Al 'Jazeera' Gore, ADA, RGIII, Webb-cam, and Nashville



Did you see where the New York Times this week did a big story on Nashville as possibly the hottest city in the United States? And with a picture featuring a mannequin of Elvis — ouch! This after Outside magazine in 2011 named Chattanooga "Best Town Ever." Think their gain is partly our loss? I do. So what do they have that we don't? Manageable rivers, hills or mountains, car manufacturing, and fill in the blanks.

The Memphis City Council had little choice but to vote in favor of spending another $12 million on Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium after Robert Lipscomb played the "shut down" card. The Flyer has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the specific documents in which the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department says that in regard to compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Meanwhile, news organizations — guess which one — that failed to report that the agreed upon 564 wheelchair and companion seats are "additional" seats to the accessible seats already there are willfully negligent.

A 1984 Memphis magazine cover with a picture of Al Gore ("Born to Run") used to adorn the wall behind my desk at work. Since our office was remodeled, the mag cover is gone, and I won't miss it, or him. Gore always struck me as someone that, had he been around during the Old West, would have sold used blankets to the Indians if he thought there were some bucks in it, and then proclaimed himself a humanitarian. I say this as one who voted for every Democratic Party presidential candidate from McGovern to Obama but switched to Ralph Nader in 2000. I liked Gordon Crovitz's column on Gore and Al Jazeera the other day. And nobody has better lines about Clinton and Gore than my colleague Jackson Baker. Clinton gives you 15 seconds but it's a good 15 seconds. Gore gives you a perfunctory handshake and a thanks for your help in Shelby County. Those were the days in the 1990s when the Memphis vote mattered and the Democratic ticket stormed into Shelby County and piled up a big margin and carried Tennessee and locked up the election. With a big assist from third-party candidate Ross Perot, of course.

Silliest debate of 2013: whether too much camera coverage and commentary was given to the Alabama quarterback's gorgeous girlfriend, Katherine Webb, during the big game. It's football, people! And she was a Miss USA competitor, in a bikini. And the game was a rout.

Serious debate of 2013: When teams should shut down star players. Washington D.C. is ground zero, with a baseball pitcher whose arm was saved by limiting his innings and a quarterback, RGIII, whose knee is a mess. It's easy now to say he should have been benched sooner, if not held back the entire game, but the pressure to play him, from RGIII himself among others, must have overwhelming. I hope the success that he and Russell Wilson and other multi-threat quarterbacks in the NFL had this year gives hope to Michigan's Denard Robinson. The Wall Street Journal this week ranked Michigan as the second most valuable football program in America. Without Robinson's heroics the last three years, an otherwise mediocre team would have had losing records, no bowl appearances instead of three of them, no national interest and tens of thousands of empty seats at the Big House. He wasn't the nation's best player, but in that sense he was the most valuable.

One more item of interest from the national media. Tennessee ranks fourth most attractive in a survey of 650 business leaders by CEO Magazine about business climate in all 50 states. Low taxes and low regulations.

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