Friday, October 31, 2008

Bishop's letter to Hispanic voters ignores Gospels and the sanctity of the American ballot box

During his last days before his crucifixion and resurrection, Christ preached what is now recognized as direction to each believer on how to conduct their lives as compassionate human beings dedicated to his ministry of forgiveness and redemption.

You'll find his passionate direction in the Gospel of Matthew, in its 25th chapter. Christ tells us that we will find him in the people who are poor, naked, imprisoned, sick and strangers. And if we don't recognize and help these good people, Our Lord tell us that we will be condemned to live eternally outside of his presence.

Yet too many Catholic bishops have torn this chapter of the Gospel out of scripture and Catholic teaching in their messages to the faithful during the 2008 presidential race.

They've in turn replaced this most moving instruction with what I call "Cafeteria Catholicism". It entails picking one matter of faith out from the all the Gospels and centuries of church teaching. Then, they champion this one entree to the exclusion of so many other meaty matters of faith that make a good Catholic, responsible neighbor and involved American.

Just days before the most important election in our lifetime, retired Bishop Rene H. Gracida of Corpus Christi, Texas, arrogantly and wrongly issued a letter by e-mail to almost three million American voters of Hispanic descent. He told them not to vote for "Barak Hussein Obama".

And Cafeteria Catholicism gained a new champion.


I write this refutation of his faith-less message not to tell any Catholic who they should cast their ballot for -- be it for president or Congress. My point is that Bishop Gracida's message is not affirmed by complete church teaching or the Gospels. His message -- at a time in this nation's history of so much division, corruption and callousness -- is damningly destructive and quite frankly non-Christian.

My credentials to write? I've been a practicing Catholic all my life, just like my parents and my abuelos who came to this nation from Mexico between 1910-1915. There and here, they kept an altar in their homes with continuously flickering votive candles before a large statue of the Christ child in full vestment. It was flanked by statues and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Francis, St. Anthony and St. Jude -- all who lived lives of poverty or dedicated their whole being to the impoverished and suffering.

That's the tradition I proudly continue. And I also have done so in action, in my professional career as a journalist and my personal journey as a believer. Leukemia struck me down three years ago. I almost died two years ago during 13 days in Vanderbilt Medical Center. If not for all the prayers of my loved ones and the intervention of Our Lady of Guadalupe and mi Padre todopoderoso, I would not be writing this message today.

And before ever writing on this most sensitive matter in previous columns during the presidential campaign, I have prayed the rosary for months asking for Our Lady's guidance because she is the patroness of all life.

In dedication to her and gratitude, I have been part of the fundraising effort in Nashville that resulted in the opening of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church here, which now is the largest Catholic church in Tennessee.

By her blessing, I have raised more than $145,000 to keep the church open and pay off its debt. The diocese and bishop here have not offered one penny for the church despite Pope Benedict XVI's appeal earlier this year to American Catholics to champion their fellow immigrant believers.


So I'm not that impressed with bishops in this nation. Gracida's letter makes my disappointment more profound. My cousin in Topeka, KS., where I was born and much of my family still lives, feels the same about her bishop. He sent out a letter in September telling Catholic believers there how to vote, against Obama.

Thankfully, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Topeka, where my mother and father were married in the barrio, the letter was not posted for Hispanic believers to read. Good for Father Cordes.

Gracida's letter should be treated the same way by Catholic churches and believers across this nation,, Hispanic or not. And I'll be calling my relatives in New Mexico, Colorado, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to tell their fellow Catholics of Hispanic descent to spread the word that this bishop has betrayed his flock and our heritage as proud Americans of Hispanic descent.

By our numbers at family reunions and on cell phone contact lists, we Americans of Hispanic descent believe in life. But for my family specifically, we viewed life as an issue from the womb to the the last breaths on this earth. No one segment of that sacred chain has ever been considered superior or weaker than the other.

My parents and grandparents never spoke out more about abortion than the gross inequity of revenge and capital punishment, or the need for universal health care to heal the sick and oust the profitmakers like Christ routed the moneychangers before the temple, or the need for employers to provide a living and fair wage for the labor given so families could clothe and feed themselves -- not the federal government or charities.

Gracida and too many other bishops, however, would have us burn the the pages of the Gospel concerning Christ's mandate of the Last Judgment for the simplistic and wrongheaded interpretation of the moral Catholic life.


People who are pro-choice are not automatically for abortion. They shudder and cry for this tragedy, too. And people who are passionately, politically and publicly against abortion -- and generally the people of Matthew 25 in effective public policy -- are not pro-life.

The sanctity of the patient/doctor relationship should not be violated by any government or religion or men continuing their bigoted dominance over women. I know about that relationship intimately for the past three years from battling leukemia with my Vanderbilt hematologist, Dr. John Greer.

Greer and other talented and compassionate doctors take an oath to first do no harm. They respect and fight for life more than any bishop or Operation Rescue advocate or journalist such as me.

A woman and doctor should decide on what is best. They must have all options available do what is best for the health matter at hand.

And national statistics continue to show that abortions are declining significantly without any legal prohibition. I believe in people to do the right and moral thing, led by good and compassionate doctors.


I don't have that kind of faith in our bishops and elected leaders. That's because as a political columnist writing about the people of Matthew 25, I've never found the bishops regularly around the suffering to make a difference.

I've been in lethal public housing projects at night with mothers who dare not let their young ones sleep against a bedroom wall. Bullets from the gunfire between drug dealers penetrate even walls made of brick.

I've been on Tennessee's two death rows, where all the children -- now saved by discouraging and even blocking choice -- somehow went wrong as teens and adults because there was no one around in their lives who really cared. Society in turn didn't want to pay taxes for programs to keep them off the streets and away from criminal elements.

I've been in public schools where poor children are left behind or damned by the unnecessary descent into special education or ignored because they did not speak English. I recruited believers of all creeds and non-believers to set up English language computer labs, sponsor sports teams and save a band program from elimination in one Music City elementary school. Yet as one minister once told his congregation: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have the solution to rescue our public schools that are failing our children. The bad news is that the solution is in your wallets and pocketbooks." Amen to that.

I've been in nursing homes where our senior citizens are warehoused like old newspapers, considered no longer of use despite all the wisdom in the pages of their minds and volumes of goodness in their souls.

I organized more than 100 fellow Catholics from the pews in Nashville in creating a "Voices of the Faithful" chapter to fight the indifference and outright immorality of America's bishops and the Vatican in failing to stop the abuse of thousands of young innocents by priests -- who were simply transferred to another parish to destroy more lives and families. And I bet some of these young ones were saved from abortion to be forever damned and damaged by a church and its shepherds who professed to be Christ among us. The previous bishop here felt forced to address the group -- in private and confront the faces of the abused. He was the only U.S. bishop to do so then at the height of the national scandal.

And I've lobbied in my writing to state lawmakers here to put the matter of what Tennessee Constitution says about choice and abortion to a vote of the people and the faithful.

For my writing on all these people of Matthew 25 -- and those Christ would have included if could even begin to explain the coming evil his supposed shepherds would unleash (and condone) on innocents -- I was humbled to receive the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

But I would have traded that honor to regularly find one Catholic bishop in those places I covered to use his clout and his diocese's wealth to champion change for these young and old lives in need.

And I would have washed the bishop's Lexus every Saturday for one letter calling on Catholic Americans to share their wealth and time with the people of Matthew 25 in their choices in life and for public policy at the ballot box.


With this election, my thoughts return to 1960 and the first Catholic to win the presidency and overcome what JFK said was this nation's historical disenfranchisement of Catholics as candidates for elective office -- at the moment of their baptism. Powerful.

All that President John F. Kennedy suffered, survived and soared above would be stripped from the pages of history and heartache if Catholics followed such a dictate from Gracida, his fellow bishops and Rome at the ballot box. Our consciences as Americans and believers should suffice, just as with the man who brought this nation so much hope in a New Frontier, fighting Jim Crow, the Peace Corps and a mission to the Moon.

The separation of church and state is also something sacred in this nation, as it was to JFK. Gracida and his cohorts would trample upon it and bring derison, distrust and bigotry upon Catholics that we thought was long vanguished. They would bring back the disenfranchisement of Catholics at the moment of baptism.

Shame on these selfish, narrow-minded, inspiration-less shepherds.


I have called on the bishop here to publicly discuss this matter of being only against abortion versus what it really means to be a Catholic in living a moral life and supporting public policy for the people of Matthew 25. And if he or any bishop wants to ban me from the Holy Eucharist, bring it on.

The judgment of God will be on them, not me. It is every believer's wish to be a martyr for something or someone larger than themselves.

This Tuesday, I go to the ballot box as an American and a Catholic directed by my conscience and my continuing pleas to Our Lady of Guadalupe for her intercession -- that I might have wisdom and purity of heart and mind in all I do.

A vote for John McCain or Barack Obama should be a source of intense pride for any believer, or someone who does not believe in a higher power except the call of his or her conscience.

No bishop has the right to interfere with that sacred American moment for Hispanics or people of a different race or ethnicity. That's why our country remains free and Americans are able to worship as one nation under God now and siglos de siglos, Amen.

These modern-day moneychangers and Pharisees -- posing as faihtful shepherds -- should be cast out of America's voting booths. I believe Christ would be proud.

Hispanic bishop

Hooray for Geraldo! He takes O'Reilly to task

FOXNEWS' Geraldo Rivera heroically, emotionally and intelligently took Bill O'Reilly to task tonight for featuring video on Hispanic voters showing them as vagrants congregating on the corner.

O'Reilly in return told Rivera he was being too emotional and said the controversial TV journalist he was only half-Hispanic. Rivera retorted that he was fully Hispanic and as well fully Jewish.

Rivera told O'Reilly that McCain will lose key states in the West because of the conservative hate campaign against immigrants. Sen. Dole also be a key casualty for the hate campaign she has waged against immigrants in North Carolina.

Rivera also called out the right-wing haters in radio and in the media such as Lou Dobbs, Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck. Rivera, however, held off in putting O'Reilly and his radio show in that category. He should have. Malkin is the most disgusting of that group. Her dark heart and writing are most menacing.

I realize that Rivera causes some people to roll their eyes because of his checkered, nose-breaking, Iraq-mistaking past. But with his public and celebrity status, he has vigorously taken haters such as Ann Coulter to task face to face.

So to him, I am appreciative of his courage and for speaking up instead of falling into line on FOXNEWS.

The worst hour of political television features incredible bias and ineptitude; is it the future?

The worst hour of political television is from 7-8 p.m. CDT.

On FOXNEWS, there is Bill O'Reilly pushing for John McCain's election to president and saving the nation from immigrant human beings. His dueling blonde journalists with blue eyes are a sight for sore eyes in prisons around the country but offer little journalistic credibility.

On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann makes O'Reilly sound objective and sane. On his show, President Bush has never done anything right, and Barack Obama has never done anything wrong. Olbermann is really out of control in his mission to make MSNBC unapologetically liberal. And he is increasingly nasty about it on the air.

On CNN, Campbell Brown is a little less ideologically identifiable. But she is not ready for prime time. Her "no bias, no bull" promise is amateurish. Her interview last night about national security issues with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright was embarrassing.

Albright allowed 800,000 Rwandan human beings to massacred while she was in charge of U.S. foreign policy. She should be ashamed to show her face. At least her boss, Bill Clinton, apologized for this grievous wrong.

Of the three, O'Reilly is the most informative and highest rated. He does feature opposing and dueling views. He allows people to disagree with him, like tonight with Geraldo Rivera, even though he gets the last word.

Olbermann should be taken off the air immediately. He sure shouldn't be allowed to appear on NBC Sports and Sunday NFL football, then be a political hack on weekdays. NBC has come out of this campaign as biased toward Obama's fortunes.

Brown should simply be a reporter.

But a close friend of mine and journalist says the 7-8 p.m. hour is the future of political journalism. People want to hear from talking heads they agree with.

If that's true, the people of this nation will suffer for only knowing one side of issues that will wreck or save America for generations to come.

Will anyone give Bush credit for this good news? There would be more if not for Dr. Bill Frist

USA Today reports that the cost of the Medicare prescription drug program pushed and signed into law by President George W. Bush saved $6 billion in the past federal fiscal year.

Now such a drop is really unusual for any government program. But the savings were mostly due to generic drugs offered by an increasing number of retailers. So this biggest expansion in federal entitlement spending was a good investment for taxpayers.

Sen. Barack Obama, however, has trashed the President for everything under the sun including the Spears' sisters unexpected pregnancies. And he has criticized Sen. McCain for voting with Bush 90 percent of the time.

Well, the Medicare prescription drug program for seniors was desperately needed, and McCain voted for it. And it is a life saver. I know. I covered the story of a Memphis woman who died in the summer of 2005 because she could not afford her heart medicine, and the Democratic governor in Tennessee cut her off Medicaid coverage six months before the prescription drug program began.

She collapsed the day after feeding Hurricane Katrina victims at her church. But Gov. Phil Bredesen guaranteed complete Medicaid coverage to these good folks.

There would have been even more savings if then Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist had allowed seniors to buy even cheaper drugs from Canadian companies. But Frist carried water for the U.S. drugmakers and blocked those savings so the companies could make big profits.

Dr. Frist, a bigtime Republican who plans to run for governor here in 2010 so he can run for president in 2012, has yet to answer for this moral outrage.

So Obama -- if he really is about bringing the American people together -- should cut the President a little slack for the success of this program, the No Child Left Behind Act and unprecedented U.S. help to African human beings dying from AIDS and other maladies. And McCain voted for those plans, too, under the 90-percent figure Obama likes to pull out like an stale, bad joke.

The Medicaid prescription drug program works. And so will other programs to fill this nation's health care gaps if given a political chance and freed from profiteering special interests such as the drugmakers and insurance companies.

Home foreclosures zoom up in Williamson County

The Nashville Business Journal reports that home foreclosures in Williamson County for the third quarter rose 353 percent -- from 17 a year ago to 77 for the three-month period ending Sept. 30.

That rise in foreclosures led the eight-county Middle Tennessee region. Williamson County is the 11th most affluent county in the nation. It is home to country music stars, professional athletes and corporate executives and sales people.

Those foreclosure numbers will continue to rise. And so will the increasing pressure on the local, conservative governments here to raise taxes amid an economic recession. Churches also are hurting. Holy Family Catholic Church now has a drop in year-to-date contributions of $400,000. Sunday contributions are off by $6,000.

People here are not used to times being hard. More difficult ones are to come.

He's doomed; Frank Luntz says a McCain win would be bigger than Truman defeating Dewey

Conservative pollster Frank Luntz, one of the most connected analysts with real people, just told FOXNEWS's Stuart Varney that a McCain win would be a bigger political surprise than Truman defeating Dewey in 1948.

That sounds like the kiss of death to the McCain campaign, and Luntz was critical of a new McCain ad taking on Obama about the environment instead of sagging 401ks and the economic mess in the nation.

McCain is slated to appear on Saturday Night Live tomorrow night. That's free publicity. But if Luntz is right, it is too little too late. Yes, national polls are tightening. Yet McCain has a lot of ground to make up in only three days.

Whomever wins Nov. 4, he deserves our prayers and support.

Obama campaign right to throw papers off plane

FOXNEWS and the Drudge Report -- conservative news outlets -- are trying to make an issue out of the Obama campaign throwing off three newspapers from its campaign press plane in the last days before Tuesday's vote.

The Dallas Morning News, New York Post and The Washington Times have allowed the conservative ideology on their editorial pages to creep onto their news pages. All three newspapers endorsed McCain for president. The Morning News in particular is a mouthpiece for the conservative establishment.

The only liberal, Hispanic voice on its editorial page was removed from her position and political column last year. Macarena Hernandez asked to be removed, her bosses say, for a reporting job. I don't believe it. They pushed her out, friends say.

This afternoon, a reporter for the Morning News claimed his employer is a national and regional newspaper of importance. It no longer is, with continuing layoffs.

The Obama campaign made the right move to create more room for other journos to chronicle this historical campaign. And FOX and Drudge can complain about all they want ... all the way to an Obama White House.

Wall Street fatcats give most to Democrats

New research shows financial contributions from Wall Street fatcats have overwhelmingly benefited Democratic candidates despite claims by presidential nominee Barack Obama that he is going to change business as usual in Washington.

Of executives at the top Wall Street firms, Democrats received $6 million more in campaign contributions than Republicans. And now you know why all the bailout plans made it through a Congress controlled by Democrats. Bailout legislation ultimately had no teeth to stop these executives from still paying bonuses to one another, cutting back on exorbitant salaries or requiring the firing of these executives who made the wrong decisions.

If that happened, then these executives would not be able to give as much to the Democratic leadership in both congressional houses and to Obama.

And now you know why Democratic governors are now clamoring for you the taxpayers to bail out GM and Chrysler executives with $10 billion. These governors are not asking that these executives who made the wrong decisions to be fired either.

The hypocrisy is sickening. Democrats claim they are better than Republicans when it comes to looking out for the small guy and gal. Statistics show otherwise.

To read more, go to:

Sasser messes up again; has to pull TV ad

Tennessee Democratic Party leader Gray Sasser has messed up again. This time he had to pull an inaccurate TV ad and change the wording after being threatened with a lawsuit.

The dean of Capitol Hill reporters, Tom Humphrey, reported the following:

Chad Faulkner, the Republican running for the 36th District House seat, said Thursday that the state Democratic Party attacked him personally in a "slanderous" television advertisement.

The Democratic Party agreed to change the ad after Faulkner threatened a libel lawsuit.

Faulkner faces Democrat Roger Byrge in the Nov. 4 election.

"We caught them in a lie," Faulkner said.

The seat, formerly held by Republican Rep. William Baird, is considered one of the most competitive House races in the state. The district covers Campbell and Union counties.

The impotent Tennessee Dems -- who in no way resemble the national ones -- had to reword the ad and then put it back on TV. They claimed Faulkner had cost taxpayers $1.2 million as sheriff. The truth was that he had been sued for $1.2 million but the lawsuit failed to collect one penny or cost taxpayers.

Sasser needs to spend less time combing his hair and appearing on Bob Mueller's "Good Ol' White Boys" political TV show and pay attention to keep his political party from being sued and grossly misleading the voters.

To read more, go to:

McCain pulling even in Missouri and N. Carolina reports that Sen. John McCain is pulling even with Sen. Barack Obama in Missouri and North Carolina, providing further evidence of a tightening race and the ineffectiveness of Obama's 30-minute Oprah-produced infomercial.

These numbers confirm Obama is having trouble closing the deal, the same problem he faced with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

Obama was in Missouri near 10 p.m. CDT last night and CNN provided lengthy free coverage of the speech. McCain could only be so lucky.

Tuesday night is looking to be a long night, not only for us but a cheerleading national news media that has been telling us for the past two weeks that the race is over.

Tennessee leads South in new diabetes' cases; number of cases doubles in 10 years; Hispanics and African-Americans are groups most at risk

A new study says the state of Tennessee has realized the largest percentage increase in new cases of diabetes in the South for the past 10 years, as this nation's epidemic begins to fall heavier on children and the obese.

The research covers 33 states. And the numbers involve type II diabetes, the same kind I have.

The Commercial-Appeal reported:

"The diabetes epidemic is raging across all demographic groups -- men, women, all racial/ethnic groups -- and is increasingly evident even in the teenage and adolescent age groups," said Dr. Sam Dagogo-Jack, director of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. He was not involved in the study.

"Society is unlikely to recover spontaneously from this epidemic; concerted effort at the personal, community, county, state, regional and national levels will be required to turn back the tide of the epidemic," he said.

The highest rate was reported in West Virginia, where about 13 of every 1,000 adults were diagnosed with the disease. The lowest was reported in Minnesota, where the rate is 5 in 1,000.

Among the 33 states included in the study, Tennessee had the sixth-highest rate, at 11 per 1,000 adults. Arkansas tied with Indiana for the 10th-highest rate, at 10.2.

While the UT analyst is right that the diabetes surge covers all peoples, it has traditionally hit heaviest among Hispanics and African-Americans. Our diets -- concentrated on white flour, beans and rice -- skyrocket sugar rates. These peoplss also rely heavily on frying foods. The foods and this cooking method contain carbohydrates and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In addition, preventitive health care for these two groups have not been prevelant due to cost and unavailability.

The bottom line to fighting diabetes for everyone is exercise, reducing the intake of refined sugar, no white bread, staying away from all fast food, eating more vegetables and taking blood sugar measurements four times a day.

Indeed, lifestyles must change, immediately.

To read more, go to:

Dole's loss would be best thing on election night

The defeat of incumbent U.S. Elizabeth on Tuesday would be the best political news of the night concerning a politician who has employed despicable anti-immigrant rhetoric and ads to win votes by hate.

She is behind challenger Kay Hagan, a Democrat who unfortunately has not challenged Dole's anti-immigrant rhetoric.

But CNN reports that Hagan really got blasted for her seeming indiffernece when Dole went after on an issue that matters even more people in North Carolina than immigrants.

In the 30-second ad, a narrator says that a leader of the Godless Americans Political Action Committee recently held a "secret fundraiser" for Hagan.

The ad then shows members of the group, which promotes rights for atheists and the separation of church and state, declaring that neither God nor Jesus exists.

The ad ends with a picture of Hagan and a voice that sounds like hers declaring, "There is no God."

So there you have it; Dole reaching to new lows to get re-elected. Hagan -- who denies the ad -- deserves a bit of fault for it for not challenging Dole on anti-immigrant ads. And Hagan supports the same anti-immigrant proposals pushed by Dole.

Now she is reaping a bitter harvest, bad as this ad may be.

Hagan still is slightly ahead in the polls. So perhaps the latest ad will be the last we have to hear from Liddy Dole.

Polls continue to tighten in McCain's favor

MSNBC this moring unveiled three Western polls showing John McCan up by 11 points in Arizona, tied in New Mexico and within four points of Barack Obama in Nevada.

This information is important since CNN's John King with his Spock-like super board has put New Mexico in Obama's category and Nevada as leaning to Obama. He also has Obama very close in Arizona.

In addition, Yahoo reported an AP story showing one in seven Americans still persuadable in how they'll vote Tuesday. The McCain camp is hoping on these voterss switching to him on the last day as a more safe choice.

Another poll shows the early voting edge going to McCain, along with absentee ballots.

Again, the race is far from over. Most polls do not ask if a person's selection over the phone is unchangeable in the ballot box. And four days left in a campaign is an eternity.

Stay tuned and on the edge of your seats.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Obama: Carlos Lowe is an American hero

Eleven years ago, I was sent as a newspaper columnist into a public housing project in the most impoverished Census tract in Nashville to find out why residents of Sam Levy Homes had watched while a Dollar General Store on site was burned to the ground.

Some residents were even suspected of being involved in the crime.

How does an outsider from the news media learn the truth from what society has purposely made through public policy into a closed world?

Earlier in that decade, The Tennessean newspaper -- my employer when I was a columnist -- had sent two reporters into a public housing project undercover to report on what it was like to live in an environment of gunshots, crime and other social disturbances. They posed as new residents, took pictures of other residents and asked questions without indentifying themselves as reporters.

The reporters fled the housing project after one of the journalists hastily and dangerously tried to buy a gun.

The resulting series was a purient view of what was wrong with the people there, not what was wrong with public policy. And white reporters perpetrated this wrong on mostly African-American residents helped fuel the public outrage and discredited the reporting.

Still, the editor and reporters involved claimed they did no wrong. And during a session of journalists at the Freedom Forum attended by the late great David Halberstam, one of the reporters said their way of going undercover was the only manner to get truthful answers from "those people".

So I had a measure by which a journalist should NOT go into a community. And that's how I met Carlos Lowe, the Barack Obama of hope in east Nashville.

The Metro school teacher had left his job at the age of 28 to re-open a community center -- dusty and dirty -- to do something lasting for the children of Sam Levy Homes and the most impoverished Census tract in Nashville.

And I walked into the center as Lowe was pushing around a mop and pail-on-wheels to clean. It was that tortuous way for the entire first year of the Salvation Army center's new lease on life. And I worked with Lowe in fielding the first neighborhood football team of 11 and 12 years olds. I took pictures. I met parents. I cheered on the sidelines for the Bobcats.

Most of all, I let everyone know I was an outsider. And I was there to earn their trust, and later comments for my series by first being a part of their lives honestly and openly.

Lowe now heads the children's part of the center taken over when the Boys and Girls Club left earlier in the fall. This once-bachelor now is married with two beautiful children, thanks to the youngsters he championed. They introduced him to his future wife, who was their teacher.

There is a lot more help at the center now. The Junior League and the Tennessee Titans came in to provide volunteer and financial support. Staff was hired, and the Salvation Army was able to take a more active role in the center by providing daycare for working mothers, after-school tutoring for children and a safe place for teens. A computer center offers connection to the Internet and the 21st Century.

And it is all because one man was moved to act for those who had been left out of the American Dream.

I'll be there to support Lowe on his next venture of hope: establishing a sports foundation for athletic teams at the center. He is holding a banquet Nov. 13 to recruit donors and help raise $40,000. I'll post in the near future on how you can get involved.

One of the best days of my career and life was when I walked into that center as Lowe was wielding the mop 11 years ago. And better days are to come for the children he loves because he answered the call to help his fellow man and woman and provide hope in every young life.

Limbaugh is true believer in his idiocy, but he remains very popular and a cat lover, too

The Telegraph of London, a newspaper once owned by a rich conservative now imprisoned for fraud, compiled an impressive profile of the extremely popular and wealthy Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh allowed the interview and access to kingdom because the rich guy once was his neighbor before donning the latest in prison wear.

I don't listen to the Duke of the Dittoheads, because he does not encourage people to think, just follow his dictums. He is a very talented entertainer. But just like comedian Bill Maher or other left-wingers, I really don't see what makes Limbaugh qualified to be an opinion-maker on the right. He is a college dropout, finishing just one year of school to spite his father.

Limbaugh's chief experience is being a radio DJ. But I never thought Wolfman Jack should appear on Meet the Press.

The thing that bothers me most about Limbaugh and his counterparts on the left are the poverty of their experiences. They just talk to people who agree with them and live inside the Beltway or their beachfront mansions.

The following quote from Limbaugh is most bothersome. The talk show host claims he is tired of hyphenated Americans, a.k.a people of color. Beginning with father and my eight uncles who fought for their nation in WWII, they wanted to be nothing but Americans.

But white Americans such as Limbaugh would not allow them to be. They returned from fighting Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo to fight Bull Connor, Jim Crow and bullshit barriers to Americans of Hispanic descent to be considered human beings.

And so for identity and pride, hyphenated names were used. If Limbaugh truly wants everyone to just be Americans, then he needs to recognize and admit the past that made the hyphenation necessary. But he won't. And neither will his listeners. Nor will they acknowledge that their current anti-immigrant fervor is rooted in the same bigotry our loved ones faced.

Still, we should read what he has to say at least to refute his delusions:

"... but there was never any substance to his (Obama's) speeches, just soaring rhetoric. That guy can say nothing better than anyone I have ever heard say nothing.' He drums his fingers. 'My take on this is that we are all Americans and I am sick and tired of hyphenated Americans. Afro-American, Hispanic-Americans.

'I am truly colour blind and I wish everyone else was. We Balkanise when we say only women can represent women in Congress and only Jews can represent Jews and only blacks can represent blacks. It's bullshit. We all want the same things. Prosperity and a decent education for our kids. Treating this country like it is stuck 50 years ago is bullshit; we have made more progress than anyone over this. Get over it. If Obama says stupid things I'm not going to say they are not stupid because he's black. He's running for President, for God's sake. It's the Left who has been racist by agonising about whether he is black enough. Is he authentic enough? Does he have a civil rights record? For me he's a liberal. That is reason enough to oppose him.' "

And what Limbaugh professes from his poverty of experiences and lack of education is enough to oppose him.

But I've got give him some credit. He is a cat lover. Me, too.

To read more of the fascintating profile of a very interesting man, go to:

Fall comes to Tennessee; beautiful, endangered

It gets beautiful here at this time of year.

Trees of yellow and red line the hills and valleys. The air is crisp and the colors sharp. It makes you feel great to be alive.

But the environment here in Tennessee is most fragile. Development is put ahead of preservation. Nashville has constant air warnings. The Smokies have been overcome with pollution. Environmental laws are toothless. Water quality is constantly endangered. The major river that flows through Nashville is an environmental cesspool.

Like many residents in many areas of the South, Tennesseans have not been good stewards of God's gift. And this time of year shows how precious it is.

One day soon residents and their lawmakers here will wake up, not only to the natural beauty but the legal need to protect it.

Holy Dan Quayle! Palin's spelling now suspect

A letter came in the mail today to my wife.

It was from Gov. Sarah Palin asking for donations to her historic campaign. But my wife, who taught English composition at Purdue University, caught a big mistake by someone who can afford any gaffe this late in the race for the White House.

If you read the letter above, you'll see a new spelling for the word "Wednesday". Former VP Dan "Potatoe" Quayle must have been typing the letter.

Alas, here is another mishandling of the GOP VP nominee. And this one is really embarrassing.

Jay Leno joked tonight about press reports that say Palin has gone rogue. That's all right. But it becomes a problem when you've gone illiterate -- as in the letter.

We live in a conservative county in Tennessee. So Palin and her entourage thought someone such as my wife might be for the moose-huntin', Saks Fifth Avenue wearin' conservative beauty queen from the North Country.

Not unless she and her staff discover a dictionary.

Don't drink Kudlow Kool-Aid; keep money in cash

CNBC's Larry Kudlow continues to shamelessly encourage viewers to put their money into the market, claiming the bull is preparing to charge the bear off Wall Street.

He's wrong. The current upturn is due to a bunch of daytraders making a quick profit. But today's GDP numbers showed the future for this nation and the markets.

Consumer spending was way down, signaling people are pulling back their spending because:

1) They've lost their jobs;

2) They're going to lose their jobs;

3) They've lost half of their savings in the stock market;

4) Their home is being foreclosed;

5) They're cutting back on spending to prepare for hard times;

6) Or a combination of some of the above.

Even CNBC Crazy Cramer is telling people to get into Walmart. Don't. Christmas sales will send the stock downward as people buy less then, too. Remember, he previously had two Wall Street fatcats on his show before all the bailouts saying their companies were great for investment. And Cramer did speak a negative word.

Then, their companies failed.

Please, keep your money in cash, just like Dallas Mavericks' billionaire owner Mark Cuban. And if you've got money in the market, get it out tomorrow before the Dow starts is way down to 6300.

Most of all, don't watch CNBC from 6-7 p.m. when Kudlow is peddling his Kool-Aid.

Media bias? 'You betcha' say readers of Politico

Readers unloaded on in unprecedented numbers on what they see as liberal bias in the nation's news media coverage of the presidential race.

And I have to agree with the readers, even though I have endorsed Obama.

When I worked for The Tennessean newspaper into 2006, that bias was obvious on the news pages. When Al Gore in the 2000 presidential race was wrongly proclaimed the victor in Florida, a cheer went up in the newsroom. So much for objectivity.

Two savvy readers made these comments to Politico:

"Sometimes not saying something is just as damning as what you do say," one reader wrote. "I am disturbed by the fact that one part[y]'s VP has had more backgrou[n]d reported on them than the opposite party's lead candidate."

"McCain's campaign, especially Palin, has gotten a lot more criticism from the media on these investigative pieces, where they dig into Palin's past," another said. "Despite there being glaring gaps in the biography of Obama regarding his upbringing, his state senate activity, his academic writings and lectures, his legal clients, his tactics, associations, and advocacies as a community organizer, none of this seems to have been investigated by the mainstream media."

They're right. Joe Biden has turned into the biggest drag on the Obama ticket with his loose lips on the foreign policy threat and in reducing the households that will be helped by an Obama tax cut.

To read more, go to:

Is this media biased? Yes.

Does it see a need to change. No.

So you as a reader should act appropriately and abandon the biased media and seek an independent one dedicated to giving both sides and respecting your intelligence to decide who is right and who is wrong.

That's what my blog is dedicated to.

Exxon-Mobil records largest quarterly profit in history; capitalism is great but this is ridiculous

Exxon-Mobil reported the largest quarterly corporate profit in American history this morning, shocking some and encouraging others.

These kind of profits made off the incomes of average Americans should be taxed more heavily, as Sen. Barack Obama proposes to do as president.

Yes, Exxon's profits will decline in the next quarter because of declining gas prices. But the gouging of the American public continues. And a new President Obama will need to act.

AP takes apart Obama informercial and all its spin

The Associated Press issued a strong analysis this morning taking apart Sen. Barack Obama's informercial for making promises that future budget woes will not allow him to keep.

AP deconstructed his rhetoric from his tax cuts to his health care. It also cited a coming budget deficit of $1 trillion that Obama still has not addressed with specific spending cuts he'd make.

In one pointed line, AP cited Obama's belief that everyone deserves health care while his plan does not guarantee health care to everyone. That was the point Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was trying to make in the Democratic primaries.

It seems that Obama's rhetoric has caught up with him and reality, at least with AP. The five days remaining until Americans vote may become a lifetime of woe for his campaign as more polls show the race tightening.

To read more, go to:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gray Sasser, TN Dems are void of virtue; Nashville's news media lacks talent to call out the powerful

Nashville Scene writer Jeff Woods is the only talent left of a credible staff writer at the once edgy and truly alternative media source.

The Scene now makes The Tennessean read profound. The corporate guy recruited to replace Liz Murray Garrigan ran a Cleveland alternative newspaper that folded. He is well on his way to doing the same with the Scene. And Nashville will be the poorer for it.

The Nashville print media is shockingly inadequate as watchdog and an informative source of news people need.

But Woods in a post on the Scene's Pith in the Wind blog site takes Tennessee Democratic Party leadership (yes, that's oxymoronic) and kid disaster Gray Sasser. The guy has better hair than Donald Trump, and that's the only good thing to say about the person.

His appearances on Bob Mueller's "The Same Ol' White Guys" political show on Sunday mornings are incredibly laughable. You'd never know from watching Mueller's show that an African-American was about to become president and Nashville has an African-American population of 25%.

And in keeping with the show's delusional theme, Sasser actually believes Gov. Phil Bredesen and Sen. Barack Obama belong in the same political party. Really.

Woods rightly takes Sasser to task for putting out a ridiculous press release criticizing Republicans for taking money from former Gov. Don Sundquist for their legislative campaigns. Incredibly, Sasser is playing the same old state income tax card that raised the likes of Marsha Blackburn to higher office and radio entertainer Steve Gill to prominence. And they're Republicans.

Democrats have no real, virtuous and progressive identity here -- from Bredesen to Sasser to Nashville Mayor Karl Dean to congressman Jim Cooper to House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh. The exceptions are former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis and the best lawmaker I've ever covered, state Rep. Frank Buck of Dowelltown.

This state needs an income tax, and this blog has recently endorsed as much. The alternative is Bredesen doing to the state what he did in gutting TennCare.

The Wall Street Journal shows that Tennessee is in the worst fiscal condition of any state in the Union. Washington State has experienced the sharpest drop in tax revenue. But it has an income tax to make up for deficits and put the burden on those with the means to pay.

Tennessee has experienced the second largest drop. But our state depends mostly on sales tax that falls heaviest on the poor. And those revenue numbers are going to decline more severely as Tennessee falls deeper into a recession. That's why Tennessee is facing at least a $600 million deficit in the current fiscal year.

But Sasser prefers to fiddle as Tennessee's finances burn for political gain.

Woods quotes his press release about the Sundquist donations:

“This is yet another example of candidates like Dolores Gresham, Ken Yager and Vance Dennis saying one thing on the campaign trail and then doing another in real life,” said Democratic Party Chairman Gray Sasser. “They run around their districts claiming they’re against the income tax. Then they turn around and pad their pockets with Don Sundquist’s leftover campaign cash.”

Sasser added: “We can draw either one of two conclusions: Either they support the income tax, or they’re hypocrites. Either way, Tennessee voters deserve to know the truth.”

The real hypocrites are Sasser, Bredesen, Naifhe, Dean and Cooper, who have betrayed Democratic Party ideals nationally for senseless, anti-progressive ones locally. And Woods again shows he is one of the last voices left in Nashville's news media to write the difficult truth about the powers that be.

Male enhancement cream and Barbie?!

Jay Leno got a big laugh tonight in telling the story about a man caught exposing himself in a store after applying male enhancement cream to a specific part of his body.

The questions are obvious:

What store sells male enhancement cream and Barbies?

Why would the guy think that Barbie would be impressed by his display since her boyfriend Ken has no parts at all?

These days, we need a good laugh. Thanks, Jay.

Nebraska calls special session to halt parents from abandoning teen and pre-teen children

The state of Nebraska has seen America's future, and it is ugly and depressing.

Parents are dropping off children, including teens, at hospitals because they can no longer afford to care for them. Just over the past nine days, the pace of abandonments has accelerated with five teens and preteens dropped off.

The state's Safe Haven law allows for such abandonments, but lawmakers originally intended it for infants.

One parent even drove from Georgia to abandon her child. We might be moved to condemn these parents. But any mother who would drive from Georgia to give up her child must care something about the innocent life. Sometimes things get so bad that you can't even take care of yourself. And layoffs are sweeping the nation as are home foreclosures.

To stop this tragedy in this specific case, a special legislative session has been called for Nov, 14 to change the law to halt the abandonments. Forty of 49 state lawmakers support changing the law.

The New York Times reports:

Safe-haven laws, allowing a parent to surrender an infant without fear of prosecution, were adopted by every state over the last decade after numerous reports of babies left to die in trash bins or plastic bags. But only Nebraska’s version, which took effect in July, extended the protection to “children,” meaning up to age 18, rather than specifying a maximum age of a few days or months.

To read more, go to:

Gun purchases rising sharply in Nashville

NewsChannel 5 had an interesting social and economic piece tonight about gun sales rising sharply in Nashville.

The gun shop owner interviewed said that firearm sales usually rise sharply during economic downturns due to escalating crime and fear. The report showed that the gun purchases are multi-racial. An African-American couple was shown buying a gun.

Rising crime due to desperation is a tragic ripple effect from recession and massive budget cuts to come by Nashville and state leaders.

Hispanics know a lot about politics, too; we're concerned about more than only immigration

Finally, the American people got to hear a Hispanic voice and she a Hispanic face speaking on presidential politics on one of the major TV networks.

Maria Teresa Petersen tonight on CNN's Andersen Cooper 360 outdid David Gergen and Gloria Borger in providing balanced and insightful analysis of the presidential race with 144 hours to go.

The founder and executive director for VotoLatino, a grassroots group registering Americans of Hispanic descent to vote, provided welcome relief on an outlet for the supposed mainstream media addicted to the same old faces and races.

And despite Gergen and Borger trying to interrupt her about people they really know nothing about, Petersen crafted more sensible conclusions about Hispanic voters that were more indicative of our independent nature. You do something wrong to us, and we then respond. But we're not dedicated to any coalition, person and party without reason.

Now if we could only get George Stephanopolous on his ABC-TV's This Week political show to recognize that Hispanics such as Petersen and professor Roberto Lavato have something intelligent and insightful to say on his roundtable portion of experts.

I have yet to see a Hispanic journalist or analyst on his roundtable segment. And when I tried to ask him and ABC News about the reason why, they never got back to me.

I hope Ms. Petersen will show George what his show and viewers are missing in not hearing more from the nation's largest minority group.

Insurers penalizing women for health coverage

Women already face a disparity in the diagnosis of their maladies like heart disease. They're not expected to have heart attacks in their 30s and 40s despite heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women, not breast cancer.

My wife knows that. She had a heart attack at the age of 43. The supposed heart center where we lived initially diagnosed her with just having stress. She was not held overnight in the hospital like a man would have been in the same situation.

So now we have insurers exercising the same ignorance about women. But now they're further penalizing working women in their pocketbooks, when they already only make 72 cents on the dollar men make for the same kind of work. Even after taking out maternity coverage, women still pay more.

Now we can see even more clearly why Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's candidacy was so important to so many.

The New York Times reports tonight:

The disparities are evident in premiums charged by major insurers like Humana, UnitedHealth, Aetna and Anthem, a unit of WellPoint; in prices quoted by eHealth, a leading online source of health insurance; and in rate tables published by state high-risk pools, which offer coverage to people who cannot obtain private insurance.

To read more, go to:

Nothing new in Obama's infomercial tonight; questions still remain about doability of his plans

In case you missed it, Sen. Barack Obama's 30-minute infomercial tonight plowed no new ground, except that he has now lowered the tax cut threshold to families making less than $200,000 a year and has endorsed the disastrous bailouts of Wall Street fatcats.

The most noticeable feature of the infomercial on all the major TV networks was that Obama could spend that kind of cash to buy that kind of airtime. That's because he went back on his promise to go with the restraints of campaign finance laws. McCain is following the laws.

For someone who claims he is going to change Washington and its big money that separates it from the real people featured in his infomercial, this flip-flop damages his integrity. Obama has been the top congressional recipient of political contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the past 20 years. Those two entities had to be bailed out a few months ago with $200 billion of your money.

Obama blamed the past eight years of the Bush administration for the current economic mess. That was dishonest. He knows the Clinton administration has the bigger blame for deregulating the financial industry that allowed bad loans to be sold upstream to Wall Street. Obama's failure to mention that truth makes his claim of being bipartisan a bunch of hogwash. And he closed his infomercial with Bill Clinton putting his arm around him at a live Florida rally. Sickening.

Just eight years ago, education was the No. 1 issue in the presidential race. Obama cited it briefly tonight. LBJ always said that a fair and adequate education for all people was the best social program. That way, you make your way up the economic ladder. And Bush administration policy under the No Child Left Behind Act has finally held education bureaucrats accountable for their failure to educate all children fairly.

Obama sadly scolded parents and claimed that any turn in education fortunes must begin in the household. While he made have been a community organizer, Obama sure didn't listen enough. Parents who have been failed by the education system are not going to be able to really help their children, let alone participate with the same educators at schools who couldn't reach and help them.

The Education Trust, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, says a good teacher can catch up a child academically in five years. There is the solution. Obama cited several schools that are succeeding. But the best one is in New York City. There, a charter school has teachers making $125,000 a year to educate children at risk. High-paying administrative positions are limited to the principal. That's the kind of change needed in public education.

A better future for all children is in choice -- via charter schools and vouchers for poor parents to send their kids to the places more affluent youngsters can go. Competition is very American. We love it in the Olympics. We should want the same heroics in our schools.

Obama told voters tonight that he would strengthen the military. Meanwhile, Rep. Barney Frank has said he wants to cut military spending by 25%. Frank has been around Washington a lot longer than Obama. The new president's biggest obstacles will come from his own political party in Congress.

While I have endorsed Obama and stand by that pick, I increasingly am not in love with the choice. He talks the talk. His rhetoric soars. But his ability to make change down on earth is still quite questionable.

And that's why this presidential race is tightening, no matter how many Oprah-produced infomercials Obama can buy and air.

General Motors should be allowed to go under

One of the most honest people in the U.S. financial markets, Rick Santelli, makes a great point as talks increase about the federal government bailing out General Motors.

"Where in the Constitution does it say that the government must prevent a recession?!" Santelli said recently on CNBC.

He is right. The cost of all the bailouts of Wall Street, banking and corporate fatcats ultimately will be $2.8 trillion of your money. And you have yet to see a direct dollar to address your needs -- be it a bad home mortgage, savings wiped out in the stock market or you being forced to return to work after retirement.

I have a friend and doctor, a pediatrician now 70, who is returning to work in his golden years due to the lies made to him about keeping his money in the stock market. This sorry scenario is being repeated across the nation.

This economy needs a failure of something like GM. Fatcats need to be finally shown there is a consequence for their wrong decisions -- just as it is in our households.

Yes, GM employs a lot people. But as my prima suprema in Topeka, Kan, has told me, a lot of workers in the auto industry have been making big bucks for years and spending many of those dollars like water. They could have saved in the event of losing their jobs and all the overtime of more than $50 an hour. My cousin does not feel overly sorry for auto and tire industry workers.

Finally, taxpayers have to draw the line. GM is the perfect spot.

Tennessean loses large number of subscribers over past six months; economy, poor quality hurt sales

The new source of breaking information about the fortunes of newspapers owned by Gannett Co., Inc., says that new circulation numbers for The Tennessean show a sharp decline in subscriptions for weekdays and Sundays.

Daily, circulation fell to 151,713, down 5.3% from 160,243 a year ago, on Sept. 30, 2007.

Sundays, circulation fell to 210,277, down 5.6% from 222,754 a year ago.

My household is one that quit subscribing to The Tennessean in the past six months due to the incompetency of the top management and advice from columnist Ms. Cheap on how to save money. To be constructive in my comments, Gannett should fire the top management at The Tennessean and encourage Ms. Cheap to exclude The Tennessean as a specific savings cut for readers.

So now you see why The Tennessean will have to cut its workforce by 10 percent or 100 workers by Dec. 1 and why advertisers see much less return for their dollars by investing in a declining product.

Craig Moon made a big difference at Tennessean; he's why USA Today continues to prosper

A lot of criticism has been aimed at the fact that the 10% cuts coming for Gannett newspapers -- including The Tennessean -- do not include USA Today.

That newspaper's circulation numbers are up compared to other Gannett newspapers. And a primary reason why is publisher Craig Moon, who used to be publisher at The Tennessean.

It was my privilege to work with Moon during his tenure at The Tennessean. I found him to be honest and a man of integrity. He was actually a better journalist interested in what readers wanted than the people in charge of The Tennessean newsroom. He is the one who created the then very popular Williamson A.M. edition. It made big profits while also pleasing readers. Great formula.

While newsroom decision makers denied me a chance to write a political column for the newspaper, Moon readily opened the way. So I am indebted to him for allowing me -- an American of Hispanic descent -- to pursue my dreams. When he left The Tennessean for greener pastures, the paper's future was doomed.

But not USA Today's. Our loss was their great gain. And Moon was the difference.

Craig now sits on the operating committee for Gannett. If there is hope for the company to turn fortunes around in an environment affecting all newspapers regardless of public or private ownership, then Moon will make the difference there, too.

Men of integrity, competency and honesty always prevail.

Fed rate cut won't make a difference in stock market; don't buy the lie of a new bull market

CNBC analysts a moment ago agreed that the expected Fed rate cut today will not make a difference in the financial markets.

One great comment held that the banks will not be lending money, just now at a lower rate. They're hanging on to all their money because they know more of their home loans will go bad because values will decline another 20 percent.

So the federal government has been putting $250 billion of your money into banks that are not going to lend. Outrageous.

So, keep your money out of the market. Don't be motivated by greed. What goes up must come down. In this market, however, it will come down more quickly and head toward 6300 from its current position of 9000.

The Fed is simply playing catch-up with its rate cut. But the game has already moved further down the field.

Marsha!Marsha!Marsha! wants more of your money

Nashville City Paper political reporter Ken Whitehouse asks a very savvy question today in a story about congressperson Marsha!Marsha!Marsha! Blackburn still asking for campaign donations as she prepares to win by a landslide next Tuesday.

What does she need the money for? Perhaps to boost the finances of her daughter's firm that has previously been paid from campaign funds for services.

It would seem that Blackburn would not want as many unnecessary donations since for years she failed to obey the law in reporting these monies to the Federal Election Commission.

No, it doesn't make sense that Blackburn has sent out a letter begging for political contributions ... except if you consider that she is one of the biggest hypocrites to ever hold office in Tennessee.

If you give to her of your hard-earned monies, realize that you'll just be feeding the same, old entrenched system in Washington that is based on incumbency first, your needs second or even less.

Fighting cancer: Patrick Swayze is an inspiration and now completing a new TV series for A&E

To many of us fighting cancer with a high mortality rate, actor Patrick Swayze is a hero.

And this fine actor will gain a broader audience when his new TV series "The Beast" debuts this year on A&E. We know that each moment must be seized. Life is not long-term but every day. And we can make a mark in life by what we do, even something so small.

In a story in The New York Times, the reality of fighting terminal cancer and still living each day was candidly discussed by Swayze:

So far, the production team reported, he has missed only a day and a half of work. Mr. Swayze said: “I’m still fine to work, I haven’t changed — oh, I have changed, what am I saying? It’s a battle zone I go through. Chemo, no matter how you cut it, is hell on wheels.”

But beyond medical difficulties with his pancreatic cancer, it is apparent that Swayze has discovered a truth about living life that we as fellow cancer survivors so far also have been blessed by God to discover.

“I do find myself, at the end of the day, riding home sort of catching myself with a smile on my face,” he said. “I’m proud of what I’m doing.”

The end of the day is all that we are guaranteed. I'll keep praying for Swayze. You should, too. He is teaching us an invaluable lesson about living life, with cancer or not.

To read more, go to:

Rasmussen says Obama lead down to 3 points

Now four major polls show Sen. Barack Obama's lead over Sen. John McCain has fallen to 4 percentage points or less.

Gallup and Zogby put it at two and four percentage points respectively. Today, Investors Business Daily put the race at 3 points. It predicted the 2004 race dead on.

Rasmussen says the following:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 47%. This is the first time McCain has been within three points of Obama in more than a month and the first time his support has topped 46% since September 24 (see trends). One percent (1%) of voters prefer a third-party option and 2% are undecided.

Among those who “always” vote in general elections, Obama leads by just a single point.

These numbers are significant, considering that all presidential races always narrow toward the end. The stock market briefly is up, which removes the economy as an issue for Obama at a critical time.

Also, during the Democratic primary campaign, Obama had problems with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in closing out their races. Obama had been pegged up by 10 percentage points right before New Hampshire. And he lost by 3 percentage points.

Fast forward. Obama's runningmate Joe Biden continues to say the wrong things, this time lowering the amount of household income that would be helped by his tax hikes to $150,000 from $250,000. That means higher taxes would touch many more Americans at a very bad time. And Obama has disppeared from the TV political shows and has not held an official press conference in more than a month.

What is he scared of?

This race may turn out to be a barn burner and a very late night on Nov. 4.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

GOP senators calling on Stevens to resign reports that a group of GOP U.S. senators led by John McCain and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are calling on convicted felon and colleague Ted Stevens of Alaska to resign his seat.

Stevens was convicted yesterday on seven counts of felony corruption but said he would still stand for re-election to return to the Senate after Nov. 4. Voters in Alaska still strongly support Stevens.

The Senate, however, has the power in the new year to remove Stevens from office for violating ethical standards. But politically, they'd rather he resign.

Stevens should. But this guy is crazy and corrupted enough to stick it out. Even GOP U.S. Sen. Larry Craig successfully stuck it out despite solicitation charges in an airport.

Look for Stevens to set a new low, even for Congress.

Gore honored in Memphis, calls fight against climate change similar to fight for civil rights

Former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore today equated the fight against climate change as synonymous to the need for courage and conviction during the civil rights movement.

Gore was honored in Memphis along with civil rights heroine Diane Nash, who challenged Nashville to recognize the dignity and rights of every human being in the 1960s.

Also today but in England, Prince Charles said that climate change was more important than the failing economy there and around the world when it comes to needed global action.

From Memphis, The Commercial Appeal reported:

Gore said Nash and the Civil Rights movement pioneers were bringing what Gandhi called the "truth force" that helped bring about then-unimaginable change.

That same sense of moral and spiritual urgency is now needed, Gore said, to help create the will necessary to bring about changes to avert what he described as a growing global catastrophe.

He said future generations would be asking one of two questions.

"Either they will look around at the devastation that was predicted and allowed to occur and ask, 'What were you thinking? Didn't you hear the scientists? Didn't you see?"

Or, Gore said, "I want them to ask, as we have the honor to ask Diane Nash, 'How did you find the moral courage ... to solve the crisis and bring about change people were saying was impossible?"

Polls, what are they good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again; Obama up by only 2% over McCain

A new Gallup tracking poll says Sen. Barack Obama holds only a 2-percentage-point lead over Sen. John McCain with six days left before voting.

In addition, pollster John Zogby today put the margin between the candidates at 4 percentage points. Meanwhile, polls for individual states still show Obama winning by a landslide of more than 300 electoral votes.

So who is right? It's hard to say. Polls can say some crazy things. The Tennessean on Sunday said the race in Middle Tennessee was tied. That's ridiculous. McCain is going to sweep the Midstate except for Davidson County.

So who is going to win Nov. 4? I think it will be Obama. But a stock market surging upward doesn't help him, and an international crisis or another stupid comment by Joe Biden could boost McCain into the presidency.

Protecting your money: Credit card companies starting to make you pay for their bad decisions

The New York Times reports tonight that credit card companies are initially and secretly making you pay for their bad decisions and bad debt you didn't rack up.

These companies are facing a day of reckoning as defaults on credit card debt by consumers skyrocketed in the first half of 2008 to $21 billion. Another $55 billion in debt will be eaten over the next 18 months.

Americans hold $4.4 trillion in personal debt.

But even if you've paid all your bills on time and in full, the companies are reducing your credit line, which then reduces your overall credit score. So when you go to borrow money to buy a home or a car, you'll be denied that loan because of a worse credit score or you'll have to pay more money up front.


The credit card companies also are raising the interest rates you have to pay. If 15 percent was not enough, American Express is preparing to raise its rate to 18 percent. Look for other credit card companies to follow.

To read more about this despicable and deteriorating situation, go to:

Issues for Americans of Hispanic descent deserve more than a brief spot on CNN's Larry King

So now the supposed mainstream news media has gotten back around to considering American voters of Hispanic descent worthy of their time.

While it one could say better late than never with only seven days before a nation votes for president, the media's last respite of respect to Latinos provides little time to examine issues of importance to us.

And adding insult to injury, again it is all white, elitist media folks and their favorite experts telling us tonight what we think and value.

I had to laugh as CNN's Larry King referred to our influence at the ballot box as the "Latin vote". Who knew we had such a connection to ancient Rome? When we say "hail Cesar", it has to do with "Chavez" not "Julius".

Immigration has disappeared as a campaign issue. While the economy and foreign policy mean most to us, too, the humane and fair treatment of people who look like our ancestors also is close to our hearts and consciences. Never forget where you came from, or where your grandparents came from to pursue the American Dream. We will always be grateful and vote accordingly.

Larry King featured CNN's chief political correspondent John King. I was with King on the 2004 campaign trail at a Kerry speech at a college south of Los Angeles. While I was prepping for a one-on-one interview with the candidate after his speech, King was busy stuffing his face along with the other media types at a huge spread laid out by the campaign.

The only thing Hispanic that King and the other political reporters were interested in was the chicken quesedillas next to the vegetarian lasagna. Nothing has changed in 2008.

Yes, the vote of Americans of Hispanic descent will determine which way Nevada goes. It is one of those critical swing states. But we deserve more attention -- as the largest collective group outside of white folks in this nation -- than one week before the most important presidential election in memory.

The change all of us are counting in Washington also needs to occur with the "supposed" mainstream news media.

Merry Xmas from Gannett: Tennessean's parent company to cut 10% of workforce, 3,000 workers

The parent company that owns The Tennessean announced today that it will cut its workforce by about 3,000 workers.

Each of its newspapers, with the exception of USA Today, will reduce its employee numbers by 10% by Dec. 1. The e-mail announcement appears at the bottom of this blog post.

Tennessean employees have been waiting for this shoe to drop for some time. Expect the product you buy to be even poorer than before. The recent reduction in the width of the newspaper and the redesign is indicative of the ugly times to come. The only watchdog role the newspaper will be able to fill is keeping an eye on the pooches getting their hair cut in the Petsmart front window.

The Tennessean has some very good and caring reporters, photographers, sports columnists, copy editors and artists. They give a damn. The management, however, is a detriment to good journalism that reflects our communities and shows progressive leadership. These managers even fail to encourage good work with simple words of support. Annual raises are only 1 percent.

The good people under these managers deserve better. Now they face layoffs at Christmastime. It's just plain wrong and immoral.

I wish my rank-and-file colleagues and their families well in these hard times, particularly at Christmas. I'll be praying for them.

But a newspaper dedicated first to profits and not the community and its watchgog role deserves none of our support as advertisers and readers.


To: USCP Publishers & General Managers

As all of you are painfully aware, the fiscal crisis is deepening and the economy is getting worse. Gannett’s revenues continue to be severely impacted by this downturn, and our local operations are suffering. While we are doing our best to reduce all non staff-related expenses, I am sorry to report that we must do another round of layoffs across our division.

To that end, we will institute an involuntary staff reduction of approximately 10% by the first week of December. The terms of the severance will be one week for each year of service with a cap of 26 weeks.

Each Publisher is responsible for developing their local plan to achieve the expected goal. Decisions will be made locally because each of our markets is unique, with differing market conditions and individual needs in light of our previous reductions.

I have asked that all plans be completed by November 14th at which time they will go through the standard review process.

I fully understand this announcement will cause you concern but I felt that once a decision was made it should be communicated as quickly as possible.

While this is more bad news, it is a sign of Gannett’s determination to remain healthy and viable as a company during these turbulent economic times. We continue to be a leader in our industry, not only because of our fiscal strength but also because we have a plan to aggressively grow the company when the economy returns.

To that end, I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts and ideas. We need to grow revenue as well as continue to find efficiencies. I would appreciate your help and ideas on both fronts.

My email address is I promise you will be heard and receive a timely response.

I appreciate your understanding and commitment during these challenging times.

Thank you.

Obama has questions to answer about terrorists

The conservative news media is alive with a worthy story about Sen. Barack Obama and his past associations with people of terrorist ties.

The latest is about praise Obama lavished on the spokesperson for the PLO just five years ago at a dinner honoring the man. On the dais of praisers were domestic terrorists William Ayers and his wife, who now are educators in Chicago.

The Los Angeles Times wrote about the dinner five years ago. And it has a video of Obama praising the PLO representative, which has previously been designated a terrorist organization.

What does all this have to do with what troubles this nation?

Honesty. Integrity. Judgment. These are all qualities missing from American society today on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C.

Obama has claimed little to no contact with Ayers or any people with terrorist ties. But the emerging record says otherwise. Obama has not held an official press conference in a month. He appears to not want to add anything further to the record lest he mispresents the truth.

Another weird twist to this situation involves the LA Times. It refuses to release the video of the dinner. Why? Let the video be part of the public record for the people to see.

Obama needs to speak to this part of his record. It matters and so does The Times' need to look unbiased on its news pages toward the candidate.

To read more, go to:

Council members attacking Nashville's racism

Three Metro Nashville council members are drafting a resolition to ensure that affordable housing developments are spread throughout Davidson County and not just dumped on predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

The members call the existing policy discriminatory, and they're right. The bigotry that is rife throughout Nashville, its public policy, its lack of public policy and in its schools and law enforecement is sickening. And it shows that Nashville is indeed not a progressive city.

Black residents have had to fight a Tennessean columnist, Habitat for Humanity and elected leaders who are lapdogs for the chamber of commerce in trying to stop the Park Preserve development in north Nashville. The development may grow to more to 300 units in an area already inundated with enough traffic endangering children and families.

But these residents were unsuccessful in their efforts because everything from landfills to low-income housing is supposed to be dumped on minority neighborhoods, according to Nashville's legacy of bigtory.

The resolution proposed by the council members is finally a positive step toward adressing Nashville's racism. To read more, go to:

Protecting your money: It's not easy

The website had a couple of gems worth reading if you're worried about your money.

The first bit of needed information concerns safe deposit boxes. The contents -- including cash -- are not protected by the FDIC, bank or anyone else. So if you have cash in there or any other valuables, they're at risk to disappear in case of fire, tornado, hurricane or a simple explosion.

Check with your insurance company to see if the contents are protected under your homeowner's policy.

Second, if you simply want to revert back to the old days of putting your cash in your mattress for safekeeping, it might not be a bad investment strategy. Marketwatch quotes USA Today's mutual fund columnist John Waggoner:

"For retirement investors, the bear market has wiped out most gains for the decade.

"An investor who put $100 a month into the American Funds Growth Fund of America for a decade, for example, would have had $14,562 in his account at the end of September. By Thursday [10 days ago], that would have shrunk to $11,671, not including the fund's upfront sales charge.

"An investor who had put $100 a month into his mattress for a decade would have $12,000."

Scary, isn't it?

Why does the law allow felon Stevens to still run?

I don't understand.

Why does the law allow convicted felon and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens to still run for re-election while convicted felons getting out of prison are not even allowed to vote?

It does not make sense. Votes for Stevens to put him back in the Senate for another term should not count. The man was convicted of seven felonies for the base corruption of accepting freebies from lobbyists that included grand renovations to his home.

Yet people who have paid their debt to society are not even allowed to vote.

Stevens has yet to be sentenced. And if he goes to prison, his ability to serve would be compromised. But if felons can't vote, they should not be allowed to run for office either.

The law should be changed to reflect simply consistency. Let ex-felons vote.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A great city has a great NFL team? Titans' Monday Night Football win needs definite perspective

Last decade, Nashville leaders successfully sold a new initiative to taxpayers with the slogan, "A great city has a great library."

And Nashville got a new downtown library as a sign that the Music City was a progressive place.

Tonight's win by the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football and before a national TV audience was certainly exciting. And what appears to be a dream season for a very deserving team continues along with an unbeaten record.

But the victory needs perspective as to what it says about Nashville and any claim it has to being a progressive place to live. It's not.

Truly great cities like New York and Chicago also have great libraries. But their greatness and progressive place in American society are not dependent on how welll the Bears or the Giants or the Jets do each NFL season. Nor does the image of these cities rise and fall with the Cubs, White Sox, Yankees and Mets -- all of which did not make this year's World Series.

The greatness of cities and the push for progress depends on the plight of the most vulnerable as children and senior citizens, how people of all colors and classes are treated by the justice and law enforcement systems and the availability of safe, decent and affordable places for all families to live and prosper.

By these measures, and not the record of an NFL team, does a city attain greatness in the eyes of people and leaders across the country who push a progressive agenda and run corporations with diverse workforces.

Again, the Titans deserve all the plaudits and more. But many of the fans who filled LP Field tonight will be returning home to their suburban counties where the tax base is used primarily for schools and not pro sports teams.

Yes, these good people have been wonderfully entertained, but they know what makes a better and safer community for their families. And that's why they don't live in Nashville anymore.

In Nashville, the schools are about to be taken over by the state of Tennessee for failure of city leaders to properly and fairly educate every child under standards demanded by the No Child Left Behind Act. Schools in Memphis are under no such threat.

In Nashville, voters will soon approve an amendment to the city's charter to make English the official language of Metro business. Immigrants who do not speak English well enough will have to make do in emergencies and in receiving services for the taxpaying businesses they run.

In Nashville, the law enforcement and justice systems continue to receive complaints from African-Americans and people of Hispanic descent for unfair treatment -- from the planting of drugs on young people who give themselves up to pregnant women tortured under custody during childbirth.

In Nashville, supposedly progressive Democrats from the mayor to the congressman remain silent about abuses that would shock the national party and its presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

In Nashville, the city's treasure of intelligence, experise and leadership -- Vanderbilt University -- has been cut off politically from helping resolve the city's education woes and outrages in its law enforcement and justice systems.

A great city?

Not Nashville, yet.

I'm still for Obama but his supporters are not making it easy; hope will be valuable commodity

A confused reader of my blog thought my post praising the rationale behind a Tennessee newspaper's endorsement of Sen. John McCain meant that I am also supporting the GOP nominee for president.

I am not.

I endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president early in October.

I've not changed my mind, although I must admit I am increasingly not in love with my pick for the White House. Comments by Sen. Joe Biden on a terrorist/international threat and congressman Murtha's labeling of his own constituents as rednecks has left me less enthused about Obama.

And the exhortation by one of his chief economic advisers, Warren Buffett, for people to seek out their inner greed and invest now in the stock market was simply reckless and immoral. If Buffett is going to advise Obama on the economy, then he might as well recruit Rush Limbaugh for direction on tolerance.

Also, McCain's proposal to buy up to $300 billion in bad home mortgages would provide immediate relief to Americans in need and also be real help in turning around the stock market. Obama seems to be more tied to Wall Street fatcats in making his political future possible than McCain.

Outside of these significant shortcomings, Obama still is my choice. I believe we will need someone in office who will offer simple hope to people who are hurting, just as FDR did during the Great Depression. His fireside chats inspired a nation.

Contrary to popular history and opinion, however, FDR's policies did not rescue or revive the economy. World War II did. The stock market suffered significant losses in 1937, eight years after the 1929 crash and into FDR's second term.

Yet sometimes hope is all that keeps a nation going. Obama's call for us to be each other's keeper will need to be stressed over and over in our own Great Depression. And his tax plan will put money into the hands of people who will need it most to simply survive. McCain's plan gives the biggest breaks to those who already have enough.

Other policies and programs proposed by both candidates are not going to be possible. Health care reform will have to wait until at least 2011. The nation will not be able to afford it. But the nation will need the savings from an Iraq war that is ended by Obama earlier than later. The greatest threat to this nation is now from within, not without.

Perhaps best of all, Michelle Obama will be the greatest First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt. Her sense of justice for every human being, including Hispanics subjected to ICE raids, is most keen and impressive.

So to the confused reader, don't be so extreme. We can be complimentary of one another. There is no need to hate or denigrate the other side simply because we disagree with their approach or endorsement.

For whomever wins the presidency Nov. 4, this nation will need to pull together and rally around. Stay clear-headed and be an American first, not a caustic partisan.

Credit card debt will be next shoe to drop in pushing U.S. economic fortunes further down

My mentor, the Rev. Joe Pat Breen, was recently in the self-checkout line at Kroger's behind a couple with children.

The man took out one credit card and tried swiping it through the payment machine.


He took out another credit card.

The same result.

Finally, he asked his wife for a card. And it worked.

The reason for this situation was obvious. The family had racked up so much debt on the first two cards that there was no longer any credit left. That's probably $5,000 in debt on each at 18 percent interest. And who knows how much is on the third card. So you're looking at $12,000 in debt on this family -- at least, with the high interest rate quickly boosting the amount owed.

The same scene is being repeated in grocery stores across the country. And it explains why American consumers are holding $4.4 trillion in personal debt.

The ongoing economic downturn is going to result in families filing for bankruptcy and defaulting on their credit card debt. And the same banks now getting $250 billion from the federal government in bailout money are going to be back before Congress and the Department of the Treasury asking for more.

Look for this economic shoe to drop during the holiday season, further depressing the buying season and sending the stock market down, down, down.

Finally, a bailout from Washington, D.C., will have to be aimed at helping the people first, not the next industry. If the people perish, so will this nation.

SunTrust Bank lines up for bailout at your expense

SunTrust Bank -- which is prominent financially in Tennessee and the South -- was one of 18 banks that lined up today for federal bailout assistance.

So far, the U.S. Treasury has purchased a financial interest in 27 U.S. banks, even though it is becoming increasingly apparent that these mega-billion-dollar-bailouts have made little difference in turning the stock market around here and across the globe.

And the credit markets have yet to really thaw, because many of these banks do not want to lend due to more of their home mortgages that will be going bad. Home values are expected to decline another 20 percent.

The question facing each of us is how do we make a statement about these bailouts that make a political difference. I do business with Bank of America, which also is one of those financial institutions that also sees it as our responsibility to bail out their bad decisions.

I'm going to quit doing business with it to make a statement. If you do business with SunTrust, your might consider doing the same.

Get your money out of stocks today

Today's mild stock market is providing a good opportunity to you as an investor to get your money out of these holdings and into cash or a fixed-income mutual fund.

The market's slide will resume after today, heading toward a 20-percent further decline in the Dow to 6300.

So get your money out now, or don't put any of your cash into the stock market.

Take this eye of the hurricane as an opportunity to secure those things most precious to you before the storm resumes.

Media bias: It's real, says ABC News journalist; but this ill goes way beyond liberal/conservative

When former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg wrote a book earlier this decade revealing media bias toward conservatives, it was roundly ridiculed by his former colleagues.

I agreed with him, which ostracized me from my colleagues locally and nationally in the news media.

While the bias in the presidential election can be seen as for Obama and against McCain and particularly Sarah Palin, I believe it has evolved into a bias of elitists in the news media looking down on people who are NOT part of the journalists very narrow circle of experiences and friends.

Most journalists dislike -- particularly among decisionmakers -- people without titles. And if you didn't go to their alma mater or one of equal prestige, then you really are a leper. You are considered uneducated, not knowing what is best for you and your community. So let the journalists tell you.

I've seen this attitude in The Tennessean newsroom most greviously where I worked for a decade, and even in supposed close-to-the-people newsroom of Williamson A.M., its bureau in Franklin, TN. The humor-laden ridicule of the common people and people of faith in their readership was real and disturbing. Yes, there are some notable exceptions in both newsrooms. But the general attitudes there are indicative of the profession in general.

It is hard to write these things. I wish someone else would step forward to testify to this truth. But for the good of the people I love and respect in neighborhood and on Main Street, they need to know how they are viewed. And for the good of my profession to turn around its depressing fortunes, there must be a respect for the people supposedly being served.

A big part of the problem for The Tennessean's supposed leadership is that the people in charge come and go like the latest brand of breakfast cereal or Britney Spears' haircut. They make decisions based on marketing surveys, not knowing the people by getting out among them every day and listening. They don't really want to be among you, no matter what they write in their Sunday Issues' columns. Their decisions really are not to better serve you; profits come first.

The people making the decisions on what you read in your newspaper are mostly white and older. Yes, there are women now. But they also suffer from the same elitist virus.

As far as minorities, the Tennessean just a few months ago had all white people on its list of executives featured at the bottom of the editorial page. The addition recently of an African-American editorial page editor is merely a matter of black window dressing.

That editor has left no legacy beyond his own career of black journalism at The Tennessean. Consider that Nashville has an African-American population of 25% and two historically black universities. So what is happening? The answer is apparent. And that's why black journalists only stay at The Tennessean for a few years, then move on to places with more opportunity for their skills and respect for their experiences.

As far as the presidential elections, liberal bias has a lot to do with McCain and Palin not having the education pedigree and the right inside-the-beltway friends. They don't fit into the elitist crowd. And elitism is what the media generally is about.

On the conservative side, FOXNEWS is trying to deliver payback, not objectivity. But I have to give Bill O'Reilly credit for trying to give both sides, even if his is most impoverished. And the network does try and deliver dueling experts on news segments.

Pity Americans of Hispanic descent. We get no respect from either side, or much air time either. And when we do get noticed as on CNN, it features Hispanic political experts who are Republicans. Yet more than two-thirds of Hispanic voters are Democrats.

Media watchers say that we're headed toward newspapers as in the old days, officially labeled Democrat or Republican. And TV already is there, with MSNBC for liberals, FOX for conservatives, CNN(with the exception of Lou Dobbs) for liberals and NBC for liberals. CBS and ABC are only starting to go left.

Our profession must resist this temptation. It is an easy way out instead of just going out and getting to know real people and their concerns, joys and their heroics. And my profession should take heed from these comments by ABC's Michael S. Malone:

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.

He's right. It is increasingly an embarrassment to claim to be a journalist. To admit so is to unleash a torrent of complaints from real and good people outside our the elitist clique determining news coverage.

If I have to make a choice, I'll pick the real people outside my profession I am blessed to know. And I hope they'll pick me and my blog and reject a news media that has no desire to know or respect them.

Don't believe the myth sold about Nashville on Monday Night Football; Old South is alive and well here; children living, hurting under a 'Code Red'

If you are watching Monday Night Football later today, don't believe all the hype about Nashville being a great place.

That's an illusion -- of all wonderful on the outside. But inside, Nashville is a city in despicable decline when it comes to its most vulnerable citizens, particularly its children.

But the chamber of commerce and its lapdogs in the news media are hoping you don't notice. They've coined a p.r. term of "Code Blue" to make everything warm and fuzzy about the Titans and Nashville being a major league city and a great place for people to visit and spend their dollars.

In reality, it's Code Red here, particularly if you're a child needing a fair and adequate public education, a person of color seeking justice from the law enforcement community, parents seeking a way up the economic ladder or a family needing a safe and affordable place to live.

George Bailey would call Nashville a "Pottersville" instead of a "Bedford Falls". Old times are really not forgotten here. They're actually being repeated, because Nashville really is the Old South, not the new one.

As players, the Titans are great guys. So is their coach, Jeff Fisher. On the field, they make up a great team and have provided great entertainment to young and old alike.

But their owner, Bud Adams, has looted the city's coffers for his own profit in a one-sided deal that brought the Titans to Nashville from Houston. Officials there in Texas had gotten tired of Adams' outrageous demands that put his profit ahead of the city's fiscal well-being.

The current governor of Tennessee negotiated the one-sided deal to bring the Titans to Nashville when he was mayor. Phil Bredesen is a Democrat in name only. But many Republicans here were shocked at how much he abused the taxpayers in the Titans' deal.

City taxpayers -- before funding any other needs like schools and police -- must give $1 million annually to Adams for improvements to the quickly aging LP Field. Taxpayers also must give up more than $4 million a year on bonds sold to build the stadium. And Adams will soon make his contractual demand for $177 million in added improvements to the stadium.

Meanwhile, children here have been so poorly educated that the public schools here will soon be under state control for failing to meet standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. And the school district faces at least a $1 million shortfall in funding that will result in teacher layoffs and more crowded classrooms this school year.

But ol' Bud won't have to worry. He has the city under contract for his millions. Pity the children in Nashville. They need to get themselves a good attorney to receive their due.

One of the few brights spot here as far as Nashville being a progressive city is Vanderbilt University, a place I call "A City on a Hill." It is a place of great diversity in thought, language, healing and human beings. The intelligence contained in this place is formidable.

Yet Nashville's leadership -- led by the current governor when he was mayor -- has made it a point to keep Vanderbilt from having great influence on the city's direction. And that truth makes Nashville a shockingly backward place.

The evolution of African-Americans economically and politically has been stifled here. They represent 25 percent of Nashville's population.

And now people of Hispanic descent are being targeted by what is called the 287g deportation program. It is run by the local sheriff who makes the guy at Nottingham during Robin Hood's days look like Andy Taylor of Mayberry fame.

In July, law enforcement here arrested and tortured a pregnant Hispanic woman during and after her labor. He newborn son then was denied his mother's milk, as she was taken back to jail without even being allowed to express her milk for her child. Any mother knows the kind of pain breasts swollen with milk can deliver.

What was the mother's offense for which she was tortured? She illegally passed another auto in the slow lane on a four-lane road.

Homeowners of all colors and ethnicities also are being abused. The city doesn't have the money to correct storm drainage problems that leave more and more damage to personal property. And there won't be money for years to protect the American Dream of Nashvillians.

Tennessee's Capitol city truly is a violator of human rights, of citizens and non-citizens alike. You're not going to get a fair break from the powers that be and in news media coverage -- print and television -- unless you own an NFL or NHL team.

Watch the game tonight. But please do not bring spend your tourism dollars here or buy Nashville's country music product. Ask your organization not to hold its convention here. Only money, not morality, will change the minds of Nashville leaders to treat all the human beings here with dignity and equal consideration under the law.

Help the most vulnerable here -- living under a Code Red -- to finally be heard by speaking with your money and saying "no" to Code Blue.