Monday, March 17, 2014

Just Be "Happy" in Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Harding Academy has produced one of the most charming and entertaining local videos I've seen in a while. Oh, just click it:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Phil Campbell is With Phil Campbell

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 12:48 PM

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I've written before about former Flyer reporter Phil Campbell's film project to document and assist the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama, after that town's destruction by a massive tornado.

The film is now finished and they're looking for a few more bucks to get it out to the public. Go here to learn how to help.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Delta to Change Frequent Flyer Rewards System

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 11:40 AM

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The Associated Press is reporting that Atlanta-based Delta Airlines is planning to change its frequent flyer rewards program from a mileage-based system to a dollars-spent based program. The change will go into effect in early 2015.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kelsey's "Stop Obamacare Act" Moves to Senate for Vote

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Oh, I could snark and rage and complain about l'il Brian's latest episode of pretzel logic, but why bother? Really. Here's his press release. He's very proud.

Senator Kelsey’s “Stop Obamacare Act” Moves to the Senate Floor

(NASHVILLE, TN), February 18, 2014 – During today’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee meeting, Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) successfully argued for passage of the Stop Obamacare Act. The bill will now make its way to the Senate floor for a vote as early as next Monday, February 24. The current version of the bill requires the Governor to receive approval from the General Assembly through joint resolution before expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.

“In 1981, Congress reduced its Medicaid funding match to help cut the federal budget deficit, and with over $17 trillion of debt, I suspect they’ll do it again,” said Sen. Kelsey. “That would leave state taxpayers to foot the bill and I am determined not to let that happen.”

In June 2012 the United States Supreme Court ruled in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius that states have the right to opt out of Medicaid expansion without losing pre-existing federal Medicaid funding. Under the Medicaid expansion envisioned by the Obamacare, Tennessee is estimated to pay $200 million a year for its 10% share to expand Medicaid to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level. The federal government promised to pay 100% of the expansion cost for the first three years, diminishing to only 90% in future years.

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“Tennessee Taxpayers simply can’t afford $200 million a year to expand TennCare,” said Sen. Kelsey. “This bill will ensure that Tennessee budgets remain fiscally sound for years to come.”

Other states that have opted not to expand their Medicaid programs have also cited their doubt that the federal government will keep its promised level of funding, thus leaving state taxpayers to foot the bill.

Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown. He is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kansas Senate Votes Down "Turn Away the Gays" Bill

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 3:25 PM

After it passed by a large margin in the state House of Representatives, the Kansas Senate was sent a bill nearly identical to the controversial "Turn Away the Gays" bill initially sponsored in the Tennessee Senate by Germantown's Senator Brian Kelsey.
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Slam dunk, right? The Kansas Senate is overwhelmingly Republican and Governor Sam Brownback is a classic religious right-winger, so this bigoted bill appeared to be headed for easy passage. But, in the face of social media blowback and lobbying from the pro-business (non-idiotic) wing of the Kansas GOP, the Kansas Senate voted down the bill.

Your move, Tennessee.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Donte Stallworth on Gay NFL Players

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Former NFL receiver Donte Stallworth on how NFL teams should handle the "gay player" controversy. Game. Set. Match.
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  • Donte Stallworth

Sunday, February 9, 2014

SEC Defensive Player of the Year Comes Out as Gay

Posted By on Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 10:07 PM

I'm a graduate of the University of Missouri and I'm proud of this guy, Michael Sam.
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A Mizzou defensive end, Sam was an All-American last season and was named as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, leading the Tigers to a 12-2 record. Sunday, he came out to the national media as a gay man. As this New York Times story and accompanying video make clear, he'd already come out to his teammates, who seemingly had no problem with the information. He revealed his truth to the national media in order to "own his story."

I believe this revelation will be looked back upon as a Jackie Robinson-type moment in the history of gay rights. It took real courage to do what this young man has done. Michael Sam has stones, big ones. Respect.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Write Me a Letter!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 11:46 AM

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Internet killed the letter-writing star.

I wrote about my recent trip to a newsweekly conference in San Francisco. It was mostly concerned with web strategies and techniques for enhancing site traffic, but one evening after the sessions were over, a few editors gathered in the hotel bar to BS.

One subject got a lot of attention: Letters to the Editor. The problem being that the number and quality of letters to the editor has dropped precipitously in recent years. The reason is obvious: Why go to the trouble of addressing a letter to the editor, or even an email, when you can just blast away, anonymously or not, in the comments section?

Some papers have dropped Letters to the Editor entirely. Others have banned anonymous comments on their websites and now contact their commenters for permission to use their comments as Letters to the Editor. Some papers just pull comments off their website and run them as letters, even if unsigned or signed with a nom du web.

The Flyer is no exception to this problem. We get lots of letters, but not from a lot of different people. The same folks write every week, and it gets repetitive. And to be honest, some of the best (and some of the most entertaining) responses to articles happen in comment threads. But I don't intend to print unsigned letters. I don't think it's fair to those being critiqued in print to not know who's doing the criticizing.

So, though we'd like to continue to make the Letters to the Editor column a feature of the paper, it's up in the air right now. Let me just say, if you've got an opinion or a viewpoint you think is important enough to write about on memphisflyer.com, please consider copying it, signing it, and emailing it to me: brucev@memphisflyer.com.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sean Hannity, Come On Down!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Try as they might, the Onion can never outdo the Tennessee General Assembly when it comes to absurd political humor. I have long been jealous of the Nashville Scene's "Pith in the Wind" blog, mostly because it has to be the easiest blog to write in the history of blogging. Every damn day, when the Tennessee legislature is in session, some kind of nincompoopery is bound to happen. All they have to do is write it down, step back, and let the chuckles and web hits and hilarious comments flow in.
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Even the characters' names are funny — Sheila Butts, May Beavers, Stacey Campfield, Curry Todd, Ron Ramsey — and better than any screenwriter could come up with.

So what are these clowns up to today? Well, since they've already solved our state's healthcare, employment, education, and budgetary problems, they've moved on to a resolution that invites Fox News' smirky nimrod Sean Hannity to move to Tennessee.

Yup. See? (The Onion is sooo pissed they didn't think of this.) It seems Sean is making blustery threats to move from New York, because liberal. He's apparently mentioned Florida or Texas as possible options, but Representative Andy Holt (R-Doofusville) proposed a resolution (promptly passed and moved out of committee) inviting Hannity to move to Tennessee.

It gets even stupider, but to be fair, you need to read the whole thing over at Pith in the Wind.

Monday, January 27, 2014

20<30 Party Pix

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I don't know how even the most die-hard Memphis hater could look at all the bright young Memphians who showed for the Flyer's "20<30" party and not see that there's a lot to be proud of — and optimistic about — in the old Bluff City.

In case you missed it, you can read our "20<30" cover story and see a video about the winners here.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TN GOP Votes Down Student IDs for Voting

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

I've written recently about the difficulties one faces in getting a photo ID from the state of Tennessee. Senator Jim Kyle proposed legislation that would allow students at universities and colleges in Tennessee to use their student photo IDs to vote. The GOP legislators said, "Nah. Can't have students voting, er, no, we mean, VOTER FRAUD, VOTER FRAUD."
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Here's Kyle's press release:

REPUBLICANS REFUSE COLLEGE ID FOR VOTER IDENTIFICATION Sen. Kyle’s legislation would have allowed state-issued college IDs at polls

NASHVILLE – Republican lawmakers on Tuesday batted down a proposal by state Sen. Jim Kyle to allow college ID for voter identification, similar to other states such as Arkansas and Mississippi.

“Other states have successfully allowed college ID as proof of identification without inviting voter fraud,” Sen. Kyle said. “Tennessee allows other forms of state-issued ID, such as state employee identification cards, but today the Republican majority singled out the identification every college student has as invalid for voting."

The legislation, SB 1082, would have allowed college students to use state-issued photo identification from institutions of higher learning as evidence of identification for voting. State law currently requires photo ID at the ballot box. Sen. Kyle's proposal was defeated Tuesday in the State and Local committee on a 7-2 party-line vote.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Can You Draw a Map of the United States?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Do you think you could draw a fairly accurate map of the United States? Could you get all 50 states in there without looking them up? Turns out a lot of us Americans are geographically challenged, which is a polite way of saying they couldn't find Nebraska if you stuck a cornhusk up ... where the sun don't shine. And Idaho? Huh? And the Great Lakes, well they're just a problem.

Buzzfeed has an entertaining collection of various Americans' attempts to draw a map of the U.S.

Here's one:

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Here's another:

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And here's my attempt. It's harder than you think, especially up there in New England where all those tiny little states are squished together. And yes, I think I left out Massachusetts.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mid-South Comics & Fantasy Convention

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Local photographer Frank Chin sent us these wonderful pictures from last weekend's Comics & Fantasy Convention at the Ridgeway Hilton. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Helpful Advice for Grizzlies Fans ... and Dave Joerger

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

There is no joy in Grizzville these days. The team is sleep-walking through one loss after another. There's no fire, no grit, no grind. Sports-talk shows are filled with the wails of dispirited fans; sports pundits bemoan the team's lack of effort, the coach's substitution patterns, his motivational abilities, and even his wardrobe.

What can be done? Are Memphians doomed to six more months of this agony? Must we get used to losing to the Raptors and Bobcats and Wizards at home? Are we lottery bound? I say HELL, NO! All this team and its fans and its players and its coach need is a good pep talk. Like this one. Listen as the music swells; turn it up; take it in... We're not done yet. Dammit.

Feel better? I thought so. And there's nine more like it where that came from.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gay Marriage, Marijuana, and President Obama

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Check out this map showing which states allow gay marriage ...
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... then consider this map showing which states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana ...

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... then ponder this map which shows the results of the 2012 presidential election.

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The obvious conclusion: People who like pot-smoking and gay-marriage prefer President Obama. That's science, my friends. Irrefutable. You're welcome.

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