From CNN: A powerhouse Republican lobbying firm with close ties to the White House has begun a public campaign to undermine the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, CNN has confirmed.
A report by the U.S. intelligence community questions Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ability to govern.
This comes as President Bush is publicly taking great pains to reiterate his support for the embattled Iraqi leader.
Al-Maliki's government has come under sharp criticism and scrutiny from Washington lawmakers and officials, as reflected in Thursday's National Intelligence Estimate.
A senior Bush administration official told CNN the White House is aware of the lobbying campaign by Barbour Griffith & Rogers because the firm is "blasting e-mails all over town" criticizing al-Maliki and promoting the firm's client, former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, as an alternative to al-Maliki.
Asked why allies of the president would take a position that might embarrass the administration, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Friday "far be it from me to judge why people sign contracts for whatever reason. I'm sure they have a desire to help out their client."
"But they're former administration officials," Johndroe said. "Administration policy remains unchanged. There is a sovereign, elected government with Prime Minister Maliki and the Presidency Council."
Asked earlier why Republican lobbyists would want to undercut the administration's public statements, Johndroe said, "Maybe it's a really good contract."
And yep, there's one about Memphis. It's basically all about Beale Street and Stax (featuring our own Tim Sampson), but it's sorta cool, and probably as good an introduction to the city as any tourist would need.
And no, we're not sure exactly who Dani is either.
Here's a sample of this week's riveting action: "We would begin a session with everyone relaxing having a cup of coffee and telling stories about touring, and stuff about artists they have worked with like Elvis, Otis Redding, The Beatles etc etc..
"You know, just your average session musos!! This would sometimes take an hour and then I would show them which song I wanted to record and after listening to any changes I had we would all go into the live room.
"Everyone would hop on their instrument I'd hop in the vocal booth and we would just hit record without a rehearsal and everyone would nail it nearly every time. Then it's back to coffee and stories for another hour!"
If you'd like more of this magic, go to the Sunday Telegraph website.
By the way, a Flyer music writer attempted to interview Guy this week, but he wasn't interested. To which we say, Dude, you need to get out of the studio. There's more to Memphis than coffee, geezers, and recycled Elvis stories.
Click here for a list of nominees. The award ceremony is Sunday at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Cocktails are served at 6 p.m. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m.
At issue is whether the museum continues to be a publicly funded institution or a private one supported by corporate donations, fund-raising drives, and special programs.
Read Jackson Baker's take on this week's pitched battle over the future of the Civil Rights Museum.
SRVS clients range from the mildly retarded to those living in a nearly vegetative state. This weekend's fund-raiser is to shore up the drive for badly needed new facilities to replace the cramped and busy main campus at 3592 Knight Arnold.
Currently more than 800 recipients are taken care of daily, with a waiting list of 1,400 families hoping to enter a loved one into one of the seven programs the company guides and administrates. Programs range from a classroom-based day services center to an operating warehouse system providing jobs to job outsourcing.
The company also supervises 80 residential living locations in group homes throughout the city, as well as assistance programs for families. There are also on-site medical services for the severely disabled and immobile.
The "S.O.S." division of the organization operates an assembly line that contracts for light assembly and packaging jobs. Increasingly, SRVS recipients are proving to be good employees. (An NBC news report earlier this year cited a Walgreen's distribution center with a 40 percent mentally disabled adult workforce as the most efficient in its worldwide system).
For more information, call 869-9234 or visit the SRVS website.
The giant cheese-nibbling rodent on the roof of Atomic Pest Control, 2371 Elvis Presley Blvd., is turning up on quite a few "roadside" websites, and rumor has it that he's being featured in a film to be called Project 366 by local filmmaker Willie Bearden.
After all, it's not every day you see a mouse that's almost 10 feet tall. For the whole story of -- well, after all these years the mouse still doesn't have a name -- and a look at a whole bunch of other weird roadside creatures used to draw attention to businesses around the country, to agilitynut.com.
Now, there's a mid-week option.
Every Wednesday from 2-7 p.m., many of those same farmers sell their fresh goods at the new Farmer's Market at the Memphis Botanic Garden. The market runs weekly through November 14th.
For more, go to the Botanic Garden website.
The mayor's office recently sent out a media advisory suggesting that Memphis Community Centers are open as cooling centers from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
"Residents are urged to seek shelter during the middle of the day in a cool environment." If you can't make it to a community/cooling center, another option is the neighborhood library.
And if you still can't beat the heat, the city has set up a "hotline" (so to speak): 545-HEAT, which offers tips on how to survive this 100-plus degree onslaught.
For a list of the city's cooling centers, go here:
But in the '70s, Engressia got caught. He had moved to Memphis in 1971, where he was eventually convicted of phone fraud. From Memphis, he moved to Denver and then to Minneapolis, where he built a network of fellow phone enthusiasts. He survived on Social Security disability, but he did take part-time jobs. Engressia's superb sense of smell, for example, led agricultural researchers to use him in their efforts to control the odor of hog excrement.
Throughout his life, Engressia clung to childhood. As Martin reports in the Times, he made himself minister in what Engressia called the Church of Eternal Childhood. He owned tapes of every episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, He collected teddy bears. His I.Q. was 172. The cause of his death remains unknown.
Alexander said a strategy devised by General Petraeus to work with local leaders and win them over to the U.S. cause has shown "clear success, province by province."
"They are fed up with random murders of their children" by al-Qaida terrorists, he said.
"There are probably seven provinces where enough progress has been made to involve Iraqis in their own security," claimed Alexander during the call with reporters.
Unmentioned in press accounts of Alexander and Corker's trip, however, is the fact that they only spent half a day on the ground in Iraq.
Read more on the senators' "fact-finding" tour at ThinkProgress.com.
The former C&I Bank Building, opened in 1972, has a distinctive atrium and sloping glass front side. It is on the north side of Madison across from the ballpark and next door to the long-abandoned Sterrick Building, the second-tallest building downtown.
Last week the Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce, which owns the building, indicated it would be demolished and replaced with a parking lot. On Tuesday, however, John Moore, head of the chamber, said, "An interested party has a plan for the site and we are running the traps to see if we can meet their needs in a potential sale."
In a letter to architect Tony Bologna, Moore said he was previously ignorant of the buildings history "and the communitys love for it. This is valuable information and changes the perspective."
It is unclear how much "love" the community has for a building that cannot find an occupant. It was once proposed as the site of a minor-league baseball hall of fame -- an indication, perhaps, of its prospects. Moreover, the Sterrick Building and other neighbors on Madison are in the same empty boat. The vaunted downtown revival is largely confined to housing and entertainment, with commercial buildings not showing much sign of new life.
Bologna, who has designed downtown buildings and was a partner with Henry Turley in many successful downtown developments, said in his letter to Moore (copies of both letters were sent to this newspaper) that the former C&I Bank is a "one-of-a-kind design" by the late Memphis architect Francis Gassner. "The building stands as an icon among the city's most notable architectural creations," Bologna said. "The removal of this building will not in any way promote the redevelopment of the Sterrick Building. There are many serious obstacles to the redevelopment of the Sterrick Building but the need for additional parking is not one of them."
Gretchen Gassner Turley, daughter of Frances Gassner, wrote a letter to The Commercial Appeal about the building that was published Wednesday. She also urged that it be preserved.
During a parks committee meeting earlier today, city attorney Elbert Jefferson asserted that the city of Memphis once again owns Elvis favorite roller coaster ride.
Earlier this year, the Zippin Pippin was donated to Save Libertyland, a grassroots organization dedicated to saving the theme park. Members of the group went before the council committee today to discuss the idea of keeping the Zippin and the Grand Carousel in the former park and creating a new mini-park around them.
This resolution is requesting the city of Memphis preserve and restore the Grand Carousel and the Zippin Pippin as working rides. We dont have a clue what would be required, said Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware. I think this is irresponsible. This is a blank check.
But the city broke in that they owned the Pippin, and hypothetically, could do whatever they wanted with it.
We placed Save Libertyland on notice several times: If they failed to remove the Pippin from the grounds by a certain date, it reverts back to the city, said Jefferson.
Save Libertyland co-founder Denise Parkinson said that if the city tries to bulldoze the Pippin, Save Libertyland is prepared to take the city back to court.
The council committee ultimately decided to maintain the rides as is until the fairgrounds study is released next month.To read previous stories about Save Libertyland and the Zippin Pippin, click here, here, here, here, and here.
For one thing, writer Ray Connolly argues, Priscilla probably wouldn't have costarred in The Naked Gun and Dynasty.
Uh, probably not.
We'd like to offer congratulations to our sister publication, Memphis magazine, for being voted "Most Meritorious Magazine" in the 2007 "Memphis Most" readers poll conducted by The Commercial Appeal.
The magazine was founded in 1976, and the CA says those hardworking folks on the other side of our building are "still the chronicler of the Bluff City, its people, places, and history."
Editor Mary Helen Tibbs told the daily that the readers themselves can take much of the credit for the publications success -- and its award: "It means a lot for us to know that our readers are being both informed and entertained by the work we do."
Check out what goes into a "Most Meritorious" magazine.