Monday, May 31, 2010

That's Oil, Folks

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Joe Conason says we shouldn't really be surprised by the latest oil blow-out in the Gulf. In hindsight, it was inevitable.

Sexquel: Sex and the City II

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 8:45 AM

The four Sex and the City friends are back ... and they're older, shallower, and less entertaining this time around. Or so says Chris Herrington.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ex-Mayor Herenton Renews Debate Challenge at Cohen HQ

Posted on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Herenton at Cohen HQ - JACKSON BAKER

Former Mayor Willie Herenton -- frustrated, as he claimed, at the collapse of a planned meeting concerning debate possibilities with incumbent Steve Cohen, his opponent in the 9th District, congressional primary, held an impromptu press conference in front of Cohen’s campaign headquarters Friday to “respectfully call Steve Cohen out.”

Herenton contended that Cohen, who was apparently still in D.C., had backed out of the meeting, which was to have been held, he said, earlier Friday morning, involving the two campaigns and representatives of TV stations and other organizations wishing to scheduled congressional debates.

The mayor said he had a “signed agreement” with WMC-TV, Action News 5, and WHBQ-TV, Channel 13, to debate Cohen, and he maintained he was ready to debate as well on WREG-TV, News Channel 3, though he continued to insist he would not do so if Channel3’s Norm Brewer and Commercial Appeal editor Otis Sanford took part.

Herenton had opted out of a planned Channel 3 debate two weeks ago, claiming bias on the part of the station’s scheduled panelists. “ I burst their bubble real good. They were looking forward to it,” Herenton said at his press conference. “Neither one of those individuals will ever have the opportunity to ask me a question.”

A Cohen spokesperson said the congressman had never agreed to a meeting on Friday and repeated that Cohen would abide by the original debate plans with Channel 3 as the host and would not agree to other debate formats.

For more details, see also Jackson Baker's account in Political Beat.

Sorting Through the Zach Randolph Mess

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 8:02 AM

Chris Herrington examines the latest development in the long, troubled saga of the Grizzlies' Zach Randolph.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Oily Bird Special

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Randy Haspel writes about the oil spill, Jesse Winchester, Dick Cheney, Jimmy Carter, BP, and the Redneck Riviera in this week's Rant.

Is That All There Is?

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 8:50 AM

John Branston says the mayor and council need to get serious about cutting the city's budget and stop spreading "chickens**t."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harold Ford Lobbies for Big Cable

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Former 9th District congressman Harold Ford was the target of a scathing column on Huffington Post today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

City Council Cuts $8 Million from Budget

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 9:41 PM

The City Council's operating budget committee approved Mayor Wharton's proposed budget cuts, excluding $1.4 million for parks and public services. Mary Cashiola has a report.

Bianca Knows Best ...

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 3:21 PM

... and helps facilitate a divorce.

MATA Says "Dump the Pump"

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 10:18 AM

The Memphis Area Transit Authority is offering discounted bus fares in an effort to entice Memphians to get on the bus. Mary Cashiola has more.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Memphis Newspaper Guild Votes to Ratify Contract

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 2:52 PM

The Memphis Newspaper Guild voted Saturday to ratify the "final" contract offer from The Commercial Appeal. Guild president Daniel Connolly issued the following statements on the Guild website, one to the public and one to members:

To the public:

Members of the Memphis Newspaper Guild, the largest labor union at The Commercial Appeal, have voted in favor of a new three-year contract that gives the company the right to unlimited outsourcing.

This may surprise some of you. As you know, we have been campaigning publicly against outsourcing. But we faced a situation in which the company could have imposed the outsourcing language on us even if we had voted against the contract. And if we had voted no, the very existence of our union was at risk.

I want to thank everyone from the public who spoke out in favor of local news and local jobs. You DID make a difference. Without your help, we doubt that we would have the improvements that we did win (especially the evergreen clause, as described below).

We thank you again.

-Daniel The following message went out to members:


Guild members have voted 43 to 7 to approve a new three-year contract. That number includes absentee ballots and those who voted at the Saturday, May 22 meeting.

The margin of victory wasn't close, so we won't be counting any absentee ballots that arrive late. The pay raises will kick in shortly after we sign the contract. We don't have an exact date.

The yes vote gives us a chance to rebuild and fight another day.

In theory, the company could outsource every job. But as long as there are any Guild-covered workers left at The Commercial Appeal, their lives will be better because the union exists.

Here is why The Guild's leadership recommended a yes vote:

-We have three years to regroup and rebuild. We have been spending huge sums on legal fees and other costs related to contract bargaining. We can start saving money again and focus on building long-term strength.

-We are protected from a decertification action for the three year term of the contract. (A decertification action is an official effort to destroy the union.)

-We keep the evergreen clause, which says the old contract will remain in effect during negotiations. In the long term, that's an extremely important item for the survival of the union. The company had fought to take it away, but we managed to keep it.

-Some workers will receive pay raises.

-If there is outsourcing, we will still be able to bargain for the best possible package for those who lose their jobs. We'll have advance notice and may lobby against the action.

-Anyone who loses a job to outsourcing will receive a small, one-time payment in addition to normal severance that comes from the worker's pension fund.

-We will still have our grievance and arbitration process. When employees have problems with the company, we will be able to take the matter to a neutral third party for a decision. This is a benefit that doesn't exist in most American workplaces.

If we had voted no, the company could have simply implemented its last proposal, including the unlimited outsourcing and without all of the benefits noted above. We would have been risking the existence of the labor union in exchange for improvements that might never come.

As attorney Sam Morris told those who came to Saturday's meeting, there was no guarantee that the company would ever meet with us again if we voted no.

We'll be putting out more information about the contract in the next few days.

In the meantime, I want to personally thank everyone who took part in this lengthy bargaining process, especially those who worked on it for years before I arrived. It's been a long road, and we're finally at the end.

-Daniel Connolly

Read the Flyer's cover story on the negotiations.

Real American Heroes

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Frank Murtaugh says that Memorial Day and the recent HBO series, The Pacific have led him to reconsider the definition of heroes.

The "Lost" Finale: Was It Good for You?

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Greg Akers has made a (blog) living making predictions about Lost. He did it again last week prior to last night's big finale. Check out how he did and let us know what you thought.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Were the West Memphis Cop Killers?

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2010 at 3:28 PM

According to one website, Jerry Kane and his son, Joseph, were traveling the country giving lectures on how to avoid "mortgage fraud." And it gets weirder from there. Bruce VanWyngarden has more.

Along For the Ride

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM

It was all about pedal power this morning at Downtown Bike to Work Day.
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