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.