Tuesday, May 22, 2007


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

OK, what the hell is this?

On the amendment that would have set a timetable for the withdrawal of our soldiers from Iraq, there were 59 Democratic traitors that caused the amendment to fail.

Look, 60% of the American people want us out of there. TODAY. I can almost forgive Lincoln Davis, because he's in a GOP-leaning (hell, it's fallen over!) district.

But John Tanner? He is in one of the SAFEST districts there is, the last refuge of the rural Democrat on this side of the Mississippi. He has NO excuse. Hell, Marion Berry in AR-01, who has a MORE GOP-leaning district than Tanner (yes, I know he has the Delta, but have you been to Jonesboro lately? OY.)


Oh Mickey you are so fine!

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this story.

The short of it: Hamas tried to use a Mickey Mouse identical looking cartoon to promote anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda to their children…

All judgment aside, I just wonder one thing: Where is the logic in promoting Anti-American message by plagiarizing an American Icon --Mickey Mouse, no less--?

I mean, isn’t that somewhat inherently self-defeating and oxymoronic?

Surely they must have someone semi-creative enough to create a more, uh, let’s say “culturally appropriate” cartoon to fit the message, wouldn’t ya think?

Seriously, Hamas's got some firings to do in their marketing department…

Monday, May 7, 2007

Abdullah Watch

It's time for a new tradition here at MLB, we like to call it Abdullah Watch. Why? Mostly because Halimah Abdullah is doing it again. In the last election, she constantly attacked one candidate and fawned over certain other candidates. I don't need to name names, but suffice to say, she is back at it again.

Click on the title and follow the link to her wonderful story on why Willie Herenton will be reelected. She cites experts. While technically she is correct, she has two, come on, one is Susan Adler Thorp, who isn't exactly impartial and doesn't refer to anything specific saying, "A day in politics is like a light year. Today's news has a way of fading into the background five or six months from now" That's IT!?!?!?! You cite an expert and get something that noncommittal from her?

At least her second expert, Marcus Pohlmann, a Rhodes professor, has two quotes. One says Herenton won't he hurt by MLGW, people will forget about it. The other says that if people don't, Herman Morris could be just as hurt as Herenton. Huh??

Halimah, Halimah, Halimah, this isn't the one issue that will cause Herenton to lose, rather it will be the straw that broke the camel's back. MLGW is just a microcosm of Herenton's mismanagement. Joseph Lee was hired while grossly unqualified. The budget battles. Annexation. Arrogance. Failure to improve Memphis Schools as mayor. CRIME?? Heck, I know people that are going to take the county library situation out on him.

Herenton will only win if the race adds two more strong candidates, of if Jack Sammons gets in. If it stays like it is now, or any strong candidate other than Sammons gets in, he loses. There is a strong toss out the bums movement. I have heard estimates of anywhere between 4-8 new city council members. This will spur Herenton's defeat

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Temporary Stay For Workman

It's not the best news we could have hoped for, but I'll take it.

A judge has issued a restraining order against Governor Bredesen, forbidding the execution of Philip Workman until after a hearing on May 14.

WPTY has the restraining order here.

Stranger Than Fiction: The People vs. Philip Workman

All right, let’s say you’re writing one of those TV shows about forensic investigations. For the sake of conversation, we’ll call it “CSI: Memphis”.

The draft that you hand in has a shooting victim’s entrance wound larger than his exit wound. The producer is going to hand it back to you and say “That’s not very realistic.” If you insist that it is, he’ll then hand the script off to the technical consultants on the show, who will hand it back to you and say “It doesn’t work that way. Please learn something about gunshot wounds before attempting to write again.”

But here in Tennessee, where the stakes are far greater than poorly written TV, we’re expected to believe that.



A certain person who shall remain nameless has been trying to drum up support for Jeannie Richardson in the District 89 Democratic Primary by telling anyone who sits still for too long that Congressman Steve Cohen didn't even want Kevin Gallagher running for office.

A stroll down Cohen's street shows you just how much the word of this individual can be trusted. These are pictures of Congressman Cohen's house.

The people of District 89 deserve better than this. The choice of who represents them in the House of Representatives should be based on facts and issues--- Not on the false word of a bullshit artist.

This particular person has motives that have absolutely nothing to do with getting the best representation for District 89. He's simply trying to remain relevant within the Democratic Party--- He decided decades ago that the best thing he could do is hitch up to the Ford Family train, and I suppose it never occurred to him that it might derail at some point. Now, he's like a shipwreck survivor--- Just looking for something to hang onto so he can keep his head above water.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Keith Norman did the right thing tonight.

The new chair of the SCDP, Keith Norman, handled a tricky situation properly tonight.

At the April meeting, he pushed back a motion to expel Richard Fields from the ExecCom to tonight, to allow each member the opportunity to review the indicting materials. Tonight, he allowed the charging member, Jennings Bernard, to make a one minute summation of the charges and establish his intent, and he allowed Richard Fields one minute to rebut, then he allowed the ExecCom members to ask questions of each.

Afterward, he revealed that he and the SCDP parliamentarian (sorry, don't know his name) had done their homework. After reviewing the SCDP bylaws AND contacting the TDP in Nashville, he noted that the time to have done something to remove Fields was at the Convention, by defeating him. Norman pointed out that the "crimes" Fields committed occurred when he was NOT a member of the ExecCom and thus, not eligible for action by the new ExecCom, and refused to allow a vote.

MORE after the JUMP!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A C For Tennessee?

Bredesen will leave office in a couple years, and we'll have an open seat race for Governor. The Republicans are already having some stirring about Bill Frist and Marsha Blackburn. From the Democrats, I hear a little mumbling about Lincoln Davis, but not a whole lot. An interesting idea. What about A C Wharton?


Hilarity Awaits

Oh boy! I can't wait!

Your Daily Fly

So much bloggy goodness today. Just start at the top and scroll away.

The President's Chaos Theory

Every once in a while, you read one of those quotes that makes you wonder “Does he have any earthly idea what he just said?” If you listen very closely, you can hear Jon Stewart saying “Whuuuuuu?” already.

"It didn't make any sense to impose the will of politicians over the recommendations of our military commanders in the field." says President George W. Bush, the guy who has never found a commander in the field that he was willing to listen to. The guy who fired General Jay Garner. The guy who forced Anthony Zinni and Eric Shinseki into retirement. The president who keeps going through generals until he finds one who agrees with him (A difficult thing, since George W. Bush knows as much about reality on the ground in wartime as I know about supercolliding superconductors) listens to no one unless he finds someone delusional enough to say “Things are going great”, “We’re going to win”, and “I believe it’s perfectly ethical for your friends to profiteer off of the war effort. Do any of your donors make coffins and body bags?”.

Last night, he vetoed legislating an end to the fiasco he started. A fiasco that, according to him, was a “Mission Accomplished” four years ago. He announced it with a very flashy costume party aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (It’s long been a theory of mine that rightwing pundits compare him to Abraham Lincoln only so a Google search on “Bush + Abraham Lincoln” didn’t turn up a picture of him under the “Mission Accomplished” banner).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

And you think we have problems

As this is my home blog, I am the only one going to posting full length most of the time, everyone else is going to cross post. I want you all to click on the title and follow the link and then come back and give your comments.

I just want to know how dead Bredesen would be if he tried the same crap (trying to be family friendly) the governor of Missouri pulled. Can you imagine the response if Arkansas offered to make the New Bridge 8 lanes for free and he turned it down?

Read and react.

The Devil Made Me Do It

Really, he had this long hot pointy thing and he said "do it or I'll stick you." So I did.

Dead horses

Yours truly, Bob has been busy again, beating dead horses in River of Dreams, which follows on from Decisions, decisions. The trouble is, some horses won't stay dead. They just bide their time until they can rise again.