Friday, March 31, 2006

Separated at Birth?

Were Cynthia McKinney, US Representative from Georgia, and Buckwheat, comedy performer, separated at birth? I present, you decide.

I promise you, that photo of McKinney was taken directly, without any alteration, from the Yahoo News site.
Sauce For the Gander

I blogged recently about the seeming editorial vendetta by the Commercial Appeal, and Bartholomew Sullivan especially, against the Tennessee Republican Party through the person of neo-nazi James Hart. You can read those posts here, here and here. The Republicans are attempting to oust Hart from their primary ballot. There was no question to me that these stories were written so as to maximise the smear and draw significant attention to it.

Now we have a case from the other, Democratic, side by which to judge equality of treatment. I first heard about efforts by Democrats to oust two candidates from their own primaries from Jackson Baker at the Flyer.
As reported by blogger polar donkey (, who was iron-butted enough to stand the vigil, the Shelby County Democratic Party’s steering committee met in executive session for almost five hours Thursday night at the IBEW union hall and finally decided by a 5-3 vote to ask the Election Commission to decertify two candidates — J.W.Gibson and Johnny Hatcher – currently on the party’s May 2 primary ballot....

Both Gibson and Hatcher were designated for decertification because of prior Republican Party activities. Gibson’s departure from the Democratic ballot would leave only Derrick Harris as a party candidate, assuming that incumbent commissioner Walter Bailey, term-limited out by action of the state Supreme Court Wednesday, does not succeed in a possible federal court appeal. Several candidates would remain in the Democratic primary field for the seat Hatcher has been seeking.
I had missed this from the Appeal and it turns out most of this was reported this week, when the impetus for the story was Walter Bailey and his campaign to keep his County Commission seat.

Using the CA search function turned up three stories that I could find on this. Two (here and here) are actually about Bailey or his putative successor, long-time Democratic activist and State of Tennessee General Assembly pension beneficiary Sidney Chism. The part on the decerts is buried deep.

Try these excerpts:
In the race for Bailey's District 2, Position 1 seat, two candidates remain: business owner J.W. Gibson and Lifeblood manager Darrick Harris.

Some local Democrats are trying to remove Gibson from the Democratic primary ballot, citing his affiliation with the Republican Party.
That started at the seventeenth paragraph in the story. Or this one, which starts in the third-to-last paragraph:
The state ruling on changing the ballot would also impede an effort to get two Democratic commission candidates off the primary ballot.

Complaints have been lodged against candidates Gibson and Johnny Hatcher, citing their affiliation with the Republican Party. Hatcher is running for District 3, Position 1.
It's just a sideshow, a way to say they did report it if they are ever called on their inequity.

Only the first story focuses on the ballot removal, but because Walter Bailey is the hook.

Read all the stories and see what you think. The Republican ones are designed to make it clear that Hart is a nutjob hater and that the Republicans have been snuggling him to their breast, lo, these many years. The luridness and detail are intentionally hyped up. The Republicans are painted as harborers of evil who have to be prodded to do good.

But in a similar Democratic case, the decertifications are largely incidental to the stories. The focus is not on the party, but on something else. Details are short, langauge is plain, and little is repeated from story to story beyond the most basic elements. It's all business as usual.

Is this evidence of double standards in handling political stories? I think so. What do you think?

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Try this passage, also from the inimitable Jackson Baker, written before the Democratic Party action:

J.W. Gibson fundraiser at the Hunt-Phelan Home on Beale. A well-connected local businessman, Gibson, a Democrat, African American, and candidate for the county commission, boasted a diverse and influential sponsor list that included the likes of Beth Gallagher, Ron Belz, Harold Byrd, the Rev. James Netters, Robert Spence, and former Shelby County mayor Bill Morris. He is also being actively promoted by former Commercial Appeal columnist Susan Adler Thorp, currently doing TV commentary and working in business and public relations

Gibson's position is iffy by definition, a true gamble. He could be running in a three-man primary field against Derrick Harris and longtime incumbent Walter Bailey, or, if the state Supreme Court, which held hearings on the matter last week, upholds a 1994 countywide referendum in favor of term limits, against Harris alone.

It makes a difference how the cards fall, in that influential veteran Bailey, one of three plaintiffs in the current suit, would be heavily favored if he stays in. In case he does, both Gibson and Thorp came armed with an argument against his incumbency. Bailey has had a long and distinguished career, both said, but now it's time for fresh blood. "What can he do now that he hasn't accomplished in the 30 years he's had to do it?" asked Thorp rhetorically.

UPDATE: Gibson is suddenly under challenge by a number of Democrats (and, more importantly, by official Democratic Party organs)for having voted in Republican primaries since 1994 and for actually having served as an officer of the local GOP steering committee last year!

The party's Primary Board (which includes opponent Harris) was scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon to consider expunging Gibson from the primary ballot. Such a move would need to be ratified by either the county party or the state party, and the local party's steering committee was reportedly scheduled for an imminent emergency meeting.
Anyone want to enlighten me on the sudden interest in Gibson? Was it just an ill-timed move by Bailey that got steamrollered and rendered irrelevant by his Supreme Court loss? Or is Gibson a stealth Republican, even despite Baker's comments above and Gibson's fundraisers?

If you are a CA reader, you are, of course, out of luck here.
It's Jumped the Shark, OK?

Just saw WPTY/24's Dee Griffith and then co-anchor Cameron Harper use the phrase "It's hard out here for a pimp." on the 5PM news. Can we please retire any and all versions of the Three-6-Mafia song title now? It's not at all witty any more.
Hyperlocal Blogging

It's been a while since I blogged on the neighborhood. Let's catch up.

We were surprised when, a couple of months ago, the corner at Avalon and Monroe sprouted a sign from the Office of Planning and Development saying that the large grassy plot on a small hill about head level was going to be rezoned. We had all though the whole corner belonged to the woman who owned the large house there, but apparently not.

I called the OPD and learned it was not as we feared -- a residential plot being zoned commercial for a bar or something -- but the opposite! The lot had been unused commercial for nearly twenty years and was now being zoned for a single-family dwelling.

We were happy to hear that. The east end of the block is now all single family homes, except the apartments right behind Sekisui. Two new family homes were built on the small empty lot we had been using as a pocket park and that sparked some rehabbing of other homes around it. The eastern half of our block of Monroe looks really nice nowadays.

(Although: You never see any of the new families outside. Never. Fear of the other half of the block is very strong.)

The western half is all run-down apartments and multiple-family housing. Slum landlords rule there. The woman who runs the three-story, glass front Glenmanor Apartments tries to keep things up and keep out the problems, but does so sporadically. The duplex next door seems to have been abandoned; it had been fired on and had a drunk driver crash through their fence and into the side of the building right in the main bedroom. Another building was bought recently by some speculators who put some money into rehab and then promptly filled the building back up. They are staying, but are shocked by the rest of their neighbors.

There are six buildings (my complex has three; the others are free-standing) owned by a company that simply doesn't care. Buildings are allowed to run down; repairs are rare. Tenants, when they get them, are usually gone shortly after moving in. The drug dealers, lieutenants, hookers and drug users chase them off.

Take my complex. There are three buildings, but two are nearly empty. Windows not boarded up are broken out. The remaining apartments have all been vandalised after being broken into. Trash over every description blows along. (Every description.) Drug traffic constantly parades in and out of Bo's apartment. The other lone tenant, a middle-aged black woman, is never seen unless driving in or out of the complex. It's a bombed-out, deserted, dark and scary place. Right behind my apartment.

The third building is mine, up front on the street. We presently have five tenants out of eight apartments. One of the apartmetns was recently rebuilt from the studs out because of an accidental fire that consumed it. But the guy who moved in turned out to be a friend of Bo's and within a couple of months he had a fully-fledged drug operation going there. By the time he got thrown out the apartment was trashed. You'd never know it was brand new.

It was pretty frightening for some. It was frustrating for me, having to deal with hostile glares from strangers standing out on the front walk. I live here, asshole, I kept thinking as some shiftless crackhead scanned me. It was a constant battle to replace lightbulbs either broken or stolen to keep it dark. The landlord has yet to fix two damaged fixtures we've reported. We've had to put up with petty thievery, the druggies preying on each other, the hustlers, the toughs and the crazies, arguments at every hour of the day, you name it. Nothing happens, despite calls to the landlord and police.

And remember: this was the place that made the local news in 2004 when the District Attorney, sheriffs and every news station in town descended on us to show how tough the DA and cops were on crime. They didn't arrest anyone because there was no one home; they'd been warned in advance. Now it's like nothing happened back then.

That guy in front finally got evicted after he stopped paying rent. Not Bo the main dealer, for some reason. I watched a major raid involving 12 officers several months back on his apartment; one of many police visits. They found drugs and a gun; Bo's a felon so guns are a violation for him. They also found two trashbags full of stolen merchandise. Bo was taken downtown, but was back the very next morning.

Their associate across the street (who used to live over here and was somehow able to get a new lease over there despite the landlord knowing who she was) is also still operating, and just rented a second apartment to spread out her crew. Traffic over there is even worse. Tenants have moved out as soon as three days after moving in. I'm told they are putting together a petition to give the landlord: either she goes or they all go.

It's no wonder the landlord can't get folks to move in. I even watched one day as someone in a red sports car pulled up and stole all the "Now renting" sign frames from the front yards. He was gone before I could get his license number. It seems emblematic of our block.

So, enough digression. When we learned about the new house on the corner, it was good news. If it spurs our landlord to either sell or fix up, that's good. And just yesterday they laid out the wood frame for the concrete slab foundation. Soon come, as they say. It's well back from the corner itself which should be attractive. Nice view from up there, too.

Down on the corner of Belvedere and Monroe, the new strip mall is finally finishing up. They promised to be open by October, but it was March before the first business opened. Now, they have five businesses (Baskin-Robbins, Cingular, Bensinger's Cleaning, High Point Coffee, BA Framer and Pei Wei) in various stages of opening.

It's a nice looking mall, I have to admit. Loeb Properties spent more than the minimum, putting in brick finish, finial-like knobs on the columns, terracotta medallions, and more. Not sure how I feel about an ice-cream store at the end of the street, though....

It's also interesting that several of the businesses are simply relocating from another spot on Union. (BA Framers from the Kimbrough Tower and Bensinger's from the small mall at Union and McLean.) Is the new mall's prestige worth the increased rent? Location and access don't seem to be that much better at all.

Does anyone know about Pei Wei? It says "Asian diner" on the sign, which to me screams overpriced, but the thought of another cheap Asian eatery next door (along with Dragon China buffet, of course, and Pho Hoa Binh) has me salivating. Still, it's in a brand new, upscale strip mall (harhar) which I doubt means "affordable." Hope survives....

The Wendy's on Union, after months of inactivity following the kitchen fire, is rebuilding and looks only a few weeks from re-opening. It's the same frame, but with a new double-window drivethrough, a moved side door and a new paint job. I can't wait for it to come back, but only if they replace the sullen and indifferent staff there.

The huge rug store next door to Wendy's is going out of business. What's going to happen to all that retail space in that rundown building is anyone's guess.

So there you go! Drug traffic is still an ongoing problem, though it's slightly better than before. New residential building might spark more rehabbing. New economic development all around.

Such is life on my block of Monroe in Midtown.

SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Thanks to Jeremy in comments for pointing me to Pei Wei's corporate website, where you can also view a generic menu for the chain. Looks yummy, if not very cheap.
Business Dress Advice

Via Fishkite comes an examination of the inadequacies of men's business dress:
Finally, the tie. Everybody loves the tie — a built-in choke hazard and your primary vulnerability. Your entire outfit is dark, plain, boring… but then you’ve got one little strip of bright fabric that might as well be a neon bullseye for the sniper across the street. The tie is the most useless, pointless, ridiculous looking waste of time on the planet. Also known as a noose or a leash, you must know that having a strip of loose material hanging from your neck simply isn’t a good idea. There is no limit to the variety of machines that it could get caught in and cause you to get sucked in and ground into a bloody pulp.
Oh, did I mention the satire? Yes, lots of that.
What to Expect

Remember my post last week on the Living Wage campaign? I mentioned Professor David Ciscel, whose white paper on Memphis and the living wage kicked off the whole movement for Memphis. Professor Ciscel provided some additional support, via the Smart City blog (see post), on why Memphis should adopt the living wage.

One of his three points was:
3. Higher wages force business innovations.
Which seems an obvious non-sequitur to me, but then I don't have a PhD. Paying higher wages will force businesses to develop techonological ways of doing business that require less labor and, therefore, fewer workers.

So now comes a story from Philadelphia that proves my point. Philly Plumbers Upset by Waterless Urinals!

From the story:
This city's hoped-for bragging rights as home of America's tallest environmentally friendly building could go down the toilet.

In a city where organized labor is a force to be reckoned with, the plumbers union has been raising a stink about a developer's plans to install 116 waterless, no-flush urinals in what will be Philadelphia's biggest skyscraper.

Developer Liberty Property Trust says the urinals would save 1.6 million gallons of water a year at the 57-story Comcast Center, expected to open next year.

But the union put out the word it doesn't like the idea of waterless urinals — fewer pipes mean less work.

The city's licensing department, whose approval is needed for waterless urinals, has not yet rendered a decision.

The mayor's office has stepped in to try to save the urinals, which use a cartridge at the base to trap odors and sediment as waste passes through.

It is telling the plumbers that the city's building boom will provide plenty of work for them and that even waterless urinal systems need some plumbing connections, said Stephanie Naidoff, city commerce director.
So there you go and now you know.

One reason I've nearly stopped paying attention to the mainstream media news is stories like this from It talks about contract negotiations and corporate restructuring by Delphi (maker of GM car parts), but does so in apocalyptic terms:
Delphi announced plans Friday to throw out its union contracts and shed more than 28,000 workers as it shut down most of its U.S. operations -- moves that could spark strikes at the auto parts maker and a possible bankruptcy filing at its biggest customer, General Motors.
Holy smokes! Sounds like a crippling blow to the American economy is coming. Even the headline is doom'n'gloom: "Delphi actions could bankrupt GM."

But of course, regular readers at Half-Bakered know to always read down into the story for the best parts, and here it is:
Even with the union's statement Friday, some experts continued to say they expect Delphi and the unions to reach a deal without a prolonged strike. Bob Schulz, the chief auto debt analyst for rating service Standard & Poor's, said he didn't see the risk of a strike at Delphi or bankruptcy at GM as necessarily any higher Friday than before the filing.

"Resolving the issue probably required starting the clock and filing with the court. It isn't that surprising that they filed the motion," he said Friday. "There are a number of reasons why we think all three parties will reach a consensual agreement. There's a lot of time before the May hearing."
So, we've had the worst case scenario presented to us, when the likelihood is that things will resolve themselves without horror, although a lot of jobs will be lost.

Doesn't seem to stop the story writer though, who plows right on, in the next paragraph:
But if there are prolonged strikes at Delphi, it would halt production at GM, a move that experts say would force the troubled automaker into bankruptcy court itself.
Sigh. And I should pay attention to this crap why?
Where Was the Protest?

An interesting point is made by Robert in Miami about last weekend's illegal immigrant protests and why there were so few in the South Florida area:
Many (not most, but quite a few) of the protesters in the other cities had anti-American signs, chanted anti-American slogans and in an isolated case even burned an American flag. You will be hard-pressed to find an hardcore anti-American immigrant in South Florida.
Good point. From what mainstream media coverage I saw, the protests were carefully scrubbed of their anti-America and reconquista ("re-conquer") elements. Also missing was any talk of the government of Mexico's complicity in the flood of illegals coming into America.

I'm not opposed to immigration. Obviously not, as my mother is a naturalised French-Canadian. My great-grandfather was Irish. I'm proud of both heritages. That's the point, they are heritages, not seeds. I don't want to recreate Quebec or Eire here in America!

I've blogged before that we need two things. First is border control against a flood of people just coming into this country. It's the basic duty of the Federal government, before providing health care and education to illegals. Sure, you're welcome, c'mon in! But if your first act in getting here is to break a law doing so, then I don't want you here. Millions of folks before you did it legally, like my mom; don't dis them.

Second is to briefly throttle back on immigration to allow time for the dominant American culture to assimilate the new folks. Since the Sixties, we've had immigration in numbers -- and percentages -- that far exceed anything from the great 19th / 20th century influx. Look at your history and you'll see the enormous, wrenching problems this country faced then. Then look around you today, and you'll see similar problems today.

We should give America time to do her magic, to make the Mexicans and Central Americans who stream in to become Mexican-Americans. To flavor American culture with their native spices and ways. That's the win-win here.

But what seems clear to me is that a large number, maybe a majority, of illegals have no interest in being or becoming Americans. They are here to transfer some wealth back to family in other countries. There's a dedicated minority who are set on retaking the Southwest and California, setting "right" what went "wrong" in the 19th century's Mexican-American War. Folks like "La Raza" (The Race, or The People), MeCHA and the reconquista flag-wavers.

As to some of the proposals being floated this week in Congress in the wake of those protests, I'm fine with amnesty for illegals provided it's paired with punishment and / or deportation for those who don't take advantage of it. I'd even allow a fairly long period for the amnesty, say two or even three years. It also has to be paired with efforts to roll back bi-lingualism in schools and goverment affairs.

But guest workers? No. It's slapping a happy-face bandage on a deep wound and pretending all is fine. We should send the Living Wage folks into those areas of the economy that are dependent on cheap labor (agriculture and constructions and food service) and turn them loose.

"Guest workers" were brought into Europe during the Sixties and Seventies to help rebuild the countries there by doing the work the "native" population didn't want to do. You can see what happened there. It's what's happening here now, and "guesting" them will only exacerbate those ills. You don't create an underclass and then expect them to acculturate.

I've always been very proud that America is a nation where the only requirement is to stick up your hand and say "I want to join." Native birth or lineage not required. Illegal immigrants from the South aren't sticking up their hands. They aren't joining. They are creating a parallel culture, not commingling with ours. Multiculturalists may bleat about America's many cultures, but they don't want assimilation, they want balkanisation, and we all know where that led.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I'm a Redneck!

I spent the day helping the guys who are opening Fanatic Games (in Bartlett, at the end of Altruria) set up their store today. Great bunch of guys, and they treated us to dinner at Huey's as a thank-you! The top of my head, my forehead, and my neck are all bright red right now. I've just swallowed some Alleve and after I check a couple more things I'm off to bed.

Fanatic Games has their Grand Opening on Saturday! Check 'em out. Here's their website.

Posting resumes on Friday!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quote of the Day

Via Possumblog:
[T]he heady tonic of graft to a politician is much like absinthe to a Bohemian wastrel. Or something. As for pork, I recommend Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge Pork Beverage, which is remarkably free of gristle.
Hold Up the Mirror

You know how the Democrats / lefties are forever lecturing conservatives, etc., on feminism and the proper way to treat women?

Yeah, right.
Not Today

Sorry, y'all, but it will be Thursday evening before I get back to blogging. I volunteered to do something Thursday day and won't be home until dinner time or maybe later.

In the meantime, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling upholding the term limits passed by Shelby County voters. This is a tremendous victory for us. Although I oppose term limits on principle (every election is a potential term limit!), the voters of Shelby County in that election were remarkably clear in what they wanted. Kirk, Bolton and Bailey's suit to overturn was craven and self-serving. It's good to see them so thoroughly smacked down.

Anyway, more tomorrow, I promise.
Wednesday Slough

It's Wednesday, and so I won't be blogging until late tonight, if at all. Might be Thursday, although I have a thing that afternoon. I had hoped to squeeze something in this morning, but that's not happening.

Be good or be careful.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Campaign Season Spreads

I'm not the only one campaigning for a job in local media. Thaddeus Matthews has now thrown hit hat into the ring, offering to host a show on the local Air America affiliate, WWTQ, to rescue them from their ratings disaster.

It might be hard for him to get on the air while he's heading up Operation FedUp, the effort to recall Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, but once the issue does or doesn't get on the ballot he's just another citizen.

He hasn't been on the air in a while, except calling in to other shows. I've caught him many times on the Andrew Clark Sr show on WREC AM600 (weekends, noon to 3PM).

He's fearless in ways Mike Fleming only dreams of, unafraid to make charges and uncover the secret. He makes friends and allies, but doesn't shill for anyone. That means he has a lot of enemies across the political spectrum. I'd love for him to be back on the air, and I'd certainly listen.

The question is, are there any local radio outlets with enough nerve to let him on the air? That's his problem. He stirs the pot, kicks over the table, states the unspeakable. He's dangerous to the status quo of Memphis politics.

Thaddeus is good news for you and me, trouble for the folks using your government to enrich themselves.
Spring Cleaning Still

[This is a repost. I wanna get rid of this stuff ASAP.]

It's spring cleaning time at Casa Dos Amigos. It's all gotta go:

1. Denon AVR-1403 Stereo Surround Receiver and Home Theater. Top of the line, like new. Work great. Handles 5.1 sound, DTS inputs, component video. With remote, lots of cables and manual. NOTE: requires 8 ohm speakers ONLY. (Specs here.) $200.

2. Pioneer CLD-M301 Laserdisc and 5 CD player. Got from neighbor, but powers up fine. (Specs here.) $25.00

3. Audiovox Soundshaper 90, 10-band graphic equaliser. Lightly used; like new. With manual. $25.00

4. Pioneer S-H235B-K, 6 ohm speakers. 100 Watts each. With manual. Insides perfect, but dusty. $50.00/pair.

5. Huffy Ocala "Classic beach edition" 6-speed cruiser bike. Frame, fenders and paint in excellent condition, but gearshift needs repair. Currently stuck in 6th gear. Derailleur is fine. Comes with new handle grips. $50.00

6. 6 foot plastic ficus; limbs & leaves need reshaping, but still in fine condition. Smells of incense and cigarettes even after cleaning! (Not mine, I promise.) Comes with ceramic "Chinese" koi-bowl planter with gold, black and terra-cotta colored floral Oriental design. $30.00

7. 30 gallon aquarium tank. Dirty inside and out. (It was a terrarium.) No cracks or leaks that I know of. 12 x 24 x 17 inches. $20.00

8. VHS tapes! All $2.00 each in excellent condition.
a. The Navigator (Vince Ward; time travel sci-fi. Really good!)
b. Blackadder season 1 (two tapes)
c. Punk Rock Movie (The original! Sex Pistols, Clash, Billy Idol)
d. Metropolis / Things to Come two-fer
e. Star Quest (low budget sci-fi; 1990; pretty good!)
f. Hannah and her Sisters (I know, I know. Let it go.)
g. Miracle Mile (End of the world, in LA)
h. Max Headroom (The American pilot version, IIRC)
i. Sex, Lies and Videotape (Steven Soderburgh)
j. Arise! (Church of the SubGenius indoctrination video. The Gospel of Slack. Trippy!)

I live in Midtown, near the Pig on Madison, just down from Sekisui. All sales cash. Offers entertained.

I also have boxes of mid-90's music magazines. Ben is Dead; Industrial Nation, Op, Option, Fizz, FactSheet Five, etc. Any interest? And three wooden cassette tape racks that hold 60 tapes each, plus dozens of mid-80's to early 90's punk, indie and alternative cassette tapes. Way too many to list, unless someone is seriously interested. Cheap bulk sale on them. All in excellent shape, very playable.

Terry is a great guy who lives in Trussville, just outside of my former hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. He blogs about his life and adventures as Possumblog. He is also the founder / social director of the Axis of Weevil or, as it's sometimes called The Cotton State Quilting and Artillery Society, a group of bloggers who are for Alabama what the Rocky Top Brigade is to Tennessee.

You would think that blogging about his job, his family, his church and life in general might not be interesting, but you'd be very wrong. Terry is hilarious and wise. Trying to mow the lawn is high adventure; dealing with his teenaged daughter is Dostoiyevskian drama.

Go check out Possumblog. I'd bet it gets added to your daily feed.

Theogeo unleashes her inner editor on some former journalism colleagues with devastating results. She spares no punches:
So why do you suck so hard? Shouldn't you have mastered the most basic grammatical functions and newspaper conventions by now? If you have an experienced adviser and editor — both of whom have worked for "real" (non-student) outlets in the past — calling the shots, why, oh why, does the paper read like it was written by high schoolers? In special ed?

I'm sorry. I scold because I love. Sidelines meant so much to me and was such a formative experience, both in my career and my personal life. I met the career I like and the people I love at Sidelines. Why is Sidelines 2006 fucking up that positive connection for me?

I guess I thought that when Sidelines' new adviser blitzkrieged the staff with an outside "experienced" editor in chief to do her bidding, we would see less of the annoying mistakes the adviser complained so forcefully and persistently about. You know — typos; useless headlines; grammatical faux pas; cliches; yawnorific ledes; played-out columns that say nothing — those sorts of things. I assumed the adviser was going to be in the newsroom on BOTH production nights (ouch — it hurts me to type of such regression), pecking away at a keyboard, helping weed out the embarrassing crap that inexperienced writers manage to pass through inexperienced editors.
And then she gets down to specifics. Ouch.

In many ways, this is the textbook example of good blogging, combining passion, knowledge, experience and a deep concern for excellence. Well done!
Oops! Almost Forgot

[Welcome readers! You can learn more about my crusade by reading my announcement post, and the follow-up here. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to use my campaign banner on your site, if you'd like to help!]

I haven't mentioned this lately, so here goes. I'm still interested in becoming the Commercial Appeal/s new Metro columnist, to replace the now-gone Wendi Thomas.

I'll work for less. I'm not pat or predictable. I have a large range of interests and an unending curiousity about things. I'm not too interested in status quos nor quid pro quos. I'm a conservative Libertarian and an atheist, so I'm guaranteed to provoke! Writing is what I like to do. I like to educate, inform and entertain folks.

It's a win-win situation for everyone. Even my Mom will be happy that I'm finally being paid for writing.

So c'mon Chris. Give it a go.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Gun Sense

AlphaPatriot looks at the Kansas concealed carry victory, a truly stupid comment by a deputy police chief, and the cold, reassuring facts of concealed carry. Here's an excerpt:
And why do people think that putting a gun in a cop's hand is fine because they have half a college degree (54 hours, unless waived in lieu of military service) and went to an academy for 20 weeks, but putting a gun into the hand of an otherwise normal person will endanger everyone around them because they might "get mad" and suddenly start shooting?

And so I ask them, when was the last time that they were so angry at someone that, had they had a gun in their belt, they would have drawn and fired, killing that person. And when they say that they couldn't imagine being that angry, I ask them what it is about me that makes them think that I am so different from them.

I'm not, nor are the other millions of permit holders across this nation. Which is why, of the 1.1 million licenses issued in the last 19 years in Florida, only 2,976 of them have been revoked because of a crime. Basic math tells us that only 0.27 percent of carry permit holders end up committing a crime. Hmmm, I wonder how that compares to the crime rate of those who wear blue?
There are hyperlinks in that quote, but you'll have to read the post to get them.

I find myself in a strange position on this issue. I've never owned a gun, and only fired a couple in my lifetime. Given my neighborhood, I've considered buying one in recent years, but I always decide not to.

In small part because I suffer from depression. The deepest and scariest kind is years behind me now, but I still get to places where I can't remember what it's all for. It's probably better not to have such a dangerous tool like a gun at hand for me.

Although I have a kitchen full of very sharp knives.... Hmmm. Should I get rid of those too? What's the difference? I know where and how to cut so that I'll bleed out before an ambulance arrives. What's the difference here?

[Later insertion: Do not fear. I am not suicidal, OK? Nor morbid. Just talking about something I haven't really talked about here before. Again, fear not.]

I also worry about what kind of gun is a good trade off between stopping power and not firing missed shots through my floor into the first floor apartment below or through the thin walls into the neighbors next door. They have a young son.

I have no moral qualms about shooting an intruder, especially an armed one. None. But I do worry about the legal problems to follow. If I injure but do not kill the intruder will he sue me back?

Anyway, I don't exercise my 2nd Amendment rights, but I fully back them. It's true: an armed society is a polite society. We the people did not cede to the police our right to self-protection. They can't do it, certainly not in today's litigious and rights-sensitive world. I don't accept that I'm supposed to surrender my self-protection to them for my own good. It is what it has always been -- my job to take care of myself.

And I don't appreciate control-freak cops who want an unarmed society in order to make their jobs easier. There are other ways to do that. Like neighborhood policing, not approaching every civilian like they are a problem to be dealt with. Like de-criminalising a lot of stuff that should be handled by other parts of society -- like drugs and drug abuse. Like seeing citizens as allies instead of herds.

Anyway, read Alpha's post. It's very good.
Combat Barbie

She's 20, blonde hair and blue eyes, five foot ten inches, cute and just earned her Combat Action Badge in Iraq for laying down suppresive fire with her turret-mounted .50 caliber machine gun.

Way to go, Corporal Krista Bullard!
Quote For the Day

A nicely mangled bit of automobile instruction manual Engrish via Jay Leno:
Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.
What a Novel Idea

Via Blogging For Bryant comes this link to a Friday editorial on out-of-state campaign money, which say in part:
In our Wednesday edition, our cover story focused on the out-of-state money flowing freely to Congressman Harold Ford Jr.’s campaign for Tennessee’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Predictably, Ford and Tennessee Democratic Party leaders downplayed his campaign’s prowess at raising out-of-state funds with the aid of famous movie stars and musicians. Republicans found the practice suspect.

It is equally predictable that if the shoe were on the other foot, their positions would be reversed.
Quite true. But then they go on to say:
We urge our readers to pay closer attention to the issue of campaign funding this election year, and we pledge to provide coverage that will help them stay informed on this front.
A newspaper pledging to inform its readers on difficult to research issues that are vital to them! What a great idea. Wouldn't you like to see some of that here, too?

The editorial mentions a story about Ford's campaign finances that, in typical alt-weekly web fashion, isn't online yet. They wait a few days for the paper version to run its course before moving stories to free web viewing (and where the ads they sell aren't). But I'll keep tabs on it and when the story appears I'll link it for ya!
Lileks on Downtowns

From today's Bleat:
Outside the theater: trash. Across the street, where once a restaurant and a “New York Style” pizza restaurant stood: empty store fronts. In many of Block E’s ground-floor windows, pictures of people having fun. Presumably they were having fun elsewhere, since windows with pictures means an empty store front on the other side of the glass. Down the block, the unforgiveable concrete carbuncle of the Skyway Movie Theater, a 70s excrescence that now houses some dance clubs. Next to it, the old Musicland store – vacated four years ago, never filled; on the other side, the slender terra-cotta fa├žade of the Teener’s Theatrical Supply House, recently vacated.

It looks bad. It feels bad.

It’s not permanent. A few new restaurants are coming in; if the disputes are every between over the Skyway’s owners, something new will happen on the spot – the uncertainty is what keeps the other places vacant, I think. (I hope.) But it’s a hard patch for Hennepin. I remember worse – far worse. But it reminds me that pulling for downtown – any downtown in a medium-sized city – sometimes feels like a luxury, a hobbyhorse, a game for nostalgia junkies who believe in some alchemic formula that will bring it all back to life. Sure, it was indispensable once; sure, everyone went downtown. Yes, this was the heart of the town, the big parade, the place where you got your first Sunday suit, got your teeth drilled, had an ice cream with mom in the department store, saw a lawyer, got drunk, met a girl, caught a movie in the balcony on a summer afternoon. This was it, brother.

But it isn’t anymore.
Memphis is a Code Word

I am proud to live in Memphis and call it home. Not ashamed to tell people that, either. But did you know that Harold Ford Jr considers "I'm from Memphis" to be racist code?

According to the Blogging for Bryant blog, Ford said that on Chris Matthew's Hardball program. BfB has a longer excerpt, but here's the money shot:
Ford: "...And my opponents are already trying to raise it. I mean, shame on the state Republican Party and the national party for some of the code words they're already using in this campaign."

Matthews: "Like what?"

Ford: "Just that I'm from Memphis and I'm a liberal from Memphis."
Just so you know.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Herman Morris, Mayor?

Thaddeus Matthews asks if former MLG&W CEO Herman Morris should be the next mayor of Memphis, after Herenton is booted out in the recall. He links to a very short bio.

I think he'd be a fine mayor and I'd support him if he decided to pursue it. What do you think?
A Kick in the Teeth After the Beating

Proving no horse is too dead to beat, the Commercial Appeal once agains goes after West Tennessee Republicans over James Hart (see below).

Is there any point to this editorial? Nope, except to wave red meat before Memphis' black community. They basically tell the Republicans to make sure they "distance" themselves appropriately from Hart but don't give any indicator of how or how far, or what steps are needed nor what constitutes sufficient distancing.

It's just yet another (third time now) whack from the smug partisans at the CA.

INSTANT UPDATE: Browsing a bit more in the CA's recent stories produced two more stories on this in as many days! (here and here.) Each is nothing more than an incremental update larded up with lots of lurid descriptions of the odious Hart and his views. Anything to get yet another story connecting Hart, eugenics, censorship and Republicans into print.

Current count: four stories and one editorial; four of them in one week. Why the urgency and the doggedness? You can guess.