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Action Figure Librarian Talks ‘Book Lust’

The only librarian ever to have an action figure (which makes a shushing gesture) created in her likeness will visit Memphis’ Benjamin Hooks Central Library Monday evening to tell you what sort of books she thinks you should be reading and giving.

Retired librarian and NPR Morning Edition commentator Nancy Pearl is a respected authority on books. In fact, she wrote the manual (Book Lust) on readers’ advisory, a service used by libraries to help readers find books based on their tastes and moods.

“She’s like a rock star among librarians,” said Lillian Johnson, Memphis Public Library PR supervisor.

On Monday morning, Pearl will hold a professional workshop for library and bookstore employees (about 60 have already signed up). The evening talk, free and open to the public, starts at 7 p.m.

Voracious readers are invited to learn tips and trends and ask literary questions.

Just be sure to use your inside voices.

The Black Cab Sessions

A crew with The Black Cab Sessions, a show that picks up musicians and films them playing in the back seat of a cab, is in Memphis filming.

Go to blackcabsessions.com to see performances they’ve done with folks like Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket and Bon Iver.

Here are some of the shows’ tweets from their time in Memphis over the past few days:

“Memphis. Your rain is INSANE. Dented our cab! Has it stopped? I can’t tell with all that thunder going on.”

“Yo @jtimberlake are you in Memphis right now? Fancy getting in the cab for us?”

“Beautiful morning in Memphis. Off to church. Got my church shoes on. Hoping to find a real old timer today with some good stories and songs.”

More From Alexander On Earmarks

A follow up to our story in Monday’s edition about U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and earmarks.

Today, Alexander voted for amendment by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn on earmarks. Here is his statement in full, following the vote.

“Today I voted to allow an up-or-down vote on Senator Coburn’s earmark amendment.

“I support a two-year ban on earmarks because they have become a symbol of wasteful spending. A timeout will permit Congress to limit the number of earmarks and make sure they are worthy. I will respect this moratorium, although in extraordinary cases I reserve the right to ask Congress and the President to approve measures of urgent importance to Tennesseans, such as funds to help those hurt by the devastating flooding last May.

“We should not mislead Americans by saying that an earmark ban will reduce the federal debt. Earmarks are paid for by reducing other spending. Cleaning up earmarks is good short-term policy, but as long-term policy it would undermine the Constitution because instead of placing a check on the President, it turns the checkbook over to him. In addition, this moratorium will help put the spotlight on executive branch earmarks, as well as on entitlement spending and tax breaks.

“A better approach to reducing spending is to enact two proposals that I have offered and that the Senate Republican Conference approved which would ban both new entitlement spending programs and new unfunded federal mandates on state and local government. Automatic entitlement spending has grown from 31 percent of the federal budget in 1970 to 56 percent today. The new Medicaid mandate in the health care law will cost Tennessee taxpayers $1.1 billion over five years.”

Corker Uncorked

Fortune magazine has an immensely readable and colorful profile of Tennessee’s junior senator online now here.

Among the more memorable revelations about Sen. Bob Corker:

At a meeting between senators and President Obama earlier this year, Corker was fuming. Obama had invited himself to a GOP luncheon days after Wall Street reforms passed “over near-unanimous Republican opposition – a move Corker saw as phony, at best.”

Corker arguably had gone out on a limb to resurrect negotiations over the bill by jumping into the fray after the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee had apparently reached an impasse with his Democratic counterpart. Corker apparently thought the White House decided such efforts didn’t matter.

“I just want to know, when you get up in the morning and come over here for a lunch meeting like this, how do you reconcile that duplicity?” Corker asked Obama, according to the Fortune piece.

After that meeting, Richard Shelby, the Senate Finance Committee’s ranking Republican, told his 5-foot-7 colleague from Tennessee: “You’re a mean little (expletive), aren’t you.”

Bicycle Lanes vs. Sidewalks

There are some issues that are perennials for the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission.

The political minefields for each body differ because the two governments are very different in the way power flows.

The city government is a strong mayor form of government and county government is not.

That means the council – any version of it over the last 42 years — tends to have an ongoing level of suspicion that the administration is shuffling capital improvement program (CIP) projects the council carefully prioritized during the annual budget season.

Until recently, the annual CIP budget routinely included more projects than the city could get accomplished in a fiscal year. So some rearrangement and pushing back of projects was inevitable. So were the questions about why particular projects were pushed back.

With that context, at this week’s council meeting, Wanda Halbert had some questions about a $190,000 shift in the CIP for the city to buy right of ways and easements along Fairley Road as a first step toward putting sidewalks along the road. It was a project that had been delayed before and now it was being moved up.

Halbert targeted bicycle lanes as an example of projects that jump in priority and are “just pulled out of the air and they are approved.”

“That is totally unacceptable,” she said going on to complain about the recent addition of bicycle lanes along Southern Avenue. “Certainly sidewalks for the safety of our citizens … are far more important than the desires of some of these adults in the city.”

Halbert has raised questions before about city priorities, most notably, about plans for a skate park that she felt had jumped ahead of other long delayed projects. The questions generated much outrage among skate park proponents and the outrage helped to keep the project in the public eye.

No one responded to Halbert’s comments on bicycle lanes during the council session other than council member Joe Brown.

Brown agreed wit her and went a step further. “It’s going to show what you think about certain children in our community,” he said.

Halbert wanted to delay the Fairley Road line item shift to add money for sidewalks immediately.

Council chairman Harold Collins said that’s not how it works.

But council member Bill Morrison moved and the council accepted an amendment that is a statement by the council indicating a quick follow through on sidewalks is a top priority with the council.

Dansette

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