Representative Steve Cohen walked into what can only be described as an ambush. Last night, at the weekly meeting of the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association, Cohen was attacked for his support of a bill that would provide stiffer penalties for people engaging in hate crimes, by the very people his vote sought to protect.
The world is one crazy assed place.
Aside from the normal racist, “He can’t represent us because he’s white” garbage thrown around, the biggest complaint seemed to surround the inclusion of homosexuals as potential victims of hate crimes.
Citing fears that he wouldn’t be able to bash gays from the pulpit, LaSimba Grey has been an outspoken critic of the bill. Unfortunately, Grey is being willfully wrong. The bill does nothing to limit protected speech, including the assertion that homosexual sex is a sin. Still, Grey and his followers continue to use this right-wing straw man to prop up their cause.
I’m no biblical scholar, but I challenge anyone to find a passage that quotes Jesus calling homosexuality a sin. Furthermore, I challenge anyone to find a passage in the bible where Jesus instructs humans to pass judgment on the “sins” of others. “Judge not lest ye be judged”, anyone? Indeed, in Matthew 7 it seems that in Jesus’ own words he instructs us to address our own problems first before trying to “fix” anyone else (Matthew 7:4-5). So, with that in mind, who is LaSimba Grey, or anyone else, for that matter, to pass judgment? Love the sinner, hate the sin anyone?
I suppose that preaching the forgiveness and understanding that Jesus speaks of in the Gospels just isn’t the stuff that will whip up the kind of spiritual nationalism that people like LaSimba Grey require to keep attendance, and by extension, tithes up. Nor is it the stuff of notoriety that Grey seems to crave. It is, however, a sad indictment on the state of Christianity in America, when the words spoken by the Christian savior are ignored in favor of worldly prejudice.
Perhaps the most saddening thing that I bring out of this development is that a leader in the black community would use the inclusion of another minority group as a means to block legislation that would serve his own people. This contradiction was not lost on the savior that Grey purports to glorify. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:15,
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
With the upcoming Labor Day holiday, finally, some 6 months in, the Memphis Mayoral race is set to start heating up. With 3 top tier candidates, Herenton, Chumney, and Morris polling in a tight group, it seems almost certain that Herenton, with his guaranteed 30ish% and the power of the incumbency behind him, will win an unprecedented fifth term in office unless something radically changes.
I’m not going to make a determination as to whether that would be a good or bad thing, but with over 60% of the population favoring “someone else”, one would think that Herenton has outstayed his welcome in the Bluff City’s top spot.
This puts the upstarts and their supporters in the awkward position of either remaining loyal to their candidate and effectively splitting the vote, with both losing, or quietly coming together behind a consensus candidate that can do what no one has done before, defeat Herenton.
It’s a hard pill to swallow really. Both main challengers have their plusses and minuses. Both have their fervent supporters and detractors, many of whom are my friends. I’ve chosen to not take sides in any of this, watching from the sidelines and taking notes along the way. The one area of agreement that both camps seem to have is that it’s time for a change in Memphis, and that is really the issue at hand here.
Memphis is a divided city. More divided that anyone is really ready to admit. Since 1991, Herenton has used that division to his advantage, and by all accounts, barring some tectonic shift, he will use that to his advantage again this election year. This is the same brand of politics by division that Karl Rove and his cohorts used in 2000, the 2002 midterms, and 2004. We have the opportunity to stop it right here, right now, but it will take some co-ordination and concession.
I don’t know, and won’t say who the candidate is that can bring the city together, even if for a fleeting moment. But I know one thing for sure, if someone doesn’t work in that direction, their candidacy is screwed.
On September 10th, we have the opportunity to view the challengers in a real live debate on Channel 3 from 7 to 8 pm sponsored by MPACT Memphis and WREG Channel 3. The one hour debate is accepting question ideas from you, the people of Memphis. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Herenton was invited, but declined. This gives the 60% the opportunity to make an informed decision and hopefully not fall into the 30ish % trap so expertly set by the Herenton campaign.
Change seems to be what Memphis wants, but without some kind of coordination or concentration, we seem destined to more of the same. If we want change, we have to come together.
The move, largely seen as a chance to scare the living bejesus out of children and the Democratically controlled Congress, was hailed by many as “something else”.
This calls into question the current investigations in the DOJ. Will the shadowy Skeletor allow any investigations to go forward or will he merely create the perpetual stalemate that maintained his position on the cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for so many years.
In the mean time, the DOJ will be led by Solicitor General Paul D. Clement. I feel safer already. /snark
If you’re not at work today, let me suggest you break out the bubbly, and raise a glass to the departure of the WORST USAG EVAH!
That’s right, unless you’ve been living under a rock, or trying to avoid the media, you know that Gonzo resigned. And there was much rejoicing.
Don’t get too excited though. This may be a triumph for freedom, justice and the American way, but it is likely a defeat for that which upholds these ideals, oversight.
By resigning, Gonzo can effectively thumb his nose at Congress, much like Harriet Miers. He’s no longer responsible to them, so to hell with them. If you think for one moment that this isn’t a part of the Administration’s strategy, you’re high.
Congress has already shown itself horribly lacking in its ability to get former administration officials to testify. Not only that, the House has done nothing to hold Miers in contempt. So, we can subpoena Rove and Gonzo all we want, if the Congress is going to roll over and wait for that belly scratch, they can expect to be waiting a long time.
Between the FISA mess up and the long list of things that have just gone wrong in the Congress since early May, both bodies seem to be in public opinion freefall. I think I have a solution for that. A 5 point plan, if you will…
1. Hold Miers in contempt of Congress (inherent contempt) and send out the dogs to get her.
2. Go after Gonzo for perjury or at least misleading statements, and send out the dogs for him.
3. Subpoena every single former administration official, just for fun and find those that don’t show in contempt, rinse and repeat.
4. Parade Miers and Gonzo, and anyone else who would subvert the will of Congress up the capitol steps in shackles, then announce that they have been taken to an undisclosed area of the Capitol, and if they are uncooperative, will be subjected to those “enhanced interrogation techniques” that they were so fond of in office.
5. Watch as Cheney goes on an extended tour of third world dictatorships (they’ll call it a “fact finding” mission).
Ahh, but that’s not going to happen. Our Democratic Leadership Castrati (DLC) in the House and Senate are happy to look helpless, to ensure that no Democrat ever sees the living quarters of the White House again. I don’t know what it is, but if these guys have a pair, they haven’t dropped yet.
So sit back, and enjoy the show as the Administration bats the congress around like a kitten with a new ball of yarn. Nothing better to bide the time, until the Bushes get run out of town and move to their new place in Argentina.
On Wednesday, Matt Stoller of Open Left posted a list of the 41 Democratic Congresscritters that voted for the Iraq capitulation bill and the more recent “temporary” FISA update requested by the White House. The post can be found here.
Six of the 41 “members” of this illustrious group are Representatives in Tennessee and Arkansas. They are:
Four of Five Democratic Representatives in Tennessee caved to the administration. That’s pathetic.
I feel that these four individuals need a profile of their own (per the request of the Open Left post), but as a newcomer to the state, and largely unfamiliar with most areas outside of Memphis, feel unqualified to write them. I am, however, more than willing to assist on any kind of stat research, technical support, or if you want to give me some insight on these districts, I’ll be happy to write them.
I understand that some of these Representatives may be friends or acquaintances. The thrust of this project is not necessarily to primary these people, or get them voted out of the House, but to create a grass-roots movement to hold them accountable for going against Democratic principles.
So, if you have some time this weekend and the inclination, give me a shout, or get a big old head of steam and write a profile on your own. Regardless of where you stand on the representatives, I think we all can agree that party loyalty is one of the main components necessary to maintain a majority in the House. These guys broke rank, and deserve to hear about it at the very least.
P.S. I see Jeff over at Pesky Fly mentioned something about this on Wednesday. Let this serve as a reminder, and an offer to help.