Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama's security 'lapse'

Since his candidacy began and for good reason (Medgar Evers. Malcolm X. MLK. Fred Hampton.) African-Americans have whispered their anxiety over Barack Obama's safety. I admit, racial paranoia in black America is at times a destructive viewpoint. However, it is also a healthy immune system against racism that was strengthened by horrific real world events. I personally think it's unproven conspiracy theory B.S., but believing the government administered AIDS to black communities is somewhat based upon the Tuskegee Experiment.

Let's be honest, we're worried about Barack.

Well the latest news coming out of Texas is not helping.

From the Ft. Worth Stat-Telegram:

"Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

'Sure,' said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a 'friendly crowd.'"

Even though the Star-Telegram reported that several police officers were worried, a spokesperson for the Secret Service denied the "lapse" and the Obama campaign insists no corners are being cut. Even though scattered reports of similar "no screenings" have reportedly come in, Barack insists he's safe.

I won't fan our worst fears. Still, the hushed anxiety is more pronounced.

Welcome Louisville Public Media

hat tip to LEO's General Sense of Outrage.

Today Public Radio Partnership, which owns three public radio stations (WUOL, WFPL, and WFPK FM), announced its new name to emphasize its new direction. It is now officially, Louisville Public Media.

According to Executive Director Donovan Reynolds, LPM will expand its programming to include "new technologies." So basically the slumbering folks in the radio business have found out that people under 35 get their news online. Congratulations!

“The public radio audience is looking for new kinds of information, new tools and services, and new ways to get things done,” said Reynolds. “We see this as an opportunity to become even more relevant to our community through intelligent risk-taking and experimentation.”

I say the more (quality) voices in the Derby City the merrier.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kwame to Kwame: Resign or else

"I'll be here for as long as I can be here" - this is an actual quote (AP Press)

Another bad week for Detroit's hip-hop mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

First, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected Kilpatrick's attempt to conceal documents from being made public that detail a city settlement that helped conceal an affair with his former Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty. Kilpatrick and Beatty's text message scandal revealed over 14000 messages over city issued pagers that narrated the affair.

It gets worse.

Detroit's other Kwame, Councilman Kwame Kenyatta, chair of the Internal Operations Committe passed a resolution saying Mayor Kilpatrick used his office for personal gain. The resolution also calls for Kilpatrick to resign or risk being forced from office. The resolution will be before the full council on Tuesday.

Near the end of The Wire

With only two episodes left -- just one for those with HBO On Demand -- one of America's most underrated television shows is preparing to end. The beauty about The Wire is that like the city it depicts (Baltimore), fans are sprawled across demographics of race and class with very different reasons for watching. Whether you're a fan of the streets, the school, the politics, the police or the newsroom or the entire web, The Wire is a novel set in the declining American metropolis with a gallery of atypical but compelling characters.

Periodically The SOULution will provide links of praise, criticism and discussion about this seminal work of fiction. The first is an excellent essay by Brian Cook for In These Times with an excerpt below:

"Throughout its five seasons on HBO, The Wire has created riveting fictional drama out of the residents living, policing and selling dope on the streets of Baltimore. Described by its co-creator David Simon as the ultimate "anti-cop show, a rebellion against the horseshit police procedurals afflicting American television," The Wire obliterates easy dichotomies of "good cops" and "bad drug dealers." Instead, it builds morally complex characters on both sides of the law whose individual decisions are largely shaped by political and economic forces outside their control. After detailing the ravages of the drug trade in its first season, the show broadened its scope in each subsequent season, examining the city's collapsing industrial sector (and unions), political system, public schools and, finally, journalistic institutions."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Paper Wars: LEO v. Velocity

According to the hipsters at Velocity, LEO is for losers.

Apparently the cool kids have had enough of being called out. "[LEO]...picked the wrong week to call Velocity 'faux' anything."

Last week LEO referred to the Velocity and its counterparts as "faux weeklies". There is a sad phenomenon in journalism where big papers try to attract younger readers by stitching together shameless rags. Go here in News Review's "The young and clueless".

I was given a preview of this "beef" when Velocity staff writer Javacia Harris interviewed me for her blog in January. She asked me what else I write besides the blog and I said for LEO (an awkward pause followed). Javacia then said LEO makes snide remarks about their content from time to time. For the record, I said, I do too. We agreed to disagree and she's proudly linked on the ol' SOULution.

On LEO's blog, managing editor Stephen George answered:

"Velocity! says we're 'Losers.' As they do every week, the faux weekly purporting to know all there is to know about lifestyle — and whoring yourself out to your advertisers (how many Party Crashers do we have to see about Fourth Street Live?) — is calling us out"

Read it all here.

My feelings, I enjoy Javacia's work. However, besides her touchstones on Louisville's African-American music scene there's little reason for a guy like me to pick up Velocity. I'm not cool. I read more books that I got to clubs. You won't fine me at Villa Fontana or Felt. And the only time I set foot on 4th Street Live is browsing at Borders.

I guess this means I won't be featured in their "What I'm into..." section since I'm a loser who reads and writes at LEO -- bummer!

I'd like a Bud Light and Fatwa, please

Next week, Judge Mary Shaw's courtroom may be the finish line of the Shawnee neighborhood's wet-dry vote, which has turned into an ugly spitting contest between convenient storeowners and community leaders.

My logic was never able to connect the dots from buying Bud Light to increased crime. If neighborhood ministers and Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton worked closer with the Health Department and examined the affect these stores have on the community's health they may have found a better argument. Then again, the only thing that motivates activists or journalists or politicians in West Louisville is crime.

For more, check out my news analysis entitled Near the finish line, in this week's LEO.

Besides the sensationalist beer = crime argument, a new injection of religion has provided a bizarre twist.

One new dry supporter, Rev. Peter Hayes, sent out dozens of letters to American Muslim organizations asking for a fatwa (edict issued by an Islamic cleric) against the Palestinian storeowners. Rev. Hayes has gotten mixed responses with at least one cleric agreeing and another saying no fatwa is necessary, just a Islamic expert testifying in Judge Shaw's court.

Hayes is the pudgy white gentleman in the video below.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

TARC's rap

When my father worked for TARC, I imagined a music video with him and other bus drivers dancing and singing, "T-A-R-C, TARC!"

Below, however, is another example of when hip-hop goes bad.

The last time Louisville employed rap music to promote something was the embarrassing "L-Yeah" video with U of L football coach, John L. Smith featuring "Get Down Records". Remember that? I hope not.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

State of the Black Union 2008

Hat tip to Jack & Jill for providing highlight clips. More to come when I find them.

Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union should be looked at in two parts. The first is an unrivaled informative platform that showcases the diversity in African-American political thought. Tavis' panels also give us an opportunity to find new voices in black America besides the celebrities with a media pulpit.

The other part of SOBU has debatable value. I call them the "Malcolm X" moments, which is basically when a panelist hijacks the program talking tough.

The first clip may seem like a "Malcolm X" moment but the Rev. Al Sharpton outlined an important subject line in this years Democratic primary. The poliTRICKS of employing super-delegates or Michigan and Florida delegates were eviscerated by Rev. Al.

"Don't change the rules when we start winning." Take that Sheila Jackson-Lee.

My personal favorite moment was Dick Gregory's speech. Sure he's a bit bonkers at times but he did an excellent job of stripping away the myth that "Bill Clinton is the 1st Black President".

Then he took on the stereotypes of black folk being lazy and violent. Take that Bill Cosby. Gregory also provided my new favorite quote of 2008:

"What are you putting in my malt liquor, white boy!!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Barack Obama & Hip-Hop

"My raps ignite the people like Obama" - Common, 'The People'

Maybe it's more Obamania hype. He's young, he's (half) black. Naturally we're crowning him the hip-hop candidate for President. Be careful, remember the last politician we gave the coveted moniker to was Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He ended up being more Lil Wayne than Lupe Fiasco.

Still, we cannot escape nor should we ignore Obama's hip-hop features. The speeches that have grabbed thousands in attendance and millions watching at home is a git of a true MC. He's a quick leaner. He has matured immensely since last year. And His wife, Michele Lavon Obama, speaks truth to power with an uncanny freestyle ability to do her eloquent speeches without notes or a teleprompter.

Still, he doesn't owe everything to a music genre that has largely been apolitical. Unlike the Vote or Die campaign, he's brought new and younger Americans not just to rallies to register but to caucuses and primaries to vote. Wearing Obama t-shirts and shoes is one thing. Younger voters mobilizing to create the first foundation of Obama's base in Iowa was another. Shouting out Obama in a rap lyric and naming him B-Rock in VIBE Magazine is cool, persuading your parents and grandparents to switch their vote is power.

He owes that to being a politicized community organizer. Since Iowa, Barack's candidacy is built upon a base on youth voters born after 1979 that understand America through lenses focused by hip-hop.

I found this essay, "Barack Obama, Hip-Hop candidate" by writer Latoya Peterson in the American Prospect:

"Ignore the thousand and one variations on "Superman" floating around YouTube. Hip-hop culture is a unifying force, a potent combination of entrepreneurship, community activism, creativity, and innovation that appeals to youth across the globe. Barack Obama is the hip-hop candidate, not because of his racial identity or his oratory skills, but because his policies and approach to politics demonstrate that he understands the needs and desires of the hip-hop community."
Read it here.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama 10, Billary 0

Let's repeat, 10 to 0.

Obama - 58.1%
Billary -40.7%

Obama - 75.7%
Clinton - 23.6%

Billary's "last" stand is supposedly in Texas and Ohio on March 4. Highly doubtful given the recent report from Politico that Billary targeted PLEDGED delegates. You read correctly, not the super-delegates but the pledged ones Obama won.

Billary will throw in the towel. And it seems the Democratic Party referees (i.e.DNC chairman Howard Dean, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore) are not going to stop the fight.

Obama needs a K.O. (e.g. a win in Texas).

Until then expect more scrutiny on Obama. He's already the target of three Beltway veterans Billary and McCain. All three are saying he's all talk and no substance. A charge that wasn't helped when Obama supporter, Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson, couldn't name one of Barack's legislative accomplishments on MSNBC. Watch below.

Barack needs to get better surrogates. This type of fumble goes to Billary's strengths, which will be on display at Thursdays debate on CNN.

Monday, February 18, 2008

L.I.F.E. Lessons

The 143 million lbs. of beef recalled Sunday is another example that Americans need to pay closer attention to what's on our plates. Short of thousands of dying suddenly from contamination, food security seems destined to be one of the issues we comfortably ignore.

Food justice and food security in L'ville (JCPS dumped 1,200 lbs. of beef) is a topic local media ought to dedicate more and better coverage towards. I'm certainly interested in it after writing Eating Ourselves to Death in LEO last August. Stay glued to the pages of LEO.

If you're a more visual person, however, below is a new documentary set for release:

Locally Integrated Food Economy (L.I.F.E.) Lessons.

Produced by the Community Farm Alliance, a grassroots food justice organization, "L.I.F.E. Lessons" documents our progress and pitfalls. One of the bright spots is the partnership between Urban Fresh, a business started by youth activist Sayheed Asante that brings fresh food to the inner-city with the help of Kentucky farmers, such as Grasshoppers LLC.

The documentary also highlights the city's continued perils, namely the lack of healthy food options in West Louisville and East Downtown (e.g. Sheppard Square housing projects). Also, the heavy concentration of fast food restaurants along W. Broadway, which is also the heaviest black populated area of Kentucky and the most densely populated fast food thoroughfare in the entire state.

Funny how race and unhealthy food correspond, huh?

Also of note, "L.I.F.E Lessons" was directed and edited by a fellow alternative media guerrilla in L'Ville, documentary filmmaker John Doe. The documentary should be available to the public in the next couple of weeks.

Check it out.

L.I.F.E. Lessons

Friday, February 15, 2008

Billary: "Screw the popular vote, states and delegates"

Hat tip to Jack & Jill.

From the Boston Globe:

"Hillary Clinton will take the Democratic nomination even if she does not win the popular vote, but persuades enough superdelegates to vote for her at the convention, her campaign advisers say...

But Clinton will not concede the race to Obama if he wins a greater number of pledged delegates by the end of the primary season, and will count on the 796 elected officials and party bigwigs to put her over the top, if necessary, said Clinton's communications director, Howard Wolfson."
***NOTE: "Clinton -- initially joined other Democrats in opposing Michigan and Florida's decisions to go ahead with early primaries -- now wants the votes of those primaries counted."

Let me make it plain.

Billary will win steal this nomination by any means necessary. Their inevitability has been shattered, but never underestimate Billary's sense of entitlement.

If it means using the super-delegates, thus creating a mini-Florida 2000 within the Democratic Party, so be it. If it means adding banned delegates from Michigan and Forida that Billary initially agreed to ignore, so bet it. It it means turning off an entire generation of new voters to the Democratic Party, so bet it.

And now that Rep. John Lewis pledged his super-delegate vote to Obama, expect more from Billary -- the next 51% President.

More booze for you

Faster than a attorney's briefcase the West End is wet again.

Yesterday Jefferson Circuit Judge Mary Shaw put out a restraining order on the vote that banned alcohol in the Shawnee neighborhood, preventing enforcement of the ban in two of four precincts that were named in attorney Teddy Gordon's appeal.

No word from the ministers.

They're obviously regrouping. The argument about alcohol causing crime was flawed. The method of banning alcohol in one precinct while leaving others wet is being mercilessly unraveled by the same attorney -- Teddy Gordon -- who led the charge to the U.S. Supreme Court that changed the Jefferson County Public Schools' diversity policy.

Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton, D-5, put out this statement:

“I am very disappointed and my community is livid about this decision. It lifts the ban and allows the sale of alcohol again. This is the third time the voters of these precincts N104, N105, N107 and N109 in District 5 have been forced to explain their decision to vote to clean up their community.

This has become a frustrating experience for a community that followed the rules and did everything by the book to have a legitimate election. All we asked is that the Judiciary to respect this vote. It is unfortunate that those who are more interested in making money than dealing with crime in our community are misusing the legal system and using ridiculous arguments to stop the voice and the will of the people.

We will keep fighting because the people have spoke.

If the judge believes and follows Mr. Gordon’s arguments, then not just all the wet/dry elections that have been held in Jefferson County but any other valid elections could be overturned on that basis. I think that would upset any election and have far reaching unintended consequences and create turmoil in our electoral system.”

Meanwhile, in the streets:

"I smoke
I drank
I'm suppose to stop but I can't"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Deputy throws paralyzed man from wheelchair

"Get up, you ain't cripple!"


Deputy Charlette Marshall-Jones, 44, dumped Brian Sterner, 32, out of a wheelchair at the county's booking center in Tampa, FL on Jan. 29. Sterner broke his neck in 1994 and has no feeling in his legs.

He told local TV and MSNBC:

"This deputy ... she looked at me, she didn't believe that I was a quadriplegic, I guess, and she walked behind me with those handles on the back of that hospital-grade wheelchair and she just dumped it straight forward...It’s just like Rodney King got beat on the street and I got thrown out of my wheelchair. It happens to people every day. It’s just now there’s cameras that catch it."

Sheriff David Gee issued a statement apologizing to Sterner and suspended the deputy without pay. Since the incident Marshall-Jones has received harassing calls.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Julian Bond sold out to Billary -- say it ain't so!

Hat tip to Jack & Jill and Blackline. reports:

"Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, has written a letter to Howard Dean to express 'great concern at the prospect that million of voters in Michigan and Florida could ultimately have their votes completely discounted.'"

Read the entire letter here

What's also troubling is that Bond's letter to Dean was NOT approved by the NAACP Board of Directors and was sent without being put before the Board, according to radio host and CNN analyst Roland Martin.

Rev. Al Sharpton shot back on MSNBC and the Tom Joyner Morning Show, calling Bond's letter "PoliTRICKS." He also wrote a letter to Howard Dean saying:

"I firmly believe that changing the rules now, and seating delegates from Florida and Michigan at this point would not only violate the Democratic party's rules of fairness, but also would be a grave injustice...To raise that claim now smacks of politics in its form most raw and undercuts the moral authority behind such an argument."

To see Sharpton's response on MSNBC go here.

This is important. The DNC stripped the Michigan and Florida Democratic parties of its delegates as punishment for moving up their primaries earlier than the national party wanted.

With no one campaigning, Billary cruised to victory.

I have the utmost respect for Julian Bond. He's been bold during the darkest days of the Bush administration. However, he knew this about Michigan and Florida months ago. For whatever reason, he's coming out to join the ranks of other Negro Spiritual leaders that bow to the altar of Billary (John Lewis, Charlie Rangel, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Maya Angelou, Andrew Young, etc.).

No booze for you

Check me out in LEO this week. I'm once again covering the back and forth over the wet-dry vote in West Louisville between community leaders and convenient storeowners.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the storeowners that delayed the vote banning alcohol sales was dismissed last month and as of right now if you visit any of the stores in the four Shawnee neighborhood precincts: No beer sales allowed.

One store even has the chains up across the beer doors like Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman) from Lean on Me --- "You smoke crack don't ya!"

It would have been more rational for dry supporters to argue that alcohol sales plus the density of these poison pushing convenient stores affect property values and public health in the Shawnee area. Instead they tried to link the business of selling alcohol to crime. None can draw a line of succession from buying a Bud Light to a robbery, a rape or a murder. With an 86-percent majority favoring the ban, I guess no one had to.

I'm not sure if baning alcohol sales in four West Louisville precincts will deter crime even in those precincts, in fact I'm sure it won't. I am sure that the more people who find out that alcohol is banned the more wet supporters we'll see.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The life of kings and the death of princes

Hat tip to 'Ville Voice for posting this.

Since graduation I've submitted my life to journalism. From my brief stint at the C-J's youth blog to the alternative pages freelancing at LEO, I've found a niche. So much that I've paused my love of political science and applied instead to the Academy of Alternative Journalism in Chicago, IL, hopefully for this summer.

I write, that is my life.

Sadly, the profession that H.L. Mencken once called "the life of kings" is terminally ill and dying across the country. In some places the tombstone is already set (Louisville?).

In a stinging piece in Esquire, David Simon, former Baltimore Sun reporter and creator of the best fiction in modern America: HBO's The Wire, parallels his biography with the history of decaying newspapers.

He begins:

"Watergate and Vietnam had shown how essential a sophisticated newspaper could be, had proven that while the daily chase of sirens might belong to television, the examination of real issues would demand smarter, comprehensive coverage..."

And ends:

"...the new way of doing business apparently leaves no place in the newsroom for fundamental disagreements about content, about reportage, about the substance of what we are doing or not doing. Arguments over quotidian matters such as the slant of Mideast coverage, or an ethical debate over attribution, or the use and overuse of a stylistic device will soon bring transfers and demotions until, finally, an exodus begins."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Kanye's night @ the Grammy's

I usually don't give two nickels about the Grammy's but a few items were worth posting -- and no, not that a crack addict (Amy Winehouse) won best new artist, song and record!

First, Kanye West's somber rendition of "Hey, Mama" with new lyrics:

Last night I saw you in my dreams/
and now I can’t wait to go to sleep/

However, later on during his acceptance speech for best rap album when talking about his late mother, noted scholar Donda West, the orchestra kept playing the "Wrap it up, B" music.

How bogus is that!?! In typical fashion, the always outspoken Kanye shut 'em down, quick.

Also noteworthy, legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock won album of the year for River: The Joni Letters. That's an overdue victory for jazz considering the last time the genre was honored was 1964's "Getz/Gilberto," by the American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pimp Pitino

No comment.
Seriously, not a word.

More blacks in KY prisons -- who knew?

"Honey, I thought Obama's candidacy ended racism?!?"

The C-J ran a piece of the racial disparities in Kentucky prisons. Look at the numbers in Jefferson County (Metro Louisville), where black folk make up 57% of the people sent to the state prisons but only only 20 percent of the counties population. Other counties like Kenton and Daviess have a much worse ratios.

"Marc Mauer, executive director of the Washington-based National Sentencing Project...said that while both whites and blacks use illegal substances, blacks are arrested and incarcerated more frequently, as law enforcement tends to focus more resources on the low-income, minority community."

The good news? Mauer said the Bluegrass is below the national average. Here blacks are only 5x times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. The national average is 5.6x -- hooray for .6%, keep hope alive!

The Bill Cosby/O'Reilly crowd will cite parenting, personal responsibility and ghetto values as the culprit. And undoubtedly that's at play. Not every imprisoned black person is Mumia.

I happen to agree with Michael Eric Dyson, however, who says though they're not all political prisoners their incarceration is certainly politicized. Especially in KY where felon's voting rights are constitutionally denied unless restoration is signed by the governor.

So much for rehabilitation.

Alas, progressives use a lot academic buzzwords like socioeconomic status, institutional racism and prison industrial complex. They just don't have the same rallying affects as Cosby's ignorant rants of black stereotypes.

Until then...listen to Lupe

Friday, February 8, 2008

MSNBC reporter suspended for "pimpin' out" comment about Chelsea Clinton

I remember watching this Thursday. What do you think?

David Shuster's comment was a bit more colorful than his usual dull presentations. If you watch cable news you know he's certainly not a professional blowhard like Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace or Glenn Beck. He's a
real journalist (i.e. he's a corporate blowhard than doesn't rock the boat).

I'll be honest, I saw no serious foul in his comment. Then again, I laughed at Imus' infamous nappy-headed ho comment. Maybe I'm an insensitive misogynist. Or maybe I can still laugh at stupid comments and still be a proud lefty.

I agree it was inappropriate but far below the usual cable noise. I'm sure Billary supporter, Ellen Malcolm -- president of EMILY's List and a top adviser to Sen. Clinton -- would disagree. She wrote a scathing letter to NBC Sr. VP Phil Griffin. And after Billary threatened to boycott future debate appearances on the network, Shuster 's was apologizing every 30 minutes.

The worst of the American left seems committed to editing the English language down to two simple words: be nice.

Yarmuth endorses Obama, but what about Horne?

Rep. John Yarmuth (D -KY3) officially announced his endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president today. "Barack Obama has the unique capacity to build support from Americans of all parties from Kentucky to Idaho to Connecticut, and he will lead us to recapture our potential when as President," said Yarmuth in a press release.

Surprising? Not really.

Just a few weeks ago he "unofficially" supported Obama on WLOU 1350AM when he was a guest on the Simmons Saturday Morning Solutions radio program. And it's not very risky either, according to Federal Election Commission reports Louisville's wallets support Obama over Billary 3-to-1. Plus, Yarmuth staffers love to say Louisville discovered Obama's house packing charisma when he appeared at Slugger Field during Yarmuth's congressional campaign in 2006.

Still, every little bit helps.

KY bloggers have already sidestepped this feathery news. Most want to know if Yarmuth is going to follow-up his "unofficial" endorsement of Andrew Horne -- "He is the person to take on Mitch McConnell" -- in the upcoming Senatorial race against the Godfather of KY, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who awaits whatever Democrat survives the primary.

Yarmuth's endorsement in that race is significant considering his proximity to KY politics and that nearly 40% of Kentucky’s voters reside in the 3rd Congressional District.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More on Kwame Kilpatrick's text message scandal


Dipping to a dismal 25% approval rating, things are only getting worse for the hip-hop mayor.

First, a judge ordered Tuesday the release of secret documents that confirm Mayor Kilpatrick tried to hide the 14000 text messages sent to his mistress, also his former Chief of Staff, in a lawsuit settlement. Second, later that day the City Council discovered they approved the $8.4 million lawsuit payout without being told of the secret settlement pact.

Detroit Free Press columnist, Stephen Henderson's wrote:

"It's becoming clearer, in the ongoing litigation between the Free Press and the city, that the core of the mayor's misbehavior was not the affair with his chief of staff, the investigation he stopped before police could spill the beans about his dalliance, or the lies he told about it on the witness stand. It's about a massive cover-up, and the distinct possibility that Kilpatrick sought to brazenly deceive City Council and the voters when he grabbed $9 million in public money to settle whistle-blower suits filed by city police the plainest terms, what the mayor did was perpetrate a fraud on all of us. Kilpatrick worked us."

No comment, just watch.

Where do all the TV reporters go?

Ever notice how local TV reporters vanish? Even the good ones. That's because they're often forced to leave town because of non-compete clauses in their contracts. Rick Redding's On Media column in LEO this week provides a lucid discussion about the nature of these clauses and scratches the surface of how they affect local media.

"If you’re a local TV better check your contract. Non-compete clauses in employment are enforceable in Kentucky, in many industries, and are standard in the broadcast industry. That’s why it’s rare to see a reporter leave a station and start work at another in the same market...even if you’re fired from a station, the pacts can keep you from working in the market."

Read more on Redding's blog here.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Not in My Park

Louisville has seen its fair share of violent crimes against children. Not surprisingly one of ideas to combat the problem in "Possibility City" has been a memorial spearheaded by the ubiquitous grim reaper, Christopher 2X.

Well that children's memorial and its planned location, Wyandotte Park, have hit a few bumps in the road. Namely another community activist leaping before he looks and upsetting a neighborhood that doesn't want to be stigmatized as the cities hotel for child murderers.

Read more here

I’m sure every city has a local activist like Christopher 2X, who hops from tragedy to tragedy under the guise of "healer" or "community activist". or "hood prophet". They are not true community organizers who substantively combat issues by mobilizing constituents from the grassroots up. Instead they’re TV personalities who find an occupation in the web of death. Give him credit, he created a legal job for himself. We can employ many descriptions for this position: misery pimp, ghetto grim reaper, or undertaker-activist.

You pick.

One would think, however, that eventually this shameless ambulance chasing that leads us nowhere would stop. Or at least shrugged off for something more substantive. I guess sooner or later someone: a journalist worth their notepad, a real community organizer, or the general public, will question the productivity of this sort of activism. Until then...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Barack Obama f. - Yes We Can

What do you think?

McConnell ad with U of L doctors criticized

First, the ad:

Nothing especially egregious. It features U of L physicians saying a bunch of nice things about the university and medical research, connecting them to Sen. Mitch McConnell's moneybag tactics in Washington.

Well according to the C-J's piece the physicians, along with U of L President, James Ramsey and Dr. Donald Miller, director of the Uof L Brown Cancer Center, didn't know the comments would be used for television or re-electing McConnell.

"Two of three University of Louisville physicians who made videotaped statements of support for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell last year say they didn't realize their comments would be part of a television ad for the senator's re-election campaign...

Ramsey said he initially believed the videos would be used only on a McConnell Web site. Had he known they'd be broadcast more widely in televised campaign commercials, he said, he would have handled things differently. 'I should have known that anything that goes on the Web is public domain.'

Dr. Larry Cook, U of L's executive vice president for health affairs, and Dr. Donald Miller, director of the Brown Cancer Center, said in interviews that they believed their testimonials would appear only on the Web, and not in television ads.

Dr. Laman Gray, chief of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, whose video appeared on the campaign Web site, said he wasn't sure how the video was going to be used."

I'm sorry.

You have to be incredibly naive to believe that in an election year a Machiavellian politician won't use your words to stay in office.

Also, a question for President Ramsey: why does it matter if the videos were web-exclusive? If the university prohibits employees from using their affiliation to make political endorsements, the ads being made -- not being more widely viewed -- should be the problem. Right?

Friday, February 1, 2008

KY Derby Festival poster unveiled

Yep, it's that time of year again.
The first symptom of Derby fever.

The abstract was created by artist Rick Garcia, of Santa Fe, N.M.
What do you think?