I'm on lots of email lists, including one from the Tennessee Republican Party. Yesterday I got this email from the TNGOP. I think it says all that needs to be said about the state of political discourse these days. The letter is in response to Democratic state senator Andy Berke's announcement that he would not seek re-election. It's so mean-spirited and smarmy, I thought it needed to be shared.
TNGOP Chairman's Statement On Another Democrat's Decision To Retire
NASHVILLE, TN- Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement on Democrat State Senator Andy Berke’s decision not to run for re-election. Berke becomes the seventh Democrat legislator who has announced he will not be seeking re-election this year.
“Tennessee Democrats must be real fans of the rock band Queen, because their new theme song seems to have become ‘Another One Bites the Dust,’ said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
“Senator Berke must have realized that his liberal ideology will be rejected in his new district, but he will be quick to discover that his ideology will be rejected by Chattanooga voters if he decides to run for Mayor,” concluded Devaney.
Recent Democrat retirements include four state senators (Joe Haynes, Roy Herron, Eric Stewart and Andy Berke) and three state representatives (Bill Harmon, Janis Sontany and Harry Tindell).
It was "Blues Night" at the White House Tuesday, and the Prez sung a few bars with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and the all-star band. Check it out.
I bought gas at the Shell station at Belvedere and Union this morning on the way to work. When I went in to pay, the clerk smiled and said, "Are you ready for that snow?" I smirked, "yeah, right." She said, "People are crazy. We've already sold out of milk and it's only 8:00 o'clock."
Seriously, Memphis, what is the DEAL with buying milk before a predicted snow event? The forecast is for it to be 60 degrees by Wednesday, so it's not like we're going to be trapped in our houses by a blizzard for several days. And even if we were trapped, why the hell is MILK so important? It's one of the enduring Mysteries of Memphis.
I am seriously seeking answers, here, people. You may post your theories in the comment thread below. Also, please tell me what you would stockpile if we were truly facing a "blizzard." I'll start: A case of good red wine, 12 Linder orange/chocolate bars, several frozen pizzas, a couple bags of coffee, some good cheese, and lots of pasta.
Your turn ...
Pictured below is my dog, Trotsky (don't ask). He is quite old. He likes to stare into the fire in my fireplace. Sometimes he will go to the fireplace and wait, hoping I will build a fire. Then he stares at it. I wonder what he thinks about. Any ideas?
For me, the most powerful and striking ad that played during the Super Bowl was Clint Eastwood's two-minute "second half in America" spot for Chrysler. The ad has been pulled from YouTube and other sites by the Chrysler corporation or I'd embed it here. But I suspect if you saw it, you remember it.
In his trademark sandpaper whisper, Eastwood said: "I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead. ..."
As Eastwood spoke, images of protest and unrest played on the screen. Eastwood continued, making a parallel between the two Super Bowl teams in the locker room, preparing to play the second half of the game: "It’s halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game. The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again."
The images turned positive, scenes of working Americans — farmers, factory workers, cowboys. The message was clear, as Eastwood concluded: "It's the second half for America. ..."
Or maybe it wasn't so clear. Conservative pundits saw the ad as an endorsement for the reelection of President Obama, a call to give him a "second half." Karl Rove said he was "offended" by the spot. Michelle Malkin tweeted: “WTH? Did I just see Clint Eastwood fronting an auto bailout ad???”
Call me a commie libtard, but I didn't see it as an endorsement of Obama. Eastwood, after all, is known to be a conservative with a libertarian bent. I saw as a "feel good" brand-builder for Chrysler, linking the purchase of a Dodge or a Jeep to feeling good about America. American auto-makers have run variations on this theme for years. In 2008, for example, Chevrolet promoted its Silverado pickup with a patriotic song by John Mellencamp, "Our Country." The ads evoked some controversy for using stirring images — Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Vietnam, Hurricane Katrina, even the 9/11 attacks — to sell trucks. The campaign was an extension of the broader "An American Revolution" theme.
I suppose it's a measure of how loony the political discourse in the U.S. has become, when a patriotic car ad divides us into left and right camps. Of course, there's another possible theory: Maybe ol' Clint is doing some subtle promotion for a possible Gran Torino II.
I understand that Memphis is rushing to annex the Gray's Creek area as a knee-jerk response to a knee-jerk or two in the General Assembly. I don't think the city has the desire or resources to follow through at this juncture, though their hand may be forced. This is all so tiresome and pointless.
If I were King of Memphis, I would do the following:
A. Quit chasing those who have moved out and want to live in suburbia. They like their neighborhoods, their chain restaurants, their traffic, their malls, and their schools. Good for them. Live and let live. We're a River Town, not a farm community.
B. Market what we are: a vibrant, interesting place to live. I like my neighborhood, its charms, its cultural amenities, the river, the museums, the Orpheum, the fantastic theater scene, the ballet, the symphony, the Grizzlies and Tigers and Redbirds, our universities and colleges, the funky downtown, the vast array of cool restaurants and bars and clubs, the wonderful cultural, racial, sexual diversity my kids experience in their public and parochial schools. Memphis is younger, more diverse, and has a brighter future than people think. The 'burbs are aging and creating their demographic islands. Let 'em.
C. We should shut the hell up about race. It's like abortion, it just pisses people off. Quit playing to or responding to the angry Memphis-haters. Let 'em stew. Most of 'em couldn't find Overton Park if you plopped 'em down in Overton Square. They don't live here. They don't matter.
D. Focus like a laser on making our now-county schools as good as they can be. Recognize that poverty makes that job Herculean, but give talented, bright kids of all income levels a chance to succeed and an option to attend a school that suits their needs. Get rid of both the former schools systems' deadwood. Keep only the best and most innovative.
E. We're the center of this local universe, a magnet for the area's creativity and culture and the people who enjoy urban living. However many there are of us, let's work with that and build together. When the most creative and bright suburban kids grow up, they won't want to hang around Bartlett and Collierville. They don't want to live on a creek near Fayette County. They'll move into the city. Trust me on this. Don't let anybody tell you Memphis doesn't have a bright future. It does.