Memphis, History & Politics

Friday, May 13, 2011

blogger lost all of the posts from the last two days

That'll teach me not to backup my posts. Thanks blooger!


The post came back, but no comments. (OK, OK there weren't any comments before it dissapeared, either). So, you didn't miss your chance to be the first.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We're Hip Deep in Reporters in Hip Waders - Look Out New Orleans!

The most interesting and worrisome story of the current Mississippi River flooding is what may happen to New Orleans and Louisiana and the 80 year old technology they have to combat it. But first, a look at the news people who descended on Memphis to cover the flood. Waders, waders, waders, waders and waders. To be fair, Julie Martin is only in hip boots, but then The Weather Channel doesn't tend to go over the top like the majors. There are hundreds in shelters displaced by the flooding, but all the businesses are open. Virtually all roads will get you where you want to go, and the bigger fear of this flood is not the damage done by flood waters, but the damage to tourism from the news media (h/t David).

As Memphis mayor A.C. Wharton points out to skittish tourists, Memphis was built on a bluff some 78 feet above the Mississippi River. Most of the cities on the Mississippi sit atop bluffs with one notable exception: New Orleans. Right now, the news media is following the cresting flood waters down river where actual flooding will occur. The only questions is where. Within days a decision will have to be made whether to take the risk on levee system that protects New Orleans (!) or open the Moragnza Spillway for only the second time ever and deliberately flood Morgan City, LA. If you're a nerd and want to read a comprehensive article starting from where all the water came from to why the spillway system itself might fail check out this article. For minute by minute updates, check out And for news reports that breathlessly tell you "Look How High the Water Is" just wait a few days and turn on your TV. They'll be coming from New Orleans. If the Morganza Spillway is opened and the flooding happens down the Atchafalaya River, don't expect much. Rural Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana don't have direct flights to New York, and while those areas are most impacted by this flood they don't show up on Al Roker's radar, so to speak. The reporter in hip wader flood appears likely to follow the major airports.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Test posting from my phone at the delicious Blue and White in Tunica, Mississippi.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

This Just In... Osama bin Laden Is Still Dead

Stephen Colbert made this joke on his show last night and which joke is clearly a reference to an earlier joke so famous it now has its own Wikipedia entery. The significance of which is more than the fact that this now immutable fact, that a dead person tends to remain that way, is going to dominate the news in spite of the fact that there will be no change in the overwhelmingly significant single fact of newsworthiness. One of the offshoots of this story is the President's decision not to release the photos taken of bin Laden's corpse. The official reasons and the latest update on the official (for now) facts of the raid emphasize the worry about inciting anger and violence among those sympathetic to bin Laden and al Qaeda. Those, like Senator Lindsey Graham in the above cited article, want the photos published because, he says, we need proof of bin Laden's death.

Bin Laden was killed to protect the safety of America and the rest of the world that al Qaeda had and continued to target. If bin Laden is dead, the job is done. We don't need proof in order to get the full effect of his death. This is not comparable to the need to published a long form birth certificate because a leader requires an effective degree of legitimacy, even if that legitimacy is challenged by a completely false assertion. If bin Laden is gone then it does not matter how many people doubt that it happened, it still has the same benefit.

Asking for the photos to be published is really a solution to a problem that does not exist. Even those sympathetic to bin Laden acknowledge his death. I suspect that most of the thirst for these pictures is motivated by a simple emotional need to see the bloody vanquished body of someone once very much feared. I don't think that justifies that release of the photos. If anything it supports the position that releasing the photos makes the U.S. look like we are parading the body about in a way that really might incite unnecessary anger and violence. We'll just have to console ourselves with the fact that bin Laden will continue to remain dead.

New Posts Coming

I never did take this blog anywhere before, which is ironic (or is it pathetic) given the name. It used to have a nice graphic that was sitting on account server which is gone. I'll see if I can dig up the archived jpgs and swap out the points and plugs and get this thing cranked again.