two versions of the article.


a king not a pawn

I know, Cindy Sheehan is presently in California but she'll be back at the Gates of Bush in Crawford as soon as possible. Still wondering why Bush will not meet with her? Buddy Don has an opinion. Buddy Don could be right.

Ratings, maybe?

Jack Cafferty, host of CNN’s "In the Money" to CNN’s Wolff Blitzer:
I watched it for two hours. It's nonsense. It doesn't belong on television. Nobody needs to watch this stuff. All it does is inspire other nut cases out there that may be they can get themselves famous by doing this kind of -- it's terrible and I don't care how many people were watching.

He’s right you know. What was the point of live broadcasting a two-day sentencing hearing? Rader had already confessed. The media played right into his hands. He got all the publicity he could ever want for doing something he enjoyed doing.

For Cafferty’s complete remarks >>


So, about Saturday …

Saturday will definitely go down in Memphis history as the day that Rev. Al Sharpton came to town in support of an effort to rebury a vintage Confederate hero elsewhere.

Those Memphians who welcomed Sharpton – prominently including Rev. LaSimba Grey and the Bailey brothers, Circuit Court Judge D’Army and Shelby County Commissioner Walter – want it to go down also as the day the Confederacy itself began to be reburied in the swamp of historical oblivion.
Sharpton came, he spoke, and then, he bailed. He did promise to return though. There was another rally. No violence there either. The fact that Saturday was peaceful may provide the energy necessary to move Memphis toward real solutions. Then, on to other issues.

For the complete story >>

Just give me some truth

How long has Cindy Sheehan had the Bush ranch in Crawford Texas staked out? The actual time span doesn’t matter as much as what has happened since she’s been there.

So far Dubya and his toadies have done their jobs. Dubya ignored her and sent his toadies to talk to her. Then the smear campaign began. Dubya did make reference to her during a press conference. I guess he figured that was good enough.

Yesterday, Dubya and Laura didn’t even wave as their Texas convoy of SUV’s zoomed by on their way to a fund raising barbeque. And the Bush lackeys do what
they are told. They smear her. They ridicule her. They question her integrity. They make fun of her, calling her names like “cow”. They attempt to divide her family. And they do it while calling themselves imitators of Jesus, who is most famously known as the Prince of Peace.
Just give her some truth.

Flow morphia slow

You may want to mosey on over to Thaddeus Matthews’ place. He has an important announcement coming up on Monday.


Yesterday was Fidel Castro’s 79th birthday and today is Social Security’s 70th. Castro, the leader of one of the last communist countries and Social Security, a government retirement program. Coincidence? I think not. What’s the real story? A vast right wing conspiracy? Or, left wing? Racial maybe? Your call.

For more on El Hefé and Social Security


Saturday, in the park …

Saturday in Memphis promises to be hot, possibly exciting and hopefully, non-violent. The minor dust-up over the names of Confederate, Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest parks has mushroomed from non-issue status into a nationally noticed situation that has the potential to evolve into a dangerous confrontation. How could things have gone this far south so quickly? Well, this is Memphis and it is The South.

Remember how this got started?

County Commissioner Walter Bailey wants Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park renamed because the names offend African American Memphians who feel that the names reflect the pre-Civil War condition of slavery. The Sons of Confederate Veterans and others want the park names to remain as they are because they are reflections of the South’s history. From Mama said there's be days like this ...

Even the players have changed. Read on.

Dr. Dwight Montgomery is president of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference. On Thursday, Dr. Montgomery and the SCLC held a prayer vigil at Christ United Methodist Church petitioning “God to heal the wounds of racism.” The gathering was meant to be an alternative to the rally to be held Saturday sponsored by the Rev. LaSimba Gray and protesting the names of three city parks.
"This is not a political gathering, it's a prayer gathering," said Dr. Dwight Montgomery, local SCLC president. "We're not protesting anybody, but we are protesting the issues that divide and tear down our community." Source

Rev. L. LaSimba Gray Jr., president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Memphis and his group has organized a rally to be held on Saturday protesting the names of three local parks. Protesters want the names of the three parks changed. Former presidential candidate/activist The Rev. Al Sharpton will be there.

"We're looking forward to a peaceful demonstration and rally," said Gray. Source

James Edwards, host of local conservative radio’s Political Cesspool and his listeners have organized and are sponsoring a Southern Vigil as an alternative to Rev. Gray and the Rainbow Push Coalition’s Forrest Park event. The Southern Vigil will be held downtown at Jefferson Davis Park. Also on Saturday.
"Instead of having people running amok, we're having them coming to an organized place so there won't be a confrontation at Forrest Park," Edwards said. Source

Citizens to Save Our Parks, a group organized to preserve the parks and the names, and Sons of Confederate Veterans are asking their members to steer clear of downtown on Saturday. Lee Millar, spokesman for Sons of Confederate Veterans has urged his group to "disregard this outside agitator. We will not dignify his inflammatory meeting with our presence.” Source

And then there’s Mayor Willie Herenton who said he …
... has no interest in either burying or digging up history, argues there are more important issues facing the city. "The fact that Rev. Al Sharpton has been invited to Memphis serves no useful purpose as far as I'm concerned. All Sharpton can do is come and run his mouth. He has no authority to do anything. As mayor, I don't give a damn about Al Sharpton. Someone needs to ask Al Sharpton if he can go to New York and tell Mayor Bloomberg what to do." Source

Herenton also announced that he will seek a fifth term.

Hopefully, the fact that the two planned rallies are being held in different parks will help insure that the citizens of Memphis will indeed be the recipients of a non-violent Saturday.

Really, this was in the CA

HOUMA, La. - A mail carrier got bitten, by a barking man, police said.

Mark D. Plumb, 20, of Butler, Mo., was arrested and charged with simple battery Wednesday after he ran barking from a house and bit the letter carrier on the shoulder, police spokesman Lt. Todd Duplantis said.

Plumb said he bit the carrier as a joke, and has no history of criminal activity or mental illness, police said.

Plumb was released from the Terrebonne Parish jail after posting $165 bond.


Support Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan needs our support. Now unless you been vacationing off-planet for the last week you know the name. She's still in Crawford Texas just outside of "the western Whitehouse." Still waitng to meet with Bush. And still looking for answers.

MoveOn.org is putting out a two-page spread in The Waco Tribune Herald. (That’s the newspaper nearest Crawford. Crawford is too small to have it’s own paper.) They’ll be publishing names and comments from those who support her. This is an opportunity to help her get a meeting with Bush and to let our voices be heard. So saddle up and go sign up. >>

I know, it’s only rock and roll but I like it …

The normally apolitical Rolling Stones have no sympathy for President Bush.

In the refrain of the 13th track on their upcoming album, Mick Jagger belts out the refrain: "How come you're so wrong, my sweet neo-con?"

"You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite," the verse goes. "You call yourself a patriot. Well, I think you are full of s---!

Fans have been buzzing about the tune, with many up in arms over rumors that Virgin Records cut it from the final disk, fearing America's conservative-owned radio networks and big-box chain stores would refuse to play or stock it.

At least the Stones get it. Now if just those pesky neo-cons would. For the full story >>

And then there’s this …

Keith Richards says if the Rolling Stones were a mom-and-pop operation, Mick Jagger would be the "Mum."

"Mick has to get up in the morning with a plan," Richards tells Newsweek magazine in its latest issue. "Who he's going to call, what he's going to eat, where he's going to go. Me, I wake up, praise the Lord, then make sure all the phones are turned off. If we were a mum-and-pop operation, then he'd be Mum."

I had to throw this one in. It’s so Keith. For the full story >>


I missed this one?

The wife and I spent most of the day running around town with Number One Daughter (NOD). While NOD’s been here they’ve been working on various artsy projects to keep busy. Today they needed more materials, so they hit the craft shops. I tagged along. And, I missed it. I mssed it.

So what did I miss? Don Imus called Rumsfeld (and I quote) “a son of a bitch!” And on the air yet! Good on you Don. It’s about time.

To view the video >>


HFS as puppetmaster

Take a look at what Thaddeus Matthews has to say about the recent election.


I just overheard a conversation between Number One Daughter and her husband concerning the War on Terror or whatever the Bush administration is calling the war this week. Like so many Americans, they are both fed up with the way Bush is conducting the war and are losing confidence in him. The son-in-law mentioned that WWI lasted four years and WWII for almost five. Wars are often lengthy. He felt that one option to end it might be to kill a great enough number of the enemy to make those that survive lose confidence in their leaders and give up. The only problem with that is the fact that for the enemy, this is a religious war. In WWI and WWII religion wasn’t a major factor, but Islamic fundamentalism drives this one.

While NOD has been home, I’ve seen a change in her attitude toward the war. During her visit, she has been able to talk to some of our friends who have loved ones who are over there. She was able to talk to Gordon*, our “son” via Instant Messenger who is there now. In addition, her long time friend Peter* just happened to be home on leave. Peter is a medic. He brought home photos that show the real war. These are photos that the media could never make public.

NOD, Peter and Mrs. Cg Posted by Picasa

Interesting, isn’t it? Sometimes events have to become personal in order for our true feelings to emerge.

*Of course these aren’t their real names.

Is it just me …

According to an editorial in yesterday's Commercial Appeal, the city wants to spend $500,000 to figure out how to run city government more efficiently and they don’t want to go through the bid system. This is one of those catch twenty-two thingies, isn’t it?

Herenton wants to hire Public Financial Management to do the study. He’s trying to persuade the city council to go along but doesn’t want to look around to find someone who can do the job just as well as PFM but cheaper. Robert Lipscomb is also pushing PFM.

Then, there is this …

Marlin Mosby, the firm's managing director, is a former finance director for the city.

Given Mosby's close ties to city government, it might be beneficial to hire a different company that could offer a fresh perspective on the way Memphis conducts its business.

It's also a bit curious that PFM officials have estimated that this study could save the city $50 million over five years. Since PFM already has a contract to provide financial advice to the city, company officials shouldn't be holding back any information they have about potential savings.

And, this …

Council members wanted to know why PFM was planning to charge the city $650,000, when the company did a similar study for Shelby County government for only $500,000.

Presto! Now, the asking price for Memphis is $500,000, too.

Oh, just go read it for yourself.

Just when you thought it was safe to drive through Whitehaven again …

It’s August in Memphis. In this town that means four things; it’s hot, school starts, it’s hot and, it's Elvis Death Week.

Like many Memphians, the wife and I are not Elvis fans. We don’t attend the events (not even the annual Dead Elvis Ball held at the P & H), we give Whitehaven a wide berth, and we generally deny that we are even residents of Memphis. That’s typically the drill through Labor Day. Why through Labor Day? Because many of the EDWF (Elvis Death Week Faithful) don’t leave Memphis until way after “the week” is officially over.

Now that you know, act accordingly.

For more info …
Or …


Red alert, red alert

Tennessee is definitely under attack. Not only is the Rev. Al Sharpton (possibly with the Rev. Jesse Jackson as his wingman) coming to Memphis this weekend, but also antifeminist Phyllis Schlafly will be in Nashville starring in Justice Sunday II: the Sequel.

Okay, I give up

I tried to find this on the Commercial Appeal’s website but couldn’t. Where do they hide this stuff? Anyway, below is a direct quote from today’s Sweet Note, Sour Note section of the CA.

Were all of you washing your hair that day?

On the flip side, a sour note goes out to a group of folks who voluntarily benched themselves. To all the eligible citizens who didn’t vote in Thursday’s special election, we can only shake our heads in wonder.

The winner of the state Senate District 29 race will replace John Ford, who was in office for 30 years before resigning following his indictment in the Tennessee Waltz

If finding a capable replacement for him isn’t motivation enough to get you to the polls, what would it take?

Last Thursday’s turn out was pathetic. Many of us hoped that this special election was the beginning of the end of “business as usual” in local politics. Maybe we have to hit bottom before folks are sufficiently motivated.


Now for some good news …

Tonight the Executive Committee of the Shelby County Democratic Party met to elect officers.

And, the winners are:

1st Vice President-Cherry Davis
2nd Vice President-Desi Franklin
3rd Vice President-David Holt
Treasurer-David Robinson
Assistant Treasurer-Harold Smith
Secretary-Norma Lester
Assistant Secretary-Pat Primrose
Sergeant-at-Arms-John Bratcher
1st at Large-Nate Jackson
2nd at Large-Randi Spears
3rd at Large-Ruth Davis
4th at Large-Howard Richardson
5th at Large-Boris Combest


What were the voters of Distrist 29 smoking?

Ophelia Ford won a narrow 20-vote victory in Tuesday's Democratic primary, moving one step closer to taking the state Senate seat her brother John Ford held for 31 years.

For the full story

Another empty chair ...

From the WMCTV website:

Blues legend Milton Campbell dies
Aug 4, 2005, 05:03 PM

Mississippi bluesman Little Milton Campbell died in a Memphis hospital
from complications of a stroke.

His publicist Carrie Newton confirmed the 71-year-old musician died Thursday morning. No other details were released.

Campbell suffered a stroke on July 27th.

The Inverness native had been scheduled to perform August 11th at Clarksdale's Ground Zero Blues Club for the blues documentary "Native Sons," but that performance was canceled.

Campbell's last appearance in Jackson was at The Allman Brothers Band concert in May.

His hit record "We're Gonna Make It" and his 1978 vintage black jacket were on display in Clarksdale last year as part of a "Sweet Home Chicago" exhibit at the Delta Blues Museum.

Funeral services are pending.

Campbell was survived by his wife, Patricia, and several children.


Ophelia, Ophelia. Just what have you been smoking?

"I believe in carrying on family traditions," the 55-year-old Ford said of her bid for the state Dist. 29 Senate seat. "I've been waiting for a seat to run for ... Our community wants to see another Ford represent that area."

Just what family traditions is she referring to; the arrogance, the hostility, the indifference or the bribe-taking? Full story >>

Don’t you just love this town?

Now let’s see if I have this right. County Commissioner Walter Bailey wants Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park renamed because the names offend African-American Memphians who feel that the names reflect the pre-Civil War condition of slavery. The Sons of Confederate Veterans and others want the park names to remain as they are because they are reflections of the South’s history. Many different solutions have come from Memphis residents. Then the city government gets involved in the dust-up. The Memphis City Council weighs in on the issue. Then the Memphis City Council finds that it does not have the authority to do anything.

Earlier today Mayor Willie (the buck stops here) Herenton holds a press conference to announce that he’s passing two-thirds of the buck on to the Riverfront Development Corporation and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Then Councilman Edmund Ford reminds us all that he is named after a couple of white men. And, it is now official; the Rev. Al Sharpton is inbound, while the Rev. Jesse Jackson is being contacted and is on ramp alert. Yes P.T., we have a circus.

Meanwhile, a local minister (the Rev. L. LaSimba Gray) announced Tuesday that civil rights activist Al Sharpton is planning a trip to Memphis for an Aug. 13 rally and march to protest the names and symbols of the three Downtown parks.

Jesse Jackson also has been invited and Gray will travel to Atlanta this weekend seeking support from civil rights leaders there.

For the complete story on the Mayor’s press conference
For the full Commercial Appeal article


This just in …

Remember the current dust-up over the three Memphis city parks?

WMCTV News just reported that there's a new player weighing-in. It’s the Rev. Al Sharpton. I checked the website but there wasn't addition information.

Does that mean that Rev. Al is actually coming to Memphis?

He said what?

Pulled this out of today’s email. It’s another reminder of just how brilliant our fearless leader really is.


President Bush, who graduated from Yale and the Harvard Graduate Business School, explains his Social Security Reform Proposal...

WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: I don't really understand. How is it the new (Social Security) plan going to fix the problem?

This was his verbatim response:

PRESIDENT BUSH: "Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to that has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the --like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."

From the email

This one’s from NBC News’ First Read for Monday August 1.

Just about everyone in politics has past or present reasons to be leery of August:

August is when the Crawford ranch becomes the "Western White House," and the base camp for many short trips by President Bush, in an effort to refute the image of a vacationing commander in chief. Bush leaves for Crawford tomorrow, sending John Bolton to the UN via a recess appointment before he goes (more on that below). Bush said in his Saturday radio address that he plans to visit seven states in August to talk about the economy and shrinking unemployment rate and deficit.

August is when gas prices tend to go up (and on top of that, the death of King Fahd may roil oil markets today, NBC's Bob Windrem notes). High gas prices are dragging on public opinion about the economy, even though many other measures show that things are humming along. The bipartisan polling team of Glen Bolger (R) and Stan Greenberg (D) recently conducted a survey for NPR to get at why Bush isn't getting credit for, as Bolger says, "a pretty darn strong economy." The folks at Greenberg suggest in a memo that "rising health care and gas costs" are reasons why "Republican statements about economic progress get a poor hearing."

August is when members of Congress head home to face constituents. This year, they do so with some of their lowest job approval ratings since the tsunami election of 1994. Republicans can tout their "earmarks" -- i.e., pork -- in the highway bill, but the energy bill doesn't address current gas prices. Democrats continue to
push their negative message about ethics and Social Security.

For the current First Read


The R.A.C.E. card

I debated whether to weigh in on yeasterday’s Commercial Appeal articles concerning R.A.C.E. I had decided that because I have been reporting on Zoning Board and Land Use Control Board meetings that dealt with the issue, I’d let this slide for the moment. Then I received the following email. This isn't really "weighing in" but it is important.
Yesterday the Commercial Appeal ran several articles regarding R.A.C.E.'s efforts to build and operate a radioactive waste incinerator in Memphis.

To say their approach was neutral would be a stretch. They seemingly are in support of Memphis becoming a leading importer of radioactively contaminated waste from many sources including nuclear reactors.

This is outrageous and could have long-term consequences that adversely affect the health of our citizens as well as our ability attract other businesses to our city.

Please write a letter to the editor of the Commercial Appeal and make your voice heard.

The Commercial Appeal accepts letters to the editor via e-mail addressed to letters@commercialappeal.com

Robert Applebaum - the co-chairman or RACE stated that "You run a much greater risk of being struck by lightning than of being harmed by a radiation accident." True, but does that mean you need to walk around with a lightning rod in your hand.

He also states that "no citizen" has been harmed from similar operations in Oak Ridge, TN. But can he calculate the value of the opportunities lost. Memphis is in the process of becoming a top tier city and an active radioactive waste incinerator is not ever listed among the features being sought by businesses as they inquire about relocating their corporate home to Memphis.

He also goes on to state that "In the unlikely event of an accidental release of radioactive material, however, RACE could quickly contain and clean up the problem at no risk to citizens." What an imagination - How do you suppose they would "quickly contain and clean up" radioactively contaminated ash that is blowing in the wind or floating down our river. Please let's get serious and put an end to this threat to our future livelyhood as a growing, progressive, healthy, city.

Memphis Truth

And just in case you didn’t read Sunday’s Commercial Appeal articles on the R.A.C.E. controversy