Monday, October 31, 2005

On the Move... 

Sorry for the lack of posting, but I am in the midst of moving to a new city, though remaining here in the greenest state in the land of the free.

I'll post more info in the next day or so once I get settled. Stay tuned...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Live From Indianapolis... 

Greetings from Indianapolis, home of David Letterman and a lot of race cars.

No real politics to weigh in on, so I'll blog on the main reason for my trip up, the Nickel Creek show here in Indy. I have a friend who lives up this way, so it made a great reason to plan a visit to this very flat city.

The show, held at the really cool Murat Center Egyptian Room was opened by an insufferable novelty group called the Ditty Bops. Suffice it to say, there is a reason why you don't see many groups doing a '20s throwback act including a magician/juggler.

Nickel Creek certainly held up their end of the bargain, though. The show was a solid mix of music from the first two albums, including the standards This Side and A Lighthouse's Tale. The new songs certainly sounded better live than they do on the album, but I just don't like a lot of it. I listen to acoustic music to escape a lot of the put-on pretension of indie rock that the new album seems to embrace.

However, pretentiousness left the building as soon as the Ditty Bops left the stage tonight. No one plays a mandolin like Chris Thile, and his skill shone brightly as he blew threw Smoothie Song and Stumptown. The night's highlights, though, came in the form of covers. To the frankly mindblowing delight of the crowd, the gang did a cover of Britney Spears' Toxic. I would have been speechless if I wasn't laughing my ass off at how they are able to make that song sound good.

The encore was an almost Phish-esque transition between the Band classic "Up on Cripple Creek" and crowd favorite "The Fox." The moves were almost seamless, and the only downside was a crowd that looked like they hand never heard of the song before. Their loss, but they still clapped away.

So, that's it from Indy. Good Nickel Creek show, but they were better at Memorial Auditorium in downtown Chattaboogie.

Have I missed any indictments while I've been gone?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

So Much For A Balanced Commission 

In a tremendously cheap political ploy, the Hamilton County Commission named a local barber as the new General Sessions Court Judge.

I was buoyed when the commission showed some moderation in a vote to support of school system, but this act blows that optimism clear out of the water.

There is just no reason to appoint a guy who is running for the seat to the open position. In this case, there was a candidate who had volunteered for the job and promised not to run. Instead, Republicans give a massive leg up to the now-presumptive Republican candidate.

It's not surprising to see Republicans use their power to appoint unqualified people to judgeships (and other jobs, for that matter). It is, however, disappointing to see it done in our own backyard.

I'd love to hear what Warren Mackey and John Bailes have to say about this.

UPDATE: John Brooks, Democratic candidate for the 6th District against non-Democrat Lou Miller, sent out a letter to supporters on this matter as well. Quotes when I can get them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tennessee Waltz: It's Abuse of Power, Stupid 

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but this story in yesterday's Times Free Press has to be a joke.

Surely the leaders of the black community in this state cannot be saying that the Tennessee Waltz operation was racist. And yet:
Sherman Matthews, with the Unity Group in Chattanooga, said that on the surface the investigation appears "one-sided." He said even one of the white legislators charged, state Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, has a strong connection to the black community.

Mr. Matthews, a longtime friend of Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton, the latest to be charged, said he worries that any black officials forced out of office will be replaced by less effective leaders.

"I’m concerned there’s a movement across the state, not to get rid of black leadership, but to get rid of outspoken black leaders and replace them with people who aren’t as outspoken," Mr. Matthews said.
How utterly ridiculous this guy sounds. How utterly blinded he is to how much people like William Cotton and Charles Love were stabbing him in the back.

It is sad to be forced to point out that someone who is accepting bribes from white people to pass bills that only affect white people is probably not spending their time standing up for the black community or being "effective leaders" - Crutchfield included.
Ron Walters, director of the University of Maryland’s African American Leadership Institute, opposes the use of sting operations in general. He said they can be used for political purposes.

"This is one way to keep black political power off balance," Mr. Walters said.
The time seems appropriate to look at the acts that were committed here. This was not a case of subtle misuse of influence or political patronage. The accused were not enticed into giving away jobs or throwing out parking tickets. They were offered cold, hard cash to pass laws that would be to the detriment of the community. And they took the money. These people, Democrats and Republicans, black and white, abdicated all responsibility to their constituents in exchange for cash.

I can't speak for the black community, but I don't see a defensible position here. This isn't about race, it is about an abuse of power. It's the same as Dick Cheney leaking the name of a spy just because he could, and it is the same as Tom DeLay launderign money because he wanted to. In every case, the people need to take out the trash.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Like Christmas in October 

I would imagine that anyone reading this knows that I think very little of Bill Frist. Whether he is diagnosed patients based on 5 minutes of edited video or being beholden to creepy religious interests - oh, wait. Same thing.

Anyway, now, Bill Frist adds to his shame and pretty much shoots his presidential ambitions in the foot with an illegal stock trade. The SEC issued a subpoena today for his financial records.

With Tom DeLay under indictment, Bill Frist under investigation and just about the entire White House staff on the verge of indictment for leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent for political retribution, it really is like Christmas in October.

And on top of that, it looks like Congressional Dems are about to roll out a new Contract with America.

Life is good.

Oh, and to those who think that Gore's statement yesterday means he is not running, look again. He said he has no intention now to run. Doesn't mean he can't be convinced.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Gore Buzz! 

From today's Washington Post, a rundown of some recent buzz about a possible run for Al Gore in 2008. First, reference to a U.S. News piece that highlights some unattributed rumor:
It's Gore Time," says a political strategist and fundraiser who is opening a bid to get Gore into the race. Gore friends see his recent political and business moves as proof he's preparing to run. Allies say that in speeches, Gore has found his voice to address domestic and world issues ... Our source--a top aide in the previous Bush administration--is planning meetings with Gore's team to push an early entry while Clinton runs for re-election in New York. It doesn't end there: The Gorebots want him to pick Sen. Barack Obama, the youthful Illinois African-American, as his No. 2.
So, that is appealing, even if it is sourced to someone who has a bit of a vested interest in the run.

The Post also links to this "seminal" profile on Gore.

As I've said before, Gore is the best candidate to lead the country. He's smart, he knows policy and he is an effective leader.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pulse: Clever, Yet Incorrect. What's New? 

So, the Pulse is out with a piece called the Annual Manual. It's certainly a clever thing, and the addendum to the Confederate general's letter at the start made me laugh so much I nearly feel out of my chair. That said, the Pulse dropped the ball twice in the politics round-up:

Exhibit A:
City and county offices are putitively non-partisan, but nearly every local candidate declares a party affiliation anyway, just for the hell of it.
Actually, gang, county elections are partisan. And you'll also find that city officials, while they may vote in a party primary, rarely make any kind of public declaration of their party.

Exhibit B:
The Democrats have an equally disconcerting tendency to be wildly corrupt. The FBI’s Tennessee Waltz sting has left three local officials – Cotton, Charles Love and longtime Democratic heavyweight Ward Crutchfield – facing court dates for bribery charges.
This is not to say there aren't a ton of corrupt Democrats around here, but let's not forget Chris Newton is a Republican.

Anyway, it's clever, so good for them. But you know, the facts can also be a boon to the news business on occasion.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This Just In: Dem Announces Run Against Wamp 

I just got a press release from a new Democratic candidate running against Zach Wamp. His name is Terry Stulce. I know not very much at all about the guy, other than that he is an Ooltewah native and currently lives in Cleveland. The release says he's a Vietnam Vet with a master's degree, which is a combination I like.

No breathless endorsement just yet, but this seems promising. The full release follows:
October 3, 2005

From: The People's Voice: Of the People, By the People, and For the People

My name is Terry Stulce and I am announcing my candidacy today to seek the Democratic nomination to represent the people of the 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress. I am no politician, nor have I ever had political ambitions, but I will not sit silently as our country is being destroyed by the arrogant incompetence of Bush and his congressional cronies like Zach Wamp.

I have never held office, but I know how to represent the people because I am "of the people". I know what it is like to work at a minimum wage job in a factory. I know what it is like to attend public school, graduating from Snow Hill Elementary, Ooltewah High and the University of Tennessee (1967). The day I graduated from U.T. I was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army, having attended U.T. on an R.O.T.C. Scholarship and the $20.00 a week my mother sent me from her earnings as a seamstress in a chair manufacturing company.

I know what it's like to be in the thick of battle, as David Hackworth says, to "dance the dance of death" for your country. Only those who wear the Combat Infantryman's Badge know the steps.

I understand every day people because I am one. I am not a career politician like Zach Wamp. I was not born into a rich family nor did I depend on my father to pay my way out of trouble. I attended public school and managed to graduate from the University of Tennessee and eventually earned a Masters degree with the assistance of the G.I. Bill.

Wamp has forgotten that he was elected to represent the people, not special interests and the super rich. He has voted every time he has had the opportunity to give tax breaks to the rich, as 6 million more Americans have slipped into poverty, and the national debt has reached $7.9 trillion. He has voted for hand outs for "Big Oil" companies, "Big Drug" companies, and Halliburton as he has voted against a drug benefit for seniors and supported Bush's attempts to dismantle Social Security. He has supported the disastrous and incompetent foreign policy of George Bush and was a prime mover in initiating the Iraq debacle. He has voted with Tom DeLay to stop an investigation of Halliburton for fraud and war profiteering. In short, Wamp has abandoned the people of the 3rd District and has thrown his lot in with the rich and powerful.

Terry Stulce is a life-long resident of Ooltewah and can trace his ancestry back 5 generations in Hamilton County. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from U.T.K. in 1967 and earned a Master of Science in Social Work in 1974. He served two tours of combat duty in Vietnam, one as a Combat Platoon Leader in the 101st Airborne Division (December, 1967 to September, 1968) and one as a Senior Advisor to the 69th and 79th Border Ranger Battalions (November, 1970 to November 1971). In addition to the Combat Infantryman's Badge, he earned the Bronze Star with "V" device for Valor and the Bronze star for Meritorious Services in Ground Combat.

He and his wife Kate attend Pilgrim Congregational Church where she is in lay ministry training.

They have two children, Dr. Camille Broadway of Arlington, Texas and Jenna Spain of Baltimore, Maryland. Kate and he are Licensed Clinical Social Workers and own Cleveland Family Counseling.
Like I say, good initial impression, and he seems like he is probably not a lunatic, which is something we've been sorely missing the last few times around! Plus, he may make a dent in the more Republican areas of the District as a Bradley County resident.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Liberals Are Coming! The Liberals Are Coming! 

Air America comes to Chattanooga tomorrow, with a hint of local flavor, as WDOD-AM shifts format to progressive talk. It won't be the full Air America lineup, but it will feature Al Franken, Randi Rhodes and the Majority Report.

I'm happy there will be a local aspect to the station, including local news and commentary. One of the highlights will be a weekly appearance by Hamilton County Democratic Party chair Stuart James.

Not surprisingly, the Chattanoogan's opinion section is awash with old people and Republicans. There are a few gems of Chattanooga opinion there, but let me reprint my favorite part below:
To the owners of Air America and WDOD, I say this:

Chattanooga is representative of the people who voted against your agenda last fall, and have been doing so for a generation. Look at the Chattanoogan website and see all the advertisements and announcements for churches and Christian-related events. What is your vision for Chattanooga and all those red state places you so heartily deride? Is it gay pride parades up and down the riverwalk, same-sex marriages in Baptist churches, and Federal troops rushing southward to forcibly reopen abortion clinics in the Scenic City? Do you honestly think that ridiculing our faith and our values will win us over to your side? Do you come to our city, just to torture us? We have endured your values on our TV sets for two generations. It hasn't turned us into what you want, and neither will Air America. We will get our WDOD back, someday.

Pete Thurston
East Ridge
Wow. Now, I am an affirmed XM Satellite Radio fanatic. But thanks to Pete Thurston of East Ridge, who could really use a new county commissioner, I will listen to WDOD every day. Why? Just so this jerk and others like him will have to live with the fact that liberals live in his fair city.

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