01/27/2005: Memphis News: The Week In Review
It's been quite the news week in Memphis. As always, Commercial Appeal stories require (free) registration, or use BugMeNot.
Jan. 21: No, gangs and drugs aren't a huge problem in the Shelby County Schools--yet. The Shelby County School Board, however, approved gang behavior familiarization training for teachers and staff, ostensibly to keep gangs from becoming a problem.
Jan. 22: The Tennessee Medical Association is jumping on the tort "reform" bandwagon. Nearly 200 doctors from the Memphis area chartered a bus and attended a "Town Hall Meeting" in Nashville sponsored by the TMA to show support for initiatives to cap medical malpractice damages and subject plaintiff's lawyer's fees to a scale that "reduces their share as awards increase."
Please feed the pandas: If you grow arrow bamboo, the Memphis Zoo wants to talk to you. Apparently, the zoo's pandas, Ya Ya and Le Le, get picky about their diets about this time of year. Interestingly enough, the zoo's current sources of arrow bamboo are mostly from midtown Memphis.
Jan 23: Not every lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client: A Germantown lawyer, representing himself (and his wife), wins condemnation fight with city.
A ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court in a clergy sexual abuse case out of Nashville may have foreclosed a defense to the Memphis Catholic Diocese in two similar cases where the diocese is a defendant.
And of course, we've already mentioned the fascinating living arrangements of State Senator John Ford, not to mention his unique attempt at a solution to his domestic legal problems: rewrite the law to make it more advantageous to him. According to Thursday's "Daybreak" column, Senator Ford hit the big time Tuesday night--entertaining the nation as well as Memphis--as Jay Leno made him the butt of some of the jokes in his Tuesday night monologue. Well done, Senator! Meanwhile, while Jay is taking inspiration in Ford's domestic problems, the state GOP is using information coming out of Ford's court hearings to question whether Ford is a legal resident of his Senate district, as required by state law.
Jan. 24: In what is probably the biggest entertainment news story in Memphis this week, Hustle and Flow, the latest independent movie by Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer (who filmed the flick in Memphis), is sold to Paramount/MTV Films for a Sundance Festival record $16 million.
Jan. 25: Memphis area U.S. Representative Harold Ford is planning a fact finding trip to Afghanistan and Iraq for sometime after Iraqi elections are held this Sunday. Ford will spend time with Tennessee National Guardsmen while in country.
Meanwhile, in nearby Tunica, MS, the Jack Binion World Poker Open is in full swing. One thing that caught my eye: a contestant's characterization of playing in the tournament: It's an hour of boredom, followed by 30 seconds of terror. This is a take on a similar description of naval warfare from the sailor's point of view: "Weeks of boredom followed by hours of sheer terror."
Jan. 26: American hostage in Iraq pleads for his life; Roy Hallums has family and roots in Memphis.
More fun with politics: critics of Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton are talking about a recall election to oust Herenton. (Perhaps this is new Memphian David Gest's opportunity to become Memphis's answer to Der Governator?) Meanwhile, Herenton must be jealous of all the attention that Senator Ford has been garnering for himself, since the Mayor ("64 and unmarried", as the story notes) has revealed that he has a four month old son "from a previous relationship". Well Mayor Herenton, that's a good start, but you have quite a way to go before you can mount a credible challenge to Senator Ford.
The Tennessee Attorney General has issued an opinion stating that in his analysis, the city does not need voter approval to sell the city-owned utility, Memphis Light, Gas and Water. Troubled by the ruling, Memphis area State Senator Steve Cohen is comtemplating sponsoring legislation to require voter approval before the city can divest itself of the utility. Meanwhile, the cover story in this week's Memphis Flyer (not on the Web yet) states that Cohen is also pushing legislation legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses in Tennessee.
Jan.27: Three Memphis legislators have proposed imposing a "professional privilege tax" on professional athletes and coaches playing and coaching for Tennessee professional sports teams.
Memphis P.D. civilian employee: "Love of money made me do it"; i.e., steal drugs and cash from the evidence locker.
Len on 01.27.05 @ 08:59 PM CST