Media Trying to Sway Voters

Today a story in the Commercial Appeal reads “State justices recommended for retention.” It concerns a Tennessee Bar Association poll that gives the three very high ratings. It matters because this is one of the issues that will be on the ballot. Few Tennesseans probably understand why it’s there and what it means, so the CA is trying to sway the public to allow liberal justices to prevail.

However, not everyone sees these three as the great jurists they allege. From the Times Free Press comes this:

A Republican group opposed to the reelection of three Democratic justices on the Tennessee Supreme Court is blasting a new Tennessee Bar Association poll showing its members overwhelmingly favoring keeping the judges.

Grant Everett Starrett, president and co-founder of Tennesseans for Judicial Accountability, charged in a news release that the results were “about as predictable as Pravada asking party members their approval rating of the Politburo.”

Tennessee Bar Association officials said the poll of 2,100 members found nine out of 10 lawyers recommend Tennesseans vote to “retain” the three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices on the Aug. 7 ballot.

Another Tennesseans for Judicial Accountability co-founder, J. Ammon Smartt, a Chattanooga native who is an associate with Nashville-based law and lobby firm Waller Landsden Dortch & Davis, said that “having led judicial reform efforts in Tennessee for many years, this unscientific push poll comes as no surprise to me.”

Smartt said as a one-time bar association member, “I have seen the bar engage similar tactics in the past. They often drag along members who, but for the influence the bench and the bar have over their careers, would outright oppose efforts like this push poll.”

Starrett and Smartt took issue with the questions asked and charged the TBA is “clearly in favor of retention” and generated poll questions to get “a desired result.”

The first-ever TBA poll of its members gave four possible options. They were highly recommend retention, recommend retention, do not recommend retention and do not have an informed opinion at this time. The critics said that left “only one of four options against the judges.”

TBA officials say the association is not taking a position on the retention question. In Tennessee, appellate judges do not run in competitive elections but on yes/no retention ballots.

Republican State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey is leading an effort to defeat Chief Justice Gary Wage and fellow Justices Connie Clark and Sharon Lee. The effort to defeat the justices has been criticized by a bipartian group of former justices and appellate judges, including retired Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Mickey Barker, a Signal Mountain Republican.

This topic is one that will be addressed at an upcoming Midtown Republican Club meeting. It’s too important to neglect and one that not a lot of Memphians are paying attention to – yet.

More Dem Follies

If you look at the way the Shelby County Democrats are acting, it would appear the party is on the point of collapse or self implosion.

We’ve had Judge Joe Brown disgrace himself in court and get arrested; Henri Brooks insult a Hispanic man at the County Commission; the head of the Shelby Dems, Bryan Carson arrested; and Henri Brooks in another peccadillo that got her arrested, too.

Now Brooks has another problem. She may not live in her district.


A day after her arrest, questions about where Shelby County Commissioner really lives.

In election paperwork, Brooks lists an address in Midtown, which is her district. On Thursday afternoon, a warrant issued for her arrest following a parking lot altercation outside Methodist Le Bonheur on Wednesday.

The address is for a red brick home on Crump. Neighbors say everyone knows everyone, but no one on the street seemed to know Brooks. According to the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s website, Brooks does not own the home on Crump.

“I know the name, but that’s all I know,” said Brock Sides, when asked if Brooks lived across the street from him.

“I don’t recall seeing a woman there in years,” he added.

Neighbors say an older man lives in the home. They say his wife died several years ago.

According to MLGW, for a time, Brooks was listed as the account holder for a home on East Red Fern Lane in Cordova. The home is outside of her district.

Neighbors on East Red Fern Lane say they frequently see Brooks and her black SUV. They add that her daughter and grandchildren also live in the home.

“I haven’t investigated that,” said Andre Wharton, a lawyer for Brooks.

According to the county charter, “Any county official who shall voluntarily remove his or her residence outside the election district from which elected or appointed shall forfeit that office immediately.”

What’s next? Stay tuned, there will be something.

GOP’s Hostile Image

Not my headline. It’s from the CA this morning. It is the headline for a George Will piece that tackles the Eric Cantor defeat.

Anyone who has observed George Will knows he’s a model of probity. He’s not one to make outlandish remarks. He chooses his words carefully and, well, conservatively. The headline did not sound like the George Will most of us hear on Fox News or read in the newspaper.

After reading his article, hostile image seemed an entirely inappropriate summation of his thoughts. Many readers either don’t realize or forget that the headline is not written by the author. A copy editor slaps it on. Often the reporter gets furious with the copy editor about the headline; sometimes correctly, sometimes not.

In this case, the copy editor was projecting his liberal CA viewpoint instead of George Will’s point. The word hostile only appeared once in the piece. After explaining several reasons why voters dumped Cantor, Will writes, “If, however, Cantor’s defeat reinforces the perception that Republican are simply hostile regarding immigration and immigrants, ripples from it might swamp attempts to align Republican policy with the 51% of Republicans nationwide, who like 62% of Americans, favor for the 11 million a pathway to citizenship.”

Notice he says the perception – not the reality – of GOPers being hostile and he precedes it with a big “if.” That is not painting Republicans as hostile, is it?

Republicans weren’t hostile in South Carolina towards immigration. They voted for the immigration reform backing Lindsey Graham for reelection in the Senate. We nominated John McCain – a staunch immigration proponent – in 2008 and the immigration friendly Romney in 2012. Outreach to the Hispanic community has been a goal of RNC Chair Reince Priebus who has intensified efforts in the past two years.

Editors like to cast Republicans in the harshest light possible and not the true one. They want to influence people who are too shallow to think for themselves. They did it again today.

Shocking Remarks

Guess who said this:

I was listening to [David] Brat last night, and today. I hink he’s very sophisticated for a politician. He’s certainly up to the ranks of most politicians I’ve ever dealt with. He speaks in a speculative manner and an intellectual manner. He can handle any debate on this program or my program. This looking down our noses at tea party people has got to stop. They have a message, they’re as American as any liberal is, and they’re really angry about the failure of the system.

I was over covering eastern Europe when the wall came down. The thing people didn’t like, it wasn’t the philosophy of communism they didn’t like, it was the complete corruption of it, the failure of it to deliver to working people. And that’s what this system’s doing right now. We can’t control the deficit, we can’t control the debt, we can’t control the border. What is government good at? And that’s the question that’s happened on every issue we’ve covered on our show.

Grab a chair so you don’t fall down. It was Chris Matthews.