You know when you're playing euchre and one of your opponents leads the hand with the right bower? You know that's to flush out whatever other trump cards people have. The smart play is to throw the lowest trump card. And, sure, sometimes, your lowest trump card is the left bower — the second highest card in the deck. If you have to throw it, you have to throw it.
But if you've played euchre long enough, you know there's always some doofus who will throw that left bower and then sit back in his or her chair, triumphantly. And then you all have to sit there uncomfortably waiting for him or her to remember that hearts is trump this hand, not diamonds, and so that jack of diamonds can't take the jack of hearts.
Sadly, it turns out that Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher is our doofus. In the great euchre game of politics, he threw the left bower when the right bower was already on the table and he doesn't seem to realize it.
During contentious debate over the Farm Bill, which funds food stamps, in the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., invoked the Book of Matthew as he noted his opposition to the cuts.
“[Jesus] says how you treat the least among us, the least of our brothers, that’s how you treat him,” Vargas, adding that Jesus specifically mentions the importance of feeding the hungry.
Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, who supports cuts to the program, had his own Bible verse from the Book of Thessalonians to quote back to Vargas: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,” he said.
Mayor Karl Dean gave his State of Metro address from the brand new Music City Center yesterday, after cutting the ribbon on his signature mayoral accomplishment.
From The City Paper:
“Today we open the doors of this great, new Music City Center to welcome visitors and tourists from all over the world,” he said. “Now it is time to open the doors of our city for all. For the bright and the talented; for those like us and not like us; for the lost and the struggling; and for the young who are filled with so much possibility.”
In a 45-minute speech, Dean reiterated his support for charter schools and “school choice” and delivered a pitch for The Amp, his proposed bus rapid transit project along the West End corridor.
He also announced the establishment of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, “which will allow Metro government to take a more active role in creating affordable housing, encouraging rehabilitation of existing homes, maintaining affordability and building mixed-use, mixed-income developments.
Read the whole text of the speech here.
You may then also recall (starting at about 2:27) a "race realist" sporting a Towson University T-shirt who gleefully recounted the tale of flashing a gun at "a couple of blacks" who had come to his door. Not surprisingly, Matthew Heimbach, as he is apparently known, would be the leader of something called the "White Student Union," which goes around at night looking for "black predators" around the Towson campus. Somewhat surprisingly, Vice published a story about Heimbach and his little racial purity squad. (And yes, the AmRen Nashville confab makes an appearance.)
Since launching the night patrols, Matthew has become the pasty public face of campus hate. He knows how to court the media, and the segments about him that have aired on CNN, CBS, the Thom Hartmann Program, and pretty much every news blog, all prove it. As such, going to Maryland and hanging out with him and his shadowy “comrades,” as we did recently, risks giving him the thing he wants even more than his own Rhodesia: attention. Yet accounts so far have treated the student as a vile curiosity rather than what he really is—the possible future of organized racism in America—and so we figured, what the hell, let’s go interview him.
“I hate Hitler,” Matthew told me at his apartment, in an African American neighborhood in Baltimore about 15 miles from Towson’s campus. He resents being classified as a “racist” or “white supremacist,” he said, and despises the KKK and neo-Nazi organizations. “They’re just low-rent thugs trying to make themselves feel better. Frankly, they’re an embarrassment.”
Ah yes, the Our Racism Is More Pure Than Your Racism school of racism. So erudite! But you already know about that game.
When the TBI laid into Channel 4 on Friday, I noted that Dennis Ferrier's Holly Bobo story came during the May sweeps period, and that other stations seem to have their most promotable work airing during this period.
I didn't realize that was a controversial statement.
Sweeps periods take place four times each year — February, May, July and November. They are hugely important in the television industry, because that's when audience viewership is measured, and that data is used to set TV advertising rates.
In a conversation on Twitter, NewsChannel 5 investigative producer Kevin Wisniewski objected.
@scavendish just sensitive to the implication that May stories are less credible than stories that air in April
— Kevin Wisniewski (@KevWisniewski) May 17, 2013
If you visited The Tennessean's "Faith & Values" page on Monday, you saw stories about Mormon girls, the cast of Duck Dynasty talking about their Christian faith, Jim Wallis' book about faith in God, churches dealing with mental health issues, a couple who write hymns, a Lutheran coming to town, the woes of a group that guessed wrong about when Jesus is going to come back, and a bunch of new Catholic saints, not to mention a column from Ray Waddle about Christians and God, a piece by the pastor at Woodmont Christian Church, and a missive from a guy in Williamson County about how God helped him downsize. Plus you can take a quiz about how well you know the Bible. The only story on the page that wasn't explicitly monotheistic and implicitly Christian was about how you can go help clean up the City Cemetery.
The Tennessean's "Faith & Values" section does a terrible, shameful job of recognizing that there are a lot of Nashvillians who aren't Christian and who still have faiths and values they might want to read about in the paper. I mean, is there not one Jewish or Muslim person in town who had God's help making some major life change? No one at the Nashville Gurudwara has thoughts about God and politics? None of our Buddhists have thoughts about how to help Nashvillians with mental illness? There are no authors at the Sri Ganesha temple who might have books Nashville might want to hear about? No pagans brought anyone interesting to the area recently?
Oh, wait! The pagans did bring interesting people to the area recently. Yes, this past weekend there was a huge pagan shindig out at Montgomery Bell State Park—the annual Pagan Unity Festival. They invited important spiritual figures like Dorothy Morrison and Oberon Zell and interesting authors like Alex Bledsoe and M.R. Sellars.
Why Christians like to watch Duck Dynasty on the TV is not a more important "Faith & Values" story than the big gathering of Middle Tennessee people faith-&-valuing it up in Burns. It's just not. And I say that as someone who loves Duck Dynasty.
I know that every year, Gannett tells The Tennessean they're going to have to do more with less. And it's pretty easy to cover only Christians — after all, we have a lot of big, entrenched Christian institutions that know how to work a press release, and a lot of Christian leaders who are used to jotting off editorials. But The Tennessean is the city's daily paper. It's not just the paper of the Christians.
And, frankly, Christians don't have a monopoly on "Faith & Values." It'd be nice if the daily paper acknowledged that.
On Sunday, Tom Humphrey was talking about how Gov. Haslam is growing testy with the press.
Things haven't been going all that well for Gov. Bill Haslam's administration lately on the media attention front, so maybe it was understandable that he expressed irritation last week when asked about ties to an East Tennessee developer who benefited from recently passed legislation.
"I want to say something: You all's job is to ask questions, but it's also your job to get the answer right," he lectured reporters in the course of explaining why he is without fault in the situation. "Quite frankly, I think it's a disservice when people imply something's wrong when they know there's nothing wrong."
Humphrey goes on to point out that, of course, Haslam is trying to run the state like a business, "which must protect its secrets to be competitive in the free market. States compete with other states, you know."
So there's the contradiction of Haslam's administration — the media is somehow supposed to know when they have things wrong, but the governor thinks it's important for him to keep secrets. But you can't have it both ways. If you want people to know what's what, you can't keep it secret from them.
Ahh, sweeps season, the time when breathless promos let you know what every TV station's investigative team has been working on for the past month.
Newschannel 5 had Scoopageddon himself, Phil Williams, delving into the state's motor pool (and finding some interesting stuff). Channel 2 has been hanging out at pill mills, looking at a doctor who allegedly prescribes too much. Fox 17? They are DETERMINED to get to the bottom of those surcharges on your utility bill as part of their "Waste Watch" series.
And Channel 4 went to the missing persons well, digging up what appeared to be new revelations in the case of Holly Bobo.
Now chew on this. The rumor mill is turning today about the possibility of Kane — who is a libertarian named Glenn Jacobs in real life — challenging Sen. Lamar! Alexander in the 2014 Senate primary.
Earlier this week, Kane, er, Jacobs challenged Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to a debate, a news item so exciting we never imagined it could be topped. And yet, it has. #Kane4TN
For the 74th consecutive week, The 'Drome is catfight-video-free ...
NCAA vs AAA : Romanticizing sports is the sportswriter's great temptation — and one that has its place — and the temptation to romanticize baseball is stronger than others.
For the first time this spring, I went to the ballpark this week — twice in fact. Out to Greer for a Sounds game Friday night — delayed by an impeccably timed rainstorm, its pace held down by the millstone of fireballing Triple A pitchers who think every delivery has to be a strike. And I lament about Greer while at the same time understanding than any new sports facility is going to be privately funded — a prospect I realize is as likely as my dog learning to play Dvorak's Ninth on the keytar — because Karl's $585 million Enormodome sucked up all of the city's capacity to fund just-for-funsies projects. Greer isn't all that bad if you don't mind grunginess and if you don't have any pretense that a minor-league park should be a faux-antique Disneyland. Greer is functional, in that there are seats and food and plumbing and a diamond.
Wednesday Tuesday (it's been a long week), by coincidence more than design, I spent a few innings out at Hawkins Field for the Vandy-Belmont game. The crowd was a little more excitable, the weather was better and Lord knows the ballpark is nicer (though those of us of a certain vintage remember when Hawkins Field wasn't as nice as Greer is now). Hawkins is a weird little stadium, shoehorned into the corner between Dudley Field and Memorial Gym. Two-thirds of it are perfectly normal and symmetrical, carefully curving from right field to left, when the fence abuts the quirky gym and the wall has to dance and jut. I didn't have the pleasure of seeing someone lace a liner to left, but I'm guessing it would have been akin to seeing someone play real tennis.
There were charms to both, despite the Commodores' obvious advantages: Vandy's team is, ya know, quite good, while the Sounds are not; the standards of the stadiums parallel the particular fortunes of the two nines.
But Greer, for all its faults, feels real. It may even suffer from realness. For a purely functional experience, it cannot be surpassed. For a championship, though, head to West End.
As Mayor Karl Dean prepares to throw open the doors to the Music City Center, some bad news for his proposed bus rapid transit project, The Amp. Over at The City Paper:
Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper does not believe federal funding will be available for The Amp, Dean’s proposed bus rapid transit project that would run along the West End corridor. The project has already been a source of contention, with some residents, business owners and Metro Council members taking issue with the proposed route.
Members of an emerging group of opponents say Cooper shared his doubts with them during a recent meeting about the issue. Cooper spokeswoman Katie Hill confirmed his views to The City Paper.
“I think his view is that right now with sequestration going on, and until we strike some sort of grand bargain on the deficit, there’s just not a whole lot of extra money floating around out there for projects like this,” Hill said.
The mayor's office, and their D.C. consultants/lobbyists, remain optimistic that the federal program from which the city will be seeking funds still has room in it for The Amp. But before they get there, they'll have to contend with some more opposition forming along the corridor.
A gratuitous assertion, Frau Greta. Did the Fuehrer tell you that?
If you really want somebody to know something, you could just tell them.
I doubt she'd choke on yours.
The story on "the Lutheran," ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, was from January. I was…