Main Street Journal - Friday, March 2, 2012

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Fall, Spring then Summer

What happened to Winter this year? This has been the 7th warmest Winter on record for Memphis

Transition Planning Commission: The way forward to unity is fraught with compromises of the end goal.

Memphis City Schools: The investigation into the incident involving comments made by Deputy Superintendent Irving Hamer continues. And Superintendent Dr Kriner Cash is insisting that meeting was not the kick-off to his push for the superintendency of the new school district; more.

City of Memphis: Mayor A C Wharton is promising not to cut employees’ pay in any further rounds of budget cutting. The City is now auditing the disability benefits program, following revelations of abuse.

Local Religion: An address scheduled for Christian Brothers University by a Catholic theologian who opposes Catholic doctrines, has been cancelled. Dr Nan Hawkes, of Second Presbyterian Church, who had faced excommunication for her behavior, has quit.

Homelessness: Mayors A C Wharton and Mark Luttrell are teaming up with the Community Alliance for the Homeless to move homess Shelby Countians into permanent housing.

Ninth Congressional District: New Republican candidate George Flinn believes it’s a “new district” that is very winnable for him. More from WMC.

Republican Presidential Primary: Your political dean and mine, the Flyer’s Jackson Baker, has this week’s cover story about Super Tuesday in Tennessee. Top TN Democrats are attacking Mitt Romney…just because and glad at the protracted primary battle. Rick Santorum had a less-than-successful rally at Belmont University in Nashville. More reports from Santorum’s Belmont appearance from the Nashville City Paper, Nashville Scene, the Tennessean. Santorum is counting on making a big impression in Tennessee that may cause Gingrich to bow out. Mitt Romney gets a double dose of Tennessee support.

Tim Pawlenty will also campaign for Mitt Romney this Saturday. And Herman Cain will appear in Cleveland on Saturday as well, for Newt Gingrich. One Nashville journalist says there’s coded neo-Southern Strategy subtext to Santorum’s words. There will be a Gingrich supporters’ bus tour this weekend.

Politics: Nashville legislators want to pre-define promoting prostitution as a “violent” crime, to increase jail time. The State House passed, 93-0, a bill that allows teachers and coaches to “pray at the flagpole” before and after school; the Senate votes next week.

Arkansas: Tennessee attorney John Wolfe is now officially running as a primary opponent of Democratic President Barack Obama!

Congressional Action: Seventh District Representative Marsha Blackburn is pushing her Stop TSA’s Reach in Policy Act aka the STRIP Act, to rein in the agency’s reach. She also voted to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a part of Obamacare’s implementation. And the Ninth District’s Steve Cohen hopes his Voter ID Accessibility Act would mandate States’ to provide notification and assistance with aspects of voter ID provisions.

Voting Reform: Seniors between 60 and 65 would be allowed to vote absentee without a doctor’s excuse in a bill that passed the House Thursday.

Collierville: Another suburb has signed with Southern Educational Strategies to guide them through the municipal school district creation process.

Memphis International Airport: Background on the flight and service reductions that eliminated MIA’s sole international flight this Summer.

R. Allen Stanford: Jurors continue their deliberations Friday.

Saint Francis Hospital–Bartlett: More on the 56 bed, $34 million expansion, set to open on Wednesday.

Local Media: The local sweeps are over and both WREG and WMC have something to crow about.

West Memphis 3: The documentary about the case, West of Memphis, produced by mega-producer Peter Jackson who has also been helping with the post-release lives, has been picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics.

Elvis: With piece on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, they are presenting Icon: The Influence of Elvis Presley Presented by Fender, the largest Elvis exhibit they’ve ever mounted.

Nashville: Another public school is converting to the LEAD Public School model, the second in Nashville. An innovation from Metro Schools, called “offices of innovation”, is being pushed to other achievement district schools Statewide.

Second Amendment: Supporters and critics of gun carry and storage in parking lots are getting heated in their criticisms–including using the label “axis of evil” for State House leaders. A coalition of business and law enforcement agencies are coming together against reform.

Tell your friends you read it here:

NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Farewell, Andrew Breitbart: Mick Wright pens a remembrance of the “iconoclastic provocateur”, the man who showed us the way.

NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Bloomberg’s Money, Part III: Our Second Amendment contributor Craig Harper continues his series, looking at the use of Bloomberg Philanthropy money in Memphis. In Part III, he notes it’s all going according to plan.

Internet Exclusive: Comparing Economic Plans: Our economic contributor Chuck Bates looks at the tax plans of the four Republican presidential candidates and President Barack Obama to see which offers the great, most beneficial change.

Unemployment: The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.2% in January, below the national average.

March 6 Election: The pace of early voting this time was below 2008 but above 2004. A long article on the changes to voter ID requirements in elections this year from the Tri-State Defender. The Commercial Appeal reports the fundraising efforts in the Shelby County General Sessions Court race.

Mo’ Money Taxes: One of the companies hired to process tax returns has now quit.

Shelby County: More on Mayor Mark Luttrell’s opposition to raising the County tax rate.

Flu: Cases are escalating quickly; “hundreds” are reporting it. The mild Winter also portends an outrageous bug season.

DeSoto County: Governor Phil Bryant wants to meet with State auditors to discuss options on handling the Southaven Mayor Greg Davis situation. More details from the Chamber of Commerce and the $200,000 reimbursements.

There will be NO voter ID required for the coming primary because the Justice Department has approved it yet. They have promoted Debby Dunnaway to head the Emergency E-911 system.

Memphis Minority Business Council: They will host a quarter seminar, Strategic Fits: Building Successful Joint Ventures & Strategic Alliances, this Thursday.

Federal Reserve Beige Book: The most recent report for the Eighth District, centered on Memphis, shows modest expansion.

Business: Nearly one-third of Memphis mortgages were underwater in the 4Q of 2011. Fortune magazine’s Most Admired Companies list includes quite a few from Memphis! FedEx was rated #6; more. Social media is becoming central in today’s business world. On average, black Memphians earn 46% what white Memphians earn.

People on the Move, in the Business Journal. Today’s Events and Inked, from the Daily News. People in Business and What to do from the Commercial Appeal.

Fred’s: February sales were up 3.6% over last year but comparable store sales were down very slightly. More from the Daily News.

Kroger: Fourth quarter sales were up 14%, well outperforming analysts and market observers, but union pension costs led it to a 4Q loss. More from the Commercial Appeal.

Electrolux: Their compliance with women- and minority-owned business guidelines, via the Tri-State Defender.

Airport City: An area around Whitehaven is slated for renovation soon.

Mississippi: The Legislature is considering allowing beer pubs to sell 8% beer. Tax ID theft cases are up. The immigration bill is slowly progressing through the Legislature. Critics are upset that Mississippi is reconsidering “life begins at conception” legislation after voters just voted it down. The town of Walls has elected its first female mayor–Shelley Orman.

Gasoline: All signs point to rising gas prices. The Memphis average is $3.56/gallon. (via

Tennessee: We have a slightly-showorn State slogan: “We’re Playing Your Song”. It was the State slogan from 1987 to 1995. Thousands of non-custodial parents will be affected next year by a change in payment of Social Security, disability and veteran’s payments that makes it easier for the Federal government to intercept for child support.

Internet Exclusive: Where’s Carol? Contributor Mick Wright wonders why Shelby County District Attorney candidate Carol Chumney is missing in action for her own campaign!

Internet Exclusive: How I Got Involved in Local Politics: Southaven’s Oriana Hill was dismayed that nothing was being done about Mayor Greg Davis’ official shenanigans, so she decided to take action herself. Read her exclusive story here!

Picture of the Day

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A! Monster truck heaven, from Memphis or Die. © 2012. Used with permission.


Fox13 Insiders: Mark Skoda and Kevin Gallagher discuss the issues of the day.

Lauren Lee: The Fox13 reporter is now blogging on the “path to autonomy” for Unified schools.

Commercial Appeal: Chastising the witnesses who won’t come forward to help with solving a crime. Kudos to Willie Mitchell.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: State Comptroller Justin Wilson did a favor to Governor Haslam’s civil service reforms.

Richard Booker: A look at the early, Civil War-era history of organised education for American slaves and free blacks. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Frank Cagle: An interesting solution to Mitt Romney’s “caught in the headlights” moments. (via the Knoxville Metro Pulse)

Becci Bookner: Reconsider how we care for the elderly. (via the Tennessean)

Michael Hammock and Wilson Mixon: Natural resources are best preserved when someone owns them and not when everyone/noone owns them. (via the Tennessean)

Robert Lee Long: An impassioned argument, backed by law enforcement, for early childhood education. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

Sid Salter: All Republican incumbents in the Congressional races face tea party or other challengers which will be important to watch for their effects. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

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

Memphasis: Comparing Memphis and New Orleans and asking what’s different. (via the Daily News)

FUNdraising: Church-affiliated support plays at important role in historically black colleges and universities. (via the Daily News)

John Branston: The declining fortures of Memphis International Airport are beginning to affect local business. A friendship of some years becomes something else in the sunset of life. (via the Flyer)

Flyer: Government from Nashville is bad, unless….

Money Matters: Don’t count on your home to fund your retirement. (via the Tri-State Defender)

Brian Clay: “Racial intolerance and a lack of understanding” are the fuel of County reactions to the schools merger. (via the Tri-State Defender)

Chattanooga Times: Use other solutions than cutting HOPE scholarship stipends.

Chattanooga Free Press: Obamacare’s contraception mandate threatens charities and religious liberty.

Jackson Sun: Teacher evaluations much match up with school evaluations or the whole system is meaningless. It is time to act aggressively to combat local crime.