July 29, 2005
Latest announcements by those running for re-election in Hamilton County:
I just saw ADA Strong in a downtown restaurant, but I declined to bother his lunch with questions about a possible run for the bench.
More election stuff:
Finally, what every nerdly friend I've ever had has been waiting for is here.
July 27, 2005
Mad at Max (Sorta)
Oh, I, too, have issues with drivers on my daily travels. It's not that. I think I simply have different issues with different drivers -- possibly with Max himself, from the sounds of it. I'd like to provide counterpoint to the "problems" he cites, one by one. (Note: I don't disagree with every point he makes.)
Dear Madder Max:
1. I'll agree that drivers should proceed at a reasonable, safe pace when they have the right-of-way (such as a green light). However, if the line is longer than what one signal cycle allows through, there is no need to be impatient or to feel that everyone in front of you needs to speed through the intersection just for YOU, dude.
2. I so rarely see anyone "slamming on" their brakes when a traffic signal switches to amber (Caution) that I can't give this one any credit. You and I both know that the vast majority of us speed up when we see the light change. If I have ample room to stop without "slamming on" brakes, though, I am going to stop -- and if you hit me, it's your fault.
3. I do agree that too many people take too long in making a right turn. Exit the roadway as safely as you enter it.
4. No right on red? I don't see that one. Usually I see the complete lack of a stop. A red light is not a turn elbow.
5. Hmmm. Ringgold Road in East Ridge seems to suffer a few instances of people stopping to get into the center turn lane, but not many. Other than that, I don't see this being as great a problem as people who are going 20 miles over the speed limit getting into a turn lane so early that sensible drivers who have traversed further along the main path have to do something creative in order to get into the turn lane themselves. (I don't recommend a complete stop, though. I do recommend about two solid minutes of "laying on" the horn at the one who flew up the lane, but only if the object of one's wrath is singularly identifiable by all. We don't want confusion as to who's receiving the sonic barrage.)
6. Okay, okay. "Drive right." Yes, you and I agree. Drivers should stay to the right, and only merge left to pass. But I have to ask: Max, are you, like, sixteen? Grow up, and show some respect to those who choose to drive safely. Oh, and almost no one has to be anywhere at a certain time. Think about it. What's going to happen? Will the world stop if you don't make the previews at the movie? The exception to this is for emergency vehicles, of course, yet I witness plenty of instances of drivers failing to provide access to these.
7. This is the one that really got me cursing. First of all, the soon-to-close lane's length is not a mile-and-a-half. It's a few hundred feet, usually. Secondly, "using it" equals nothing more than CUTTING IN LINE, Bucko. You just TRY to merge back into the single lane we've all -- being able to see farther into the future than a few seconds, we -- sensibly formed, after you've made your smart little move. Go on: try it. A great many people quite falsely assume that I will just let them in, after I've just watched them cut in front of several of those behind me, as if I didn't just see them do that. Oh, you should see the looks on their faces when they are flat-out denied.
8. See my #6.
9. I will not pull out in front of you if waiting to turn onto the roadway; I'll let your unsafe ass fly on by. But I will exact revenge if you ever tailgate me. (And no, I will not utilize unsafe driving practices to do so. I have other ways.)
10. Finally, we agree 100% on one. Cell phones are the worst thing to happen in the driving world since the elevation of the SUV's platform to its topple-ready and peripherally-blinding height. (I have stopped flipping people off. When they are driving stupidly and it's because of a cell phone, I look at them and hold my thumb and pinky up to the side of my face (the "universal phone sign"), grin sarcastically and mouth the words "Call me.") I also hate seeing cigarette butts tossed out of windows. What do people think the ashtray is for? Oh, but "it stinks up the car!" (Um, check your breath lately?) A pajillion pellets of permafiber lining the streets and clogging the storm sewers is not my idea of an enjoyable Tennessee.
What Is Original?
I was driving this morning, thinking, as is my habit, along a few diverging radii, and half-smiled as I thought, "to the vector go the spirals." (I don't know why; it just showed up.)
When I got to where I was going, I dusted off the Google and tossed the above phrase into its mighty maw, and, unless your Google is not my Google, got the one hit that you see there. Someone who calls [him]self "punwit" has not only thought of the very thing, but has posted it on an internet.
Maybe I had heard it somewhere before? I thought it was new (to me -- the fact that I searched indicates a doubt as to its "real" authorship). I guess the question is, "What if I had never searched for it?" I mean, it's not like I was looking to patent it; I don't think you can patent corn. And this "to the vector go the spirals" bit is 100% pure pharmaceutical-grade corn.
What does this mean, and what does it have to do with civics, politics, ethics, or government?
Nothing, so go below for some "value-added links" on those topics. Sorry for the distraction.
Some GOP bloggers are falling all over themselves to tout Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.'s heavy fundraising advantage over State Senator Rosalind Kurita, but they in turn hold their own candidates to an opposing standard, saying that it doesn't matter that Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary are both way behind Bob Corker, and going so far as to denounce Corker's ability to draw such overwhelming support.
But the less indoctrinated Half-Bakered intuits some major warning signs in Ford's home base (Shelby County Democrats). Keen eye, Mike.
Adam Groves has illustrated Tennesseans' recent voter turnout figures, and helps make the case for GOTV. Why don't we vote in primaries? Flood the primaries! Independents and moderates should not sit idly by while the respective fringes do the nominating. All eligible voters should play a part in all applicable aspects of an election.
In, or, rather, on local news, Tennessee Liberal dissects the new tfp Online, and disses the Chattanoogan. It sounds to me like the time is ripe for The Pulse to step up, but its main vehicle is weekly. We need [not just daily, but up-to-the-minute]. I'm so wishing I had time and temerity on my side, so that I could get out there and help report/edit/webpublish local and state news the way [I think, and others intimate] it ought to be done. There's still a chance, I guess, that I could be involved in some way. Let's keep talking this through.
Knox County voted to toughen eminent domain restrictions. Good for them.
Finally: have you filled out the Ethics Comments form?
July 26, 2005
July 26, 19__
My sweet, beautiful wife is celebrating the day of her birth. I'd say it's a pretty good reason for anyone to celebrate, so go ahead. Especially you Leos (I hope you're enjoying this very present Sun, by the way).
In other news, the boy reaches the ceremonial milestone today -- a kind of equinox, if you will -- where he's now been out for as long as he was in. He started waving (hello, goodbye) yesterday.
July 24, 2005
Regarding TennCare, can we of different "sides" work together to try and alleviate some of its headaches, instead of causing new ones? I hold the bell-ringers in the same regard as I do the anti-tax-reform horn-honkers of a few years back. You want to make a difference? Get yourself into the meeting room and, yes, bring something to offer (minimally, the willingness to work toward solutions with a group of diverse action-seekers). That bell isn't going to provide any pills or doctor visits. And the Salvation Army Santas ought to be calling their lawyers right now.
I've been sitting on this one for a while, but it's worth checking out even though it's not as fresh. The Texas Music Educators Association has come up with a rule against male students singing countertenor, or female students singing tenor parts in a choir. Yes, that's right. "Educators" is part of the group's title. Apparently they know nothing of the usage history of, or physiological variety in, the human voice.
Here's one that's very important. Suggest your best ethics reform ideas directly to the government panel what's gonna make legislative recommendations. Adam Groves was good enough to post about this the other day.
Did we get Teddy Bart's Roundtable in the Chattanooga market? I looked, but could not find it. It appears that it's too late now.
I'm making some changes to the Civic Forum candidate pages. Don't look yet, as they're offline still, but do check out this Chattanoogan update for Hamilton County election news.
Finally, here's something a little different.
July 23, 2005
By Way of Thanks
One of the wife's friends did something extraordinarily nice the other week, and I'm just now getting around to acknowledging it.
Earlier this year, the wife had asked this friend, an artist, about how much she would want for doing a particularly described painting. They didn't make contact after that until a bit before the friend's Independence Day Get-Together, and the subject did not come up.
Not right when we got to the party, but only after a little catching up, we were urged to tour the artist's studio. We rounded a corner and there stood an easel that held the completed painting for us to just take -- I say completed because she bundled the mounting hardware with it. It goes perfectly in the boy's room and he really loves it. It will be something he can choose to pass on to any little ones he helps bring along.
Long story, but you had to be there for it to be shorter, so too bad for you. Here's where this website comes in: much of the aforementioned studio space is devoted to a Very Neat Shop where lacy underthings become unique lampshades. These "illuminated lingerie" are all made by hand from vintage clothing, and no two are alike. Pardon my french, but tres décor. Get your order in before the late-Summer rush on the Winter holiday season, as these would make great, one-of-a-kind gifts.
Obviously I can't write ads, so just visit and peruse the goods. A sweet thanks to Kelly for her kindness, and may she receive many hits in return.
July 22, 2005
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
I tend to consider other people's stories as more interesting than mine, but occasionally I can justify relating a significant moment in my life.
Aw, who am I kidding? This is a blog, where hearing oneself talk, about oneself, is the raison d'être. I was in South Africa for three mind-opening weeks in May-June 1989. I was with about 40 other college (and some high-school and some graduate) students who comprised a rather spiffy youth orchestra based in New England. Most of us had traveled before, mostly due to being in this group, but only a couple of members had been to Africa. (Our Canadian-born conductor had grown up near Cape Town, where she debuted as solo violinist with the Cape Town Symphony at some ridiculously prodigious age like 14 -- and then did the same thing as solo pianist the same year. Or, it was the other way around.)
After a brief stopover in Rome and Florence, we flew to Johannesburg amid unresolved feelings. Our classmates and professors back home were protesting our trip (they felt that it counted as a cultural event that violated U.N. sanctions against the Apartheid government, while our leader's position was that it was a mission, or "church related program activities"). Trepidation about what our time in Africa would be like included such disparate topics as not knowing the level of unrest and its bearing on an increasingly fragile government (F. W. de Klerk's) and the fact that we were all suddenly on a five-week regimen of nightly quinine pills to ward off malaria. This group didn't typically use hotels; the concert venues would prepare ahead of time by having people (usually church members) sign up to board a few orchestra members in their homes for a night or two. (Note: this is an excellent way to visit a country. One sees life literally on the street, out the front window of and inside a resident's home.)
A few days into our trip, after we had come face-to-face with the stark racial divisions (my best friend and I stayed for a week with a Coloured family in a suburb that was entirely Coloured -- not Black, not White, not Indian), we were to play a morning concert at a church in Soweto. Some of us had heard of Soweto. Anyone who hadn't soon got the picture when, before our coach embarked, a liaison to local officials stepped onto the bus and said that the police had granted us permission to go there, but that we had to be out of the township 1/2-hour before dark. Period. No exceptions. Police will arrest you.
Of course, since I was a 20-year-old college upperclassman, I thought, "Cool. It's kinda dangerous." (It turns out that Bronx, NY on a Saturday night that happened to be October 31 was just as bad or worse, but that's a different story.)
The bus pulled up to a nondescript building that was the church. Oh, and we never had a crew or anything: we all divvied up the stage setup responsibilities, so we set about carrying in stands and folders. In typical situations, the hall would be empty, but this place was packed with people already. I thought it would be awkward to set up in front of them while they waited for us to play, but here's what happened.
We opened the side door that led to the front. The 600 or so assembled were singing. I can't definitively say that every person was, but every person I could see was. Old men and older women, sprouting teenagers, tired-eyed workers, and little Zulu toddlers all sang one of eight or so parts in this grand choir. They sang in English; the texts were recognizably derivative of Christian hymnal material; but the music was simply overwhelming. As the bit of press on the Downtown Partnership page indicates about Ladysmith Black Mambazo's sound, the sound was a blend of Western gospel and traditional African harmonies. We carried our things in, got the orchestra completely set up to play, and then just sat there for what was probably an hour while they sang -- and we wept. We marveled at their jovial rhythm, their woven harmony, their incredible microtonal modulation, and we spewed tears.
We were finally composed enough to strike up our bows and various horns and things, and we pitifully tried to give back something of a musical answer, but our Handel and Haydn and Mendelssohn were stuffy and downright moribund next to the angelic, organic, brilliant and extremely powerful sounds that had streamed into our ears just previously.
If you go hear Ladysmith tonight at Nightfall, you may get just a taste of what that day in Soweto was like. (You won't, however, get to hang around afterward for "soul food African-style" or to try and pronounce the Xhosa names that belong to the people you're meeting. And it's okay if you're there after dark.)
July 20, 2005
City Councilman Charged with Assault
Jerry has a temper, and driving just makes it worse. Jerry can't stand it when he sees one driver harassing another, so you know what he does? He goes after the aggressor, though he doesn't know the victim at all. It probably takes a few people by surprise to see this random, angry guy gunning for them in a beat-up clunker he doesn't care about enough to avoid a crack-up. Suh-prahz! You just picked the wrawng moment in time ta act like a jerk on the road.
What's wrong with the above? Two wrongs make a right; right? If your irony detectors are magnetized enough to sense it, you'll know the above indicates that it's absolutely ludicrous to endorse reckless, aggressive driving just because it is intended to squelch another's rudeness toward, and endangerment of, yet another. Yet the scenario above must be similar, in motivation, to the actions by Councilman Leamon Pierce yesterday.
After all, who here wants to witness drug deals in his neighborhood? I'm almost certain that anxiety over "saving the victim" would propel many a person to commit similar aggression toward a suspect -- especially if said suspect had spat on them.
However, there is another argument that says "hitting the spitter lowers the hitter to the spitter's level." I mean, it'll wash off. And one can then walk away being clean of person and of conscience. I'm striving, too -- don't think I think I'm "there." Some idiots just really hack me off. If we are in a fit because someone else is flaunting the law, though, then by all means, let's stay within the law ourselves while we deal with that person. (If the person is already being dealt with by officers of the law, then it's best to just stay out of it -- though, around here, one might want to keep an eye on the officers, too, albeit from a legal distance.)
I'm not giving up on Councilman Pierce just yet. He's a human being, and I'll say the same for Mr. Jones. I know Rage personally, too. (We're old pals.)
But as I extend an arm of understanding to a brother citizen, I'm leading with a hand of admonishment on his shoulder.
[Hat tip: The Pulse Blog]
Why Not Get a Hotel Elevator Job?
The wife and I have an ongoing debate over whether hotels (and other buildings with elevators) used to feature monkeys that were dressed up in little suits and rode along with the elevators' operators.
I say that she's thinking of the organ-grinders, and their little dancing monkeys, that were once fairly common on (especially European) nineteenth-century streets. (Excellent pickpockets made they, as I recall reading.)
She claims that I am simply ignorant of "elevator monkeys" OR that I am merely acting on my congenital impulse to argue an opposite point, no matter what. (She longs for the day that I get the fence built in the back yard, so that I will have my proverbial fencepost and leave her out of it.)
Maybe one of you can help resolve our friendly little conflict and put this matter to rest.
I started this post after reading about a Clarksville man and his monkey who were recently banned from doing business in a local mall.
I'm not a member of PETA, but I do think that animals (including human ones) ought to be treated ethically. I was struck more by part of the monkey's prior history than by the events in this saga:
She also said Ricky could hurt someone — even though Metchis said the monkey's teeth were removed by a previous owner[...]
The who-what were removed by the what-now? Yeesh. See, there's your problem with exotic animal "ownership" right there. It's all fine until someone gets his teeth forcibly extracted for no natural reason. What does the poor toothless monkey eat? (Don't say "bananas.") I'd be one cranky monkey if I couldn't bite into a [insert juicy, crunchy jungle vegetable here].
So, in spite of the post title, I'm not really advocating the "return" of the almost certainly mythical elevator monkey; I think this Metchis fellow ought to just enjoy his friendship with Ricky without trying to use the beast to make a buck.
Our RTB Flags Fly at Half-Mast
I have to chime in, too. South Knox Bubba's SKBLOG has been an oft-visited cybertavern during my as-yet-brief blogosphere sojourn.
I aspire to blog about Chattanooga and Hamilton County (and our state government) only half as well as Bubba wrote about his neck of the woods. (I often remind myself that I've only been at this for a few months; but then, seeing as how I'm me, I forbid myself from using that as any kind of excuse for a lack of excellence.)
The gorgeous avian images will be sorely missed as well.
The good news -- and this is in no way meant to diminish SKB's unique value -- is that, with ten million or so other blogs, one might eventually find ways to distract oneself from the pain.
July 16, 2005
I have been waiting for the letter to appear on Chattanoogan.com that approximates my sense of the whole "biker" debate that's been going on there, and I have found it.
I do hope that the scant few motorcyclists who choose to rev their engines in excess are eventually somehow discouraged from doing so, and preferably by their peers. I am a musician and an avid listener. I have been at Nightfall performances by "softer" artists where, all of a sudden, some guy decided to blat his way down the street; and his bike's sound really did obliterate that of the performance. I'm getting too old, though, to start whining about that. It doesn't last that long. Instead, I sympathize with the person's desire to be heard (or whatever), and wish him the best on getting through his little phase, there.
It should go without saying, too, that all of the bikers shouldn't be lumped in with those few; but sometimes a little repetition and redundancy (like that?) helps push the thought in past the cobwebs and greasepiles. All of the bikers shouldn't be lumped in with those few.
Priorities at home are keeping us from all but a few Nightfalls this Summer, but we'll be back next year, I'm sure.
July 15, 2005
Quinze de juillet
Latest on Ethics: Blogging legislator Stacey Campfield suggests a list of reforms. Per his invitation, comment and augment at will.
I hear that Governor Bredesen has placed a moratorium on shredding. (Does this apply to instrumentalists as well?) I saw a Bill Hobbs headline about this on Bloglines, but I can't get the link right now. You've probably read it already, though.
Also from KNS's Michael Silence, "Another state senator in the spotlight." Enough, already. I have a feeling that the 2007-08 General Assembly will contain a host of fresh new faces.
19:50 UPDATE: I didn't think it would take this long, but I knew that the 2006 Senate race would get hot after 4 July. It looks like we're back in business. Of course, if I were sitting on nearly $3M with a couple of $700K competitors, I'd think that things were pretty good. Oh, and by the way: Corker's donors are not limited to any economic class. Maybe the early donors are ones who can part with some campaign cash without a calculator handy, but if my poor butt can donate (and I think it will work out, it just takes time -- and gigs), it's an open field. Oh, and I can't help but watch TeamGOP self-flagellate.
Sometime in August I'll make a real, concerted effort to "spruce up" my candidate pages, since by then we'll be at about a year until the state primary and county general elections, and I anticipate that the lists of potential contenders, for Congress, the General Assembly, and all of our Hamilton County seats, will start to really blossom.
In the "more local = more better" category, John Bailes has officially announced his candidacy and has signed up a pretty impressive campaign treasurer. The Democrats seem to be going after Curtis Adams with a vengeance.
Stuart James, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair, reveals that Representative JoAnne Favors (D-29) will seek re-election. He also mentions the upcoming primary challenge for Commissioner Cotton. This re-match of the 2002 District 4 race will be good. I hope it will be so good that Dr. Warren Mackey is elected. Oops; did I show my hand? Oh, well. I would have earlier, had I been able to publish the first post I wrote about the Cotton-Mackey race.
Well, there went that little window of time. Lastly, I hope to see some of you tomorrow afternoon at Greyfriar's (4th & Broad, next to Lupi's.)
Eric Johnson (with guest Noaxident)
Stand on the Cliffs of Dover (or the terrace of Miller Plaza) and be humbled by a guy who can Stratocast with the best of 'em. If you like, leave your review/diary entry of this performance in the Comments.
July 13, 2005
It looks like some final details are being ironed out, but I'm sure we'll figure out the place to be [we know we'll start out at Greyfriar's], as Bill prompts, the stuff to do.
Check Yer Pulse
I recommend driving down Main Street, Chattanooga, USA sometime. Go from Riverfront to Dodds, or the other way. What is going on? How can we just sit by and let it?
I don't have all the ideas; nor do I have any of the money. I have a "mouth," though, or, a small mouth among many chirping birds, or something, at the very least. I have made this city my home, and it's the home of my young 'un. Am I going to have to sit him up behind the wheel of a big ol' Buick and point to the boarded-up windows like a certain song's main character does? "This is your hometown."
No, let's get private groups like Cornerstone and public commissions of the sort together and foster creative residential and small business endeavors that can, with effort and dedication, turn Chattanooga's forgotten streets into the avenues to remember.
Thanks, Aaron and Phil.
Got My Lucinda Tickets
You can't beat Etix's Print at Home feature.
July 12, 2005
The Senate Ethics Committee is meeting and has handed over a report that appears to contain some pretty damning evidence against former Senator John Ford. No, we're not surprised, but some of us may still be astonished at how far some legislators are willing to go "down that road." And at how much [chutzpah or senility?] it took for Lt. Gov. Wilder to decry their arrests.
The new Ethics advisory board will meet on the 22nd of this month. This 12-person board's naming was completed yesterday by Governor Bredesen, who said,
“As Governor, I’m committed to doing everything in my power to restore Tennesseans’ trust in their state government. This panel gives us a running start in that effort.”
UPDATES from The Tennessean, whose RSS feed I seem to have lost:
Newest member of 12-member ethics advisory board has had to clear her name of conflict of interest in the past (this doesn't sound like much of an issue to me, but I'm just listing);
"Lawmakers launched a look at ethics rules with a review today of what other states are doing.." (I sure hope they've looked at Washington State)
UPDATE II: I really am remiss in not linking to several recent and great posts by Matt White over at South End Grounds. Apropos to this post is his "roundup of ideas" -- he earlier put out the call for them, and I never got around to responding. It looks like some did, and they are good ones. I particularly agree with the idea of having a -- gasp -- elected Attorney General. But really, you should read Matt White more. He's got a couple of guests now, and I guess I'm warming to them, but look for posts by The Groundskeeper. There are several conservatives/Republicans out there that make sense, and aren't just rabidly partisan armchair quarterbacks, or creepily Taleban-ish in their fight for theocratic control over YOUR life, and someday I'll do a roundup of them.
July 11, 2005
And You Wonder Why They Film "Cops" in Chattanooga
The Four Seventeen
You probably know this already, but there is a billboard near the ramp to Veterans Bridge that shows a likeness of new development The Four Seventeen, and one of those Three. Word. Slogans. from advertising's vast creative mine-labs.
I'm just reporting it so that anyone who would like to see what the building will look like can take a little stroll/bike/drive up Frazier Ave and imagine it fully realized.
I'd like to know what North Chattanoogans and the community in general think about it.
UPDATE: If you don't get your fill of a-pondering from considering the above, you can check out Josiah's proposal for the Southside silos.
No, wait, that's his TV job. These rumors have been around for a while, and I think they're only re-surfacing due to part* of the GOP's utter desperation at finding themselves without a sure-thing gubernatorial candidate. (*The other part of the GOP, i.e., the part that holds the purse strings, has neglected to mention to their less-rich-and-savvy counterparts that the party is staying out of Bredesen's way in 2006.)
I'm a newcomer to political analysis, which means that I get to be forgiven more for putting my foot in my mouth than do other, more seasoned pundits. Right? Who cares? I will say it anyway: I don't think Fred Thompson will run for Governor in 2006. I know some want him to; after all, we could be a little more like Minnesota and California if he did run and win. (It's likely that he would win.) Those states have elected celebrity Governors (Ventura and Schwarzenegger). They're sports heroes, though, not from the Arts (for an example of the latter we can look back to Louisiana's popular multi-term Governor named Jimmie Davis).
No, Tennesseans will simply have to be patient yet a little while, until the time comes for the advent of Peyton Manning. 2014 is my guess.
Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss
The Chattanoogan reports that the 5 3 majority Democrats on the Hamilton County Election Commission have come together to name (current Interim and former Deputy) Bud Knowles as the Administrator.
While I'm glad to see the matter finally completed, it is disappointing that 40% of the Commissioners did not participate in Mr. Knowles' selection. Is abstaining really better than going on record as voting for the nominee of one's choosing? These are the people who are responsible for not only ensuring fair and accurate elections, but also for promoting the "action" part of democracy -- and what kind of message does their arms-folded, hands-washed stance send to the already apathetic public?
I had earlier half-commended Commissioner Quinn for guiding the process away from its initial rush to seat Tyrone Waller without any other applicant reviews. It is dishearteningly close to apparent that he was holding out for LuAnne Dewitt's candidacy, and that after she withdrew, he and Commissioner Walden just decided to take their trucks out of the sandbox.
July 9, 2005
Consumer Blogging: Comcast
I had written what I thought was a nice post about Warren Mackey challenging William Cotton in next year's District 4 primary (Hamilton County). I clicked on "Preview" as I do, for proofreading's sake, and, just like that, my "high-speed" internet connection was idling on flat zero. The post is somewhere in the ether.
Okay, lesson to me: Save early and Save often. But what you don't know is that over a week ago I had called Comcast to report a problem with intermittent lapses in connectivity, and the guy on the phone readily identified the presence of some kind of interference that he said surely was also causing several of the very few cable channels I pay for to fade out at will. We talked about a service rep coming out the next day (Friday, July 1) and settled on a 4-hour block of time when that could happen. (9:00am - 1:00pm.)
Imagine my happiness when he then said that I didn't have to sit and wait on the cable guy; I could just be at a number (like a work number, since I live close enough) and they could give me a 30-or-so-minute "heads-up" before we would meet at the house. Cool!
Imagine my frustration when, at 11:20 on Friday morning, I got off a call and checked my voicemail, since I had detected a business-like 855 number calling at 11:15, only to find a rather curt message telling me you really need to be at the premises in order for the repairperson to be able to complete the service call. So much for the 30-minute heads-up.
I called and explained the arrangement the guy and I had made the night before. The girl on the phone coolly related that the guy had recorded the number to call, but not the fact that I needed to be called ahead of time. [Please try, with me, to avoid repeatedly bashing your forehead into the nearest hard object.]
Okay, I said, how can we get this worked out? Oh, said the girl on the phone, your repairman's on a job right now, but he can go (back) to your house next.
I'm at work, I said, so again, if you give me even 20 minutes' notice, I can meet him there and he won't have to wait on me.
Sure, I'll have him do that, said the girl on the phone.
I'm still waiting, over a week later, for that call. (No, I don't expect it; I am simply exploring other ISP options. I've had it with service disaster after service disaster from these Comca$t yo-yos. And I'm a fairly easy-going customer. I don't send dishes back at restaurants unless they're actually dangerous or downright gag-inducing. If the guy last Thursday hadn't OFFERED a 30-minute notice call, I wouldn't have known to sign up for it.)
Take note that you, the readers here, have been affected by this. I really wrote a good post about the Mackey-Cotton showdown redux and how the alleged 2002 election fraud plays into it and all kinds of good stuff. I related my experiences hearing both candidates speak. It's really too bad that you'll have to miss that, but Comcast must take the blame for not ever calling me to get the interference problem solved. Meanwhile, I have spotty internet service and we don't even get FOX61 (11), nor a few other very basic channels.
July 8, 2005
Boy, Those Tennessee Governors Sure Can Whack Medicaid.
It's just that it's so soon after our current HMOnger fought hard -- didn't just suggest it as a determined but reluctant last measure -- fought hard and gained approval to cut over 300,000 enrolled patients from TennCare. Via the Files (and I heard it on NPR, who mentioned Bredesen and his cuts in their story), we learn that former Governor Don Sundquist is joining heading a commission on "improving" Medicaid.
Now, I admit that I barely paid attention throughout the D.S. administration. I was also out-of-state for two years in there, dealing with Candace Miller (hint: she wasn' th' Governor). However, and it's thanks mainly to bloggers, I have caught up somewhat on the basic scorecard. It's not a hot one, particularly in the field of healthcare.
I have to look at things from the other man's point of view, so: if I were Don Sundquist, I wouldn't want some under-informed nobody named Joe (or better-informed Blake or Glen, for that matter) damning my leadership on the Medicaid Commission before either it or I had even started. Therefore, I'm simply stating an intent to pay attention.
I hope someone invites the TFP bloggers.
Hot (and Cold) Ethics/Accountability Stories
Half Bakered comments on the huge (uh, huge when realized) pile of fines that remain uncollected by the Registry of Election Finance. Mike then introduces us to a watchblog* over in Memphis that seems fairly interesting.
*I've not Googled to find out yet, so I'm blindly assuming that I just coined this term. BillHobbs.com is a -- well, it's an online magazine now, but earlier I would have called it a watchblog, along with Blake Wylie's and others'.
The Tennessee Liberal appears to be conflicted on US Senate hopeful Harold Ford, Jr. Other bloggers have some eyebrow-raising too. I can't help but wonder what many Democrats will find themselves doing on Primary Election Day in August, 2006.
It seems like I had more than this in mind throughout the week, but the rest escapes me. Stay watchful, though.
UPDATE: Oh, yeah. This is something that I wanted brought to your attention. Whew.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
If you go, I'll link to your blog entry tomorrow; if you don't blog, just use the Comments here to relate your experience.
July 7, 2005
On Second Thought: "Business As Usual" Sends the Best Message
The title refers to my earlier post about the tragic events across the Atlantic this morning. I took a moment to be shocked and solemn, and now I'm rolling up my sleeves to get all busy.
What could convey courage and determination better than to defiantly persist in carrying on our business as planned?
Anyway, I want to welcome a couple of brand-new blogs whose themes are on my endless to-do list: community and neighborhood micro-blogging. People have started them up before I've gotten around to suggesting it, and that makes me happy. Drop by and say hello to Brainerd and East Lake residents, even if you aren't either, but especially if you are.
A Soggy Day
Blogging about civics seems a mite picayune on a day like today. There are links and blogs and sites too many to mention, but we all know by now that London has been hit with what are assumed, alleged, and claimed (though the claim seems to be unsubstantiated) to be terrorist attacks. Much in the same way that much of the world stopped and cried with NYC and NOVA and PA on 9/11, and with Madrid on 3/11, I'm stopping to cry with London today.
July 6, 2005
In the Dark
I'm just putting this out here to ask for your forbearance as I make style changes. I downloaded a free CSS editor, and, well, you get what you pay for. Some classes/IDs just don't Preview the way they actually show up.
I've learned my lesson and have set up a temporary test main index and stylesheet so that I can play with changes by only rebuilding those instead of this whole blog. In the meantime, the Civic Forum blog will continue to slightly resemble "The West Wing" episodes from the 2001-02 season.
Someday I'll get it looking better.
July 3, 2005
Song for the Fourth
One says O and the other says O
Say can you see beautiful spacious skies,
Whose bright stars we proudly hailed in the twilight's last gleaming?
Broad-striped amber waves of grain, and purple mountain majesties
by the dawn's early light,
Sound good to me.
Wherefore the perilous fight; or peering o'er ramparts above the fruited plain
At rockets' red glare, America, America?
God shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy brotherhood with good
Proof through the night
That your flag is still there, America, America,
Land of the brave,
Home of the Free;
How now bombs bursting in air
From sea to shining sea?
[You're supposed to hear this as dramatic spoken word by, say, Laurence Fishburne, over an Ivesian-sort-of music bed.]
July 1, 2005
Don't "Gau Thier" -- Say "Go Shea"
"We" at the UFAC have come to the conclusion that the Nightfall category on the erstwhile Civic Forum site should be incorporated into the UFAC's takeover as well.
After all, even if we're 100% focused on ending government corruption by day, all week long, on weekend nights we've gotta get out and hear some music. Or, at least encourage the more mobile among you to do so. C'mon, Nightfall is fun and it's free.
This week's concert is by Mary Gaulthier. The Downtown Partnership's site tells of her comparisons to Lucinda Williams; and I admit that I was listening to one of her songs on WUTC the other night and I thought she was Lucinda Williams until it was announced otherwise.
Davey Smith & Michael Walker open.
Enter your comments/links to your blogs about this Nightfall performance.
More Fruit and Cake
First, it goes without saying that the move to expel Newton from the House is nothing more than political retribution by party hardliners against one of their members who, in their eyes, has betrayed them.
Secondly, I did not mean to imply that only Democrats should ask for Democrats' resignations, and likewise for Republicans. I understand why a state party chair would only speak to his or her members; but a resolution to expel should theoretically be introduced by any member of the legislative body, regardless of political party, shouldn't it? And mesh's point about the parties NOT holding joint meetings to address this serious issue is a great one.
Let's imagine for a moment, as Bobby Wood is unable to do, that (for argument's sake) a "more established" Republican or two had been caught up in the sting (and it ain't over, from what I hear). Would Rep. Clem be as quick on the draw to try and expel them? I doubt it. Would Bob Davis have asked Ron Ramsey to resign, had he been one of the waltzers? Or would he hide safely behind the "not convicted of anything" sandbag like the Democrats are doing? Indeed.
No, my only point was that (for whatever reasons) the Republicans are in motion, even though they only (currently) have one pawn to sacrifice; and that the Democrats, who are dealing with a former Senate Majority Leader and a stalwart Memphis politico, seem to be stalling.
Now, my last point, which is prompted by a disturbing tidbit from Jeff Ward at TeamGOP:
I have been told dozens of times how the Republican Caucus has purposely kept Newton, and a few others, out of the loop on strategy and legislation for fear they would go running downstairs to the Speaker’s office.
This really underscores the unhealthy dominance that partisanship holds in our legislature over true policy concerns. I know everyone says that "politics is a game" but in my view that is only applicable, at best, to the campaign process. Once a representative is elected to office, that representative has a sworn duty to serve his or her citizens that supercedes (er, or should) all of this childlike game-playing. We, the People, really need to pay attention and to hold our elected officials accountable to rising above this silliness. In case it's not clear, I am saying this to members of both major parties, and to future representatives from other parties.