March 29, 2006
Kerry On, My Wayward Son
From an e-mail blast:
If you have ever wanted to send a message to Bill Frist that you are tired of his failed leadership in Washington and his refusal to stand up to President Bush, there is no better way to do that than by electing a great new Democrat to take Frist's place in the U.S. Senate.
You can help make that happen and shape the Tennessee Senate race by rallying behind Harold Ford Jr. right now. In 48 hours, we'll reach the critical March 31st reporting deadline.
It's time for a dramatic show of strength as Tennessee voters add even more energy to Harold Ford's spirited campaign.
Have y'all not heard that there is a primary yet to take place for the Democratic nomination in this Senate race? State Senator Rosalind Kurita (D-Clarksville) is nigh invisible to the DC insiders, I suppose, but just in case, or rather in light of that, I thought I'd re-acquaint you with her existence.
I know that you are not the national Democratic Party, and therefore you are free to take sides in the primary without apprehending consternation. I think it fair to tell everyone, though, that the state and national (and any local with which I'm familiar) parties have very unambiguously shunted Kurita's campaign to their collective periphery. The likely perception, then, is that you're playing along.
I'm a Bob Corker supporter, so it really doesn't matter to me. I just thought that someone should mention the other candidate and give her a fair chance to tackle this prize.
Your Politics Lesson for the 29th: Subtilty and Shrewdness
The always masterful Curtis Adams has done it again. I will worship him to excess, and I won't be able to help myself.
[...]Commission Chairman Larry Henry said he is concerned about the process leading to [the vote to replace former Rep. Jack Sharp in the House of Representatives]...[H]e worries that some good candidates are dissuaded from pursuing such seats when it appears someone else is the likely appointee. "It bothers me a little bit that some of these things get prearranged," said Mr. Henry, who represents parts of the Brainerd area in the 30th House District.
Democrat Greg Ezell said he stopped pursuing the appointment after talking to three commissioners because he "saw the writing on the wall."
From the outset, Commissioner Curtis Adams, whose East Ridge-area district is in the House district, recommended [East Ridge Mayor Vince] Dean for the post.
[Ezell] said he spoke to Commissioners Lou Miller, Warren Mackey and Curtis Adams. The first two were receptive, but Mr. Adams wouldn’t give him consideration, he said.
"He was dead-set from the getgo that it was going to be Mayor Vince Dean," Mr. Ezell said.
Sound familiar? I'd bet that it does. The same thing happened last September when the Commission was replacing former School Board member Charles Love. Adams was determined to appoint Andrea Smith, and only caved at the last minute to vote for Jeffrey Wilson — primarily because his own stubbornness had been slightly upstaged by William Cotton's refusal to vote, period.
Since then, Curtis Adams has been involved in yet another appointment situation where he reportedly downright refused to review or meet with any other qualified candidate than his predetermined choice.
That's three times in six months where Commissioner Adams has acted like a spoiled kid in the sandbox regarding legislative appointments. His constituents should be well warned of this behavior when it comes time to vote in August.
March 27, 2006
Refresh Your Ballot
Painfully slowly, the pages are getting the touch-ups they need to make them presentable in this high-profile election season.
Not all of them are done, and even those that are, aren't "done" — but I thought I'd let you know what progress has been made.
Updated ballot pages include:
About that last one, you'll notice that there aren't any FAQs listed. I've recently seen people stopping by there, so it's time to get your burning questions answered.
Seriously, what would make the pages more usable? I seem to notice a lot of hits from name searches, but the visitors are clearly not clicking the jump to the district where they'd see that name. I'm not sure they ever find what they're looking for.
Special thanks, as always, to my whole feedroll (to your left on the main page), with extra points to Politics1.com and a newly rediscovered find, The Green Papers. You won't see right for a week, but they've got a lot of good info at the latter.
March 26, 2006
Taking on the Winners
[Cross-posted from The Pulse]
COULD SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN “BAKER’S DOZEN” TO THEM?
In case this story’s latest developments slipped past you, I’ll bring them up again here. Investigators are up to 12 now. Twelve names of Senate District 29 voters, that is, where the person named should not have been able to vote in the election officially won by Ophelia Ford, usually because the supposed voter was either a convicted felon or was dead. The special election was won by 13 votes. Now you see where I’m going with this?
To clear it up a little more, you should know that I don’t associate the winner of the election with the voting problems. I merely contend that with a vote that close, and with all the inconsistencies that have been exposed surrounding it, the right thing to do is to hold another one – and get the turnout a little higher this time, my dear Memphians. Don’t make me resort to the “purple thumbs” speech. Low turnout is way tempting to they that would tamper. It’s all about the margins and the ROI.
CUPP RUNNETH OVER AND OVER
The candidates for Hamilton County Sheriff are lining up in front of microphones and voters as the playoff round nears. It wasn’t known for a while whether Sheriff John Cupp would be seeking another term, so there was some initial stirring and shuffling among Republican law enforcement types. Cupp did eventually announce, but there yet remains one former chief deputy, Andy Derryberry, who will try to unseat him in the May primary.
The race among Democrats may fizzle early. Anthony Chatman is contesting his disqualification by the Election Commission; he says that he was not properly notified of a critical filing deadline. If you follow the local party’s goings-on, though, you’ll likely find that most of the activists – the ones who vote in primary elections – seem to heavily favor Billy Long, and to mostly ignore the campaigns of Chatman and Hank DeArman. I’m just saying that it might not matter in the end.
Then there is independent candidate Dave Alverson, who decided to leave the elephant herd and take on both the winners in the general election. Having an independent in the race can cause one to ponder why we elect a partisan law enforcement officer. The same could be wondered about the District Attorney and Public Defender positions. Judges, too, come to think of it. There are good arguments in both directions, but it’s worth actively considering them from time to time.
HOLDING SHUT THE CURTAINS WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT
Is it just me, or is it fascinating that the whole association of county government officials across the three great Grand Divisions of our state anxiously oppose an “expansion” of the open meetings law and some modest enforcement measures for it? I wouldn’t mind hearing from people inside and outside the government as to what the problem really is. The people’s business loses its very definition when conducted in secret. When none else knows of it, it’s just a few people’s business. That’s something different altogether.
Local elected officials, can we try playing along, then? For example, instead of having a working lunch, just eat lunch. Relax, clear the head, watch something pretty. Those afternoon committee meetings will gain productivity. You’ll sound better on the record.
When Is an Elephant Not an Elephant?-And other uses for chipotle
[Cross-posted from The Pulse.]
Out in the West Tennessee county of Henry, the Mexican girls are likely scarcer than in El Paso. That’s probably fine by some, including an openly racist candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th District named James Hart. To write much more about Hart’s views on non-white peoples gives him and his bile undeserved publicity, but we’re just getting the picture framed here. Hart is running as a Republican, as are two other men (Rory Bricco and John Farmer) who are intent on having a chance this November to unseat current U.S. Rep. John Tanner. The fact that all three of Tanner’s challengers call themselves Republicans is causing what would normally be a sleepy re-election to gain a little spice. Maybe it’s chipotle. They’re putting that into everything these days.
At present, the issue is a proposed debate among the three GOP candidates. One faction of the area Republican establishment, along with its favorite candidate Mr. Bricco, opposes allowing Mr. Hart onto the platform because, they contend, his racist views are not and should not be considered Republican. They ask, why let a person who espouses non-Republican views into a specifically Republican debate?
The other candidate, John Farmer, has come out strongly in favor of including Mr. Hart. Farmer and his backers state that all three candidates have met every Constitutional requirement to be a candidate for the House’ and that under state and local election laws, all have met the requirements to be in the primary on August 3. Farmer argues that excluding Hart from debates, where his radical positions would stand in stark contrast to the others and thus render him unacceptable to the party’s now-informed voters, is untrue to party principles.
What is a true Republican? For that matter, what is a bona fide Democrat? These questions are only interesting to the respective parties’ faithful, perhaps, but the rest of us can use them to understand our roles in civic life a little better. The human is an institutional animal, at least for the time being, and every institution seems to have its core believers, its fringe crackpots, and what I like to call the “amiable amblers” filling in the numbers. All of them call themselves by their institution’s brand name. Maybe the label is really chosen by the wearer, no matter that the sweater’s different. Bzzzzt. Try again. Declaring oneself a member of a political party is in no way a crucial step in the civic process. How’s that?
Parties have become the proverbial “ends unto themselves.” Whether you’re just dying to meet people who think a lot like you, or you’re seriously devoted to achieving meaningful changes in public policy, political parties are among your choices of means toward each. Obviously they work well for a lot of people. We’ve gone and let two of them become the government itself, though, and the result is that the constant inter- and intra-party bickering gets in the way of our choosing our representatives.
Again, I’m not stating there shouldn’t be political parties, or even that they should play a minor role in actual government. Policy proponents have to coalesce around something, after all. But how about taking the parties’ hands off the election process? Get them out of the election commissions and the district maps, and let the people decide who gets to run. The Republican State Executive Committee has actively pursued removing James Hart from its primary ballot, even though he legally qualified for it. (In case you don’t remember, Hart ran unopposed in the 2004 primary and was Tanner’s Republican opponent.) I sympathize with the difficulty of having someone claim affinity whose message is abhorrent, but I guess I’m with Farmer on this one: that the voters should be the ones to put Hart out. A party should not be able to dictate to a public election commission.
IT’S ALL RELATIVE
By the way, federal legislation has been submitted that would give responsibility for decennial Congressional redistricting to a bipartisan commission in each state. The House bill’s author is Rep. John Tanner, and Rep. Zach Wamp is a co-sponsor. I urge the people and their representatives to consider a truly independent model for this commission, rather than perpetuating in yet another way the exclusivity that is “bipartisanship.” Still, anything to stop the gerrymander helps.
March 24, 2006
UPDATED There's No Place Like St. Elmo
A County Commission race just got more interesting. (Come on, aren't you with me on the fact that they're all already riveting, except for District 9?) Chattanooga attorney and former Hamilton County Democratic Party chair John Allen Brooks is challenging incumbent Lou Miller in the District 6 primary on May 2. Trouble is, some say that Brooks doesn't live in the 6th.
Hey, I don't question that there's confusion over electoral boundaries. These gerrymandered districts, at all levels of government, cause a person to forget which side of the street he's supposed to use to determine his precinct.
That said, it is interesting that Brooks seems to have a strong connection to Ooltewah (one of my Yankee friends' favorite words, by the way), as in:
OOLTEWAH, TN Political Contributions by Individuals
Brooks, John (Self/Attorney), (Zip code: 37363) $1500 to TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC PARTY on 06/18/03
Brooks, John A (Self/Attorney), (Zip code: 37363) $1000 to TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC PARTY on 05/12/04
Brooks, John A (Self/Attorney), (Zip code: 37363) $3444 to TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC PARTY on 08/26/04
Brooks, John A (Self/Attorney), (Zip code: 37363) $1078 to TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC PARTY on 09/26/04
Brooks, John Allen (Self/Attorney at Law), (Zip code: 37363) $250 to COMMITTEE TO ELECT LINCOLN DAVIS on 02/12/04
[Emphasis added by editor, who trusts that you know "37363" to mean Ooltewah.]
It has been some time since this information was updated. Perhaps he lives in St. Elmo now. As of 6/7/2005, though, not so much.
I honestly don't know if the FEC data uses resident or business address. Do you? But Brooks' business address seems to be Georgia Ave, downtown Chattanooga. What's in Ooltewah?
Frankly, and just between you and me and the entire electronic webverse, I wouldn't mind seeing someone come along that presents a reasonable alternative to Commissioner Miller. I think the voters in the 6th can make the right choice, it's not up to me -- but if there is any substance to the appearance of a paperwork indiscretion here, those voters will need to look further than to John Brooks for their alternative.
Let this be clear, too, that if there is just a misunderstanding, and no impropriety or even "fudging" going on, I'll be the first to publicly re-affirm Mr. Brooks. Or, someone else may do it first, but I'll make it eventually. It's slower going with a toddler in the foreground.
By the way, I cannot relocate the web page where I first read about this discrepancy, so apologies to whomever I did not link. It seems rather strange that search engines don't find it either. Was it just published today?
UPDATE: Yes, apparently so. I also received an e-mail just after posting. The e-mail contained another e-mail that was written by Jan Brooks, John's wife. She contends that the house in St. Elmo has been their residence for some time, and that rumors to the contrary were possibly the work of Mr. Brooks' primary opponent or her supporters.
See, I told you this race just got interesting.
March 20, 2006
Bo Knows District 11
The announcement came today; now folks in Rhea are scrambling. I wonder if former Rep. Jim Vincent would consider going back to his old district? The papers all questioned aloud whether he'd be among those angling for Fowler's perch; but now that Bo Watson has stepped up, that seems unlikely. We'll see what develops.
Man, it's been quiet over here. You'd think I was a college basketball nut or something, but that ain't it. Not that I mind college basketball. Of all the sports, it's most definitely one.
March 16, 2006
The Emperor of Fort Oglethorpe
So I caught a rare few seconds of the six o'clock teevee news, and a most amazing tale did Bob Johnson and friends tell.
Here's what I came away with. The mayor's wife gets pulled over for speeding. The officer dutifully writes a ticket.
Said mayor then calls his chief of police and cusses him out for the officer's sheer audacity, and demands that the ticket be fixed. Says, among other things, "don't you know who I am?"
When the chief of police refuses to fix the ticket, the city manager demotes the chief for an unspecified insubordination.
"Don't you know who I am?" Well, now I'm beginning to find out, though I sure hadn't heard of you before today. Apparently, you're the pipsqueak mayor of a town so tiny I can't hold my fingers that close together. You're a two-bit one-horse mayor who thinks he and his wife are above the law.
You're also a human being who's bound to make mistakes (wasn't that a song?) and I really hope you turn right around on this one and start the mending just as soon as possible. Whether or not the demotion was related to the police chief's refusal to act unethically, the phone call that he says took place was itself way out of line, and requires a public apology.
March 15, 2006
Someday I'll overcome current resource constraints and just create RSS feeds for every candidate listing page. Then you'd subscribe to as many as you'd like, and get updates as I'd make them. Then you'd see how many times I hurry past a mistake and have to re-update a few moments later.
In the meantime, I'll add a reminder out here to check the pages and mention an election or two that have made news.
The closest to home — and furthest from good — news of late is the passing of my state Representative, Jack Sharp of District 30. Read more at Chattanoogan.com. Adam Groves points to additional coverage in the Dose. The County Commission will appoint an interim (possibly Vince Dean, current East Ridge mayor) and then we'll elect someone to the open seat in November. May comfort find those who mourn.
Past that, we have a repeat challenge against Rep. Tommie Brown in the 28th; and the chance of an opening in the 31st, as Rep. Bo Watson has reportedly eyed the sudden departure of Sen. David Fowler (R-11) as a possible opportunity. He'd contend with Wayne Cropp, and it sounds like we'll hear something soon.
Next door in Cleveland, a veteran teacher named Greg Cain has announced in the 24th (where Dewayne Bunch serves, but is also leaving to run for the Senate, in the seat not being sought again by Jeff Miller). Whew. Open season, and this is just in and around town.
There are Hamilton County updates, too, and most of the names from the recent Green Party convention have been added. Green Party of Tennessee nominated at least three for US House seats and has one each in the races for US Senate and Governor.
Readers have been very kind in sending me info for the site. I comb all the papers and blogs that I can, but there are plenty more that I don't, so your contributions are welcome. Anonymity is strictly honored.
Oh, and a cosmetic upgrade for those Ballot Preview pages is in development. Resource constraints, again. Where's Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition when one needs it? (Actually, no Disnification needed here. I'll manage. Thanks.)
March 10, 2006
I Knew It!
The USA PATRIOT Act is on crank. And the deed done by a doctor!
One aspect of which Senator Frist was especially proud was his adding of methamphetamine to the Patriot Act.
Aw, I'm just joshin, Rob; I hope all of you well-meaning conservatives have a good time in Memphis.
More Strange Voting
So, we're supposed to count votes for Phil Penderton (whomever that is) as belonging to Phil Pennington (the real candidate); I get that.
But now we're also supposed to count votes for George W. Bush (not running for POTUS in 2008) as votes for US Senator John McCain (R-AZ)?
This little blog made it into Drew Ruble's Business Tennessee article on Tennessee's rich blogosphere. (It's a cover story, and I'll bet you'll never guess who made the cover.) Well, TennesseeTicket.com is not in the article proper; but it's on Ruble's list of political/government blogs in the state.
IRV and NOTA: Give Me Choices, Dangit
It's an election year, so inevitably there is some buzz and activity around two of my favorite electoral topics: Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and a None of the Above (NOTA) ballot option. I doubt there's enough momentum to make any meaningful progress on either, but at least people keep chipping away.
IRV tends to appeal to minor parties and independents; in fact, it's likely that the reason so little progress has been made in its implementation is the two-party system's fear of IRV weakening their grip on power. But back to the first point, with a story from Vermont. Yes, the crunchy critters practiced them some IRV and it seems to have worked. And, yes, it caused the Progressive candidate to win over the predicted Democrat. (I honestly don't know if this "Progressive" is progressive in the 1920s sense or the 1990s sense. My hunch is that it's the latter.)
NOTA, on the other hand, seems to appeal to all species of political animal. Perhaps. At any rate, there is a Republican candidate for Tennessee's House of Representatives who wants us to give it a try. NOTA presents the voter with the option of electing to have a new slate of candidates from which to choose. Under the NOTA system, if NOTA got >50% of the votes in an election, that election would be a do-over. Imagine if Pat Robertson were running against Cynthia McKinney. Most people would be hard-pressed to make an enthusiastic choice between the two, so a NOTA option would come in handy.
That said, if more candidates would run, and this wishful thinking is directed mainly at independent and so-called "third party" candidates, the NOTA option would be needed that much less. Ergo, if I had to pick between IRV and NOTA, I'd have to go with IRV.
March 9, 2006
Tennessee Among States with "Most-Revised" Lobbying Rules
The Center for Public Integrity has published a report on lobbying reforms in the states. The driving point of the article is that the state-level reforms enacted thus far (since 2003) outpace federal reforms by a significant margin.
The Volunteer State gets mentioned quite a bit, as you can imagine, since the General Assembly tackled ethics issues earlier this year after several of its members were arrested last May (and one has since pleaded guilty).
My favorite bit:
Ironically, as reported by the Nashville Tennessean, lobbyists came out of the woodwork during the special session to offer campaign donations, along with their thoughts on the reform law.The special session started on the same date as any year's regular session would have, but while state law prohibited lobbyists from making donations to legislators during the regular session, there was no prohibition during special sessions.
March 8, 2006
Tennessee House Delegation Splits 6-3 on USA PATRIOT Renewal, But Not Along Party Lines
Voting Yes were Marsha Blackburn, Jim Cooper, Lincoln Davis, Harold Ford, William Jenkins, and Zachary Wamp.
Voting No were John 'Jimmy' Duncan, Bart Gordon, and John Tanner.
2006 GPTN Vote: Worse than South Florida 2000?
This past Sunday, the Green Party of Tennessee attempted to nominate candidates for office in Tennessee. I'm still waiting on the full list, but I use the word "attempted" because of an hilarious occurrence in the process. It has to do with our own 3rd Congressional district.
After the votes were counted, an announcement was made that Phil Penderton had received the highest count and would be the Greens' nominee in the race against incumbent Zach Wamp.
Fair enough -- except that there was no "Phil Penderton" actually trying for the nomination. There was, however, a Phil Pennington in the running, but he only received one vote.
Here comes the good part. When a GPTN committee member suggested that Phil Pennington actually received more than one vote, because the name was wrong, he received this as a reply:
On your correction, I recounted the ballots once again.
The results remain the same. The Green Party of Tennessee has
nominated Phil Penderton for US House of Representatives 3rd
Congressional District. There was one vote for Phil Pennington, but
Tomorrow, I will send the results to [...] the GP of TN
Coordinating Chair, for certification. She may accept or reject any of
the results that I have submitted. However, in my opinion, she has no
more power to change the names selected on the ballots by our
membership than I do.
If Phil Pennington believes all the votes for Phil Penderton should
have been counted for him, then he may send a grievance to the Green
Party of Tennessee CC for redress. Unfortunately, our bylaws do not
give the GP of TN CC any power to correct the situation other than to
submit the issue to the membership for consideration at our next
annual meeting. It is lucky that we are having a State Membership
meeting in May, so that this matter, should it be contested, could be
resolved in a timely fashion.
The response: "Just saying[,] there is no Phil Penderton."
I remember the local GP chapter being unable to consistently distinguish between Bob Corker and Harold Coker in their discussions. I also remember trying to explain the boundaries between county commissions, city councils, and the state legislative districts. The ensuing swirl in just about every meeting was not-so-fondly recalled as I read about this latest bungle. I have deep love and respect for the Green values, even though I tend to differ on some specific positions; but the real problem with the party is that there seems to be an inordinate proportion of its membership that is hopelessly and permanently confused about the simplest of things, such as names and electoral geography.
And then, as evidenced by the above quote, they turn bureaucracy into an extreme sport. One of the last GPTN meetings I attended was fraught with argument over whether the word "The" should appear at the head of the party's official title.
I guess I'll wait to update my US House Ballot Preview page for the 3rd District until this Phil Pen***ton flap gets settled.
According to the linked AP story, the state GOP is actively attempting to de-list Hart from their primary, because he has "filed the necessary documents" to appear on that ballot and they do not want his campaign linked to their platform. Good for them.
But according to an e-mail I received today from the Rory Bricco campaign, the Republican State Executive Committee already considers Hart's removal a done deal.
Maybe it's just semantics, or a miscommunication somewhere along the way.
Well, at least there are non-eugenics-professing GOPers from which to choose this time around (unlike 2004), if you're in the 8th and don't support the incumbent. Rory Bricco (site/blog) and John Farmer (site/blog) are vying to run against US Rep. John Tanner in the November general election.
The "Racist Vote"; and Those Prying Capitol Eyes
Myelectionanalysis.com picked apart the recent Rasmussen -- yeah, the one that had the Bryant camp cheering -- but the blogger's focus is on Harold Ford, Jr. Ford appears to have slipped against all three GOP contenders. I'm curious about the mysterious methodology Sean cites, wherein poll participants are asked what their friends and family would do, or "do you know anyone who would/wouldn't _______?" I'm just not sure how one can consistently apply those data to more or less handicap a candidate, but I guess the professionals are capable.
It's no secret that race plays a significant, often unfortunate part in elections, at least in Tennessee. I don't want to dwell, mudsling or gossip, but just so you know what I mean: in 2004, just before the state primary elections, a group of Democrats and otherwise "ABB-ers" met at a familiar watering hole to watch the Democrats hand their hopes, and all the rest of ours, to one US Senator from Massachusetts. A state Representative who was running for re-election but, oddly enough in this state, had a challenger (and in the primary at that) happened by to hand out buttons and generally be seen. In her enthusiasm, I guess, to garner support, she implored a friend of mine to help "get out the vote. You know what I mean: the white vote." (The Representative's opponent -- ah, I should say former Representative's overcomer -- is black.)
Okay, speaking of state Representatives, and Senators, and opposites: there are important things to get done during that special time when the legislature is in session. Then there are things that just don't matter in the context, and as a bonus they get all up in people's private matters. The Tennessee General Assembly, at least in part, seems intent on focusing its energy on the latter. You know, it's a shame that the entire stroke of ethics reform only managed to partially clean up the financial side of things. Dear Lawmakers, It's also highly unethical to waste your time in office by simultaneously chasing hollow closure on non-issues and attempting to encroach on liberty.
March 7, 2006
Now That's A Complement
I just learned (from Vorticity) of a site that somewhat parallels this one. There are a few differences, though.
Go check out "Your 2006 Election Roadmap" at http://www.votecoffee.com/ and compare for yourself.
I like the idea that more and more independent bloggers/webmasters/publishers are taking public information from sources such as election commissions and providing their communities with expanded information on the campaigns and candidates. Local elections matter, folks!
If I were into ego-stroking, I would love to imagine that this Manchester/Tullahoma/Coffee County site was in some small way inspired by my Chattanooga/Hamilton County/Tennessee site, but I have no knowledge of any such inspiration. It could just be zeitgeist -- and if so, it's a spirit I'll toast anytime.
I could not locate a feed from VoteCoffee.com, so I will place a link to it in the sidebar to the right, there with the other sites that cover local elections. If anyone knows of additional pages, I'll be happy to hear from you with that information.
Rep. Jack Sharp Suffers Stroke
Apparently it happened in hospital when Rep. Sharp was already there for an appointment. As you probably know, he is being treated for lung cancer.
I hope you will join me in expressing a sincere wish for his speedy recovery.
You can read the full AP story here (free registration or BugMeNot required).
Unknown Local Heroes, Part 687
With the author's permission, I am posting her response to a recent story about some jerk who hit a six-year-old boy and ran, and the courageous soul who followed and detained the perpetrator until police arrived. I'm copying it here from Chattanoogan.com because it says quite succinctly what y'all know by now takes me a year to get out:
To the person(s) who followed and stopped the Honda Civic that hit and left a 6-year-old child to suffer: I don't know if there will ever be any official praise for what you did, and I sure hope you don't end up in trouble for taking matters into your own hands, but from this parent's point-of-view, you are a true hero to me.
I cannot imagine what this child's family must be going through right now, but I am quite sure it would be so much worse had you not been in the right place at the right time, been a person of value, and taken the action you did.
Knowing the person will be held accountable for his or her actions alleviates at least one aspect of this family's suffering.
I, for one, wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wish there were many more like you around these days. Now let us hope this child recovers fully to thank you too.
So the accident itself was unavoidable [from the driver's perspective]. I understand. A close relative of mine was driving when a young boy, presumably also chasing a ball, ran out into her immediate path and was struck by the car. The boy lived, but had a ruptured spleen and whatnot. It was awful, I'm told. Sheer panic. I get that part. But you don't flee the scene, okay? Or I myself, emboldened as I may rightly be by the actions of this story's hero, will hunt you down and hold you still until the cops get there.
March 6, 2006
Curtis Adams Is My Neighbor, So I Love Him, But..
First of all, I don't know enough about the candidates to comment on the selection. I am remiss.
I only know enough to be "dangerous" on the topic of whether the hiree should be from out of town or "a local boy." My admittedly shallow understanding of regional history says, though, that there might be some motive or another behind this professed desire to promote from within.
It likely has to do with control. People have told me many times that the loss of appointing power over the County School Board is a perennial pebble in the Commission's shoe; and so it seems natural to want to exert as much influence as possible over this hiring process, as it's somewhat of a next-best-thing.
Well, Commissioner Adams, "we" chose the spate of recent mayors you named, as well as sheriffs and judges, through common election. Whomever was meant by your "we" did not make those selections. If it had pleased the voters to have an out-of-towner as mayor, sheriff, or judge, such would have been had.
Perhaps we ought to elect the Superintendent too. (Not really; it's best to have an education professional in there, not a professional politician.) That would really smart, wouldn't it?
The candidates are being reviewed and selections have been made. The local blogs are buzzing about this day-late move of yours, including that of your opponent. (Maybe we'll look for a rebuttal on your campaign blog, Mr. Adams. Maybe not.)
But here's another idea, just because I think we should address this from many angles: if we must promote from within, how about someone who's spent a lot of time as a Teacher?
March 4, 2006
Waiting to see who uses the headline "A Real Corker"
Yes, the big kickoff was today, right down in North Chattanooga at the Center for Creative Arts, aka Chattanooga City High. I was there, but I was not able to stay for very long.
Josiah was there. Mr. Evans was there, too, though I failed to connect with him. He has a pretty good blog entry about it. Chattanoogan.com was also there, of course. Hey, I can (barely) be seen in one of the photos posted there. It looks like it was taken when I was briefly catching up with my old acquaintance Dan Landrum, whose group provided music for the event. I guess one could say that Dan is a world-renowned hammer dulcimer player. It's really too bad that I missed their set.
UPDATE 3/5: Here's the TFP article by reporter Michael Davis.
I also ran into Stone Cup Roasting Company proprietor Jennifer Stone. Stone Cup has created a blend just for Bob Corker's campaign. It's called "Capitol Hill Coffee" and they are selling it at the store on Frazier. I must be special, because I got to come home with a bag. I'll let you know how it is in the morning.
UPDATE 3/5: The label declares that Capitol Hill Coffee is "vibrant, dynamic, and has a great, bright finish," then asks, "Sound familiar? Enjoy this coffee while supporting Tennessee's next U.S. Senator -- Bob Corker!" There is quite a vibrancy in the aroma; that jumped out at me straight from the grinder. In the cup, it maintains the lower-note consistency of a good Colombia. There's a meaty richness in the base flavor, while the upper register hums nicely with a fine, balanced acidity. I learned from Ms. Stone that the coffee is produced by an entrepreneurial group of farmers who work together to ensure fair pricing. I'm not usually a Colombian fan (I prefer beans from the Horn of Africa or the Indonesian archipelago), but this last fact, coupled with the Bob Corker for Senate co-branding, results in my recommending that you get on down to Stone Cup and pick up some.
The CCA gymnasium was really alive with excitement today. Chattanooga is proud when one of its children makes good. This campaign isn't just about boosting a local boy into higher office, though. This is about each voter taking a realistic look at all of the declared candidates for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's open seat, and coming to the solid conclusion that Bob Corker is the best person to do that important job in the coming term.
Have You Celebrated Yet? Today is "March 4th," 2006
What do the quotation marks mean? What is today?
March 3, 2006
Of Ports and Courts - Fear is the enemy of the mind
[Cross-posted from the March 1, 2006 Pulse.]
Twenty years ago, I was a big fan of Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. I still am, even though I haven’t read one in at least a decade. (I did check out one of the new ghostwritten back-stories by Herbert’s son, but that’s a different matter.) Many Dune readers acknowledge Frank Herbert for possessing a degree of social understanding not commonly found in even the better range of science-fiction works. Herbert’s knack for plumbing the depths to which humanity so consistently sinks lifts his material above categorization.
A singularly captivating element from Dune is the Litany against Fear. Herbert’s young protagonist is required by his mentors to recite this passage, and more importantly, to embody its message throughout his lifetime. The Litany begins, “Fear is the mind-killer.”
To Buy World Ports
Though we’re many miles from New Orleans and even further from Newark, I suspect that Chattanoogans harbor fears about a foreign country’s company taking over security at our nation’s ports. Such would be understandable, but there are two major factual errors supporting those fears. These errors enjoy much sustenance from the media. I, too, included them in this paragraph’s opening sentence – but solely for purposes of destroying the misconceptions.
You see, the ports are not just now slated to be operated by a foreign company. Overseas firms already manage many of our ports’ operations. It was therefore quite obvious to anyone who was paying attention when this story broke that the word “foreign” is being used to connote more than its literal meaning.
Another word that suffers gross mistreatment in this story is the word “security.” No matter how many times the facts are laid out – and acknowledged, even – the people who are supposed to accurately deliver the facts keep using the word “security” as the product that’s changing hands, not merely in the “national security” sense. They cross the line and go beyond implication that port security is being handed over to “Arab” personnel. Great, thanks, mass media; now that’s what everyone thinks. And if everyone thinks that the security – meaning, the guys with stinking badges and many, many bullets – is being handed over to a foreign company, everyone is going to be afraid.
As one of the very funny hosts of “fake news” on cable’s Comedy Central put it, there would hardly have been an upward glance if the “A” in UAE stood for “Armenian” or “Andalusian.” We all know the fear is due to the word “Arab.” If comedians and satirists get this, why can’t the nation’s reporters and commentators? Clearly this is not a case of misunderstanding; it is purposeful manipulation. What if China wanted to operate some ports in the United States? Newsflash: they do. Now, we’re hoping that someone checked this out, and made sure that there were no problems on the way. Singapore does some, Taiwan, and then of course there are our friends getting bought out, the “Great British.” None of this is new. Giving them control of security would be new; but that’s not happening, not with any of them, and not with Dubai Ports World. Consider yourself informed, if you hadn’t been. If you had, you can thank me later for helping to dispel the myths. I’m not necessarily condoning the deal at hand. Oppose the deal if, as with any other, the firm in question doesn’t check out. Just don’t approach the situation with fear, especially when that fear is likely caused by calculated obfuscation.
Gay Marriage Bane
Oh, here’s a scary one: that nice couple down the street from us, the ones with the home, the jobs, and the family and pets? They might get married if some judge lets them. Best that we drop everything we’re doing and rush over to the courthouse to stop that…no, wait; I’ve got an even better idea. Let’s alter the founding document of our State, the bedrock not usually burdened with narrow restrictions on individual liberty, and then our fears will be curbed.
I wish I were joking. Unless something happens upon further appeal to a Davidson County judge’s ruling, Tennessee voters will be provided the fabled “up-or-down vote” on adopting a constitutional amendment that denies a certain configuration of adult human couples the ability to participate fully as adults in society. This vote will coincide with the federal and state general elections on November 7. This column will use every reasonable means to persuade citizens to do the responsible thing and vote “no” on the ballot measure. It is regrettable to have to get preachy, but this is an “all hands on deck” situation.
Later, we’ll discuss legal philosophy, religion and other subjects I’m not at all qualified to engage, but this time it’s all about the fear. What outcome can be rationally ascertained that would send otherwise balanced people into screeching horror? What are we afraid of? I say “we” even though my position is clear, because the legislation to create this proposed amendment passed twice, in two houses each, and that’s one of the best initial measures we have of how the public feels. No doubt many contacted their representatives with these feelings during those two legislative sessions.
Yet we wisely forward the idea from those tests to a fully democratic final say. This gives us the opportunity to think as well as feel. The citizen becomes self-ruled for real in this instance. It’s one of the highest honors, and the most wanting of careful and informed deliberation. This is not a “call your senator in a moment of zeal” activity. Each voter must as carefully weigh a constitutional change as he or she expects a Supreme Court Justice to consider a law’s constitutionality. If there is anything to fear, it’s the possibility of screwing that up.
Continuing the TFP Discussion
This is today's edition. The red lines indicate that I was hovering over the article; as alice indicated, clicking opens it in a new window. (As far as the "scanned" part goes, I don't imagine that they physically scan a paper to get these images. It's more likely to me that they come from the same layout software that is used to send to print.)
One of the points I was making yesterday, which I think has gotten a little lost in the discussion (probably because I didn't make it clearly), is that the NEW TFP site (www.tfponline.com, not www.timesfreepress.com) allows subscription-free access to html articles and is search-engine enabled. Therefore, the silliness shown and described above (and in comments to my previous post) is no longer a problem.
Podcasts, sort-of blog-ish things, and full online access comprise a giant evolutionary leap for this particular dinosaur.
Local blogs, Chattanoogan.com, the Pulse, and the CTFP are all ways in which we access information and opinion. My view is that they all work together.
We'll keep pressure on the paper to do things like, say, allow comments on their blogs.
March 2, 2006
How Your US Senators Voted
Question: On the Conference Report.
Bill: H R 3199
Vote description: H.R. 3199 Conference Report; USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005
Result: Agreed to, 89-10, with 1 not voting.
Bill Frist voted Yes.
Question: On the Conference Report.
Bill: H R 3199
Vote description: H.R. 3199 Conference Report; USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005
Result: Agreed to, 89-10, with 1 not voting.
Lamar Alexander voted Yes.
From washingtonpost.com's handy RSS feeds.
Local LP Candidate Seeks Green Endorsement
Joe Dumas, one of County Commissioner Richard Casavant's 2006 challengers (District 2), is looking for a helping hand from voters and activists who might at times be considered his ideological opposites.
In an e-mail to the Chattanooga Area Green Party, Dumas (a Libertarian) writes:
I will be on the ballot as an Independent, since (as you undoubtedly know) the state of Tennessee does not recognize alternative parties ... only the establishment duopoly of Democrat/Republican. I am actually a member of the Libertarian Party, and I expect to receive the official endorsement of the HCLP and the LPTN. However, I am interested in enlisting the support of other alternative parties (as well as true independents and disenchanted R and D voters) [...] After all, a victory for any "third party" candidate is in some sense a victory for all of us.
He further tailors his appeal to the Greens by pointing to the impending destruction of scenic trails on Signal Mountain. The trails are in jeopardy because of the chosen location for Signal's new high school; and since Dr. Casavant strongly supports the school, Dumas suggests a lack of environmental concern on the part of his incumbent opponent.
I'm not suggesting that this is anything new; so-called "third parties" have often looked to each other for support, particularly on ballot access issues, but even in specific elections. It is interesting, though, to see this at work locally.
Then again, some Greens and some Libertarians have a lot more in common than many people realize. The "small government" mantra of the LP is not too dissimilar from the Green Key Value called "Decentralization." That's just one example.
The Hamilton County General Election will be held on August 3, 2006.
Yes, the TFP Website Changed, But..
This guy is not impressed.
I'm sure a lot of people will read this from the paper, and I want you to understand that I'm not looking to be a critic; I truly want to see your newspaper do great things, and I would love to see it command a great web presence in the city, but c'mon this isn't rocket science. And you have the cash to implement a great website. So what's stopping you?
I think there have been several major steps taken in the right direction. It's still a work in progress, from what I've been told.
Jester Intelligence knows I have a ton of work to do on this site, so I won't bitch and moan about the TFP, even though I am but one guy volunteering all my time and have never had a formal education in development, and they are a large media company. Battleships, turning, you know.
By the way, speaking of work on this site: stay tuned for some really cool news regarding TennesseeTicket.com and another Tennessee politics-related blog. I can't raise the curtain yet, but I can say that good things are on the way.
March 1, 2006
Sometimes the Police Blotter Is Pure Poetry
A man on E. 23rd Street said he set his money and teeth on the end table next to the couch in his living room. Both later turned up missing.
He said he thinks a little girl may have gotten the money, but he is not sure who took the teeth.
-- as published on Chattanoogan.com