Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vegas Odds say Titans are Choir Boys

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 9:15 AM

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Isn't indecent exposure a misdemeanor? If you've always figured Titan's defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch for the kind of guy who'd one day be collared for tax evasion, today is the day to put your money where your mouth is. Not-at-all-shady-looking site BetVega is now offering odds on the next NFL'er to be arrested. The Bengals, a.k.a. the Cinmates, are favorites at 5-1. Your hometown Titans, a.k.a. the Waltons of the NFL, are 25-1 longshots. Apparently they've never seen how our boy Vince Young gets down at the club. Just for the record, if Vanden Bosch does cook his books, you're looking at another 25-1 payout. Not bad. But recent history suggests DUI (3-1) is the horse to back. Happy wagering!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

English-First Moves to English-Only Golf

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 4:57 PM

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This lady would be way gooder if she played in English. For those of you who believe Nashville isn’t a trendsetting city, take one look at the women’s golf tournament, the LPGA. It’s blatantly stealing our concept of bagging on people who don’t speak English. Beginning next year, the tour will require that all players be able to speak English. Apparently golf isn’t nearly as good when played in foreigner. Those who can’t pass a test will be suspended for two years. Further violations may include forcing players to dress in earth tones and wear cowboy hats. Though it seems a weird move for an international sport, the LPGA is worried that foreign players are driving away sponsors, especially during the recession. If you’re a marketing VP for a national insurance advertiser, who would you rather talk to in the VIP tent: Someone named Lon Su? Or a really nice woman named Mary? But we’ll leave the official logic to deputy commissioner Libba Galloway, who had this to say to the Associated Press:
"Why now? Athletes now have more responsibilities and we want to help their professional development. There are more fans, more media and more sponsors. We want to help our athletes as best we can succeed off the golf course as well as on it."
We’re not quite sure how suspending Korean women will help them off the course, but that’s probably why no one’s asking us to run their golf league either.

Bob Corker Just Can’t Win

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 4:27 PM

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The Republican senator is now getting blistered from the right. To break the stalemate over U.S. energy policy, a bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of 10 has put forth a compromise proposal in hopes that the rest of Washington will stop clawing each other like feral cats. The gang, headed by Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia -- and including our very own Bob Corker -- has something to appease both left and right. For conservatives, it wants to allow oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and 50 miles off the shores of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, if those states approve. For the left, it wants to assist U.S. automakers in ensuring that 85 percent of their fleet runs on non-petroleum fuels within two decades. The money would come from killing $30 billion in tax breaks for energy companies, which now have more money than God and Dubai. But it’s that last point that has the gang running afoul of the special interest right – namely the Americans for Tax Reform. Needless to say, these guys aren’t big on taxes. So they’re ripping Corker for “siding with tax-and-spend liberals” and making a “backroom deal.”

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Women Defecting En Masse from Obama

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 12:04 PM

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An impartial survey, conducted by Marsha Blackburn, shows a mass defection of Democratic women from Barack Obama. That’s right, and she dutifully delivered this news to the media today in a conference call from Denver, where she’s doing her best to annoy everyone in sight this week. The congressman (that’s the honorific she prefers; don’t ask me why) also revealed that she actually knows at least a few “Democrat voters.” “Let me just give you a couple of examples, anecdotes from women I’ve talked to,” Blackburn says. “Some of my friends who are Democrat voters have expressed concern over the experience angle with Obama. You know, when you have a woman who is like me in her 50s and has had a career and maybe got passed over by the person who was supposed to be the next great thing for the company and then 18 months later he’s gone …” There was some serious static on the line at this point, and we’re not sure exactly what point Blackburn was about to make, but we’re certain it was a good one. Otherwise, she said the Democrats are screwing up by spending “a lot of time talking about has-been policy rather than looking forward.” Of course, if they ever do look forward, then it will be revealed that they are big spenders. “But then the question with the American public is going to be, ‘How do you pay for this?’ " That Blackburn, nothing gets past her. “We are just having a great week here,” she gushes. We’re so glad.

When You Wish Upon a Pair of Khaki Pants

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 7:44 AM

Sometimes I wonder if we’re too hard on the The Tennessean--too quick to put the paper and its hard-working staff down for failing to produce the daily newspaper we think Nashville deserves. But then I encounter a story like today’s front pager on safety and uniforms in public schools, which sets a new low for lazy, incompetent local journalism. Readers this morning were greeted with above-the-fold large bold type announcing that “uniforms may have contributed to safer Metro schools.” But venture inside reporter Jaime Sarrio’s story and you find: In the year since school uniforms were implemented, simple assaults are up 89 percent across the district and “skyrocketed” over 200 percent in high schools. Simple and serious assaults are up in some high schools and down in others. Searches in schools have increased in number by over 600 percent (yes, 600) compared to a few years ago. The story mentions “a drop in the number of serious assaults” but gives no numbers to show whether the drop is meaningful or trivial. (Does the paper still have any actual editors?) Suspensions (both in-school and out-of-school) increased dramatically. Early in the piece Sarrio asserts, “The number of suspensions…increased as students were punished for repeatedly not being in uniform.” Several paragraphs later: “District officials…could not say how many students were punished specifically for uniform violations.” Inferring from this that school attire has a cause-effect relationship with school safety isn’t just appalling journalism; it’s malpractice in the use and interpretation of facts and data. Associate Superintendent Ralph Thompson is said in the story to be confident that the dress code is causally related to safety outcomes, demonstrating that those running the system are no more able than those running the city’s daily newspaper to reason competently with simple data and grasp the significance of research on this subject. One person who does seem to get it is Connie Smith of the state Department of Education and overseer of the MNPS “restructuring” effort. When a parent emailed Smith last month to mention school uniforms research showing no positive effects on discipline or academic achievement and to observe that arguments to the contrary are delusional, Smith replied, “I certainly agree with you and so does the research.”

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Amerijericho: Creating a New Christian Nation in Tennessee

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 12:39 PM

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What will happen when some nice Unitarians move in?

James Reesor wants to create a Christian nation based in Tennessee to serve as “a sanctuary from political corruption, economic instability and cultural degeneration.” But before you tune up your Nutbag Detector, hear him out. He actually has some interesting ideas.

His motivation, of course, is nothing new. CliffsNotes version: The world is turning to #%&#. We need a place of our own.

So Reesor, by turns cook and fringe gubernatorial candidate, is urging his brethren of faith to move to Tennessee (or the 10 surrounding states) to form Amerijericho.

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David Davis Meets the Press

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Congressman David Davis lost his bid for reelection ignominiously in this month's Republican primary, but he can be proud of one thing. He's now become the poster child for the Democratic argument against offshore oil drilling. Who knew? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used Davis' defeat to help make her case against Big Oil yesterday on Meet the Press. She claims the Republicans of Upper East Tennessee were striking a blow against Big Oil when they voted against Davis. Here's what she said:
Do you want to know something? You know when the Republicans were doing their what I call war dance of the handmaidens of the oil companies on the floor of the House a couple of weeks ago? Well, on that--one of those Thursdays was primary day in Tennessee, and one of the Republicans on the floor was up for re-election in Tennessee, and he lost in his primary to a Republican who said that Davis, the incumbent, was the candidate of big oil and offshore drilling. In a Republican primary, he lost. So again, we have to talk to the American people about this. What we have to do is what is right for the consumer, for the taxpayer, and for the environment. And we know how to do that.
And we thought Davis lost because he's a doofus.

Radio Free Nashville Wants YOU

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 11:09 AM

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This is your chance to enter the glamorous, high-paying world of public radio! Radio Free Nashville (motto: Low power for the people) is launching a local, "bilingual news division” consisting of citizen journalists. It's offering a free, three-day training program next month to teach you how to find stories and go over the seven words you can’t say on the air. Here’s a link to the info. Hurry! You could be the next Tom Ashbrook!

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Trooper-gate Threatens Life as We Know It

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 10:32 AM

My God, they’re coming after us now! Trooper-gate just escalated into national crisis status. Code Orange. Highway Patrol Lt. Ronnie Shirley made an unauthorized check into the background of Tennessean reporter Brad Schrade. Who’s next? Ms. Cheap? The Tennessean is demanding to know the names of all 182 people on Shirley’s “enemy’s list.” Under the alarming headline “THP potential for chilling free press enormous,” the City Paper joined the calls for a special investigation. OK, let’s not get carried away. Pith in the Wind is here, as usual, as the voice of reason in a troubled time. Yes, we need to find out whether Shirley was acting merely out of nosiness or as part of some grand dirty tricks campaign. And yes, the governor probably should order an independent investigation to clear the air. Still, the fact that Shirley checked into a journalist doesn’t add to the importance of this so-called scandal. As a group, journalists do their fair share of embarrassing things. (I won't go into specifics here but, if you're interested, you can see a lot of it on display every night at Brandon's.) There may even be a few criminal offenses in our backgrounds. So what? Nobody ever said we were perfect. Let's stop all the whining. This is the way the world works: We write stories that people don't like, then those people try to get back at us. Any reporter who feels intimidated by the snooper trooper ought to find a new line of work.

Ron Fournier & Conservative Media Bias: Say it Ain't So

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 5:21 AM

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Ron Fournier, the Associated Press’ D.C. bureau chief, has been causing quite a stir for seemingly behaving as a Republican operative disguised as an objective newsman. If he’s not writing fawning letters to Karl Rove, he’s using the power of his post to light up Democratic candidates, like in this piece titled “Obama Walks Arrogance Line.” Best shot: “Obama and his wife, Michelle, ooze a sense of entitlement.” It’s not particularly surprising. In the age of squawking cable hosts and the dueling propaganda arms of Fox and MSNBC, you, dear reader, have come to expect tainted news. Whether you’re reading the lefty ramblings of that damned Jeff Woods, or listening to the conspiratorial adventures of Phil Valentine, having a take is part of the game. But you don’t expect it from the Associated Press, which is to news what beige is to the color spectrum. The agency’s always been known as the dullest outlet on the block. Think of the guy next door who meticulously mows his lawn in black socks, still plays air guitar to Boston, and laughs out loud while watching Full House. He’s probably an AP bureau chief.

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