Monday, July 31, 2006

This is what Politics and Public Service are supposed to be about

Yesterday, on the steps of 1278 Sledge, we had an old-fashioned political rally from the front porch of Steve Haley's house. Steve, as you know, is the Cracker endorsee for the Democratic nomination for Senate 29 and is running opposite Ophelia Ford.

I sent out Rick's terrific post at the Freedonian to my list earlier, and some issue was taken over it. Yesterday was not at all about Ophelia, it's about changing the way we do politics in Memphis, Shelby County, the state of Tennessee, and hopefully all over the country. It's why I support Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman, and why I support Steve Haley. Ophelia Ford, as I said earlier, is a nice person who works hard, and that's great.

This is about clean money and clean elections, period.


The Bully Pulpit of Bigotry

Pesky Fly beat me to the punch on this one and put up a remarkable post.  As far as I’m concerned, the word “Fucktard” is now the sole property of the bloggers at The Flypaper Theory.  I’ve edited it out of the few posts where I’ve used it, replacing it with “asshead”.  I’m content with that.  Anyway, check out the preeminent, primo Pesky and then join me back here, because as you might have guessed, I’ve got a thing or two to say about this too.

Just before I left for work this morning, a good friend hit the Freedonian mailbag and gave me a head’s up about an article in the CA.  It’s long been my second favorite local publication; I like actual reporters, and you can’t beat the Memphis Flyer for reporting.  The Commercial Appeal has devolved into a stenography pool and Wendi Thomas.

But never did I expect them to become a dictation forum for panderers to the lowest denominator.

From this morning’s cover story:

Over the last weeks, several African-American groups and candidates have roundly criticized Cohen for joking that his voting record makes him seem like a "black woman" and for his statement that he would ask to join the Congressional Black Caucus if elected.
"He thinks he's going to go in there and trick the CBC," said Julian Bolton, who has questioned if, as a Jew, Cohen can best represent a largely Christian district. "He thinks they'd be honored to have him. The only reason he wants to join is that he wants to get money for Israel."

Yesterday On Steve Haley's Front Porch

The Freedonian has already informed you that you missed "three of the most electrifying political speeches delivered in this area since... I don't know when." But just in case you couldn't make it, here are the audio files for the speeches and the transcripts so that you can read along.

More at The Flypaper Theory...

Democracy Happens Between Elections

(Cross-posted at The Flypaper Theory)

In answer to a post from Jim Maynard, I posted something that I probably shouldn't let get lost in the comments section.
Why hasn't there been a similar backlash against Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr.? His record supporting Bush and the GOP is almost identical to Lieberman's?

[Jim Maynard]
The answer is very simple: Ford has no primary opponent. If I want to go to Daily Kos and make this a national issue, I have to be able to hand them someone to support. Daily Kos is all about electing Democrats, not pounding them into oblivion. I'm not trying to diminish Jim's candidacy, but remember that he didn't run until Kurita dropped out, and he himself already has plans to vote for Lugo in the general.

More below the fold...

A Breath of Fresh Air…

In all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of the Steve Haley event held at his house this afternoon.  I certainly support him--- I’ve made my feelings on Ophelia Ford abundantly clear in the past.  I met him when he was running against her the first time around, and I certainly liked him

I figured I was just going to another event.  Meet the candidate, shake hands, etc.  I’ve been to many, and I’ll no doubt go to many more in my lifetime.

But this one was anything but typical.

I’m guessing that somewhere around fifty people gathered to hear three of the most electrifying political speeches delivered in this area since… I don’t know when.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Last Thoughts on Aug. 3 Election

Last Thoughts on Aug. 3 Election

Well it's down to the last few days before the BIG election Aug. 3. I'm grateful for everyone who has endorsed or supported my write-in campaign against Harold Ford Jr. for the U.S. Senate, and I thank everyone for your votes.

I also urge everyone to vote, if you haven't already, for Steve Cohen for Congress (U.S. House Dist. 9) and Steve Mulroy for Shelby County Commission (Dist. 5). Both are being viciously attacked by opponents who do not seem to care about facts or integrity in politics. Both are progressive candidates who deserve to win their races.

Back to HFjr. All the national attention has been on the political downfall of Joseph Lieberman in Conn. Lieberman has lost support of liberal and progressive Democrats and is now BEHIND in the the polls to his Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont. Even the NYT has now endorsed Lamont! Why? Because Lieberman has been a major supporter of the Bush Administration and has provided the necessary votes to allow the GOP domestic and foreign policy agenda to proceed.
Why hasn't there been a similar backlash against Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr.? His record supporting Bush and the GOP is almost identical to Lieberman's! Why are TN Democrats still supporting Harold Ford Jr., while Democrats in other states are standing up to the DLC and the Democratic "leadership" in DC and turning against conservative DINOS (Democrats in Name Only) and supporting progressive Democrats??? When will the TN Democratic Party wake up? Why are TN Democarts supporting a CONSERVATIVE republican governor, Phil Bredesen, who doesn't have a progressive/liberal bone in his corporate body? The former Republican governor was more progressive/liberal than Bredesen?

Well, after this election folks, I may be jumping ship. As I said in the Memphis Flyer interview, I am embarassed to be part of the TN Democratic Party, and I"m weighing the options: Socialist Party or Green Party? I'd rather join the Socialist Party, but the Green's are more organized and have a larger political presence nationally and even in TN. But I am a SOCIALIST, becuase I support ECONOMIC and political EQUALITY, and I oppose the concentration of "private" wealth and power. We can have no true Political Democracy without economic democracy.. MARX WAS RIGHT!

So I am a Democratic Socialist who is giving up on the hope that the Democratic Party could be the party in our two-party political machine to use to fight for social and economic justice.

But the next immediate battle will be in November. We must try to stop the anti-gay Amendment 1 in Tennessee, and hope the Democratic Party will do something useful and fight this unjust Amendment, which most Democrats in our state legislature VOTED FOR! The Democratic Party in TN is making a big mistake by pandering to anti-gay Christo-fascists. Gay people are leaving the Democratic Party! Some are supporting the Republicans ("why not? they are no worse?") and some are joining the Green Party or other "third parties" which support equality for gays and lesbians.
Jim Maynard

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Playbook

As most know by now, Harold Ford Sr. and A.C. Wharton both opened their wallets for Julian Bolton in the TN 9th District Congressional race.

What very few are talking about is what this actually means.

Nikki Tinker has been playing up the “I worked for Ford Jr.” angle in an attempt to make herself look like the heir apparent. Ford Jr. hasn’t had a close race since getting elected. Particularly not last time, when the GOP ran current Democratic contender Ruben Fort in the hopes that nearsighted old ladies would accidentally pick the wrong name.

So presumably, if Nikki Tinker was in as tight with the Ford family as she seems to want us to believe, then she should have no problem pulling off an endorsement, right?

So… Where is it? Where’s the check? I just ran a search on Open Secrets, and no one named Harold Ford has given any money to Nikki Tinker.

What gives?

If not for yesterday, I would have guessed that they wanted to stay out of it. The only Ford running in this primary doesn’t need the money--- MySpace doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

There’s a larger consequence to Ford Sr. giving money to Julian Bolton--- And it’s not unintentional.

With his tacit endorsement of Julian Bolton, Harold Ford Sr. is running something of a misdirection play.


The Silent Majority

So I had record high hits this week, but only a small minority of people comment. Here's the chance for this Silent Majority to be heard. Vote here for who you support. It's an Instant Run-off poll, so I think it could also be useful to see our second choices and those who we want to stick around in politics.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Dear Emily...

Carrie Giddins

I can’t begin to fathom what your organization was thinking.

You once seemed to be somewhat selective in the company you kept. The smart women, the women most likely to succeed… It makes one of your recent choices puzzling.

Hooking up with Nikki Tinker, simply put, was a stupid mistake more worthy of a political novice than an organization as (perhaps formerly) respected as Emily’s List. She stands for absolutely nothing that your organization claims to. If she does, then much like every other issue imaginable, she’s lacked the guts to say so.

But--- And this is where your total lack of knowledge of this city and its people really shows--- You joined in on attacking a man that has been magnificently progressive on the issues that are important to women. That decision was so ludicrous that it makes dropping the kids off at Michael Jackson’s house look smart by comparison.

Have you grown so comfortable in your position that you’ve begun to believe that credibility grows on trees? Do you believe it just magically reappears once this campaign is over?


Hope This Isn't Inconvenient

poster (Small).jpg
This Monday, July 31st, from 5:00-6:30, Al Gore, the 45th Vice President of the United States will be signing copies of his groundbreaking call to environmental call to arms, An Inconvenient Truth at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Laurelwood Shopping Center at Poplar and Perkins.

Get to Davis-Kidd on Saturday to puchase your copy of the book and pick up your line ticket.

Laugh till you cry

People are having fun at Mayor Herenton's expense? Go figure.

Head to Head: Cohen vs. Tinker

So I went to the Tinker website, and I was simply stunned at how little she actually says.  Particularly since her Anonytrolls have been bombarding several of the local bloggers with comments about how much she talks about “the issues”.

For contrast, I provided some of Steve Cohen’s platform on here.  I wanted to show people the difference between Nikki Tinker and a serious, qualified candidate.

One has accomplishments to point to and plans to tell you about.  The other speaks in broad, sweeping generalizations, and has roughly the same list of accomplishments as Ashlee Simpson.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

If you're easily offended by juvie pottymouthing avert thine eyes


Your PeskyFly has devised a very rude little contest and he'd like it if all you'z guys (readers, writers, and cigarette butt grabbers) would send in your nominations via email or comments.


And may the best Efftard win, eh?

I'm "Left of Left" (Memphis Flyer)

This week's Memphis Flyer has an article about me Left of Left: Protest Candidate Jim Maynard Offers An Alernative to Harold Ford Jr.

I want to thank Leftwing Craker for his endorsements, even though he says I only have one issue. Read the Flyer article or go to My Website and you'll see that I have many issues besides gay rights: universal health insurance, getting out of Iraq, separation of church and state... things progressive Democrats are supposed to stand for...

Ninth District Revisited

After reading the news and local blogs today, I thought this race was worth revisiting.  You know, what with the seismic shifts brought on by Joe Towns getting out of the race and telling his single digit list of supporters to vote for Julian Bolton.There are some genuinely good people in this race.  Many of them are people that I would personally like to see in office.  In fact, I wouldn’t even rule out seeing them in the 9th District seat.  Someday.  Not today.    When Joe Torre is looking to complete a Yankees lineup, he looks for people that have held a baseball bat before, players that have been standouts when they played in the minor leagues.  He doesn’t pick a neophyte that seems nice and has potential--- He picks seasoned players that he believes have the potential to go on and become even greater.
  • Lee Harris seems great.  I look at him on the issues, and I find myself agreeing with him more often than not.  Let this man get some legislative experience, and you’ve got not only a contender, but a leader in the years and decades to come.  I don’t know what area he lives in now, but I know he grew up in Whitehaven.  There’s an ethically challenged and vulnerable state senator whose district winds through Whitehaven (I’m not 100% sure where the district lines are drawn, but I know this senator’s campaign HQ was in Whitehaven) that I would love to see Mr. Harris replace.  From there, he can build a relationship with constituents, develop a solid reputation that stretches outside his district, and challenge for the seat of his choice from there.

  • Ruben Fort – What the hell are you doing?  Do you even know?  Your best hope was in 2004, when you ran against Harold Ford in the hopes that some half blind old ladies would get the names mixed up and vote for you by accident.  Of course, you were a Republican then.  Far be it from me to suggest crime, but if you rob a bank, you’ll get better face and name recognition.  Maybe strike up a deal with E-Cycle.

  • Marvell Mitchell – Something interesting happens if you click on the “issues” banner of his website.  Where everyone else tells you where they stand on the issues, he asks you to tell him what’s important to the people of the 9th District.  Sorry, but I think you should have a better grasp on the issues by now.  You have yet to tell anyone why they should vote for you.  An elected leader should be responsive to his constituents--- But you’ve not only told us nothing that you stand for, but you’ve led us to believe that you stand for nothing.  Are we to believe you’re going to fly back from DC and put a poll in the field before every vote in the House?

  • Ralph White – I went to his website and found it to be extraordinarily light on the issues.  With what he did talk about, it looked more like he was running for a local office than a federal one. He is, though, a motivational speaker with the “5 Steps to Success” on his website.  So I decided to take his advice.  Step 1 is to evaluate your current position.  My current position is that I don’t have any idea if Ralph White carries heavy enough lumber to be a congressman.  Step 2 is to visualize my desired outcome.  Okay, I would like to know if Ralph White carries heavy enough lumber to be a congressman.  Step 3 is to create a plan for moving from the starting point to the goal.  Okay, that’s why I went to the website.  Step 4 is to take steps and act on my plan.  Okay, I clicked on the issues thing and found more self-help drivel than useful information.  Step 5 is to repeat steps 1-4 if necessary.  Sorry, there are only so many times I can read the Ralph White website in search of something of substance.  Substance on the White website is as elusive as Iraqi WMDs.

  • Bill Whitman – I looked at his website, and I think that on many (Not all--- He and I would have a good argument over a woman’s right to choose) issues, he’s on point.  He falls into the same category as Lee Harris--- Please run for something else.  Get the experience and gravitas that are necessary to stand out in a race like this one.

  • Tyson Pratcher – Before anyone feels the need to tell me, I’m aware that he dropped out.  But he falls into that Lee Harris/ Bill Whitman category.  I want to hear more from you.  But 2006 is not your year.  You play in the minors before the Yankees call you up.

  • Joe “MySpace” Ford.  Uh huh.  Next.

  • Laura Davis-Aaron – Who are you?
And now we come to the candidates that I absolutely loathe.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Truth in Black and White

Once upon a time, nothing terrified white people more than the idea of facing black people as equals. And nothing terrified black people more than white people.

And with good reason. Cowards, some in white robes, and some so indifferent that they didn’t even bother to hide their identities prowled the night, hanging “Strange Fruit” from the tree branches that hung over the streets of our city.

Times changed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became the conscience of a nation. I’m filled with pride every time I see his name being treated with the reverence it deserves. He came to help black Americans, but he ended up giving white Americans their souls back. His “Dream” is yet unfulfilled, and forever gives us a distant star to reach for.

I look at this city, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that most of us have embraced that dream. With every day that passes, we whittle away, if not bludgeon outright, the ignorance of decades past. Every generation is more enlightened than the one before. I’m hoping that by the time my grandkids are old enough to have any concept of racism, they’ll have to Google “the n-word” to find out what it means. I cringe every time I hear it, but who knows--- The black kids that use it casually to refer to one another have the right idea. By owning the word, by making it theirs, they strip away the power of it.

But sometimes, I look at the city around me and wonder just how far we’ve come since April 4, 1968.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Last One, I Promise

I guess I don’t know when to stop, but I thought I’d wade back in a little more to the subject of my last two posts. Over at thepeskyfly, auto stated that the problem isn’t with liberals it’s with Christianity. I’m not even about to get into theological arguments on a blog. It would be fruitless for all concerned. I do want to make a few points though.

1. It’s been suggested that Christians really shouldn’t complain about being disrespected because they are the majority. There is actually a bit of truth in this statement, but not entirely. Using the same logic, shouldn’t all the Cohen-supporting white bloggers (myself included) not be upset by the idea of blacks being racist against whites? After all, aren’t whites the majority as well? That hasn’t been how the issue played out on the blogs the past few weeks. The question of whether whites or Christians are really persecuted or not does not mean that prejudice against them is acceptable or not harmful. Shouldn’t we be against intolerance of any kind? I feel that many of my fellow Christians often ignore the parts of the bible speaking of loving your neighbor, etc. Similarly, I feel that many of my ideological and political brethren at times forget their own values of tolerance.
2. Forget for the moment any ideological or philosophical arguments, let’s look at practical politics. The Republicans have been kicking our ass for pretty much my lifetime. The Solid South that Democrats used to depend on is gone. There are reasons beyond religion. It was largely race that broke that hold, however, it’s largely religion that maintains it. Some suggest that the Democrats can win without the South. It’s difficult to win when you write off a huge chunk of the country, but it’s mathematically possible. Where will those votes come from? The Mid-West? The West? The same issues come up there. Additionally, the minority that is becoming increasingly important in elections is on average quite religious.

Even if you buy the theory that Christians have a persecution complex when they feel that the party isn’t interested in them. That doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Whether it’s true or not, as long as people feel that the Democratic Party is not accepting of religion then the Democrats will keep losing. We need to find a way to keep our progressive values but reach out to those who aren’t yet in the fold in a way that does not condescend. We need to make sure that we are the big tent party that we like to think we are.

Post in Search of a Title

Pesky makes some good points in his comments on my blog. There is a lot of down-right goofy paranoia among a lot of Christians which I’ve been arguing with all week long. For example, the whole prayer in school issue. How people think prayer in school is illegal is beyond me. I merely can’t force a kid to pray as a teacher. A kid can pray how and when he wants in any religious sense. It just can’t be school directed and sanctioned. Now matter how much they think they want “prayer-in-school” the moment we started making Baptist kids say Hail Mary’s, they’d change their minds.

From My Reply to Him:
I do get your point. That's a real frustrating aspect of blogging for me. The topics I would prefer to address would take hours and hours of prep to make them understandable and to really approach what I think. However, I only have about 15 minutes a day for the blogosphere. I'm sure I did miss the mark. I am well-aware, and have often commented on the "Persecuted Christian Syndrome." I more meant that the fire shouldn't be fed by stooping to the same intolerant level that they do. I had just finished talking to someone who was convinced that Christians were the cause of all evil in the world. That got on my nerves. That gets on my nerves when people say it about gays, blacks, or fill in the group of your choice. I also don't think rural white Christian voters are a lost cause for progressives and want us to work to win them over. Maybe I'll find the time to flesh out what I mean to say at some other point. This attempt was most definitely woefully, inadequate, but I have some canvassing to do so I better worry about that later.

What's the Matter With Kansas? Flaming, anti-religious rhetoric is part of it.

I have been out of town a lot lately. Since I likely won’t be able to go home for Thanksgiving, we have been taking time to get some family visits out of the way this summer. We went to see my grandfather in Selmer, my mother and grandmother in Cosby, and my wife’s massive extended family in Rose Creek. Some of the conversations there turned to politics. Most of our family has lived in the rural South for generations. They are mostly hard-working, religious, and of modest means. They’re the people who used to be the backbone of the Democratic Party. In recent decades, they have become the backbone of the Republican Party. A lot of my liberal friends are of the opinion that we’re better off without the “redneck vote.” They dismiss such voters as rather bigoted and uneducated people who will vote for whoever their pastors tell them to. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the talk turned to politics, over and over again they expressed dismay at the cost of the war. We have many relatives over there in Iraq and Afghanistan. They think the war was a wrong-headed mistake caused by an incompetent administration. They think that Bush is only concerned with enriching the large corporations and could care less about regular people. They think global warming is real and is a threat to society. They think tax-cut-and-spend is the worst fiscal policy imaginable.

Some of them still vote Republican. More will not next time. But they will do it holding their nose. They will have to hold their nose, because they feel that the Democratic Party does not respect them. It may well be a small number, but a loud segment of the left is as evangelical about being anti-religion, as a fundamentalist is about his own. I have had God only knows how many conversations where I listened to an otherwise tolerant liberal lambaste organized religion as a fool’s crutch and merely another method of oppression. Would you vote for a party that you feared did not respect you?

I am not asking you to be religious, or to hide the fact that you’re not. I have no problem with whatever religion or lack thereof you have. What I have a problem with is attacking those of us who are. Religion is NOT the enemy. Martin Luther King Jr. was religious. Mahatmas Gandhi was religious. The abolitionists were religious. Throughout this country’s history (and in much of the world as well) it has often been religious leaders who have led the progressive movements into mainstream acceptance and real social change. We still have many real progressive leaders who are religious such as Jimmy Carter and Jim Wallis. We still have progressive churches all across the country who refuse to let their religion be hijacked by one political ideology or another. We do not need to fight these people. We also do not need to fight moderate Christians, those who are deeply troubled by issues such as gay marriage and abortion, but are also deeply troubled by war, poverty, and AIDS. Such people cannot be won over by calling the “Christo-fascists” as one local blogger who I otherwise deeply respect did recently.

The bible (or you can replace bible with most holy books) is not an inherently conservative book. In the New Testament, Jesus calls for sweeping social change. He railed against prejudice, inequality, hypocrisy, poverty, disease, etc. He calls for love above all else. These are Christian values. These are progressive values. And it is high time that some liberals stopped thinking of themselves as superior to those who are religious. Disagreement is fine. Disdain is not.

Reminders & Requests

Jim Maynard is on fire. And no, that's not a "flaming" joke, it's a simple statement of fact. He's got an issue in gay marriage, and he's hitting it as hard and as often as he can. Good, this is a major civil rights issue that needs constant attention.

That said, I'm also concerned that a lack of diverse postings from our fellow Cue boggers (Your PeskyFly being the most delinquent of them all of late) sometimes makes this seem a bit like a single issue blog from a bunch of single issue lefties, which certainly isn't the case here. Still, if we're not careful, readers who come here looking for a variety of content, and various--sometimes conflicting--liberal thought may drop us from their daily rounds. Even likeminded political junkies can overdose on any given issue, and given our GM advocate's prolific nature, it's about time to break out the stomach pumps.

Should Jim post less? I don't think so, though it does bother me sometimes that back to back posts don't always contain fresh content or opinion. But all of us-- myself especially-- need to do a better job of crossposting and bringing diverse content to the table. We can't leave it all up to Jimbo and the amazing Wintermute.

C'mon kids. The left's a big, BIG place. Let's roam.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Questions for Harold For Jr.

Dear Rep. Harold Ford Jr:

Like many of your former supporters, I’ve been dismayed by your recent attacks on the civil rights of gays and lesbians, and I have a few questions I would like for you to answer in a public forum to explain your position of the rights of LGBT people.

(1.) Do you believe that gays and lesbians should have ALL of the SAME civil rights as every American?

(2.) Do you agree with civil rights leaders Rep. John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, and Coretta Scott King, among many others, that marriage is a civil right and that gays and lesbians should have all the rights of civil marriage?

(3.) Do you agree with the Platform of the Democratic Party that:

"We Support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families."

“We repudiate Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing the "Federal Marriage Amendment."

(4.) Why did you cross party lines in 2004 and 2006 to vote with REPUBLICANS and GEORGE BUSH to write discrimination against gays and lesbians into the U.S. Constitution, when the Democratic Party Presidential Nominees were campaigning AGAINST this anti-marriage Republican Amendment?

(5.) Do you agree with these statements from Howard Dean, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee:
“As Democrats, we believe that every American has a right to equal protection under the law and to live in dignity. And we respect the right of every family to live in dignity with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law.”
“The Constitution was written to guarantee basic rights to all Americans, not deny them to some...The GOP touts “family values,” Democrats value all families.”

(6.) Do you take a more conservative position than Republican Sen. John McCain, who does not support the Federal Marriage Amendment on the grounds that it infringes on “states rights”? If a conservative Republican can be opposed to “gay marriage” and the FMA, why can’t you? Why are you going to the RIGHT of John McCain?

(7.) Since civil marriage is a legal institution, and separate from the religious institution of marriage and religious beliefs about marrage, please specify why gay and lesbian couple should be denied the same legal rights of civil marriage as heterosexual couples WITHOUT REFERING TO RELIGION, GOD OR THE BIBLE.

Which Side is Harold Ford Jr. On?

Harold Ford Jr.
"I will continue to be pro-family, including supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, without taking away the civil rights of gays and lesbians."
Harold Ford Jr.
"My Faith as My Guide" on

According to Harold Ford Jr. marriage is NOT a civil right!  This is the same position as George Bush, the Republican Party, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, etc...


Rep.  John Lewis (D-GA, Civil Rights Hero)
"It is tiime to say forthrightly that the government's exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families.  It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love.  It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.  This discrimination is wrong...I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples.  Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry." (Boston Globe, 11/25/03)

Rev. Joseh Lowery, Civil Rights Leader
"When you talk about the law discriminating, the law granting a privilege here, and a denying it there, that's a civil rights issue.  And I can't take it away from anybody." (ABC News, 3/13/04)

Carol Moseley Braun
"I believe this is a civil rights issue...It seems to me that if people want to marry a person of a different race that's no diffferent than somebody wanting to marry someone of the same sex." (Democratic Debates, Des Moines 11/24/03)

Rev. Peter Gomes, Havard University Chaplain
"To extend the civil right of marrriage to homosexuals will  neither solve nor complicate the problems already inherent in marriage, but what it will do is permit a whole class of persons, our fellow citizens under the law heretofore irrationally deprived of a civil right, both to benefit from and participate in a valuable, yet vulnerable institution which in our changing society needs all the help it can get." (Boston Globe, 2/4/04)

Coretta Scott King, Civil Rights Leader
"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the civil rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'  I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother-and sisterhod for lesbian and gay people." (Reuters, 3/3/98)
Democratic Party (DNC):
""We Support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families."

We repudiate Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing the "Federal Marriage Amendment."

Howard Dean, Chair of the DNC:
"As Democrats we believe that every American has a right to equal protection under the law and to live in dignity.  And we must respect the right of every family to live in dignity with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law." (July 6, 2006)

"The Constitution was written to guarantee basic rights to all Americans, not deny them to some. ..The GOP touts 'family values,' while Democrats value all families." (June 2, 2006, National Stonewall Democrats Convention)


In 2004, Harold Ford Jr. pledged to LGBT Democrats in Memphis that he intended to vote AGAINST the Republican anti-marriage amendment.  He cited his support off the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton, which made amending the Constitution unnecessary, and that the issue should be left to the states.  Two days later, he broke his word by voting with the Republicans for it.  In July 2006, he joined with 202 Republicans and 34 House Democrats to support the Republican anti-marriage amendment again.  He has made his support for the federal marriage amendment--and a similar amendment to the Tennessee Constiution--a centerpiece of his Senate campaign.




Which Side is Ford Jr. On?
Cross posted from
Queer Notes

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Non-Partisan Message of Public Service

I sent this to every one on my email list from Shelby County, and it's important.

This is NOT to ask you to vote for any candidate or party in the August elections.

However, if you are a registered voter in Shelby County (and I hope that you are) and you intend to vote in the August 3 County General Elections and State & Federal Primary elections (and I hope that you do), I must beg, plead, beseech and IMPLORE you to VOTE EARLY.


Two events are occurring that could lead to a "perfect storm" on August 3 that could result in voters still waiting in line to vote two to three hours AFTER the polls have closed. As you may know, we have new touch-screen voting machines. Despite the fact that the election commission has sent workers all over town to have voters test these machines, on August 3 there will be lots of people who have not seen these machines, and will be confused by them.

Adding to this is the fact that this is the largest ballot in the history of the County, with over 730 candidates in over 140 races from everything from Governor to Memphis Charter Commission. In short, it is horribly confusing even for an old hack like me.

Today, I early voted at White Station Church of Christ on Colonial, where I have voted early in the past. Normally, I would be in and out within 10 minutes; due to the number of people in line and the length of the ballot, I had to wait 20 minutes AFTER I got my ballot card before I could vote. Then, it took me 15 minutes to vote, and I pretty much whizzed through. Imagine how it will be on election day when you will have people who are unfamiliar with the machines and may take up to 30 minutes to vote!

Below are the Early Voting sites and times of operation; there WILL be early voting at ALL locations through July 29.

Please, please, PLEASE do yourself a favor and vote EARLY this time; you will be glad you did.


Satellite Locations, Dates and Times

Shelby County Election Commission (157 Poplar Ave., Suite 121)
BEGINNING on Friday, July 14, 2006, 10 AM to 7 PM
SATURDAY: July 15, 2006 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
WEEKDAYS: July 17 through 19, 2006, 10 AM to 8 PM
WEEKDAYS: July 20 through 28, 2006, 10 AM to 7 PM
SATURDAY: July 22, 2006 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
LAST DAY: Saturday July 29, 2006, 10 AM to 4 PM

Satellite Locations Throughout Shelby County
BEGINNING on Friday, July 14, 2006, 10 AM to 7 PM
SATURDAY: July 15, 2006 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
WEEKDAYS: July 17 through 28, 2006, 10 AM to 7 PM
SATURDAY: July 22, 2006 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
LAST DAY: Saturday July 29, 2006, 10 AM to 4 PM

Agri Center (Rotunda Hallway) 7777 Walnut Grove Rd.,38120
Anointed Temple Of Praise (Youth Room) 3939 Riverdale Rd., 38141
Baker Community Center 7942 Church St. , 38053
Bartlett United Methodist Church 5676 Stage Rd., 38134
Berclair Church of Christ 4536 Summer Ave., 38122
Bishop Byrne High School 1475 E. Shelby Dr., 38116
Collierville Church of Christ 575 W. Shelton Rd. , 38017
Dave Wells Community Center 915 Chelsea Ave., 38107
Shiloh Baptist Church 3121 Rangeline Rd . , 38127
(replaces Ed Rice Comm. Center)
Greater Middle Baptist Church 4982 Knight Arnold Rd., 38118
(Fellowship Hall)
Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church 70 N. Bellevue Blvd., 38104
(Counseling Center)
New Salem M. B. Church 2231 S. Parkway E., 38114
(Fellowship Hall)
Pyramid Recovery Center 1833 S. Third St. , 38109
Raleigh United Methodist Church 3295 Powers Rd., 38128
St. George's Episcopal Church 8250 Poplar Ave. , 38138
Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church 3045 Chelsea Ave., 38108
(formerly known as St. Stephen Baptist Church)
Westwood High School 4480 Westmont St. , 38109
White Station Church of Christ 1106 Colonial Rd., 38117

New Dylan Album: Modern Times!

Let's take a break from "politics" and listen to some leaked sound clips from Bob Dylan's new album, MODERN TIMES, to be released Aug. 29. I think I'm one of only three "gay bob dylan fans" (hey other gays men listen to Madonna, I listen to Dylan, and Morrissey, two of my favorite songwriter/poets, yes they do have something in common--lyrics).

Go to my .mac page to listen to the 20 minute clips from the album... it looks like it will be another Dylan masterpiece!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

7/19/06 - The Day Alberto Gonzales Got Deported

7/19/06 - The Day Alberto Gonzales Got Deported

Senator Arlen Specter looked at the Attorney General and sternly asked "Many other lawyers in the Department of Justice had clearance. Why not OPR?" It was a reasonable question. When an illegal wiretapping program flourishes under the nose of the Justice, someone has to answer some questions.

Alberto looked at him and said "The President of the United States makes decisions about who is ultimately given access."

Upon retuning to his office after the hearing, Alberto found a handwritten letter from the President:

"Dear Gonzo:

This Administration will no longer be requiering your lawyering services. Condi says you don't play for our team no more. And Laura don't like you, and the twins say you ain't kool at all. I wanted to trade you, but there wasn't any offerings. Halliburton don't want you neither, so we are deportating you back to Guatimalla.

Gooder Wishes,

You're Former President, W"

His protest, at that point, did him no good. His own party, particularly Tom Tancredo, rallied against him and sent the Minutemen to escort him all the way from the Potomac to the Rio Grande.

Actually, given his years of service, W intially considered offering deportation transporation in exchange for a promisory note. But Condi realized that it was not a good idea because Gonzo was getting out of the US, so they would, more likely, never get the trip fare back.

And thus began the saga of Alberto's adventure. He walked across the desert, traversed The Wall (Which is about ankle height these days, slightly shorter than Hadrian's Wall), swam across the Rio Grande and sang a rousing chorus of Neil Diamond's "They're Coming To America" for the immigration guards as he left the land of the free.

Once he found himself on Latin American soil, he realized something. He had tried so hard to distance himself from all things Hispanic that he had actually forgotten the language. He spoke it about as well as W speaks... Well, English.

He was looking for shelter, a friendly face, and possibly a midget hooker with a donkey. And as luck has it, there was a cantina full of very friendly brown people not too far from the wrong side of the border.

"Excuse-o me-o", he shouted to the lady behind the bar, showing the "ugly American" ideal that all "furners" understand what you're saying if you speak loudly enough. "Cual is-o the Mexican-o word-o por Tequila? My quiero by-o for-o all them dude-os in da casa."

"Sure, motherfuck-o," said the cantinera, "they all just arrive from Guantanamo this morning and they have been waiting for your ass-o"

And for the second time that day, poor Gonzo found himself in a room full of people expecting answers --willing to do anything to get them...

A Pam and Rick Joint


Once again, Harold Ford Jr. votes for the Republican anti-gay "Federal Marriage Amendment". Harold Ford Jr. has crossed party lines once again to support the Republican Right's attempt to write discrimination against gays and lesbians into the U.S. Constitution.

The Democratic Party Platform supports equality for LGBT families, and equal rights for gays and lesbians. Why does Harold Ford Jr. not support the platform of the Democratic Party?

Why should progressive Democrats support conservative Democrats who vote like Republicans? Tell me how voting for Harold Ford Jr. and him getting elected to the Senate will further progressive political action, gay rights, womens rights, etc??
It will not. Don't reward Harold Ford Jr. for his anti-gay votes on Aug. 3 or in November!

It wasn’t just Harold Ford Jr. EVERY TN DEMOCRAT IN THE U.S. HOUSE VOTED WITH THE REPUBLICANS TO WRITE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAYS AND LESBIANS INTO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION! We are not proud of the Tennessee Democrats today, they have failed to stand for social justice and equality, they have failed to defend our Democratic Values Democratic Values

Monday, July 17, 2006

Random Thought

Going about my usual business, plotting again the Bush administration and whatnot, I had a random though about the whole gay marriage issue.

See, I work for a divorce trial lawyer. We regularly get unsolicited mail from this lobbying organization that represents trial lawyers in the whole “Frivolous Lawsuit Limitation Crap Act.” Nice folks actually. They are well organized and dead on point on the subject –or so I’ve heard from lawyers from all sides of the political spectrum. They seem to exert sufficient pressure on Congress –at least enough to keep them at bay – and they seem to accomplish quite a lot through this organization.

And then it just occurred to me: Why haven’t divorce lawyers organized lobbying efforts in support of gay marriage?

If anything, there is an untapped market full of opportunity right there. Or as I like to put it: job security….

Worst Hair in Congress

Blogger's Bash

The lovely, Serabee is organizing the next Blogger's Bash. Check it out. See you there.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Don't Be Fooled by Imitations

The Freedonian tells me that there is already an unofficial Cohen for Congress blog, but unfortunately I read his comment after I had just finished creating an unofficial Cohen for Congress blog.
There already IS an unofficial Cohen for Congress blog. They're just not doing anything with it until the general.
Well, that sounds awfully pointless to me, and it looks like I got there first, anyhow. If there is already such a blog, then Google has absolutely no record of it. Maybe he's talking about the official campaign blog. Google has no record of that, either, and it's not as if there hasn't been plenty of news and events that pertains to the campaign in the last few weeks. So if there's another one out there somewhere, now there are two.

So it is with pleasure that I introduce to you the original unofficial Cohen for Congress blog. I'm still working on all the widgets and such, but it's readable, even though there is only one post up so far. If you have any news tips or links pertaining to the campaign, please send them to cohen2006 at bellsouth dot net. Photos of Steve, funny stories, personal antecdotes, or any other type of media relating to Steve Cohen that would help get him elected would also be greatly appreciated.

Do Harold Ford Jr. & Phil Bredesen Represent "Democratic Values"??

Last week DNC Chair Harold Dean condemned the New York appeals court ruling reaffirming a ban on gay marriage as “bigoted” and inconsistent with Democratic values. “As Democrats, we believe that every American has a right to equal protection under the law and to live in dignity. And we respect the right of every family to live in dignity with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law.”

The platform of the Democratic Party states: “We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families” and “We repudiate Bush’s divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing the ‘Federal Marriage Amendment’.”

Yet, Rep. Harold Ford Jr., a candidate for the U.S. Senate, supports the very same anti-gay amendment to the Constitution the DNC condemns as “bigoted”. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen supports a similar amendment to the Tennessee constitution which the chair of the DNC says is “inconsistent with Democratic values.” The only conclusion is that neither Harold Ford Jr. nor the Democratic Governor of this state represent Democratic Values!

Progressive Democratic voters do have a choice in the Aug. 3 election. Vote for real “progressive” candidates, not political opportunists who sacrifice “Democratic Values” to win elections. Ask for a paper ballot to WRITE-IN your vote for a real progressive democrat.

Jim Maynard, Write-In Candidate
U.S. Senate

Cross=posted from
Queer Notes

Friday, July 14, 2006

Keeping Abreast

20/20 did a report earlier on the "debate" over breastfeeding. It seems that the federal government has sunk money into a PR campaign to encourage... Breastfeeding. Which means, at the very least, that Halliburton doesn't have a line of baby formulas getting ready to ship.

They've done some rather outrageous commercials for it. One shows two pregnant women logrolling, and yet another shows a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull. The ad says "You wouldn't take chances with your child before it's born. Why would you after?" Does anyone see a correlation between a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull and a loving mother feeding a baby with a bottle? It's an insulting ad campaign.

But even beyond that... How much tax money did they piss away on this that could have gone to something more important?

How about an ad campaign encouraging better prenatal care? Or God forbid, how about skipping the ad campaign and actually FUNDING some prenatal care?

The Memphians reading this site, if they're not aware, should be briefed on something. Most of the local bloggers have discussed Aimee Edmondson's magnificent, award winning series for the Commercial Appeal "Born to Die" about the absurdly high infant mortality rate in the 38108 ZIP code. If you haven't read it, click here for parts I and II. They're magnificent, shining examples of what journalism should be all about. Here's a terrific blog posting from Pesky Fly that discussed the article.

For those who don't feel like clicking the links, allow me to give you a Reader's Digest version: There is a part of this city where the infant mortality rate is four and a half times the national average. In 38108, 31 in 1000 infants born will die. That's a dead baby every 43 hours. The picture accompanying this article isn't from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, nor is it a picture of cleanup from the Rwandan Massacre. It was taken at Shelby County Public Cemetary, the Potter's Field for the indigent of Memphis. It lies in the shadow of perhaps our most magnificent monument to capitalism, the Wolfchase Galleria.


Vote For Bill Morrison

To my friends who live in the 7th Congressional District: Please consider voting for Bill Morrison, It's a longshot of course, but at least we can make Marsha spend some money. He's a teacher. He's a Democrat. He's not to the right of Dick Cheney as she is. What else do you need? How about balanced budgets? Ending dependence on foreign oil? Protecting social security? Increasing access to health care? Check out his webpage, and enjoy the rare gift of getting to vote for a progressive for Congress out in the wilderness of red-state territory.

Beat the WTL

Every year the CA has a contest to beat the movie critic in Oscar predictions and to beat the sports writers in playoff predictions. Let's do the same for the 9th District primary. The person who does the best will get an incredible prize... (If you think something crappy like an autograph from Memphis' 27th ranked blogger or a cameo appearance on "The 'Cue" an incredible prize at least) So here's the drill, what order will the top five vote getters in the primary come in?

My Predictions:
1. Cohen (He started out with a huge, committed base.)
2. Bolton (name recognition)
(The next three get harder. I could see Tinker, Stanton, Harris, Mitchell, Ford, White and Redwing pulling in there. I would have put Stanton in third a few weeks ago, but I think his campaign has taken a big hit lately. I expect them to all pull single digits or low teens at the very best so they're really hard to predict. )
3. Tinker (Money and ads)
4. Ford (Never count out the name. I've yet to meet him, but from what I hear I might actually like him. Go figure...)
5. From what I've seen Stanton should be ahead of Redwing, Mitchell, and White but I strongly suspect that they have been out there and just not really focusing on my vote. This one's a shot in the dark, but I'll say Redwing. He started earliest and seems to have worked hardest at least at first. That will probably count for a little.

So kick my butt at it. It shouldn't be too hard.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Republican Senate Debate Drinking Game

We political wonks are strange creatures. Only we, of the entire human race, see a televised political debate as a reason to get together.This Sunday night at 7 PM, we will be treated (?) to the Tennessee Republican Senate hopefuls on Channel 3. It seems like wherever we go, beer flows like wine. And it's just as well--- Try playing this drinking game with the hard stuff, and people will be so blotto that any bar where this game is played will turn into a de facto flophouse for those of us too hammered to drive home.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

So you wanna be a Republican...

A couple of years ago, during the 2004 Presidential election, this piece regularly circulated via e-mails and blogs. Moreover, back then Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party Randy Button poked fun at the GOP and entertained the crowd by reading it out loud during the annual Kennedy dinner event. Ah, good times.

The first time I got it, I took it as irrefutable proof that the Democrats were going to take back the White House. After all, who in their right mind would ever vote for the guys that believe and advocate all this non-sense-- right?

Roughly, 62,040,606 Americans…

Oh well… I was naïve and gullible back in those days. Apparently, so was 51% of the electorate.

Getting back to today’s post, I have the 2006 updated version of “Things you have to believe to be a Republican” just in time or the mid-term elections:

“Things you have to believe to be a Republican in 2006”

1. All illegal immigrants are dangerous criminals that must be deported immediately after they are done cleaning you house and mowing your lawn.

2. The National Guard’s outstanding construction skills should be used primarily to build a fence on the south border instead of rebuilding hurricane-stricken areas in the Gulf Coast.

3. Global warming is just another left-wing conspiracy scare tactic created by Al Gore to bring down the Bush Administration.

4. Hurricanes are God’s way of telling us that we should teach intelligent design in public schools.

5. The only way to protect our American values and civil liberties is to ban Flag burning and restrict the First Amendment.

6. Same sex marriage will encourage lesbians to have more abortions and people will marry their pets, hence we need a Constitutional Amendment to define and protect the sanctity of marriage.

7. The UN plots to take your guns away during secret meetings held on national holidays.

8. It is totally safe to go hunting with the Vice-president.

9. Sen. Bill Frist is a superb doctor and his remote video diagnoses are completely accurate.

10. Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Pete Hoekstra found WMDs in Iraq.

11. Fox News is a beacon of journalistic integrity and would never mislead the American Public.

12. We are wining the war in Iraq.

13. To win a Congressional seat you must single- handily be able to win the war on terrorism, the war on God, and the war on Hillary Clinton.

14. Gas price crisis are inevitable consequences of our current economic conditions, but our economy is booming due to the tax cuts.

15. A federally mandated minimum wage increase would hurt the poor and the economy, thus it is morally reprehensible – Permanent tax cuts for the rich, on the other hand, is what Jesus would have done to help the poor.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day of Absence

Negro Ensemble founder/ vet Douglas Turner Ward is one of my favorite American playwrights. I'm particularly fond of his absurdist comedy Day of Absence, which takes a biting look at what life in America would be like if one day all the blacks vanished. I've been thinking about that play a lot lately as I've listened to a lot of white Democrats moan about how the racism is flowing backwards in the Shelby County Democratic party.
More here

Are You Bright or Just Willing

Once again, the best and brightest (or maybe just the most willing) of the Drinking Liberally of Memphis regulars will be heading to Flying Saucer downtown to try our synapses at a little trivia. Show up around 6:45, and show off you special area of expertise.


Hat tip to Hecate for this...

A Little Kos in Memphis

Are you a local blogger with a political bent and a desire to have your voice heard?

Gina Cooper, Daily Kos blogger, organizer of this summer's incredible Yearly Kos Convention in Vegas and former Memphian, will be joining Drinking Liberally this Thursday at Dish to brainstorm with Memphis on how Kos can help promote local blogospheres.

Don't miss it!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The 'Cue Podcast

On Sunday, July 9th, 2006, the recording of the very first session of The 'Cue was produced. Seven local, liberal bloggers gathered around a table and talked politics. The seven included West Tennessee Liberal, The Pesky Fly, Wintermute, Brassmask, The Freedonian, MemphisBlue and LeftWingCracker.

The discussion ranged from local politics to national, from personal mindsets to Memphian mentalities. Harold Ford Jr, Steve Cohen, Nikki Tinker, Ed Stanton. All these names were mentioned and more. This is must-listen material.

Here now is that conversation.

The 'Cue Podcast (streaming)

The 'Cue Podcast (download)

Running Time: 62 minutes

We welcome all comments.

Special hat tip to BT at for the podcast hosting! Check it out!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Who is Racist in the Shelby County Democratic Party??

Who is Racist in the Shelby County Democratic Party?

Accusations of racism have been thrown at white Democrats by some black Democrats in the Shelby County Democratic Party. I find this ironic, since white Democrats have no chance of getting elected the overwhelmingly black voting districts, and as one important figure in the Shelby County Democratic Party told me about running in a largely black race, "a white candidate would not be taken seriously."

Many black Democrats are upset at the likely prospect that a WHITE JEW (Sen. Steve Cohen) may win THEIR Congressional House Dist. 9 seat, vacated by THEIR representative Harold Ford Jr., who is now pandering to white conservative rebel-flag waving rednecks across the state to win the Republican Senate seat. (Yes, this is the same BLACK politician who voted for the corporate anti-poor consumer bankruptcy bill and the big Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and all those poor black people's Estate Taxes.. wait, there are NO poor black people to benefit from that estate tax cut is there??)

Black Democrats support a black mayor who panders to WHITE Republicans and businesses.

There is Rep. Henri Brooks who recently told gay lobbyists in Nashville that gays were not a "significant' constituent in her district and that she was elected to represent BLACK CHURCHES. (Her Republican opponent, Novella Smith Arnold, actually took the time to return the Stonewall Democrats questionnaire, which was not even sent to her, and answered all our questions “ASBOLUTELY”! No response yet from Henri Brooks). SO I URGE REAL PROGRESSIVES TO VOTE FOR NOVELLA SMITH ARNOLD for County Commissioner, District 2, Position 2).

Black leaders, including the Tri-State Defender, are attacking Sen. Steve Cohen because he is a WHITE JEW!

Call me a racist is if you want, the problem with the Shelby County Democratic Party is not racist white liberals, it is conservative, fundamentalist, African-Americans who do not share the values of the Democratic Party's platform, which includes equal civil rights for gays and lesbians (including CIVIL UNIONS and the same rights as married couples), women's reproductive rights (yes, that includes the right to abortion). They do not respect the CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED separation of church and state, which means this is NOT a Christian nation, and people have the right to practice their religion NOT impose it on everyone else.

So spare me the "white racist" label please... those who support the Christian Right (both the Black Democrat wing and the White Republican Wing) are the bigots!


If You Disagree With Me Then You Are an Asshole…

And a liar. And a racist. And worse yet, a Republican. And that’s why I love Memphis. People don’t assume they are having a principled argument with someone. They automatically assume that there are mysterious “agendas” normally motivated by race involved.

In the past year I have heard so many accusations of racism or closet-Republicanism, that if I had a dollar for every one of them I’d now be a death-tax banning Republican. Case in point, the judicial endorsements. Say what you want about the proper approach to the endorsements, but why do people automatically assume that just because you differ with them you must have a nefarious motive. It’s been said that the elections committee and some of the voters on the EC spent the night trying to get white Republicans elected and to defeat black Democrats.

That is total and complete BULLSHIT. Some people voted against every single endorsement. White, black, Democrat, Republican, whatever. Others voted for black and whites both all night long. Name me one effing person who only “voted to keep blacks off the slate.” You can’t because there wasn’t one.

Read my last post for a non-conspiracy theory reason for why people voted the way they did. As to the election committee being racist, Republican, or according to the idiot a few blogs over, bribed, please describe which of us you mean? There aren’t that many to chose from. Let’s see… Dwayne Thompson has been working for the local party since before I was born. He brought the old-timer LWC along when he was already established in the party. Do you think he’s a Republican? Norma Lester? I can think of a lot of ways to describe her, but Republican doesn’t rate high up there. Desi Franklin? She is the favorite whipping boy of anonymous posters. She has put in yeoman’s work for the party since elected in every way possible. If she is a mole, than she is a damn good one. Myself? I have voted in every Democratic primary since I turned 18, and put in double digit hours for Democrats or progressive causes every single week in one way or another no matter how many hours I’m working elsewhere. Are Norma Lester, Tara Maxwell, LeaEster Redmond, or Tomeka Hart racist against black people? If so, this town is even stranger than I thought.

I hear over and over again that “white Democrats will not vote for blacks in the county elections.” This is seen as evidence of white racism. Apparently white racists didn’t hear the rumor that A.C. might not be Caucasian. As a white Democrat, let me address that. One, I DO vote for black Democrats. I voted proudly for A.C. Wharton, Joe Young, Reginald Fentress, and others in May. I will vote for all but two of our Democratic nominees in November. “Aha!” You say. “You skipped two. I bet you skipped black candidates, you racist, Republican, you.” I have to admit. You caught me. I’m not going to be voting in the race for sheriff or in Roderic Ford’s race. I WILL not vote for a Democrat that I do not feel is qualified to hold an office. If it makes me racist to vote against unqualified black candidates than I will have to wear that mantle along with no few black friends I have. Please give me one reason to vote for Roderic? If you give me candidates who are running on a name (and one that they don’t really own at that) or who have been indicted or convicted, or who have no qualifications than I ain’t voting for them white, black, brown, or purple doesn’t matter. If Gail Mathes was 24 and had no experience in her race and was hardly campaigning then I wouldn’t be voting for her either.

My party embarrasses me at the local level when that is the best we can come up with. There are talented African American Democrat’s out there. Run them, and I will vote for them with pride. So will other white Democrats. I’m a Democrat for ideals not for jobs. Therefore voting for the party name without ideals does not make sense for me.

Secondly, some black candidates don’t campaign for white votes. Case in point, Del has mentioned to me multiple times that white Democrats wouldn’t vote for Roscoe Dixon but they would for Rita Clark. The assumption was that this is obvious proof of racism. I wasn’t involved in the party for that race, but I was a voter. I got mailings from Rita. I saw her in the neighborhood. She asked me for her vote. I saw her signs around the place. I never saw Roscoe. He never asked me for my vote. Why would I have voted for him? Just like a lot of black Democrats feel that whites just want their votes without supporting black candidates, a lot of whites feel like some in the party are just counting down to the days when all the whites are gone so they don’t have to mess us anymore.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that all this is stupid. Most people were voting what they felt was right last night. If it is so hard to believe that your fellow Democrats can disagree with you and not be out to stab you in the back, then why are we all in the same party? It seems sometimes that people are more concerned with fighting over peanuts then actually winning elections. Personally, I’m inclined to say they can have the peanuts. They’re old and stale anyways.

I love my party. I am a Democrat because I think “we are our brother’s keeper.” I think we’re better off as a whole when we work together. I think one person’s suffering affects all of us. I think we need a living wage, universal health care, better education, a cleaner environment. I also think we need to spend our tax dollars wisely so that we can continue to provide those things to our children and grandchildren. I think the government needs to see all citizens as equals, black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, Christian, Jew, whatever. Does it sound like I’m a Republican?

Ask yourself why you’re a Democrat. Your answer will be different than mine, I’m sure, but it won’t be too far away. Is what we fight over about how best to implement these ideals of why we’re Democrats? Is it about how best to elect candidates who best embody those ideals? If so, great. Let’s fight tooth and nail, reach a decision and implement it. If not, then what the hell is the point.

Looking back over the course of the last year, I can see many hours that were NOT spent on those ideals. I’m not a quitter. I want my party to succeed. If I feel like I’m making a difference than I will work my fingers to the bone. We live in a great city. We truly do. It has the history and assets and potential to be one of the truly stellar cities in America. We also live in a city with debilitating problems. Let’s put away our knives for 6 weeks, win some elections, then look to see if we can do something for those problems to make us really matter.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A New Member of the Family

I'm quite proud to announce the newest blogger over at casa de Freedonian.

Welcome, Pam!

Last Night

(^^^^^^^^^^ sound track for post -- Mar-Keys; this intrusion brought to you by the 'Mute)

So I spent an hour (plus a little) writing about Thursday night. Computers are evil, and I'm an idiot. Long story short, it's gone and not recoverable. I'll attempt a rewrite. Things are hectic so I'll go for speed over eloquence. Just assume that the previous post was much better. Think Pulitzer Prize material if you'd like. Not saying it was that quality, but you're welcome to think it was.

A real man admits when he was wrong, and after watching everything go down at the EC meeting, I was probably wrong about the judicial endorsements. Chalk that up to experience. I’m not as convinced as some that last night was an entirely unmitigated disaster though.

There were two major ways people approached the endorsements. Most people seemed to assume that the other way was moronic, I don’t. They both have merits that I can buy.

The first approach is that judicial races are non-partisan and the parties shouldn’t be involved in them. If they are involved in them, then endorsements should be made based on who is the best qualified candidate. Judges should be fair and independent and there is not a Republican or Democratic way to run a Chancery Court. Most of the election committee and most of the lawyers took this approach.

The other approach can basically be summarized as “We are the Democratic Party. If we endorse Republicans why do we exist? We are in the business of electing fellow Democrats.” This approach was taken by the majority of the EC.

I see merits in both ideas, and my own thoughts are kind of a mixture. I think we should endorse the best candidate. If the best candidate is a Republican, then we should just stay out of it. If there are multiple good Democrats, then we should stay out of it unless doing so increases the odds the Republican we are not happy with as judge wins. If there is an incumbent, I think it should take a higher standard to recommend he or she be unseated than it does if the seat is open.

I agree that the meeting was embarrassing for the party. We were immature and disorganized. I don’t have a problem with the EC not accepting all of the Election Committee’s recommendations. What I have a problem with are catcalls, speaking out of turn, calling people “Republican’s”, insinuating racism, etc. A lot of this came from spectators outside of the committee. The Chairman had his hands full, I understand, but we need to be forceful about putting a stop to such immaturity.

The final results however, were not bad. The only one I had a problem with was Montesi’s. Otherwise, they tended to follow the pattern of voting for Democrats who were also well qualified. Unfortunately, that was not a foregone conclusion. In several races, Mark Ward’s for example, the best candidate only won by a hair. Matt had to break the tie in this race. Mark was appointed by Governor Bredesen as part of an extremely rigorous review process, is well-respected across the board, has the highest ratings by lawyers of all the judges, literally “wrote the book” on the subject of his court, etc. Why did we almost not endorse him? Because he voted in 7 Democratic primaries and 6 Republican primaries. You know what the makes him? A Democratic-leaning independent. You know what might make the best kind of judge? Perhaps an independent person who shares our values? Of course, we’ve learned over the years that we are so talented at winning elections that we don’t need Democratic-leaning independents to win. That’s why we control the county, state, and country. Similar situations happened with other candidates, including one who was held to the fire for voting in a Republican primary 20+ years ago. If having ever voted for a Democrat was the kiss of Death to Republicans, how much power would they hold now?

In the end, it was a hellish meeting, but the results weren’t too bad. We have some great judges to support. Names like Regina Newman, Veronica Coleman, Paula Skahan, etc… I just wish we hadn’t looked like a joke getting there. Heated debates are fine. Arguing for thirty minutes about the order of the votes, name-calling, etc. are not.

Another issue that keeps coming up is race and the future direction of the party. Thaddeus Matthews has taken it to his normal insane extremes (I’m happy to learn that as a member of the election committee I am a white, racist, Republican who probably took money from the Republican judges) but there is a lot of distrust out there from others as well. I want to address that, but this post is too long as is so I’ll separate them. The next will come as fast as I can type when it’s after midnight.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Anyone Need an Illegal Gun?

You know, I'm so plugged in to the criminal element of this nation that I now know where to get my hands on one. And I could have saved so much time in the search--- All I had to do was look to the National Rifle Association's Board of Directors.

You remember the NRA, right? Those nutty guys that say that rather than keeping Howitzers off of the streets, we should "enforce existing gun laws", right? Good. Just making sure we're on the same page here.

Sanford "Sandy" Abrams has been on the NRA Board of Directors since 1999. And from 1996-2003, his store, Valley Gun of Baltimore, Maryland managed to wrack up a mind numbing 900 firearms violations. Large portions of their inventory "disappear" altogether, having been sold to people that can't legally buy weapons.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms revoked Valley's license in 2004, but firearms laws that are weaker than water allowed him to keep the shop open until four months ago.

And if that isn't enough, the Bush White House filed papers last month saying he would be allowed to continue selling guns from Valley Gun's inventory as his "personal collection". He already has plans to open a new store called Just Guns next door to his old one in his 80-year-old mother's name.

How serious a problem are guys like Abrams? Of 80,000 gun dealers in this nation, his store ranked as the 37th worst for selling "crime guns". At any given point, over a quarter of his inventory is unaccounted for.

60% of the nation's crime guns come from 1% of the gun dealers out there. And Valley Gun is in the top percent of that top percent.

How did the NRA respond to this? A stern condemnation of his crimes, followed by a reminder that they believe in enforcing existing crime law?

What, are you new to the planet?

They elected him to a third term on the board, lent him one of their top lobbyists to use as his attorney, and are actively lobbying to take away the federal government's right to revoke the license of corrupt gun dealers.

When George W. Bush was (s)elected, Wayne LaPierre (Regular readers will remember him as the guy that convinced moronic NRA members that the UN was banning their guns on July 4th--- How did that go, by the way?) said that having him as president would be like the NRA having office space in the White House.

By this point, I'm almost sure they do.

By the Rockets' Red Poof...

All right, is everyone sufficiently scared of North Korea now? Quivering in your shoes over Taepodong, Long Duck Dong, and Long Dong Silver (Sorry, Justice Thomas. Don't get excited)?

George W. Bush claims to not know what 'Lil Kim Jong Il's motives for testing missiles were. "It's hard for me to know what's on his mind. He lives in a very closed society."

Wait a second... Which president is talking about which again?

But I digress.

The massive, terrible missile that was supposed to be able to reach the mainland of the United States fell somewhat short of carrying the range of a John Daly tee shot, particularly if Daly polished off a few beers on the front nine.

It's certainly theoretically possible that he engineered a spectacular public failure to deceive us into thinking his missile program was weak. But considering that the financial livelihood of his nation depends on being able to intimidate us into squeezing off some concessions, not to mention their missile sales on the international market, that seems unlikely. I know if I was a second world tyrant looking to scare the bejeezus out of my neighbors, I certainly wouldn't look for a missile that had less range than my 300 pound co-worker's wind sprints.
So the idea that this was an intentional public failure... Silly bordering on ludicrous.

So now we're down to it... The real reason for the test launch. Whichever senior staff member gets stuck with the task of briefing the president can march into the Oval, crayons in hand, and sketch out the reason for him. Ready for it?

Because that's how you find out if they work.

We've tried drawing stick figures on the chalkboard into cartoons that all contain the word "BOOM!" at the end, but found that there was little substitute for actually firing a few. We've test fired missiles a few times ourselves. In fact, the nigh-unparallelled failure of the Taepodong II makes me wonder if the geniuses that designed our missile defense system are moonlighting to pick up some extra pocket money.

So, as usual when this White House is involved, there is nothing to fear but fearmongering itself.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Guess Who is coming to Memphis?

Because He's Just So Easily Embarrassed

Speaking of 'Cue

There's always someplace better to get barbecue. If you know a place that's great, I know someplace better. But really, the best barbecue is made at home. Well, it is at my house - maybe not your house.

Read the rest at

How Republicans Can Win the Culture War

I've been thinking. I do that sometimes.

Republicans don't really connect with people all that well. Every once in a while, they fake populism pretty well, but it usually ends up as fleeting and phony as Kevin Costner's on again off again British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

If they really want to connect to America, they'll have to make some right wing movies.

And yes, helpful guy that I am, I've come up with a few recommendations.

Pirates of the Potomac: Dead Man's Chest: It's the harrowing tale of famed pirate George W. Sparrow and his even more hapless brother Jeb searching for the plunder stashed away by the late pirate Kenny Boy.

Start Wars Episodes I - III: In his quest to make the office of the presidency strong enough to suspend the Constitution altogether, young Georgakin Skywalker falls under the influence of the evil Darth Halliburton and rules the galaxy until his administration tooples under the weight of its own corruption. Episode I sees him meet his benefactor, Qui-Gon Lay. Episode II, Clone of the Attack, revolves around the beginning of an endless war. And Episode III reveals the hand of Darth Halliburton to be behind everything that's happened.

Almost Competent: A thirteen year old that aspires to write for National Review joins the insane travelling road show known as the 2000 George W. Bush campaign and learns about push polling from Karl Rove, gay bashing from George W. Bush, and learns a lesson in love from a groupie named Condi Lane.

The Oddfather: George H.W. Bushio is at the head of a vast criminal empire. His son Jeb is eager to run the empire once the old man is gone. His son George Jr is more capable (Although only slightly), but is more interested in doing kegstands at Andover. Together with Consigliere Dick Chenio, Capo Rumsfeldio, and the only Jew they trust, Jack Abramoff, they consolidate their control over the rackets while making war on the moderate wing of the Republican Party. Watch for the big scene where they put a horse's head in the bed with Katherine Harris's boyfriend and he doesn't notice the difference.

The Gay Wedding Singer: Aspiring rock star Ricky Santorum earns his living singing show tunes at civil ceremonies for gay couples. An affair has ended badly and he's about to give up on true love, but then he sees Jeff Gannon across the crowded room...

The Passion of the Shrub: It's the month of August, and the entire senior staff of the White House flogs, whips, and beats George W. Bush in an attempt to steer him back to the office and away from the fishing hole in Crawford.

Conservatives in the Mist: Helen Thomas journeys deep into the heart of Texas to live among the conservatives, these creatures that look almost like normal human beings, to explain their strange ways to those who subscribe to civilized thought.

Homeland Security Office Space: New Orleans is under water. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and FEMA Director Mike "Heckuva job, Brownie" Brown work very hard to find out who ate the last Danish in the cafeteria.

Weekend at Ronnie's: George and Karl have a great idea for boosting George's sagging numbers--- They'll dig up Ronald Reagan and have him stump for them. They are aided in their quest by Bill Frist, who says "I have reviewed the videotape, and it is my diagnosis that Reagan has significant brain activity, perhaps even more than when he was in office". He may be half right.

Ken Lay Is Dead.

Enron founder Ken Lay, perhaps the greatest example of a corporate pirate in the modern era, as well as head of the Bush 2000 transition team, has died in his vacation home in Colorado. You know, the kind of place his employees can't afford because he ripped them off in a stock scam.

It's a shame that he exited this life without ever having known justice. He was convicted last month, and was awaiting sentence, which I can only hope would have been a long one.

Rot in hell, Kenny Boy.

You can click here to see warm, glowing correspondence between the modern day Blackbeard and George W. Bush, half of which is written on State of Texas letterhead. Lay was Bush's benefactor in every way. You might even say that he was the consigliere of the Bush Crime Family.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I'd Like to Buy the World a Rum and Coke (not an actual offer)

Come join some of us Liberal Drinkers tonight as we work on perfecting Cliff Clavin's famous buffalo theory:

"Well you see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive drinking of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

Kind of makes you want to buy the whole country a beer, doesn't it?

Monday, July 03, 2006

But Are They Dual Use Tubes???

A friend of mine was cool enough to tip me to this absurd little piece of oratory by Senator Ted Stevens, who has unfortunately yet to follow through on any of his threats to quit the Senate if his earmarks get beaten back.

Ted's understanding of the internet, via Wired:

There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

But this service isn't going to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes. We aren't earning anything by going on that internet. Now I'm not saying you have to or you want to discrimnate against those people [...]

The regulatory approach is wrong. Your approach is regulatory in the sense that it says "No one can charge anyone for massively invading this world of the internet". No, I'm not finished. I want people to understand my position, I'm not going to take a lot of time. [?]

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Now we have a separate Department of Defense internet now, did you know that? Do you know why? Because they have to have theirs delivered immediately. They can't afford getting delayed by other people.[...]

Now I think these people are arguing whether they should be able to dump all that stuff on the internet ought to consider if they should develop a system themselves. Maybe there is a place for a commercial net but it's not using what consumers use every day. It's not using the messaging service that is essential to small businesses, to our operation of families. The whole concept is that we should not go into this until someone shows that there is something that has been done that really is a violation of net neutraility that hits you and me.

There you have it.

I asked the friend that told me about this to send me an email internet with the link in it, and it only took about three seconds to get here. It went pretty quickly through the tubes. The tube rate is insane, so the tubes must have been well lubricated today. Either that, or there's not much of the commercial internet today.

Thanks for explaining all that, Ted. Next time, don't just threaten to quit. Just quit.