First, my state senator, the mentally and physically impaired embarrassment, Ophelia Ford, was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary by Lee Harris, a smart, young law school professor with, I suspect, a bright political future hereabouts. This was the result I wanted most from this election cycle. Win.
Across the state in Knoxville, GOP primary voters turned out in droves to demolish the re-election bid of lunatic state senator Stacey Campfield, aka "Mr. Don't Say Gay." Thanks, Knoxville. Love ya. For grins, check out Campfield's reaction to his defeat on his blog.
Perhaps the result that surprised me most was the defeat, statewide, of Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey's attempted purge of three Tennessee Supreme Court justices. The upshot: Ron spent a few hundred thousand dollars to let Tennesseans know the names of three Supreme Court justices. Epic fail. Couldn't happen to a sleazier jackass. This vote, and Lamar Alexander's victory over anti-immigration nut Joe Carr, gave me some real hope that the Tea Party tide may have finally turned in Tennessee. I hope so, anyway.
Joe Brown and Henri Brooks were resoundingly trounced in their races for attorney general and Juvenile Court clerk, respectively. I've had my issues with Brown's opponent, Amy Weirich, but Brown, like Brooks, simply self-destructed, making Weirich the winner by default, and by a landslide.
To recount, Memphis purged itself of Ophelia Ford, and along with other Shelby County voters, soundly rejected two potential lightning rods/potential embarrassments for public office.
On the other hand, Germantown and Collierville re-elected self-promoting loon Brian Kelsay and public drunk Curry Todd to the state legislature — without opposition. Shades of Ophelia Ford. The next time you hear some suburbanite snarking on Memphis politicians, remind them to check their own backyard.
And I was glad to see Steve Cohen retain his 9th District Congressional seat. Some advice: If local Democrats want to win county-wide races, they would do well to figure out how to organize behind Cohen and his presidential support and national clout, instead of lobbing a futile and divisive primary challenge at him every two years. The muddle-headedness of the SCDP is self-defeating.
There also needs to be serious state legislation passed to crack down on the illicit fake "official ballot" business hereabouts. It's scandalous. But, all in all, not bad results to wake up to, IMO.
Below is the full text of the MRA email:
On behalf of MRA President, Patrick Reilly, and the Board of Directors, we ask you to please take action TODAY!
Please reach out to the Governor and ask him to "VETO" HB 2027 / SB 2415 - At the bottom of this email you can click on the link to send a "Veto" letter. The amended version of the bill, specifically amendment number three restricts the terms of payment from restaurants and hotels to wholesalers so that the wholesalers are guaranteed payment at the time of delivery of alcoholic beverages. The old rule / current law allows for 10 days to pay for the liquor.
The amended bill is unanimously and vigorously opposed by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association (TnHTA). Since the creation of the three tier system, restaurants and hotels have had a ten day window by which to pay invoices to the wholesalers. This ten day window is critical to the industry and especially to smaller operators with limited purchasing power. Please contact the Governor office and ask for him to "Veto" HB 2027 / SB 2415. letter from the association:
Governor's Office Contact Info:
Intro & Background:
During the last days of the legislative session, the liquor wholesale lobby attached an amendment by Representative Curry Todd onto a piece of legislation related to manufactures of distilled spirits.
The amendment says: "In order to facilitate the prompt payment of state taxes imposed upon wholesalers, payment for all sales to any licensee holding a license under this part by a wholesaler shall be made upon delivery of the product and shall be made by electronic funds transfer, credit card, debit card, or such other method as approved by the commission that will facilitate full payment at or near the time of delivery."
The amendment applies only to liquor by the drink establishments and replaces the old "ten day rule," which read, "No holder of a license for the sale of alcoholic beverages for wholesale or retail shall sell, deliver, or cause, permit or procure to be sold or delivered, any alcoholic beverages on credit, except that holders of wholesale licenses may sell on not more than ten (10) days' credit."
1. During the last days of session, the liquor wholesale lobby (potentially a few of the larger ones) attached an amendment by Representative Curry Todd onto HB2027 / SB2415 related to wineries. This was done with no discussion between the affected parties and without any discussion in committee, which is the normal transparent procedure. In fact, the amendment was described on the floor of the House as affecting the ways that payments could be made to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The passage of this amendment will completely change the landscape of relations between wholesalers and retailers with a grand total of 15 seconds of debate on the House floor. It is clear that there was no open and full debate about this amendment.
2. There was no discussion with TnHTA or any of our Restaurant or Hotel members on how this could affect the hospitality industry. Since the creation of the three tier system, restaurants and hotels have had a ten day window by which to pay invoices to the wholesalers. This ten day window is critical to the industry and especially to smaller operators with limited purchasing power. This bill huts small businesses that are the backbone of the TN economy.
3. There was no agreement from anyone in our industry for any changes to the current process.
4. The amended bill treats restaurants and hotels differently from retail package stores, a change that is fundamentally unfair for businesses that sell the same liquor products.
5. The amended bill places into law contractual matters between two private parties. The TnHTA believes that if changes to these provisions of law are to be made, they should seek to lessen state involvement in private contracts, not require more onerous terms.
6. Some liquor wholesalers contend they did not know about the change - if that is true, ask them to help you as their customer and ask for the Governor to "Veto" the bill.
7. Overall, we are asking for the Governor to "Veto" HB2027/SB2415 and we are asking for immediate relief on this issue. This only hurts an industry that is the second largest in Tennessee and creates more than $16 billion dollars in economic impact, employs over 270,000 Tennesseans and pays more than $1 Billion in taxes to the government.
These are general talking points - also please reach out to your wholesalers and put the heat on them. Thank you for your help.
Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association
But, as they say on the infomercials, there's more! Now, it seems, William's brother, Prince Harry will also make the Memphis scene. He looks like thisso keep an eye out while you're down on Beale this weekend, 'cause we all know Harry loves to party.
But let's get real. We know these boys aren't going to be hanging out with the hoi polloi in Memphis this weekend. Though I guess it wouldn't hurt to hang out around Royal Studios. Could happen, right? Nah. They're probably going to behave themselves. And they're probably going to be dressed like this.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com.