Thursday, August 30, 2007
So, what is going on here [in a mass e-mail from the Bob Clement Campaign pledging no property tax raises]? Are we going to see a careful parsing of words in a couple years? "I said that I would not raise property taxes but I didn't say I would not ask the Council to raise them." Or, are we going to see major cuts? There is no question that if you wrestle some of the more difficult budget problems to the ground like the $50 million dollar subsidy for the Hospital Authority you can avoid asking for additional revenue....for a while. There is also no question that you can avoid asking for additional revenue by cutting all non-essential government services: Parks, Arts Commission, Human Relations Commission, Library, subsidies to the Mary Parrish Center, Adventure Science Center and the Symphony and fund only police, fire, health and schools.Thus, endeth the lesson.
But, if Clement thinks people leave Davidson County because of higher taxes, (They don't. They move to Williamson County for the (perceived) better schools and the wall to wall soccer fields) wait til he starts cutting the middle class perks like Parks and Library.
Perhaps these two gentlemen are the first in years who just want to be mayor for 4 years.
Kudos to Ms. Evans for not resting on the laurels of her recent win in 23. Blogs are an important medium for communicating and for generating feedback from constituents. I have added MCD23 to my news feed.
I would like to see our new representative, Erica Gilmore, start the same sort of project for District 19. She blogged as a candidate early in the campaign.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
It wasn't too long ago that the Tennessee Tax Revolt secured a commitment from a single Metro Council Member to sign their No Tax Pledge. Afterwards, TTR turned a one-eighty to let the guy off the hook when he chose to support a budget option that raised taxes less than the Mayor proposed to raise taxes. It is hard to take the no-tax side seriously beyond the knee-jerk emotions they try to evoke.
But how can a No Tax Pledge fly in a town where the Community Centers shut down now on Saturdays for lack of funds, where crumbling roads are forever in need of repair, where aging sewer systems are attracting federal attention for the environmental hazards posed, and where crime has to be fought with more than just good intentions?
UPDATE: Via VV, Karl Dean pledges in his own way:
Donors included: 1221 Partners, LLC; The Village Fund; Alliance Construction, Inc.; Virginia Degerberg; and Alessandro Rustioni.
I ain’t voting for nothing that’s going to keep me from eating .... That’s crazy, see, rich people can do that kind of stuff, see. They get to eat when they want to, go buy food and things. You know, they can, two, three of them, get together, spend money to buy food for 40 people. I can’t afford to do that. … That [patron-provided] meal is a thank-you from a grateful community for your service.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The website authors see Mr. Tygard's connections to wealthy land owners, developers, and builders as their motivation and they seem really peeved about his last-minute reintroduction of a long-deferred and controversial zoning bill at the final Metro Council meeting.
They also have a blog that they encourage their readers to use to share their thoughts and their "anger."
I do not have a problem with supporting this bill as it stands, because I think that developing the various water resources in these United States are a proper role for the federal government to play. But I think that Jim Cooper has a problem with inconsistency between his reasons for voting for this bill and those he used for voting against the State Children's Health Insurance Program bill. On the one hand, he voted against the SCHIP bill on the basis of his argument that a good project was "drowned" in unnecessary spending.
On the other hand, he voted for a water bill which itself could be and has been accused of frivolous earmarks, largely focused on studies rather than the delivery of actual services. One of the water bill earmarks is a project that Mr. Cooper himself has criticized: Alaska's "bridges to nowhere." Mr. Cooper could have easily made the case that some water bill money had more to do with beach resort development and less to do with community water projects per se. But he did not criticize and vote against the water bill's earmarks in the same way he did the SCHIP earmarks. Instead, he called the water bill "fiscally responsible."
While some boaters might appreciate Mr. Cooper's comments about "new recreational opportunities" for Middle Tennesseans, I wonder whether recreation should merit greater gravitas and support than the initiative to provide health insurance for the children of working families in spite of earmarks designated for areas outside of Middle Tennessee?
Democrats don't have to sacrifice medical coverage for the children of working class parents in order to win. This family's story resonates with many voters who look at their children and wonder how they are going to keep them healthy in the future, given the government's total abdication to private health interests.
Democrats should be hanging the health risks and the financial vulnerabilities of families with uninsured children around the necks of Republicans in the popular media from now until November 2008.
The jump will also give you access to video of Mayor Purcell's speech.
Someone expressed the wish at last night's Salemtown Neighbors meeting that our new Council Member be invited to our monthly meetings so that she can hear our concerns on a consistent basis. She had attended a couple of meetings before the election, and I hope she continues to show an interest in our meetings in the future. In fairness, though, the change in our meeting place (we have moved back to Morgan Park Community Center) was not communicated to her. I would like to see us be more intentional about inviting her with plenty of time to reserve the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 for Salemtown Neighbors.
I went outside, grabbed his hose and doused the flames. I did not see anyone around, but I called the police and left a report. Looks like we may have some fire starters in our neighborhood who feel the need to take advantage of the drought to do some other damage.
By the way, Public Works did not pick up all the brush that was set aflame last week. It looks like they merely picked up some furniture that had been dumped in the same place. The brush pile, much of which is unburned, remains a tinder box waiting for the next stray cigarette or budding arsonist. According to Metro, the next round of brush pick-up does not begin until September 13. That's a long time for a big stack of dry brush to be sitting around.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Those lawyers bringing the suit against AT&T intend to use this confirmation in court against big telecom.
Did anyone really believe that AT&T was not intimately involved in snooping ordinary Americans?
I ran to our house and knocked on the window and told S-townWife to call 911. She saw the flames and called. I ran back to the alley, and a Channel 4 News crew, which had been at the Metro Action Commission on another story, was also on the site.
Here are some pictures I took after S-townWife brought the camera out to me (the flames had already started shrinking by the time I started snapping them):
As for how it started, my money is on a group of about six teenage boys walking by the pile no more than five minutes beforehand. At least one of them has been seen vandalizing property in the past. With school out early due to the heat, the teens around here generally seem bored and just looking for trouble.
However, in fairness to them, the brush was piled right to the edge of the alley a few weeks ago and it was a dry tender box that could have been ignited by a passing motorist throwing a cigarette out. Public Works has crews out here cleaning the mess up now.
Contrast that Defender-vesus-Goliath image to Mayoral Candidate Bob Clements' comments about public defenders working with prosecutors to deny select people their due process as a human right during an interview with Nashville Scene Reporter Jeff Woods:
Clement: .... “You’ve got cases where certain people should not be back on the street because of their record and the number of their crimes. That’s where the public defender and the prosecutor and all should come to the table and say, ‘If this person gets out, we’re going to have trouble. This person is going to do it again, and how many more lives do they have to destroy?’ ”Mr. Clement is on a real slippery slope. Declare some threats to society and that justifies ignoring the rights of any accused person.
Scene: “What you’re saying, Congressman, is that if a guy is bad enough, what the public defender should do is just lay down and toss in the towel? What should Dean have done?”
Clement: “Represent them, No. 1, but No. 2, be sensitive to the community. Share information with the prosecution. You’re doing the person a favor by incarcerating them rather than turning them back onto the street where they can commit horrible crimes again.”
Once the camel's nose of denying some due process is under the tent, then the whole camel will soon follow, and the rights of those guilty of less heinous crimes will be up for negotiation. Thereafter, nothing will stop lawyers from bartering the due process of anyone else away. Those of us who have never had to have a defense lawyer may want to consider what kind of problems we might face if we did need a defense lawyer who made deals with our rights behind our backs simply because our case might cause "trouble." False accusations up the ante.
I thought that the strength of our justice system was that it could try and convict actual criminals while still protecting their right to be tried and convicted fairly and with due process rather than in Clement Court. God forbid that we ever appoint prosecutors who are able to bring criminals to justice within the rule of constitutional law. We might be accused of being both honorable and effective.
When Diane Neighbors stood to defeat the Car Wash Exemption Bill on a hot August night, she addressed the facts that 99% of the mail that members had received from the public on the bill was negative, that the opposition was countywide, and that car wash developers had made no efforts whatsoever in the last six months since the bill was deferred to meet with affected Council Members (numbering no more than 2 or 3) in order to plan based on the current law.
That is far and away from the Public Hearing on the Car Wash Bill, held on a cold January night of this year. During that hearing opponents outnumbered proponents 3-to-1 even though the former were under the impression that bill was going to be deferred before the hearing started. That's also the night that a council member cozy with developers misstated that the opposition was not countywide and that it represented a small segment along White Bridge Road.
We came a long way, didn't we?
Texas broke the AL record for most runs scored in a single day. The Boston Braves own the NL record for scoring 43 runs on a day in 1894. Texas also ecclipsed the modern-day (post-1900) baseball AL record for runs scored in a game (29 by the Boston Red Sox  and the Chicago White Sox ). No team had scored 30 runs in one game since the Chicago Colts (who would become the Cubs) did so in 1897. The 30 runs also sets a new Major League RBI record.
With their "magic number" to win their division at 4, it may be little solace to the Sounds that they were on the margins of a historical event in baseball last night, and it probably doesn't help to know that the only run batted in of the 2 that they scored in last night's losing effort came off the bat of a former Oklahoma/Texas product, Laynce Nix.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
On the other hand, Charlie Tygard's personal defense attorney, James Murphy, contradicted the Tygard argument for re-election during yesterday's Chancery hearing of Philip Hostettler's case for an injunction on the September 11 at-Large run-off. Mr. Murphy said several times that Mr. Tygard, J.B. Loring, and Ronnie Greer are running "for a different office" in their at-Large campaigns.
Attorney Murphy told Judge Claudia Bonnyman that Mr. Tygard was originally put in office by the "electorate of the 35th District," but that now his at-Large run is for a "clearly separate and distinct office." The differences, according to Mr. Murphy, are based on who elects the different candidates and on the residency requirement distinctions.
To top the whole thing off (in what I think is the defense's strongest argument), Mr. Murphy appealed to the idea that referendum voters did not intend to prohibit candidates from being elected to different offices in their attempt to limit candidates from being re-elected to the same offices.
Was Mr. Murphy indicting Mr. Hostettler's case or Mr. Tygard's own campaign?!
That tells me that they are embedded in the pockets of developers and that they do not take the concerns of neighborhoods seriously. Do you really want to vote for candidates on September 11 who would vote to make it easier for car washes to be put in your neighborhood with no regard to neighborhood feedback about the development? If you are a developer who wants the absolute freedom to throw down anything in a neighborhood without any responsibility, then vote for Tygard, Loring, and Greer. If you believe that developers should be good neighbors (which includes fielding community feedback), then vote for anybody but Tygard, Loring, and Greer.
Here is the roll call vote (17-17) on the motion to table Diane Neighbors' motion to disapprove (in "AYE," returning members' names bolded; Sept. 11 run-off members italicized):
Diane Neighbors, Carolyn Baldwin Tucker, David Briley, Adam Dread, Brenda Gilmore, Pam Murray, Mike Jameson, Eric Cole, Jim Forkum, Anna Page (run-off), Ginger Pepper, Billy Joe Walls, Emily Evans, John Summers, Jim Shulman, Vivian Wilhoite, Lynn Williams
Here is the roll call vote (21-12) on Diane Neighbors' motion to defeat the Car Wash Exemption Bill:
Neighbors, Tucker, Briley, Dread, Gilmore, Isabel, Murray, Jameson, Cole, Forkum, Page (run-off), Pepper, Walls, Evans, Summers, Shulman, Foster, Wilhoite, Coleman, Duvall (run-off; voted to table first), Williams
Indeed, Mr. Gentry has cracked the whip in the past when appropriate. And a lot of the Metro Council's control problems, in my opinion, are self-inflicted: either they do not know or they do not adhere to parliamentary procedure. Even the more savvy parliamentarian former members like Ludye Wallace were reined to order by Mr. Gentry at times.
Could Mr. Gentry have exercised a little more control of speakers in the past? Absolutely, but what chairperson could not? Could Mr. Gentry have been a bit more diplomatic in his control? Sure, but the highest virtue of herding cats is not necessarily diplomacy. To suggest that Howard Gentry saved his shepherd staff for his last Council meeting is misleading and unfair.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Ms. Neighbors mentioned in her response to Mr. Burch's tabling motion that she had requested disapproval months ago, but her requests were ignored.
Thank you, Diane Neighbors! (And thanks to Vice Mayor Howard Gentry for breaking the tabling tie! And thanks to the Metro Council for supporting the disapproval!)
UPDATE: Before breaking the tie and killing the tabling motion, Mr. Gentry asked the buzzing Council rhetorically, "Do you think that I would vote against the Vice Mayor"? (Diane Neighbors was recognized earlier in the meeting for the purpose of expunging all previously deferred motions from the Council's Old Business hopper. The exercise seems to be the Council's liminal ritual of transitioning from one Vice Mayor to the next).
- $2,500 from the Nashville Business Coalition PAC
- $2,000 from the Gaylord Entertainment PAC
- $1,000 from Lo-Jack
- $1,000 from a Mt. Juliet housewife
The Councilman ... he doesn't care anything about the Edgehill Neighborhood.
- - Ludye Wallace (District 19 Council Member until the end of tonight's meeting) referring to John Summers, who moved to defer the Belmont-Rose Park Lease Bill to give the sides more time to compromise
Council Member Ginger Pepper introduced an amendment, which would replace the existing Metro-Belmont lease with a new one. Changes (many, but not all of which were suggested by the neighborhoods affected) include:
- Belmont is required to contribute $50,000 per year for 30 years (80% will go to Metro Parks; 20% split evenly between Rose Park & Carter Lawrence PTOs).
- Parks cannot cut annual funding to Rose Park on the basis of Belmont's contribution.
- No part of the Rose Park property could be sold to Belmont.
- Adjacent public schools and park activities will be given priority in scheduling.
- Belmont shall not schedule activities for at least 30 minutes after a public school and/or park activity ends.
- If collegiant game tickets with a money value are issued, Belmont shall provide at least 10% to Community Center.
- It is not the intent that any of the field should be named after Belmont University.
- Traffic & parking study was conducted on August 1; controls recommended by that study must be made.
- Since Belmont's construction does not begin until 2008, the 07-08 year is to be an evaluative year at Belmont's expense.
- Parks has to complete annual reports on lease and they have to meet with the community for feedback and then present report to Council evaluating all of the other requirements.
- Belmont will provide a full tuition scholarship & 2 half tuition scholarships annually. The boundaries will be determined by a community advisory committee.
There remained some questions about whether the community supported the amendment changes. Ms. Pepper responded that it did not satisfy all of the community, but that she felt it was the best "win-win" compromise that she could get after two community-university meetings this month.
The Pepper Amendment was adopted by voice vote. Amended bill still has to be passed at the end of debate, which is still going.
UPDATE: The City Paper reports this morning that the Pepper Amendment stipulated "8" full Belmont scholarships.
8. Vacuum Equipment. Vacuum equipment must be oriented away from residential uses and shall be a minimum of 25 feet from any property zoned residential or permitting residential uses. If walls or masonry are used in the vacuum area to separate the vacuum area from adjacent properties, materials must be consistent with primary structure.If the Metro Council approves the Car Wash Exemption Bill on the pretense that these provisions will be included in any future development plan, then they approve it under false pretenses.
9. Signs. All on-premises signs shall be monument style signs with a maximum height of eight feet and consistent with all other provisions of table 17.32.110 for all car wash facilities, regardless of zoning.
10. Knee Wall. There shall be a physical separation from the car wash area to the street/sidewalk in the form of a knee wall with a minimum of 24 inches in height. The wall shall be constructed of concrete, stone, finished masonry or other similar material, or the wall shall consist of pillars with wrought iron or similar material between the pillars.
The Mayor commented, "[Vice Mayor] Howard Gentry always tries to be fair and just .... I'm proud that he is my friend. The Council and the City have been well served by his leadership."
He's referring to the 20-something schools built in the last 8 years. Headstart. 106 miles of new sidewalks. New Nature Centers.
He's emphasizing the green standards. Increased safety; crime in Nashville continues to drop. Police Department got the resources they need to protect people.
Nashville was the first city to grant tax relief to senior citizens.
Ends with a nice touch: "Tonight you have my thanks and the thanks of an entire city."
She does not show any indication of keeping her past ethics problems on the down-low.
When she returned, she ruled that the at-Large run-off does not do irreparable harm to Mr. Hostettler and that his "coming late" (after the 10-day allowance to contest election results) with the injunction request did not put him in a good position to protect his own rights as a candidate, especially since he has known since May (when Charlie Tygard declared his candidacy) that he could contend the legitimacy of District Members running for at-Large openings. The judge also ruled that the Supreme Court decision regarding Knox County does not address what her court sees as two different Metro positions (District Member and at-Large Member).
In her remarks before adjourning, Judge Bonnyman stated that she had made a financial contribution to one of the at-Large campaigns in May, but that none of those involved in this law suit were the beneficiaries of that contribution. Hence, she did not believe it necessary to disqualify herself from judging this case.
Mr. Hostettler was prepared to call witnesses (which the Judge denied) and his lawyer intends to pursue a trial on the election results in the future, and future plaintiffs might involve at-Large candidates who made the run-off. No court date had been set when I left at 5:00 and paid my $10.00 admission fee to get my car out of the Courthouse parking garage.
Bush Administration Undermines States' Attempts to Increase Children's Access to Adequate Health Care
- Show they've enrolled 95% of children below 200% of poverty who are eligible for either Medicaid or SCHIP (no state has achieved 95% enrollment and, under Bush's budgets, none ever will).
- Prevent children from leaving private coverage; the new guidelines say states should charge premiums that approximate private coverage and impose a one-year waiting period, during children children are uninsured.
- Show that children's coverage by the private market has not decreased by more than 2% over the past five years.
They won't affect us here in Tennessee, where we apparently care more about protecting the health insurance industry than our own children. Those second and third bullets should be particularly protective of private insurance corporations and deadly to many childen's well-being. Mandating private coverage is another form of subsidizing industry and sacrificing universal access to healthcare for kids, who have no control over whether they can afford treatment.
Here is the meat of the suit:
8. Section 1.07(A) of the Metropolitan Charter (Exhibit B) states:Mr. Hostettler's lawyers will base their argument on a 2007 Tennessee Supreme Court ruling in Knox County. The TSC ruled that the same language in the Knox County Charter precluded candidates serving 2 terms from running for any municipal office again immediately.
Effective January 1, 1995, no person shall be eligible to serve in any elected office authorized or created by the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County if during the previous two (2) terms of that office, the person in question has served more than a single term ....
9. The intent of the people in approving this “term limits” requirement was to prevent persons from qualifying for office and/or pursuing election for office within the Metropolitan Government if they had already been serving within an office more than a single term during the last 2 terms. This provision does not prevent an office holder from seeking another office after he/she has “sat out” a term.
10. Plaintiff [Hostettler] has never held an elected office within the Metropolitan Government. Plaintiff qualified and was placed upon the ballot for the 2007 Metro Council “at large” election held on August 2, 2007. Plaintiff received the 10th highest vote total of 26 candidates.
11. Defendants Tygard, Loring and Greer were also candidates placed upon the ballot for the 2007 Metro Council “at large” election held on August 2, 2007. These Defendants all received more votes than Plaintiff. (Tygard-4th; Loring-7th; Greer 8th). However, all three of these Defendants are currently serving as district councilmen for over one term. As a result of the prohibition set out in Metropolitan Charter Section 1.07(A), above, these Defendants are not eligible to serve another term in the Metropolitan Council until they at least “sit out” one term ....
Plaintiff and the two persons who received the next highest total of votes in the election of August 2, 2007 should be placed on the ballot for said “run-off” election since Defendants Tygard, Loring and Greer are not eligible.
For example, last month this Union contributed $1,000 to District 13's Carl Burch, who will try to follow through tonight with the pro-business, anti-democracy Car Wash Exemption Bill. SEIU matched the other contribution that Burch received in July from a car wash developer.
SEIU has no credibility and no room to criticize any candidate of being too pro-business with their own large contributions to pro-business candidates on the public record.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Tuesday Night's Conflict of Interest: Car Wash Bill Sponsor Burch Received $1,000 from Car Wash Developer
Mr. Burch reportedly will re-introduce the controversial bill on third and final reading Tuesday night, in spite of strong neighborhood opposition to it. The $1,000 contributor, Joe Meeks, told the Metro Council in January (start media counter at 1:00) that he owns land on Murfreesboro Road with the intent of developing a car wash.
Also, according to the disclosure files, a real estate professional whose name has been associated with car wash development, John Hobbs, contributed $300 in July 2007 to the Diane Neighbors campaign and he contributed $500 the same month to the J.B. Loring campaign. Both Ms. Neighbors and Mr. Loring are Car Wash Exemption Bill co-sponsors.
Is the re-introduction of the Car Wash Bill payback for the $1,000 campaign contribution? It sure looks like a conflict of interest to me. And the mere appearance of a conflict of interest seems one more reason to oppose this bill.
UPDATE: Here we on are the day of the third reading on this bill and has there been any attempt by the local mainstream beat writers to check the campaign contributions of the co-sponsors? Not so that I could tell. They're giving "beat" a whole new meaning. If the print editors want to question bloggers again for challenging their system, I'd point them in the direction of the total lack of attention to possible connections between campaign financing and council resolutions. Just because they don't cover it doesn't mean that the conflict of interest does not exist or is not important.
UPDATE: The mainstream media blogs ain't doing much better. These alternatives look lame on this issue.
There is a proposed amendment for this ordinance incorporating some additional conditions for car washes, such as a requirement that an attendant be on duty at all times and that the vehicular ingress and egress be gated and closed at night [that is, after 10:00 p.m.]. This would essentially prohibit any coin-operated car washes as a use permitted with conditions. Rather, coin-operated car washes would be required to be rezoned as a SP.As arbitrary as it was to exempt car washes from the same original requirements on other businesses to meet with neighbors to get approval for their developments, so too does it seem arbitrary to exclude coin-operated car washes, unless the big car washes are trying to eliminate competition. And in the experience of some, SP zoning creates a whole new set of headaches for property owners around a development.
There continues to be one simple solution to the favoritism that seems to be shown to big car wash developers: they should submit themselves to discussing their plans with the neighborhoods, talking with the neighborhoods' council representative, and getting support from the neighborhood for their development plans. This should not be a one-size-fits-all-neighborhoods-solution. Otherwise, it continues to look like the Car Wash Exemption Bill is nothing but favoritism and cronyism that serves a select group of businesses and a select group of Council Members.
Funny how getting past an election frees the Metro Council up to reconsider controversial bills.
The ethics problems of both Charlie Tygard and Diane Neighbors will be revisited Tuesday night as the car wash bill--still without the Planning Commission's promised recommendations--reanimates like a zombie that refuses to keel in the face of popular pitchforks.
According to this morning's City Paper, re-elected member Carl Burch is leading the bill this time, which makes me wonder from whom his campaign got financial contributions. We've got verification from at least two members--Emily Evans and Lynn Williams--that they will not support this bill in the face of substantial neighborhood opposition (given that co-sponsors don't seem to care to address the problem of increased traffic volume). The past performance of others is no less telling.
The car wash bill ain't no place to be if you plan on being a star.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Two responses immediately jump to my mind. One is that one of the reasons that blogs have sprung up is that journalists have failed at times to suspect their own judgment and to recede into the background. There are, of course, the obvious examples of the press going along and not questioning government policies and practices. There is also the fact that the celebrity and name-recognition of journalists seems to matter more than whether they recede into the background.
My second response is to throw up the stop sign as Skube rounds third (thinking he has hit a home run) and exclaim, "Hold your friggin' horses!" Since when did fact-checking, verification, and perseverance become the exclusive domain of journalists? Perseverance is a resolute habit that all of us should want to develop. Both fact-checking and verification have to do with the human qualities of honesty and integrity. Sure we demand those things from journalists, but there is no specialized training or higher income for persevering or being truthful.
Allow me to point out the irony in Skube's appeal to social critic Christopher Lasch to impugn bloggers in general for flooding the zone with information rather than robust debate. That appeal is, of course, full of holes, since there are bloggers who are interested in robust debate. But the irony is that a year after Lasch published his point about information overload (too early to be directed at bloggers, as Skube points out), he published the following about journalism and other professions in The True and Only Heaven:
[T]hey were all too deeply compromised by an exaggerated concern with the "bottom line" to attract people who wished simply to practice a craft or, having attracted them by some chance, to retain their ardent loyalty in the face of experiences making for their discouragement and cynicism .... it was becoming harder and harder for people to find work with self-respecting men and women who could throw themselves in with enthusiasm. The degradation of work represented the most fundamental sense in which institutions no longer commanded public confidence.The break in public confidence is exactly the breach that many bloggers (though, granted, not all) are trying to step into. And because they may do it with enthusiasm that Lasch saw waning in journalism, Skube accuses them of merely bringing in the noise.
But Lasch himself accused journalism of giving itself too readily to the raw ambition associated with money and power. And there was a higher price to pay for that. Many bloggers see themselves as writers even when writing does not pay their bills. They may not be as motivated by the raw ambition that Lasch sees as corrosive of service and of a sense of calling, but they also don't have such corrosion standing between them and public confidence. So, bring in the noise, because when you break it down you will find robust debate in its tracks.
UPDATE: Enclave commenter, David, refers below to Talking Points Memo's response to being included in Skube's piece, even as Skube concedes that he has never read Talking Point's Memo. Another violation of the idea that journalists should know what they are writing about before they write.
UPDATE: The Director of Communications for Bill Moyers Journal left a comment below that Mr. Moyers has sent an e-mail to Fox News' Chris Wallace, who cherry-picked one sentence out of Mr. Moyers' commentary above to ask Karl Rove during an interview. Mr. Moyers' e-mail, posted on his blog at PBS, puts the sentence back into the context of the commentary, which is based on past reporting about Mr. Rove's agnosticism and cynical use of religious conservatives in spite of Mr. Roves' claims to Fox that his faith was "slandered."
It was revealed [and confirmed by the National Security Council] this week that the White House will be writing the Iraq War surge report [General David] Petraeus will present to Congress. It was also revealed by a number of major mainstream news outlets that Petraeus will only be reading what the White House wants him to say. On the other hand, FOX News decided what the Bush White House is doing is perfectly within the framework of how a report should be given to Congress. Forget all the times in the past few months, Bush has said we are waiting for General Petraeus' report to Congress. Now it has been learned the Petraeus report will be "ghost written" by speech writers at the White House.Corcoran goes on to say that Fox News ignored four truck bombs and a U.S. helicopter crash (which killed 5 servicemen) earlier in the week.
Might it be that the spin we are seeing floating to the surface on some blogs in the past month indicates the timed attempts elsewhere of partisan media to influence low public perceptions about the effects of the Bush Administration's troop surge as a lead up to the September report? It would not be the first time that Fox has played White House whip.
In the meantime, we should heed the advice of some 82nd Airborne troops:
The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.
On the contrary, some actual troops wrote an op-ed piece in this morning's NY Times, and they question whether news is truly as good as some who link might wishfully think:
As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)Perhaps the MCB contributor should update and maintain that soldiers are also on the losing side.
The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I don't need to see Mr. Tygard trying to throw the Predators' water on a possible worst case scenario when taxpayers need to know that we might have to bail them out in order to get them to stay. It was pretty clear to me that the main reason he was doing it was for free publicity for the September at-Large election; else, he would have appeared without his campaign props.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Below is a picture of part of our garden. I planted everything except the green, flowerless bush in the far background before last April's unseasonably hard freeze, which they survived, only to have to weather the current hundred-degree-temp-and-drought regime that we are up against.
The red flowers in front are lantana (which in this region of the country are considered annuals), and they cannot get enough heat and sun. The only time they don't seem happy is when it rains. And they are constantly assaulted by various species of butterflies.
Bob Clement has opted out of the [Nashville Homeless Power Project] forum, leaving just Karl Dean to answer questions from the group on homelessness in the city .... Clement campaign spokesman Ben Hall ... said [that] his candidate was busy trying to reach several groups before the Sept. 11 runoff election date and that Clement had already met multiple times with the Nashville Homeless Power Project.On a related note, Sean Braisted has some interesting observations about whether Mr. Clement ever really participated in the "Urban Plunge" as his campaign supporters lead us to believe or he simply went around speaking to various groups with few homeless people involved.
“He’s going to treat everybody equally and fairly,” Hall said. “We really need to focus on other groups that he hasn’t been before at all.”
Thursday, August 16, 2007
We all jumped to the music and agreed. The purity of the road. The white line in the middle of the highway unrolled and hugged our left front tire as if glued to our groove.
- - Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 25th Anniversary Edition
One of the major books that defined the post-WWII Beat Generation turns 50. Viking commemorates the date today by issuing the original uncensored "scroll." While published in book form, Viking's "scroll" moniker is reference to the fact that Kerouac originally typed the manuscript on a long scroll of teletype paper.
Kerouac's original "roll" is about to go on display at the New York Public Library. The scroll was originally typed in 1951 in Manhattan, which means that it now is ironically coming home rather than going on the road.
UPDATE: speaking of unrolling, the medium itself howls "stream of consciousness":
UPDATE: Here is the August 19, 2007 NY Times book review on Thursday's published "scroll." The review says that the scroll was not teletype paper, but in a 1959 interview with Steve Allen, Kerouac refers to his preference for "teletype paper":
But consider the often overlooked reality that many of these firefighters, police officers and service workers actually live outside of Davidson County—in bedroom communities such at Mount Juliet, Smyrna and Ashland City—and can't vote in the first place.I've pointed out before that the fact that less progressive outlying counties have more influence in this election through Bob Clement is one reason that I could not vote for him. I don't begrude anyone the choice to move out of Davidson County, but they should not have more influence via campaign contributions and union affiliation than Davidson County residents themselves.
This in itself seems like a strong warrant for public financing of campaigns.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Areas experiencing the outage included 5th Av from Bicentennial Mall to I-65, and nearly every part of Salemtown north of Garfield St. Sections of 4th Av, 6th Av, and 7th Av south of Garfield retained power. NES told me that sporadic brown outs are typical when a substation goes down. Power just came back on shortly before 9:00.
UPDATE: According to NewsChannel5 (which suffered outage), the brown out was caused by birds. WSMV reported that the brown out may have been caused by the power drain resulting from the heat.
The election commission is going to be printing ballots for absentee votes and those type of things have to be done soon. The worst thing for Nashville would be to throw this whole election into such uncertainty that it brings dishonor to the city.The uncertainty would arise from the unchallenged assumption that term-limited council members can get around term limits by running for "re-election" (quoting the Tygard Campaign) to one of the at-Large seats. Someone seems to think a lot of himself to translate legal challenges to his election results as "dishonor" to the entire city.
I would not feel dishonored. Would you?
This Johnny Space Commander mask here is a pure fantasy toy. I mean, you know, kids can have a lot of fun with a toy like this, you know? Let me show you.. [puts the plastic bag over his head, then wraps the rubber band around it] "Hello, hello, this is Johnny Space Commander. I'm in deep space, I'm gonna land the rocket now!" You see what I mean? [takes off the plastic bag] You see what I mean? It's a pure fantasy toy!
One wonders in the recent Mattel meltdown whether the idea of free trade is returning us to the pre-consumer-protection days when toy companies could trot out any old dangerous play thing that would sell free from government regulation. Mattel did not regulate itself on the front end; it took a "British authority" and/or a "European retailer" discovering lead paint on a toy for the maker to start a recall. Yet, the free traders would have us believe that the free market will work the kinks out and that quite naturally, almost metaphysically, dangerous toys won't sell because they are dangerous.
It's called "self-correction," which is the Shining-like twin of "self-regulation." The problem in waiting for self-correction from the parental side is this: how many of our children equal the exchange price paid to allow random and unregulated free trade to work? To paraphrase Fyodor Dostoyevsky: should the sum of sufferings of these children go to pay for the arbitrary freedom of morally relative toy corporations to do whatever they will until the fickle winds of demand force them to change course? And should the foundation of an irresponsible market be built on the slightest suffering of even one innocent child, Alyosha?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
UPDATE: Suspect was reportedly suicidal.
Yesterday I contacted [NCP] reporter Bill Harless, the author of Monday's article, who said he tried to contact all of the candidates for his story on Friday [highlighting only the white at-Large candidates], but was only able to get in contact with (before deadline) the four candidates who were listed. He said that Salleta Holloway was the only one to return his call, but that was after the deadline.Ever the diplomat, Sean asks some nonetheless pointed questions about media coverage of race. With less diplomacy, I would also ask whether deadlines become an excuse not to make sure there is balance and fairness in reporting? I have had reporters call me a day away from deadlines. That seems to be cutting it close and thus risking that issues like bias are read in or into the story.
I spoke last night with some of these candidates, and according to Jerry Maynard he did not receive a call. Salleta Holloway's campaign manager Quenton White was at the forum last night, and according to him Salleta never would've called without contacting him first, and she never did that. Luvenia Butler did get a message, and called Monday, obviously past the deadline. Ronnie Greer also received a message, but according to him he has more important things to do than talk to the press.
Monday, August 13, 2007
After meeting with both of the candidates, I have made the decision not to formally endorse either candidate in the race. I spent considerable time talking with both Bob and Karl about their visions for the city, especially as it relates to the environment and sustainability. I was particularly encouraged with Bobs willingness to have an Office of Sustainability that reports directly to the Mayor. In the end, I came to the conclusion that both of the candidates intend to pursue some elements of the platform I spoke out about throughout this campaign and that Nashville will see progress on the environment soon.
He goes on to offer his assistance to both campaigns and he encourages his supporters to choose one or the other based on "independent judgment."
UPDATE from V-Squared:
Speculation regarding Briley’s leanings were sparked on Saturday after a (joint?) appearance by David Briley and Bob Clement at the East Nashville Tomato Festival and the coziness between the two suggested by an accompanying press release sent out by the Clement campaign.
The Briley campaign was not advised of the weekend presser before it’s release. The Clement folks have been advised that before future releases go out bearing the Briley name that a courtesy call would be preferred.
UPDATE: ACK at V-Squared revised the original post in the update above and requested the same changes be made to his quote here.
UPDATE: During Liberado's podcast on this battle, Mary Mancini points out that Harold Ford's zinger against dKos about anti-semitism was unfair because it was based on something written on the comments board of the blog rather than being based on something a dKos contributor wrote themselves (discussion is during the second half of the podcast). Mary compares Mr. Ford's tactics to Bill O'Reilly's on Fox News.
She also refers us to Moulitsas's main points that have been ignored:
UPDATE: dKos weighs in:
If ... [Harold] Ford really knew anything about Daily Kos, he’d know that Cindy Sheehan did in fact post an announcement that she was pondering a run against Nancy Pelosi—something that ... Ford shares in common with Cindy Sheehan, since he ran unsuccessfully against the Speaker when she was up for Minority Leader in 2003—and that the reaction was much less positive than she apparently expected. If he was familiar with Daily Kos, he might also know that a few days after that diary, Ms. Sheehan posted this diary, in which she (mistakenly) claimed that she had been prohibited from posting at Daily Kos.
Furthermore, if he were really familiar enough to have found anti-Semitic comments on Daily Kos on his own, he would know that they are extremely rare and almost always rebutted vigorously and usually troll-rated from sight.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Mr. Themm told me that he did not think that the decision got mainstream media coverage because the press is "tired" of the issue. The reseller may still appeal the judges decision, but it will cost them because apparently they are required to pay a year's lease in exchange for filing an appeal.
In related news, Historic Germantown's President, Stacy Mosley, sent a letter in support of Mr. Themm's initiative to make room for farmers and for organic produce. I wish Salemtown Neighbors would do likewise.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The point then is not that there is a lack of public admiration for poetry and philosophy in the modern world, but that such admiration does not constitute a space in which things are saved from destruction by time. The futility of public admiration, which daily is consumed in ever greater qualities, on the contrary, is such that monetary reward, one of the most futile things there is, can become more "objective" and more real.
As distinguished from this "objectivity," whose only basis is money as a common denominator for the fulfilment of all needs, the reality of the public realm relies on the simultaneous presence of innumerable perspectives and aspects in which the common world presents itself and for which no common measurement or denominator can ever be devised .... Being seen and being heard by others derive their significance from the fact that everybody sees and hears from a different position. This is the meaning of public life, compared to which even the richest and most satisfying family life can offer only the prolongation and multiplication of one's own position.
- - Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
Friday, August 10, 2007
In keeping with my past practice of donating proceeds I make from clicked Google Ads to North End area non-profits (past donations have been sent to Friends of Bicentennial Mall and the Nashville Jazz Workshop), I am pledging to donate the next $100 check I receive from Google to FOTNFM. I would encourage anyone who reads this to make their own donation or show their support by joining this worthwhile organization (membership fees are $25/$35). Let's work together to help speed these improvements in our community.
Yellow Ribbons--Like Car Magnets--Have Nothing to Do With Actually Caring for the Safety of Our Troops
The City Paper reports that some members are stooping to the new low of attacking the patriotism of Park Board Members. The NCP does not finger the specific demogoging Council Members, but the fact that they would attack fellow Americans over colored pieces of fabric that do not appear instantly at their rather easy command is shameful.
West Texas residents, bolstered by the Sierra Club, are concerned that the huge truck traffic and pollution increases should the corridor be built with government money and boostered by a private trade organization in Midland-Odessa, TX (George W. Bush's childhood home). Opponents started a website with a blog.
There is a dark side of "free trade" that deserves to be watched. It may not directly affect Tennesseans now, but the outcome of this battle will probably affect us down the line.
Does your candidate support the Farmers' Market administration's eviction of produce resellers in order to reserve prime stalls for local farmers and organic produce?I'll keep you posted if and when I hear back from them.
It would be a good thing for our community if the Market receives the court's support to evict the middle-man cartel in order to make room for real farmers. After 50 years and changes in their customer demand, it is time for them to go.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Below is a sketch of part of the approved greenway, which will eventually stretch from downtown to MetroCenter with a spur off of Morgan Park.
Award-winning Ashworth Environmental Design is working on the "Morgan Park Greenway Interpertation and Gardens" portion of the greenway extension.
During the AFL CIO Debate one of the Democratic candidates mentioned inviting the health insurance companies to the bargaining table when reforms are made. That's rather like inviting the Mad Hatter to the tea party, is it not?
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Is Waldman not referring to Dems like Mr. Clement and Mr. Cooper (who just voted against SCHIP)?
There is a whole generation of Democrats -- politicians, congressional staff, political consultants, and party functionaries -- who either started their careers or matured during the Clinton years, when the dominant Democratic strategy was one of triangulation, long before it was given that name. They spent their time worrying not about how to contrast themselves with Republicans, but how to contrast themselves with other Democrats.Waldman argues that the Democrats are going to squander all the public's readiness to hear how government can actually work (as it does with SCHIP and how it should with adequate infrastructure financing) and find themselves on the defensive if they do not make the case for constructive programs of uplift and repair.
The difference between progressives and conservatives in 2007 could not be more stark:
Progressives believe we're all in it together, while conservatives say we're all on our own and we're all out for ourselves. Progressives think government has to do the things markets can't do -- and when it does them, it ought to do them well. Conservatives are so blinded by their antigovernment ideology that when they get hold of government they turn it into a corroded mess of cronyism, corruption, and incompetence, a dilapidated whorehouse where the plumbing doesn't work, the paint is peeling off the walls, and everything is for sale.You should read this article just to see how Waldman shows how a junior high debater could "rip apart" Rudi Giuliani's abstract appeals that SCHIP is "socialized medicine."
Philip Hostettler, a Metro Council at Large candidate for the 2007 election, is quickly working through the details and paperwork for the purposes of applying the law regarding Term Limits. The People of Nashville and Davidson County, by a referendum election in November of 1994, voted for Term Limits, effective January 1, 1995. Incumbent candidates Charlie Tygard, J.B. Loring, Ronnie Greer, and John Summers, are finishing up with their two consecutive terms in the Council and under Article 1, General Provisions of the Metropolitan Charter, may have been ineligible to run for office again and blocked Hostettler from making the runoff. Hostettler received numerous calls on Friday August 3rd, one day after the election, ranging from first time candidates to former council members, about challenging the opinion of one former Metro Law Department Director, James Murphy, III [who ruled that two-term district candidates may run in at-Large races].I hope he goes for it and wins.