Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu is Here! SARS Guards Available in Bulk, 5/$1.00

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Swine flu mixed with SARS in the body of swine, so that means the SARS Guard still works, right? We don't want y'all getting swine flu. Or SARS. And neither does Peter Sarsgaard.

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Dept. of Pleasant Distractions: All Hail Barkevious, Leader of the Mingovians!

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 1:01 PM

click to enlarge Yes he did.
  • Yes he did.
It took a record-shattering 10,000-plus votes, but the 2009 Name of the Year finals have finally been...finalized. And your winner: future LSU linebacker and Commodore destroyer Barkevious Mingo. Kudos to the anonymous Ivy League Politburo over at NotY for once again providing the world with 10-15 minutes of pleasant distraction. And an extra ration of hog flesh for Everyday Should Be Saturday's irrepressible Orson Swindle. Thanks to Photoshop and an acid-aided imagination, the college football blogger turned a 17-year-old genetic freak into the Steampunk Emperor, the cannon-armed general of a long-lost fictional republic called Mingovia. And yes, we understand how little sense that last sentence makes. But attempting to reason with the unreasonable is impossible without visual aids. And peyote. So throw your hands up in frustration, then throw your head back in lustful mirth, and prepare to bellow forth along with us the rallying cry of all Mingovia: Mingovia the Great! Mingovia the Good! The land of smoking craters where once our en'mies stood... The sunny pines of Barko! The brothelettes of Ming! Let every filthy parcel To Lord Mingo's glory sing! Vanquished if you're lucky-far worse if you should lag In battle with Lord Mingo You'll end up bound and gagged Today we feed the Kraken-Sweet Bubbles, Mingo's pet! We sing as we make foes Into Kraken-sized croquettes. Now Mingo at the balcony-Our Steampunk Emperor, hail! Half linebacker, half god, Our love-shall-nehh-vaaaaaar---FAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!! (Photo Credit to EDSBS)

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WTF? Senate Democrats Reject Ophelia Ford as Caucus Chair

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 12:53 PM

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So Senate Democrats elected a new caucus chair today, choosing Lowe Finney over none other than Ophelia Ford, who had been campaigning for the job. Pith in the Wind is stunned by this development. How could Democrats resist choosing this exalted princess of the Ford family dynasty who's best known to date for falling off a bar stool in a Nashville hotel? What better senator to lead Democrats through these troubled times? Pith demands a recount. Here is Ophelia's irresistible email solicitation to senators:
Dear Colleague, During my tenure as a senator for this great state of Tennessee, I have enjoyed our caucus leadership under the Honorable Joe Hayes and Roy Herron and I thank them for their time that they served. After much thought and consideration, I have concluded that I am interested in serving as our next Democratic Caucus Chair. I am only interested if there is no other member with more seniority in the Senate than I. If you would like to speak with me about this personally, please feel free to contact me. I am respectfully asking for your support. Sincerely, Ophelia Ford

State Budget Cratering; Ramsey Warns of 'Scary Times' Ahead

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 12:32 PM

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey warned today the state's financial condition is worsening. Calling it "scary times," he said the budget shortfall has grown by roughly $200 million. "We thought it was bad when we came into session," Ramsey said. "We ain't seen nothing yet." His solution? Well, he doesn't really have one yet, but he's certain he still doesn't want to spend all that federal stimulus money to prevent cuts in higher education and across state government. Spending federal money now to stave off the dismantling of state government, that's irresponsible to Ramsey. Cutting services to the bone on the chance you might have to do it anyway in a couple of years, that's the Ramsey way. "We can't put this off. It's going to be tough," Ramsey told reporters. "Could we take this money and just kind of plug holes? Other states are apparently doing that right now. But that is the wrong fiscal thing to do." Our Q&A with the Senate speaker:

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Avoiding the Swine Flu (And Muslim World Dominance)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Men of Chippendales Bring Banana-Hammocks to Music City

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 11:26 AM

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Beefy dude-revue Chippendales is swinging into Limelight at 10 p.m., May 8, with a coterie of swollen Adonis' in dusty cowboy duds and fantasy public servant uniforms, ripped from the pages of its calendar.

Ladies of Nashville, every cliché fantasy will be realized at this full-production event. Mr. Fireman and Mr. Policeman will be available for more "up close and personal" encounters. Careful with that firehose, honey. It's dangerous. High pressure and whatnot. Oh, and the baton, too. I beat a criminal about the head and neck with it just before I got on stage.

When it seems like most of this type of entertainment is geared toward men, what is it about Chippendales that has remained so successful? Are you, ladies, drawn more to the total package of stagecraft, costume design and fantasy than you are to the, um, package itself?

I don't think I'm going out on a limb here in saying that most men don't go to strip clubs for the production values and the costumes (except when said costumes are tossed aside on the stage). Expound, Pith readers! We await your response, or at the very least a phone call from Chippendales HQ admonishing us for comparing their all-male revue to a strip club.

So if a bunch of guys sauntering on stage with shaved chests is your thing, check it out.

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Sen. Dewayne Bunch Too Tired to Fight for Home Schoolers Today

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:27 AM

click to enlarge Sen. Dewayne Bunch making his move this week in Pith's Kook Power Rankings.
  • Sen. Dewayne Bunch making his move this week in Pith's Kook Power Rankings.
Only hours after tirelessly defending armed wife beaters in a grueling committee hearing, Sen. Dewayne Bunch, R-Cleveland, was scheduled to launch a new crusade to devalue the diplomas of all Tennessee high school graduates. On today's Senate calendar was his bill requiring that "diplomas issued by home schools be recognized by all state and local governmental entities as having the same rights and privileges of diplomas issued by public school systems." Sadly, apparently weary from yesterday's freedom fighting, our hero tabled his home school bill until Monday. He also put off another great piece of legislation, this one to crack down on certain poor people living in public housing projects.

Morning Roundup: Special License Plates for Drunks and the Mystery of the Mown Daffodils

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 7:19 AM

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn taunts the Blue Dogs on the budget: "The Blue Dogs' PAYGO push is 100 days late and a trillion dollars short." ... The governor signs a bill barring the Safety Department from taking down the handgun serial numbers of permit holders. ... Did TDOT mow down the daffodils? ... House and Senate disagree on how to pick justices. ... Lawmakers push gas tax hikes. ... The Senate Judiciary Committee approves letting rednecks ride around with loaded guns in their pickups. ... And there'll be no confiscation of guns during martial law. That's a relief! ... Politico on the Cohen-Herenton matchup:
When Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, who is African-American, announced last week that he was forming an exploratory committee to run against Cohen, the implication was immediately clear: There is still sentiment that a white Jewish incumbent is not the right fit for a district where African-Americans make up 60 percent of the population.
Should Tennessee require a special license plate for drunken drivers? ... SJR127 survives the Black Hole. ... Eight indicted in Shelby County clerk's office. ... Chattanooga Times Free Press lays off 15 in newsroom. ... Frank Cagle sees signs of life in the Tennessee Democratic Party and trouble for the GOP:
Given the current split in the House Republican caucus, the Republicans are in danger of losing the House in 2010. Who will run the Republican campaign effort? House Speaker Kent Williams, who has been thrown out of the party by Chair Robin Smith? Majority Leader Jason Mumpower, who has a smaller base within the caucus than Williams? Or Smith, who may be off running for Congress in 2010? The Democrats need one seat and some of the Republicans barely won in 2008, even with a huge McCain margin at the top of the ticket.

Harper's Investigates the Sinister World of Tennessee's Payday Lending Industry

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 6:08 AM

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After reading Daniel Brook's in-depth look at Tennessee's payday lending industry in the April issue of Harper's Magazine, I'm surprised there hasn't been any real buzz on local blogs. (Though the mag hit stands a few weeks ago, the story just came to our attention, thanks to Carol McCullough at Occasional Muse.) You need a subscription to access the story at the magazine's site, but you can read the entire piece, "Usury Country: Welcome to the Birthplace of Payday Lending," at Bill Totten's Weblog. It will likely surprise no one to learn that payday lending is a predatory practice that takes advantage of the desperation of financially strapped people. Still, Brook's article--which focuses largely on W. Allan Jones, founder of Cleveland, Tenn.-based Check Into Cash--clearly spells out just how insidious (and enormous) the industry is. In the early 1990s, there were fewer than 200 payday lending stores in America, but after industry deregulation, the industry exploded. "Today," Brook writes, "there are over 22,000, serving ten million households each year--a $40 billion industry with more US locations, in fact, than McDonald's." (Tennessee made payday lending explicitly legal in 1997, following $29,000 in contributions from Allan Jones and his family to state legislators.) Despite it's absurdly high interest rates, which amount to several hundred percent annually, payday lending seems straightforward on its surface. You write a a bad check for, say, $230, they give you $200 in cash, and when you get your paycheck you cash it, pay them the $230 and get your check back. But, as Brook explains, seldom does it work out that way:

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Should We Prosecute Bush's Henchmen for Torture? Naah.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 5:58 AM

click to enlarge Face it: The wealthy and connected always walk. Always.
  • Face it: The wealthy and connected always walk. Always.
For years my lefty friends have been braying for criminal indictments for various henchmen of the Bush administration. My response: "If you're gonna talk like that, you gotta buy the shots."

It's not that a certain percentage of the Bushies weren't criminals (they were). And it's not they don't deserve a cellmate named Big Otis who lusts for fresh Republican office flesh (they do). It's just that in America, it's a waste of time to prosecute the wealthy and connected.

Recall, if you will, the Clinton Impeachment Fiasco. It produced those show hearings where our leaders hammed for the cameras with the faux outrage and concern of bad community theater. Nights of cable were filled with prissy little Washington guys squawking like only prissy little Washington guys can. The final tab for the special prosecutor was somewhere north of $27 million.

What became of it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

With new torture revelations coming by the day, we're now on that path again. The left will yap about justice. The right will carp about weakening our national security. K Street lawyers will go orgasmic with new heights of billable hours. And in the end, perhaps five or eight years from now, some low-level schmuck will plead out to a few misdemeanors, while the guys who ordered the torture will walk.

You know it's gonna go this way, because it always goes this way. So can't we use all that time and money for something more useful, like building some kids a really nice baseball field? I'd be in favor of that.

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