Saturday, April 29, 2006

What Are The Odds?

I set out this morning to take some general photos of the Country Music Marathon as it passed through the North End, without any intention whatsoever of shooting specific runners. I was just trying to get runners in the shots; any runners. However, while editing the photos I took this morning I discovered that I took two pictures, 66 minutes apart with the same two purple clad runners, first going north on 8th to Metro Center, and second coming back down 8th from Metro Center toward Bicentennial Mall. It was sheer random chance that they are at the center of both pictures. I didn't even realize during the second shot that I was taking their picture again. If those teammates recognize themselves in the pictures below, they will know that their Metro Center interval to and from the North End was a little over an hour. I have no idea how competitive or self-gratifying that time is.

Going north.

Going south.

Country Music Marathon: The North End Leg in Pictures

I was out among other North End residents today greeting and encouraging the marathoners and 1/2 marathoners (the 1/2 split was the Jefferson St. and 8th Av. intersection). Those of us who don't run next year need to organize an informal median marathon watching party and hang out on the 8th Av. median with food and beverages.

Friday, April 28, 2006

From S-town to Brentwood: NewsChannel5 Reports on Nashville's Gang Problems

NewsChannel5 did a story last night on Nashville's gang problem that was overall pretty good and, aside from running some gangsta rap in the background at some points, did not seem to me to sensationalize the problem. In fact, the story did exactly what it needed to do: emphasize that gangs are are not simply the burden of neighborhoods proximate to Downtown. As a Metro Detective put it to reporter Amy Rao, "If I was to sit down and show you every confirmed gang member in Davidson County, I could pick out every neighborhood in this County."

While Rao did refer specifically to Salemtown's problems, she did not overdramatize them like some have. At one point the Detective showed a picture of one gang member and told Rao that he lived in Brentwood, the suburban land of four-car garages. If you look at NewsChannel5's map in the screen shot above, you'll see that the gangs are spread all over the map; that was a great graphic depiction of a problem that belongs to all of us who live in Metro. It's not just a problem for those of us in that red little circle superimposed on the North End (you can also click on the map to find the link to view Rao's report).

One slight inaccuracy in the piece involved Rao talking about Salemtown while video showed mostly Crip graffiti in Cheatham Place (to the west of Salemtown), which seems to have a more chronic and enduring problem with the vandalism. There was only one shot that I could identify as graffiti in Salemtown. We get hit, but most of ours comes down pretty quickly due to the Salemtown Neighbors neighborhood watch. Also, the commercial that runs on the NewsChannel5 website promoting the story is way over the top when the narrator says that gang members own our homes because they sit on their turf. I don't know whether that commercial airs on TV, but it stupidly glamorizes the turf battles. According to the report, there will be a second segment of the story on tonight's news.

Marsha Blackburn Votes to Support Internet Regulation

Regulation by any name is still regulation, even when it is corporate regulation. And the telecom corporations want legislation that allows them to utilize the public Internet to create a two-tiered system filtering access based on how much money they get paid. And one of Tennessee's House members, Republican Marsha Blackburn, wants to see corporations filter what we download.

The telecom bill, which gained passage--as I told you last week--from a subcommittee thanks to the corporate-driven desires of certain house members like Blackburn, was passed (vote: 42-12) by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee this week. The net neutrality amendment, which would have protected the rights of internet users against AT&T's plans to filter out certain sites downloaded, took a second hit from the full committee (vote 22-34). Only one Republican crossed over to vote to protect Internet users, and that was New Mexico's Heather Wilson. So, our little Vol, Marsha Blackburn once again voted on the side of the corporate telecoms. To make matters worse, several Democrats, especially those whose districts headquarter the telecoms and those who get paid on the sly by the telecoms, joined the Republican majority in torpedoing net neutrality protection. We need to come up with a new name for this committee; how about the "The Committee for Lackeys and Yes-men to Upper Class Twits"?

With the No Neutrality Telecom Bill now headed for the House of Representatives, I have to wonder how the rest of the Tennessee delegation is going to vote. I am particularly interested to see how Democrat Jim Cooper will vote, since AT&T has purchased BellSouth and will claim the Batman Building as booty. I wrote him a little letter on behalf of net neutrality via Common Cause, and I await a response. Hopefully, he won't Blackburn us.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Fat Oil Cats

Here is the face of Big Oil (those guys who are raking in millions by the tanker-full while us poor saps are paying ever higher prices at the pump). This is Lee Raymond, the retiring CEO of Exxon. Mr. Raymond not only got paid handsomely--some might say "obscenely"--while he worked for Exxon, but now that he is retiring he is guaranteed to receive the largest retirement package in history: $400 million. It's a shame that astronomical gas prices cannot retire with him.

While some would shout "look over there" to distract attention away from the scurrilous money orgy and to defend the indefensible, others underscore the greed and dishonesty that drive the oil industry lust for more profits on top of the profits on top of the profits already super-saturating their bank accounts. For instance, contrary to the myth that governments are driving oil prices up by collecting large royalties, Big Oil is actually pumping oil out of the publicly-owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico without paying any royalties at all to the government. As Jim Hightower puts it,
This is the largest giveaway of the public's oil and gas in American history, at a time when gasoline is at record-high prices and oil companies need trains to take their ill-gotten profits to the bank. In 1996, crude oil prices were down at $10 a barrel, and the corporations ran to Washington crying that they needed "royalty relief" as an incentive to drill the deep wells in the federal waters of the gulf. Clinton and Congress complied, eventually waiving all royalties owed to We the People for Gulf drilling leases awarded in '98 and '99. At today's prices, with oil soaring to $70 a barrel, the companies expect to extract $65 billion worth of oil and gas from those leases in the next five years, giving them a fabulous profit. Yet, despite the jack-up in oil prices and the windfall profits, they still claim that they deserve full "royalty relief," costing our treasury $7 billion.
So, the next time you're standing at the pump watching yourself throwing your good and hard-earned money down the bottomless pit of the highest retirement packages in history, remember the picture of Lee Raymond, for it is symbolic of all those fat oil cats who make your life more difficult in order to give themselves more ease.

HT: Bill Maher's 4/21/06 "New Rules," which referred to Lee "Fat Bastard" Raymond. The resemblance is remarkable.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Strike Three! Does This Guy Really Want to Be Mayor?

In John Spragens's lead in to this week's Nashville Scene cover story on Mayor Bill Purcell, mayoral candidate Buck Dozier once again comes off somewhat less-than-attractive to potential voters like me who care about such mundane things as adequate neighborhood planning and local governance. According to Spragens,
Last week, as 30 members of the Metro Council debated and voted on public policy, Buck Dozier watched a hockey game. Granted, the at-large council member showed up ... but at some point he slipped out the door and headed over to the arena .... Dozier missed votes on six bills up for third reading and eight memorializing resolutions .... "All my bills were passed, so I tried to support the Predators a bit," Dozier tells the Scene.
Oh, okay. Well, you haven't passed your run for the Mayor's office, yet, Mr. Dozier, and you're going to have a hard time justifying to those of us who believe in the nobility of strong public service at the local level why a hockey match is more important than your civic duty to all your constituents through your term as a council member. Let's hope that you care about pending actions beyond your bills. It seems to me a Mayor should care about most if not all Council activities.

However, I'm sure it required great personal sacrifice to drag yourself over to the no doubt boring play-off atmosphere of Predators' hockey. You must have derived little personal pleasure from that. I can certainly understand why you would rather have continued to stay long hours fulfilling your responsibilities in the cat house.

But all sarcasm aside, on the score of Mayor's who lend more support to professional sports teams than they do to neighborhoods: we've been there and done that with Phil Bredesen. Very few of us in Nashville are willing to go through that again given the high price items now on the Predators' and Titans' wish lists for Metro. I am bound to ask you, "As mayor would you strive to take money away from local services for schools and neighborhoods in order to support the Predators' drive for a new scoreboard and other renovations to the Center?"

I'm just wondering how far your support for the Predators extends and how far you are willing to sacrifice. If you would leave a Council session in order to "support" the Predators, how far does such support extend? It doesn't seem to me that the winsome Predators lack for fan support, so having just one more fan at the match rather than having a Council member at his desk on a regular meeting night seems a bit of a stretch in logic. I have a hard time supporting a candidate who believes that the Predators require his support to help them in the play-offs. If "support" means something else, then you've got some explaining to do in your campaign. Your almost singular reliance on the business community to back your bid for mayor has got me a little concerned about what you mean.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Another 12South Break-In

The 12South Neighborhood Association reports a home invasion/break-in/attempted burglary at 3001 Oakland tonight, Tuesday, at around 7:45 p.m. The resident reports that he was exercising in his garage when he heard someone walking on the floor above him. The resident went upstairs to confront a 5'8" black male in his late teens or early 20's going through his office. After a brief struggle, the suspect exited, jumped on a red bicycle, and fled.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Can You Name The Last State to Tax Incomes Under $10,000?

If you answered, "Our neighbor to the south, Alabama," then you win. They finally got around to de-regressivizing their tax structure so to exempt the first $12,500 of income from taxes for a family of four. Welcome to the modern era, Alabama. Of course, as the Daily Plan points out, Alabama will likely find some other regressive way to make up the lost revenue, like cutting the public school money, pretty much off-setting any financial gains a working family of four might make with the exemptions.

Another Glaring Example that Shows that Private Industry Cannot Regulate Itself

Natural gas provider Atmos Energy Corporation is allegedly overcharging Tennessee customers $7.8 million.

They Say It's Your Birthday

It's my birthday, too.

Mowing over Clean Air

I have now mowed our yard 3 times in the last 2 weeks, as the grass grows fast thanks to cool Spring weather and long periods of rain. And given the hazy smog I've watched settling over the city during the hot days last week, a lot of other people are mowing their lawns, too.

I was once caught up in the struggle between manual reel mowers vs. gasoline-powered mowers, but now I'm on the otherside of the vigor of youth. I've sold out, since I am unwilling to forever sharpen those blamed reel mower blades and struggle against hills in ways I don't have to with my front-wheel drive. Now comes the good news that gas mowers can be fitted with golf-ball sized catalytic converters, which would cut down on noxious, smog-producing emissions. I'm all over that. I'd pay the 25$-50$ extra for an environmentally friendlier gas mower, because I'm not going back to reel mowers. My guess is that the demand for such a mower is sufficient among the large numbers who think smog is detrimental to their health.

But the NYTimes reports that our old friends, the corporate lobbyists, in tandem with a Republican Senator are fighting and throwing up obstacles to requiring gas mowers to meet clean air emissions standards much the same way that the auto industry lobby and powerful Motown congressional delegations obstructed legislation requiring cars to have catalytic converters and meet emissions standards in the 1970s. This is a no-brainer: mower engines contribute 93 times more noxious emissions than 2006 cars. Yet, the mower industry is stalling, saying it just needs one more study, and then it needs one more study after that. Meanwhile, we poor sap consumers are left with the choice of maintaining our lawns vs. sacrificing the quality of the air that we breath (not to mention the long-term negative affects on global warming, which will end up sacrificing the world we leave our children). I wish I could call for more studies to delay costs that I think are unnecessary.

Break-ins Hit 12South and Belmont-Hillsboro on Thursday

The 12South Neighborhood Association reports two incidents of break-ins and burglaries, both on Thursday. The first incident occurred at a Lealand Ave. duplex, which was broken into in the afternoon at a time when no one was home. Burglars stole a TV, a computer, a stereo, and other items. The person residing there has been there for 10 years and she reports that she never had a problem. The second incident occurred at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday on Linden Ave., as a "young black teenager, around 5' 9", dressed in dark sweatpants and sweatshirt riding a red bicycle" broke in through a window screen and rifled through closets and drawers. When confronted by a friend visiting the resident, suspect fled the house with $600. 12South also reported a break-in on Primrose on Wednesday without disclosing any further details.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Telecomship of the Ring

A few weeks ago Chris Wage reported on AT&T's planned buyout of BellSouth and the reassemblage of the old "Ma Bell" telephone monopoly. Chris wondered what the future might hold for the Nashville skyline; while reading tea-leaves tonight I had a troubling foreboding:

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Earth Day Quote of the Day

Earth Day; the day when President Bush gets his picture taken in front of a tree and Vice President Dick Cheney shoots whatever flies out of it.

- - Bill Maher, Real Time (HBO), 04/21/2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blackburn Goes Back-to-Back on Enclave

Rarely do I have the opportunity to write consecutive posts on the same subject, but my little survey of sources on Marsha Blackburn has yielded some remarkable results beyond that of the telecom bill. Back in March John Nichols over at The Nation blog addressed a vote on what is usually a "perfunctory measure": authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to designate a presidential birthplace home as a "National Historic Site."

The problem with Ms. Blackburn is that she was one of a small group of Republican members that forced a rare roll-call vote on designating a presidential birthplace, and then she went on record as voting "no" on designation. Why? Because the designee was Hope, Arkansas, the birthplace of former President William Jefferson Clinton. As Nichols notes, "at a time when Republicans are banging away on critics of the Bush administration for not respecting the office of the presidency," Blackburn et al have the nerve to politicize an issue strictly concerning presidential history.

Nichols also points to the irony of someone like Marsha Blackburn opposing the designation on principle, when her ethics problems indicate that principle is not exactly her forte. According to Nichols:
Blackburn [is a] ... major recipient of [former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay's largesse and a loyal ally of the indicted ex-leader, having contributed $5,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund.
That's not the only thing checkering Ms. Blackburn's ethics. There's also the little matter of her PAC overfunding her congressional campaign. But wait, there's more checkers: The Hill reports that Ms. Blackburn accepted a $500 campaign contribution in 2005 from Jack Abramhoff-chum and lobbyist Tony Rudy, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy last week. Ms. Blackburn also joined her collaborator Tom Delay in not returning The Hill's phone calls concerning the matter.

Tennessee's divine Ms. Blackburn does not seem to be flying right enough herself to judge others.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Did Marsha Blackburn Help the Telecoms Bid Bye Bye to "Net Neutrality"?

If you agree with the idea that private broadband networker providers have a responsibility
not to block, impair, degrade, discriminate against, or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access, use, send, receive, or offer lawful content, applications, or services over the Internet,
then you just lost. That is, you're on the losing side of an attempt by a minority of U.S. House Democrats on the Telecommunications subcommittee to provide for enforcement of "net neutrality," which is the idea that everyone, everywhere should have free, non-discriminatory access to the public thoroughfares of the Internet. Under mounting pressure from the phone and cable industry, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress, the subcommittee defeated by a vote of 23-8 an amendment--to the telecommunications bill--that included the wording you read above.

Tennessee Republican representative Marsha Blackburn is one of the members of this subcommittee, but I have not been able to find out the exact voting tally from any source. However, during a subcommittee hearing in late March, Ms. Blackburn reportedly pit herself against an advocate of the public interest (including the National League of Cities) during his testimony. And word out of Washington is that all of the inside-the-Beltway Republicans all the way up to the White House support an unamended telecommunications bill that favors the corporates and promotes "monetizing" the Internet. So, my guess is that she was not among the 8 voting against defeat; that is, the 8 who were in favor of net neutrality and non-discriminatory access.

If this bill passes and gets signed into law, look for more and more discrimination by the telecoms based on private taxes they impose on users and based on your ability to pay those taxes. Then, in a few years, when your side of town does not have the same Internet access as Belle Meade or Brentwood, you can probably thank Marsha Blackburn.

Details on Weekend Murder near Garfield St. and 6th Av.

Here are the details on the North End homicide over the weekend from

According to police detectives, Odom has turned himself in.

Today's "Liberal Media" Myth Buster

Nashville City Paper News Correspondent, Christine Buttorff, wrote a piece for this morning's edition on yesterday's debate between U.S. Senate candidates, Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. and three Republicans, Van Hilleary, Bob Corker, and Ed Bryant. But her characterization of the proceedings at a downtown hotel did not fit the conservative mantra that reporters lead with a liberal bias. Point of fact, her description of all three Republicans was neutral while she seemed at one point to represent the lone Democrat (who by no means fits the liberal stereotype) as having an ulterior motive in the debate.

Here's a sampling of Ms. Buttorff's description of the Republicans' comments:
Hilleary called the ... $9 trillion federal debt limit a bi-partisan problem, saying the Republicans "along with the Democrats" help are spending money like drunken sailors." Hilleary said entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are swelling the deficit ....

Bob Corker said reform to ensure legal immigration is important .... Corker added, "I don't think we ought to turn businesses into INS ... agents," cautioning that it's difficult for businesses to determine whether documents presented by job applicants are authentic.

Ed Bryant said he supports the recent U.S. House bill that would have strengthened border security.
See how Ms. Buttorff uses value-neutral verbs? See how she merely reports what the Republicans said rather than reading veiled political intentions into what they say? If the Republicans have ulterior motives, Ms. Buttorff is not letting on that she assumes what they are.

But she sums Harold Ford, Jr.'s performance up by attributing an ulterior and partisan motive to it:
Ford ... criticized his Republican colleagues on what he terms the party's fiscal problems .... Ford played up his fiscal conservative side by saying he makes colleagues on both sides of the aisle angry at budget time [emphasis mine].
She starts describing Ford's performance objectively, but then includes her own personal bias of what Ford was up to, and I was left with a less than favorable picture. Ideally, she should have stuck with "Ford said he makes colleagues on both sides ...." But she still could have described Ford as a "fiscal conservative" and been considered objective, given that relative to other Democrats, Ford is generally acknowledged as conservative.

But the term "play up" carries insincere connotations, and in this story could be construed to mean that Ford is sucking up to Tennessee voters by promoting qualities that are not true to form. Worse, yet, Ms. Buttorff's clearly neutral presentation about the Republicans' performance ironically makes them look a lot better than Ford, who could be interpreted in this story as ingratiating and dishonest. The Republicans, on the contrary, were merely presenting their honest and transparent thoughts. There are definitely more egregiouseous examples of conservative media bias in reporting that draw into question the myth of "liberal bias," but small ones like this also alter, however imperceptibly, local popular perceptions about candidates.

Conservative media critics are fond of referring to the way reporters vote to perpetuate the "liberal media" myth. I personally don't think it matters how Ms. Buttorff votes. Just look at the one-sided treatment she gave the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate in today's City Paper. There is some evidence to indicate that, if she leans at all, she leans away from Democrats in print if no where else.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Story within the Story

In this week's Nashville Scene, William Dean Hinton provides some details about what Council member John Summers was allegedly doing while absent from Council Chambers back in January when his Sylvan Park zoning bill came up for consideration (an embarrassing story I told you shortly afterwards). According to Hinton, Mr. Summers might have been out in a back room bartering votes. Hinton's story cites an unidentified Council member, who confirms that Summers trades votes, and it cites a Whitland resident who claims that Summers cut a deal with fellow Council member Buck Dozier in a trade of support involving Summers's Sylvan Park/Whitland zoning bills and Dozier's electronic-billboard bill (with a player to be named later). Hinton speculates that the alleged deal did not work out well for Dozier, who came up one vote short on his electronic-billboard bill while Summers was out of the room supposedly dealing for votes. Hinton also provides e-mail evidence that indicates Summers' willingness to push limits on the state's open meeting laws.

All in all, the story on Summers is a dog-bites-man story that doesn't surprise those who watch John Summers operate. Nonetheless the question of whether Summers is violating the law is not insignificant. But the real story within this story, the man-bites-dog angle of Hinton's piece, is the possibility that a member who is actively running for Mayor may be dealing votes behind closed doors (an euphemism that includes e-mail correspondence). Mayoral candidate Buck Dozier denies that he made deals with Summers in the Hinton story, but if he actually is it would be one more strike against him in his bid to lead Metro (as if it weren't bad enough that he seems willing to legalize Vegasesque flashing billboards around my neighborhood--with no planning whatsoever--for the sake of a few more campaign contributions).

State Senator Jim Bryson Co-Sponsors Prayer Over Flag Salute

Tennessee Republican gubernatorial candidate, Jim Bryson, joined on as co-sponsor of a bill that would make a salute to the Tennessee flag the official state salute. There are a few problems with the salute, written by Lucy Steele Harrison 30 years ago, which goes like this:
Three white stars on a field of blue
God keep them strong and ever true
It is with pride and love that we
Salute the Flag of Tennessee.
The first problem is that it is more of a prayer to God than it is a salute to the flag. I'll thank the government to keep its greedy paws off my faith.

The second problem is that the General Assembly already recognized an official salute to the Tennessee flag in 1987, which more appropriately fits the idea of a salute to the flag:
Flag of Tennessee, I salute thee
To thee I pledge my allegiance with
My affection, my service and my life.
My guess is that the Christian extremists in the Assembly will find a way to rescind the original decision saying something like it was passed in an age when our state government was run by a bunch of atheistic liberal hippy infidels trying to take God out of government. But really, the second pledge is better because it is one that all Tennesseans of every religious belief--even conservative Christians--could recite without qualms. Nobody's going to object if individuals want to stick the word "God" in the mix while they are personally saluting the flag.

The third problem with the Harrison pledge is that it is already archaic if you look at a current map of Tennessee politics as posted on Rather than the historically correct three regions, the politically correct (pardon the pun) regions of Tennessee actually number 5 or 6 in varied shades of blue and red along the progressive-conservative continuum. Maybe the Harrison prayer should be rewritten to include the words, "Five blue, light blue, red, pink, and gray stars on a field of white ...", with the Tennessee flag reworked to suit. Or maybe we can just stick with the flag salute we got in 1987.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shooting Suspect Turns Self In

According to police, a man suspected of a weekend homicide in the North End over a dice game dispute has turned himself in. Ray Odom is suspected of killing another man on Garfield St. this past Saturday Friday near Norman's Market. The information on this crime activity was slow getting to me.

Consigned to Whistleblower Oblivion

In a scene reminiscent of Daniel Lang's 1969 New Yorker piece, "Casualties of War" (popularized in the 1989 Brian De Palma-directed motion picture of the same name), the Army has apparently black-listed one of the whistleblowers of prisoner abuse at Abu Graib. This will no doubt have a chilling effect on reporting torture during war-time. It's things like this that contribute to shrouding the truth, otherwise known as the "fog of war."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

'Tis Spring!

This is my little pavane for spring. The delicate bloom on this small iris in our backyard is only about the size of a half dollar. It is testament to the idea that fragility and power are not mutually exclusive terms. The beauty of the blooms makes all of our toil in the gardens worth the sweat effort.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

An Overheard Oh, Ouch Moment

Earjacked conversation at tonight's Sound's game:

Unknown Sounds fan: Hey! Are you that guy from Channel 2?

Brad Schmitt: No. I wish I was. That's Joe Dubin. I'm Brad Schmitt from the "Brad About You" column in the Tennessean. Joe's sitting somewhere around here tonight.

Unknown Sounds fan: [to another fan after Brad left] He's here tonight? Awesome! Where is he?! I watch him in the mornings!

Knuck Shrugs

Knucklehead is no chucklehead. His queries on Downtown development resonate in these quarters. The answer, of course, is to diversify Downtown offerings, both public and private, or else find a big footprint for a Central Park-type park (Bicentenial Mall is good, but not central enough). The greenspace is not emerging fast enough. And I still have my doubts that dogs are a practical commodity Downtown with the lack of greenspace. And it's not just that the Downtown core is not family-with-kids friendly enough. The neighborhoods proximate to Downtown also don't offer enough single-family homes. The market still seems bent toward young couples (both straight and gay/lesbian) and individual residents. Yet, Downtown will never be a truly livable neighborhood until it also draws families with children back from the suburbs.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Blogging the Sounds' First Home Game

Tonight was a gorgeous night to kick back and watch the 2005 Pacific Coast Champs defend their title against OK. It is good to have baseball back in Nashville even though the Sounds management don't seem to be putting too much effort in the upkeep of Greer Stadium beyond the field itself, which seemed to be in excellent condition.

Our primo seats are still unspruced. They are dilapidating and cracking plastic. The scoreboard, which was squirrelly most of last year, seemed to be completely on the fritz with the exception of the clock and the line score. I don't expect much from scoreboards; I don't need to see the neat little cartoon batters and runners or the word "Charge!" But I do like to be able to see who is at bat, what that player's batting average is, and what he has done so far in the game, all of which were completely impossible on the largest guitar scoreboard in the world (are there any others?). I guess they are saving money for the new ballpark, which is expected in 2008.

So, what are we season ticket holders to do next year? Sit on steps and keep score ourselves? Anyone who drinks beer and socializes at ballgames knows that the former is fine, but keeping the score ourselves is impossible. I'd have to isolate myself and drink water. But I digress. The Sounds did dominate and win the game rather handily, as my family sat around and rudely reminisced about all of last year's players who played so well that they got called up to the dance in Milwaukee by mid-season. However, if this club continues as they did tonight, we'll completely forget those other guys; well, we may not completely forget Prince Fielder.

The one other hitch in the night is that we had to cross a picket line to get into the stadium. The minor league umps are on strike for higher pay. They make a measly $17,000 a year, so I certainly don't blame them. I expressed my sympathies to one of the picketers, but I also told her that we had already paid for our season tickets. "If you would have warned us before we bought the tickets," I told her, "I might have given second thoughts to buying the tickets." That would have been a tough decision for me, because I feel guilty crossing picket lines. The game was being called by scabs replacement umps, who did a decent job for the +/-$17,000 they were getting. Given all of the money the Sounds are saving by not making repairs to Greer Stadium, they may be paying the replacements more, but I doubt it.

Click here or on the screen shot below to watch video I shot of Sounds outfielder Nelson Cruz driving in the 4th run of the game for the Sounds in the 3rd Inning.

A Holy Week RIP

The Reverend William Sloane Coffin, Jr., long-time pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City, died on Wednesday at the age of 81. Rev. Coffin was one of the more prominent voices in the anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and in the anti-nuclear proliferation movement of the 1980s; he was also immortalized in the Doonesbury comic strip (Rev. Scot Sloan). Early in his life, Rev. Coffin was in a U.S. military intelligence program that forcibly repatriated Soviet citizens who had been taken prisoner, which was a service that he regretted for the rest of his life and that caused him to spend time in the CIA opposing Stalin's regime.

I had the privilege of meeting Rev. Coffin as a college student in the 1980's at the height of the anti-nuclear proliferation movement, which was about the time I grew out of my stage as a politically conservative Reagan-supporter. Rev. Coffin's writings and sermons were partly influential in my transition and I have always looked up to him as one of the giants of contemporary American Christianity.

The Best Idea Jeep Ever Had

The 4-door 2007 Wrangler Unlimited was introduced at this week's New York Auto Show. It seats 5 people (60/40 fold-down backseat) and triples the cargo space of the current Wrangler (so, you don't have to choose between people and gear to haul). You can still take the doors off. I want one.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Enclave translated into Bahasa Malayu. I know no one in Kuala Lampur is reading this, but it's pretty cool that they could if they wanted to thanks to, which plans to introduce on-line English translators for other languages.

HT: Democratic Veteran

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nashville Crime Rate Down to Five-Year Low

This is happy news given the steep rise in crime rates across the country. Consistent with this news, things seem to have quieted down here in the North End after a busy January and February.

In related news from the Mayor's Office, the West Precinct won the 2nd annual precinct of the year award for having the greatest overall reduction in crime in 2005. The West Precinct is sponsoring a celebration on April 19 at the First Southern Methodist Church, 4409 Colorado Ave. at 6 p.m. The Sylvan Park Neighborhood Watch Group will be the host group for the celebration.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Malice, Not Horticulture

I confess that I bought some barberry bushes this morning not strictly because I like their burgundy hue. I further confess that I bought them out of spite for my dog, who last night dug up our long-standing goblin flowers and left a crater in the flower bed a foot deep. Finally, I confess my desire that the bitch bites down on the prickly barberry thorns in her next effort to dig up our plants and that she learns painfully that pock-marking the beds makes her a "bad dog." I do not seek absolution because I have no regrets. Barberry doesn't look half bad.

It's Christmas in April in the General Assembly

The General Assembly is currently considering a bill "to affirm and support the use of the words 'Christmas' and 'Merry Christmas' when referring to events or activities traditionally associated with Christmas." Parts of this monumental-waste-of-time resolution seem fairly benign: for instance, in the "WHEREAS" that says "the vast majority of Americans are not offended by the use of the words 'Christmas' and 'Merry Chritmas,' but rather give and receive love, hope, comfort, and joy [background vocals repeat, "comfort and joy"]." However, sponsors of the bill have overplayed their hand by adding "WHEREAS's" like "according to a recently completed survey 90% of Americans consider themselves Christian" and "this General Assembly states that it affirms and supports the use of the words 'Christmas' and 'Merry Christmas' instead of non-descript, general terms such as 'Happy Holidays.'" This resolution is nothing but a mean-spirited, undiplomatic, piggy-back pander to the theo-cons, as if the very existence of Christmas hung in the balance over a stupid resolution in the Tennessee lege.

Thanks for affirming "Merry Christmas," guys and gals. I do have to hand it to you. You artfully dodge the overtly theological supremacy of Jesus by watering his status from "Lord and savior" to an "extraordinary life ... [that] profoundly impacted ... the United States." By my calculations, that places him on par with Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr. and a host of other very fallible and very mortal human beings. Your resolution basically dumbs down centuries of Christian theology in the name of saving a word or two. Now how about solving some of the state's real problems? And I want to be the first to wish an early "Happy Holidays" to you all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Corporation That Had Not Raised Money for a Democrat Since 1812 Contributes $137,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton

And Ms. Rodham Clinton sponsored legislation to send Corning millions of federal dollars and impressed the Chinese to relax tariffs on Corning.

I know that she's aggressively representing New York interests in 2006, but she's quickly losing my vote in 2008.

Conservative Blogs: It All Depends on Whose Looter It Is and We Reap What We Sew But We Steal What We Don't Sew from Those Who Do

I've been waiting to see if the conservative bloggers would start promoting shooting local looters on the heels of last week's tornadoes as they did in the wake of Hurricane Katrina last year, but the silence on the right with regard to "shoot first and let God sort 'em out" has been deafening in this case. Last year we could not get them to shut up their calls for mowing kids down over a pair of Nikes. But now the logic does not seem to be applicable when looters are stealing chunks of houses. But wouldn't shooting looters rather than arresting them send a much more powerful message to other potential looters (many of whom were no doubt snarling the traffic southward down Gallatin Road all the way to Briley Parkway this past weekend)? So, what's with the silence? I won't say that the difference in conservative outcry has anything to do with the difference in the race of the looters we are seeing on television from those we saw in New Orleans, but the rightwing seems a lot less frenzied at these white-boy looters.

What I am seeing on some of the conservative blogs is the promotion of the recently released report that Tennessee ranks 45th in taxes per capita by state. On those blogs where level-headed comments are allowed, rational people are setting the record straight on that ranking. Some of my favorite retorts to the rightwing love affair with low-tax rankings:
  1. "Tennesseans have extra bucks in their pockets to put toward a nice boat to run around on those federally subsidized lakes and what not."
  2. "[Conservatives] also ignore how much drain various states are on the federal government. Many low tax states don't pay their own way, getting more money in fed. dollars than they pay in." [BTW, this is similar to a point I made about the town of Spring Hill last July when the conservatives were drooling over the town's cut of property taxes to zero: state money collected from all Tennesseans allowed them to stop paying their own way. So, what conservatives call "tax reform" is basically Spring Hill leeching and draining tax dollars off the rest of Tennesseans.]
  3. "If you think of Red America as stubbornly self-reliant and Blue America as a drain on the Treasury, you've got it exactly backward."
  4. "I just buy stuff from Massachusetts online so I can avoid paying Tennessee's unconscionable 9.25% sales tax."
  5. "[M]aybe higher taxes [are] related to education. The states with higher taxes have a higher rate of high school graduates then states with lower taxes."
Common sense cuts through the hooey, yet again.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hiking the Levee at Dusk

(The little one and I were the only ones on this hike. I packed and took pics. Not bad, huh?)

Beautiful Day at Rolling Mill Hill

For more pictures and info on this new development on the other side of Downtown, go check out my post at Metroblogging Nashville.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

All of the Luxury Amenities Any Persecuted Victim Could Desire

The process of throwing red meat at the theo-con base, exemplified in the Tennessee Republicans' attempt to sneak religion into the back door of the school house, is also stimulated by theo-con Christian organizers, who fancy their flocks as abused, downtrodden, and otherwise oppressed. They are so persecuted that they recently gathered in the Blue Room of at the Omni Shoreham, a luxury hotel in Washington D.C. They gathered to hear topics like "Christian Persecution: Reports from the Frontlines," "Hollywood: Christians Through A Distorted Lens," and "The Judiciary: Overrulling God" (apparently, God is a persecuted victim, too). The "four diamond" Omni Shoreham is well-known for being the meeting ground of world leaders and other lord-high muckity mucks. So, when the much maligned and kicked around theo cons got their fill of partisan red meat, they could relax by the well-appointed pool or check into one of the lavish hotel suites, which are no doubt suited to liberate Christian groups who hallucinate their own victimization in order to score more votes for conservatives in November. They are inventing their own novel Beatitude Badattitude: blessed are the self-victimized, for they shall obtain extravagance.

First He Wanted To Save The World From Terrorism. Then He Wanted To Save Iraq from Itself. Now He Wants A Brave, New Legacy ...

George W. Bush has not been able to make the world safer from terrorism, and Iraq has degenerated into Civil War with a high casualty rate to our armed forces, so now he wants to save Iran by nuking Iran. When is the American public (especially the 50% who didn't vote in 2004) going to get fed up enough with this president to have him ridden out on a rail?

Many Suburbs Losing First Responders Because of Increasingly Pricey Real Estate

According to the NY Times: "Homes Too Rich for Firefighters Who Save Them."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Enclave Is Now a Vlog, Too: Video from Yesterday's Storm

Click here or on the screen capture above to watch the footage of yesterday afternoon's hail storm in the North End.

Urbanplanet Discussion on a Convention Center in SoBro

Thursday and Friday's debate centered on the feasibility/practicality of a new Convention Center south of Broadway. I found one suggestion intriguing: perhaps more effort could be put into finding a top flight architect to come up with an ingenuous and previously unconsidered way to expand the current convention center.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Tennessee Legislature Considering Funding Bible Courses

While Tennessee House Representative Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) is getting widespread notoriety for her comments against gays and lesbians adopting children, there is one initiative she is sponsoring that seems to be flying under the radar. It would allow high schools that receive public funds to teach Bible courses.

Now, I like reading the Bible as much as the next Christian; in fact, I wish that many of my conservative co-hort would more closely subscribe to Jesus's teachings, especially the Beatitudes, than they seem to. And I also took historic and cultural courses on the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament" seems to me to be a slight against the Hebrews/Jews) and on the New Testament in both college and seminary. I think that elective courses on comparative religions for high school students would not only be appropriate, but they would be prudent, given today's total clash of faith perspectives on a global level.

So, I have no problem with the idea of allowing courses that teach non-devotional or non-proselytizing courses about religion. But let's just be clear about the slant of the bill: rather than being an honest attempt to study the role of religion in various societies, it serves to allow private and public high schools to continue to receive government money while teaching conservative Christianity as the authoritative fount of truth. It provides a back door for government funding (and hence establishing) parochial views of the world. I have no doubt that the introduction of this bill in the legislature is an attempt to shore up the evangelical theo-cons for the Republican Party in Tennessee.

While the bill provides that the courses be taught in an objective, non-sectarian manner, there is no practical way to enforce what doctrinaire teachers might say in a class of students who elect to take the class because there own doctrinaire beliefs. Monitoring by boards of education who may be sympathetic to "putting God back in the classroom" would merely provide an extra layer of insulation to establishment. Debra Maggart needs to go a long way to explain how the checks and balances of this bill are to be practically applied. Otherwise, it's just a political tool for appeasing the theo-cons, a group that tends to believe it is persecuted when it is asked to play fair in school.

04/07/2006, 10 p.m. Update: Did some more digging on this bill. Here's what it will cost the state if passed:
  • Start-up cost -- $24,000
  • Annual teacher's salary costs -- $787, 500
  • Cost of bibles and other texts -- between $27,000 and $394,000
We can pay teachers an extra $8,750 (based on a salary of $52,500) to teach a bible course, but we cannot pay them extra to teach more science and math? It's no wonder we're growing globally less competitive in our ability to graduate students with a relevant knowledge base.

Video Stills from This Afternoon's Hail Storm

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

During last fall's school board hubbub about the possibility of closing schools to address budget problems, yours truly was vigorous in his support for the fight to keep one of those schools, Jones Paideia, open. My rationale in a nutshell (the expanded version can be found here) was that Jones Paideia was both an historic neighborhood landmark and a center of family activity on the North End. Hence, losing the school would have been a blow to our collective health.

The events ended happily as Jones Paideia was saved from closure, and now if you take a look at their underrenovation campus, you'll see some attractive new additions going on in back where temporaries once stood. But, of course, the budget problems did not get resolved with school closures and now the chickens are coming home to roost for other constituencies touched by our public school system.

My family is in one of those consitutencies. Our toddler will be 3-years-old next year, qualifying her for one of the public school Montessori programs. Moreover, we live in close proximity to Hull-Jackson Montessori Magnet. Since magnet schools are required to take a certain percentage of their students proximate to their campuses, odds at possibly getting her into Hull-Jackson are better than most. However, now the school board is considering cutting programs for 3-year-olds in order to save money, and so my support of Jones Paideia may have helped bring about the closure of a quality program in which our toddler might have enrolled in 2007.

I don't regret my support of Jones Paideia, because the school makes the North End a better place to live. I just hope that all of those Jones Paideia parents and teachers who don't live in the North End will remember how important saving their school was to them and that they will be supportive of the rest of us who continue to face the possibility that our public school services (and in some cases jobs) will probably be cut in Jones's stead. I don't believe that Montessori programs for 3-year-olds are any less important than the schools that were saved from the chopping block last fall. In fact, from my family's own perspective, they are more important.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Appeared To Help Own Cause with Senatorial Sponsorship of Provision

Tennessee Senator Jim Bryson (R-Franklin), who declared his candidacy for the Governor's Office this week, added a provision to Tennessee's law earlier this year to blackout the governor's office fundraising efforts until May 15, according to the Nashville City Paper. Bryson told the NCP that, when he sponsored the amendment, he had "no intentions" of running, a claim which I find rather hard to believe based on the grooming and long-term considerations that go into running for such a high executive post. Nonetheless, what we have here is at least the appearance of a conflict of interests even if appearances are not always what they seem. Perhaps Sen. Bryson should have passed the spear for the blackout amendment to another leader for passage in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Oxymoron: High Density Hermitage

An article in last week's Nashville Biz Journal tells of plans to build "neo-traditional" high-density development in the suburbs of Hermitage. 700 single-family homes will be placed on only 120 acres, and they will have alley parking.

The article has spawned an interesting discussion this week on density and the impact of the Nashville Star rail line on suburban development over at

Might Wackenhut's Lawsuit against Metro Be Frivolous?

This week's Nashville Scene reports that a security company that did not get a Metro contract after it looked as if they would is now preparing to sue the local government. You can read John Spragens' story and see for yourself whether you think they have a case. But, based on unrelated reports of some other problems that Wackenhut seems to have had elsewhere, I believe that one can definitely make a case against Metro hiring them.

Wackenhut has reportedly been at the center of security problems at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, involving mistaken responses to initially unidentified white powder (which later proved to be benign). Thanks to a belated evacuation order, employees had gone to lunch, and they had to be rounded up and quarantined (how about some suspicious white powder to go along with those fries?). Wackenhut whistleblowers reported no WMD training, lightly guarded Homeland Security entrances, and no radios to communicate with each other. The Energy Department also concluded that Wackenhut guards improperly handled the transport of nuclear and conventional weapons during one of their tests. One whistleblower said that when he found a suspicious bag in a parking lot on another occasion he "didn't have a clue about what to do."


1.6-Acre 35-Townhouse Mixed-Use Development in Germantown Considered

Via Megan Moriarty at the Tennessean.

Homeland Insecurity, Updated

Today's Debra Maggart* Award for the Dysfunctional Treatment of Children goes to the Bush Administration's Homeland Security Deputy, Brian Doyle, who was arrested yesterday on felony charges for "sexually preying on a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl." As the father of a 14-year-old girl, I am left to angrily wonder how we can feel secure about our borders when we cannot even secure our children from those charged with keeping watch of the Homeland. After 6 years, we're still waiting on George W. Bush to bring integrity back to the White House as he promised he would do in 2000.

04/06/2006, 12:15 p.m. Update: Doyle is not the only Homeland Security official to be charged with illegal activity with minors. According to MSNBC:
As for the other Homeland Security official charged with a sex crime, his name is Frank Figueroa, former head of Operation Predator, the Homeland Security program specifically targeting child sex predators, Mr. Figueroa today pleading no contest that he exposed and fondled himself in front of a teenaged girl in the food court of a mall in Orlando last October.
It's ironic that the very official charged with targeting sex predators is himself a predator; putting wolves in charge of the hen house.

And this all comes on the heels of Congressional hearings on how a 13-year-old got became the victim of on-line pornography, an episode that virtually was ignored by the U. S. Department of Justice, despite their knowledge of it. The Justice Department bends over backwards to defend torture and wire-tapping, but it cannot vigorously pursue and prosecute those who prey on our children. I'd call that getting priorities backwards.

*State Representative Maggart (R-Hendersonville) claims that gays and lesbians should not be allowed to adopt children because they are dysfunctional. My guess is that there are more dysfunctional straight families than gay/lesbian families, so by her logic, straight families should not be allowed to adopt children. Basically, thanks to some bad apples, nobody gets to adopt children.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

North End Townhome Developments Put On Hold

Two major new high-end developments in the North End have been put on hold while developers direct their attention elsewhere. Construction of both Germantown's Monroe Townhomes and Salemtown's Garfield Place has been delayed due to lack of pre-sales. In both cases, builders were waiting on a certain number of units to sell before building.

Germantown Partners has put Monroe and its $400K townhomes on hold for a year. They have decided to focus their energies into the Summer Street project near Germantown Cafe.

Falcon Capital Funding was only able to pre-sell one Garfield Place unit and that contract was withdrawn because of the company's decision to delay construction until four of the $300K units were sold. While the company still intends to start construction before the end of the year, they are currently focusing their efforts on projects outside of Nashville's urban neighborhoods.

It looks like builders have stopped their hard charging in the North End, and numbers of players seem to be waiting on each other to continue. However, besides Summer Street, some projects continue to be constructed or remain on the market: Morgan Park Place, Salemtown Townhouses, and Werthan Lofts.

Monday, April 03, 2006

They Say the Neon Lights Are Bright: Does Buck Dozier Care About the Quality of Urban Neighborhoods?

I wrote Council member-at-large Buck Dozier almost two weeks ago asking him a simple question: how would his bill to allow electronic display signs to be placed on "all state maintained four-lane roads and controlled access highways located within the USD with a speed limit of forty miles per hour or less" make our urban neighborhoods better? You see one of the four-lane state highways, 41, seems to run right up 8th Avenue, North and around Capitol Hill on James Robertson Parkway. So, there's every chance that electronic video billboards might create a glaring, blinking distraction on the North End should Council member Dozier's bill pass on third reading tomorrow.

The bill's passage could mean that one of the prettiest views of the downtown skyline could very well be marred with blinking Auto Zone or O'Reilly Auto Parts signs or with KFC or Kroger marquees. Residents in Phase IV of the Werthan Lofts development may find themselves in the unenviable position that Seinfeld's Kramer did when Kenny Roger's Roasters put in a huge red blinking sign outside of his apartment window during one episode. Confusing tomato juice and milk because your world is LED-tinged could be distasteful, as Kramer showed with his breakfast cereal.

While my district's Council member, Ludye Wallace, is the bill's co-sponsor and while I CC'ed him, I really didn't expect him to break his long-standing habit of ignoring his constituents. But I did assume that, since Dozier was going to run for Mayor, he would at least give me the respect of a brush-off reply, if nothing else. But I have yet to hear from the man. My guess is that he believes he's got all he needs in the supportive votes from suburban Council members, who are just as NIMBY as anybody else, but who were placated by Dozier's restriction of video billboards to the step-child Urban Services District. My second guess, inspired by Christine Kreyling, is that passage of this bill is going to be a warm chestnut to Doziers' principle constituency: the business community.

So, it's becoming clear to me that mayoral candidate Dozier is probably more interested in running for business and against neighborhoods. It's looking as if he won't be the clearly viable "neighborhoods candidate" that we've had in the last two elections. As a neighborhood leader, I am concerned about what would happen to the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods and advocacy for urban neighborhoods at the executive level under Dozier. It's not clear to me that Council member Dozier gives a tinker's damn about anyone remotely at odds with his business constiuency.

What is clear to me is that he is passionate about foisting video billboards on promising little neighborhoods without any imput from Metro Planning or any balance with residential interests. But the fact that one of the prospective highways wraps around Capitol Hill gives some in the General Assembly a whole new opportunity to direct market dim-witted ideas in Shopryland's drive-by style:

The Finest Cut Gem from the Dubai Ports Controversy

We recognize Molly Ivins and her stone cold realism:
We have already been warned that, should we back out of the DP deal, the United Arab Emirates may well take offense and not be so nice about helping us in the War on Terra—maybe even cut back its money, as well as its cooperation. This is a problem specific to the fact that we are dealing with a corporation owned by a country: A corporation only wants to make money, a corporation owned by a country has lots of motives.

Second, this is a corporation, consequently its only interest is in making money. A corporation is like a shark, designed to do two things: kill and eat. Thousands of years of evolution lie behind the shark, where as the corporation has only a few hundred. But it is still perfectly evolved for its purpose. That means a corporation that makes money running port facilities does not have a stake in national security. It’s not the corporation’s fault any more than it’s the shark’s.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rain Delay Reflection

Baseball is a kind sport. There's room for many different body types and levels of coordination. It's democratic in its distances. Kids who are small can't hit the ball real far but can move quickly between the bases while the sluggers usually can't run. On the playground, everybody has a chance.

~Tom Adelman

By Itself Justification for Tough Neighborhood Overlay Restrictions

One of the new retro builds over in East Nashville near Martin's Corner Market with a satellite dish attached to the porch.

What the hell are these people thinking? That this looks okay? I'm a believer in balance between overlay restrictions and individual initiative, but this is a strike against all those who believe that people should be allowed to do absolutely anything they want to their own houses. We consider self-mutilation a dysfunction; perhaps dwelling-mutilation should also be considered a disorder in need of proper treatment. In this case, proper treatment might involve throwing a tight spiral at that dish.

A Day of Thunderbolts

This weather, punctuated by flashes of lightning and loud claps of thunder, reminds me that today is the first day of baseball. It is apropos that today I am working through Tom Adelman's book on the summer of 1975 and the "greatest World Series ever played." I sat on my front porch reading and watching the storms form and ignite, and I was startled by the timeliness of Adelman's observation:
[Watching baseball is] like watching weather form .... Two fronts collide and feel each other out. There is a distant rumble, an accumulating uncertainty, tension. Abruptly the silence is broken -- a crack of electricity. You don't always know where to look. Everything is in motion, in flux, changing, and then more thunder, and again an eerie stillness. Leads evaporate. The whole experience is ethereal. When you see the sport in person, or you listen to it on the radio, it seems to be composed partly of air, but this aspect never really comes through on the television.
Nonetheless, I will be watching the Indians play those amazing World Champion White Sox tonight in the first game of the season.

Think You Know Native Son Al Gore?

Read this and think again. The operative word is "disintermedia." Gore's got it. Check out Current TV, which puts even the most citizen-journalist-friendly mainstream media outlets to shame and in the process allows the entertainment-driven mainstreamers to deconstruct themselves. Thanks to the Comcast Corporation, we don't get to see the egalitarian Current TV on local TV. Gore's movie on global warming is due out in late May. Ironically, Gore in 2008 looks a lot more attractive to me than Hillary in 2008.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The World Begins Again Anew

The "boys of summer" are back tomorrow with the beginning of baseball season. Why baseball is just about the best thing America ever produced:

Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseballs around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball.

~Pete Hamill

You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all.

~Earl Weaver

Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex, and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem.

~Saul Steinberg

Baseball, to me, is still the national pastime because it is a summer game. I feel that almost all Americans are summer people, that summer is what they think of when they think of their childhood. I think it stirs up an incredible emotion within people.

~Steve Busby

Baseball is a harbor, a seclusion from failure that really matters, a playful utopia in which virtuosity can be savored to the third decimal place of a batting average.

~Mark Kramer

Play Ball!