Monday, April 30, 2007

Bad Boyd

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 4:12 PM

Metro Council at-large candidate Jim Boyd has produced a YouTube ad in which he rails against illegal immigration. Among other evils, according to Boyd, immigrants are "packing our emergency rooms and filling our schools with unvaccinated children." He vows to stop "the illegal immigration invasion" that's "destroying our community." We wish there were some way to stop the invasion of demagogues running for the council.

Deadly Silence

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 1:20 PM

This short film by Nashville filmmakers Dixie Gamble and Molly Secours documents mounting evidence suggesting Philip Workman did not fire the fatal bullet that landed him on Tennessee's death row. Since Workman was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a Memphis police officer in 1981, the prosecution's star witness has recanted his claim that he witnessed the shooting, admitting he wasn't even at the scene. Ballistics evidence also has shown that the fatal bullet almost certainly could not have come from Workman's gun, suggesting the victim was mistakenly shot by a fellow officer, and that police framed Workman to cover up what really happened.

The movie, "Deadly Silence," was posted on YouTube last week in an effort to save Workman, who is scheduled to be executed May 9, less than one week after a moratorium on the death penalty is set to expire in Tennessee. While Workman's lawyers are pushing for the courts to intervene based on the evidence, the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing and other anti-death penalty groups are urging supporters to contact Gov. Bredesen and ask that he extend the moratorium, or at least postpone Workman's execution.

Monday's Hot Type

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 9:44 AM

A grim anniversary passes: four years since the unsolved disappearance of Tabitha Tuders.

Sexy Rex: GOP operatives in town digging dirt on Thompson; the Chamber of Commerce board boots a City Paper reporter and endorses that controversial AT&T cable bill—in secret.

It's tuba vs. bugle as the War of Northern Aggression replays in Murfreesboro.

Women bloggers face rape threats and worse from online aggressors.

Nyah! Where's your Messiah now that Murfreesboro's proposed Bible Park has a Doubting Thomas—with a website ready to smite?

Meet someone who thinks Hillary Clinton is electable as president! Oh, wait, it's his job.

A fuming customer wages war on Cingular over a blown speaker. (Hat tip: The Consumerist.)

H.G. Hill's stock hits $115—in 1928.

Perhaps this isn't the article you'd expect from the headline "Hispanic Impact."

Street Level

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 7:24 AM

A (semi) weekly look at those who live and work on the streets of Music City.

Today's Street Citizen: Trina

Age: Mid 30's

Spotted: Murfreesboro Pike, in the Burger King parking lot across from WKRN news office.

Job description: "I think that I'm helping truckers relax." (Gestures at a nearby motel.) "Mostly I just need cash."

Where she sleeps: Shares a South Nashville apartment with a couple of other women and her kids.

Personal Hero: "Are you kidding?"

Favorite thing about Nashville: "I like the weather"

If she had 10 minutes with mayor Bill Purcell, she would: "Tell him how hard it is out here. I try to stay on my feet but, you know I use sometimes, and I feel like that just sucks me back to where I'm at."

Saddest thing she's seen on the street: "I once saw a girl get her face beat so bad that I didn't recognize her after. She was young, too."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Chavez Fired

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 2:32 PM

It's official. Robert Chavez—former head of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce who was suspended after a Nashville Scene investigation—has been fired by a unanimous vote by the board. Check out the full story on the Scene website.

Not So Plain Talk

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 1:44 PM

A former reporter for the Newport Plain Talk—a newspaper in East Tennessee—is suing his former employer, saying that he was discouraged from digging too deeply into the life and times of Cocke County Mayor Iliff McMahan Jr. According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the reporter, Gary Butler, who worked at the paper from 1999 until his termination late last year, says his bosses conspired with the mayor to "suppress unflattering stories, photographs and even a political advertisement criticizing the mayor."

He says that he was fired because he went ahead and did the investigating anyway. His former bosses don't disagree. The president of the company that owns the Plain Talk told the News-Sentinel, "Butler was told not to become involved in stories about McMahan without first consulting his supervisors." Apparently he didn't ask nicely enough.

Most mind boggling of all is the amount in damages that Butler seeks. He wants—drum roll please—$90 million(!) in damages. Man, media suppression don't come cheap these days.

Nashvillizing Namrata

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 11:58 AM


If you missed seeing Namrata Singh Gujral at the world premiere of Americanizing Shelley, the film that closed the 38th annual Nashville Film Festival last night, you've still got a chance. Gujral, who wrote and produced as well as stars in the romantic comedy, is making a whirlwind of promotional appearances today: she'll be at the Carmike Thoroughbred 20 in CoolSprings to greet people before the 2:15 show this afternoon.

Maybe you recognize the petite knockout from the cover of last week's Scene. (The wait staff at Sunset Grill did: they asked her to sign their copies—not unlike the autograph hounds who surround her character in the movie.) An India-born, Florida-educated actress whose work includes the TV series The Agency and Passions and a role in the Bollywood Reservoir Dogs remake Kaante, Gujral said she was delighted with the response to her film last night.

"Everyone here is so nice," Gujral said, en route to her next local TV appearance. "Maybe I've been in L.A. too long." Watch for her duet "Dancin' in the Clouds" with Steve Azar on CMT—a Bollywood-Nashville mash-up that's something of a first for the channel.

Phony Populism

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 11:35 AM


An online piece (registration required) at The New Republic today explores the appeal of Fred Thompson's "phony populism." TNR senior editor Noam Scheiber disputes the notion that voters prefer real populists to fake ones:

What if they knowingly vote for fake populists because fake populism is a highly appealing proposition? Liberals...assume that what most Americans want from politics is a modest improvement in their lives: affordable health care, retirement security, good schools for their children. Under this paradigm, voters should prefer a politician whose life experience has taught him how difficult it can be to get by without such staples. The fake populist is maddening because he professes to understand their concerns but has zero life experience (or at least recent life experience) that would make such understanding possible. But suppose most working-class voters want something entirely different from what liberals assume. Suppose they don't want to be slightly better off than they are today. Suppose they want to be rich. And the way they evaluate candidates, who are frequently rich themselves, is by wondering: Is this the kind of rich person I'd like to be? Now ask yourself: If you were a working-class voter in Middle America, what kind of rich person would you want to be? Would you want to be the kind of rich person who eats at pricey French restaurants, plays classical guitar, and vacations among the cognoscenti in Sun Valley, Idaho? Or would you want to be the kind of rich person who noshes on peanut butter and jelly, reads Sports Illustrated, and kicks back at a ranch in the middle of nowhere?

Scheiber implies that voters know (and like) exactly what they're getting when they fall for phony populists like Thompson (and for that matter George W. Bush). Maybe so, but it feels more than a little patronizing to assume that most "working-class voters" want hypocrites running the country.

The Great Debate

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 11:33 AM

For those who didn't catch last night's Democratic presidential debacle debate, here's a hilarious play by play courtesy of those political gossip bloggers over at Wonkette. These guys got seriously liquored up while liveblogging last night, and consequently share some interesting insights.

Burn Bernie Burn

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 11:12 AM


If you haven't seen this week's cover story by Jeff Woods about Bernie Ellis, a Middle Tennessee man busted for growing medicinal marijuana and giving (not selling) it to the terminally ill, read it and feel your blood boil. Word is that Ellis' benefit show Wednesday night at the Belcourt was a huge success. But the inequities of the case, and the stupid, costly war on marijuana as a whole, remain galling. Funny—nobody hears the feds threatening to raid or seize the Vanderbilt chancellor's mansion.

How many of our lawmakers—many of whom came of age during the 1960s—do you imagine have tried marijuana? Our current president, perhaps? His predecessor? Can any of these people argue with a straight face that a substance they sampled without incident—except maybe a runaway hankering for pizza, or an unaccountable susceptibility to Cheech & Chong's "Dave" routine—is the devil weed of DEA propaganda? I don't even smoke, and this pisses me off.

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