September 29, 2006
District 33 Update
The ever-eminent Tennessee Politics Blog alerts us to the withdrawal of one Michael Floyd from the District 33 Senate race. Floyd is a Republican who had intended on facing former Sen. Kathryn Bowers in November, but who instead was up against Bowers' replacement, Reginald Tate. It sounds like the GOP barely missed an opportunity to name a replacement candidate, and that now Tate will be the only name on the ballot.
My question is, what exactly are the rules regarding names appearing on ballots after an election's withdrawal deadline has passed? Do counties have separate rules? I'm pretty sure that Jim Hall will appear as an opponent to Bo Watson in the District 11 race, even though Hall announced his withdrawal quite some time ago. The reason his name will still be there is that he withdrew after the deadline, which is a few weeks after the qualifying deadline, in Hamilton County. I was wrong. Hall's name is not on this document.
But I know that sometimes names stay on the ballot. Mine did, in 2002, even though I had moved to another district. I disqualified myself from serving in that district (it turned out to be 28, though when I started preparing to run it was 27 -- dontcha love gerrymandering? I lived in the same house). I did everything I was told to do regarding withdrawing, except that I couldn't withdraw; it was past the deadline. I even had to keep sending finance reports to Drew Rawlins and his crew, even though every report had zero on it, through the post-election reporting period. (I'm not complaining; I promote disclosure. I just would rather have been able to withdraw fully from all considerations about that race, since I had moved out of the district.)
So what are the rules? I don't believe that Jim Hall withdrew before the deadline (but I could be wrong), and I know that Michael Floyd's decision is well past it. I'm not sure of exactly what drives all of these maneuvers, but it seems to me that this is yet another case for non-partisan (as opposed to bipartisan) election commissions, at the state and county levels. I'm all for candidates being removed from ballots when their being there would confuse and distract voters from the actual choices; but I'd rather the process occur through simple, open means than through whatever deal-making happens among the party leaders and election commissioners across the state.
September 27, 2006
Volunteers in the Spotlight
Despite the fact that there are several others in the race, the media are certainly bringing attention to the Corker/Ford matchup as decision day draws nearer. We could have us an old-fashioned nail-biter.
What does this mean for you? It means that you are a "decider." That is, you are, if you are registered to vote. You only have until October 6. That is a week from this Friday. If you have not registered, please do so now. If your friends are not registered, threaten/cajole them until they are. If those disgusting [liberals/conservatives] in your office are not registered, get them to take care of it, even if it means they'll vote opposite you. Then go out and sign up more friends, to cancel out the above.
You get the idea.
Attention Corruption Shoppers - Please bring your malfeasance to the register
The window on unethical behavior is closing
Welcome again to autumn, when we indulge in some of our favorite things: college football, Halloween, apple cider, and a chance for the ever-reaching spread of bureaucracy to place well-meaning obstacles in the way of simple, efficient self-governance. The Tennessee Ethics Commission officially starts commissioning (for lack of a better verb) on October 1. Before you get all defensive about how we need to enforce good behavior by elected politicians, remember one thing: the Ethics Commission is a product of the FBI sting known as “Operation Tennessee Waltz.” Okay, and one other thing: those accused in that operation apparently broke laws that were already on the books. The enforcers of these laws should include agencies already in existence.
No, we’re talking about ethics-shaving, not law-breaking. For example, is it legal for the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives to be married to a top lobbyist whose clients undoubtedly seek to influence legislation, over which the Speaker enjoys considerable guidance? Sure it is. Is it ethical? There’s the catch. A set of conditions is neither ethical nor unethical. How humans navigate through the conditions helps define their ethics. Surely the ethical way to handle such a situation is for all employers of said lobbyist to clearly indicate their interests to the public, and for the spouse in the House to abstain from being directly involved in matters that...well, wait a minute. We might have a problem here. Next example, please.
Aside from the particularly convoluted scenario above — which, by the way, is not made up — the key element to legislative ethics is disclosure. The people demand to know what effort (i.e., money) is being expended for which cause, and can subsequently make informed decisions based on the very public documentation of such absolutely legal expenditures. You don’t “disclose” the taking of a bribe. As the tapes in the William Cotton trial demonstrated, you try to keep such things a bit out of sight. “That’s how they got Gass,” Cotton cautioned. That’s how they got you, too, Mr. Cotton. You and Charles Love practiced a little too much disclosure, albeit you knew it not. Sadly, the new Commission’s activities will focus more on (often petty) prohibitions than on simply providing the means for the public to become informed about the money that inevitably propels their civic reality. Interstate comparisons are dangerous at best, but a risk worth taking is pointing out once again that Washington (the state) has had an elected, fully “toothed” Public Disclosure Commission since 1971. It’s late 2006, and Tennessee is installing a buddy-appointed panel that will have trouble enough just navigating the many exceptions to all the proscriptions.
To demonstrate just how manacled the Commission will begin its life, take the recent news story about Economic Commissioner Matt Kisber, Toby and Brenda McKenzie, state Senator Jerry Cooper (he’s named in yet another scandal? this makes three), and some whopping loans made to Kisber’s company. Several who thought the whole thing didn’t smell just right inquired to the new ethics panel about looking into this matter, but the answer came back negative. See, the Commission doesn’t start work until October 1. In essence, that means that unethical acts committed through midnight on September 30 will receive that old “three monkey” treatment. You’re almost out of time, so get those checks and wire transfers going.
What’s unclear (to this writer, anyway) is how the Tennessee Election Commission’s responsibilities overlap with those of the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. Lobbyists will now be required to register in a timely manner with the Ethics Commission, but it’s assumed that candidate fundraising filings will still be sent to TREF. Expect some confusion, and some of those frustrating “by the book” charges as a result. It’s the way of inter-agency dynamics (see under “Federal Government”). In addition to more stringent registration laws, the same act that establishes the Ethics Commission prohibits campaign contributions from lobbyists, contingency fees to lobbyists, contributions from employers and employer PACs (while the legislature is in session, so expect those last-minute parties to continue), legislators using lobbyists’ credit cards, and gifts from lobbyists to legislators (presumably the aforementioned Speaker’s wife can give him a birthday present, since there’s an immediate family exception), plus a 12-month lock on the so-called “revolving door” and mandatory ethics training for lobbyists (no long lines for that teacher’s job). Oh, and bribery and lying about it (or about any of the above) are summarily off limits. The Commission is given authority to levy fines ($10,000 max) and to call witnesses during its investigations. This column’s most cherished part is the new rule about open committee meetings and public notice given for committee votes.
It’s probably unfair to prejudge the Tennessee Ethics Commission before it begins, but we’ve been disappointed before. It’s only the smallest consolation that this new group will even meet at all, since a 2003 ethics panel commissioned by then-new Governor Phil Bredesen simply shrugged off its entire existence. That’s not the most comforting precedent, but we’ll see what happens.
[This column appears in the September 27, 2006 Pulse.]
September 26, 2006
This Has to Get the City's Goat
Boy, we have a regular Wild Kingdom going on Missionary Ridge. From Chattanoogan.com (with more at The Pulse Blog): City Loses Kudzu-Eating Goat, To Bring In Guard Donkey
It's sad for the goat (and, I guess, happy for the coyote or whatever), but that has to be my favorite headline in quite a while.
Are you tired of all the bickering, the posturing, and the shallow, cynical partisan politics? So is newscoma. There are a lot of us, but this post stood out for its unmitigated and honest approach. There's good material developing in a whole gaggle of posts around the Tennessee blogosphere, both on the disenchanted side and the "naw, I love me some partisan tunnel vision" side. Let's continue to build this library of thought.
I need to work out getting a subscription to the Tennessee Journal. I'm on a tight budget these days, but as important as the publication would be as input to this blog, I should find room to pick up a periodical. I've been told that a forecast for the 2006 General Assembly elections will be appearing in it soon, and I'm very interested in that.
Gratuitous Kitchen Remodel Update: Last night I sanded the walls where I'm preparing to paint, and even though I wore a mask, when I looked at myself in the mirror afterward, I was reminded of Tony Montana on that fateful night at the end of Scarface. My sinuses are cursing me today.
Lastly, I'll have a piece in tomorrow's Pulse about the new Tennessee Ethics Commission, which begins its job on October 1. It's just an overview that skims the topic, but perhaps it will get a conversation started.
September 24, 2006
Why Was It I Read Your Blog, Again?
Someone (I admit having not a small curiosity as to whom) has gotten alice's dander up, and all 10,000 of her monkeys revved up their keyboards for a fine bit of rhetoric. Here's an excerpt:
The bottom line is, once you're getting paid to post about something, you stop doing it for the sake of communication -- or for the love of writing, or to keep your friends and family informed, or whatever it was that motivated you when you first started your blog -- and it instead becomes ... well, something you're paid to do. I'm bombarded with enough advertising everywhere I turn in life, from the ads inside the doors of bathroom stalls to those stupid previews that I'm forced to watch on DVDs -- I'm not going to subject myself to even more of it now by clicking over to your blog...
September 22, 2006
The Last Day of Summer
That strangely calming electric sensation in the air is probably a combination of today's New Moon and tomorrow's Autumnal Equinox. (Disclaimer: I'm not a licensed astrologer.) Seriously, though, it seems as if even the campaigning has calmed a bit in the last couple of days.
The glaring exception, of course, is the Bryson for Governor ad that all but the most devout are calling a major misstep.
When I don't have a toddler in my lap I'll try to round up some links. Meanwhile, Summer slips away quietly under a drizzly grey shawl..
September 21, 2006
Ned Ray, Schree, and Thee
Anyone up for lunch in Knoxburg tomorrow?
Governor Ned McWherter
cordially invite you to a luncheon in support of
candidate for Tennessee House District 18
Friday, September 22, 2006
Calhoun's on the River
400 Neyland Drive
Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
RSVP (865) 588-7073
OR via email firstname.lastname@example.org
$250 requested contribution
please make checks payable to Friends of Schree Pettigrew
Thursday Guitar Blogging: Mello Out with Sharon Isbin
I'm rediscovering my enthusiasm for a CD released almost a decade ago by classical guitarist Sharon Isbin (before all the Grammy awards). Simply titled Journey to the Amazon, it combines the typically unaccompanied classical guitar with Brazilian percussion and, on a few tracks, Paul Winter's fluid and reverb-drenched soprano saxophone.
The percussionist is composer Gaudencio Thiago de Mello, whose works are among my favorite numbers on this album. Though the liner notes may give one the impression that Thiago de Mello's melodies are straight out of the rainforest whence he hails, I sense a worldliness in them that could just as easily place their origin in, say, Estonia, or old Ireland. His percussion is definitely germane to the Amazon headwaters, though, and evokes (not that I would know) tribal shamanic ritual.
The recording also includes solo guitar pieces, some of them straight-up (i.e., they have "opus" in the title). These provide just the respite needed to resume appreciation of the added instruments. Programming a disc may be a lost art in the new world of iTunes, but back in '97 these guys got it right. The closing piece is an achingly beautiful melody named "Cavaleiro Sem Armadura (Knight without Armor)."
The very heart of Brazil beats within this combination of European guitar and African/Native American drums; the soft breathing of Winter's dreamy horn adds atmosphere, but appropriately sparingly. Sharon Isbin demonstrates that she is equally adept in Carnegie Hall as in Manaus, as her impeccable technique blends perfectly with a passionate reading of the spirited South American dances. I am glad she took this journey and hope she lets us in on her next one.
September 20, 2006
Two Parties See A Chance at Controlling State Senate
Sean Braisted posted today that the Senate Democratic Caucus, led by Sen. Joe Haynes, is drumming up support for candidates in what they apparently consider to be key (i.e., winnable) districts. All of the named candidates are challengers (or, in Rochelle's case, a re-match) with the exception of Sen. Doug Henry. Does Bob Krumm have some people nervous?
He also points out one omission: District 29, where Ophelia Ford was declared the winner of a fraud-ridden special election, and later ousted from the seat -- and is running for it in November. Turnout is likely to be higher in this general election than it was in the special election that Ford won by a dozen or so (invalid) votes, so perhaps the sitting Dems consider it a lock.
Even though most pundits predict status quo when it's all said and done, and I tend to agree, it does seem that there are some outside chances for change in the next General Assembly. Wouldn't it be strange if somehow the Republicans pulled off an upset in the House and Democrats stealthily regained the Senate? I'm not saying it would happen; just that it would be notable.
Like a Stump on a Log - Bob Corker needs to step up the smiles
Despite any fanlike emotions that spring forth as one traverses the 21st Century Waterfront in downtown Chattanooga, Bob Corker is not a celebrity. His talents lie in more practical realms: business decisions, budget oversight, caring for his family. This down-to-earth approach can be attractive to the thinking person who cares little for hype or show, but an election for an open Senate seat may require turning up the panache just a tad.
The former mayor paid a visit to the same downtown firm that hosted his Democratic rival, U.S. Representative Harold Ford, Jr., a few weeks earlier. The company laudably endeavors to keep its employees informed about the candidates for major office in election years (no word on when they’re bringing in Ed Choate, Bo Heyward or Chris Lugo, however). Unlike the previous event, the press got tipped off that Corker was coming by, so the atmosphere struggled from the very start. It was just after the impromptu media event that I was invited to meet the candidate. It wasn’t clear if the cameras (which, as the next morning’s local newscasts confirmed, were still rolling) increased the tension, but as the candidate somewhat awkwardly extended his hand for the third time during our halting conversation, it dawned on me that this event would contrast with the former.
Corker’s reception inside the workplace was different than Ford’s, even down to which types of employees showed up. Where Ford drew the service workers and mid-level analysts, Bob Corker’s crowd was visibly peppered with VPs and corporate lobbyists (sorry, make that Government Relations personnel)—and visibly smaller. There was the lone passionate inquirer who posed a pointed question or two regarding what a Senator Corker would do about the situation in Iraq, but the positive enthusiasm witnessed during Ford’s visit just didn’t manifest itself for Corker. One service representative, when asked earlier in the day if she would attend, said only “I’ve seen enough of Bob Corker on TV.” (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the media barrage has only barely begun.)
Perhaps the low turnout can be attributed to familiarity. We Chattanoogans know who Bob Corker is, and plan to vote for him, so only the political junkies would make a point of going to see him; whereas Ford is an unknown from way out in Memphis, and drew curiosity from even the ideologically opposed. In addition, the plague known as apathy tore through the potential ranks of onlookers on both occasions (and may explain just why we won’t be seeing Choate, Heyward or Lugo). Still, Corker worked the lunch room with no less determination than his rival, and demonstrated the unassuming doggedness for which he’s come to be known. An interesting note: his able wingman, political director Todd Womack, likely has a sunny future in this business (should he choose it), for his gregarious smile easily outshone that of his boss.
Watching the two candidates interact with roughly the same people provided insights not only into the campaigns and the election, but into the voters’ minds as well. What do we look for? Do we value relative advantages in sex appeal over those in business/executive experience? Unfortunate as it may be, the situation “on the ground,” as they say, involves the superficial to a great extent. In the marketplace of the arguably fickle electorate, this race, like so many others, does not come down to whom would be the better United States Senator. It instead will be decided based upon which candidate reaches out with the most personal appeal. To date, Harold Ford, Jr. appears to be way ahead in that regard.
September 19, 2006
Up A Creek Without A Candidate
I can't go Lugo. And I can't go Bo. And I can't, after being so clearly reminded of my very neighborhood's loss at the mayor's gain, continue the support I showed during the primary season for Bob Corker. Who does that leave me? A GOP-voting scion of a corrupt political family? A USA PATRIOT Act supporter in sheep's clothing?
Maybe David Gatchell's onto something, but on the other hand, perhaps a vote for Ford, which may contribute to a Democratic takeover in the Senate, would help balance the one-party juggernaut we've had in Washington for a few years.
Gary Keplinger? I know not for what he stands. Ed Choate? I've read enough to know he won't get my vote.
This is just awful. Tennessee, we can do better than this. (Or, maybe not: see Frist, William.)
Help me out here. Pick the candidate that should get my vote, and convince me as to why.
September 16, 2006
If you don't vote for Bryson, you vote against God
The blogger formerly known as South Knox Bubba noticed the same thing I did on Gene Patterson's blog. (By the way, what's gotten into these blogging TV journalists?) While I was sure all along that it was the Tennessee Republican Party behind Jim Bryson's decision to run for Governor, apparently Bryson thinks he got the inclination from a different authority.
Perhaps either Bob Davis or Randy Stamps played a little prank on their good friend Jim, and made him think it was God giving him the "nudge." Or I suppose it's possible that Senator Bryson has the identities of G-O-D and G-O-P confused. I'm pretty sure that's happened before to plenty of other artless and well-meaning citizens.
Meanwhile, Harold Ford, Jr. says that he learned Right from Wrong in a church. That there, my friends, is proof that he's no liberal. A liberal's sense of right and wrong is innate, and therefore doesn't need to be delivered via preacher and book. (DISCLAIMER: That last comment is not meant to denigrate anyone who seeks fellowship with others in faith, regardless of their politics.)
September 15, 2006
Uh, We Were Just Kinda Lost
Memphis television anchor Cameron Harper reports on a curious event that happened during a live "Good Morning America" shoot on Friday.
It seems that during Justin Timberlake's performance, a campaign bus emblazoned with the candidate's name rolled into view.
Go see whose bus it was.
September 14, 2006
The Wal-Mart Debate
I am in the midst of a complex, soul-searching post on the topic, and it's not ready for publication. So do me a favor: read the posts (Kleinheider has all the links) and add some comments here that I can use to further muddle my outlook whilst I finish up. :-)
September 13, 2006
Cleaning House in the Tennessee Senate
Preparing for a new Lieutenant Governor
A giant sigh of relief went up from around the state with news of Governor Phil Bredesen’s recovery from a mysterious illness. The reason we’re all glad to have our Governor back safe and (mostly) sound is that the state Constitution spells out a scary succession plan, were something awful to happen to our top elected official. The Speaker of the Senate is next in line. Big deal, right? Right. The thought of “Governor John Shelton Wilder” struck panic in our collective hearts, regardless of our individual politics.
Wilder, one of the longest-serving elected officials in the nation (or the world, even), may be approaching the end of his extraordinary tenure. Revenge was promised to those Republicans who dared flaunt party bosses and deliver their votes again to Wilder after the GOP won a slim Senate majority in 2004. However, it may be factors other than this retributive effort that will give Republicans full control of Tennessee’s upper house.
Enter Operation Tennessee Waltz, and a land-financing deal prosecutors say incriminates a Democratic senator from Warren County. These two criminal investigations have served to weaken the Democrats’ power in the Senate. Granted, most of the seats held by tainted Democrats will continue to be represented by Democratic replacements (though Terry Roland was surprisingly close to an upset in last year’s special District 29 election), but the fact remains that Republican Senators already held a one-seat majority, and so any erosion of Democratic power automatically threatens Lt. Governor Wilder’s position.
Senator Jerry Cooper (D-Morrison – not to be confused, thank you very much, with U.S. Representative Jim Cooper of Nashville) faces a bevy of legal troubles. Most recently, a talented investigative reporter in Nashville broke the story of suspicious payments from a payday loan magnate to Sen. Cooper, who, conveniently for the financier, chaired the Senate’s Commerce Committee. This comes after a grand jury handed down mail fraud and conspiracy indictments alleging that Sen. Cooper used his legislative position to falsely inflate the value of some land he owned, then used his influence to help the buyers obtain a loan on which they later defaulted. (The latter case has tentacles that may reach directly into the office of Wilder himself, as he partially owns the bank that provided the loan.)
Kathryn Bowers (D-Memphis) seems to be the latest Operation Tennessee Waltz casualty, as she resigned her office on September 1 (although she cited health reasons, and later entered a Not Guilty plea to her bribery charges). This comes after John Ford’s resignation in District 29, and his sister Ophelia’s ouster after election fraud was confirmed in her bid to replace him. Chattanooga’s own Ward Crutchfield (District 10) remains the lone Waltzer in the Senate, but surely the cards are stacked against his staying much longer. Crutchfield resigned his Deputy Speaker position in June 2005.
Another event shaping these future changes was the defection by Senator Don McLeary (R-Jackson) to the GOP after being elected as a Democrat. While it’s not known for sure whether or not he might continue to support Wilder, it seems fairly likely that he would lock arms with his newfound friends and cast a vote for their presumed candidate, Majority Leader Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville).
Of course, this assessment of Wilder’s precariousness could be miscalculated. After all, the Speaker has faced a challenge before, and defeated it. Interestingly, it was Republicans (15 of them) who came to his aid then, when members of his own party wished to unseat him. (Those Republicans who moan about the two “traitors” in January 2005 would do well to remember this precedent.) But it seems like the time has finally come. Democrats are unlikely to regain the majority, and Republicans who’ve harbored crossover notions before will almost certainly see the possibilities of plum committee assignments from Wilder as a risk not worth taking.
So, next year, forbid anything happening to Governor Bredesen, because it looks like Ron Ramsey would be next in line.
[This column appears in the September 13, 2006 Pulse.]
September 12, 2006
I don't think it's a big deal, myself. Sooner or later a party player like this will have worked for this or that major figure, and however unsavory that figure becomes, that doesn't mean that each and every minion was evil.
But I'm probably giving the average voter too much credit for figuring this out. People crave drama and scandal, and will create some where there's a perceived lack.
And the Idiocy Award Goes To..
..people "retaliating" for Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin's death by killing and mutilating stingrays.
I just don't know where to begin with this; and, hopefully, I'd be preaching to the choir anyway, so think your own thoughts.
September 11, 2006
Senate Race Forecast: "Flurry Until November"
The race to fill outgoing US Senator Bill Frist's seat is pulse-quickeningly close, to say the least.
Taegan Goddard points us to the latest WSJ/Zogby numbers, where the result (Corker leads by 2.7%) is within the margin of error, but the thing that stuck out to me was that this is the closest race in the entire Zogby list at this point.
This release underscores last week's Rasmussen report that had Corker leading by a one-point thread (again within the margin of error).
Every event in these candidates' lives (such as today's decision that Corker must depose in the Wal-Mart land sale lawsuit prior to the election) will factor into this election. Hang on, folks!
September 10, 2006
Is it just me, or has it only been in the last several weeks that everyone has added a favicon to h/er RSS feed?
I use Bloglines, and the first one I noted (over a year ago) was the generic TypePad logo in anyone's feed who uses that software. Or, InstaPundit might have been first, can't recall for sure. Then Blogger came along, but most everyone else's just sat there as plain as mine until, like, last month. Now just about everyone's feed line has a favicon.
This important news was brought to you by my lack of desire to continue on house chores. (Come on, it's "sweeps" time.)
Well Now, Nashville's Uptown
Music City USA added a new star to her crown last night with the opening of a new performing arts center and a gala concert to go with it.
Leonard Slatkin and Frederica von Stade? These aren't your hot new names in high-falutin' music, but their relative heft nonetheless commands certain respect for our state capital's continued ascendance.
Of course, I don't suppose it would be Nashville without a banjo, and, sure enough, there occurred a Triple Concerto for [get this] Banjo, Double Bass and Tabla. (The composer is not named in the review).
I'm never one to advocate the programming of excerpts, but a celebrity-studded opening night crowd aren't the right bunch to sit through a full Mahler, and a couple of movements from "Resurrection" are, I suppose, a good way to show off all the bells and whistles. It's a fundraising thing.
I've checked out the season schedule, though, and it appears that, even with some typical schlock thrown in, Schermerhorn audiences will be treated a mite better than will Chattanooga Tivoli ones.
(Tennessean links courtesy of Sharon Cobb)
September 09, 2006
Lies, Bribes, and Now Rabies?
This Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration story keeps growing tentacles. Allegations of "soring" (a most inglorious term with which I was heretofore unfamiliar) caused a spate of disqualifications, which led to cancellation of the entire finale. Subsequently, the reason show organizers gave for cancelling, "public safety," has been soundly refuted by members of the Tennessee Department of, um, Safety.
Then we found out that our very special* friend Mike Walden not only was one of the disqualified owners, but that he may have attempted to pay off the "clean" trainers to keep them from showing.
And now there's a horse with rabies. Did somebody put a hex on this horse show?
*"Special" in this case is defined thusly:
1. County Election Commissioner who also managed the campaign of an incumbent sheriff. Fortunately for all of us, that former sheriff lost by enough that, even if there had been any foul play (and I'm not suggesting there was, just that the appearance was less than savory), it wouldn't have mattered, since Billy Long whupped their asses.
2. Owner of a private security firm that, at least while the aforementioned former incumbent sheriff was in office, held a contract for providing security at the courthouse and other venues.
Related: Kentucky's Celebration has now called off its event.
Also, weird coincidence time: while searching for info on this post, I came across this page (and don't think I won't follow up about Ron Littlefield's attendance at that Corker fundraiser). Down the page there are a couple of references (from 2004) to Greg Norman's new golf course. Also while researching this horse story, I came across this rather more recent reference to the same famous golfer, same course. Strange.
September 08, 2006
Defining Education in the 21st Century
Math and science. Haven't we been here before? "Sputnik" made us all wake up and pay attention to these subjects. Now, I hear, it's India and China.
Anyway, Mark Rogers wrote a very good post the other day about US Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr.'s education proposal. I encourage you to read it and to apply the same careful thought processes he apparently has to this dilemma.
Comments are welcome here.
UPDATE: I'm not the only admirer of Rogers' post.
Friday Guitar Blogging: Guy-in-Residence
It seems like it was Riverbend 2004 when Guy Clark and his buddy Verlon Thompson wowed a docile audience under the Walnut Street Bridge, even though they had to fight off a wild thunderstorm and a shrieking F-104 -- and I think the emergency helicopter from Erlanger made a run through their set as well. Those distractions were no match for Guy Clark's music, his sense of humor, nor his formidable jaw, which alone could withstand a minor nuclear attack.
It pleased me to find that Clark has been selected as this month's artist-in-residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame in (where else?) Nashville.
The Shani Hedden Group has several Guy Clark songs in its repertoire, including "L.A. Freeway," "Heartbroke," and one of my favorites, "The South Coast of Texas."
On my own, I also want to learn "Stuff that Works."
September 07, 2006
Help the Republicans: Elect the Democrats
How sweet can a person be? See: Dolly Parton.
Our little boy gets a book every month, and so does every child in Tennessee between 0-5 who is signed up for the program. We've been reading to him since before he was born, so he's pretty addicted to literature.
This service is but one of many reasons I approve of Dolly Parton receiving a prestigious award at the Kennedy Center.
(lost my link, but you can find plenty)
Corker in da House
I got to meet Bob Corker today, at a similar event to the one in which I met Harold Ford, Jr.
I'll be writing a whole piece about this, but just wanted to report it for now.
September 06, 2006
I'll Join That Bandwagon
On the subject of campaign ads that name candidates, and not being able to run those ads within 60 days of an election, I think I'd like to solicit a couple. You know, to sow my wild revolutionary pamphleteer oats, or something like that. Unlike Bill Hobbs, though, I want you to feel free to bash any party's nominee here.
September 05, 2006
Vote NO on 1
This November, Tennesseans will be asked to vote on amending our Constitution to define marriage as being between "one man and one woman." For several reasons, I am adamantly against adoption of this amendment, and I urge you to join me in voting NO.
You can practice over at Nashville is Talking.
Okay, Do Think of an Elephant
UPDATE: Thanks to the good folks at Coptix, I now have my elephants back. As you were, then, tigers.
I haven't had time to fully determine what went on, but it looks like an image file got lost in the server shuffle (good news: Terrablogs now has a new server). Every candidate page is now showing the alt text 'republican.gif' instead of the elephant icon beside the Republican candidates.
As a Milne critter would say, "Bother!" It wouldn't be that bad, but due to a series of circumstances, I'll now have to:
So, please understand that that's what happened, instead of inferring some kind of passive-aggressive behavior toward Republicans.
After all, some Republicans are being very good to me these days. An example: former House District 6 candidate Joshua Arrowood not only sent me the website of the guy who beat him in the primary, which I took as a classy move; he has also tracked down the websites of several US House candidates and shared them. I couldn't keep up this site without this kind of help, and it is very much appreciated.
I'll get them added as soon as possible, and as well will finish updating the General Assembly pages to get them in tune with the upcoming general election. It's upon us.
September 03, 2006
Wilder's Days Are Numbered
And I don't mean in general, in spite of his advanced age. For all I know the man could live to be 135.
No, I'm working on a column for the Chattanooga Pulse, and even though I started out with Senators Cooper and Crutchfield, along with former members Bowers, Dixon and Ford, the focal point of the piece keeps turning out to be the impending demise of Lt. Governor Wilder's long reign as Speaker of the Senate.
So, even with this spoiler in hand, stay tuned for the article, which will come out this Wednesday or next, depending on when I get it finished.
September 01, 2006
Strong Stuff 9-1-2006
The day such a man [as US Senator George Allen] is sworn in as President of the United States, I want to be at the inaguration [sic] and I think the Marine Band should play "Dixie" and "God Save the South"-it would be sweet revenge for Appomattox. -- David Oatney, who typifies what a lot of Tennesseans mean when they self-describe as "conservative"
The problem with quietly supporting racists so that ignorant rednecks in the South will vote for your ticket is that racists are stupid people who will eventually say stupid things that call attention to the fact that your party quietly supports racists. -- Alice of 10,000 Monkeys and a Camera
How would Jimmy [Naifeh] know what anything cost? He can't count the number of people raising their hands in a room. -- Rick Forman, on costly renovations at the state Capitol
Now that two of my least favorite subjects in school, science and history, are dead, I’m hoping that the Bush Administration will redouble its efforts to kill off two other subjects I didn’t much care for, Math and Geography. While important strides have been made, I still think more can be done to send Math and Geography to the dustbin of History, which, course, has itself been sent to the dustbin of . . . something else, I guess. I’m not ready to declare victory until our schools are teaching only two subjects: Religion and Gym. -- Jon Swift, via Balloon Juice
Is such stuff just sensationalistic pap designed to sell papers, or do we really have problems? Yes and yes. -- A.C. McCloud, on problems leading to the airline industry's dire future