Monday, June 29, 2009

Slumlord Alert! Councilmember Anna Page Targets Lee Barrett

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 6:12 AM

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Red State Update: Mark Sanford Brings New Meaning to the Appalachian Trail

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 5:40 AM

Chris Johnson, the Ochocinco of Tennessee, Leads This Week's Kook Power Rankings

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 5:33 AM

Does Tennessee law allow for same-person marriages?
  • Does Tennessee law allow for same-person marriages?
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is the gold standard of shamelessness. But for one week, he's been surpassed by Titan's running back Chris Johnson, who does indeed spell the word "team" with an "I:"

1. Chris Johnson: He filed for divorce from his Smash & Dash partner Lendale White because Chris Johnson just wasn't getting enough attention. In related news, he's added four new hangers-on to his entourage to carry his ego, and is planning a May wedding to marry himself, saying that "I'm the only one I've ever truly loved."

2. Congressman John Duncan: The Knoxville Republican wants to get rid of the Air Marshal Service, calling it a "useless agency" because it only rides around in planes. Look for Duncan to push for allowing gun permit holders to carry on planes, because in an airborne fire-fight with al-Qaeda, it would be way better to have Second Amendment Man shooting recklessly while hiding behind a grandma from El Paso.

3. Tre Hargett: When an aging voting activist left an innocuous comment on a web site, the secretary of state took it as a threat, sending TBI agents to intimidate, er, investigate the situation. The agents, naturally, found no threat at all. When they returned to the Capitol, they found Hargett hiding under his desk. A Girl Scout troop was touring the Capitol that day.

4. Robert Duvall: The Nashville councilman told Fox last week that Tennessee gun permit holders must undergo an "anal inspection" as part of the state's requirements. We realize this was just a slip of the tongue. But since 87 percent of Fox viewers are sexually repressed, according to the Nielsen Ratings, expect a flood of out-of-state permit requests so they can undergo said inspection -- but only if it's conducted by a cute guy named Randy.

Morning Roundup: Congressman Cooper Discusses Life as a Nerd and More

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 5:02 AM

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On the coming redistricting fight. Republican Rep. Gerald McCormick: "We'll be just as fair to them as they've been to us." Democratic Party chair Chip Forrester: "His statement certainly reflects the zealotry Republicans have adopted." ... The governor signs into law the new way we're picking judges and bills extending unemployment benefits and creating a statewide residential building code. ... Frist touts new education initiative. ... Andy Sher adds it up and finds the legislature passed 18 gun bills this session:
"It seems like the gun lobby has decided to use Tennessee as their laboratory now to get basically their entire agenda through what has been a seemingly complicit legislature," says Chad Ramsey of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Rep. Tony Shipley says he was victim of attempted blackmail on the state budget, but he's too strong and managed to resist: "The blackmail that goes on in Nashville over that sort of stuff is just unnecessary." ... Hillbillies rule in legislature, Ken Whitehouse reports. ... Tennessee cities are rushing to ban guns in parks. ... Dean endorses Coverstone as new charter schools chief. ... Both environmentalists and business interests claim legislative victories this session. ... Herenton leaving office with hefty pension. ... Tom Humphrey's best and worst of 2009. ... Congressman Jim Cooper discusses health care reform and pats himself on the back as the smartest person in the room:
"I do my homework. That's part of being a nerd. I've read all of these articles. You know, often times in a meeting, they'll ignore me, but when a hard question comes up, they'll look at me and say, 'Cooper, what's the answer?' "

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Word From Frank Dileo, Michael Jackson's Manager, and a Look Into His World

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 5:00 PM

"Uncle Tookie," as Frank Dileo was affectionately known, with the King of Pop.
  • "Uncle Tookie," as Frank Dileo was affectionately known, with the King of Pop.
Michael Jackson, who died yesterday at 50, was being managed by Nashvillian Frank Dileo. A November 2007 Scene cover story chronicles Dileo's colorful life and times, which included a legendary hot streak as the mastermind of Epic Records, roles as Tuddy Cicero in mob-cinema classic Goodfellas and as Mr. Big in the Wayne's World movies, and a stint as a co-owner (with Robert De Niro) of Tribeca Grill in New York City, to scratch the surface. Dileo was pulling the strings at Epic when Thriller came out. Here's what Jackson had to say in his 1988 autobiography Moon Walk:
Frank was responsible for turning my dream for Thriller into a reality. His brilliant understanding of the recording industry proved invaluable. For instance, we released 'Beat It' as a single while 'Billie Jean' was still at No. 1. CBS screamed, 'You're crazy, this will kill "Billie Jean." ' But Frank told them not to worry, that both songs would be No. 1 and both would be in the Top 10 at the same time. They were.
There are stories galore about Dileo's time as Jackson's manager from 1984 to 1989, a period that included the Victory tour (which featured the Jackson brothers reunited) and the Bad record and tour. He was forced out in '89 following a power play involving lawyers and record execs. But Dileo never had hard feelings. In fact, during Jackson's 2005 trial, Dileo went to L.A. on his own dime to be with Michael and offer support. Here's Dileo proclaiming Jackson's innocence on Fox News. And that loyalty paid off, when Jackson asked Dileo to take over as his manager earlier this year. Dileo had been spending time in Los Angeles working with Jackson to prepare for the London shows when Jackson died. Here's Dileo's press statement to the Nashville media:
My heart is broken. I've lost a dear friend. I'm going to do everything in my power to protect his children and make sure everything is handled properly for them. I'm very sad for his mother, father, brothers and sisters, as they were a close-knit family. I have been honored to be a part of not only his career but his life. He will truly always be the "King of Pop." --Frank
Dileo gave the Scene access to his office earlier today, where we snapped some photos of memorabilia from his days with Michael Jackson. They're featured after the jump, and more photos are available in this slide show.

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Notes From Last Night's May Town Meeting

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 1:09 PM

The results of last night's marathon Planning Commission meeting are already known. May Town Center didn't get enough votes to pass, meaning they'll need a super majority when the rezoning issue comes before Metro Council next month. We now know that the Bells Benders were partying till 2 AM and Twitter updates left one reader jones'in for a copy of her morning paper. So what's left to report? Why a grab-bag of notes, of course! - Poor Buddy Baker. According to those in the front row, the Cockrill Bend Councilmember was so terrified (of public speaking? of Tony G?) his hands were trembling while he gave a very brief speech in opposition. He and his wife left shortly thereafter. - Emily Evans and David Briley tied for best quip of the night. Evans, in reference to how May Town's design reminds her of our neighbors to the south, calls Brentwood a "terribly ordinary" place. Briley, referring to the number of hurdles that must be cleared in order for the project to be a success, says it should be known as Maybe Town Center. - The auxiliary viewing room (basically just an overly large vending area with closed-circuit televisions) was home to the circus sideshow of May Town opponents. ParchMay parodiest Rick Bradley was handing out copies of ParchMay Bingo, while Shea Butter, a John Waters' extra who stands six feet tall if you count her blond bouffant, ratcheted up the absurdity level with her "Queers Support Gay Town Center" poster. - School board member Karen Johnson told Pith she didn't have a dog in the fight. So why was she there? To grease the wheels of public opinion! Johnson, one of four to declare their candidacy for Juvenile Court Clerk, was the most fashionable pol of the night in her cream dress suit and royal blue TSU shirt underneath. For her sake, however, let's hope the outfit was enough to distract potential voters from the fact that she double-parked, blocking in three cars in a lot that had plenty of open spaces. - Divisive meetings tend to bring out the best facial expressions. Anytime you've got a literal fault line in the room, one side is always going to be snickering, guffawing or looking like they just swallowed a hangnail while the other is talking. But no one hammed it up harder than a Pro MTC'er named Derek Bell. (Possibly the Derek Bell who founded a local microdistillery and whose father is construction magnate Ray Bell. Also possibly a different one.). Words can't do justice to Bell's various masks of disgust, so here's a visual approximation of his bitter beer face anytime someone vaguely hippyish took to the lectern:
evolutionary-disgust.jpg

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Harmonic Convergence of Journalism and Advertising

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Among the many annoying forms of web advertising calculated to hijack one's browsing experience is the double-underlined text quasi-link that when hovered over pops up an ad related to the underlined text. The Tennessean's web site uses a service called Vibrant In-Text Advertising to make this happen within news stories.

Fair enough -- newspapers will try just about anything for revenue these days. But it took me aback this morning when, without noticing the double underline, an unconscious cursor move while perusing a story about GM's decision not to build small cars in Spring Hill produced this pop-up ad:

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Does this strike anyone else as a little bizarre, if not creepy?

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Celebrating the Defeat of May Town

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 12:21 PM

The monument to sprawl appears to be dead
  • The monument to sprawl appears to be dead
From ace correspondent Brenda Butka: Nashville won! The Planning Commission voted against May Town zoning last night at 10:45. It was an unbelievable scene: dozens of citizens sitting silently for six and a half hours, listening carefully to last night's Planning Commission hearing, the last of the May Town debates. And our volunteer Planning Commission, heroically and politely paying attention. I'd like to send them all roses, but a six pack of Red Bull would probably be more welcome. We actually learned something new: The May Town site lies directly under the approaches to John Tune airport, and, as we heard from an experienced pilot, there will be noise complaints. (Tony G. has also been admonished in a letter from airport authorities dated weeks ago that he should mention this in all presentations to the public. Well, he's been busy. Maybe he doesn't read his mail.) But the most riveting thing was the Commission debate. As best I could tell, May Town's main attraction was that it is bold! and audacious! I would have felt better about the votes for the project if those commissioners had been convinced it was sustainable! or will attract rich executives who want to drive by prisons and don't mind the drone of airplanes! ...

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Twitter & the Planning Commission Meeting

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 12:16 PM

If you read Jim Romanesko's blog, you know that the sound you hear most journalists making
Local dog is still suspicious of local blogger's Twitter enthusiasm.
  • Local dog is still suspicious of local blogger's Twitter enthusiasm.
when it comes to the internet is a long keening mournful moan of despair. "But ho-ho-ho-hoooooowwwwwwwoooooooooo will people buy it? And if people don't buy it, ho-ho-hoowwwoooooo will we get paid?"

I don't have a good answer for that.

I did, though, want to talk about Twitter and the Planning Commission Meeting yesterday, in which they discussed the May Town Center development.

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Morning Roundup: May Town Center Defeated After Seven-Hour Public Hearing

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 7:22 AM

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OK, something strange is happening here. First, English Only loses in a referendum, and now May Town Center goes down in flames. Rational people are prevailing. We know, it doesn't make sense. Michael Cass reports:
The commission's vote on the potentially $4 billion May Town Center proposal for the Bells Bend area sets the stage for a final decision by the Metro Council. But with 27 of 40 votes needed for approval, even some of the project's biggest supporters were doubtful about its chances.
An overflow crowd packed the meeting, which lasted seven hours, and 70 people spoke. Nate Rau: "At the meeting's onset, eight Metro Council members stood up in opposition, claiming the proposal would bring heavy traffic through West Nashville, would steal business from downtown and would have a negative environmental impact on a city looking to become one of the greenest in the country." Commissioner Stewart Clifton:
"We're a big enough county to have one rural enclave where agriculture can happen and where there really can be eagles, and gulls and cranes."
GM picks Michigan over Spring Hill. ... Bredesen plays down the significance of the decision. ... Willie Herenton resigns as Memphis mayor to run for Congress: "This is getting routine for me. You don't have the zeal to face it every day, and I'm the kind of guy, I got to climb mountains." ... A crowded field is expected for the special election to replace Herenton. ... Report: What caused the TVA ash spill?

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