Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barney Frank Handles Town Hall Heckler

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 9:24 AM

The day after Nashville's Metro Council furthered efforts toward making it illegal to discriminate against gays, it seems only appropriate to feature Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank showing the proper way to handle a town hall heckler.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

SEIU Wants Phil Ryan's Resignation

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 2:27 PM

You know what the McNeely Pigott & Fox flap is missing? A pissed off union boss. Doug Collier, head of SEIU's local chapter, has apparently had a beef with MDHA director Phil Ryan for a couple months now and the bad press surrounding the MP&F controversy gave him the chance to address Mayor Karl Dean and Metro council members in a letter last week whose tone can best be described as angry teen upset about being grounded.
For months I have asked for inquiries to be made concerning the direction Executive Director Phil Ryan has taken MDHA. Others have written, and continue to write, Blogs and articles and many questions have been asked, but at the end of the day my concerns have been met with the same answer from everyone, "We" have no authority over MDHA.
The rest of Collier's letter, including the parts where he accuses MDHA of overpaying for the Dickerson Road buffalo statues and hiring a shady security firm, after the jump...

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McNeely Pigott & Fox Throws in the Towel

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Citing a "flurry of allegations" and "misleading claims," McNeely Pigott & Fox voluntarily stepped down as public relations firm for the Music City Center project according to a letter sent minutes ago to MDHA executive director Phil Ryan. The letter, penned by MP&F partner David Fox, claims that the proposed billion dollar downtown convention center is "too important for Nashville's future for these communications contract issues -- no matter how misleading -- to take center stage." Here's a question: What part of the claim You charged the city 10 grand to monitor blogs and build a crappy Twitter feed is misleading?


Friday, August 14, 2009

An MP&F and MDHA News-Sandwich

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 1:46 PM

click to enlarge (Delicious photo manipulation courtesy of D. Ricky Rodriguez.)
  • (Delicious photo manipulation courtesy of D. Ricky Rodriguez.)
Two things. 1) In the category of "No news is still news," Pith got a hold of MP&F's contract and invoices with NES. They've been in charge of marketing for the utility since 2005. No cost overruns. No blog monitoring. No gross violations of conduct for which to be righteously indignant. 2) In light of Blake Farmer's Tuesday discovery that MDHA head Phil Ryan had budgeted $900,000 for communications about the proposed downtown convention center -- even though MP&F signed an open-ended contract -- Pith thought it best to call Mike Pigott to see if he was also aware of this suspiciously unmentioned cap. Sure enough, Pigott knew too:
Caleb: We were told that $900,000 was the communications budget for the entire length of the project. So we had used roughly half. Many of the early costs were heavier one-time things like setting up a web site and putting a speaker's bureau in place. After they were set up, they required maintenance, but not nearly as much work as at first. We expected costs to drop further when work began on the center next year and periodic construction updates became the main focus.
Now if you'll indulge me, take these two rather stale pieces of bread and slap them together. Take a bite. Isn't that delicious?! Isn't the sum so much tastier than the parts? No? OK, let me try to explain why this otherwise bland news-sandwich tickles my taste buds...

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Is Principled Coach Kevin Stallings Contractually Obligated to be Moral?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 6:02 AM

click to enlarge Fourth? No, wrong again Kevin. You're No. 1 in our hearts.
  • Fourth? No, wrong again Kevin. You're No. 1 in our hearts.
Vanderbilt men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings has been getting a lot of good pub lately, and rightfully so. First, he dared cross an invisible line in the coaching ranks that keeps signal-callers from speaking out about the thinly-veiled extortion tactics of summer league camp organizers. Then, when a budget shortfall threatened a six-years-in-the-making roundball tour of Australia, he poneyed up $100,000 from his own bank account to keep a promise he'd made to his team. Good stuff. Standing at the other end of the tracks on the media pain train is Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Yesterday, Pitino publicly apologized for an "indiscretion" he committed six years ago. His sin? Sleeping with a woman who was not his wife in a restaurant booth, then giving her $3,000 to get an abortion when she later came with word that she was pregnant and without health insurance. All of this dirty laundry found a spotlight thanks to Pitino, who contacted the FBI back in April with the accusation that his long-since-paid-off paramour was trying to extort him for $10 million. Ugly stuff. From the odd circumstances of Pitino's case was born an even odder nugget of information regarding his contract. The Lousiville Courier-Journal posted the entire document online (basketball, you may have heard, is kind of a big deal in Kentucky), including a couple of clauses that seem to indicate that, if Pitino wasn't living his life according to some as-yet-undefined principles, he could be sacked. Via Deadspin:
Rick Pitino's contract has a couple vaguely worded clauses that could figure into whatever fate awaits him at Louisville. One refers to "acts of moral depravity," the other to "willful misconduct" that "tends to greatly offend the public."

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meet Craig Stevens, Your New Favorite Titan

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 12:03 PM

click to enlarge Hi, Craig!
  • Hi, Craig!
When you're the fourth option at a position that's impossibly deep, you've got to go the extra mile to catch the coach's eye. Which means if you're Titans' tight end Craig Stevens, a second-year blocking-specialist out of Cal, you've got to treat that extra mile as if its filled with brain-eating zombies threatening to tear your loved ones limb-from-limb*. From Jim Wyatt:
Tight end Craig Stevens was exhausted on Wednesday. He went through two practice sessions, and four altercations. All in a day's work, I guess. The usually mild-mannered Stevens was anything but on this day. He got into scraps with defensive end Dave Ball and linebacker Stanford Keglar during team drills. Later, he got into it on back-to-back plays with defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.
That's right, four fights in one day. This Stevens kid is a modern-day pugilist, I tells ya! *And in case you thought that zombie reference was a stretch, you've obviously never seen Vanden Bosch when he's wearing his extra special "Red Zone" contact lenses. *Paging Mr. Romero. Mr. Romero to Baptist Sports Park, please.* Stevens scrapping was probably born of the natural prickliness that exists between two behemoths made to slap at each other in August heat. But it also can't hurt his chances of sticking with the team. As low man on the totem pole, Stevens is right to try to fight his way up the depth chart. In front of him is franchise-tagged Bo Scaife, veteran Alge Crumpler who, cagily recognizing his new role on a team with two solid pass-catchers, ate his way to Koopa Troopa size in the off-season and Oh-my-god-please-let-him-be-Jeremy-Shockey-without-the-attitude rookie Jared Cook.* *Not excited yet? Watch this video. Cook's middle name should be Matchupproblems. (Catchy, no?) Stevens scrapping apparently paid dividends; Coach Jeff Fisher seemed impressed and said he was having a great camp. Stay tuned to see how it all plays out come September 5th, when Zombie Slayer and the rest of the hopefuls find out if there one of the lucky 53 to make final cuts.

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NewsChannel5: More Convention Center Contract Cluster$#!@s

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 6:39 AM

This time, however, the recipient of the open-ended MDHA contract was a consultant, not a PR firm*. Read the story here. *Although, in fairness, those two professions are practically Siamese twins, born of the same tainted womb.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What do you Call the New Convention Center Hotel?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 11:47 AM

click to enlarge Oooooooh, sparkly!
  • Oooooooh, sparkly!
A Marriott Marquis. Yesterday, MDHA picked Marriott to build the 40-story, 1,000 room hotel that will sit next to the proposed $1 billion convention center. Nashville will be one of only four cities in the world -- including New York (seen at right), Atlanta and Washington, D.C. -- to have a Marquis, Marriott's premium brand. Now that that's out of the way, all we have to do is find out how much (if any) money the developers are willing to throw in the pot. Then we have to find out how we're going to pay for it. And before all that happens, we're going to have to buy the land it'll sit on and establish the Convention Center Authority that will oversee its construction. So what did yesterday's news accomplish? It gave convention center proponents some good PR during a week when they desperately needed it. It managed to keep up the sense of momentum and inevitability for the whole project. And it introduced the newest, shiniest toy that's going to all but assure us a seat at the Big Boy's table. Not bad for a day's work.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Daily Show's Death Panel Debate

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

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Mayor Dean Counts Eggs, Claims Hatching "Just a Formality"

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Mayor Karl Dean has made it clear for a while now that, when it came to the proposed convention center, the baton would eventually be passed from MDHA to a nine-member volunteer board. But the timetable on that board's creation was accelerated from "Soon" to "Right This Frickin' Minute" last week, after NewsChannel5 uncovered massive cost overruns from PR firm McNeely Pigott & Fox. Just because everyone knew this was coming, however, doesn't mean they're happy with it. It's safe to say that, among those that actually pay attention, both MDHA and the soon-to-be-created Convention Center Authority are natural threats to Metro Council power. Robert Duvall spoke for the aggrieved members who (rightfully) see this as an end-around on their authority when he said:
"Taking it out of MDHA's hands is absolutely the minimum, the minimum the council is going to accept...I would really like the council to have greater oversight - a much greater oversight than saying okay this group couldn't handle it so lets go pick some other people."
Hey, they didn't earn that "40 Jealous Whores" tag for nothing. So here's a question: Now that you've already cornered the legislature, what's the one thing you could do to make them feel even more threatened? Answer: Send a press release essentially saying their opinions don't matter. Keeping in mind that the decision to build a $1 Billion convention center is still pending approval from the Council, here's the Mayor's office announcement of the legislation to create the Convention Center Authority:
(Finance director Rich) Riebeling said the transition of management from MDHA to the Convention Center Authority will take several months. Construction of Music City Center is expected to begin in the spring. The facility is scheduled to open in early 2013.

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