Saturday, June 25, 2005

Supersizing the Debate

It begins way back in 2004 with this post of mine about Morgan Spurlock's film Super Size Me. A lot of folks praised the movie as cautionary and great, but I thought it merely a stunt that set about to selectively prove its own hypothesis. I linked to a story in the Denver Post by Al Lewis (the link has since expired) who wrote about a woman, a teacher if I recall correctly, who had set out to prove you could also lose weight by eating at McDonald's if you ate carefully and healthfully. She lost 7 pounds during her month of MickyD.

The teacher's movie disappeared and Spurlock went on to great acclaim and his own television series. Memphis own Dr. Abby recently wrote about an episode where Spurlock set out to prove you couldn't get by on minimum wage. As this Blogcritics post shows, Spurlock again fudged the facts to prove his hypothesis.

I chided Dr. Abby gently in her comments and gave her links to show how deceptive Spurlock was. Her response rather surprised me:
Maybe I’m more compassionate about this because I DO work with many people stuck in minimum-wage jobs, and I also read Morgan’s blog for a while, and he seems to have his heart in the right place. ... [B]ut my desire to have the points that he makes made is so overwhelming that I’m willing to forgive minor details such as the ones mentioned.
Now first, let me say I like Abby a lot and respect her intelligence and passion. I just disagree with a point here, and she happens to be the one who made it. Nothing personal in this at all. OK?

I read this as "It's OK to lie, misrepresent or sensationalise if it serves a purpose." I have great problems with that point of view. Who decides the purpose? Who draws the line where the lie is too great or the sensationalising is too much? Who decides which intent is the greater good, or if it is even good? If the person doing the lying or sensationalising is profiting handsomely in the doing, should that be considered as a factor?

What bothered me initially with Spurlock's movie (I don't call it a documentary, since propagandising is the core of the movie.) is that he sets blame for America's weight problem with the fast food companies. But they only sell what people want. If people didn't want to eat what they served, we'd see McTofu or Salad King. The "problem" is with people.

That's what the teacher in the Post story and this woman, in another effort to show that McDonald's greasy, fatty options aren't the trouble are doing. The "fault" is with consumers, with people.

Business sells what people want. You don't see many buggy whip and corset stores, do you? Of course not. The trick, if you will, is to raise our children, and to have our schools teach out children, to be skeptical, to be rational and to doubt. We used to do that. Not well, but better than today. That's part of what bugged me about Dr. Abby's comment, that it was preferring the emotional over the rational. That's never a formula for successful results.

Just ask anyone who's faced an angry mob demanding "justice."

On the other hand, a skeptical people can't be manipulated by advertising and our economy suffers as a result. The fast food and grocery store meal industries would collapse, as would fashion, clothing, and a hundred others. We'd be a much less spectacular people and culture.

But we'd be healthier in a dozen different ways.

So what finally got me to post this was another Blogcritics post that talks about another woman repeating the "healthy eating at McDonald's" experiment. She also lost weight and improved her cholesterol! But read down into the comments and you'll see motives, methodology and supporters questioned in a way Spurlock never faced. She's doing just what he did, for similar reasons, but somehow she's a bad deceptive person where Spurlock wasn't.

Spurlock fits into the zeitgeist of today: alienation, dependency, fearfulness, powerlessness and lack of responsibility. His work serves a greater interest, just not the one most people think and certainly not one that's good for you. Supersized or not.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Photo of the Day

Via Steve's Nude Memphis Blog comes this great photo. It's work safe. It's not what you're thinking. Go ahead and click.
You Might be a Redneck Jedi If....

Via Maksim-Smelchak's blog this comes. Slightly edited.

1. Your Jedi robe is camouflage.

2. You have used your light saber to open and cook a can of pork and beans.

3. You think the best use of your light saber is picking your teeth.

4. At least one wing of your X-Wing fighter is primer-colored.

5. There is a blaster rack in the back of your landspeeder.

6. You have bantha horns on the front of your landspeeder.

7. You can easily describe the taste of Ewok.

8. You can find no grammatical errors in the way Yoda talks.

10. A peaceful meditation session is one without gas.

11. You can levitate yourself using a force from within, but not The Force.

12. Your master has said, ''My finger you will pull... hmmm?''

13. You have had an X-wing up on blocks in your yard.

14. You have lost a hand during a light-saber fight because you had to spit.

15. The worst part of spending time on Dagoba is the dad-gum skeeters.

16. Wookies are offended by your B.O.

17. You have used The Force to get yourself another beer so you didn't have to wait for a commercial.

18. You have used The Force in conjunction with fishing or bowling.

19. You have used a light saber to clean fish or open a bottle of beer.

20. You've had your R-2 unit use its self-defense electro-shock thingy to light a bar-b-que.

21. Your father told you, ''Shoot, son, come on over t' the dark side... it'll be a hoot.''
Thank you. Thank you verra much.
Thought for the Day

We all know of, or have done ourselves, the old prayer to God in extremis. "God, if you'll get me out of this jam, I promise to do good for the rest of my life." Something magical happens and they are freed from difficult or terrible consequences They may or may not keep their promise.

But how many folks do we know of who have gone out, done years of hard work first, toiled and sweat themselves first and then sat down to say to God, "OK, I've devoted years to doing good, now do this one thing for me."

It's always God who has to do the heavy lifting first, never the supplicant. Ah, human nature....
Kelo and Memphis

Lots and lots and lots of discussion across the Internet of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Kelo v. New London case, where the court found that taking property from one person or business to give to another private entity to serve the tax revenue needs of a city is a public good. Mostly, in the major media, the reaction is sensationalistic "The government will take your home!" simpleness.

But what does it mean for Memphis in particular? As it turns out, a lot and none of it much good for the average Memphian.

Had this ruling been in effect during the battle to save Overton Park from I-40 construction, the environmentalists would have lost. The "public good" under the new Kelo ruling is clear. The folks at Friends of Shelby Farms and Friends for Our Riverfront need to keep their lawyers on call. The holdouts among the Overton descendants who oppose the riverfront skyscrapers being built on public Promenade land now have a much harder stream to swim against. In the case of the Promenade, there are clear tax advantages in building all sorts of shops, offices and apartments on the land. In the case of Shelby Farms, the balance is no longer between environmentalists and the County, but between various County plans with the environmentalists standing outside as objectors.

Look downtown. Thanks to the many public-private boards that infest the area, government's hand is now stronger than ever. Remember the fight by small businessmen to preserve their place downtown when Mayor Herenton (actually acting as a front for a lot of more powerful businessmen, developers, bankers, consultants, etc. who stood to profit very handsomely) decided to place the FedUp Forum just west of Union Avenue and AutoZone Park? Other properties were a better fit, and more sensible, but there were cost advantages for the city in terms of infrastructure; and the existing Beale Street "entertainment district" and Peabody Place businesses were looking to "synergise" with expected Forum traffic.

Now look at all that property around the Forum. Empty lots, run down small businesses, a private park, ancient church properties, etc. With a $300+ million dollar investment in the Forum, don't you think the City will be even more ruthless with them in pursuit of more lucrative revenue options? Kelo has weakened the stand of all those small property owners if they choose not to join the bandwagon.

Look at the Mid-South Fairgrounds. Regular readers here know that I think the City has long-range plans for that area that begin with intentional benign neglect and end up with lots of public-private partnerships that will create private gated communities and expensive developments on cheaply-bought public property. The folks who live nearby will find their property values soaring so fast they can't pay the already exorbitant property taxes; taxes, by the way, that the new developments will get PILOT exemptions on!

In some ways this kind of redevelopment is good, in that wornout properties get refreshed. But the usual caveat applies. The poor will be pushed out somewhere else. In the case of Memphis, that's north and south, out of the center city loop and into neighborhoods removed from businesses (they were middle-class subdivisions back in the Seventies when they were built) and where the cost of transportation goes up. In the case of the Fairgrounds, this applies double, as the homes between them and the Cooper-Young axis will become prime for redevelopment, especially if the City can push through the appalling Trolley extension. Good for some, bad for the rest.

My main point is that the hand of Memphis City government is strengthened, and that hand has already been shown to have the interests of only the few and powerful in mind. Folks living or operating small businesses around downtown development likely should get out now. The City has made major committments of public money there, which is a prime argument for public takings under Kelo. Folks around the Fairgrounds need to keep a weather eye out; their day is coming in ten years or so, if the City can get back into the fiscal black.

The rest of Memphis? Ah, who cares? Certainly not our civic and political leaders. Just pay the bills, support the approved business districts and keep your mouth shut.

AFTERTHOUGHT I suppose Kelo will even have an effect in the battle between downtown residents and the RACE plant expansion. They city will certainly see increased tax revenues from the expansion, which will likely affect how willing the Land Use Control Board is to change the zoning. Safety concerns aside, Kelo helps to cover the LUCB's ass.

UPDATE SUNDAY 6/26Sure enough, in today's Commercial Appeal, there's a story about the use of eminent domain to get the Promenade rape underway. RDC head Barry Lendermon seems happy.
Where's the Scrutiny?

Several weeks out from the day of the Tennessee Waltz arrests, now that all the defendants have been arraigned and things have settled down into the long, long wait before trials begin, something occurs to me.

Some unknown company, being represented by a small-time Memphis hustler with rising political connections but a tainted past, approaches members of the House and Senate to get some legislative action. Some accept bribes to move, alter and later withdraw legislation in Nashville on behalf of this company. Other legislators don't accept bribes but do accept "campaign contributions," some of which are later returned. Other legislators don't do anything except, after refusing to accept bribes, sign on to co-sponsor the legislation, implying that such corruption is common-place enough not to ruffle feathers.

So. Where is the investigation by the state's newspapers and television news stations of other legislation? We know the roots of the Tennessee Waltz go back several years to complaints from guys like Frank Buck about pervasive suspected corruption. There are no doubt more legislators or clean lobbyists with stories to tell. Where are those stories? If someone as small and trifling as E-Cycle can successfuly bribe a legislator, doesn't it follow that important and powerful interests -- potential corruptors with strong community connections to power, money and influence in the legislators' lives -- could more easily and more profoundly accomplish the same?

Instead, we seem stuck with digging into Tim Willis, the man who fronted for the FBI. (Wouldn't that make a great film title? "I Fronted For the FBI" Sam Jackson as Tim Willis in an explosive performance about a man trapped between ambition and the law.) We get stories galore about the tawdry John Ford, and several completely expected and completetly non-informative stories about the role of race in John Ford's indictment and trial.

But nothing, nothing, about the legislators themselves, their peers and underlings and associates, possible other instances of bribery or corruption, or the allegations of corrupt reach into Memphis and Shelby County politics implied by the Tennessee Waltz indictments. I'd like to think it's because these things take time, but I suspect it's some unconscious effort to "preserve public trust in the integrity of government" by isolating the corruption to the few and leaving the many and the structures they've corrupted free from taint as much as possible. A misguided sense of public duty, if you will, framed by fear of lawyers and polticians, and the fear of loss of access.

There used to be a time when newspapers (and now television news operations) didn't see themselves as aloof from the public they courted. They would lead crusades and call corrupt politicians criminals. Now, they just report. Someone else acts, they cover it. That is so sad.

It also serves the corrupt. When the people get outraged, where's the leadership's forum to develop and exhort? Not in the news, nor in talk radio, nor on television. Mike Fleming, on WREC/AM600 takes calls all week long from frustrated Memphians aching for change, change he agrees with no less, but there's a bright and shining line of meaningful action he will not cross. He won't organise; he won't provide forums for discussion of change; he won't work to provide connections for disjoint groups working for the same aim. He simply keeps every voice discrete and takes calls.

That's not to pick only on Fleming. The Commercial Appeal takes on crusades like "Memphis Health" or "Amber's Army" (Remember that? The website sure is an echoing, empty warehouse these days. Not updated in almost two years now.) that it feels will attract readers and subscribers. But working to find, root out and expose corruption in City and County Hall? City Council and County Commission? City and County Schools? The vast bureaucracies that underlie them, virtual stewpots of potential corruption? Not so much.

Why? In the case of the CA, they have found themselves (whether by choice or inevitability) aligned with those they should be most suspicious of. For folks who are supposed to be observers of the human condition they sure are woefully short of historical knowledge and human understanding. Government and positions of power have always been magnets for the corrupt and wicked. Always. People have always been corruptible. Always. The price of a free and democratic society has always been eternal vigilance and ruthless response.

But if the watchdogs have turned their backs on the people they guard to instead protect the creatures who would prey on them, where do we go? Like the saying goes Qui custodiet custodiens? Who watches the watchmen? If the guards serve a presumptive king and not the free people?

Newspapers are already on their way out. Locked into the false religion of neutrality and objectivity that has now isolated them from the public, they drift into irrelevance. Wave good bye!

Television news, driven by the need for advertisers which drives a need for only a specific kind of viewer, and dominated by consulting firms which are in the business only for themselves, find they are awash in a sea of sensationalism. Sure, there are some islands of real news, but they are spots on a map painted with the constant barrage of fear, tittilation and alienation. There's more on this, but you'll have to come back at 6 and 10PM to learn about it. Then I'll recap it in the morning post.

There is a window of opportunity on the Internet. It's not here yet, especially in Memphis where a majority of folks still don't use the Internet much or even have access. And not long after the change agents are established to reach people and effect real change, the folks who dominate the media today -- and the money people behind them -- will move in there, too. Again, create any position of power and influence and it will attract those who want power and influence, who will distort it to increase and retain that power. Human historical inevitability.

But that window will arrive and it will be open for a while. We must prepare and be ready. The ground is dry, the wind is blowing, the matches are in hand. Thomas Jefferson was so very right when he said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

The firestorm is coming.

The newspapers and television news operations can either practice some controlled burns now, or watch themselves be immolated. The choice is theirs.
Continue to Follow the Money

Via TeamGOP's website comes this press release, detailing the political contributions of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a union, to various House and Senate races across the country.

In Tennessee, they have donated only to the House campaign of Jim Cooper, to the tune of $1000. On the Senate side... well, it gets a lot more interesting. In the all important race to replace retiring Bill Frist, the IBEW hasn't donated a dime to Democratic candidates Rosalind Kurita or Harold Ford, Jr. They have, however, given $5000 to RINO (Republican In Name Only) Bob Corker.

Think about that. The IBEW is, to look at their list, pretty solidly on the left. Of the dozens and dozens of races they contributed to, only one was a Republican. Of the $370,000 plus they've contributed, only $5000 went to a Republican. Bob Corker, who wants Tennesseans to think he's a solid conservative.

And the high-profile Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. apparently wasn't far enough to the left for the IBEW. Think about that, too.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Black Sun Legion Crushes The Emperor's Enemies

Real life bud Mark of The Conservative Zone has a post today about a Truly Epic Battle we fought last night. He and I get together on Wednesday nights down at the Memphis Battle Bunker to play a table-top wargame with 6mm figures called Epic: Armageddon. It's inexpensive to get into (thankfully for me, as I'm very, very broke) and Mark has a large enough army to spare me some needed troops. I call my troops of Marines the Black Sun Legion. Our banner is blood red with a single black circle in the center: the black sun of the Emperor's retribution rising over the field of our enemies' blood. Whee!

We both field armies of Space Marines, the elite troops of the Empire of Man. Very tough, but middling powerful. And their forces tend to be on the smaller side, numbers-wise. There are also the Imperial Guard (the grunts and artillery); the Orks (think of an army of Hulks: big, green, stupid and love to smash); the Eldar (very advanced aliens with fast, elusive vehicles); the Chaos Space Marines (traitorous Marines who turned to the dark side, like demons in armor); and some other, less common enemies. Space Marines are hard to use well, as they are very strong but not hammer-strong. They are, as I've been trained, a scalpel, not a hammer. They are the troops you send in for do-or-die missions against a specific objective. Eldar can out-maneuver them and Orks can just overwhelm them with numbers, making victories hard to achieve. But Space Marine v. Space Marine is double-tough. Broad, fronted battles aren't their forte.

Our forces were 5000 point armies, which is pretty danged large! We each had about 16 separate forces in our armies we could use, made up of anywhere from one to 40 units each -- troops of all kinds, bikes, anti-aircraft, gunships, tanks, artillery, transports. That's a lot of troops and vehicles running around blasting away at each other. We've been playing forces half that size up to now, but lately the lure of the "mega army" has been too great. Mark is getting new toys for his army and I need to be counter-balanced in size to keep things competitive. Our battlefield table was four feet by eight feet of store-provided fields, woods, roads and hills.

Anyway, I've been slowly learning and finally began to earn victories of my own this month. Last night, though, was a wowser. Mark has been recently working on an "Epic Tactics 101" primer and he shared it with me. Big mistake! I've been watching and learning from his playing style, but somehow seeing it in print crystallised some things for me. Seeing his analyses laid out so clearly was like seeing into a window. When we met last night, I was clear on some things.

When we first started playing I had vowed not to make the kinds of mistakes in the game that I make in real life. First and foremost was to not second-guess myself into inaction. I do that all the time, in the real world. I think of it as being too smart for my own good. If I let myself get overwhelmed by fear, I'll talk myself out of anything. So, I vowed to always follow my instincts and not overthink them. Second, was to be bold. If an opportunity presented itself, but had lots of risk attached, I wouldn't hesitate. I'd jump all over it. Last night, I reaffirmed that philosophy and it paid off.

In the very first turn, I sent a squad of very powerful Terminator Marines straight into the heart of his troops, to attack one of his two detachments of tactical marines, the ground troops that are the backbone of any Marine army. The result was to crush and break those troops and send consternation to Mark. He now had a detachment of Terminators in his own backfield to deal with, a crippled line, and scrambled plans. He's used this trick with me a number of times, and I felt ready to turn the tables. He was also trying out a new troop unit and strategy, so he didn't need the extra headache my tactic gave him. It was right out of his Epic Tactics primer. Hee, hee....

At the end of the first turn, I had a broad, strong front in the center of the battlefield, which is a good thing. Normally, I have too wide a front line, too easily breakable and too thin to provide support to the forces next to them. He ruthlessly exploits that defect every time. This time, except for a garrison I had wide to the left, I worked to keep my forces together in the middle. It was working. He either had to go around them, or leapfrog that line with other forces.

But I still had a bit too much of my troop strength along the flanks, which isn't as good. Mark is really good about keeping his center line strong and supported. But with so many of his troops off the board at the start (either waiting in gunships or waiting in orbit in drop pods for later turns) he didn't have his usual depth and coverage. So, I took another risk. I had a Thunderhawk gunship full of two detachments of Assault and Devastator Marines sitting on an off-table airfield that I had also planned to use later in the game. This unit is pretty powerful; it can be flown in and landed anywhere in the battle. He had only his other force of tactical marines holding down his center and I saw an opportunity to smash those troops and open up the whole center to my army. In strategic terms, this would be A Good Thing Indeed.

At first, I dithered and anguished about the risk. I had previously tried a similar stunt, only to have his troops shoot the gunship out of the air, killing everyone and everything before they could do anything, a wasteful and harmful loss. I fretted about it happening again. Then, I remembered: Take the gamble, if it will pay off handsomely. And this gamble would, if it worked. I brushed away my indecision and went for it.

It worked. Totally. He'll tell you I had a moment when the enormity of what I'd risked and its payoff sank in, and I had to catch my breath. That's the fun side of these kinds of games: the ability to immerse yourself in them. If that gamble had gone wrong, the game likely would have ended before the second turn was over. Instead, I was far, far ahead now.

I completely wiped out his center. What on-table strength he still had was now on the flanks of the board, though they were powerful units. On my right flank, deep in my territory, he had sent one of his two gunships of troops to harry me, in response to my Terminator assault earlier. They did little damage, but I had to waste some important troops just trying to kill them in return. I had little luck in that, but did eventually force him to retreat them back to the airstrip off the board. Still, some troops that might have been useful elsewhere got tied up.

He had some units in drop pods still to come. Drop pods are orbital reentry vehicles full of troops that can be landed anywhere on the board and will release a deadly weapon (the Deathwind) on anything under them when they land. It was my first time facing them, and frankly I was scared about it. He could wait until the very end and just drop the lot right onto my backfield -- where my troop strength was minimal -- and do great damage, claiming some important victory points in winning. But there are limitations, too. These troops have to come in at a predetermined time and place; no changes allowed. The shape of the forces on the battlefield can be anything when they finally arrive and it might not help him at all. And they come in so late in the game that they can't do much once they get there.

But, at the end of the first turn, I dominated the battlefield. Completely. Mark's efforts were in a shambles and he was flummoxed. It was great to see. But as turn two started up, he went to work methodically trying to turn the tide. He had some luck there. He was able to break through my left flank late; I didn't have much strength there to repulse that assault. He used his gunships to great effect, chewing me up with strafing runs. He worked hard with what he had to deny me an advance and to chip away at full-strength units to hobble their effectiveness. It worked. He also tried the Terminator Marine-in-the-backfield trick, which I'd expected, but in a slightly different way. I didn't have the needed power to handle the Terminators, and I also had plans to attend to with troops elsewhere, so he was able to hack away at several formations. I made a gamble here, too, that he could be defeated elsewhere in the battlefield even as he attacked me in the rear (ha ha), in a way that didn't give him too many of the victory points and gained me lots of important ones. It sorta worked, but at a very high cost.

I should also mention the role of luck in this game. Like so many paper-and-pencil, table-top simulation, and card games of war, there's a need to replicate the role of chance in battle. Great victories and defeats have often hinged on small moments of luck. To introduce that random element, dice are used in Epic to determine outcomes. It's imperfect, but necessary. In this game, I had great luck in the first turn, but Mark's luck improved in the second and into the third. Dice rolls kept Mark's gunship of troops off the board for another turn. They also let his troops rally at the end of turns while keeping too many of mine broken and unusable.

By the time of turn three, I was still dominating the middle and his end of the battlefield, but he was sowing trouble all across my home territory and marshalling lots of troops from off-table to join the fray. When the drop pods arrived, he managed to nearly destroy my largest force in a single action; even before the dropped troops got into battle. His Terminators were still there, too, and his left-flanking maneuver was quite successful. But I was running wild across his area, and he needed to waste time dealing with me. By the time he could focus on his actions with the Terminators and dropped Marines, the time allotment for the game was almost over. He had a lot to kill and clean out, mostly remnants of detachments he'd beaten up earlier, but not quite enough time to do it. Also, I had some incredible luck with troops that should never have been able to take the attacks they did. It wasn't enough to stop him, much less defeat his forces, but he was slowed down.

Slowed enough that when, at the end of turn three, we checked for victory conditions, I was ahead 3-0! I was stunned. It was the second time I felt like my decisions had led my troops to victory, messy as it was. But it was the first time I felt like I'd made a decisive win. It was great. I'm beginning to believe, as Mark once suggested, that I can really do well at this. I used to enjoy chess and boardgame wargames when I was in my teens and twenties, which is why I enjoy Epic. It has the same "general with an army" feel to it. There are lots of rules and exceptions to learn, but that's coming, and I can feel my mind sharpening because of it.

Next Wednesday, we're hosting a "mega battle" at the Battle Bunker. That's where anyone is welcome to bring a small force. If you want to play, but don't have an army there are lots of folks who will share their troops so you can join in. Two sides are created and lined up against each other on a very long battlefield. Then they have at each other! Melee until one side loses enough, or everyone has to go home. If you're curious, come on down and either watch or join in. The fun is due to start around 6PM. The Battle Bunker has drink and snack machines, but we will order pizzas if enough people want in.

Thanks to Mark, by the way, for addicting me to "battle crack." At least it gets me out of the house once a week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Money Talks

While googling around for something else, I ran across this webpage from Open Secrets about political contributions from Tennesseans to national political campaigns in 2004, the last election cycle. It's eye-opening!

Tennesseans gave to Republicans over Democrats by a three to one margin. Twenty one million to seven million. Ranked nationally, Tennessee was number two of all fifty states in percentage giving to Republicans; number 49 to Democrats. Nashvillains outgave Memphians two to one; Knoxville equaled Memphis. Excellent news for the coming Senate race to replace retiring Bill Frist.

In county terms, all but twenty five of Tennessee's counties gave to Republicans at almost two to one or better. And most of that twenty-five are the thinly populated counties of West Tennessee.

The candidate with the most out of state contributions? Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. by a three to one margin over his closest competitor, Lamar! Alexander. In fact, Ford received more out of state money than the next five Republicans! That's something for Tennesseans to think about as Ford runs for Frist's Senate seat.

Something to remember when you start reading all the Ford adulation and boosterism of the state's newspapers. For those not from Memphis, the author of that free Ford ad is Bartholomew Sullivan, a Great Society Democrat. Notice, too, that Sullivan uses extensive, uninterrupted Ford quotes. You typically see this from a reporter seeking to praise or damn a person with their own words.

Anyway, something for the folks opposed to Democrats and Harold Ford, Jr. to keep in mind this coming season.
Word of the Day & a Bonus

Thanks to Blogcritics for hipping me to Wordsmith's A.Word.A.Day. As a langauge geek, I'm a sucker for this sort of thing.

Today's word also comes with a bonus quote from John Milton: "Those who put out the people's eyes, reproach them for their blindness." Words to heed for Memphis local media and the wacky anti-what-ya-got? Left.
Quote of the Day

"I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad."
Who said that? Would you believe Senator Dick Durbin? Of course, this was about President Clinton when he was attacking Iraq.

I know, I know. That was different....