The news out of Nashville last week was mostly about Governor Bill Haslam's unique "leadership" style, in which he furrows his brow and expresses concern about the validity or constitutionality of the cockamamie bills that the legislature sends to his desk, then allows them to pass without his signature. He's really more of a hall monitor than a governor, at this point. In fact, if Draymond Green kicked Haslam in the groin, odds are good that the governor wouldn't even notice.
I am, however, hearing from informed sources that Haslam will probably sign into law this week a bill making "the waffle" the official state pastry. Unless someone objects, of course.
In other state news, Senator Bob Corker met with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in Trump Tower to discuss foreign relations or ... something. Speculation was that Corker was being vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate, though Corker downplayed that possibility after the meeting. As well he should, if he has any sense at all.
A Trump-Corker ticket would be similar to the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket of 2008: a respected senator paired with a lunatic, only this time the lunatic will be at the top of the ticket. McCain's reputation was permanently damaged by his association with Caribou Barbie. He went from being perceived as a relatively reasonable and honorable man to someone who sold his integrity to attract the Tea Party fringe — someone who was willing to put a mentally unstable moron a heartbeat away from the presidency for political expediency. Now, McCain will be hard-pressed to retain his Senate seat, if the latest polling from Arizona is to be believed.
Corker is probably savvy enough to realize that it's one thing to voice pro forma support for the GOP ticket in the name of party unity, but quite another to become one of the two primary party standard-bearers with a nominee as volatile and flawed as Trump.
Whoever signs on to lift hands with The Donald at the convention will be indelibly linked to what will no doubt become the sleaziest, ugliest, and most ignorant presidential campaign in modern U.S. history. The person who agrees to be Trump's running mate must commit to supporting whatever impulsive and contradictory nonsense comes out of Trump's mouth — or appears on his Twitter account.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may be the leading candidate, having already sold his soul a few weeks back. This week, Trump repaid his puffy sidekick by joking that they would begin denying him tacos. Others on the Trump short bus include Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Ben Carson. Vice President Gingrich, anyone?
Trump did gain the endorsement of the National Rifle Association this week, so he's got that going for him. In announcing his organization's support for Trump, NRA president Wayne LaPierre warned that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would abolish the Second Amendment and take away everybody's guns. Which is what he said about President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Obama, of course, being the cagey trickster he is, has saved this part of his agenda for the very end of his presidency. (In case you hadn't heard, the Second Amendment will be officially abolished by executive order on June 1st, and all guns must be turned in to the FBI by June 15th.)
Hillary must be so ticked.
It's deep in a November night in Memphis, and I'm awakened by rain. It's coming down hard, sounding like a million pebbles hitting the roof. The gutter I've been meaning to clean is overflowing outside the bedroom window. A flash of lightning illuminates the room, and I do what I've done since I was a boy: count the seconds 'til the thunder rolls. I get almost to 10 before I hear a distant rumble. Two miles or so. Someone else's lightning ...