Saturday, April 29, 2006

Black Racism

Following up on this post, documenting Rev. LaSimba Gray's racism and anti-Semitism, we now have the Left Wing Cracker sharing an email from District 9 US Congressional candidate Ron Redwing.

Here's the relevant excerpt:
For the first time in thirty (30) years Memphis could be without African-American representation in the U. S. Congress.
That's a racist statement, plain and simple. Doesn't matter that it's from an African-American. In a majority-minority (ie. mostly black) district, where power is held by the "minority" group, in a city that's also dominated and controlled by the "minority," it's a racist comment.

As the Redwing email notes, with so many candidates running for the Democratic slot there's a lot of splitting of votes. There is also the implicit assumption that all the white Democrats will only vote for the sole white candidate, Steve Cohen. So you have this scramble to find The One, the lone black to go forward and keep the bloc intact.

To keep out the white folks.

Flip the colors and this would be generating howls of outrage. But the reality is that this kind of racism is "understandable." That may be true, but it doesn't make it any less reprehensible. Black electoral dominance is the fact, no longer the dream. Any pretense of having to defend it is offensive.

What's also offensive is the anti-Semitism that's rearing its ugly head. It's been an open secret in black Democratic circles for decades now. The strong ties between blacks and Jews that made the Civil Rights movement both possible and successful are gone, replaced by the wary and suspicious alienation of anti-Semitism.

Other than the Jackson Baker bit linked in the post mentioned above, which only indirectly addressed the issue, I don't think I've seen this linked specifically to the situation in Memphis. For all that the press loves to go after Republicans for their "racism" will the same press now go after black Democrats for their clear anti-Semitism?

Personally, I doubt it. Whites just can't point fingers at the black community and say "You have a problem." It will be facily flipped back as "You created it." Or "You can't talk to us about that." And that will be the end of it.

Blacks were successful in overturning Jim Crow only with the help of sympathetic whites and Jews. They became the bar which leveraged the moral imperative of black Americans into reform. It was only in working together that change happened.

So it is here. Racism isn't a white thing; it's a human thing. One lesson that observing, thinking and writing for this blog has brought to me is that so many of the sins we are quick to ascribe to one party or another -- be it social, political, gender, whatever -- are common to everyone. The weaknesses and flaws of human nature are the source, not partisan motives.

It is only be recognising and accepting this that we can move forward. By agreeing to listen to the wise strong moral voices in our midst, heeding their lessons and counsel, and acting on them can we diminish our common problems.

Attitudes like I've discussed here show that the problem isn't race but power. Or rather the lust for it. How many of the folks who are throwing up the black racist ugliness do you believe truly have the best interests of the Memphis community at heart? How many do you believe have the community ahead of self-interest and self-enrichment?

Put your mind into that frame -- one which disregards color, gender, background -- and look again at the situation. I think you'll be surprised at the way things look.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm Not the Only One

New-to-me blog Freedonian has a rant on Wendi Thomas' return to the Commercial Appeal. Only problem is he's short on examples.

But, as I noted here, it's not terribly surprising the daily was so quick to take her back. She's a familiar person with a familiar style on familiar topics looked at in familiar ways.

It's struck me lately that the CA is in the business of being reassuring, calming and soothing. They don't report, they look at what they have to cover and decide the best way to report it so that the community isn't upset by it. What's the best way to look at Mempis? Excuse me, Greater Memphis? In a positive way! Are there problems, conflicts? Find someone who seems to be portrayable as working on the problems. Add them to the story!

Like I've said before, the CA is trying to stem a tide of circulation loss. They no longer just gather and report news. They certainly don't do investigative reporting. That's not only inherently negative, it is -- worse still -- boring! Folks tune that out. They've got to do the things, cover the bases, that they think will keep the most eyeballs on the printed page.

Given the biggest soapbox in town, what was Wendi's most notable accomplishment with it? She got a local dance troupe into trouble over hairstyles. Whew! Hard hitting stuff that. A real crusader, our Wendi. We almost lit the torches and stormed the barricades that time. Oh, and she also presented the City Council with a pledge to sign. That rocked 'em on their heels!

So, best of luck to 'em with the same old, same old. Just ignore that hammering sound you hear. It's the next nail being driven into the coffin of the CA.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Memphis Isn't the Only Place

County Commission members suing to overturn the will of the people? Trying to keep their offices even when it's time to go? Memphis isn't the only place where that's happening. Knoxville has five members of the Knox County Commissioners suing to prevent term limits on them.

And they have a sheriff who seems to have the rest of County government by the short hairs -- successfully suing in State court when he doesn't get the funding he thinks he deserves.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Campaign Violence

Via Rep. Stacey Campfield comes news that a candidate for Knox County mayor was shot at Saturday night. The unknown person hollered "Hey Mister Mayor!" and then fired two shots that narrowly missed Steve Hall's head.

I couldn't find anything much more than what Campfield had, but in a day or so the Knoxville News-Sentinel ought to have more.
Who Owns What

The Memphis Flyerreports that the City of Memphis owns the Carousel and Zippin' Pippin' at Libertyland, meaning any potential sale is off for the time being.

And that any money made from a future sale will disappear into the City's coffers.

And, if you are of a darker turn of mind, that it will be City officials who will need courting to close the sale.

The Flyer has more if you want to read up on the history and conflicts in the disembowelment of the Fairgrounds complex.
The Blue Wall

Eugene Siler was a "small time drug dealer" who came under police scrutiny. He claimed a confession was beaten out of him. The police steadfastly denied it. Things looked bad for Eugene.

Then the audiotape surfaced.

Real life friend Mark of The Conservative Zone is liveblogging his training trip. (The training is for a new job he got.)
Thought for the Day

Via Possumblog:
In any event, as I have said before there is a distinction that must be made between the good ol' boy, the redneck, and po' white trash; that being, that one must never be given firearms, one must never be given liquor, and one must never be given either.

The trick, of course, is in knowing which is which.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Coward Turns Tail

I hadn't checked the local news yet today when I got an email tip.

Gah. She hadn't even had her first column published and Wendi Thomas is already running home. I guess what journalists always say about being able to separate feelings and the job is true, as her colleagues had no clue"
Sun editor Tim Franklin says he was "surprised and disappointed" by Thomas’ decision to resign. "I got a call yesterday afternoon that she was contemplating it," Franklin says, and received Thomas’ resignation in person this morning. "She had quite obviously made up her mind by the time of the meeting," he says.

Franklin says Thomas did not appear unhappy during her several weeks in Baltimore, where she has been getting to know the city and fellow journalists. "She seemed happy," he says. "I know other members of the staff had made a point to greet her and tried to make her feel at home … I don’t think any of us had any inkling of this."

During their meeting this morning, Franklin says Thomas "made it clear that she was welcomed at The Sun and that she liked the paper, but she wanted to go home and this was entirely a personal decision for her."
She wanted to go home? That bodes very poorly for us, her once-more readers. Thomas willingly left her home, her family and her boyfriend to take a higher profile gig in a city she wasn't familiar with. It's the classic step up in journalism.

Removed from her comfort zone, she apparently quickly realised she couldn't hack it. Rather than work hard to build a new life, new friends, and new relationships with her family, to dig in and learn to love her new home, she went back to her comfort zone.

Feh. Think what that says about her. Think what it says about what she'll write and how she views this city. You think she'll be skeptical and critical of anything that keeps her comfort levels up in Memphis? You think she'll oppose changes that threaten her comfort?

Status quo Wendi. That's what we ought to call her. And now we'll be stuck with her for many, many years to come. Safe Wendi, in her safe job, in her safe hometown, surrounded by the safety of family, church, etc. Will she even know how to recognise the comfortable in order to afflict them?

What does it say about Publisher Joseph Pepe and Editor Chris Peck that they're taking her back so suddenly? The CA is fighting a battle to stem circulation losses in the Internet age. Taking Wendi back is a defensive move. Rather than forge ahead, they are stepping back. Wendi's a known quantity, a familiar writer; they know how she fits into their plans. Better, I guess, to stick with the evils you know than run to others you know not of. Cowards at the Death Star, too.

And thus ends my campaign to take her job. Too bad. I'd've been great for the Commercial Appeal. A hell of a lot better than that coward Wendi.

INSTANT UPDATE: Oops! I forgot: The Memphis Flyer was on the case and reported this first. Credit where credit is due.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

People Abhor a Vacuum, Too

Here some disturbing news:
Russia's current birthrate is 1.34 per woman, far below the rate needed for population equilibrium. At the current rate, Russia's population will be cut in half by the year 2050.
As the article points out, that's even higher than Europe's 13th century Black Death!

This will have some bad consequences. First, Russia's army will shrink as well, and that means supporting a war in, say, Chechnya will be harder. The terrorists, on the other hand, are largely Arab Muslims and Muslim Chechens, whose populations are still growing. Meaning whatever short term battles Russia wins, they lose in the long run.

Russia's whole southwestern tier is also in danger of being over-run by Arab Muslims, with potential concommitant "nationalist" movements to peel off some territory.

And then there's Eastern Europe, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. Their birth rates are still high, but as they get absorbed into Western European culture, those will start to fall as well. There won't be enough people to expand east into the vacant spaces of a depopulated Russia.

And lastly there's eastern Russia, along the Chinese border. It's largely forgotten today, but in the Sixties, Seventies and into the Eighties they were at a high state of alert, fearing border incursions and incidents. Once again, as the army shrinks will the Chinese be tempted to try again? Will they push into Siberia to find room for all their people, to tap the massive natural resources still waiting?

China's population is due to start shrinking in about 20 years. But it will still be roughly 1.2 or 1.3 billion people. And their booming capitalistic markets will demand a lot of resources to keep booming.

Interesting days ahead.