Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pondering A Few Unrelated Questions

We’ve never visited a city such a penchant for the electrical/mechanical “tombstones” that dot the landscape as Memphis. They mar Tom Lee Park, they clutter up downtown corners and they create a bit of visual pollution that seems ever-present.

Wouldn’t it improve things if they are used in a creative public art project that treats them as canvasses?


Pope Benedict XVI, in a lapse of judgment, quoted a 14th century criticism of Muhammad for “things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Benedicto, can you say “crusades” and “inquisition?”


It’s always a revelation into someone’s character when they want something so bad they will do anything to get it. We admired Bob Corker’s leadership as Chattanooga mayor, and because of it, his recent foray into the world of fiction for his commercials against Representative Harold Ford are particularly disappointing.

Does he really want to be senator that bad?


While Tennessee Senator Steve Cohen is a shoo-in for U.S. Congress this year, some leading African-American Democrats seem to have regained their math skills, and already, they are working to winnow down the number of candidates for the 2008 election.

Only with another stampede of African-American candidates into the ’08 election does Senator Cohen have a realistic chance of being more than a “one-hit wonder,” in the parlance of the Beltway.

Is it possible for him to put together a record as congressman that could be strong enough that it could get him reelected two years from now without multiple Democratic opponents to split the black vote?


Germantown buys a $184,000 BearCat bullet-deflected armored truck with Homeland Security funds. Not to be outdone, Memphis has now ordered a similar, but larger, vehicle.

Aren’t Homeland Security grants becoming the equivalent of FEMA funds spent on strip clubs and prostitutes by Katrina families?


In presenting a key to the city to Justin Timberlake on national television, Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton was greeted with a chorus of boos reminiscent of his half court rebuke at the FedExForum when he was paying tribute to University of Memphis All-American DeAngelo Williams.

Aren’t those who persist in embarrassing our city in front of national audiences the kind of self-indulgent jackasses that they claim the mayor is?


There’s been filming going on in South Main again lately. It’s always been impressive how many movies are recruited to Memphis by Memphis and Shelby County film commissioner Linn Sitler and her staff, operating on a meager budget and with little fanfare.

Can you imagine what could be done if film production could get the same kind of attention and civic weight behind it that the Music Commission has gotten in recent years?


Memphis City Councilman Dederick Brittenum has proposed that the Memphis tax rate should be reduced as part of a program that eliminates the PILOT program. It’s a provocative idea, and largely unrealistic, but it’s being propelled along by real estate developers whose interests always seem paramount in local policy.

If the Brittenum plan was passed, would City Council be willing to freeze the tax rate at the reduced level until 2013?


Mick Wright said...

I'm guessing you didn't read the Pope's speech; if you had, you'd find that it's point is this: "violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," a statement that holds true for people people of all faiths.

It's telling that you fail even to transcribe the quote correctly, and at what point you falter: it's "to spread by the sword," not by the "word."

But if you do choose to assume, incorrectly, that the Pope was simply criticizing Muhammad, your best argument would be to provide a parallel quote against Jesus, rather than against his followers.


Typically when one criticizes a campaign commercial, one quotes from said commercial and points out specific facts to counter its message. Your inability to do so is, again, telling.


These tells -- they are a revelation of someone's charater, you might say.

Anonymous said...

People shouldn't boo Herenton because it looks bad? Would stone silence have been more appropriate?

Smart City Consulting said...

Mick: We did read the Pope's speech, and as usual, we found it too hidebound in its conservative interpretations. Oh, whatever happened to Vatican II? We understood his use of Islam as an example of religious teaching sometimes gone awry, but he need go no farther than the Vatican archives for similar examples. The growing fundamentalism and push for theocracy should concern us all, regardless of our religions. It would be a tough competition to see whether more people have been killed in the name of Muhammad or Christ, but if the Pope wants to show real courage, he would call for his own religion to reject the literal interpretations of Christianity that fuel hatred and strife. Thanks for the comment.

Smart City Consulting said...

Anonymous: Stone silence is always preferable, at least in our book. The boos certainly don't lead anyone to introspection, regardless of who he is, and sadly, it only takes a couple to create an epidemic. We remember years ago when former Mayor Dick Hackett was called to midfield at a UM football game, and a few dozen people started booing, and before it was over it seemed like the entire stadium was.

mike said...

When Islamists respond to the Pope's remarks by murdering an Italian nun, by rallying with signs calling for his death, then it's not hard to realise the Pope has a point.

BraveCordovaDem said...

A few comments are below.

Tombstones: As a native Memphian, I just assumed they were inevitable. Thanks for bringing your thoughts.

Corker: Was Corker so good as Mayor? Why have we not seen anything in his ads about his accomplishments, much less his vision for the future? So far it’s been his negative ads plus ads telling us that he is a good guy.

Cohen: On the 9th District, while I am not a Cohen fan personally, the results this year and in 2008 will tell us how more mature our electorate has become. Will they vote for Cohen or his opponents because of race or actual views and accomplishments? The same can be said of the TN Senate race. These issues are similar to those of SCM’s other City and State, Chicago, IL, a few years ago.

Herenton: So we aren’t the most sophisticated City in the World. Then again, Herenton has shown disrespect for Memphians for several years now and feelings are strongly against him, certainly in the white community and a large part of the black community.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that kind of statement exactly the same kind of stereotyping that the pope's good at? Using Mike's logic, couldn't you say that all Christians hate homosexuals and invade countries of religions that aren't theirs?

Smart City Consulting said...


What we liked about Corker as mayor was that he had a sense of the investments that would position Chattanooga for the future. He focused on downtown development, the technology infrastructure, design, etc. He started the $120 million waterfront plan, got a direct fiber optic connection to Oak Ridge, started a public art program and an outdoor initiative, and paid bonuses to the best teacher to go to low-performing schools. It's interesting that he apparently doesn't think any of those issues would appeal to state voters since he's barely whispered about his time as mayor, preferring instead to last out at Rep. Ford in what amounts to a campaign misdirection.