Thursday, November 09, 2006

Exchange of the Day

Jimmy Neutron: I've always been into prestidigitaion!

Sheen: Ow! Ow! Six syllable words make my brain hurt!
The Telling Difference

It's instructive to look at the difference between the Republicans' loss this year and the Democrats' losses in 2000 and 2004.

You don't hear Republicans demanding the world stop while every single ballot is scrutinised. You don't see Republicans demanding that every single possibility be studied to death until someone's suspicion is confirmed.

There's no talk of secession. There's no talk of moving to ... well, anywhere. No talk of PelosiLand, or "Light Fingers Harry" stealing elections. No wailing that the Republic is ended in an orgy of drugs and sex from those insane Democrats. No filthy language or crude epithets.

Just a sense that "We lost, but we'll try again next time." A recognition of what likely went wrong and a willingness to fix themselves, instead of eviscerating the Democrats to place the blame in them.

If anything, I'm picking up a strong sense of opportunity from Republicans. A chance to get new leadership that will address core issues meaningfully. A sense of a watershed, even.

No screaming for heads. No bloodthirsty mobs demanding sacrifice. In fact, the two most prominent victims (Hastert and Rumsfeld) went down before the election results had even become completely clear! Fell on their own swords, quickly and without fuss, in the morning light.

To be fair, inasmuch as I've paid attention, the "nutroots" crowd seems to have shut up, at least for now. Their big moment -- the Lamont insurgency -- came to a crashing close. Lieberman is truly in the catbird seat thanks to them. Most of the Democratic freshman class of '06 is decidedly centrist/moderate/conservative. The Kossacks have demonstrated their electoral impotence and irrelevance to the Democratic Party.

Will they continue the useless fighting? Recalibrate after reflection? Set their sights on the Green Party? Start a Progressive Party? Who knows.

But it's clear: the aftermath of the loss of '06 is a staid and tidy affair compared to the threats, rancor and acrimony of '00 and '04. Words and behavior say a lot and say it clearly. It's instructive to compare.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Democrats Make Little Girl Cry

Oh, come on. You know you were thinking it too.
Rumsfeld Resigns

Check your favorite news outlet. It's the BIG STORY of the day now. Couple that with yesterday's Democratic win and ... well, I don't know.

If he'd resigned last Friday or even Monday, would it have blunted the losses yesterday? By resigning today, are Rumsfeld and Bush hoping to cut Pelosi's House investigations off before they even begin? The timing just stinks.

And he's already announced Bob Gates as his nominee! (And the Widipedia entry has already changed to reflect this!) Talk about stealing thunder. And yet they wait until it's too late to announce it? I dunno.

And now the press is only asking Bush about the Rumsfeld matter, not pelting him with "After yesterday's defeats, why are you a loser?" questions.
Gotta Love the Commercial Appeal

They stick by their buddies to the bitter end. After yesterday's win by Bob Corker, how do they headline it this morning?
Ford falls just short with good numbers in Nashville: Close Senate contest reflects dead-heat polls statewide
With free campaign support like this, how could Ford have lost?

WEDNESDAY NIGHT CORRECTION: As Lindsey pointed out in comments, what I said only applies to the online edition. The paper version does have an enormous headline: Corker conquers and a huge picture that straddles the fold.

Am I being petty if I note that the picture is positioned and cropped (or not cropped at the top) so that, in the paper I saw, Corker's head is cut off just below his nose. It looks like he's too short to see over the fold and his hand is up to get folks to notice him. A subtle comment, maybe? Who knows....

And to be fair, who chose the Ford picture? Could you make him look any swishier?

And no, I didn't buy a paper copy of the CA. After all, when you can get the specific dairy items you want online, why buy the cow?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I've been trying to find Shelby County election numbers, but anyone working off the Shelby County Election Commission feed (nearly every newspaper and television station, unfortunately) is missing all kinds of numbers. Many races are still reporting zero precincts at 9PM.

Anyone know what's up?

And the WMC/5 site appears to have gone down under the Internet load. I'm getting a "server busy" error message.

On a tangential note, late this afternoon -- around 5PM -- CNN started reporting that "exit polls" showed that corruption (Paula Zahn hit that word with incredulity) was the main voter concern. "And that's bad news for Republicans!" she declared. Sheesh....

What appears clear is that conservatism is winning. Lamont -- poster boy of the far-left, anti-Bush crowd -- was handily defeated. Lieberman wins and Chafee (most "moderate" of Republicans) loses. Most of the electoral turnovers are to Democrats who are sharply more conservative than their leadership. Ought to make for an interesting first few weeks for the Democrats when the next session starts up.

Can't wait to hear Democrats start crowing about "mandates for change." Remember, most of these races are being decided on narrow 51/49% margins. Hardly "mandates." But they will crow. Oh yes they will.
Icicles in Memphis

What with all the dreary weather and the voting and the mishigas, let me provide you with a little bit of happy.

Meet The Icicles!

Sometime in the past few months you've likely heard them as the soundtrack to this Motorola KRAZR ad. Strong, clear female vocals over a classic, jangly pop song. They remind me of English, female-fronted bands like The Primitives or The Darling Buds.

It took me a while to track down the band and song, but I did. "Sugar Sweet," by The Icicles. It's even better outside the commercial! Listen to the other free track and you'll hear a similar formula, but the better production of "Sugar Sweet" gives it a more muscular sound and presence that makes it winning. That's always important with otherwise frothy pop confections like this.

I haven't been this charmed by a song since, well ... "Evil" by Interpol. Gretchen DeVault's winsome, joyous singing and the Farfisa organ-like counterpoint totally win me over. So give yourself a little bit of sunny, breezy pop fun and check out the song. It beats listening to "... and I approved this ad" all day!
Nothing to See Here

So I voted today at my usual precinct -- the old Brotherhood of Man building at Poplar and Willett. It was early afternoon, not many people there. I was in and out in minutes. I asked the precinct captain how turnout was and he said quite heavy, despite the lull while I as there.

As I post, you've still got four hours left to vote. (More if you're in a Ford precinct!) Make sure you do.

Monday, November 06, 2006

What's the Choice?

This editorial, from the Washington Examiner points out the simple truth. Democrats and their allies in the media have refocused the debate in the country from defense against the terrorists who would attack and kill us, at home and abroad, and out allies, to a simple question on the President. As the editorial points out, it's a lot more than that.

If we give the Democrats power, we are left with a famous Englishman's plea: "You say you want a revolution. Well you know, we all wanna see the plan." The only things I've heard are to leave Iraq or redeploy troops elsewhere. Maybe slice the country up into provinces, a la the former Yugoslavia. You can see what a success that's been. Or you could, if there were any news from that part of the world at all. Pretty hard to find; it takes looking.

As the editorial notes, the two most important figures in the supposed election debate, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are MIA. Haven't been seen or heard from in months. It's rather odd for the supposed leaders to be rallying the troops from the shadows.

Do the Republicans have problems? You betcha! But the Dems have nothing but a burning desire to make the last six years go away, with prejudice; to "reclaim" what is "theirs." If given power tomorrow I have no doubt that Congress will be turned into a Bush Investigation Machine intended only to make political hay of anything and everything it can, trying to destroy Bush.

The War on Terror? Our ongoing mission in Iraq? Clearly, not so important to Democrats.

But life or death to Americans.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Corker: 50 / Ford: 38

According to the latest Mason-Dixon polls Corker is now running a 12 point lead over Harold Ford: 50/38. I tried locating the actual data on the M-D site, but no luck. Even with a 2-to-1 breakout for Ford among the Undecideds (based on a breakdown of data from another, Survey-USA poll), Corker still wins.

If this is true -- and another poll from the weekend repeats something like this gap -- this is incredible. Corker will become a legend.

If it's true. We shall see....

SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Found the link to a deeper look into the numbers and the methodology. For starters, the poll sample size is just over 600 people, which is small.

The poll also asks about the famous bimbo ad and the results pretty much put the kibosh to Democratic efforts to call it "racist."
Have you seen the television advertisement that mentions Harold Ford’s attendance at a Super Bowl party that featured Playboy bunnies and ends with a blonde-haired woman saying “Harold, call me?”

YES 81%

NO 19%

(IF “YES) Would you describe your opinion of the ad as favorable, unfavorable, or neutral?




(IF “YES) Would you say that the ad makes you more likely to vote for Bob Corker, more likely to vote for Harold Ford, or does it have no real effect on your vote?

FORD 10%


Take a look at the levels of support found in the poll across the three Grand Divisions of the state and you'll see that the conventional wisdom is true. Corker's support is very strong in the East (61%) and falls as you move West (to 39%) whereas Ford's is strongest in the West (49%; not even a majority!) and falls precipitously going East (to an incredible 26%!) Bear in mind, though, the large unreliability factor in these numbers.

And in all three of the "Who do you think would best handle ...?" questions (Iraq and the War on Terror; energy; the economy) Corker holds decisive leads where Ford struggles around 1/3 of the polled.

Just to add some confusion to the mix, according to the latest (this weekend) Rasmussen poll, it's still a statistical dead heat: Corker at 51, and Ford with 47. (Box at top right of page.)

And from our WTF? files, comes a real outlier poll, from Hamilton-Beattie that has Ford leading 46 to 40! If I remember correctly H-B is the firm that does internal polling for the Ford campaign, so deep skepticism is needed. This result matches no other polls I know of at this stage.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Observation for the Day

Bob Corker's "Call Me" ad is provoking the strangest partisan reaction. Some folks refer to it as I just did. Most call it the "bimbo ad." Why? Because the "bimbo" is the most notable thing in it, the one that catches the attention and sticks in the memory.

But visit leftist/Democratic blogs and the ad is almost invariably referred to as the "racist bimbo ad." Why the extra modifier? Because the Democrats want you to believe their contention that the ad had some secret racist subtext.

They figure if they repeat it ad infinitum then it will be true. They figure if it's everywhere that history will record their version of events as "truth." They figure if they keep pounding the point home, folks will quit arguing with them and they win by default.
Harold Ford's Soliloquoy

I posted this eighteen months ago but I figure it bears repeating at this late date. Hamlet as re-imagined for Harold:

To run, or not to run, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler for the candidate to suffer
The slings and arrows of campaigning
Or to take refuge against a sea of troubles in a safe House seat,
And by ducking again avoid them? To run: to campaign;
Once more; and by running to say we welcome
The heartache and the thousand political barbs
That candidates are heir to, 'tis a falsehood
Devoutly to be put forward. To run, to campaign;
To campaign: perchance to win: ay, there's the rub;
For in that endless campaign what difficulties may come,
When we have shuffled to yet another press conference,
Must give us pause. There's the "gotcha"
That makes calamity of political life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of Republicans,
The grand jury's wrong, the proud uncle's contumely,
The pangs of early polls, the national committee's delay,
The insolence of voters, and the spurns
That patient merit of unwashed crowds takes,
When I myself might my legacy make
With a safe House seat? Who would cable show hosts bear,
To blather and sweat under a hot light,
But that the dread of life as a private citizen,
The anonymous country from whose shadow
Few politicians return, puzzles the will,
And makes me rather bear those perks I have
Than work for others I might not earn?
Thus does indecision make wafflers of us all;
And thus the native hue of Harold Ford
Is made even paler with this endless uncertainty;
And campaigns of great and lofty platitudes
With this regard their volunteers turn awry.
And lose the name of Senator.
Fun With Numbers: Media Bias Dept.

I know, I'm not supposed to be blogging, but this story really got me. It's a sleazy effort to make FOX News look bad by selectively using numbers, or not using them.

The author frontloads the story with lots of hard numbers showing FOX's supposed decline; then he goes on:
But Fox's problems go deeper than that. If it was just the dearth of big stories this year, all the other cable networks would be down as well. Two were actually up in October.

CNN has also been down steeply this year in total viewers and 25-54s but not as much as Fox, and in October its 25-54 primetime audience was essentially flat at down 1 percent.

And both Headline News and MSNBC were actually up in that demo last month, by 18 percent and 19 percent.
Notice the comparison of year-to-year trends with last month numbers. Notice how, if the point of rebuttal is that 2005 was an anomalous year, he doesn't go back to 2004 to compare trends without the anomaly! (I tried to find the 2004 numbers, but without luck.) Also, notice the lack of hard numbers for the other networks.

Curious what those numbers might be? Try looking here or here. What you see is that FOX is still smoking the competition. Even with downward drifts, they still are far ahead.

Which is a point the author seems afraid you'll realise. Hence hiding the numbers. Pathetic.

And lastly, notice how the author states a political thesis:
As the network most identified with conservative America and in particular the Bush White House, Fox News is suffering the most from the disenchantment among conservatives over the war and the political scandals.

The news formula that worked for so long is now working against it, they say, as fewer of those disenchanted viewers bother to tune in to watch the news.
... and then quotes from three "independent" scholars who support it.

Another reporter taking the facts of a situation -- which ought to be bricks, immutable -- and using them isntead as clay to mould a thesis not entirely supported by those facts.

INSTANT UPDATE: Ah hah! Found some 2004 numbers here (scroll about halfway down), which undercut the author's thesis for certain.


August 11, 2004

FNC: Total day: 915,000 / Primetime: 2,058,000 / O'Reilly: 2,666,000 / H&C: 1,793,000 / Greta: 1,714,000

CNN: Total day: 412,000 / Primetime: 730,000 / Zahn: 554,000 / King: 985,000 / Brown: 652,000

MSNBC: Total day: 205,000 / Primetime: 363,000 / Olbermann: 383,000 / Norville: 372,000 / Scarborough: 333,000

CNBC averaged 139,000 in total day and 177,000 in primetime. Dennis Miller had 293,000, McEnroe had 66,000 viewers. This is the 14th night in a month where MacEnroe has averaged less than 100,000 viewers a night.
So, when we compare those numbers, we get this:

2004 2006
FOX 915 1002
CNN 412 501
MSNBC 205 313
CNBC 139 222

Hmmmm.... Viewer growth all around, and FOX is still beating the pants off CNN. (Though you can have "Fun With Numbers" by pointing out that CNN had 20% growth over the two year period vs. FOX's 10%. Wow! Double the growth!)

Half the viewers.
Terrorists Say: Vote Democrat!

Aaron Klein has spent two years developing sources and contacts inside Palestinian terrorist organisations. He interviewed those leaders for their opinion of who should win the election is month. Overwhelmingly, they say, =Vote Democrat.
"Of course Americans should vote Democrat," Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group and the infamous leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, told WND.

"This is why American Muslims will support the Democrats, because there is an atmosphere in America that encourages those who want to withdraw from Iraq. It is time that the American people support those who want to take them out of this Iraqi mud," said Jaara, speaking to WND from exile in Ireland, where he was sent as part of an internationally brokered deal that ended the church siege.

Jaara was the chief in Bethlehem of the Brigades, the declared "military wing" of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

Together with the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Brigades has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing inside Israel the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis.

Muhammad Saadi, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, said the Democrats' talk of withdrawal from Iraq makes him feel "proud."

"As Arabs and Muslims we feel proud of this talk," he told WND. "Very proud from the great successes of the Iraqi resistance. This success that brought the big superpower of the world to discuss a possible withdrawal."

Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the policy of withdrawal "proves the strategy of the resistance is the right strategy against the occupation."

"We warned the Americans that this will be their end in Iraq," said Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas' declared "resistance" department. "They did not succeed in stealing Iraq's oil, at least not at a level that covers their huge expenses. They did not bring stability. Their agents in the [Iraqi] regime seem to have no chance to survive if the Americans withdraw."

Abu Ayman, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, said he is "emboldened" by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam.

"[The mujahedeen fighters] brought the Americans to speak for the first time seriously and sincerely that Iraq is becoming a new Vietnam and that they should fix a schedule for their withdrawal from Iraq," boasted Abu Ayman.
Straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Video Sought

I'm trying to find the video of the Clinton/Ford event yesterday. Both WMC/5 and WREG/3 had the full videos up all day yesterday but seem to have already taken them down in favor of much briefer stories.

I know, I know, "bandwidth costs money." But still, taking it down the same day? Sheesh....

Anyway, I'm specifically looking for the segment where Harold the Lesser introduces and thanks some of his family.

Thanks for the help.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What Harold Ford Jr. Really Meant

From Harold's own animated lips comes the truth: "He spent millions of dollars of his own money telling the truth about my record. That's wrong.... I approved this message because I won't let them make me into someone I already am."

Just watch it. Low-key and devastatingly funny.

Via John Harvey's Voting in Memphis blog, which also notes that Memphis is on track to have a 25% turnout in early voting. That's incredible, especially for a midterm election.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And We Want a Democratic Senate Why?

Harold Ford Jr, Congressman from Tennessee, and John Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts, have little in common but a party name. But putting Ford into the Senate will empower people like Kerry who say things like this:

Kerry makes it worse by clarifying his comments thus:
If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
John McCain, former POW, is already demanding a clear apology, to no avail. Of course Kerry, as a returned soldier from Vietnam said this to a Congressional committee:
I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command....

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
And so we must ask: Do we really want a Democratic Senate? Do we really want to give them power by giving the open Tennessee seat to Harold Ford Jr?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Thought for the Day

Via Jerry Pournelle:

I would rejoice greatly if the election were between Libertarians and Burkean Whigs, for I would not fear the outcome.
Junior, Jesus, Guns, Taxes, Marriage and Babies

The sloppy description of Harold Ford Jr as "conservative" is, of course, just plain wrong. You might could make an argument for "conservative Democrat" but I think he's a disciple of Clinton's DLC, finding where most Tennesseans are and then moving himself into that position. Sometimes he does what his party tells him and sometimes -- like voting for the Bankruptcy Bill which will hurt his constituents -- who knows why he votes that way.

But he has voted in the past, and a lot of single-issue partisan groups have tracked and ranked his votes over the years. Via Free Republic comes an enlightening list:

Harold Ford, Jr. On Guns

1999-2000 Gun Owners of America assigned Representative Ford a grade of F-

1999-2000 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence 100 percent in 1999-2000.

2000 the National Rifle Association assigned Representative Ford a grade of F

2001-2002 Gun Owners of America assigned Representative Ford a grade of F-

the National Rifle Association assigned Representative Ford a grade of F

2002 On the votes that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence considered to be the most important as of 2002, Representative Ford voted their preferred position 87 percent of the time.

2003 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 77 percent from 1988-2003 (Senate) or 1991-2003 (House).

2006 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 78 percent in 2006.

2005-2006 Representative Ford supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 22 percent in 2005-2006.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 60 percent in 2005.

2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent in 2004.

2003-2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 25 percent in 2003-2004.

2003-2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Democrats for Life of America 33 percent in 2003-2004.

2003 Representative Ford supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 30 percent in 2003.

2001-2002 Representative Ford supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 19 percent in 2001-2002.

2001 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 75 percent in 2001.

2001 Representative Ford supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent in 2001.

2000 Representative Ford supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 75 percent in 2000.

1999-2000 Representative Ford supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 6 percent in 1999-2000.

1999 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 88 percent in 1999.

1995-2004 On the votes that the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Assocation considered to be the most important in 1995-2004, Representative Ford voted their preferred position 82 percent of the time.

1995-2003 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood (House) 78 percent in 1995-2003.

2006 In 2006 Sierra Club endorsed Representative Ford.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Family Research Council 23 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Children's Defense Fund 56 percent in 2005.

2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Family Research Council 25 percent in 2004.

2003-2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Children's Defense Fund 73 percent in 2003-2004.

2003 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Family Research Council 15 percent in 2003.

2003-2004 On the votes that the U.S. Border Control considered to be the most important in 2003-2004, Representative Ford voted their preferred position 10 percent of the time.

Representative Ford supported the interests of the American Immigration Lawyers Association 83 percent from 1995-2004.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the American Federation of Government Employees 69 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers 75 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Service Employees International Union 75 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the United Auto Workers 71 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the AFL-CIO 73 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Worker 83 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees 100 percent in 2005.

2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the American Postal Workers Union 86 percent in 2004.

2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the AFL-CIO 86 percent in 2004.

2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Communications Workers of America 100 percent in 2004.

2004 Representative Ford supported the interests of the United Auto Workers 87 percent in 2004.

2006 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Secular Coalition for America 60 percent in 2006.

2006 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Population Connection 71 percent in 2006.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby 67 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Population Institute 50 percent in 2005.

2005 Representative Ford supported the interests of the Population Connection 83 percent in 2005.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I just had to post on this, as I was there to witness the event. My gaming buddy, Mark, won an important tournament victory on Wednesday. Here's the story.

I've posted in the past on playing a tabletop wargame called Epic: Armageddon. I'm only a middling player, but it's a lot of fun. Mark, though, has been fine-tuning and tweaking his army list all year so that his Orks (think large, green, ugly and violent) are a formidable force. My Space Marines (the best of the Emperor's best) rarely beat them any more.

His opponent, Greg, is a long time player and is mighty good. I sat on the sidelines -- trying hard to be quiet, not point things out or kibitz -- and just watched the play. It was a really, really hard-fought game. No one made any big mistakes, so it was pure strategy and luck. Just a great game.

Mark's write-up presupposes some knowledge of the game, but he has pictures! And he was the tournament champion, his first major win! He was incredibly pumped after, and deservedly so. Go on over and wish him congrats.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Yep, Definitely Over

The surest sign that Harold Ford Jr has turned the corner to Loserville? The lunatics are using Klan imagery. It's the last refuge of intellectually bankrupt scoundrels who know they've lost and have nothing left.

Nazi Klansmen with (photoshopped) Corker signs? Flaming crosses? KKKorker?

Nothing scares off average middle-class whites faster than crazed partisans screaming inflammatory race iamgery at them.

Yep, it's over.

I had been a bit worried. Look at some of the data in this poll from SurveyUSA. Look at the Corker/Ford poll data, under "Ideology." See "Moderates?" They break out 2 to 1 for Ford. They're the people Ford is desperate to get.

Stuff like the extremism you see at KnoxViews is going to poison that well. It's kinda surprising that the kids over at the Flypaper Theory haven't joined in, but then they've been hacking at Ford, not Corker, for a while now.


INSTANT UPDATE: Ahahahahaha! And just now, this afternoon, the latest Lefty hysteria is upon us: jungle drums! That's right. Supposedly this ad (Warning: MP3 file will load into your browser.) has "jungle drums" playing behind Ford's name, in an attempt to scare listeners with racist innuendo.

Hey, clue-deficient Americans, it's called symphonic film music. Those are tympani, an instrument found in Euro-American orchestras and symphonies. They are employed to heighten drama. You want real "jungle drums?" Listen to the opening theme from Battlestar Galactica.

But you can't convince people who see ghosts in every shadow that every shadow doesn't have a ghost. Oh! Wait. Did I just say ghost, in a post talking about Ford? Was that some deeply subtle, hidden racist comment I buried subliminally?

This is getting ludicrous. It really is. Tennessee's Democratic Left believes it's lost the momentum in the Senate race and so everything is now all-stops-out for them. They are reaching for anything, it seems. Turning standard, bland symphonic music into race-baiting.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Or take the anti-Ford ad that Democrats have called "racist" because a white bimbo mimes holding a cell phone and says, "Call me." to Harold. Someohow, after years of being told by Democrats and leftists that interracial dating is OK, they're suddenly seeing it as a bad thing.

Somehow, the choice of a blonde bimbo has some secret meaning. Well... no. She looks exactly like the kind of women you find at Playboy parties: bottle-blonde with roots showing and too much makeup, a badly stylised idea of what's trendy, hot and sexy. Racist? Not hardly. If anything, it's sexist. She's a modern, empowered young woman unafraid to let a powerful man know that she's attracted. And Democrats are angry at that? Sheesh....

I was right. Ford's been knocked off his stride. His supporters sense it and now they're over-compensating for him. Over-compensating wildly.

Yep. Over.

SERVICE NOTE: Blogger is doing maintenance this evening and the blog has been intermittently unavailable. It will apparently be going on for a while. Sorry if you can't access Half-Bakered with typical Internet ease.

"MY KUNG FU IS STRONGER THAN YOURS" UPDATE: Randy Neal, the proprietor of the blog linked above, has apparently noticed the problem and schoolmarmly advises the troops to cool it:
Denounce the negative, disgusting ads, too, but don't get goaded into responding in kind.
"Goaded?" Blog reports show up claiming "jungle drums" and racism and Democrats immediately roll out the Nazis and Klan. No goading; it's a reflex reaction. Or a natural instinct.

It's an admission that Corker is winning. "Don't scare the folks we're trying to woo. Wait until the election's over."

Anyway, in comments further down, Neal writes:
Oh, don't get me wrong. I agree with you 100% on that. They are using the reverse racist ju-jitsu to great effect to innoculate their candidate. And they should be told that forcefully.

The trouble is that when you cross the line into enemy territory, you let them set the rules of engagement. All I'm saying is don't get sucked in.
Yeah, because my kung fu is stronger than his, I guess. His point about sticking to issues is well taken and should be listened to by his legions. Because it was them who first cried wolf.

Some Democrat devised this triple-reverse "nuh-uh!" move a while back: A Republican / Christian / right-winger / traditionalist says or does something. Some easily offended or partisan tool quickly leaps up to cry foul, whatever the merit of the charge. (Remember the "niggardly" flap?) The R/C/r-w/t responds, "Oh please. Am not." And then the Nazi and Klan symbols and photoshops start flying. Then the story is no longer the charge, but the conflict and the charge.

Look at Neal trying to defend the lunatics:
The image of the white woman giggling about Harold and telling him to call me evokes one of the deep-rooted Southern taboos about interracial sex. It used to be a lynching offense for black men.
To paraphrase Freud: Sometimes a bimbo is just a bimbo. As noted above, she was intended to "evoke" a Playboy playmate/party girl -- the subject of the ad.

Notice how he manages to go straight to lynching? Who mentioned that? Why, he did. Just now. He gets to chastise his critics and stir the pot a bit deeper. Sly and revolting at the same time; unless he did it unconsciously and then it just tells you about his frame of mind.

If you want to talk offensive subliminals, I can play that game. Let's go back to Ford's "kick the dog" ad. First of all, whose house is this he's walking through? His? Niiiiiiice. It's the kind of kitchen a whole lot of middle-class folks would like to have.

But notice the woods -- the rich expensive woods -- behind him. Blonde woods. White painted woods. Is he saying, "See? I'm white, too. I'm safe." It's all intended to be reassuring.

Or is it all just me over-reacting, over-reaching, straining? Looking for something that's not there.

When Democrats do this sort of thing, of course it's true and statements by their targets are "denials." But if Republicans do this sort of thing? It's crazy! It's "... using the reverse racist ju-jitsu to great effect...."

Yep, the race is over.

AND NOW, THE CAPPER The Corker campaign has now pointed out that the "jungle drums" music was used in another, prior, ad. This one. So, since the opening "jungle drums" play under an image of Ol' Bob, does that mean the campaign wanted you to think of him as a scary black man?

And, to see the kinds of knots, the kinds of dank, scary places, that Democrats get themselves into read this article looking at Chris Matthews. Here's what Matthews says about a Michael Steele (black Republican running for governor of Maryland) ad:
I love the ads, my wife loves the ads, they're really funny, some of them. And very unthreatening. An African-American guy, it seems, has to run an ad that's so unthreatening that he's almost child-like in his presentation, but it seems to be working.
Still wanna talk modern racism and the Democratic Party?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Other Ford Ambush

Harold Ford's "ambush" of Bob Corker last Friday isn't the first time that Fords have staged an ambush.
Best Sporting Event
Ford family smackdown. On July 10th, Fords John (state senator) and Joe (commissioner) and Jake and Isaac (both Harold Sr.'s sons) entered the ring during a Memphis Wrestling event. They were there to back up a friend getting whupped by a threesome that included Jerry "The King" Lawler.
That's the Memphis Flyer's take on that epic ambush at the MidSouth Coliseum. I had almost forgotten this incident from two years ago, July 2004.

But wait! There's more:
This is the first time that Jimmy Hart and myself had the chance to speak to Memphis about the big ambush that took place at the Midsouth Coliseum.

Don't try to deny that was an ambush, Cory. You had your buddys, the Ford Family. There was John,Joe,Isaac,Jake and the entire Ford family. Are there any female Fords? You asked all your buddies to save you, Cory.

Cory, I invited them to the Coliseum and I had no part in them in the ring. The entered the ring on their own. They came to save me....

You had your buddies hits the ring. The Fords are one of the most influential families in Memphis. They are congressmen, senators etc. The[y] are all that and a bag of chips as Maclin would say. You tried to sway public opinion against the King.

Cory, You are doing it yourself.

Jerry Lawler, The only reason that I did not punch out the Ford family is because they brought their Children with them. I have been wanting to lay out Joe Ford out a long time ago. I would of punched his lights out. His teeth would of been rolling around the ring like Chic lets but out of respect for the kids I did not do anything.
That's a garbled transcript of wrestling promoter Cory Maclin and wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler. Hardly seems like it's been two years ago. That "John" is former State Senator John Ford and that "Jake" is current Independent 9th Congressional District candidate Jake "Joke" Ford and that "Joe" is Shelby County Commisioner Joe Ford.

They actually entered the ring and began to fight! It was caught on tape and was shown on the local news as one of those "can you believe it?" moments. I've been trying to track down the video but with no luck so far.

Ah, Summer '04. I knew even back then that little bit of theater would come back to haunt someone. It seems that time is now and that someone is Harold Jr.

And it shows, yet again, that Harold is a Ford. You can see that "ambushes" run in the family.

TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE: We're getting closer! I've found the original WMC story now. Some choice quotes:
In the video you can see as State Senator John Ford enters the fray. Shelby County Commissioner Joe Ford is there, as are the younger Isaac Ford and his brother Jake Ford. You can see Jake Ford whipping Lawler with his belt....

"I know I put a whipping on Jimmy Hart. And I know I put a little whipping on Jerry Lawler leaving that ring," said Jake Ford.

The family claims the event was harmless. Sources tell Action News Five that part of it might have been designed to promote Jake Ford as a professional wrestler....

Both State Senator John Ford and Congressman Harold Ford Junior refused comment tonight. Congressman Harold Ford Jr. was not a part of Saturday's smackdown.
I've got more emails out, especially to WMC, trying to get that video. I'll update as I learn more.

Here's what the Commercial Appeal's Wendi Thomas had to say at the time:
Now, if County Mayor A C Wharton were to get in the ring, it might be
funny. Such behavior would stand in stark contrast to his polished
professional demeanor; the satire would be overwhelming. Not so much
with the Fords, whose personal lives tend toward the messy.

Given that the public deems politicians only slightly more honorable
than used-car salesmen, why would four Fords squander even a smidgen
of credibility on a stupid stunt?

"Some people probably would say that, but everyone I've heard from
said, 'Congratulations, you won the match,' " Joe Ford said.

"It wasn't anything I was ashamed of."

Saving the Ford family from themselves (Harold Jr. excepted) may be a
frustrating exercise in futility.
I guess, after last Friday, Harold the Lesser is no longer excepted.

Here is some discussion from Memphis wrestling fans.

More as I find it, or hear back from folks.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Tennessee Senate Race is Now Over

Un-frakking-believable. The Senate race is now over. Harold Ford actually calls Bob Corker a dog kicker.

Corker's strategy of needling Ford on his family (which I think, in the context of Tennessee, is a fair thing to do) is finally paying off. Big time.

The race is over, y'all.

The YouTube page is here.

There's also a clip of a Ford / Corker pairing from Sunday night on CNN. Listen for the part where Ford disappears his aunt Ophelia from the family. (Yes, clueless literalists, I know what he meant to say and I'm sure most Tennesseans will here it too. But anyone unfamiliar with the Ford family -- in this case nearly everyone viewing CNN -- will think he has no auntie!) Also watch how he puts words into Corker's mouth -- right in front of you! -- by claiming Corker called Harold Ford Sr and Jr "crooks." Clever, but also the very, very thing he is railing against. Does he think people are this stupid?

(Thanks to commenter "b" on the Pesky Fly blog for the CNN link.)

The race is now over.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ford Stumbles, or The October Surprise, or "Ford Bus Crashes on Runway"

It had to seem like a good idea to Harold Ford Jr and his campaign handlers: Swoop in on a Bob Corker event and take over, making Corker look bad. They were no doubt assured in their belief in Ford's on-camera glibness and charisma based on previous forums with Corker. Pounce, let kitty play with the mouse, gloat.

Except a strange thing happened on the way to political legend: Bob Corker displayed a backbone . When the Ford campaign behemoth bus started circling the Wilson Airport parking lot, then opened its door to drop Harold Himself onto the tarmac Corker didn't duck into a building, trying to hide. Instead he strode over to Ford, got in his face, took control of the situation, told Ford what he was going to do, then turned and walked away. Leaving Ford to stand there, close to sputtering, explaining to the cameras.

For Ford it's almost the worst of all possible outcomes. (The worst would have been Corker telling the media pool, "Come with me back to the press conference." and having them follow, showing Ford standing there, alone and receding, on the parking lot. Not keeping the cameras with him was a Corker mistake.) Ford tried an ambush and Tennessee got to see that, when ambushed, Corker could rise to the occasion and act decisively. Even if the moment was small, Bob was devastating. Who knew?

That's the point. You can't know until the moment strikes, as it did (in far larger and more sweeping ways) for Roosevelt on December 7, 1941 and for G. W. Bush on September 11, 2001. Ford unwittingly handed Corker his decisive moment and Corker proved himself ready. On camera. Campaigns live and die by this stuff. Remember Bush being told at the Florida school about the WTC attacks?

Someone in the Corker campaign needs to move fast and, in a Clintonesque fashion, devise a nickname for Bob based on the moment, like "Backbone Bob" or something. A strong, catchy reminder; something that everyone but the campaign can use to constantly drive the point home. Not that I expect that to happen; Corker's new campaign staff still seem to be the usual dim-witted plodders that you always find. But the opportunity is there. Clinton had many faults, but seizing the moment wasn't among them.

It wasn't a good day for Ford anyway. Tennessee's highest-profile blogger, Instapundit, one of the biggest in the nation with more readers than all but a few newspapers, declined to vote for Ford. Although he's widely and incorrectly assumed to be a conservative, Professor Glenn Reynolds will be the first to tell you he's a Democrat -- albeit a self-described "9/11 Democrat," one whose worldview was altered by that day so that national security became Issue One.

Instapundit is precisely the voter that Ford needs to win: centrist independents, Democrats and Republicans who are security-minded. That he couldn't sway Reynolds is telling.

But he's not the only Democrat who remains unconvinced. In Shelby County -- where Ford's base is, the engine of his victory -- the lefty blogosphere is notable for its antipathy to Ford. They too are just the voters he needs: white and middle-class. But if you read The Flypaper Theory, LeftWingCracker, River City Mud Bugle and The Freedonian you see a litany of disgust verging on anger with Ford. Most of them loudly announced during the primaries that they would not vote for Ford only to ostentatiously recant and decide to hold their noses when they voted for him.

It's interesting to me that while Ford gets lots of media attention this little bit of backfire goes uncommented. I guess it doesn't fit the narrative of the Great Mocha Hope that is Harold Ford Jr.

One bit of irony, too. Corker's press conference was to talk about "ethics" legislation, which was all keyed to Ford's family shenanigans. Ford called him on it. It's something Ford just can't get away from and lately he's been getting a bit testy on it. (That may be what launched the ill-fated bus-drop.) I watched the Saturday morning news, just to see what kind of coverage the "presser crasher" story got. WREG/Newschannel 3 carried the story and then immediately followed it with a story about former State Senator John Ford's inability to pay alimony to one of his many mistresses / ex-wives. Harold and his family; paired like ... well, family.

The Ford campaign will sweat out the weekend. This kind of mano a mano confrontation is just what the media loves. The story was on the Drudge Report Friday evening! Will it make the Sunday news shows? I'd imagine the Ford people are worried now about how to handle it. Leave it alone and hope? Call the shows today to downplay the story, only to arouse their interest and have it picked up? A true "damned if you do, damned if you don't" quandary.

I've said since the beginning that this was Corker's race to lose. The polls have been a toss-up since the primaries, despite the newspaper horserace headlines. (Note to reporters: If a candidate is leading by 2 or 3% and the poll's margin of error is 2 to 4 %, then the race is a statistical dead heat. Talking about someone "leading" is just bad reporting. Stupid reporters....) Corker was tilting slightly ahead again in a poll released this week, and a Tennessee legislator says that unreleased numbers show Corker with a true lead and momentum. After Friday's flub, Corker was handed a big boost. Can he build on it for the next two weeks?

"Backbone Bob." Remember, you read it here first!

See the full video here. Click the "Harold Ford Junior Crashes Corker Presser" link in the "Add to Playlist" box.

Monday, September 25, 2006

This is Your Vagina on Drugs

A woman in police custody began to behave erraticly and incoherently, so she was given a standard battery of exams. Imagine the doctors' surprise when the vaginal x-ray shows a gun!

The eventual explanation is both sad and not entirely surprising.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Strike Three!

Harold Ford Jr has been caught in another lie out on the campaign trail. This time it is a bald-faced one where he claims to have voted for the Deficit Reduction Act when, in fact, he voted against it twice and filed a legal brief against it in court!

This follows his lie about supporting the Kelo decision and a lie about his record on gun rights!

Ford has lied about his voting record! You'd think the local media would be all over this, but ... not so much. They are too locked in to the "support the local boy doing well" template to consider anything that might muck it up and make their jobs harder.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quote of the Day

From this discussion on the "libertarian purge" that seems a permanent feature of libertarianism:
I always thought the libertarian litmus test was “Do you like a good pot-party with hookers?”
Lady Liberty: What Say You?

Iran showcases cartoons! No, not anime or Disney, but political cartoons, specifically in response to the depictions of Muhammad that appeared in the Dutch Jillen-Posten paper last year.
Organizers say displaying more than 200 entries from Iran's International Holocaust Cartoons Contest aims to challenge Western taboos about discussing the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews died but which Iran's president called a "myth."

"This is a test of the boundaries of free speech espoused by Western countries," said Masoud Shojai-Tabatabai, head of the Cartoon House which helped organize the exhibition, as he stood next to the Statue of Liberty drawing.

Iran's best-selling newspaper Hamshahri in February launched a competition to find the best cartoon about the Holocaust in retaliation for the September publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in Danish and other European newspapers.
That Statue of Liberty mention above is from a particular cartoon highlighted in nearly every Western news report I found on this:
[T]he Statue of Liberty is pictured holding a Holocaust book while giving a Nazi salute.
You can just barely see her in this photo, which I've blown up for you, to give you a sense of the cartoon.

"Statue of Liberty ... holding a Holocaust book while giving a Nazi salute."

It reminded me of the kerfuffle in the local lefty blogosphere last month, wherein a huge variant Statue of Liberty erected by World Overcomers Church led to much consternation. PeskyFly called it "menacing." Jeff of Pesky Fly called it a "desecration," which the LeftWing Cracker repeated. Jim Maynard headlined "Statue of Theocracy."

Other than some comments on LWC's post about the history of the State of Liberty (which most folks mis-know) I didn't post on the WOC Liberty because I don't care so much what some folks do with their money on their property.

And it's very fair to point out that some obscure cartoon in Iran isn't on the same level as a huge statue on Winchester. They don't impact us the same way.

But I'd be curious to hear what the same bloggers mentioned above have to say about this "desecration" of Lady Liberty. After all, it's the same abuse of an American icon of liberty and democracy in the service of "oppressive theocracy." Iran is a sectarian Shi'a theocratic state seeking to violently spread its interpretation of oppressive, anti-democratic sharia law around the world. Functionally, in the worldview of much of the left, the WOC and Iran are the same thing, seeking the same end.

Does it not also offend you as much? Is there a difference? I'm curious to hear anyone's thoughts on this.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Damn Good Idea

I got a press release this morning from John Harvey that proposes what seems to be to be a damn good idea: voting centers.

Read the whole thing, then I'll comment after:
Does this picture disturb you?

I recently spoke at a meeting in the Shelby Forest area during the National
Night Out. When I arrived, I was surprised to find a cart with seven of the
new Diebold Voting Machines sitting there. This picture was taken two days
prior to the election, as NNO was Tuesday, August 1st and the election was
on the third. The building where these machines was located has no security
and is unattended. I wonder how many other precincts were in that same
condition. Given all the questions surrounding the voting machines and how
easy it is to hack
1.html> , why would the election commission continue down this path?

This is just another reason we need to go to a "Voting Center" Concept.
Security of these machines should be of paramount importance. That doesn't
appear to be the case though. With 279 different locations, the logistics
are insane.

Voting Centers - Currently we use a precinct system where you have to go to
the exact precinct that you are registered in to vote. That system dates
back to a technology-less environment. Today we use the "voting center"
concept for early voting, then revert to precincts on election day. Voting
centers would allow any voter to vote at any center, just like during early
voting. Once you vote, your record is flagged as having voted and you cannot
vote again. It's database 101 technology.

By implementing a "voting center" concept, we would be able to:
1. Scale back the number of locations to a manageable number.
2. Since we would have a smaller number of locations we could find
qualified, trainable staff.
3. Provide voters with a more efficient and voter friendly system. (who
cares where you vote?)
4. Ensure voting machine security by not delivering the machines until the
last minute.
5. Political parties would be able to find enough poll watchers to man the
voting centers, candidates could also cover them more easily.
6. Eliminate the problems which occur when a precinct is added or
eliminated. People would just vote, and not have to worry about where.

If the Shelby County Election Commission doesn't do anything else, this is
an idea that needs to be implemented. The public's faith in the process
demands a change.
As he notes, this is just the early voting model revamped for Election Day. The Election Commission is already set up for queries of their database by voting stations during early voting, so that's not an issue. It would also result in less paper waste, as you'd only need to print a few hard-copy voting rolls per center, as a backup to the database query.

If you've voted, you've also likely noticed that the same folks volunteer year after year. They are already seniors, in most cases, and will be passing from us as the years go by. Re-aligning things into voting centers will, as John notes, give the County the ability to have a smaller, better trained, possibly better-paid, staff.

If there's a downside, I don't see it. It certainly meets the needs of Memphis' highly mobile black community, and the demands of the modern workforce. The only other thing I might consider is to make all elections, where possible, fall on Saturdays.

This idea deserves serious consideration and some big-name political leaders behind it to start the push to make it happen.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quote of the Day

An interesting way of looking at Tuesday's Connecticut primary between Lamont and Lieberman:
48% of Connecticut Democrats voted for the Bush candidate.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Lesson Learned

Well, Mr. Smartypants has learned a lesson since this time yesterday: Don't go into battle and forget to bring your sword with you.

I've spent a couple of hours now researching where else I might have seen the image besides The Flypaper Theory, and looking for some archived or cached version of either the post or the page. No luck at all.

Like I said in comments, I have a specific memory of the image. One that doesn't match the only other version I might have seen. I've gone through my browser history as well, looking for another site that might have had it. Nothing.

Three of the five bloggers at The Flypaper Theory have denied here making or deleting or even seeing that post. I'm told a fourth has also denied it privately. The fifth is incommunicado at the moment. Regular readers there don't recall seeing it; no one's as yet stepped forward here to corroborate me.

So, I've made a charge with no proof of it, then been called out. The lesson? Take screenshots! Apparently, lots of 'em of anything that might possibly be controversial later. Or make sure you've found and screen-grabbed a cached version first. Don't make an accusation without proof.

So, since I can't prove my memory and the folks at The Flypaper Theory all deny it, I retract the accusation of posting and then deleting the Lieberman black-faced photoshop. It appears to be a product of my faulty memory. I apologise for the trouble I've stirred up as a result. I apologise if anyone feels their reputations have been besmirched.
Well, I Was Wrong

I had been predicting that yesterday's elections would be one big snafu. That turned out largely to not be the case. I can't find the final numbers (the Election Commission site is misbehaving for me) but anecdotal evidence all day long yesterday was that turnout, overall, was lighter than expected.

The biggest reasons given were all the dire predictions about long, slow lines (Sorry!), the heat, the long ballot and the ususal suspect: voter apathy. I guess the regular pundits will be weighing in soon enough.

So: I was wrong. My bad; sorry.
Quote of the Day

From a discussion of the new horror movie The Descent:
[A] movie has to earn a happy ending or else it's just lollipops to dumbasses ....
Harold Ford Jr Caught in Another Lie

Knoxville's Say Uncle has caught Harold Ford in another campaign lie -- this time on guns.
This morning on the local talk radio, Ford was asked about the second amendment. He stated he had a B rating from the NRA. I reported here that he had an F rating. My first thought was he just flat out lied to east Tennessee. But Ford isn’t that stupid....

This is the second time he's flat out lied now. Kinda surprising that the local media hasn't picked up on it.

OK, not really. He's their golden boy -- the classic narrative of local boy made good, but written on the national scale. Al Gore belonged to Tennessee but Harold's ours. Add to that the general leftward tilt of most reporters, editors, commentators and producers here and the tendency to uncritically promote whatever's good for Memphis and there you go.

But it would be nice to see him held to account for his statements.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different!

After today's blogburst, and the attack of commenters that followed, I need a break. And so ...

Catblogging! Yeah!

I haven't taken any pics of my cat Bennie in a few years. My friend Mark loaned me his digicam for another purpose, but I snapped a few of my girl while I had it. You can read Bennie's story here. She turns six years old this month.

When she was a youngster, Bennie loved to sleep next to the computer while I surfed. But as the clutter built up she got annoyed and found elsewhere to hang out.

In the new place, she's taken to hanging out on the computer desk again. It's nice.

Hey! Whatta you lookin' at?

I love this shot. Great view of her face and she looks like she's engaged with you. Most cat pics, the cat looks like it's staring at a foreign object.

That's it. I'm outta here!

As you might guess, I love my Bennie. She's a sweet-heart and a boon companion, as they say.

And with this, I go back to the shadows....
Closing Election Thoughts

As I write this, Ed Bryant is losing to Bob Corker by a pretty definitive margin. And Van Hilleary conceded a mere two hours after polls closed. Bastard.

That's not to say that had he dropped out earlier that Bryant would've won. It would have benefitted Bryant, I'm sure, and might even have made the difference. Given the similarities between Hilleary and Bryant, it's a reasonable assertion, though. I'm beginning to see that, when given a choice between a hard-right, rock-ribbed conservative and a mushy, sorta-"centrist" Republican, voters tend to the middle. What effect more money and a clearer choice between two leaders rather than three might have had is always hard to say, but I'm beginning to wonder if it wouldn't have made the difference.

Too bad, as it's Tennessee's loss. And now Bryant and Hilleary go on the rubbish heap of Tennessee political history. As for the Corker v. Ford race, well ... it's a race now and not just a Republican walk-away. It's not gonna be pretty.

Looking at the numbers right now, all the Republicans have slightly more votes than all the Democrats, in Shelby County's polling. For Ford's homebase, and the expected big source of pro-Ford votes, that's not encouraging. On the other hand, Ford's primary was clearly his, so there's no way to know how many voters just didn't bother voting for him.

Harold Ford went to Nashville, and (tellingly) not Memphis, for his post-primary win rally. Remember that, Memphians. Not only that, but he made it a fund-raiser as well, for $150 a person! And right after, he's going to another, private, $10,000/plate fundraiser, also in Nashville. It's all about the money with that crew, isn't it?

Steve Cohen is maintaining a solid lead. I'm sure tomorrow the usual suspects will "blame" his win on too many blacks running, splitting the vote. A lot of pols are going to have to eat some crow when they go to meet him tomorrow. I hope he's petty enough to make them do it, too.

The top three County races -- Mayor, Sheriff and DA -- are showing that Shelby Countians seem to be perfectly satisfied with the status quo. All are wining by two-to-one or better margins. That's depressing, especially given all the crime that's been in the news and in talk this summer. Maybe voters are laying blame there with City of Memphis officials? Who knows, but still, it's depressing news to me. Four more years of more of the same. Feh.

Interestingly, the numbers of folks voting in those three elections is only a fraction of those voting for national and state-wide offices.

Retaining judges produced interesting results. In every race, with only a single exception, the retain/turn out ratio was 3 to 1. It's amazing. The sole exception was Judge Thomas Woodall, who had a bizarre 100% retain vote! That one demands examination and explanation.

Another interesting factoid is that each question garnered about 400,000 votes (at this writing). In other races, as few as 1500 people voted, but in these highly obscure judicial retention votes folks seem to answer out of some kind of strange compulsion. Do they think the judges will rule against them if they don't vote to retain? Again, this one demands answers.

The Tennessee Waltz investigation doesn't seem to be having much fallout, either. Kathryn Bowers and Lois DeBerry are both winning handily. I can't even recall it being an issue in any campaign. Nor the FedEx Forum investigation. I guess it really is true that Memphians don't care.

And lastly, the County Commission is finally going Democratic. Steve Mulroy is winning as I write. It's not entirely a surprise, as blacks move more and more into the county. It was going to happen eventually and that time is now.

As always, some races are still pretty close (like Cohen v. Tinker, which is now presently 28/26), so things could change by morning. And Ed Bryant is conceding now, too. I hate it.

Ah well.... Off to the Cartoon Network and then to bed.
Harold Ford Jr Thanks Bush For the War

It was either WREG/3 or WMC/5 that had a short video clip of Congressman Harold Ford Jr, after coming out of his polling station following voting, saying something very like "If the Iraqis can vote then I can stand a little heat and vote."

That's right, Ford just thanked Bush for the war! Because, had we not invaded Iraq in 2003, there would be no free and open elections in Iraq. Instead, under the Democrats of today they would be laboring under Saddam Hussein and his sham "elections."

No wonder all those lefty Memphis bloggers dislike the guy.

If anyone sees this video clip somewhere, let me know. It's not up on either news site right now.
The Amazing Disappearing Posts

Speaking of The Pesky Fly, as I will in the next post you'll read that I've already written and posted, I've noticed something this week that I find really disturbing.

First there was a Nikki Tinker post (referenced here) that disappeared. Pesky Fly (nom de blog of Chris Davis) at least explained the disappearance, but there's more to it, I think.

The post began by using as its hook the fact that no one had "disproven" Davis' assertion in an earlier post that Tinker had fabricated a claim about Hope scholarships being "disproportionately" awarded to middle-class and wealthy white Tennesseans. I pointed out in comments to that earlier post that I had seen a local television news story on just this subject, so it bore double-checking.

Davis then went on at length excoriating Tinker and her followers, in the typically hyperbolic and crude manner Pesky Fly readers are familiar with. So, I did the research that Davis hadn't and found several sources that proved my point and invalidated Davis' whole post.

Shortly after, that post disappeared and was replaced by the following:
The Youtube clip imbedded in the nerds post was causing problems. When I tried to take it out I got html errors. So I killed the post. Extra special thanks to Mr. Mike for hepping me to the links I was asking for. Everyone should have so helpful an archenemy.
That may be true, but I don't for a moment doubt that the unravelling of Davis' hook was also a factor, if not the deciding one.

At least that post's journey to the aether was memorialised.

Then yesterday they had a post with a now-infamous photoshop of Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman in blackface. (Scroll to the bottom.) The post was a general expression of vilification of Lieberman and support for his anti-war/anti-Bush primary opponent Ned Lamont.

Overnight, the photoshopped image sparked outrage from Lieberman's camp and demands for Lamont to repudiate the image and disassociate himself from the instantly-discredited creator of the image, Jane Hamsher. She blogs as FiredogLake and has been linked appreciatively by The Pesky Fly in the past. Although Lamont did suddenly claim to have no idea about that Intarwebs thing:
"I don't know anything about the blogs, I'm not responsible for those, I have no comment on 'em...Independent blogs, I can't say anything about it."
Others quickly documented Lamont's numerous and long-standing connections to Hamsher.

Anyway, overnight the Pesky Fly post with all this just went poof! with no explanation or notice. Just gone. Sadly, a check of Google's cache didn't turn it up either.

Removing posts is one thing. I've done it and there are a lot of legitimate reasons for doing so. But for a post to simple disappear after a lot of readers have seen and commented on it, with no explanation of any kind, is another matter. It is, at the least, bad blogging and, at worst, smacks of historical revisionism in the service of ass-covering.

When you run your blog by sending your mistakes down the memory hole it makes readers wonder what else they are missing and what might be missing from the posts that remain. It chips away at your credibility and integrity which, in the case of The Flypaper Theory blog, is a precious and scarce commodity already.

Shame on the folks there for doing this. Doubly so for a newspaperman, who by all rights ought to be outraged at himself for this.

ADDENDUM When I wrote this post, the Fly-post had already gone so I was, necessarily, writing from memory. I've only been reading (other than following links) one lefty blog of late and that's Flypaper Theory. I've only seen the Lieberman black-face photoshop in two places: there and at Michelle Malkin's blog, where it was the subject of a lengthy attack on Ned Lamont and Jane Hamsher. The image used there is different from my memory. No other blog I've been reading this week has used or linked to that image. (Maybe Instapundit? I don't think so, though I'll check again.)

That's where I got this post. The Flypaper Theory has a history of flirting with Nazi imagery and with other tasteless offensive graphics. I'd like to wish they were above that sort of stuff, but they seem to love it, sadly.

So far, only three of their five bloggers have spoken up to deny posting it.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Well I've earned the "Juvenile Obscene Sobriquet" of the Week award from Chris and the gang. Rather than address points, as he has somewhat done in the comments to this post, he takes the old tack of just slinging childish names and taunts. Trust me, I've been called much worse.

Let's recap my post: One Flypaper Theory post disappeared with a note that addressed the disappearance but not the content of the missing post. Ostensible reason: HTML issues. My allegation? That might be true, but having your argument kicked out from under you because you didn't do your homework, which is embarrassing, also played a role.

Another post a few days later also disappeared but with no anything. Just gone. It was a photoshop of a black-faced Joe Lieberman. That image, from another website, had ignited a storm of controversy nationally and gotten the blogger responsible into a whole lot of hot water. I alleged it disappeared to bury an embarrassment or controversy someone didn't want to handle, for whatever reason.

The "mystery" is why? There's no conspiracy being alleged. Just bad blogger behavior. Pesky's response? "Nuh-uh! F*cktard!" The only thing I'm saying is that, if what I see is true, then going down the road of disappearing inconvenient posts is dangerous to credibility. If they are doing what I suggest, then I hope they stop. I read their blog every day and, when they stick to facts, they are invaluable. Introducing an element of distrust will ruin the blog for me and everyone else.

Can anyone else corroborate my seeing the Lieberman black-face photoshop on Flypaper Theory and it disappearing? So far, one commenter says he can't recall it.
Open Election Day Post

Another blog is running an open comment discussion post about today's election. Given the numbers of folks who read here but not there (it's a hard-core, lunatic fringe lefty place) it seemed that a rightist Memphis blog should do the same.

So, please feel free to add your observations and experiences about today's election here. What was it like at your polling station? How did the election workers act? Any shenanigans or odd things to report? Any kudos to hand out?

Don't rely on the mainstream media (ie. local television news) giving you their shallow, narrow and sensationalised view of what's happening today. Add your brushstroke to the canvas!
Election Day Endorsements

Yeah, I've been AWOL again. Moving, back injury, lack of inertia, extreme summer heat, and a general disgust with politics (as always). I haven't been following things like usual.

That said, let me throw out a few endorsements nonetheless. This isn't comprehensive, obviously; and I stay out of the Republican and Democratic party primaries since I'm a Libertarian. So here we go:

John Willingham for County Mayor. Given the choice of Willingham and Wharton, I have to go with Willingham.

Wharton's smooth exterior and polished performances are deceptive in that he uses them to keep the actions of County government not hidden, but out of scrutiny. I'm not saying he's bad (certainly not in the Herentonian sense) but he's doing business as usual, following the same old paths of least resistance for the most part in his handling of County issues. His primary approach seems to be to keep things on an even keel, pointed in the same old directions.

John Willingham seems to have the interests of taxpayers at heart, even if that means rocking some boats and overturning some stones to reveal the unpleasantness underneath. He's been bird-dogging the FedEx Forum fiasco for years.

Given that they are my effective choices, I go for the guy who wants to reveal how my money has been misspent, who considers such civic fiscal management an important thing.

Ed Bryant The only partisan primary I'll get into. If I were voting here, I'd vote Bryant for the Republican US Senate choice. Now, some of you are wondering how a Libertarian can possibly support a conservative Christian favorite. It's a conundrum, I'll agree!

Van Hilleary, bless his heart, is a loser and an also-ran. That he's hung on this long in the campaign, to me, speaks very ill of him. He couldn't beat -- hell, he couldn't figure out how to beat -- a faux conservative Democrat in the gubernatorial election and he's supposed to beat another faux centrist Democrat? I wouldn't bet on him doing it.

Bob Corker makes me nervous. He already had millions in the bank years before the campaing started. He's changed or repudiated a lot of his old positions this season. I fear he just wants the office, not the responsibilities. He may have a genuine desire for public service, but I don't pick that up from him.

Ed Bryant is who he was when he went into the House in '94. He has found his principles and adapted himself to them, rather than being a weathervane kind of guy. Stodgy, traditionalist me likes that, overall. Unlike Harold Ford Jr I can predict his vote on a range of issues and can be fairly assured that he'll keep that predictabilility in the years to come.

He's also not given to "prima donna disease" as so many politicians are. I don't have to worry that he'll enter the Senate and become another Kennedy or McCain or Specter or Biden. I think that's important. I'd much prefer a solid workingman than someone who's always got one eye for the camera.

Will he likely support legislation and political approaches that curtail the freedoms that libertarians like me so cherish. Yeah, probably so. But I'll take the devil's bargain that he'll also work to stop, slow down or (hopefully!) even reverse what decades of Democratism have wrought on this nation. That comes first, for me. Stop the socialist tide and then we can work on restoring the spirit of liberty in America I guess I look on it as prioritising and picking your battles. I can accept that some, even many, libertarians may not agree.

Bryant is the best, most stark and most effective counter to Ford and the Democrats. He's got the stature to stand up to the media template of "rising young political star and avatar of race reform in the backwards South" that will attach to Ford like free campaign advertising. Corker is too much the obverse of Ford -- to close to being a political mirror. Hilleary just won't cut it; he'll flounder and play catch-up straight through November.

Bryant is our best defense against the Democrats and their allies in the media.

John Harvey In this race I don't accept the conventional political wisdom that "A vote for John is a vote for Reginald French." Truth to tell, I despise folks who think that way. I think you should vote for the person who will achieve or represent what you want in government.

Luttrell is another in the County line-up of bland corporate-style executives. I'm not impressed by folks like him, for whom image is all. I like folks who lay it on the table, problems and all, and then tell you what's being done or should be done.

I also remember when the County had its big budget couple of few years ago, Luttrell supported Mayor Wharton's "armageggedon" predictions by claiming that various frontline drug and gang units would have to be closed first if that budget (and property tax) request didn't go through.

When compromise was reached that meant not getting all they'd wanted but not having to slash, what did Luttrell then do? He suddenly found cuts in other programs! It was possible after all. Well, I find that kind of politics -- all too common in Shelby County and Nashville -- reprehensible at best. Treating his duty to the citizens of Shelby County to protect them from criminals as a political tool for use, and being willing to join in with that abuse, automatically makes a man untrustworthy in my eyes.

Harvey strikes me as a man of duty and principle. I've met him personally on several occasions and feel comfortable with the idea of him as our Sheriff. He's been on the front lines of our County's ongoing opposition to criminals. He's also interested in bringing computers into a more integral role in policing. Yes, it will be expensive on the front end, but I believe it pays off in minimising "paperwork" for officers, putting them back onto the streets faster, and in giving them tools to track, collate and research criminal activity in Shelby County and beyond.

I think Harvey will be a good agent for needed change, while maintaining official integrity in the office.

As for writing in his vote? That's easy. Select the "Write-In Candidate" box. You'll be taken to a new screen with a keyboard. Make sure you correctly type in his name "John Harvey" (so it counts) and then press "Cast Ballot." That's it!

And there you are, if my opinion matters.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rise Above!

The next bloggers bash is on!

Details are at the lovely and talented SerraBee's blog. And yes, this is a two-fer. There will be two bashes in one weekend, so there's no excuse for not attending. I will definitely be at the Sunday one and will try for the Thursday bash as well.

Congrats and thanks to SerraBee for taking this one up and coming up with a novel idea to maximise attendance. I know some folks from the newspaper will now be there because they can come on Sunday. Yay!

You'll also notice this one has a theme: Rise Above. It's all about putting aside any possible political, religious, cultural, gender, whatever partisanship there may be in the spirit of coming together as bloggers to meet and socialise. I think we've been pretty good on that count but it's good to see SerraBee raise consciousness on it.

So: Be there or be square, or be there the next time or be cubic! No excuses.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More on the Next Bash

Serrabee is just rollin' right along planning the next bash. You can help her by taking the survey so she can know when and where are best. And don't worry. There's room for other suggestions.

Go, now! And see y'all there.
Service Interruption

I'm in the middle of the Big Move (across the street, but still ...) and will be moving phone/internet service over the next few days. The webpage seem to indicate that both services may not switch at the same time, so I may not be able to access the net, email or the blog until mid to late next week.

Such are the mysteries of the corporate telecom world. Hopefully all will go smoothly but .... Who knows; who can say?

Fear not if I'm not there a coupla days. At worst, I can use the library's internet.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's Bashin' Time!

SerraBee is taking up the challenge and mounting the next blogger bash! She's soliciting ideas for when and where, so head on over and join in.

I'll admit that I'm really happy to see someone new have a turn at this. Not that I don't love to see them happen, but I've worried about the bashes being too identified with crazed, polarising me.

Remember, the bashes are open to anyone and everyone who blogs, livejournals, etc. Last time, at the P&H Cafe, we had record attendance and a monster-raving-loony good evening. We even got schmoozed by a politco!

So, head on over to SerraBee's and let her know you'll be coming.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mean Ol' Curmudgeon Me

From an emailer taking me to task over the meanness of my blog posts comes this entertaining bit of self-revelation:
I guess I read people who are nice and fun not so much rightwinged.
Obviously didn't read past the post that got them here, did they? But I love how it's not that we disagree or anything, it's that right-wingers are just bad people!

Yeah, nothing keeps you warmer than a smug sense of self-righteousness.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

All the News That's Fit to Ignore

In the comments to this post on the Tennessee Guerilla Women blog -- about a fund-raising visit for Harold Ford Jr by former president Bill Clinton -- "Newcoma" says this:
Don't remember a deficit under him. or a war.
Now, of course, this is an astonishingly stupid thing to say because of, you know, Somalia and Iraq and ... well, there's that whole Kosovo thing.

You remember? We invaded a sovereign nation with which we had no beefs whatsoever. The UN condemned us for it, although Europe and NATO were happy for us to do their dirty work. You see, the folks fleeing from all the fighting were headed to Central and Eastern Europe. Millions of 'em. Just flooding over the borders. It made the Europeans pretty upset and they wanted something done. So, we did it for 'em; or rather, Clinton did it for 'em, as he likes Europeans a lot.

But what raises Newscoma's comment from astonishing to stupendous in the Ignorance column is that she's the managing editor of a small, West Tennessee newspaper!

Yeah, the person responsible for getting out the twice-weekly paper, who is happy to blog about all things newsy, can be that stupid. Or that willfully partisan. Or that selectively blind.

Or just that dumb.

And we should trust this person with our twice-weekly ration of news why?

Oh, and the TGW post has an adulatory picture of Bill Clinton, to heighten the point about how well loved he is. Well, here's another picture, nearly forgotten, of a float from a German New Year's parade in 1999. Yeah, those Europeans really love him:

Friday, July 07, 2006

Harold Ford Jr Caught in a Lie

East Tennessee State Representative Stacey Campfield was listening a local talk radio show that Harold Ford Jr was guesting on yesterday and caught Ford telling a lie.

Remember, back in June 2005, when the Supreme Court released its Kelo decision? They held that government could use its power of eminent domain if the only public good served was to increase the tax revenue to be derived from the land in question. It sparked a firestorm and a lot of governments since (including Tennessee but not Shelby County) have been moving to mitigate the ruling's effects.

Here's what Ford had to say about Kelo at the time:
I've always believed individual rights are a big thing..... but, I find value in the court's decision. As long as people are compensated fairly, I can appreciate the decision. Certain areas in our state are crying for development, if this decision helps - it's a positive.
That was Ford speaking on Teddy Bart's Roundtable, a well-respected but now defunct Nashville political radio program. Follow the link to hear the audio for yourself.

Now, according to Campfield, here's what Ford is saying:
Congressman Jr. was put on the spot by a sharp caller (I think his name was JB) who asked about his former statements of how he thought the Kelo decision had some good in it.

The caller asked if he had changed his opinion or if he wanted to back up from the statement.

Instead of saying "I have grown away from that" as he did on many other issues when his rhetoric did not fit the record. The congressman instead said "I never said that".

According to Campfield, the audio in question should go up on the station's website archives soon.

You can read Hobbs' amused take here.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Proud To Be An American

Some readers might accuse me of a "love it or leave it" kind of patriotism and love for this country but they'd be wrong. Study history and you learn we've done some very bad things, sometimes for a greater good and sometimes just to enrich a few.

But I firmly believe America is the most perfectible country on the planet. Folks who think other parts of the Anglosphere-- like Canada, Britain, Australia or New Zealand -- are better, more civilised places probably don't know much about those countries. The liberties and freedoms we prize here in America are routinely circumscribed elsewhere. Look it up.

Just last year, a major scandal broke in Canada involving government corruption. It eventually brought down the government. But the Canadian press couldn't report it, because a ban on covering the story was in effect! In Britain, all the government needs to do is slap a "D certificate" on something and publishing about it will get you jail time and confiscation of your media business. In most European countries, you have to register with the police when you move, so they know where to find you. Heck, in Britain you need to have a license to own a television set, and they have patrols that scan neighborhoods for violators. Why a license? To fund the government-controlled television networks! Up until the early 80's (if memory serves) there were exactly four stations available to Brits.

So, how to express the complex feelings I have for America? With song! From California band The Tubes, from their mid-70's album Young & Rich, comes "Proud to be an American:"
I'm proud to be an American.
I'm proud of the groovy things we've done.
There's television, free religion, rock 'n' roll, Standard Oil,
Times Square, Jimmy Darren, Corey Wells, and Smokey Bear,
Price reduction, Reconstruction, Peace Corps, and lots more.
Culture that we got to lend.

I'm proud to be an American.
And I'm proud - I had a great time bein' one.
There's your school and my school and both of us in high school.
Surfboards, cigarettes, homework and Southern Comfort.
Boy's dean was real mean,
Made us keep our lockers clean.
Failed nearly every class -
Ditchin' was a gas.

I'm proud to be a young American.
Just think about it - all the far out things that we've begun:
There's revolution, constitution; land, sea, and air pollution;
Cold wars, hot wars, gas wars, and contributions,
Constipation, consternation, open hearted palpitations,
Muscular dystrophy.

I'm proud to be an American.
Because we got department stores full of cheap guitars,
But when Sputnik plays 'em, you just Go-Go-Go-Go-Go!

I'm proud to be an American.
(We've got two chickens in every garage!)
And I wish every other kid could be one.
(In my country, the medium is the massage!)
'Cause it's impossible to give equality and justice
(Gimme your meek and your homeless.)
To inferior foreigners too jealous to trust us.
(How 'bout checkin' the oil, ah, fella?)

I'm proud to be an American. [Repeat and fade.]
Imagine a boppin', Jerry Lee Lewis-style, early Sixties piano rocker and there you go.

Britain was our mother, and she's still one happenin' babe. Our sister France is still a little difficult, and sometimes she's a bit slutty, and she's a tad too obsessed with her own comfort and leisure. But we love her just the same. Our cousins across the world? Well, they all drive Audis and Beetles, worry about mortgages and such. They're not as well off as they pretend they are. They say things about us when we're not there.

But America roars up at the family get-togther in our Prowler with the top down and stereo blasting. Probably rap music. We're loud, sure, but we're fun. We'll get drunk, knock something over and probably feel up Hong Kong. The Junior League matrons-to-be like Canada and New Zealand will tut-tut, but their children will watch us enviously, and ask us where to buy those pants. And yeah, the neighbors will probably crash the party to have a run at the buffet table. Everyone secretly wants to be us, but no one has the guts to go for it.

Happy birthday, America!