Wednesday, November 26, 2003

NO LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL IN IRAQ, FRIST SAYS

NO LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL IN IRAQ, FRIST SAYS

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2003 at 4:00 AM

On the same day that President Bush told a Las Vegas audience that things were “getting better” for the United States in Iraq, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist hedged that bet after a Memphis speech Tuesday night, responding, “No, it’s as bad as it looks,” when asked if there was “light at the end of the tunnel” in Iraq. Otherwise, Frist , just concluding two weeks of intense labor in Washington, offered a relatively rosy scenario at an installment of the Chamber of Commerce "Frontline Politics 101" series at the Park Vista Hotel -- particularly concerning the final passage early Tuesday of what Frist described as a “bipartisan” Medicare reform bill. “This bill was seven years in the making,” Tennessean Frist, the Senate's only physician, said of an administration-backed prescription-drug measure which he said had a “one in a thousand” chance just eight months ago. Frist praised Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought passage of the legislation, as “a great friend” for whom the GOP majority leader said he had “a great deal of respect. But Frist added, “I won, by the way.” Frist described the enacted measure, which includes subsidies to drug ompanies that extend prescription benefits to seniors, as superior to the more “bureaucratic, big-government, more costly” version favored by Kennedy and other Democrats. He said the Medicare bill had succeeded in three aims. “It was bipartisan, it is voluntary, and it will transform Medicare.” Two other efforts supported by Frist had been forestalled, he acknowledged. One was the administration’s energy bill, which was successfully filibustered by Senate Democrats after the administration failed to expunge a provision from the Repubican-approved House version that would shield oil companies from litigation for water contamination by the gasoline additive MTBE. Another rebuff came in the form of a Democratic filibuster against consideration of an array of the administration’s federal judicial nominees. Frist conceded that his decision to keep the Senate in session for a grueling overnight session two weeks ago had been unlikely to break the logjam but said he had thought it important to make a “symbolic” point to the nation about the “frustrating” and unprecedented filibuster.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

GRIZZLIES STOP LAKERS, 105-95

GRIZZLIES STOP LAKERS, 105-95

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2003 at 4:00 AM

The Memphis Grizzlies snapped their three-game losing streak by taking advantage of some sloppy L.A. Laker play and by playing a well-rounded game themselves. Pau Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds to help the Grizzlies to 105-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who have dropped two straight games after opening the season with five consecutive wins. James Posey, the early sparkplug, and Lorenzen Wright had 15 points apiece as the Grizzlies ended a six-game losing streak against the Lakers. Jake Tsakalidis, who got his first start at center as the member of the Grizzlies, contributed 12 points and Jason Williams added 10, eight assists and five steals. Shane Battier chipped in with some crucial late three-point baskets. Memphis had 17 steals in the game and took advantage of 23 turnovers by the Lakers, who had not lost to Memphis since December 21, 2002. Shaquille O'Neal led Los Angeles with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Kobe Bryant, currently involved in a rape case, was greeted with both cheers and booes and added 19 points, Devean George had 17 and Karl Malone 13 and nine rebounds. Gary Payton had just six points and four assists in 27 minutes and played sparingly in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies led 89-71 early in the fourth quarter but Los Angeles went on a 11-0 run to cut the deficit to seven points with 6:04 remaining. But Mike Miller answered with a jumper for Memphis with 5:50 to go. Battier's four-point play with 2:07 left gave Memphis a 101-89 lead. Battier finished with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

JAMIESON, ONLY GOP HOPEFUL, OUT OF RACE FOR 89

JAMIESON, ONLY GOP HOPEFUL, OUT OF RACE FOR 89

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Apparently, the old phrase “tantamount to election”-- which in antique times applied to all local Democratic primary contests-- can be taken out of mothballs and applied to the forthcoming special election to succeed Carol Chumney in District 89 of the state House of Representatives. Chumney, a Democrat who opposes Republican George Flinn in next week’s nominally bi-partisan runoff election, recently resigned her legislative seat just before a cutoff date that would have required the GOP-dominated Shelby County commission to appoint a successor. It is no secret that Democrats, at both local and state levels, were importuning Chumney to do so in order to facilitate their chances of holding on to the seat. ` And, with several Democrats in the running and with Thursday’s filing deadline looming, it now appears that Republicans won’t even contest the issue. At least temporarily, that became the case when Republican Jim Jamieson, who had been the earliest declared candidate for the seat, even before Chumney’s resignation, said Tuesday he was withdrawing from the campaign. In a news release, Jamieson took Chumney to task for timing her resignation so as to force the special election. “Had Ms. Chumney resigned the seat in August, the special election could have been placed on the October and November ballot and would have saved the taxpayers about $100,000. Instead, she resigned just before the November 4th deadline that would have prevented the County Commission from naming a replacement. Her reasoning for this was to make sure a Republican would not get the appointment. She followed the Governor's office suggestions and is now costing the taxpayers another $100,000.” Jamieson continued: “After long and emotional discussions with various citizens of District 89 and advisors of mine, I cannot with good conscience be a part of this wasteful spending Ms. Chumney has caused the citizens she claims to be so concerned about. I therefore announce that I will not be a candidate for the Tennessee State House of Representatives, District 89 in the upcoming special election.” Although such other Republicans as Henry Loeb Jr. and former state Representative Tim Joyce had talked up a race, there have been no GOP filings yet to match those of Democrats Jeff Sullivan and Kevin Gallagher, with one from Beverly Robison Marrero and, potentially, filings from toher Democrats expected Thursday. Jamieson’s explanation for his departure may be stretching a point, but, as local GOP chairman Kemp Conrad pointed out, District 89 is not an ideal venue for a Republican candidate. Al Gore defeated George W. Bush there by a margin of two-to-one in 2000 and Democrat Bob Clement prevailed over Lamar Alexander, the eventual winner, in last year’s U.S. Senate race. Moreover, despite the state Republican Party’s proclaimed emphasis on gaining control of the Tennessee legislature, the party hierarchy in Nashville has not designated the District 89 position as a “target” seat. No funds have been set aside to support a Republican aspirant in 89, and the local party, which has concentrated on city election contests, also has a limited to non-existent budget for the purpose.
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