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VOL. 132 | NO. 243 | Friday, December 8, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Bredesen's Return, Ford's Exit and Otis Redding 50 Years On

By Bill Dries

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Former Tennessee Gov. and Nashville mayor Phil Bredesen formally entered the 2018 race for the U.S. Senate Thursday via a YouTube video. AP on Bredesen’s entry and his background. Republican partisans are already assuming Bredesen is the Democratic nominee and Democratic partisans are already assuming U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is the Republican nominee. And the expectation of such a match up automatically went on the list of midterm races that those on both sides and pundits inbetween will be watching to get a read on national trends.

As word leaked Wednesday that Bredesen was about to get in, the National Republican Senate Committee had already tagged him in an email blitz as an “Obama-loving liberal” and termed him “one of Obama’s biggest supporters.” Well, not on health care. Bredesen had a lot of problems with Obamacare and drew a lot of attention since before politics he built his own health care company. And Bredesen’s cuts to the TennCare rolls during his two terms as Governor didn’t play well at all with the Democratic base in Memphis – the party’s largest base of any single county in the state. So, just know that when match ups like this get tagged as a race to watch nationally, the true nature of those candidacies and records – Republican and Democratic – can get compressed and as a result distorted.

Former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fired by Morgan Stanley following an internal investigation of a sexual harassment and physical intimidation complaint by a reporter. Ford denies the claim and says via Twitter he will be suing the reporter and Morgan Stanley. Here is the Huffington Post story that includes their interview with Ford’s accuser.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of state Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville Thursday as a federal judge. This sets the stage for a vote by the full Senate on the nomination by President Donald Trump. Norris would then resign his Senate seat and the Shelby County Commission would probably opt to appoint an interim state Senator for the district. A special election for the rest of Norris’s four-year term in Nashville would go on one of the regularly scheduled ballots in 2018.

Methodist has bought the 600 Jefferson building that was until recently the home of the Urban Child Institute in a $3.1 million deal.

It was 50 years ago this coming Sunday that Otis Redding died in a plane crash while heading for a gig in Madison, Wisconsin that was a break in the middle of an artistic transformation at Stax Records – where he recorded all of his hits over the arc of just a few years. And with the 50th anniversary, a new biography of Redding is challenging some of the conventional account about Redding’s rise and the relationship of his rise to Stax itself. In short, Jonathan Gould makes the argument that Stax was holding Redding back especially toward the end of his life. And there are some varied accounts about what would have been next including a record produced by Jerry Wexler and likely not at Stax as well as a possible record teaming Redding with Aretha Franklin taking full advantage of Atlantic’s superior sound engineering on her records with Wexler and Tom Dowd.

More on new Greater Memphis Chamber chairman Richard Smith’s comments at the annual chamber luncheon Wednesday about changing the city’s approach to economic development.

Growth in health insurance gap plans including plans provided by employers, although the experts we talked with say most of the offerings of these plans are through employee payroll deductions. And some discussion about finding a long term way around a basic problem of many Americans not being able to afford a deductible.

Public art and who decides what that art looks like is our topic on “Behind The Headlines.” Our guests are Karen Golightly of Paint Memphis and Lauren Kennedy of UrbanArts Commission. And yes, we will be talking about the zombie mural as well as AlTown. The program airs Friday at 7 p.m. and again Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WKNO TV.

In our Friday Sports Section:

The Grizz losing streak is broken but the winning streak to follow that never really got off the ground. Don Wade fleshes out more of what is happening behind the scenes post Fizdale.

Two investigations by the University of Memphis – one about threatening and offensive comments on the Tigers basketball Instagram account and the other is about someone using the name of former Tiger Geron Johnson’s name, saying they are raising money for St. Jude.

And a new way of ranking the SEC in The Press Box column.

Meet the new Big Orange football coach.

Meanwhile, David Climer likens Rocky Top to Game of Thrones – sort of. And Dave Link on the phenomenon of the buy-out when things like this happen in college sports.

Terry McCormick on Titans training camp in the desert.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker on Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel:

“On a bipartisan basis, Congress has repeatedly voted overwhelmingly to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol, and I applaud the president’s initiative in making this is a reality. Maintaining a close working relationship with our regional partners and ensuring the security of our embassy personnel and facilities will be critical as the administration takes steps to operationalize this decision, and I look forward to working with them toward that end.”

The cover story by Andy Meek in our weekly, The Memphis News, is a survey of new trends and new places in the city’s diverse and thriving food scene. The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies hit the streets Friday morning. And the online version of the cover story goes up here Friday afternoon.

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115