Friday, January 4, 2008

The opening round goes to Obama and the Huckster

Crossposted from LWC....

My, my, my. Obama's people had predicted over 200,ooo Iowans would caucus on the Democratic side, when I couldn't remember there ever being more than 125,000. I thought either they were blowing smoke up our collective arses, or they had a great organization in the Hawkeye State.


Pick the latter, folks. There were over 218,000 who caucused Democratically on Thursday night, and the junior Senator from neighboring Illinois pulled 37.58% of them, topping John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, in that order. Mighty well done, sir, mighty well done.

I was at Drinking Liberally at Dish on the hippest corner in town, Cooper and Young, where our pal Vibinc rocked the house with his live-blogging of the current state of affairs in each party.

As for the Goopers, Mike Huckabee, after only being in the state three months and having been out-spent by Mitt Romney, who I believe had been in Iowa over a year, thoroughly tromped on the former Massachusetts Governor, 34% to 25%. Fred Thompson, rumored to be dropping out, limped in just ahead of the man he is rumored to be endorsing after said departure, John McCain.

Oh, by the way, our Blog-Ruler Kos noted the following tonight:

There were approximately 356,000 Iowans turning out from BOTH parties. Here's how the top four candidates fared when grouped together:

Obama 24.5%
Edwards 20.5%
Clinton 19.8%
Huckabee 11.4%

So much for Iowa being a Republican state!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Pharisees

Around the time Margo and I started dating, her mother found out she had cancer. She had surgery and radiation treatment over the next several years. She still has to go to the doctor to deal with some of the lingering side effects of the radiation and whatnot, but she’s been cancer free for seven or eight years now. She was lucky. They had health insurance. She was a stay at home mom, and her husband worked in a G.E. factory for 35 years. It’s a running semi-joke in the house that she’s not allowed to get sick again because there’s a lifetime maximum on how much the insurance will pay out. It’s not entirely a joke, however, the factory started shipping out more and more jobs to China. He figured his job would be gone any day, so he took the early retirement offer and the cut in pension that led to so he could be sure and keep his health insurance. They were lucky.

He started work at the factory soon after high school and kept that job his whole life. Those sorts of jobs aren’t really around much anymore. That’s why his sister works at Walmart. That’s why her children work at Wal-mart and Rent-to-Own. These sorts of jobs pay half as much, they don’t include benefits, and they won’t let you work full time. They’re also just about the only jobs left in Selmer. What if he had been born a bit later, and ended up working at Wal-mart out of high school instead of G.E.? Without insurance would she have gone in to the doctor early enough to catch the cancer before it was too late? What would have happened to them when the costs for the surgeries and radiation and checkups mounted? What would have happened to them when she fell down and broke her leg in three places last night because the radiation weakened her bones?

They were lucky. They have health insurance. I know others who aren’t. I know people who let their Diabetes go mostly untreated because they can’t afford care. I know people who’ve gone bankrupt because they got cancer. There is something wrong with someone working a 40 hour week for years and years and losing it all because of a disease they can’t control. There’s something wrong with a country whose biggest “moral issue” is who people have sex with in their own homes when people are sick and uncared for, when people are homeless and unsheltered, when people are hungry and not fed. I wonder which issues Jesus spent his time talking about? Certain pastors who are up in arms about a bill to increase funding for “hate crimes” should stop and think about their congregations. They should stop to think about their city. Are more people suffering in this city because of lack of healthcare or because someone wants to prevent hate crimes? Are more people suffering because of poverty or because we happen to have a white guy in Congress? Far be it for me to tell pastors a damn thing about religion, but it seems to me someone might have their priorities a little mixed up. The God I pray to is a God of love and caring for those less fortunate, not a God of politics and condemnation and self-righteousness. But what does this sinner know?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Seven Days in July

The Mayor doesn't want to run again. He's weary and burnt-out. His initiatives these days are half-baked and tend to fail. In his previous terms, he sold his soul to the developers, but now knows that was a mistake. The City is on the verge of bankruptcy, and the books are so screwed up no one really knows how bad it might be. He knows his support has waned. Only the cult of personality remains solidly in his camp, yet that is still enough to get him re-elected.

Continue reading...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Journalism gospel

Narrative always drives, and the facts ride shotgun.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Let's talk about the process

For all the people who are happy about Jeanne Richardson's victory in the District 89 Democratic Primary, there are those equally saddened, and worn down, by Kevin Gallagher's defeat.

We need to move forward. Jeanne won because she has been around for a long time and people knew her, agreed with her positions, and felt she was better suited for the job, and I can easily support her in the general election.

However, this process, especially in Democratic Primaries, wears people down and creates intramural warfare. On the one hand, as my Godfather notes, it shows who is the best vote-getter and who knows how to win elections. True that, but we have to devise a better way to run elections so that one does not feel beaten down afterwards and one can celebrate, regardless of the outcome.

Politics in this day and age has come down to money, organization, money, message, money, and, did I mention money? No, I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, it has been that way for a long time. Unfortunately, there are some within the Democratic community who say that it is this way, it SHOULD be this way, and want to keep it that way.

More after the JUMP!

Hanging Up the Bribery Pants

My apathy has been flaring up the past couple of days. I’m not sure of the origin of this flare up, but I just can’t seem to get enough of the 24hr fear cycle, or re-runs of Scrubs.

One thing of note, HB1874 that would exclude people convicted of bribery or other “infamous” crimes from running for office was signed into law on the 1st. You can read the final draft here. Guess it’s time to hang up those bribery pants guys…or at least be more selective on where you wear them.

The Special Primary Election came and went with a whimper. Some people were surprised, some weren’t. Some are probably peeing themselves with glee that their “significance” has been validated or something. I don’t really know any of those people, but I have a suggestion for them.

It’s starting to get hot, and the mimosa tree in my backyard is spewing pink crap all over the place like the aftermath of a South Padre Island Spring Break party (Tequila Rose…ewwwwww).

Maybe I’ll go watch Tweety, I need a good hour of Scooter Libby apologists explaining why he should be pardoned, and hell, I haven’t got my fill of fear for the day.

It’s Happy Hour folks! Drink up!

P.S. Hey bruce, you can blink now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

DO NOT BLINK

Since the House and Senate changed hands back in January, there has been some mounting tension between the legislative and executive branches of government. The Democratic “majority” has called people in to testify, passed rules that restrict Abramoffist lobbying tactics and probably some other things that I just can’t remember now.

One of the most satisfying things has to be the Gonzo hearings. Seriously, aside from the fact that the guy looks like a muppet, I have never seen more entertaining television that watching that little guy squirm in his pee stained pants and “not recall” anything.

Yeah, a lot about the past 4 months has been very satisfying. I wouldn’t trade it for anything but perhaps a Senate minus both Lieberman and McConnell, my most favorite douchebag Senators. But something’s happening. We’ve pushed, and pushed and now they’re pushing back. What will we do?


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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Living With MS" Blog Relaunched

Sometimes, good things happen and I don't notice them immediately.

Several months back, all of us on the Memphis scene were sad to note that a lady who had been great to all of us had quit blogging when Blinders Off felt that she was unable to continue her "Living With MS" blog. Those of us that have had to see Multiple Sclerosis in action certainly understood, though.

Well I'm glad to point out to anyone that has had their head up their own arse similarly to mine that she has indeed now relaunched as of two weeks ago today.

We're glad to have your voice back on the scene, Blinders!

Blowback ‘Mountin’

I’m no big fan of Ron Paul, or his isolationist foreign policy ideals, but Representative Paul spouts some truth here, particularly around 3:30 where he starts talking about “blowback”.




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Friday, May 18, 2007

$21 per Week

I’ve been fortunate in my life. I’ve never had to go on food stamps. So I had no idea just how low the average weekly allowance in food stamps actually is until I saw this Liberadio piece via Volunteer Voters (This piece actually began its life as a comment at VV, but I got frustrated and put it here when the VV page refreshed, wiping out everything I'd written)

$21 per week. That shakes out to $3 per day, averaging a dollar per meal.

Now, I can already hear the voices from the right chiming in to tell me how wrong I am to want an increase. Read the rest of this before you do, though.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP

The Gallagher Crime Plan

I didn't realize it, but Kevin Gallagher demonstrated yesterday why I love it when candidates blog, particularly local candidates. He unveiled the Gallagher Crime Plan, and I think it's a particularly interesting one.

I would recommend everyone go check it out.

UPDATE: My friend and brother Vibinc pointed out to me that the Gallagher Crime Plan is also available on Gallagher's official campaign site:

PDF
http://www.votekevingallagher.com/5pointplan.pdf
Page
http://www.votekevingallagher.com/crime.html

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Keith Olbermann Accepts the First Annual Ivins Award

And although he is sadly not on the video, the Memphis Flyer's publisher Ken Neill presented it to him.

Enjoy.

UPDATE: Pesky Fly has Ken Neill's speech transcribed here.

Straight Outta Fordville.

So it's come to my attention that there are some upset voters in District 89.

Jeanne Richardson signs are popping up all over the district. The problem is that not everyone who now has a Richardson sign in the front yard is someone that actually requested one.

For anyone that's familiar with Memphis politics at all, you'll recognize the tactic. People involved with the Ford campaigns (And as I've pointed out before, there is definitely some overlap) have a tendency to do that. I've seen it firsthand myself--- I went to a Ford event, came out, and found his bumper sticker stuck to my car.

MORE...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No Reserved Seating

One of the most frustrating things that we had to deal with as a campaign during the Congressional election was that we were constantly hearing that the TN-09 House seat should be held by an African - American. The argument was that Congressman Cohen didn't even deserve to run for the seat because he didn't match the skin color (and in some cases it was religion) of a large group of people that he would be representing.

We had a great group of people standing with us, helping us overcome those ideas. And, in the 5 months that the Congressman has been in office, I would think the majority of people would agree that the TN 9th Congressional District has been very well represented by the white man from Midtown.

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OK, this is really embarrassing

As you know, your faithful Cracker stood up for Senator Ophelia Ford during her travails with her original election, where she won by 13 votes. I am all too familiar with GOP attempts to disenfranchise minorities by whining "voter fraud", so I backed her efforts to stay in the Senate.

However, last year, I openly supported my friend Steve Haley when he tried to unseat her in the primary. When she won, I supported her as the Democratic nominee.

As you are aware, she has been absent most of this session, she says it's anemia, others have been less charitable. However, she made an appearance yesterday at a subcommittee meeting of the House-Senate Government Operations Committee in which she asked questions that did not appear to be related to the task at hand, oversight of the Department of Children's Services. The local fishwrap has a story and transcript here.

More after the jump......

Ethics Reform in TN

Last week the TN ledge sent HB1874/SB1264 to the Governor for a signature. The bill specifically prohibits any person convicted of a felony in their capacity as an elected official from running for office. I call it the John Ford Bill.

Since the whole Tennessee Waltz thing hit, and the Ed Ford/Rickey Peete thing landed, I’ve often wondered why the hell anyone would trust a person convicted of BRIBERY with a public office. Peete still got elected, AFTER his conviction several years ago. I don’t get it. This law, if signed, removes the possibility of the voter being more stupid than normal.

Another bill, HB1757/SB0518 sponsored by my Rep in the House (DeBerry – 90) was sent to the Governor earlier last week would authorize Shelby County to “bring its administrative and legislative offices and employees within the scope of regulation by the Tennessee ethics commission, as if such officials were state officials” if we’ll foot the bill for the additional oversight cost. Why the hell wasn’t this already the case? Does the state not have supremacy over the county and city? Another no brainer.


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But... But... Who Will Protect Our Children From Gay Teletubbies Now???

As you no doubt have heard, Jerry Falwell died yesterday.

I come to bury the idiot, not to praise him.

Throughout his life, he had an unblemished record for being on the absolute wrong side of any given issue. Any time he was given half a chance, he would preach that Jesus wants you to "love they neighbor"--- At least as long as it was the neighbor in the next pew.

“If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's word and had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision [Brown v. Board of Education] would never have been made…. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.”

That stance should hardly have been a surprise. We're still talking about the man who regularly featured Lester Maddox and George Wallace on his "Old-Time Gospel Hour" to spread their "Christian message. He's the same guy that constantly referred to the Civil Rights Movement as the "Civil Wrongs Movement" (Clever one he was, eh?).

In his 1965 sermon called "Ministers and Marches", he admonished Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Farmer for supporting communism (Which, in that day as now, was fatass white guy-speak for equal rights) before adding "Preachers are not called to be politicians, but to be soul winners."

Of course, that was a few years before he said "In recent months, God has been calling me to do more than just preach--He has called me to take action. I have a divine mandate to go right into the halls of Congress and fight for laws that will save America."

In other words--- Ministers getting involved in the fight against subjugation of black people = BAD. Ministers helping rightwing politicians get elected = GOOD. Got it.

Lest anyone think he left racism behind once the Civil Rights Act became law, he travelled to South Africa to support the Botha (Apartheid) regime, and came back encouraging white Christians to purchase Krugerrands to bolster South Africa's failing government, called Nelson Mandela "pro-terrorist", and decided that he, a white American, knew what was in the interest of black South Africans better than the black South Africans did by declaring Archbishop Desmond Tutu a "phony" who "misrepresented the black people of South Africa".

Because, you know, a supporter of Lester Maddox and George Wallace has the best interests of black people at heart.

After his contributions dropped off by $500,000 in the two weeks following the South Africa debacle, he decided to steer clear of race politics for a new obsession---

Butt sex.

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And I Didn't Even Know She Was Running For a Federal Office!

This is a mailer that was just sent out by the Jeanne Richardson campaign. If you're looking at the headline and having one of those Jon Stewart "Whuuuuuuuuu?" moments, I assure you--- You're not the only one.

For while I don't think you could find many Democrats that would disagree with the notion that Bush's War is Horrible (Perhaps Harold Ford Jr, but it depends what day of the week you ask him), you're left with one problem at the end of the day---

Tennessee's House of Representatives has about as much pull regarding Iraq as Paris Hilton would in a school for the gifted.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

The DLC's "Conversation With America"

The Democratic Leadership Council, the group just barely keeping the "blue" in "blue dog", has announced that it will hold their "National Conversation" in Nashville this July.

DLC founder Al From, Governor Phil Bredesen, and current DLC Chairman Harold Ford Jr. announced today that the event will be held July 28-30 at Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Announcing the event at the Gaylord marks the first time Harold Ford Jr. has used the word "gay" without spewing out a right wing talking point or issuing a denial of some sort.

Among the seminars we can expect at the DLC conference are "Getting Our Asses Kicked In 2002 Wasn't So Bad", "Fox News Still Loves Us", "Exxon's Money Spends Too", "How To Spin Your Continued Support of the War In Iraq", "Learning To Love Alito", and last but not least, the longtime DLC favorite "I'm Not a Republican, But I Play One on TV".

Now, I don't mean to go off on a rant here--- Wait--- Yes I do.

MORE...

Mythbusting II


A while back, I ran a piece clearing up some of the myths that are being spread around in the District 89 Tennessee House race, and who Congressman Steve Cohen is supporting in it. One of the most pervasive myths at that time was that Congressman Cohen, for some reason, didn't feel that his former campaign manager Kevin Gallagher deserved the seat.

The sign that he requested be put in the front yard of his house tells a different story.

Jackson Baker of The Memphis Flyer spoke to Cohen over the weekend, and has
written about it here.

They talk the talk, can they walk the walk?

Thaddeus Matthews has touted the new Memphis Democratic Club as a force which will supposedly crush the SCDP, raise more money, and elect "qualified' Democrats to office.

This is made up primarily of folks who supported Jay Bailey over Keith Norman for SCDP Chair. Thaddeus announced that they are starting their own PAC, just like the Germantown Club, that they have lined us buses and vans to take people to the polls for elections, and will elect lots of Democrats.

No problem, who DOESN'T want to see Democrats elected?

MORE AFTER THE JUMP!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Make your world beautiful and annoy Republicans all at the same time

I'm finally through talking to and about Mick Wright concerning Glenn Beck, who nobody watches. This is my final word on Mick and his mancrush. And some pictures of my yard, which is soon to be gorgeous.

District 89 Early Voting Problems

The Democratic candidates in the District 89 primary went down to the Shelby County Election Commission this morning to vote for themselves first thing this morning, and by all accounts… Both walked away quite disappointed.

These kinds of mistakes would be understandable, though still bad, if they were made by the poll workers drafted into action every Election Day.

But they weren’t. These were full time Shelby County Election Commission Employees.

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