Main Street Journal - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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A Welcome Surprise?

Governor Bill Haslam gave his State of the State address last night. He called for Tennesseans to “believe in better”. Haslam proposed cutting 1000 State positions and using increasing State revenues for “long-deferred education (ie. construction) projects” (more). He also wants to bolster health care spending and provide $20 million for Fast Track, his economic development program. Three local colleges are in line to split $43 million. The highlights, more details; his TN Forward website says more. The financial outlook. You can download the prepared text of his 2012 State of the State address from us. (DOC format)

Speech overviews from: TN Report, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Tennessean, the Knoxville News-Sentinel and again, the Associated Press and the Commercial Appeal.

Democrats aren’t complaining, much. The National Federation of Independent Businesses supports his call for inheritance tax cuts. Photo gallery from the speech.

“I Have No Intention of Resigning” Controversial, media-avoidant Southaven Mayor Greg Davis called a press conference yesterday to announce he wasn’t resigning as mayor. And then didn’t answer any questions, though town aldermen and citizens had plenty. More on aldermen’s questions. Davis also said his “deceit” statement was about being gay, which he told the press was a private issue. Video of the entire statement from the Desoto Times Tribune and a transcript, from ABC24. More from the, WMC and the Commercial Appeal. An online petition is now being circulated, asking Mayor Davis to resign.

The Associated Press has picked up the story of his lucrative deals with local businessmen. WREG also looks into the deals with developer Chuck Roberts.

Annexation: The Memphis City Council meet today to discuss fast-tracking the annexation of Gray’s Creek, a reaction to Norris-Todd II. Mayor A C Wharton and Council Chairman Bill Morrison say N-TII is “…a move that smacks of racism, classism, and schoolyard bullying”. The Flyer’s Jackson Baker has much more. More reports from Fox13 and the Commercial Appeal. Council website with link to livestream.

Fox13 Insiders: Segment yesterday where Ben Ferguson and Joseph Kyle discuss the day’s issues. Segment two has “editorial humorist” Ron Hart discussing the Republican Florida primary.

Education: Memphis teachers earn the highest average paychecks in the state. Nashville is number two. Governor Bill Haslam wants to give County school boards greater control on class size and teacher salaries. The Tennessee Education Association losing collective bargaining power has cost them 10% of their membership. Tennessee lags the other Mid-South states in standards and expectations for science courses.

Memphis City Schools: Optional school enrollment started yesterday. Lots of parents camped out overnight. More from WREG. Some are questioning how special programs are handled. Tens of thousands of dollars in equipment was stolen from Richland Elementary School.

Chattanooga: Mayor Ron Littlefield’s anti-gang plan faces complications because of costs and the Legislature’s plans. Hamilton County schools are working hard to improve average ACT scores. Occupy Chattanooga has filed to dismiss a lawsuit by the County against them since no infraction has yet been charged.

Business: In the Daily News, Today’s Events. From the Commercial Appeal, What to Do. Last, in the Business Journal, People on the Move.

GTx: Citigroup upped their outlook for the company and shares soared.

International Paper: They and Temple-Inland have agreed to extend their review period, to appease the Department of Justice. More from the Daily News.

Thomas & Betts: Their acquisition by ABB is a good move for both. T&B reports very good news for their 4Q2011 numbers. ABB is worth almost ten times the value of the Thomas & Betts acquisition. Statements from ABB executives, Joe Hogan, Tarak Mehta and Dominic Pillegi. Their acquisition “likely” means more jobs for Memphis.

Eaton Corporation: The maker and distributor of electrical components and systems is closing down their distribution center next month. More from the Commercial Appeal.

American Queen: They are gearing up to hire 300 workers for their inaugural season of Mississippi River excursions.

Tell your friends you read it here:

NEW! ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: R-E-W-T, Root For Newt! Our tea party contributor, Ed “Doc” Holliday was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the CNN Republican presidential debate and he thinks he’s found “the Tea Party’s new prize fighter”. Do you agree?

Internet Exclusive: The Political Silly Season: Our political and financial contributor, Chuck Bates, is already growing tired of outrageous political ads and he’s still got to survive until November!

Unified Shelby School Board: They meet today and will discuss which Legislative bills regarding school property and charter schools to support and which to oppose.

Memphis Police Department: Police officer Roger Williams was arrested for DUI. He refused a breathalyser test and is suspended. More from WMC, WREG and the Commercial Appeal. The recent arrests of police officers on a variety of crimes is tarnishing their reputation. Can the police delete photos from your cell phones?

Mississippi Pardons: The last, unaccounted, man, Joseph Ozment, who was still at large after receiving a pardon from then-governor Haley Barbour has been found in Wyoming. He has committed no crime, so he was served with a court order to report. WMC has the interesting story of his apprehension. More reports from WREG and the CA. Ozment’s victim’s sister, Mary McAbee, speaks out.

City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove: She has been receiving death threats after the Organised Crime Unit audit was made public. She believes friends of former police director Larry Godwin are responsible, calling him “a thug and a gangster”.

David Kernell: A Federal appeals court has upheld his conviction and sentence in the Sarah Palin email hacking case from 2008. His attorney will now seek a full review from the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals based on an interpretation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act!. Kernell has already served his time–eleven months.

Porter Leath: Their Head Start building has suffered after $200,000 in damages and copper theft but ScanSource of Southaven is helping with the bills.

Kroger: Someone out there misses Seesel’s.

Triangle Noir: The $20-30 million Federal grant that redevelopment hangs on has an April deadline, explaining the rush to prepare a plan.

Memphis Area Association of Realtors: The Daily News has a brief profile of new president Carol Lott, as she settles into office.

Republican Presidential Primaries: Even though Ron Paul won their straw poll, the Tennessee Republican Assembly endorsed Rick Santorum.

Politics: State Senator Stacey Campfield wants closed party primaries. State Democrats say three proposed constitutional amendments to be voted on in 2014 are just Republicans stirring their base. More on the bill to weaken restraints on lobbyists. Tom Humphrey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel has gone bill browsing to see what’s been filed. Republicans are filing a lot of bills to make new voter ID requirements easier to meet.

US Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have announced their support for a new Keystone XL bill. TN Democrats are looking for a “celebrity” to run against Corker this year.

US Representative Marsha Blackburn: She issued a statement “blasting” the company’s new privacy policy.

State Representative Stacey Campfield: He was ejected and banned from The Bistro at Bijou in Knoxville by the manager for his “anti-gay” political stances. She admits it was to let him know “what if (sic) feels like to be unfairly discrimanted against”. Massive reaction from the TN blogosphere at No Silence Here. More from the Nashville Scene, the Knoxville Metro Pulse, the Flyer and the Commercial Appeal (which is the KNS story, but with CA comments). Campfield’s response from his blog and his thoughts on AIDS.

Tennessee: Prescriptions for narcotic “pain pills” by TennCare have risen by 48% in the past four years. Original story here. A record number of black bears were killed in the latest hunting season.

DeSoto County: Olive Branch is teaming with Creative Recycling Services to stop electronic waste from ending up in the landfill. And OB aldermen looked at various proposed plans for redistrictng.

Industrial Real Estate: Demand is rising in the Memphis market.

Bank of Bartlett: Their 4Q profits were boosted by better-performing net income and delinquencies.

R. Allen Stanford: In his fraud trial, underway this week, Memphian Mark Collingsworth testified to Stanford’s hiring standards. Collingsworth also provided a view of Memphis operations. More from the Commercial Appeal.

Agricenter: The first of 4160 solar panels was installed at the Silicon Ranch station.

Picture of the Day

Memphis sunset on a warm January day, from Flickr by Kerry Vaughan. © 2012. Used with permission. Her (on-hiatus) blog is Scribblescrawl.

Opinion and Blogs

The Daddler and Me: She’s a regular Betty Bisquick. Fun with her friends…sort of.

Joe Spake’s Daily Buzz: The rest of the day’s news, from all sorts of eclectic places.

Giving Back: He highlights BRIDGES this week. (via the Daily News)

The Worldly Investor: He analyses President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. (via the Daily News)

Joe Lance: A dairy operator may shake up the Third Congressional District race more than better-known candidates, like Weston Wamp or Chuck Fleischmann. (via

Commercial Appeal: They say “don’t horn in” to Nashville legislators. MATA had better pay attention to the grumblings from the public.

Whing & Dining: She hates flying but loves airports and their food. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Steve’s Nude Memphis Blog: He’s considering buying one of three cars, so he test drove all three with A Back Seat Driver.

Smart City Memphis: Commentary on the Norris-Todd “cabal” and their annexation meddling. When change is a “war” that you must donate to, to stop the change.

Staging By M: She and her husband are remodelling the vanity in the bathroom and she walks you through all the steps and decisions involved.

Yeah, and another thing: Twenty-one things she’s learned from the internet.

Walls of the City: The Venn diagram of gun owners and geeks has a lot of overlap. Fisking an anti-gun rights group by their Tweets and their board of directors?

vibinc: Seeing the good news in all the investigations and scandals consuming the City of Memphis.

This Classical Life: A free small poster for you to print out and hang. Some snack and comfort food recipe links. Did her blog peak in 2006?

theology & geometry: It’s FUNDANITY! An interesting question and then things she wonders about.

The Intersection of Madness and Reality: A Republican presidential ad particularly disgusts him. Name the top ten people Newt Gingrich should take to the moon colony with him.

The Chubby Vegatarian: He was a teenaged vegetarian manager for McDonald’s. Yep.

The Changing Newsroom: Lurene believes journalists can be good capitalists as well. Especially in Memphis.

Taming Insanity: Your quick guide to living well and getting the best revenge.