The year 2011 was a good one for backward legislators and snakes; a bad one for international despots, those living on a flood plain, and local cats and dogs. Return with me now as I perform my year-in-review journalistic duty and offer some highlights from the past 12 months.
The stalwart possum-eaters now dominating the Republican Party in Tennessee and our state legislature had a very good year. They set out with a Tea Party-inspired agenda to put a stop to abortion, gay rights, activist judges, illegal immigration, and voter "fraud," and they were determined make it a dang sight easier to pack heat wherever on God's green earth they want to. They made significant inroads on all those fronts, overruling local autonomy at every turn. So much for their supposed disdain for "big government."
In 2012, expect more of the same, including proposals to basically drug-test anyone receiving any kind of public assistance — excepting themselves, of course.
Snakes actually had an up-and-down kind of year. They got a lot of undeserved bad press when ABC's Diane Sawyer came to town to report on the May floods and told the nation that snakes would be invading all our homes to escape the high water. Another snake made the news last summer when a local couple filmed it crawling across their windshield while they drove along Sam Cooper Blvd. at highway speed. I still say they should have pulled over and let the thing off. Or used their windshield viper. Heh.
Memphis Animal Services got off to a bad start as the result of a couple videos we'll call "suitcase dog" and "puppies in a trash can." The facility's image took another hit when staffers were accused of animal cruelty and a now-famous pitbull, Kapone, disappeared. Things took a turn for the better after MAS moved into new facilities and the missing gangsta dog showed up in Mississippi six months later.
It was a very bad year for dictators and despots. A Navy SEAL team whacked uber-villain Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. A true "coalition of the willing" helped liberate Libya from Moammar Khadafi (and forever liberated journalists from trying to figure out how to spell his name). Evil human party favor Kim Jong Il died in North Korea. And, early in the year, courageous demonstrators sent Hosni Mubarak scurrying out of power in Cairo.
Here's hoping the Nashville goobers, er, GOP-ers take notice and remember what goes around comes around — eventually.
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare
Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.