Wednesday, December 25, 2002

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S !

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S !

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2002 at 4:00 AM

Monday, December 23, 2002

CONSULTING WITH COHEN

CONSULTING WITH COHEN

Posted By on Mon, Dec 23, 2002 at 4:00 AM

As they rush toward establishing a Tennessee lottery, state legislators are getting this sage advice from Georgia lottery officials: be careful. So says state Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who is finally winning his determined fight to establish a lottery in Tennessee. Let us add some unsolicited advice: don’t forget the middle class when Tennessee lottery proceeds are handed out. Middle-class Tennesseans work hard to scare up enough money to send our children to college where they -- we hope -- get the education they need to better themselves and the world they inherit from us. By working hard, we sometimes earn too much money for our children to qualify for scholarships based on income levels. Our children, despite excellent grades, often are shut out of scholarship money, thereby burdening working parents even more. Meanwhile, students with inferior grades but with less financial wherewithal are entitled to wads of scholarship money. That’s just not right. The Tennessee lottery is a chance to change that disparity. Here’s how: From Year 1, make lottery scholarship money available to every academically eligible Tennessee high school senior who will attend college in Tennessee. No income limits. Of course, the seniors would have to meet the academic guidelines, at least a B-average. Should the scholarship fund run low, then establish income limits until the fund is replenished. At that point, remove the income limits. Tennessee voters overturned the constitutional prohibition against lotteries, largely because the money -- after expenses and payouts to lottery winners -- would be used for education. Legislation to establish a state lottery should take into consideration the role of middle-class Tennesseans who voted for overturning the lottery prohibition. Our children should get a piece of the lottery pie. A group of legislators spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Georgia, a state whose HOPE scholarship program is a godsend for high school seniors who want to pursue higher education. The message from Georgia lottery officials was this: be careful. Cohen says his group also was advised to go slowly as they work toward setting up a lottery. In its first year, Georgia’s lottery-funded scholarships were limited to families with incomes of less than $66,000 a year. That’s about twice the average salary of a Georgia teacher. The Georgia lottery was so successful the first year that income limits were raised to $100,000 a year. The income limits have now been removed altogether. Cohen envisions something like that in Tennessee, except he thinks income ceilings would never be lifted here. The limits should be similar to Georgia’s first year. If the lottery works as it should, then income limits should be raised so that any child with a B-average would qualify for scholarships. A Tennessee lottery, like Georgia’s, would provide money for high school students with good grades to attend any institution of higher learning, from vocational-technical schools (now called technology centers) to Vanderbilt University, the most expensive undergraduate program in Tennessee. There should be enough money left over to pay for early childhood education programs, Cohen says. This school year’s high school juniors should be the first group of students eligible for lottery scholarships. This year’s seniors, who would be college freshmen that first lottery year, might be able to participate in the program, though there’s no guarantee this early in the game. Should Tennessee become the 39th state to establish a lottery, it would be operated as a business. Once the lottery is up and running, the only state involvement would be an annual audit of the operating agency. “They won’t be state employees,” Cohen says. Also, all lottery records would be open to public inspection, except for Social Security and telephone numbers of lottery winners. All-in-all, it sounds like a good start for Tennesseans who have clamored for a lottery for years. In that spirit of openness, let’s make sure no deserving student gets left behind. Let us add some unsolicited advice: don’t forget the middle class when Tennessee lottery proceeds are handed out. Middle-class Tennesseans work hard to scare up enough money to send our children to college where they -- we hope -- get the education they need to better themselves and the world they inherit from us. By working hard, we sometimes earn too much money for our children to qualify for scholarships based on income levels. Our children, despite excellent grades, often are shut out of scholarship money, thereby burdening working parents even more. Meanwhile, students with inferior grades but with less financial wherewithal are entitled to wads of scholarship money. That’s just not right. The Tennessee lottery is a chance to change that disparity. Here’s how: From Year 1, make lottery scholarship money available to every academically eligible Tennessee high school senior who will attend college in Tennessee. No income limits. Of course, the seniors would have to meet the academic guidelines, at least a B-average. Should the scholarship fund run low, then establish income limits until the fund is replenished. At that point, remove the income limits. Tennessee voters overturned the constitutional prohibition against lotteries, largely because the money -- after expenses and payouts to lottery winners -- would be used for education. Legislation to establish a state lottery should take into consideration the role of middle-class Tennesseans who voted for overturning the lottery prohibition. Our children should get a piece of the lottery pie. A group of legislators spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Georgia, a state whose HOPE scholarship program is a godsend for high school seniors who want to pursue higher education. The message from Georgia lottery officials was this: be careful. Cohen says his group also was advised to go slowly as they work toward setting up a lottery. In its first year, Georgia’s lottery-funded scholarships were limited to families with incomes of less than $66,000 a year. That’s about twice the average salary of a Georgia teacher. The Georgia lottery was so successful the first year that income limits were raised to $100,000 a year. The income limits have now been removed altogether. Cohen envisions something like that in Tennessee, except he thinks income ceilings would never be lifted here. The limits should be similar to Georgia’s first year. If the lottery works as it should, then income limits should be raised so that any child with a B-average would qualify for scholarships. A Tennessee lottery, like Georgia’s, would provide money for high school students with good grades to attend any institution of higher learning, from vocational-technical schools (now called technology centers) to Vanderbilt University, the most expensive undergraduate program in Tennessee. There should be enough money left over to pay for early childhood education programs, Cohen says. This school year’s high school juniors should be the first group of students eligible for lottery scholarships. This year’s seniors, who would be college freshmen that first lottery year, might be able to participate in the program, though there’s no guarantee this early in the game. Should Tennessee become the 39th state to establish a lottery, it would be operated as a business. Once the lottery is up and running, the only state involvement would be an annual audit of the operating agency. “They won’t be state employees,” Cohen says. Also, all lottery records would be open to public inspection, except for Social Security and telephone numbers of lottery winners. All-in-all, it sounds like a good start for Tennesseans who have clamored for a lottery for years. In that spirit of openness, let’s make sure no deserving student gets left behind.

TOO MUCH JAZZ FOR GRIZZLIES, 103-74

TOO MUCH JAZZ FOR GRIZZLIES, 103-74

Posted By on Mon, Dec 23, 2002 at 4:00 AM

When the Griz lose one, they really lose. With a chance to extend their franchise-record home winning streak to six games, the Memphis Grizzlies had the wrong opponent on the schedule at The Pyramid Sunday. Karl Malone and Matt Harpring scored 17 points apiece as the Utah Jazz coasted to a wire-to-wire 103-74 victory over the Grizzlies. The Memphis team managed something of a moral victory when a late mini-rally cut the Utah margin down to 29. It had been in the 30-plus register for most of the final quarter. Memphis had won five in a row at the Pyramid but never got going against the Jazz, who improved to 25-5 in the all-time series. Utah rolled to a 104-71 victory over the Grizzlies at the Delta Center on December 6 and picked up where it left off Sunday, opening a 21-11 lead after the first quarter and a 54-31 halftime advantage. "We want to make it tough on people," Malone said. "When we get the lead, we want to keep the pressure on you." Malone was 6-of-7 from the field, but his biggest contribution might have been his defense on reigning Rookie of the Year Pau Gasol. In his second matchup with Malone, Gasol was held to nine points in 29 minutes. He was kept to six points on December 6. "You don't try to keep him from scoring," Malone said. "You just try to keep him from having one of those big games." "We got dismantled today," Memphis forward Lorenzen Wright said. "They've got people that are old enough to be our dads. We've got to realize they're not our dads and play the way we are supposed to." Both teams were coming off big wins on Friday. Utah ended Dallas' season-opening 12-game home winning streak while Memphis used a game-ending 21-4 run to beat Milwaukee. Neither team came out strong in the first quarter. But after shooting just 35 percent (8-of-23) in the opening period, Utah was an amazing 87 percent (13-of-15) in the second. "We knew they were going to bump us," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. "You have to meet their physical style with your physical abilities. They are an established playoff team and that's how they play. We knew that going in tonight." The Jazz built their first 20-point lead, 43-22, on Andrei Kirilenko's dunk with 3:39 remaining and led by at least 20 over the last 3:02. Shane Battier scored 11 points for Memphis, which avoided a season low in points with 49 seconds left when Mike Batiste made a short jumper. Holding a 10-point lead at the start of the second quarter, Utah was able to maintain its double-digit advantage due to Memphis' futility. The Grizzlies shot 17 percent (3-of-18) in the first quarter and began the second by missing their first five shots. Battier ended the drought with nine minutes remaining and Stromile Swift hit a short jumper on Memphis' next trip. The Grizzlies made five of their final eight shots but could only watch as Utah used a 15-7 run to turn the game into a rout. Utah shot 50 percent (35-of-70), held a 43-36 rebounding edge, forced 20 turnovers and placed four players in double figures. The Grizzlies shot just 38 percent (27-of-71) and Batiste, who scored 10 points, was their only other player to reach double figures. "Not only were we missing shots, but we were turning the ball over," Brown said. "In both games, they shot over 50 percent and we have shot in the 30s. We just couldn't get key people on track."

Saturday, December 21, 2002

LOTT QUITS; FRIST APPARENT SUCCESSOR AS GOP HEAD

LOTT QUITS; FRIST APPARENT SUCCESSOR AS GOP HEAD

Posted By on Sat, Dec 21, 2002 at 4:00 AM

BULLETIN -- Bowing to pressure from his fellow senators and the Bush White House, Sen. Trent Lott resigned his position as Senate majority leader on Friday after his colleagues openly began lining up behind Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist. The move comes two weeks after Lott's endorsement of Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential bid touched off a national uproar. "In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as majority leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress, effective Jan. 6, 2003," Lott said in a written statement. "To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate." Lott, has spent recent days in his Pascagoula, Miss., home in a futile search for support from colleagues. With LottÕs departure, the only declared candidate for his post so far has been Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist, a close ally of President Bush. Frist, who made his candidacy known Thursday evening, has so far garnered public support from at least seven senators. But Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania were considered possible rivals for the job. The 51 GOP senators who will serve in the next Congress plan to meet Jan. 6 to decide who their next leader will be. -- Associated Press

PREVIOUS:

U.S. Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, a close ally of President Bush, said Thursday he will probably seek to supplant Trent Lott as Senate Republican leader if he determines that most of his colleagues will support him. In a statement, Frist said several senators had approached him Thursday and asked him to seek the job. He said he agreed to let them gauge support from all 51 GOP senators who will serve in the new Congress that convenes next month. "I indicated to them that if it is clear that a majority of the Republican caucus believes a change in leadership would benefit the institution of the United States Senate, I will likely step forward for that role," said Frist, who is riding high in his colleaguesÕ estimation after overseeing the GOPÕs recapture of the Senate as head of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2002 Frist has been frequently rumored as a likely successor to Vice President Dick Cheney if Cheney for any reason did not serve further. The Tennessee senator is also known to be interested in a presidential race of his own in 2008. Lott, 61, has said he believes he has enough support from his colleagues to retain his job and has vowed to fight for it. The Mississippian has been under fire since Dec. 5, when he expressed regret that segregationist presidential candidate Strom Thurmond was defeated in 1948. Lott has delivered a series of apologies for his comments. Frist, 50 and in his second Senate term, had spent the last several days making noncommittal statements about Lott. But he had been identified as one who was unusually critical of Lott during a conference call of Republican senators focusing on the Lott crisis late last week. Earlier Thursday, GOP aides speaking on condition of anonymity said Frist was sounding out senators by telephone and was considering making the race. GOP senators plan to meet Jan. 6 to decide who will lead them in the new Congress, which convenes the next day. "Bill didn't tell me he was in this thing yet," said one senator who recently has spoken to Frist. "He's explaining what's out there, and I'm glad he is. We need to have an internal discussion among our colleagues about our options," the senator said, speaking on condition of anonymity. One aide had said that Frist would consider running for the leadership post if colleagues asked him to do so "for the sake of the Senate as an institution or the long-term agenda of the Republican Party." In a sign that Frist might be building momentum, a Republican aide close to No. 2 Senate Republican Don Nickles of Oklahoma said Nickles, previously reported as interested in succeeding Lott, would likely support a race by Frist. It was Nickles who last weekend became the first Senate Republican to call for a new leadership by GOD senators. Since then, the Republican Senate caucus has arranged to meet on the leadership issue in Washington on January 6th.

CONSULTING WITH COHEN

DonÕt shut out middle class students from lottery scholarships.

Posted By on Sat, Dec 21, 2002 at 4:00 AM

As they rush toward establishing a Tennessee lottery, state legislators are getting this sage advice from Georgia lottery officials: be careful. So says state Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who is finally winning his determined fight to establish a lottery in Tennessee. Let us add some unsolicited advice: donÕt forget the middle class when Tennessee lottery proceeds are handed out. Middle-class Tennesseans work hard to scare up enough money to send our children to college where they Ð we hope Ð get the education they need to better themselves and the world they inherit from us. By working hard, we sometimes earn too much money for our children to qualify for scholarships based on income levels. Our children, despite excellent grades, often are shut out of scholarship money, thereby burdening working parents even more. Meanwhile, students with inferior grades but with less financial wherewithal are entitled to wads of scholarship money. ThatÕs just not right. The Tennessee lottery is a chance to change that disparity. HereÕs how: From Year 1, make lottery scholarship money available to every academically eligible Tennessee high school senior who will attend college in Tennessee. No income limits. Of course, the seniors would have to meet the academic guidelines, at least a B-average. Should the scholarship fund run low, then establish income limits until the fund is replenished. At that point, remove the income limits. Tennessee voters overturned the constitutional prohibition against lotteries, largely because the money Ð after expenses and payouts to lottery winners Ð would be used for education. Legislation to establish a state lottery should take into consideration the role of middle-class Tennesseans who voted for overturning the lottery prohibition. Our children should get a piece of the lottery pie. A group of legislators spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Georgia, a state whose HOPE scholarship program is a godsend for high school seniors who want to pursue higher education. The message from Georgia lottery officials was this: be careful. Cohen says his group also was advised to go slowly as they work toward setting up a lottery. In its first year, GeorgiaÕs lottery-funded scholarships were limited to families with incomes of less than $66,000 a year. ThatÕs about twice the average salary of a Georgia teacher. The Georgia lottery was so successful the first year that income limits were raised to $100,000 a year. The income limits have now been removed altogether. Cohen envisions something like that in Tennessee, except he thinks income ceilings would never be lifted here. The limits should be similar to GeorgiaÕs first year. If the lottery works as it should, then income limits should be raised so that any child with a B-average would qualify for scholarships. A Tennessee lottery, like GeorgiaÕs, would provide money for high school students with good grades to attend any institution of higher learning, from vocational-technical schools (now called technology centers) to Vanderbilt University, the most expensive undergraduate program in Tennessee. There should be enough money left over to pay for early childhood education programs, Cohen says. This school yearÕs high school juniors should be the first group of students eligible for lottery scholarships. This yearÕs seniors, who would be college freshmen that first lottery year, might be able to participate in the program, though thereÕs no guarantee this early in the game. Should Tennessee become the 39th state to establish a lottery, it would be operated as a business. Once the lottery is up and running, the only state involvement would be an annual audit of the operating agency. ÒThey wonÕt be state employees,Ó Cohen says. Also, all lottery records would be open to public inspection, except for Social Security and telephone numbers of lottery winners. All-in-all, it sounds like a good start for Tennesseans who have clamored for a lottery for years. In that spirit of openness, letÕs make sure no deserving student gets left behind.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

LOTT LOSES TRACTION, HANGS IN THERE

LOTT LOSES TRACTION, HANGS IN THERE

Posted By on Sat, Dec 14, 2002 at 4:00 AM

Despite gathering disaffection on the part of both political opponents and erstwhile political supporters, U.S. Senate Majority Leader-designate Trent Lott of Mississippi held a press conference on home-state turf Friday on which he apologized for controversial remarks for the third time in a week but vowed not to call it quits as his party's leader in the Senate.

Shelby County’s two African-American mayors split the difference on how Lott should respond to the growing flap over his remarks extolling Strom Thurmond‘s 1948 “Dixiecrat” presidential campaign.

“He’s a disgrace to the Senate, and he should resign from his leadership role,” insisted Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton at his annual Christmas party at The Peabody Thursday night.

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton had a different take. “It would be misleading for Lott to resign. It would be a way of pretending that racism had been purged from the nation’s political affairs. It would be symbolic in a wrong sense,” said Wharton, who argued that it would be better for Lott to remain in power and publicly redeem himself through his actions..

And Memphis lawyer John Ryder, a GOP national committeeman, called upon Lott to resign. "He'll have to go," Ryder said. No matter how fine a man or dedicated Republican he may have been, he cannot represent our party in a leadership role. The kind of thing he said and will continue to represent to people is a taint upon the Republican Party and its legitimate objectives."

Lott’s positon has grown increasingly precarious since his off-the-cuff remarks at retiring South Carolina Senator Thurmond’s 100th birthday celebration in Washington earlier this week. The Mississippi senator suggested that if Thurmond had been elected in 1948, when the South Carolinian ran for president on an unabashedly segregationist platform, “we wouldn’t have all these problems today.” The storm over those remarks has built steadily since, with President Bush himself calling them “offensive” and increasing numbers of senators and congressman from both parties calling on Lott to step down as GOP leader.

And a more local controversy involving racial sensibilities continued to simmer, as Shelby County Commission chairman Walter Bailey suggested that the grave of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Thomas should be transplanted, with Forrest Park, where the general’s remains currently lie underneath a statue commemorating him, undergoing a conversion to other uses, sans any reference to Forrest or the Confederate cause.

“His remains were in Elmwood Cemetery before they were moved to their current location, and they should go right back to where they first lay in peace,” Bailey said. The commission chairman dismissed Forrest’s recognized military brilliance as a reason for a continued public commemoration of him. “You can go to Berlin, and you won’t see any memorials to Rommel or to Hitler,” he said.

In a reference to yet another brewing controversy -- one without racial significance, however Ð Memphis schools superintendent Johnnie B. Watson reported getting “overwhelming favorable reaction” to his highly publicized letter this week complaining of “harassment” from school board member Sara Lewis.

Friday, December 13, 2002

MAYORS SPLIT ON COURSE LOTT SHOULD TAKE

MAYORS SPLIT ON COURSE LOTT SHOULD TAKE

Posted By on Fri, Dec 13, 2002 at 4:00 AM

Shelby County’s two African-American mayors split the difference on how another area political eminence, U.S. Senate Majority Leader-designate Trent Lottof Mississippi, should respond to the growing flap over his remarks extolling Strom Thurmond‘s 1948 “Dixiecrat” presidential campaign.

“He’s a disgrace to the Senate, and he should resign from his leadership role,” insisted Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton at his annual Christmas party at The Peabody Thursday night.

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton had a different take. “It would be misleading for Lott to resign. It would be a way of pretending that racism had been purged from the nation’s political affairs. It would be symbolic in a wrong sense,” said Wharton, who argued that it would be better for Lott to remain in power and publicly redeem himself through his actions.

Lott’s positon has grown increasingly precarious since his off-the-cuff remarks at retiring South Carolina Senator Thurmond’s 100th birthday celebration in Washington earlier this week. The Mississippi senator suggested that if Thurmond had been elected in 1948, when the South Carolinian ran for president on an unabashedly segregationist platform, “we wouldn’t have all these problems today.” The storm over those remarks has built steadily since, with President Bush himself calling them “offensive” and increasing numbers of senators and congressman from both parties calling on Lott to step down as GOP leader.

And a more local controversy involving racial sensibilities continued to simmer, as Shelby County Commission chairman Walter Bailey suggested that the grave of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Thomas should be transplanted, with Forrest Park, where the general’s remains currently lie underneath a statue commemorating him, undergoing a conversion to other uses, sans any reference to Forrest or the Confederate cause.

“His remains were in Elmwood Cemetery before they were moved to their current location, and they should go right back to where they first lay in peace,” Bailey said. The commission chairman dismissed Forrest’s recognized military brilliance as a reason for a continued public commemoration of him. “You can go to Berlin, and you won’t see any memorials to Rommel or to Hitler,” he said.

In a reference to yet another brewing controversy -- one without racial significance, however Ð Memphis schools superintendent reported getting “overwhelming favorable reaction” to his highly publicized letter this week complaining of being “harassment” from school board member Sara Lewis.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

LUNN TO CHANNEL 5; ROBINSON WEIGHING LEGAL OPTIONS

LUNN TO CHANNEL 5; ROBINSON WEIGHING LEGAL OPTIONS

Posted By on Thu, Dec 12, 2002 at 4:00 AM

Two former news anchors for WPTV-TV, Channel 24, are not quite out of sight, out of mind.
  • Bill Lunn has been hired as a morning news anchor and reporter by WMC-TV, Channel 5, and will show up on the NBC affiliate's programming starting Monday, according to Peggy Phillip, the station's news director. Lunn anchored the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. news broadcasts of WPTV, an ABC affiliate, before being dropped from the station's air two weeks ago. "He's an outstanding asset, and we're happy to have him," Phillip said.
  • Michelle Robinson, who anchored WPTY's 5 p.m. news and the 9 p.m. news of sister station UPN 30, was let go the same week as Lunn, but she may be seeking legal redress of some sort and is having exploratory conversations with attorney Mark Wright, a former WPTV producer who had also been a colleague of Robinson's at WREG-TV, News Channel 3. Ironically, Robinson had once lost her job as a general assignments reporter at 3, for allegedly violating company policy by taking a role in the film The People Versus Larry Flynt without express permission from management. Robinson was able to win reinstatement, however,and later left the station for a position at 24. Wright said he and Robinson had made no determination about a legal strategy but acknowledged that the two were investigating the relationship of Robinson's pregnancy -- and on-air remarks about it -- to the station's decision about her employment. After the announcement week before last of the departure from WPTY of Lunn and Robinson, two other primary anchors for WPTY and UPN 30, Renee Malone and Ken Houston, also were marked for replacement, by imports Cameron Harper and Dee Griffin. The two Clear Channel stations, the most recent entries in the Memphis television market, have been mired in a state of low viewer ratings for several years, and news director Jim Turpin seems determined to perform shake-ups in an effort to change that situation. Turpin noted that, at his suggestion, Lunn and the other relieved anchors had been exempted by Clear Channel from the no-compete clause in each of their contracts which prohibits on-air activity on a competitive station for six months following employment at Clear Channel. "He's a good guy. He deserves it," Turpin said of Lunn's new job opportunity. "It's more than a ratings matter. We were just faced with a situation that requires us to do something to have people notice what we do." Turpin said categorically that there was "no relationship whatsoever' between Robinson's pregnancy or on-air comments about it and the fact that she was taken off air when she was.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2002

    'I'LL BE HOME IN TOWNSEND'

    'I'LL BE HOME IN TOWNSEND'

    Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2002 at 4:00 AM

    On Monday night Governor Don Sundquist, an erstwhile Memphian, held his final Christmas party at the executive mansion in Nashville in honor of the Tennessee press corps. The reporters at one point serenaded Sundquist in song. This -- to the tune of "I'll Be HOme for Christmas" -- was one of the selections. (The premise of the song is that the outgoing gov, who is retiring with wife Martha to a mountaintop home near the East Tennessee hamlet of Townsend, is giving advice to his successor, Gov-elect Phil Bredesen.):
    VERSE I'll be home in Townsend You can call on me Rub-a-dub In our hot tub With Martha on my knee; VERSE Budget time is coming TennCare's in a spin Pols don't heed re-al-ity And what a mess you're in. CHORUS You can have John Wilder And the right-wing freaks I'll be homein Townsend Don't you wish you were me? VERSE Have your fun with T_DOT And the small schools plan Federal Courts And last resorts And Gordon Bonnyman VERSE There can be no telling What the years will bring But you'll see Van Hilleary Is waiting in the wings CHORUS I'll be home in Townsend You can call on me I'll be home in Townsend Don't you wish you were me?

    ANOTHER KNOCKOUT CHANCE

    ANOTHER KNOCKOUT CHANCE

    Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2002 at 4:00 AM

    Thomas "Hitman" Hearns
    Michael Jordan isn’t the only veteran who has made the transition from sports hero, to retired superstar, and back to the arena again. Boxing legend Thomas “Hitman” Hearns is coming out of retirement to prove that he’s still got what it takes to be a champion.
    Just six years from getting his AARP membership card, Hearns, 44, will begin his quest for success January 17th, at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven. His post-retirement debut pits the 6-foot-1-inch Hearns against 5-foot-10-inch Thomas Reid in a 10-round cruiserweight fight.
    “I’ve been working for six months to get [the fight] together,” said promoter Randy Fielder of the Hearns camp. “We were here for the Lewis-Tyson fight in June. .... We couldn’t afford the Pyramid, but we chose the Civic Center because it was the best venue and deal for the money [available].” Fielder also said Hearns, who is a native Memphian, wanted to begin his quest in the South.
    The World Boxing Association lists Reid’s last fight in October against Julio Cesar Gonzalez. Reid lost the light heavyweight bout with a technical knockout in the third round.
    Although this fight is not a championship match, it could be the first of a trilogy of fights leading to the 190-pound cruiserweight division title. If successful, Hearns will be the only fighter to hold eight world titles in seven different weight classes.
    According to Fielder, Hearns has been in training with longtime and legendary manager and trainer Emanuel Steward. Steward has not only coached Hearns to several previous title victories but is also the trainer for Lennox Lewis, who defeated Mike Tyson for the heavyweight title earlier this year.
    Hearns has held world titles as welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight. Four career losses have come against Sugar Ray Leonard, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, and twice to Iran Barkley. Hearns holds a professional record of 59 wins, four loses, and one tie, with 46 knockouts.

    Monday, December 9, 2002

    GRIZ BACK IN WIN COLUMN

    Gasol, Wright lift Memphis past Suns

    Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2002 at 4:00 AM

    The Memphis Grizzlies were missing two starters and playing sloppily, but the Phoenix Suns still could not stop them. Pau Gasol scored 21 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and Lorenzen Wright added 17 and 11 as the Grizzlies overcame 31 turnovers to record just their third victory of the season, 102-94 over the Suns. "With Lorenzen Wright in the game creating space, it opened things up for Pau," Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. "I'm very proud of Pau, he played big. He had a terrific all-around game." "I was just telling him to get some rebounds," Wright said of the long but lean Gasol. "Sometimes Pau can go into a little lull out there when people start to push him around. I was just wanted to pump him up." Wesley Person contributed 17 points and rookie Mike Batiste 14 for Memphis, which was missing starting point guard Jason WilliamsShane Battier (leg infection). Rookie forward Drew Gooden, hobbled by a bruised knee, scored only eight points in 19 minutes. But Memphis shot 54 percent (38-of-71) from the field and limited Phoenix to 42 percent (41-of-97), and won the rebounding battle, 47-33. "The frontcourt is the key," said Brevin Knight, who had nine points, 11 assists and five turnovers starting in place of Williams. "Without those guys getting rebounds we can't push the ball up the court. They make my job easy." "Brevin was fantastic for us," Brown said. "He played about 10 minutes the other night but tonight he came out and gave us 33, and he was sick before the game. ... He made big decisions on the floor in the flow and tonight everything worked out for him." The Grizzlies, who snapped a five-game losing streak, took the lead for good, 40-39, when Wright dunked and made a free throw with 3:15 left in the second quarter. Memphis led 49-44 at halftime and 72-68 entering the fourth quarter, but Phoenix got no closer than 83-79 on a jump hook by Shawn Marion midway through the final period. "It feels good to win," Gasol said. "I never had a year like last year and now to start this year it makes things difficult. But I just go out and play ball because that is what I do. If we go out and play unselfish then we'll win more games. If people come out and want to take their shots and be selfish we'll lose." Stephon Marbury scored 35 points, Marion added 23 and Memphis native Penny Hardaway 17 for the Suns, who were opening a season-high five-game road trip. "It's not the way to start a road trip," Marbury said. "I take this as the hardest game of a road trip. You always want to win that first game. It helps your confidence as a team when you get that first game." Phoenix had won five of seven games but committed 18 turnovers en route to falling to 1-6 on the road this season. The Suns have lost four in a row away from America West Arena. "We can't let a team make that many mistakes and get away with it," Marbury said. Memphis, which is 0-10 on the road, improved to 3-8 at The Pyramid. "It feels great to get a win, any win," Wright said. "If we work hard in every game, then we will have a chance to win." "Those guys are hungry," Hardaway said. "They attacked the basket and got to the rim. They capitalized on our turnovers and we didn't capitalize on theirs."

    Sunday, December 8, 2002

    REACH OUT TO THE GOP?

    Naifeh needs to think like Wilder -- let the 'House be the House.'

    Posted By on Sun, Dec 8, 2002 at 4:00 AM

    Untitled Document

    NASHVILLE -- Lt. Gov. John Wilder, who usually refers to himself in the third person, says he is in touch with the cosmos and all is well.

    State House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, whether he admits it or not, must borrow a page from Wilder’s book -- except for the cosmos chapter -- if he plans to keep his job and control the lower chamber of Tennessee’s General Assembly.

    Wilder, the longest serving head of a legislative body in the United States, has maintained his control of the Senate since 1987 through a coalition of Democrats and like-minded Republicans.

    Naifeh, a Covington Democrat, presides over the 99-member House of Representatives largely by controlling his 53 fellow Democrats

    For the 103rd General Assembly that convenes Jan. 14, Naifeh is going to need more than Democrats to prop him up. He’s going to need Republicans, plenty of them.

    Some House Democrats are grumbling loudly that Naifeh cedes too much control to certain colleagues whom critics call the “West Tennessee Mafia.” Indeed, the No. 2 House leader, Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry, is from Memphis. The Democratic Caucus chairman is Randy Rinks of Savannah. Former Finance Committee chairman Matt Kisber, who did not seek re-election, is from Jackson.

    Between them, they have controlled the House. That will change somewhat in the coming legislative session.

    This time around, there is talk of dissident Democrats joining with Republicans, who have 45 members in the House, to form a coalition that would oust Naifeh.

    Naifeh is working to head that off.

    His best bet is handing out a few committee offices, maybe a chairmanship or two, to Republicans, giving them a seat at the table they had previously been denied.

    Wilder has less of a grip on the Senate, but then it’s not his nature to rule with an iron fist.

    In Wilderese, “the Senate is the Senate.” That means each of the 33 senators has a voice that can be heard long before legislation reaches the Senate floor, where its fate has already been decided.

    One complaint about the House is that power is wielded by only a few. The House Finance Committee has 30 members, and nine of those serve on the budget subcommittee, the dreaded “black hole” where legislation can live, die or languish until it is blessed by Democratic leadership.

    Legislation with a yearly cost of $100,000 or more -- that applies to most major bills -- automatically is assigned to the Democratic-dominated Finance Committee. Most of those bills, in turn, wind up in the “black hole.”

    The “black hole” is supposed to determine the budgetary impact of legislation, but some lawmakers say the subcommittee has actually changed the intent of legislation.

    Veteran Rep. Frank Buck of Dowelltown, made that complaint in an emotional speech to fellow House Democrats during their caucus meeting two weeks ago. Buck, a small-town lawyer who speaks his mind, received nothing but silence after his speech.

    Buck also warned about the need for bipartisanship, noting that House Republicans gained three House seats this year and Democrats must recognize the GOP’s growing influence.

    Later, Naifeh said Buck’s comments were inappropriate, especially given that the gathering was the first for freshmen legislators.

    Whether he likes it or not, the time has come for Naifeh to reach out to Republicans. He should appoint Republicans to committee offices and give them more of a voice in the General Assembly.

    That approach has worked well for Wilder, who can count on Republicans when he needs them.

    It can work well for Naifeh, too.

    All he has to do is give it a try.

    BASKETBALL TIGERS GO TO 4-1

    Grice provides the edge as Memphis wins over Furman.

    Posted By on Sun, Dec 8, 2002 at 4:00 AM

    John Grice scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds Saturday as Memphis ran away from Furman in the second half en route to a 72-55 victory. Memphis (4-1) opened the second half with a 23-4 run as the Paladins (3-5) missed nine of their first 11 shots. The Tigers built the lead to 57-33, and Furman never got closer than 17 the rest of the way. Furman also was hampered by 23 turnovers and shot 47 percent to Memphis' 51 percent. Rodney Carney finished with 15 points for the Tigers, while Earl Barron added 14, both hitting 6-of-9 shots from the field. Point guard Clyde Wade, starting in place of the injured Antonio Burks, had 10 points and five assists, seven of his points coming off steals and breakaway buckets. Jason Patterson had 12 points to lead Furman while Kenny Zeilger and Maleye Ndoye had 10 points each. Zeigler had a team-high seven rebounds. Memphis also dominated the boards, 36-26. The Tigers, who opened the game sluggishly, led 34-29 at halftime thanks to an offensive burst by Wade with about four minutes left before the break. The Tigers were struggling offensively and trailed 24-23 when Wade scored seven straight points in 35 seconds. He had a 3-pointer and two steals that led to layups in the stretch resulting in a 30-24 lead. Barron scored the final two baskets of the half for the five-point lead at the half. The Tigers opened the second half with Burks, in limited duty, scoring six points before Furman called timeout two minutes in. Memphis maintained at least a 20-point lead through most of the latter part of the second half.

    Thursday, December 5, 2002

    CITY BEAT

    CITY BEAT

    Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2002 at 4:00 AM

    THE SEASON OF MISTRUST Man, it looks like a cold winter. The Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission don’t trust the contractor, the Public Building Authority, or the PBA’s consultant on the Grizzlies arena. On a project that is already a virtual full-employment act for consultants, they want to hire another super-consultant accountable to them. The commission doesn’t trust the county auditors who are looking into county travel and credit card use so it hauls them into a meeting and puts them on the spot instead of the credit card abusers. The county attorney doesn’t trust his office’s objectivity in the current “sensitive political environment” so it farms out an investigation of county commission administrator Calvin Williams to a freelance investigator. The commission doesn’t trust the objectivity of the freelancer so it brings in an old hand to review his report. The Land Use Control Board doesn’t trust the Office of Planning and Development so it overrules its recommendation on the boundaries of a downtown sports and entertainment district. The city council doesn’t trust the Land Use Control Board so it overrules its recommendation and changes the boundaries back the way they were. The Memphis City Schools Board of Education doesn’t trust Superintendent Johnnie B. Watson on the moldy situation at East High School so it demands another investigation. The white members of the school board don’t trust the $14 million being spent to overhaul the air conditioning at two schools so the daily newspaper commissions an expert who says the job could be done for about half that much. The black members of the school board don’t trust the white members or the newspaper so they vote to spend the $14 million anyway. Is everyone in the holiday spirit yet? Conflict is par for the course in Memphis politics, but we’re breaking new ground, sailing into uncharted waters, taking it up a notch and all that. First, the arena. Once upon a time 15 years ago public officials thought that by creating a public building authority and putting some business heavyweights on it they could take politics out of a project. FedEx CEO Fred Smith took the job, The Pyramid got built, and there was a minimal amount of grumbling until Sidney Shlenker came to town to try and fail to develop its interior space at the top and bottom. The new arena that will sooner or later drive The Pyramid into extinction will cost $250 million, including millions spent on consultants making $250,000 to $450,000 to oversee everything from luxury suites to public relations to the hiring of minorities and union members. Last week David Bennett of the PBA presented the city council with a report listing expenditures to date. The project, he told the council, is on time and within budget. Councilman Myron Lowery and others were not impressed and voted to hire, what else, another consultant. Second, the school board. Relations between Watson and board members Sara Lewis and Hubon Sandridge have never been good but lately appear to be positively poisonous. East High School has been a career killer for principals and a festering sore for various complaints for more than a decade. It won’t be a surprise if Watson doesn’t last more than another year. The pending departure of board member Barbara Prescott, an informed and invariably calm voice, won’t help matters. Finally, county government. Mayor A C Wharton said this week he had never seen such an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion. While the investigation and long-overdue audit of the personal use of county credit cards in the previous administration continues, a new one is underway involving a couple of old political pros, Williams and Assessor Rita Clark. Shelby County Attorney Donnie Wilson took the unusual step of hiring an outside investigator, attorney Les Bowron, to look into Clark’s complaints about being pressured to hire employees from Williams’ staffing agency and then verbally abused by Williams when she wouldn’t go along. Bowron, an attorney since 1982 and a former member of the Wyoming Legislature, interviewed all of the main players and submitted a report to Wilson which was made public this week. The report is both interesting and troubling. Bowron didn’t have subpoena power and nobody has been charged with anything. Bowron insists he was merely an independent finder of fact. But in a way Williams has been charged with improper conduct in the report and in the media. As former county attorney Brian Kuhn told The Flyer this week, special investigators are usually used in low-profile sexual harassment complaints against the county. Clark vs. Williams is a heavyweight bout. Kuhn has, by mutual agreement of the commission and the county attorney, been assigned to take the report wherever it will go next. Bowron’s report and its attached exhibits read like a deposition, or, if you prefer, unedited reality television. When a reporter investigates a story, the public gets a two-minute or 1500-word story, not the raw notes and outtakes. In Bowron’s interview with Williams’ “managing partner” Valarie Richardson, to take just one example, you had a trained professional investigator with a law degree skillfully questioning a nervous 33-year-old woman having a hard time getting her answers straight about some very sensitive questions, and then giving the transcript to the county attorney who gave it to the press at their request. If I were her, I would have wanted a lawyer.

    Silly Business

    That's how Tennessee's outgoing governor saw the recent gubernatorial race.

    Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2002 at 4:00 AM

    "Silly" is how outgoing Governor Don Sundquist this week characterized the negative use of his name and image by the competing candidates in the gubernatorial election which was concluded last month, with Democrat Phil Bredesen defeating Republican Van Hilleary.

    In one of his TV commercials, Bredesen featured a still photo of Sundquist with his erstwhile U.S. House colleague Hilleary, suggesting in the voice-over that voters shouldn't once more elect an untested congressman as governor. One of Hilleary's commercials coined the term "Bredesundquist" to imply that both the current governor and the former Nashville mayor (who struggled hard to deny such a suggestion) were income tax partisans.

    "That's the single most obvious thing that contributed to his defeat," the governor said about the Hilleary commercial in particular and the Republican candidate's efforts to distance himself from Sundquist in general.

    The governor levied his judgment about the tone of the campaign on Tuesday, after he had addressed the members of the Memphis Rotary Club at The Peabody. The speech, which was something of a valedictory for the outgoing governor, saw Sundquist back up not an inch from his controversial -- and ultimately unsuccessful -- espousal of a state income tax.

    Acknowledging that the controversy over his "flat tax" proposal had tended to obscure the rest of his gubernatorial tenure, Sundquist told the Rotarians that he had "no regrets." Afterward he predicted that the one-cent sales-tax increase enacted in the 2002 General Assembly "might not last even a year" as a stopgap against Tennessee's fiscal needs.

    In any case, he said, Gov.-elect Bredesen will almost certainly have to reevaluate tax policy before the end of his first four-year term.

    Tre Hargett of Bartlett, the newly elected leader of the Republicans in the state House of Representatives, eschewed crowing in favor of humility Monday night as he reflected on his victory over former minority leader Steve McDaniel of Parker's Crossroads and another challenger, Bobby Wood of Harrison. "When you run against a friend, whether you win or lose, it's never easy," Hargett said, and he was hesitant about an observation from a fellow Shelby Countian, GOP national committeeman John Ryder, who compared Hargett's victory to the ascension of Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the U.S. House after the 1994 election.

    "To tell you the truth, I don't like the analogy. I was never a Newt Gingrich kind of Republican. I consider myself more of a centrist, and I'm not about divisiveness," said the plainspoken Hargett, who loosened up and gratefully accepted the compliment when assured that Ryder was not commenting on what he perceived as similar political philosophies but on the likelihood that Hargett, like Gingrich, would refuse to accept the long-term inevitability of minority-party status for Republicans.

    "It's an honor that the public granted us its trust by awarding us three more seats," said the man who succeeds McDaniel as the guide for a body of Republicans enlarged to 45 by last month's election.

    Hargett, who won a second-ballot runoff against McDaniel, acknowledged that shifts brought about by the election may have aided his victory but deemphasized his differences with the former leader over a state income tax, which McDaniel supported and Hargett (like Wood) rejected.

    "I think we'll have to concentrate in this next session on issues and not personalities," said Hargett, who named "the continuing fiscal strain" and implementation of a state lottery as two matters the legislature will need to address.

    Also elected to significant positions in the Republican House leadership were two other Memphians -- Paul Stanley of Germantown, who became the treasurer of the GOP caucus, and Curry Todd of Collierville, who was named to the key Fiscal Review committee to replace Memphian Joe Kent.

    However much Hargett chose to underplay the symbolic aspects of the caucus vote, it was clear that something of a sea change had occurred. The new leadership is conspicuously to the right of the old one. McDaniel was not only a supporter of Sundquist's flat tax, he was known as a moderate in general. As Ryder put it, "Steve seemed comfortable with the role of minority leader. It wasn't so much a matter of policy or even personal style. He just seemed content with his place in a known scheme of things."

    By contrast, Hargett was a volunteer member of a House group that was formed two years ago in response to an exasperated House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh's insistence that members uncomfortable with the flat income tax he and Governor Sundquist supported come up with something else or outline the drastic cuts that would be called for if no solution were in view.

    Hargett did not blink at the demand; he proposed a series of far-ranging cuts -- few of which would be reflected in subsequent legislation, however. Still, he had made his mark as a budget hard-liner in a time of legislative conflict that would end up favoring the anti-income-tax hard-liners.

    • Although the two books on the family recently published under the names of former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper Gore have had disappointing sales nationwide, a decent-sized crowd turned out Saturday at Davis-Kidd Booksellers for the right to have their copies of the books signed.

    In a conversation after the signing, Gore conceded that he had been too "scripted" in his 2002 presidential campaign and appeared to bask in a suggestion that his recent remarks on national policy seemed to have his "heart and mind in sync."

    ADVERTISEMENT
    ADVERTISEMENT
      • In Huge Upset, Trump Defeats Clinton

        Victory involves apparent sweep of "battleground" states and tier of Midwestern rust-belt states that had been regarded as safely Democratic; Republicans will also keep control of both houses of Congress.

    Speaking of School Consolidation

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Most Commented On

    Top Viewed Stories

    ADVERTISEMENT
    © 1996-2016

    Contemporary Media
    460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
    Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
    Powered by Foundation