Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elect State Appeals Court Judges? One Attorney's Verdict is No

Posted on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 4:00 AM

When Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper this week opined that July 1 is an absolute drop-dead date for keeping or amending the state's current system of judicial commissions to stock Tennessee's appellate courts, that intensified a debate which has seen calls for direct election of such judges. Memphis lawyer and GOP eminence John Ryder, in a Viewpoint written for the Flyer, opposes this solution, which is backed by several of his party-mates in the legislature. Go here.

A Beer and a Shot?

Tennessee's "guns in bars" bill stirs controversy

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 4:00 AM

"We already live in the Wild West," says restaurant-nightclub owner Todd Adams, concerning proposed legislation that would allow handgun owners with carry permits to pack heat in places where beer and liquor is served by the drink.

Adams, who runs Newby's, a watering hole on the Highland Strip, is a life-long sportsman and outspoken firearms enthusiast, so he's sympathetic to gun owners who have to lock their guns in their cars before coming in to wet their whistle. "People leave their handgun in their car and then the car is broken into. I know of this happening more than a handful of times, and it's scary thinking the petty criminal now has a handgun," he says. But after considering the pros and cons, Adams -- who's been known to e-mail news reports to his friends whenever gun rights seem threatened -- thinks mixing guns with booze is a bad idea.

Continue reading »

CA's Fontenay Going to Nashville as Aide to Constitutional Officers

Posted on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Blake Fontenay, who for the last several years has served as an editorial writer and subsequently a business writer for The Commercial Appeal, has accepted a position as assistant in Nashville to newly appointed state constitutional officers Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Treasurer David Lillard, and Comptroller Justin Wilson.

Fontenay had been scheduled as of next week to provide the CA's coverage of the Shelby County Commission, succeeding Alex Doniach, who will pursue other duties at the paper.

Memphis' loss will be Nashville's gain in yet another sense. Fontenay was the chief writer and director of the annual Gridiron Shows, which entertained (and scathed) politicians while raising money for journalism scholarships.

--Jackson Baker

Monday, March 30, 2009

Babe Ruth in Memphis and Other Tales

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:00 AM

In 1926, one of the highest-paid performers in vaudeville appeared on stage in Memphis. He certainly hadn’t made his name as a singer or dancer, and he couldn’t play a note, but it was standing-room-only when the Sultan of Swat — yes, Babe Ruth himself — stepped into the lights at the Pantages Theater downtown and chatted about his amazing career with the New York Yankees ...

More at Vance Lauderdale's blog.

Eight is Enough

Posted on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Memphis Madness continues ... and our bracket -- in which we had Justin Timberlake and A C Wharton meeting in the Championships -- is broken.

Sleeper agent Ginnifer Goodwin kicked Timberlake to the curb with a close, close loss (50.9 percent to 49.1 percent).

Other results of our non-so-sweet 16? Al Green and his church took care of The Killer with a solid three to one margin.

In the match-up between weatherman Dave Brown and defense attorney Leslie Ballin, it was Dave Brown all the way.

Flyer senior editor John Branston continued his run of media personalities, adding CA columnist Geoff Calkins to his list of victims. (It also includes blogger Paul Ryburn; Flyer political columnist Jackson Baker withdrew from Round One while voting was still going on, declaring support for his colleague.)

A C Wharton, as expected, defeated the FBI's My Harrison and Judge Joe Brown, who stayed around much longer than we expected him to, was solidly sent away by FedEx Founder Fred Smith.

And the Neelys grilled up the Zoo's Chuck Brady.

One contest still seems up in the air, however. In the last round, Tigers basketball coach John Calipari defeated congressman Steve Cohen. But if Calipari decides to relocate, say to Kentucky, he forfeits his bracket status, leaving Cohen to move on.

Voting begins Thursday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Plane Talk About Memphis Consolidation

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Blame it on FedEx or the aerotropolis idea, but when people talk about the driver of the local economy, planes are almost always mentioned ...

And at a Leadership Academy event last week, Shelby County mayor A C Wharton was no exception. Only, in his analogy, the area wasn't flying high: "Our government is, as I see it, the ice on the wings on our plane to success," he said ... More of Mary Cashiola's In the Bluff column here.

"Romeo & Juliet" at Playhouse on the Square

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 4:00 AM

There are two reasons to put Shakespeare's Juliet in a wheelchair: One might discover from a first draft of Romeo & Juliet that Shakespeare originally intended his perfect female lover to be rich, 13, and paralyzed from the waist down. Or a director might discover an actress who has everything it takes to play the part except for the use of her legs ...

Read Chris Davis' review of Playhouse on the Square's offbeat presentation of Romeo & Juliet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Memphis Greenline to Become a Reality?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 4:00 AM

After four years in the works, the proposed CSX greenline trail is steps away from becoming a reality. Monday afternoon, the County Commission is scheduled to vote on the purchase of 7 miles of the former CSX railway. Members of Greater Memphis Greenline are asking supporters to fill the chamber at 1 p.m. ...

More at Mary Cashiola's In the Bluff blog.

Visit Harlem and Broadway Without Leaving Memphis

Posted on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 4:00 AM

After the Memphis Tigers' shocking loss Thursday night, you might feel like getting out of Dodge. But save your plane fare and take a virtual trip to the Big Apple instead.

Start by catching a performance by the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts tonight. The group celebrates their 40th anniversary with beautiful ballet choreography.The show begins at 8 p.m.

On Sunday, the Gary Beard Chorale will whisk folks away to the Great White Way during its "And the Winner Is…" Music of Broadway performance. They’ll be singing all the greats from Cabaret, Kiss Me Kate, The Lion King, and Les Miserables. The show begins 4 p.m.

If tragic history is more your thing, don’t miss the "The Nazi Scourge: Postal Evidence of the Holocaust and the Devastation of Europe" exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum on Saturday at 2 p.m. The show features envelopes, postcards, letters, and stamps used by concentration camp inmates.

Fans of cable's LOGO television network will recognize a few faces at the Queer on Their Feet comedy improv show at Holy Trinity Church on Saturday at 8 p.m. The trio -- Jennie McNulty, Jason Dudey, and Diana Yanez -- are regular stand-up comics on the channel’s One Night Stand-Up show.

Remember the Cherry Poppin' Daddies? The '90s ska-punk swing band rose to fame with their popular song, "Zoot Suit Riot." You'll surely hear that and plenty more from the band at the annual Zodiac Ball, a fund-raising gala for the American Cancer Society. The ball kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at The Peabody. For more weekend fun, check out the Flyer's searchable online calendar.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stupid Crooks, Saggy Pants, and Justin Timberlake

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 4:00 AM

According to various reports, an armed, young male wearing dark clothing robbed the Trust One Bank on White Station by cutting a hole through the roof and lowering himself into the building before employees arrived. It's not known at this time ...

Read the punchline and more in Chris Davis' Fly on the Wall.

Memphis Madness

Posted on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 4:00 AM

For legal reasons, this isn't a Sweet 16 round.

Nonetheless, we have 16 Memphians who are one step closer to the Flyer Four.

In this next round, hometown hotties Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Timberlake are matched up.

Local music heavyweights Al Green and Jerry Lee Lewis also will go note for note, and the FBI's My Harrison takes on A C Wharton.

Voting starts ... NOW!

Click here to vote. You know you want to.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Memphis Madness

Posted on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 4:00 AM

The votes are in and our Memphians are one step closer to the Flyer Four.

In Round Two, there was an upset or two. Memphis Zoo president Chuck Brady took out Harold Ford Jr. Maybe he has a future in politics ...

WMC-TV's Dave Brown defeated his colleague Joe Birch, while our very own John Branston wrote blogger Paul Ryburn out.

In the next round, hometown hotties Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Timberlake are matched up. (We can see the gossip columns now.)

Local music heavyweights Al Green and Jerry Lee Lewis will go note for note, and the FBI's My Harrison takes on A C Wharton. (We can see the headlines now.)

Voting begins for Round Three Thursday afternoon. Look for it here.

"Nazi Scourge" in Memphis This Week

Posted on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 4:00 AM

In 1978, Ken Lawrence, a civil rights activist and writer, decided to use his hobby, stamp collecting, for the greater good. For over 30 years, he'd put together a collection of letters, postcards, receipts, and stamps from the Nazi era — all of it, some 250 pieces, to offer material proof to counter claims of Holocaust deniers.

In 2008, the collection, "The Nazi Scourge: Postal Evidence of the Holocaust and the Devastation of Europe," was sold to the Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation, with materials being added by foundation member Danny Spungen, who has been traveling with the collection and speaking about the Holocaust.

Among the items in the collection are documents on sex slavery in the concentration camps, a postal receipt for a prayer book sent to a French camp, and a biblical scroll used to wrap a parcel.

This week, the collection makes its way to Memphis, where it will be displayed at three venues over three days: the National Civil Rights Museum, the Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, and the University of Memphis' Ned R. McWherter Library.

According to Belz Museum director Nancy Knight, so many local groups were interested in the collection that the decision was made to show it throughout the city.

"People seeing this firsthand," Knight says. "It has the power to move."

"The Nazi Scourge: Postal Evidence of the Holocaust and the Devastation of Europe" at the National Civil Rights Museum Saturday, March 28th, 2 p.m.; at the Belz Museum Sunday, March 29th, noon; and at the Ned R. McWherter Library, Monday, March 30th, 1:30 p.m.

Danny Spungen will talk about the collection on Monday at McWherter Library at 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stanford CFO Reportedly Cooperating

Posted on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 4:00 AM

James Davis, the chief financial officer of Stanford Financial Companies who divided his time between his home in Baldwyn, Mississippi, and office in Memphis, is reportedly cooperating with federal investigations of the company.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Davis, a college roommate of company CEO Allen Stanford, is assisting the feds in criminal and civil probes, according to his attorney, David Finn of Dallas.

Davis, who has a mansion in Dry Creek outside of Baldwyn, was the mentor of Laura Pendergest-Holt, Stanford's chief investments officer. She is the only person charged criminally so far.

The Securities Exchange Commission has accused Stanford Financial of "a massive Ponzi scheme" involving CDs in a bank in Antigua. Losses are estimated at $8 billion. Stanford has an office in the Crescent Center in East Memphis where Davis and Pendergest-Holt worked.

Davis founded a church in Guntown, Mississippi, and formed a company that renovated several buildings in downtown Baldwyn. Stanford also has an office in nearby Tupelo.

-- John Branston

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Memphis Madness

Posted on Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 4:00 AM

In the first round of the Flyer's Memphis celebrity madness, Lil Rounds took down Alexis Grace, A C Wharton stomped Willie Herenton, and Jerry Lee Lewis wrestled the title away from Jerry Lawler.

Other winners included Steve Cohen, the U of M's Tyreke Evans, the Neelys, and Justin Timberlake.

Now it's time for the second round.

To get the full results of round one, and vote in round two, click here.

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