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June 30, 2005

GOP to Newton: Resign or We'll Expel You

First, I read on Adam Groves' blog that Bob Davis had asked State Rep. Chris Newton to resign his House seat.

Then, just minutes ago, I noticed that Bill Hobbs has even more -- Hamilton County's own Chris Clem (RRR - Lookout Mtn) has filed a resolution to expel Newton.

(By the way, Adam et al: Newton represents District 22, which is Meigs, Polk and part of Bradley counties; but of course those are our neighbors, so he's obviously a known figure here in Hamilton.)

With all this going on over the lone Republican arrested in the Tennessee Waltz sting, I do think that Mike Hollihan's question is valid. Will Bob Tuke ask Senators Bowers and Crutchfield to resign? Will a Democratic Senator submit a similar resolution regarding their expulsion? (Hint: if so, it likely won't be Lt. Gov. John Wilder.)

I know that the knee-jerk response from Democrats will be "Hey, innocent until proven guilty!" But even though I usually disagree heartily with Rep. Clem (RRR- Lookout Mtn), I echo his party leader's admonishment to Newton: clean up your reputation and make another go at it later, if you wish. I just wonder what will happen with the indicted Democrats (including local School Board member Charles Love).

We of the United Front will keep watching.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 04:00 PM | TrackBack

June 29, 2005

Beck's Tango

Well, it seems settled. County Commissioner Greg Beck will continue to serve his constituents in District 5, and to swear them in if they so happen to appear in City Court, with no further argument from the City Council.

I happen to agree with the ruling, based on my interpretation of the ordinance's intent. I believe the idea is to prevent something along the lines of a person simultaneously holding an appointed position at City Hall and an elected seat in the County Government, or variations on that general theme. There is an abundantly clear lack of conflict, though, in this case. He's a bailiff -- honorable and important, but hardly the end an hungry power-seeker would seek. Councilman Pierce seems to be the one who had the most interest in ending Mr. Beck's dual service; but I am curious as to Ms. Rutherford's rationale for voting to appeal. (I get a kind of "Brenda Turner vibe" from her, for some reason. (Remind me to tell you what Ms. Turner said to a friend of mine one night during the run-up to her primary defeat last year.))

Posted by joe lance in Government at 02:09 PM | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

North to Alaska

Anchorage has living examples of the kinds of local lawmakers we need here in order to avoid misuse of the Kelo v. New London eminent domain ruling. We don't have to just grin and bear it.

Anchorage also has the weather I'd rather enjoy right about now (though about a week straight of rain is forecast after tomorrow).

Uhh, I forgot on whose blog I found this link, so, apologies and thanks to whomever you are.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 03:36 PM | TrackBack

Daily Ethics Action Digest: 6/28

Attention: Times Free Press - A comment was added on South End Grounds that pretty much spells out your task in this effort. I will echo the plea for "more better" coverage of this issue from our newspapers, in hopes that the information reaches the most, but I also look to weblogs and any other outlet (talk radio, local tv news) to help.

The Tennessean has made decent strides, for its part. Bill Hobbs uses its third installment in the current series as a springboard for some specific attacks on Governor Bredesen. I am trying to build a united front, so I encourage you on the left to take Bill's partisan ire with a patient reading but to definitely follow all the links in this post and piece together the facts therein. We cannot let one member of this government (let alone its chief executive) think that talk of these reforms is just some smoke blown at Sunday dinner.

For your convenience, the Tennessean articles: One | Two | Three
(someone please correct me if I got those wrong)

Now, on the local front: we still don't have a full-time elections administrator. I hope we all know how important it is to ensure as much as possible that this position is held by someone who possesses lots of integrity and (preferably) no political bias. Several people feel that interim (and Deputy) administrator Bud Knowles is the best candidate, though the list continues to change.

The question is, how do we effectively communicate with the five Election Commissioners? They're the ones who'll decide.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 08:05 AM | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

What's UFAC?

It sounds ugly. It only has a name and a founder. One could say that it is "without form and void."

This primordial, aggressive squatter has just taken over the site of the rather benign Chattanooga-Hamilton Civic Forum. It wasn't pretty: the Forum just sat there and got pushed over (but, mark my word, it will come clawing back).

What is it?

It's the United Front Against Corruption. It is an epic[?] attempt to bring together Tennessee's citizens in a -- well, basically, a popular uprising, wherein we demand that our state government becomes opened, cleaned, and proactively communicative to us, its enablers.

This UFAC is a new name and has a relative newcomer at its origin, but there have been plenty of others calling for reform, and for years. I am in no way trying to upend their efforts. In fact, I want to connect all the various activists, and add a lot more, so that we create a concerted, unstoppable "groundswell of public opinion" (gotta use clichés once in a while).

As I currently see it, there are a couple of essential preparatory tasks. One is to educate ourselves on the problem. We have some excellent sources, and I'm sure you bloggers and blog-readers will connect us to even more than the starter material I'll list here. Task Two should probably actually be #1: we need to set aside our ideological differences. (I say knock this one out first because then we won't read the "educational material" with [as much of] a bias.) A corrupt official is a corrupt official is a corrupt official. As I commented at South End Grounds, "If we can all recognize that, even though it may be in different places and at different times, we are all susceptible to winding up with compromised ethics, then we can stick to using our partisanship to define [distinct] policy positions, and avoid its use as an attack weapon."

(Hey, I disclosed that the UFAC only has one member, so we have to quote each other for now.)

Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Independents, and Unknown/Others all share the same stake in this.

Republicans: The fact that it's not your party that bears a lot of the recent (Waltz) burden and a multi-decade hold on power doesn't mean you have to treat this as a leverage opportunity in your own power quest. (I can hear every single one of my Republican friends saying, "Yes it does!" But y'all are just Darwinist like that, and I think that's okay. Bear with me here, though. You can go back to being political Visigoths after we clean up this mess together.)

Democrats: The fact that the power-monopolizers and civic offenders play for your team doesn't mean you have to defend their unconscionable behavior or stay out of the change effort or cry "unfair!" (I can hear every single one of my Democrat friends saying "Yes it does!" And y'all are just solidaritous like that, and I think that's okay. Bear with me here, though. You can go back to being political lemmings after we clean up this mess together.)

Independents/Other Partisans: Most of you (that I know, anyway) are way ahead of the rest of us on this, so be patient while we get our swords and plowshares sorted out.

The Uninvolved: I'm tempted to yell like a USMC drill sergeant, but I will ask nicely, because this is too important to risk turning you away: Please get involved in this effort to create a more open, honest, and responsive government. It will only help you. If I can get donations of carrots, I'll dangle them. Whatever it takes to get you enthused about the cleansed state halls of the [near] future is not too much.

Elected Officials: You'd better hope you're already on the right side of this (and I don't mean Right and I don't mean we're operating with the political-party definition of "sides"), or your defeat -- in 2006, 2008, or however soon it can be engineered -- will be most inglorious. And there will be enough people watching to spot the "reactively ethical" among you.

Now, for the self-education starter kit:

The Tennessean series (link is to Part II)

The Rep's blog

The Senator's blog

Tell us about more material, and let's get to work.

Posted by joe lance in Government | Politics is Personal at 11:44 AM | TrackBack

June 26, 2005

Knoxville Bloggers Beat Us 'noogans

There has been talk on smijer and 10,000 Monkeys and elsewhere about getting local bloggers together for just some good clean fun (and maybe those who are interested do carry on toward libations, etc., after), but it hasn't happened -- unless you count the night that mesh, Bailes, and I met for coffee and good conversation downtown. (Uhh, I don't count that.)

Michael Silence -- who, by the way, seems to do a decent job at both blogging and "traditional" journalism: an uncommon pairing in Southeast TN -- has posted about a small gathering of BigOrangeTown's blogmaniacs.

Let's at least keep a conversation going about some kind of meetup in the River City.

Posted by joe lance in About Blogs | Sunday Drive at 03:47 PM | TrackBack

More on Kelo v. New London

I don't have the same intense level of outrage (about Kelo) as do a lot of my fellow bloggers; but that's not because I WANT to see more land grabs that end up as giveaways to the already rich and connected set. My lack of seething just has to do with how I sense the federal government's role.

Therefore, a state constitution amendment is a potentially valid approach (I haven't yet read it), but another tack we can and must take is to approach this at the local level as a critical mass of voting citizens. I firmly believe that it is the lack of electoral participation that has been of great aid to the whole Kelo scenario's coming about. When only about 17% of those eligible get out and vote, chances are great that a majority of those 17% are connected to the connected, and are merely ensuring a hold on power. Those elected officials who abet the developers' land grabs have very little concern over being voted out. In fact, we've seen in Chattanooga that there is (at least allegedly) a "revolving door" between the city government and powerful redevelopment firms.

I'm not much for amending constitutions when not absolutely necessary, so I hope Tennesseans will join me in a monumental effort to dramatically increase voter turnout -- especially in municipal, county, and state elections. That's where it matters. If the politicians know that their accountability factor is high, they will be much less likely to engage in backroom-deal property confiscations. Developers will then be forced to deal with those property owners directly, as it should be, and the 5th Amendment needn't be trampled upon -- and the Kelo v. New London ruling won't even apply.

The local print, tv and radio outlets also need to be convinced that coverage of this matter is paramount. (If I had tons o' money I would just convin$e them myself.) It would also be nice if, instead of covering elections with the angle "those voters, look what they came up with," they took the "public good" part of their licenses seriously, and portrayed the message "YOU: go vote, and here's all the info about who/what the choices are." Do we ever hear Bob Johnson (for example) using the same urgent tone about upcoming voter registration deadlines (and we'll talk about same-day registration another time) as Patrick Core (for example) uses when he says that a severe thunderstorm is headed our way?

I hate to break it to some of you, but low voter participation has far more damaging and lasting effects on a lot more people than does a bit of wind and hail.

I have the distinct impression that some people are politicizing the Supreme Court ruling, based on their apparent ideological alignment with three of the four dissenting Justices. That's their prerogative, but I would much rather see officials and non-officials alike focus their energy on what can actually be done to alleviate the problem (i.e., for starters anyway, the approach I have outlined above). Failure on their part to do so may amount to a lack of sincerity about the actual foundation of the issue.

A interesting, local, related question: is the Igou Gap Road widening project

a) a real road construction need that would both ethically and legally permit the City to exercise eminent domain;

b) an ex post facto favor to CBL to help increase traffic to the already-developed Gunbarrel Pointe shopping center;

c) a preparatory move for further development near the existing one (i.e., if Chattanooga gets the land, will she sell it to a developer)?

I'm going to go read up on the technology for doing voting/surveys on blogs, and turn the above question into one -- if I have time. Otherwise, use Comments.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 09:11 AM | TrackBack

June 25, 2005

The Waybacks (with guest Footloose)

I couldn't get the mp3 files on the Waybacks' site to work for me, but their text descriptions and the few songs I've been able to sample via Rhapsody's "free radio" feature indicate that this is one Nightfall at which to be present.

That depends on one's musical preferences, to be sure, but I'm currently in a heavy "Americana" (whatever that really means) zone in my personal listening; and I grew up in a bluegrass-saturated environment. Those facts might explain why I want to see The Waybacks.

I'm listening to a live cut of "Mind Your Own Business" and they are just having a good time, throwing in snippets from all kinds of songs into the instrumental breaks (try "Beat It") and morphing into a bastardized version of "Dueling Banjos" and "Purple Haze" with "Green Acres" lyrics. Distorted acoustic guitar is always fun. Musicians are too often prone to taking themselves too seriously, but it doesn't sound like one can accuse The Waybacks of that fault.

Below the fold: my thoughts on the Nightfall performance.

This soon after Summer Solstice, it's all about waiting for the sun to set. The heat is sneaking into the mental bays labeled "normal" and "accepted" despite my efforts to maintain vigilance against such. The heat will, as always, set up its hammocks there and lazily radiate while the synapses struggle to carry, sweating and grumbling, onward. Monetary obstacles being what they are, I can't just pack up and make sure I'm at least to British Columbia by Memorial Day.

Still, it was a fairly nice night for some good, free live music. I strode down Cherry Street to the sounds of Hogs and a lone seagull, and arrived at Miller Plaza just in time to hear the headliner announced as "the greatest rock and roll band in the world!" (I know: NRBQ were here a couple of years ago.)

The Waybacks possess a healthy balance of talent and showmanship with the aforementioned lightness and tongue-in-cheek wit. The drummer (Chuck Hamilton) stays tastefully supportive, though he has chops when needed. The bassist (Joe Kyle, Jr.) played an electric upright. I'm sure that's easier to carry around (not to mention amplification) than a full-on double bass.

Then there are the guitarists: James Nash and Stevie Coyle. It's good and proper to have a live listening experience that amounts to nothing more (or less) than an a$$-whuppin', because such opens the tap of inspirational juices. It's likely I won't ever "shred" on an acoustic the way James Nash can, but I can at least practice.

Their tour schedule indicates that they pick up different fiddle/mandolin players based somewhat on region. It was therefore our treat to hear a guy named Warren Hood, who is adept on both instruments and at least approaches the style of the great Stephane Grappelli in the swing numbers.

There's nothing like that swing, either, especially when it speaks with a "gypsy" inflection. You know: "it don't mean a thing.." The Waybacks' uses of harmony -- vocal and instrumental -- are just poignant and angular enough for me, while remaining tonal and straightforward enough for, as I call them, "the GP." The crowd seemed to really like a new tune called "Petrified Man." On the lyrical front, I enjoyed "Motorway Livin'." (I am just guessing at titles, using oft-repeated phrases to guide me.) I also liked hearing the many musical references during the show. "Dueling Banjos" made a brief appearance, as did "The Simpsons" theme and a tune I haven't heard since childhood, "Shortnin' Bread."

The last song of their set was the treat-in-waiting, though. Alice has already commented on the way they built-up into it, and I knew something of the sort was on the way when they said something like "and we have had the privilege of playing this next song with one of its authors." That was somehow code to me that it would be a Grateful Dead composition, but my delight couldn't have been much more complete when, after teasing any number of Dead-penned motifs (the strongest was "Dark Star") during the song's intro, they broke into "Cumberland Blues." It made a perfect vehicle for their instrumentation and vocal style, and it got some audience members dancing around the plaza's maple trees and hollering like banshees. A group of mostly stoic Japanese kids even got into the groove, while some of the more mature citizens at least tapped their feet in time. The jam was enhanced by some "herring pick'ing," then slid into "Third Stone from the Sun," followed by old pickin' stand-bys "Red-Haired Boy" and "Blackberry Blossom," before the vocal coda returned. The sun finally went down when this tune started, and so sweet relief combined with giddy nostalgia for a most pleasurable cap to a solid evening.

After the last notes of the encore, I made my way through what remained of the crowd, and overheard an interesting tidbit. The Waybacks hail from the San Francisco Bay area, but a woman near me asked her friend, "Do you know Jim Nash?" "From Nashville?" came the reply. "Yeah. That [lead guitarist James] was his son." Well, now, at least one of those fancy California boys (hey, I was born there, I can kid) is actually a neighbor from just up the road.

I won't get to attend all, or even most, of the Nightfall shows this Summer, but I'm really glad I made this one happen. It was great. I didn't get there in time to hear Footloose, but maybe I'll catch them at another time and place.

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 10:23 AM | TrackBack

June 24, 2005

I Missed My Calling

Wow. Some consultants did a study and came to the earth-shattering conclusion that "the rift between the [Hamilton County School B]oard and the County Commission 'needs to be healed.'"

I need to get in on this consulting racket.

Speaking of County Commissioners (and of their 2006 election challengers): how did the John Bailes campaign "gauging" event go last night in East Ridge?

Posted by joe lance in Education at 01:43 PM | TrackBack

June 23, 2005

Igou Gap and Shallowford Residents Booted by SCOTUS?

This one's quirky, to my undereducated mind. I was listening to the radio during lunch and I seem to remember hearing that the reasoning behind the majority opinion is based in deferment to state and local government -- incidentally, then, the inevitable property takeovers are not "at the hand of the Federal Government" directly, as some are charging.

The problem I see with the ruling is that there is just a bit too much flexibility in what an eminent-domain-invoking local government can possibly call "public" use of the land. I understand that we don't want the Feds stepping on what state and local governments can decide to do, so I guess it's just up to citizens everywhere to affect change to their local governments, through heavy participation in both elections and the legislative process, so that this power will not be abused.

We can probably all name examples where some of the private developers who ostensibly stand to gain from this ruling have ties aplenty to local elected officials (and it's likely that individual residential property owners have far fewer such inroads), so the near future feels a little squishy given these existing situations.

Since the Supreme Court won't intervene (and there are plenty of arguments to support that position), the only thing to keep hand-in-glove property handouts from happening is better local citizen watchdoggin'.

Posted by joe lance in Community | Government at 12:54 PM | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

Shifting Alliances

Adam sez the conservatives don't wanna be associated with the pro-TennCare crowd now that there has been a 3-day [something or other] at the Capitol.

But dang it, I'm going to find some ways to agree with those pesky, huggable conservatives in spite of themselves. From Glen Dean:

, but the best way that we can prove to the flag desecrater that he is wrong about America, is to preserve his right to burn the flag.

That sounds right to me. What's wrong with so many in Congress?

In other alliance news, another Joe is commentating on changes in the Iraq War coalition.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 10:25 PM | TrackBack

Political Zoology Update

So, not only did I attempt to attribute the acronym Republicans In Name Only to the radical religious right wingers, and thus hand the Republican name back to its freedom-conscious, fiscally sensible, socially disinterested owners; but SayUncle declares outright that the letters stand for Republicans / Independents Not Overdosed (on the Party Kool-Aid) (and he credits the Commissar with the origin).

Though these deviations from the former use of the "RINO" acronym appear to be on divergent paths (mine totally switches the term's target, while theirs has a pretty similar target but a new definition), the point is that the evolution is occurring, and soon "RINO" will no longer possess any validity as an epithet used by RRRers to describe Republicans.

After all, the hyperconservatives' brazen hijack of the Grand Old Party, even with its many successes, is not a done deal, and could still be turned back. I sense a major showdown coming in the months and years ahead, between those who have The Money and those who, through tireless activism and agitation, have of recent years had The Votes.

Since I consider myself an Independent, and sometimes can rationally call myself a (l)ibertarian, I'd consider joining the Commissar's Raging RINOs on TTLB, but I'm probably too liberal for them, according to the Pew Typology survey. 'Twouldn't be advisable for a baboon to mingle with a herd of those big critters.

Posted by joe lance in Politics is Personal at 11:09 AM | TrackBack

Whirrrrrrrp! Civic Alert

This is not a test. Please calmly follow these instructions.

Proceed to your nearest town hall. Learn about what goes on there. Repeat procedure with your courthouse, school board, mayoral offices, and various commissions.

A republic cannot sustainably thrive if its citizens, off-handedly and with meager participation, elect officials among themselves only to then pay little to no attention to how those fellow citizens go about the officiating.

Did I know that such a high percentage of Chattanooga Police Department disciplinary actions had been overturned by the Council? No. Am I glad for the combination of blog and online MSM that got me up to speed? Of course.

I don't even pretend to know the complex story behind this figure, so I recognize the folly there would be in an attempt to dissect it, or to cast blame on any one party (including the Council). However, from the surface it would appear that there is a breakdown somewhere in the system that is causing this asynchronous outcome, and I feel that it is our duty to discover and repair as best we can.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 07:55 AM | TrackBack

June 21, 2005

Gauntlet Flung in HamCo District 8

Oh, and you thought that the US Senate race of 2006 was going to be the exciting part. Not. Even with rumors circling that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. may actually enter the race to succeed his self-term-limited self, the hot topic from here on out is Hamilton County.

Think about it, though: does the US Senate make such directly, daily impactful decisions as do the County Commissioners, School Board, County Mayor, and Sheriff? I really think that, through decades of political campaigns being merely an arm of the television entertainment conglomerate, society has placed an imbalanced sense of importance on national elections. Yes, it's important who your President is, and who your representatives in the chambers of Congress are. But it is my view that the importance factor is strongest at the local level, and then the relative importance of state, national, and super-national organizations probably decreases with breadth of jurisdiction.

So, with that, I am kicking off a more focused coverage of the 2006 county elections now -- and it pleases me that the first real news I have regarding potential candidates comes from my own County Commission district. It can't get much more local (and so, following the crude algorithm above, it can't get much more important). Educator, blogger, and Pulse reporter John Bailes has all but declared his intent to seek qualification.

An earlier development involved a spate of challengers for Sheriff John Cupp's position. No recent buzz there, but if anything changes I'll update the page.

Posted by joe lance in Elections at 03:41 PM | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

Administering Bud

Could it be that, instead of more impasse and partisanship, a very simple solution can be found for the problem of filling the Administrator's position at the Hamilton County Election Commission?

If Mr. Knowles is willing and experienced, does the search process need to continue?

Posted by joe lance in Elections at 12:00 PM | TrackBack

June 19, 2005

Live-blogging Father's Day

5:57 pm - So here we all are at my Father's-in-law (not sure here -- I know where plurals go in this situation, but possessives?). The burgers and dogs have been grilled, the salads and desserts and sundry else have all been devoured in earnest. It's actually about to wrap up, but one nephew was playing games on the computer for a while.

It's a typical family get-together, with the several generations represented, and with young and younger still (sis-in-law has one on the way) comprising the majority.

The wife just reminded me that we forgot the camera. Someday we'll finish that roll of, yes, film, and put some Riverbend shots online.

6:05 pm - A nephew is talking about his blog. I've inquired as to its URI, but he's not sure of it. Perhaps I'll get it later. I know I wasn't blogging at 13 (is that how old this one has gotten?).

6:20 pm - Things are wrapping up. Everyone's trying out the blood pressure checker. What fun! Awards were handed out in Individual and Couples categories (for the highest, of course). It's strange whose ends up higher than those one might expect.

6:27 pm - Just got the "Joe, do you think we should go soon?" question. Translation: "We're going, very soon." One more family picture and we're out of here.


Posted by joe lance in Community at 06:26 PM | TrackBack

Final Thoughts on Riverbend MMV

I was so asleep, I didn't even hear the reported [all agents busy? well, we'll just do this the old-fashioned way: Chattanooga Times-Free Press, Sunday, June 19, 2005: B1] 18-minute barrage of gunpowder explosions like I usually can -- from behind the ridge, even.

That's good, because the boy had us somewhere between fitfully dozing and groggily awake from 2 until 6 this a.m. He's perfect, you know, but if there was one thing I would go back and ask to be synchronized a little better during his formation, it would be the whole gastro-intestinal development's timing. Everything but that was fully cooked and ready to go when he came shrieking into the world.

So, if you went to the last night of Riverbend XXV, or if you got riverbent some other time and just haven't written a comment about it, go ahead and flail away at some memories and I'll be thankful to experience them second-hand.

6/20 UPDATE with links:

Attitudinal Beliefs displays some cool behind-the-scenes photos.

Tennessee Liberal proclaims one band that played mid-week.

Adrienne recaps experiences as a booth volunteer.

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 02:01 PM | TrackBack

June 18, 2005

2006 Election Exhibition Games

Those of you who are, like, so not interested in politics or elections that are over a year away (and who mistakenly identify your feelings with "could care less" instead of "couldn't care less"): be patient, as I'll be back with more drivel after this post is over.

For us politics, uh, enthusiasts, here are a few things I've gathered.

Much more steam seems to be building behind the "draft Beth Harwell for Governor" effort than I would have predicted at this stage. Who's not telling us something? For now, I'm leaving her in limbo as a potential candidate on the Senate and the Governor pages. I think the "draft Beth" movement is so strong because there are a number of GOPers in the state who are unwilling to follow their head honchos' game plan (i.e., the plan of staying out of Bredesen's way and concentrating solely on the Senate race). That's not to say that they'll get what they want (just like they also might not get Ed Bryant as their Senate nominee).

I received my first e-mail from the Rosalind Kurita campaign, and I have just one question. Will I have to forego any and all of her campaign events, even if they come to Chattanooga (I'm assuming they will)? I'm not against lawful gun ownership, but I am not comfortable hanging around anywhere there are loaded firearms, especially if they are being discharged! Here's an excerpt from the campaign e-mail:

On her way to a speech in McMinn County, Kurita stopped off in Tellico Plains to shoot skeet - her favorite sport. She's planning a skeet shooting tour of Tennessee throughout the summer and fall.
I would have guessed that she was planning a campaign for the Democratic Party's nomination for the United States Senate. Shows you what I know.

Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. won't be coming to Chattanooga on Monday as had been planned. The local partisans were duking it out yesterday over whether he's fit to represent them on the ticket. They're talking about it up in the Nashville scene, from Dems and non-Dems (via Jay who, of late, is less blogging for Bryant and more blogging against Ford/Corker -- a sign of doubt about his candidate?).

Meanwhile, Bill Hobbs joins B4B in turning the hose on Van Hilleary. These comments, and the fact that VH's sole cheerlearder (Chrystal) seems to have been "taken up," tell me that his campaign is pretty well doused, even though I have no doubt that voters in the GOP primary will have to step around the wreckage on the ballot. Too bad, because even though I don't like VH's politics, I thought that "Jump" album was pretty good, and that goofy guitar with all the tape on it is rad, man. Not to kick him while he's down, but here are some more thoughts from smijer.

There will be more to come in a couple of weeks or so, after all of the Independence Day events.

Posted by joe lance in Political News at 09:35 AM | TrackBack

June 17, 2005

See. Gee. Tee.

You have two chances to hear California Guitar Trio fripp their way across the UnumProvident stage's sound system this evening; unfortunately, I have none.

These crafty axemen will amaze you at 6:30 and again at 9:30 (but you might be surrendering to Cheap Trick's this-is-so-not-Budokan performance in that later timeslot). Tony Levin is playing bass with them. Need I say more?

If you want to or have to stay out later still, make sure you support one of the first Chattanooga bands I heard and liked (back when they used to have that one-day festival on a Saturday in the Autumn at Miller Plaza): The Unsatisfied. Budweiser Stage, 10:00-11:30.

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 09:22 AM | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

Search Results: Bob Corker for Senate

I don't know about you, but I am seeing a marked increase in the number of hits to this site (use care when patting me on the head) that are a result of keyword searches like 'bob corker' and 'bob corker senate tennessee'.

I'm glad people are finding the site. The way the archives aren't properly encoded, I get the feeling that they sometimes land where what they're looking for isn't obviously in front of them. Still, I hope that people searching on 'bob corker for senate' find their way to the US Senate candidates page of this site, just as I hope the people searching for 'ed bryant[..]' or 'harold ford[..]' or 'van hilleary[..]' or 'rosalind kurita[..]' do the same.

The funny thing is, I don't see hits that result from searches for 'ed bryant[..]' or 'harold ford[..]' or 'van hilleary[..]' or 'rosalind kurita[..]'. This could be caused by several things. I have a category named "Bob Corker for Senate" and it could be that that alone pushes this site somewhat higher in the results than in results for the other searches. It could also be that I have written more about Corker's campaign than about any other; but if you think about some of the posts I have created, and the aforementioned Senate candidates page, where all known/rumored candidates are given equal listing, that theory starts to leak.

Or, it could be that people all over the country are watching this state's 2006 Senate race and they have gotten word of a candidate who possesses tireless energy, broad appeal and traditional conservative values (in the "sense" sense, not the James Dobson faux sense), and they are then seeking more information on his campaign. I'm led to this postulate by the data that identify out-of-state seekers. I haven't compiled the info, but on average I would say that at least 30% of all searches for 'bob corker[..]' come from out of state. A few for 'harold ford[..]' have as well; but, interestingly, even though both Van Hilleary and Ed Bryant are former Congressmen -- the latter a mite notorious for his role in the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal -- I don't see anyone searching for them from outside Tennessee (or, like I said, at all, really).

I'm not sure what it all means, so I am not trying to draw hard-and-fast conclusions or anything, but it is interesting to take a stab at some analysis of these keyword searches.

And, as a bonus, I've "googlebombed" the site with more "Bob Corker for Senate."

Posted by joe lance in Bob Corker for Senate at 03:29 PM | TrackBack

June 15, 2005

Don't Miss Dalton Roberts

Former Hamilton County Executive Dalton Roberts is a real treat, and I say that after only having seen him live once. He's playing at the AmSouth stage of Riverbend tonight at 7:00.

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 09:10 AM | TrackBack

June 14, 2005

Tuesday: Red Sun at Morn

No, I didn't Strut. I practically needed a machete to cut the jungle that my "lawn" had become, so waiting for another day would have been disastrous. (It is nice to see the Tall Fescue I overseeded coming up through all the weeds. Someday I won't have to put quotes around "lawn.")

I also spent a veritable eon trying to install a new car seat for the boy. He still rides facing backward. If you thought you heard long strings of cursing being carried about town by the [oh, wait, it was still and muggy, no breeze], you did, and it was me.

In case it wasn't clear already, I hereby declare this blog a celebrity-trial-free zone.

Some interesting thoughts have been recently posted about inclusiveness and how it relates to local political parties.

I've added a temporary Riverbend section in the left sidebar. I think only one blogger is using Technorati tags, but in case others show up, I placed a link there.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, the Pulse Blog has some Riverbend posts mixed in.

Other recent items in the Tennessee blogosphere? Well, they mostly have to do with Sharon Cobb's presentations of her take on the Bredesen administration's TennCare strategies. Start with Michael Silence's roundup and you'll get there.

However, what caught my eye was Bill Hobbs' post on the meeting planned between Bredesen & Co. and High-rolling Lobbyists on ethics reform (via Adam Groves). Bill has more today. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry, so I'm likely to do both.

Thanks for checking in. Oh, and yes, the Sun appeared as bright candy red when I walked out of the house this morning.

Posted by joe lance in Miscellaneous at 12:52 PM | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

Riverbend 6/12/2005

This post has moved.

Posted by joe lance in Guitar Blogging | Nightfall & Riverbend at 10:10 AM | TrackBack

June 11, 2005

Rodney Crowell, Lauren Ellis, Jennifer Daniels

I don't know why this happens, but everyone who needed an obligated piece of time from me piled it onto this weekend. A neighbor is throwing a surprise birthday thingamadoo* for her husband, my music-playing buddy just down the street; a good friend is moving back into town and we're all getting together for a late lunch in the Art District; and of course I have a rehearsal for tomorrow's Riverbend performance.

*A thingamadoo is where one partner, without telling the other partner, rents a cabin in a nearby-but-remote-enough location for the other partner and all of his/her buddies to go celebrate, grill, fish, play guitar as loudly and as late as possible, and generally wreak mock havoc in a safely contained environment. It is highly anticipated, just scheduled kinda close to everything else.

Needless to say, I will not get to attend Riverbend, which means I will miss seeing a songwriter-performer I'd only become familiar with about three years ago, but who is now in my playlists: Rodney Crowell (who also has the dubiously enviable position of (ostensibly) being the subject of Roseanne Cash's brilliant, hook-happy country-pop single "Seven Year Ache"). Dang. Go for me, will ya? Under the bridge (AmSouth), 7:45 in the p.m. And if you can, synopsize in the Comments below.

From simply reading about her, I am recommending Lauren Ellis tonight, who is down on the Budweiser stage at 9:30.

Jennifer Daniels is closing down the UnumProvident stage, so if you parked up that way and are heading out, stop for a while and enjoy this singer (who is playing tonight with a full band). To me, she's a little like each of a group of more famous contemporaries: Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos, Ani, et al., but instead of sounding like a nondescript imitator, she sounds like the source for all of them. Many of her songs are exceptionally written, too.

If you miss Rodney Crowell tonight, you can at least hear one of his songs live tomorrow during the set by The Shani Hedden Group at 7:00 (UnumProvident stage).

Links to the artists and stages, as well as picks for the rest of Riverbend, can be found here.

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 08:33 AM | TrackBack

Kiiiiiiiiidd Riverbend!!!!!!

This is a post to hold your comments on Riverbend MMV/XXV's opening night (June 10). I won't be able to attend, but if I were, it looks like I'd be at the AmSouth stage all evening.
Who knows, though? The beauty of festivals is that one can wander over to a different stage without it seeming like you walked out of someone's show.

Granted, Riverbend is not a music festival proper (nor super); it is an annual municipal celebration that includes a fair shake of tasty music and plenty more.

Be sure to acknowledge the folks "behind the scenes." It should go without saying, but their work makes th' event possible.

Have fun and be safe.

UPDATE: Two local papers' blogs weigh in.

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 06:44 AM | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

Games without Frontiers; War without Tears; Men without Hats; and "Blogs" without Feeds

I was going to be nice and at least try my hand at a better blogroll, specifically to capture and show the feed titles from the Chattanooga Times Free Press's new blog. (For an example, see what SK Bubba does with No Direction Home, Lean Left, etc. in his right sidebar.*) I thought it would be cool to provide all six of my readers with quick access to these updates during the Bonnaroo and Riverbend durations, respectively.

Hmpf. So much for that nice thought. I can't seem to find a feed. Maybe there is one, and I just can't find it.

Question for the geeks who inherit the mirth: which feed of mine works the best? How do I know what to look for in the templates to ensure that the output is rational? When I click my fancy little "Sub with Bloglines" button in Firefox, I often see multiple feeds from the blog I was visiting: Atom, RDF, RSS 2, others? Which one is the best one to subscribe to?

*If it takes knowing or having PHP to do that, my wish would have remained just a wish anyway. Someday I'll get on here and "bleg" for PHP help -- that is, if Chattablogs' servers even use PHP. The MTInclude thing is fine, but doesn't seem as elegant.

Posted by joe lance in About Blogs at 03:47 PM | TrackBack

Alternatives to Riverbend Tonight

If you are just not a crowd person, or you want to keep the party rolling past 10:30pm, then head just up the street to Rhythm 'N' Brews (I type with disdain, since I don't like the name) to see Blueground Undergrass.

I saw this "electric jam-grass" band play over in Asheville on the weekend just after September 11, 2001, at a beautiful event called Brewgrass. I'll never forget the exceptionally clear and sunny sky (with absolutely zero air traffic in it, remember, as the Saudis had left, I think).

I've also caught the bandleader (Rev. Jeff Mosier) with his BU-hiatus group called Ear Reverents (I type with disdain, since I don't like the name) at Trio Jazz Club in Macon, GA. That was mainly because my favorite bass player (Kenny Palmer) was gigging with him at the time (Kenny is also a former member of Blueground Undergrass, and is now the music director and bassist for The Shani Hedden Group (blog coming soon?)).

I don't know the whole lineup for Blueground tonight, but I am fairly sure that violinist/mandolinist David Blackmon is part of it, and that's a good thing. I'm going to try to make it out.

UPDATE: In fact, I did not make it. I could have, had I had a chance to grab a nap between work and showtime. But as I had been up since 4:30 Friday morning, and as I had had a tough week already, there wasn't a way to sustain wakefulness throughout. I slept. I'm disappointed, but rested. This is a big weekend.

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 12:09 PM | TrackBack

A Little Less Candy for 'Roo

Hmmm. Recreational vehicle with 3 Portland, OR occupants on I-24 (near Clarksville). Said RV contained "..several varieties of dried marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, Ecstasy, Xanax, hashish and a felony amount of cocaine." June 9, 2005.

Wonder where in the world they might have been headed?

I beg to differ with Cpl. Jimmy Brown's assessment that the drugs and herbs "'might have ended up in the hands of children.'" I rather believe that they would have ended up in the hands of adult festival-goers.

Posted by joe lance in Miscellaneous at 06:04 AM | TrackBack

June 09, 2005

Blog As Local Media Critic

Okay, it's no "Fire Eason" swarm or anything, but I do find it interesting that a local blogger has decided to somewhat critically examine a piece in our leading alt-weekly, The Pulse (which has its own blog, so it will be likewise interesting to see if a response shows up), on the auto-manufacture prospects for Enterprise South.

Posted by joe lance in About Blogs at 04:44 PM | TrackBack

Obligatory Roundup Entry

This was intended for posting on 6/8/05.

It wouldn't be a blog if it didn't have posts that simply linked to other posts on other blogs, which in turn link to other sources, so here goes:

Just as I asked, is the Times Free Press going to blog soon?

TN Dems lose a Button. I wonder about this as it relates to growing rifts in both major parties. The Democrats have Dean, and they have Bayh; which way will they go? The Republicans have sensible fiscal conservatives who are pragmatic but socially moderate; and they have what I call "Rhea County Commission Republicans." Which way will they go?

SayUncle finds his calling? (Hint: it's not related to AR15 lower receivers.)

Ford, Ward, and Love (I have two of their late '70s albums) -- I'm giving the benefit of the doubt on this one, but the timing is certainly unfortunate for Congressman Ford. (HT: Simply I -- in this hat tip we have a roundup linking to a roundup that in turn links to a roundup.)

I'm posting this before things get more intertwined. More later.

Posted by joe lance in Miscellaneous at 01:05 PM | TrackBack

June 06, 2005

Supreme Court Announcement

Oh, man, I had not ventured to turn over this rock; the 2006 U.S. Senate race, the county government and the state legislature give me enough without my also trying to cover the state judiciary. However, the emergence of this news provides the push, so let's start learning about this branch of government, too. Who knew the Chief Justice's name? I admit that I did not.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 11:37 PM | TrackBack

Election Commission Stalled on Naming Administrator (Again)

According to information published on Chattanoogan.com, there were two rounds of voting on Saturday. The five Election Commissioners indicated their first choices for Administrator, and were divided as follows:

Mike Walden - Luanne DeWitt
Bart Quinn - Luanne DeWitt
Karen Lee - Gerald Mason
Linda Morris-Avila - Gerald Mason
Dot Eddington - Larry Ables

Since not one candidate received a majority, another round was held. This time, the results appear to have been:

Mike Walden - Luanne DeWitt
Bart Quinn - Luanne DeWitt
Karen Lee - Gerald Mason
Linda Morris-Avila - Gerald Mason
Dot Eddington - Pass

Pass? Pardon, but this isn't a "trivial pursuit." The Commission needs more than an interim Administrator (with all due respect to Mr. Knowles). I have tried to contact Ms. Eddington to find out her reasoning for sitting out the vote, but unfortunately have not been able to reach her. If any of you readers knows how (especially those of you who are of the journalist persuasion), I'd appreciate a tip, or at least some second-hand information.

Now, here's the rub: this situation could have been avoided by a "ranked-voting" or "Instant Runoff Voting" procedure. If Ms. Eddington and the others had simply been able to rate the candidates, instead of betting all-in on one hand, as it were, the choice would have been made, and there would be no need for a 6-week delay in the process.

Posted by joe lance in Elections at 01:31 PM | TrackBack

June 05, 2005

..And in Mechanized Behemoth News:

This is an older story now, but I wonder how many people paid attention to it.

[Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Sunday, May 22, 2005, B9.]

Roger Russell, bus driver, won the annual CARTA Roadeo last month. I know the answer to your question "What's the CARTA Roadeo?" and it's "It is a city-bus-driving competition that includes, among other things, maneuvering the bus through and around traffic cones that represent daily-encountered obstacles."

Better yet, the winner of the CARTA Roadeo gets to compete in the Tennessee State Roadeo in November; and the multiple-winning Russell is regardless slated to go on to the national Roadeo. What's that? A national Roadeo? Can this be topped?

Why, indeed it might. Years ago some friends who had briefly lived in Montana regaled me with stories of farmers entertaining themselves on Saturday nights with "combine demolition derbies." I half-suspected that they, who were college-aged when we spoke of these things, were making it up; but it turns out that either they were truthful or Carl Jung is the supreme Master of the Universe.

Posted by joe lance in Sunday Drive at 12:29 PM | TrackBack

June 04, 2005

Saturday Detention: Part 1 of a Long, Hot Remedial Summer

I have had a category called "Education" on this blog for a while, and it has been sorely neglected -- if one measures its entries against my valuation of Education.

Today, then, I decide to write about Education, just after most pupils have been given their annual reprieve from it. (I'm not known for having keen timing -- just ask the drummers with whom I play.) Perhaps, though, we can have some discussions over the Summer that will lead toward synthesized community goals for upcoming school sessions.

I'm going to start by "sentencing" a few public figures to "detention" -- and likely open up big #10 cans of worms by doing so. That's okay, as anglers and gardeners can use the worms. These are in no particular order.

Fred Skillern -- Commissioner Skillern gets detention for continuing the whining about state funding for Hamilton County schools. I'm not saying that the BEP is totally fair, but surely Mr. Skillern knows that the state doesn't just "have money," as their funding comes from taxpayers just like county funding does. So is he really saying that struggling taxpayers in poorer counties should pony up more to send over to Hamilton County, one of the most affluent in the state, instead of helping their own schools, while rich Hamilton County residents continue to evade that responsibility?

Rhonda Thurman -- gods forbid one's choice being between a "Skiles ejucashun" and none at all. I could go on for days about the scrappy little hairdresser from Soddy who seemingly hates educated people yet inexplicably was elected to the Board of Education, but she gets sent to detention this week specifically for her obstreperous disruptions of Board business by reacting, as if singled out, to a mass mailing that simply outlined school successes. One would hope that an elected School Board member (or a County Commission Education Committee Chair, for that matter) would be on the side of touting success, even while being watchful for improvement opportunities.

Charles Love -- speaking of disrupting school business, and trying to sell it to his clients for personal gain, here's a situation that calls for something a bit stronger than detention (or simply being removed as chairman of the School Facilities Committee). I "second" Board Chairman Baker's request for Mr. Love's resignation.

Ward Crutchfield -- okay, the Clem/James debate on the presumed innocence of the indicted plays here, so I am not yet decided on whether Senator Crutchfield should be relieved of his duties as attorney-of-record for the HCDE; but he gets detention for failing to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Oh, and naturally he won't be allowed to sit next to Mr. Love while in detention, given their interwoven circumstances.

William Cotton -- Commissioner Cotton needs some remedial math as well as detention, because he thinks that saddling his already-overburdened constituents with an even higher sales tax (never mind that the absolute maximum that could be added under state law is 0.50%) will provide the necessary funding for school repairs, supplies, adequate salaries, etc. Given that the extremely regressive sales tax already unfairly milks the lowest economic strata and has no real exemptions for food and other necessities (how many places actually implemented that measly 1% difference?), one would think that asking those you represent to vote a higher rate in would be a guarantee for un-election come 2006. But perhaps Mr. Cotton feels invincible after his highly-suspect victory in 2002.

While these few are sitting in detention, they can study this cartoon.

Posted by joe lance in Education at 11:12 AM | TrackBack

Nightfall 6/3/05: deSol with José Angel Chairez & His Band

Click on Comments to write your part of the weblog entry for this Nightfall performance....

Posted by joe lance in Nightfall & Riverbend at 07:21 AM | TrackBack

June 03, 2005

Street Closings 6/3/2005

From an e-mail:

Street Closed for Atlanta Falcons Caravan

The City Traffic Engineer’s office announced today the following:

Carter St, from just north of 1st Tennessee Pavilion to W. 19th St will be closed from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday, June 3, 2005 for the Atlanta Falcons Caravan. Carter St will be closed to thru traffic at Main St.

Streets Closed for Nightfall Concert

The City Traffic Engineer’s office announced today the following:

M. L. King Boulevard between Market Street and Georgia Avenue and Market Street between 8th Street and M. L. King Boulevard will be closed from 5:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Friday, June 2, 2005, for the Nightfall Concert Series. The 800 block of Cherry Street will be closed at
M. L. King Boulevard and will only be accessible from E. 8th Street. There will be limited handicapped parking in the 900 block of Georgia Avenue on the Miller Park side on the meters bagged with orange “reserved” bags.

Posted by joe lance in Community at 11:32 AM | TrackBack

More Waltzing than What They Have in Vienna

Click on just about any of the Local or State blogs under the "Feedroll" heading to the left (I call it "feedroll" because some of the sites whose feeds are subscribed there are not blogs), and you're likely to find good info, links, and opinions regarding the General Assembly's bribery scandal. I will point out a few of my favorite Waltz-bloggers so far: The Groundskeeper (Matthew White), Half-Bakered (Mike Hollihan), Michael Silence, and Aaron and Bill at the Pulse and its Blog. Special mention should be made of Tennessee Liberal's observations as well.

These comprise the list of waltzers whom I'd nominate to get the center of the dance floor, but that's not to say that there aren't some good steps being executed on a lot of other Tennessee blogs.

Posted by joe lance in Government | Political News at 11:25 AM | TrackBack

June 01, 2005

Off to Bob & Willie

Okay, just to be clear, it's not "Bob Willie." It's the Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson show at BellSouth Park.

More after I return, naturally.

Posted by joe lance in Guitar Blogging at 05:19 PM | TrackBack