Haley Barbour: If Tea Party and GOP Work Together, Dems Fail

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour wrote an op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal urging Republicans to get behind the party’s primary winners – be they traditional Republicans or Christine O’Donnells.

“When the Republican voters of a state choose a party nominee in an open process like a primary, we Republican leaders must support the nominee. During my tenures as chairman of the RNC and RGA, neither organization endorsed candidates in primaries. That’s because the party’s role is to abide by the decisions of the Republican primary voters. We have no right whatsoever to substitute our will or judgment for that of the voters.”

NPR Comes to Memphis for Series on How the Heartland is Coping

Call it the Memphis Misery Tour.

Steve Barlow, a local attorney who focuses on social justice issues, recently gave me a driving tour of parts of the Medical Center neighborhood ravaged by blight.

He did the same thing for a National Public Radio reporter interested in the city’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo. The city and county are suing Wells because they believe the lender targeted black borrowers for predatory loans, and that the city’s high number of foreclosures is one effect of that.

A response in the piece from Wells national sales manager Brad Blackwell:

“What’s happened in Memphis and in many other municipalities, particularly big urban centers, is that many areas have been very hard hit by the economy. And some of these areas, like downtown Memphis have been harder hit, and consequently, you have higher foreclosure rates in those neighborhoods.”

Double Dip?

Break out the party hats. Maybe.

The National Bureau of Economic Research has decided the recession is over. (It ended in June 2009, by their calculations).

The bureau threw in several caveats in its report released Monday, one of which is that this doesn’t necessarily mean the economy is better, or getting better. Just that it’s stopped bleeding to death.

It also technically erases the worry of a “double-dip” recession. According to the bureau, if we dip back into recession now, it would mark the start of a new recession, rather than a drop connected to the old 2007 recession. Got that?

Sort of like the difference between getting two slaps in the face from the same person, or one slap each from two people.

Casablanca

I went to see Casablanca at The Orpheum last weekend.

What is it that makes us return over and over again to movies in which we know most of the lines and we know the ending?

The story doesn’t change, but we do.

At least that was my story. For others in the crowd – and there was quite a crowd – the lines and story were apparently new.

Claude Rains really did have the best lines in the movie. And while they were strategically placed, they were key to creating the sense of place and time essential to a plot that moves pretty quickly. But I’m guessing you probably already know that and don’t need a new review of a nearly 70 year old movie released after the Allied forces invaded Morocco.

Most of the desperate characters trying to buy their way to Lisbon and from there to America were convincing because in real life they had recently fled the Nazis and come to America, including Conrad Veidt, whose on screen death as Major Strasser of the Gestapo, was applauded by the audience. Veidt was such a virulent anti-Nazi that whenever he applied for a job in his native Germany he would describe his ethnic background as Jewish even though he wasn’t Jewish. Veidt was blacklisted by the Nazis and became a British citizen in 1939 before coming to Hollywood.

Only three actors in the movie were American born, Humphrey Bogart, Dooley Wilson – Sam, the piano player, and Joy Page, who played the Bulgarian newlywed whose groom wins the money for their passage when Rick rigs an already crooked roulette game.

Like a lot of folks, I “discovered” Casablanca on the late show, that television institution responsible for keeping some of Hollywood’s best work alive at a time when it was threatened with obscurity. But there is something about hearing Ingrid Bergman’s whispered dilemma floating through a darkened theater and around ancient chandeliers.

Before the chandeliers went dark, Pat Halloran, President and CEO of The Orpheum, announced the movie series will continue past Casablanca with his staff taking suggestions for future screenings. So let’s hear them.

Years ago, The Orpheum screened the silent version of Phantom of the Opera with Tony Thomas playing the theater’s organ. I got to attend a rehearsal and had the theater to myself for the most part. Very spooky and Halloween is just around the corner.

Corker: Don’t Bypass Senate on Warren. Obama: Ok.

In an earlier blog post, I mentioned Tenn. Sen. Bob Corker’s letter to President Obama urging him not to tap Elizabeth Warren to head the new consumer financial protection agency by using a recess appointment or some other method that bypasses Senate confirmation.

So Obama found a middle solution that’s not what either Warren’s populist supporters or Republican detractors were hoping for.

There’s a provision tucked in the Dodd-Frank bill that allows Obama to select someone to “establish” – as opposed to “lead” – the agency. They’ll staff it up and get it going.

If Obama so chose, he could nominate Warren to direct it down the road. But that’s probably a fight he was eager to avoid, for now, with the midterms coming up.

Here’s video from Friday’s press conference announcing Warren’s new job.

Obama Taps Elizabeth Warren

Dansette

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