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From Willie Herenton to women and pet owners: drop dead!
Gladiator Willie responds to a reporter's question
(posted June 10, 2010) by Ben "Benqq" Harrison
Its got to be true. I saw it on TV! Local journalists are called into a room with
congressional primary candidate Willie Herenton
and left gasping
behind their mics and cameras. Its a display that has the uncomfortable edges of a man revealing too much about himself: his smoldering resentments he
can't leave behind, his demons that rise up unexpectedly at the oddest moments.
Herenton, in a pugilistic management style he'd foisted on the city previously, resembles a Roman gladiator thrusting a sword through his successor, media and anyone else who's a problem and not a toy in his sandbox.
From what I saw, he talked to them like a principal enjoying his power over misbehaving
students, lecturing in that condescending pontificating style until one of the little
miscreants rolls a marble under his chair, causing the principal to
lose it, revealing what's really behind the suit.
The marbles that apparently most rattled The Principal were questions from WREG
reporter Mike Matthews
about the scandalously inept rape crisis center and the
criminally involved Memphis Animal Shelter. In an uncontrolled dramatic outburst only equalled
by a defendant on Law and Order, Herenton revealed his attitudes toward women,
animals and the law in a breath taking exchange with the reporter.
Saying in time-bomb ticking faux patience that he had already answered that question,
the former director of the Memphis City Schools went on to add
more to the point in a jaw dropping bombast that would garner front page news if it
were a conservative speaking the obverse:
"I don't give a damn" about the rape crisis center or the animal shelter and these were
items "peripheral" to larger issues. He went on to announce
there were "real" issues in America but didn't name any. Uh huh. How about some content
those crises, Mr. Herenton? Respond |
previous related story (scroll down when there)
Next: Herenton's Radio Guy Dishes the Muck
Ready for the Arizona-Tennessee Mexican Diaspora? Here's AZ Immigration Bill 1070 as Written
posted Thursday May 20, 2010 By Ben "BenQQ" Harrison
Now that we as a nation officially genuflected to Mexico
this week and our
president all but high fived President Felipe Calderon when he openly
chastised of the U.S. for allegedly "violating" the human rights of his countrymen with
law, perhaps we should read it. And that includes
Tennessee lawmakers, as well.
In Arizona, cross border Mexican migrants number to nearly a half million. There too millions
have been spent (without a breath of acknowledgement from Calderon) in education and
health care for the same migrant population whose rights he believes are being violated.
He's not the only one. I heard some protestors emotionally call Arizonans "Nazis" without,
of course, establishing not even a difficult comparison. (cont. above)
So I'll stretch to give them one: Don't be surprised if AZ 1070, which extends and supports
federal immigration law among state agencies, creates a "Mexican Diaspora" to adjacent
states, including Tennessee. Our state currently has only about 100,000 undocumented
workers out of a population of 210,000 foreign born residents, according to
a 2007 report of the Tennessee Comptroller to the Treasury.
Arizona's law won't stop the Rio Grande Express but will divert it westerly and easterly. Tennessee
will have two ways to go: either institute a state income tax in order to add health,
education and social service resources to
accommodate the undocumented or enforce its own anti-immigration bill 729 that can shut
down a business for hiring illegal workers. The TN law does not go as far as authorizing
state enforcement as Arizona that has a much larger illegal immigrant population.
posted Friday May 14, 2010
It was just a taste of what had gone before and what
was to come in spades for local pols--community meetings of supporters and those few curious enough to venture out to actually
"meet" a candidate in a "meet and greet" event this past Wednesday.
Preceding her, Timothy Price, Senior Advisor, said to the group of
mostly older and all white conservatives that never numbered over 30 for the entire
the time was right for Bergmann. He noted the anger from conservatives, propelling
upsets in long held Democratic strongholds and possible new trends in local voting that
portended positive signs for Bergmann.
Bergmann is the first Republican candidate I've heard to actually use
the news of riots in Greece as a warning to what could happen in the U.S., if
conservative Republican values were not restored in the Senate. In a brief talk she
hit upon the health bill that took away consumer choice, fiscal conservatism,
spiraling taxes, national security, job growth predicated on economic growth and
even presented the historical irony of a black woman advocating states' rights.
The group took it all in, quietly approving.
The meeting was hosted by Sheila Zaricor-Wilson, owner of Master Design,
where you'd see art on the walls and hair styling equipment in the
adjacent room. It was the kind of intimate gathering candidates mined
for volunteers and donations, which the affable candidate did with good humor.
Pictures (MPN May, 2010 file)
Tennessee 9th District
Primary: August 5
previous posts on this topic
Memphis "Radio Grizzly" Sues
Former KWAM radio talk show host Thaddeus Matthews is reportedly claiming $350,000
$150,000 compensatory damages for alleged breach of contract with the station.
But, perhaps way more interestingly, Matthews alludes to a concerted effort to
keep him off the air by "power brokers" opposed to his abrasive politics.
This was a recurring theme on his show when I listened preparing for
last month's article on
Matthews and Ferguson. But should Matthew's claim be so quick to dismiss? Something keeps it hanging on for
So here's my thought...
Maybe its just my experience of working in LA for about 20 years, but I find Memphis a company town where the status
quo hangs on like a fog that won't lift. Perhaps that's why we have permanent politicians that get elected on
recognition only. So when a guy comes along and goes about offending people over the air, especially the powerful
and wealthy, who are mostly white in a predominantly black town, then the soft "go along get along" polite southern
culture wants to reject it like a foreign element in a blood stream.
by Ben Harrison
Respond about this piece for publication.
There might be something bigger at work here than just a conflict between businesses, politics and personalities.
imagine this scenario: a group of business men (and let's add in a few women, as well, considering the offender)
get together and decide to bring their advertising revenue and influence to altar a talk radio lineup, that is,
create a media tool more suited to their business goals. He offended enough of them LOL.
So, if a group of "power brokers" got together and decided to take Matthews off the air to replace him with, by
comparison, a conservative Republican more likely to do their bidding, we should be concerned, very concerned.
In fact all media should watch Matthews' case to see if his on-air comments that "some people" want to get off the
air is valid. Even the allegation should make consumers of media
think about the "marketplace of ideas" in Memphis and what kind of choice they actually have.
And that, my friends, is the issue, not what you think about Thaddeus. Every business has a right to hire and fire any employee
at will. Radio stations are no different. But no media person should be fired
because some business cabal finds him or her offensive or unfriendly to their interest. If Thaddeus' allegations
are shown out, it becomes a different story.
Regardless, Memphis now has a modern day black vs white, liberal vs conservative,
Democrat vs. Republican, business vs. unfettered (if not free) speech "radio drama" that is sure to get it national
attention if Thaddeus
can work the media the way he worked his radio show.
Real Poli/Real Fed Up
Where Realpolitik Meets
the Last Straw
Has Ms. Kagan Experienced This?
Elena Kagan is a perfectly good and acceptable nominee to the Supreme Court,
as nominees go by this particular president.
But now we're going to have to hear about her wonderful credentials from a
wonderful career and, by inference, how you, the working schmuck, have neither.
Just trust us. You may be struggling to pay the taxes on your house, to keep the
last remaining bit of insurance, to struggle through a crappy job, but they, the
ones who are given virtual lifetime appointments in the guise of political office,
along (with their first cousins in Big Media) like the Easter bunny in a spring garden.
Now, I recently crawled around my computers desperately trying to get my network back up
with Earthlink before a conference call began with a company that required you to attend
a "training seminar" (which really was only an overly complicated process to justify
their new computer program) before you would be eligible to do business with them.
After an hour trying to understand the foreign accent , another "tech support"
casually tells me that my ISP system itself was down. A simple first check could have
prevented my having to experience the chaos of unplugging, replugging, resetting and
reinputting passwords and numbers--at their "guidance." (cont. above)
It's not only my ISP. It's every company now. And hiding behind the fine print of billing, the endless hours of trying to resolve issue after issue, the sheer drain of pursuing fairness in a transaction and the time and struggle it takes to change providers all conspire to create new profit centers for big companies. You are manipulated digitally to squeeze more payments and fees from you, I believe, as never before. And its all legal.
So I wonder: has the new Supreme Court nominee ever experienced that? Why wouldn't that be a qualification as much as knowledge of the law? I mean there once was a day when Supreme Court members didn't even have to
be lawyers. Just be able to make common sense decisions that were good for the country
and the average Joe that lived in it--not for corporations and insurance companies,
etc. that want to take as large a piece out of you as possible while manipulating
technology to get yet another one over on you. And with digital, that's easier than ever.
Oh, but I'm sure our congress people will ask that in confirmation hearings.