What'll He Say Next?
James Carville's recent comments calling Gov. Bill Richardson "Judas" for endorsing Sen. Barack Obama, after Richardson served in the Clinton administration, have prompted national media organizations to keep tabs on where the outspoken political analyst might appear next. The Knox County Democratic Party has had press inquires from national media organizations about press availabilities and coverage of the Truman Day dinner where Carville will be the keynote speaker.
Carville will headline the party's annual fund-raising dinner (May 15) and it is expected to net funds to be used by local Democrats running in county races in August. The event has been scheduled at the Knoxville Convention Center in order to accommodate up to 1,300 guests.
Some local Democrats, who support Obama, are upset at the county party for having the obviously partisan friend of Sen. Hillary Clinton as the speaker, and speculate there may be protest signs at the event.
Chair Don Daugherty says he was determined to get a big-time speaker to raise funds for the election and Carville was willing to waive his customary big fee in order to help the local party. A donated plane is expected to pick up Carville in Washington and fly him to Knoxville for the event. His wife, Republican Party operative Mary Matalin, may come along for the trip, though it hasn't been confirmed.
Carville ran President Bill Clinton's first campaign against incumbent President George H.W. Bush. Matalin was a key player in Bush's re-election campaign. They are frequent guests on Meet the Press bashing each other's candidates.
Tickets are available at 694-7075.
No Tax Advocates
Despite a softening local economy, it doesn't appear Knox County taxpayers will get hit with a property-tax increase this coming fiscal year. County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's administration thinks a balanced budget can be presented by July 1 without a tax increase and without major bloodletting.
Even if Ragsdale does come up with a tax increase, there is little support on County Commission to approve one. Some Commissioners are ready to slash and burn expenses to hold the line, including going after non-profit organization appropriations.
Ragsdale people say they think they can bring in a budget without "slash and burn" marks. There is little incentive for term-limited Commissioners or "caretaker" Commissioners, most of them with an eye toward future political office, to approve a tax increase.
La Costa Redux?
Last year, Knox County Commissioners Scott Moore and Ivan Harmon got a lot of heat for attending a conference in California as part of their duties on the county Retirement and Pension Board. While at the La Costa Resort near San Diego they got a round of golf paid for by Wilshire Associates, the county consultants on pension issues.
This week Moore and Harmon are attending the conference again, and they took along Commission Chair Tank Strickland. Strickland doesn't golf and may be able to restrain his term-limited colleagues.
Seems our Secret Historian has a secret of his own... unless you were part of the audience at the recent Actors Co-op Cabaret fundraisers. We've long known Jack Neely has an audio portion to his raconteur routine, offering spoken-word commentary at Brown Bags, historical society meetings and the occasional staff meeting in addition to his scribblings for Metro Pulse and his books.
But as emcee at the "Vaudeville" theme performances, Jack broke out in song. "Shine On, Harvest Moon," to be exact, though Co-op stalwart and fellow performer Biz Lyons did mention he had considered "Falling in Love Again," first introduced by a heavily (German) accented Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 film The Blue Angel.
"Harvest Moon" is appropriately vintage, too, written in 1908, and Jack delivered it with a light touch to close the show, says Lyons: "He's sort of a baritone, and did a very nice job."
If Jack were telling the tale, he no doubt couldn't resist sharing some of the lyrics, so we'll oblige:
"Oh, shine on, shine on harvest moon up in the sky. "I ain't had no lovin' since January, February, June or July. Snowtime ain't no time to stay outdoors and spoon, So shine on, shine on harvest moon—for me and my gal!"