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Wharton and The Press

After about 18 months in office, there are indications Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is settling into some of the routines of the job including those that might rub him the wrong way.

That includes the one where reporters catch up to Wharton at one of his many stops during the work day and ask him about anything and everything but the occasion he is there for.

To be fair, he is not the only elected leader this happens to. It is considered one of the rules of the road and political leaders rarely complain about it.

Wharton didn’t complain either during an announcement last week at the Foote Homes public housing development.

You will read more about the announcement itself in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily News which goes online at www.memphisdailynews.com at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Before he got to the announcement, Wharton noted the group of reporters standing in back of the group of about a dozen people under a pavilion.

“I know there are a bunch of reporters out there pretending they want to ask me a bunch of questions about this announcement today,” Wharton said. “But they’ve got something else on their mind. So I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way so we can get to what they want to talk about which has nothing to do with this. Thank y’all reporters for coming. As you say in your business, you’re faking it until you make it.”

City Housing and Community Development director Robert Lipscomb brought formalities to an end after several more speakers.

“I think the mayor is unusually candid today,” Lipscomb said. “And so we’d better just move it along.”

After the speeches, reporters did indeed huddle around Wharton and began with questions about the event itself before moving to questions about the two school systems.

Singing the Blues

Filmmaker Lee Gordon is using social media to support a “social action” documentary.

The film he’s putting together, “This is why we Still Sing the Blues,” is about blues musicians – many of whom have died penniless – and the record companies that have made millions selling their recordings.

To get the project finished, the filmmaking team has set up a KickStarter account that asks for donations. Profits will be used to support blues musicians – who will be offered part ownership in the film.

To read more, go here.

Here’s the trailer:

Fred Smith on CNBC

After the markets had closed Thursday, the same day his company reported an uptick in quarterly revenue and a forecast of future growth, FedEx founder and CEO Fred Smith spoke with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow about a variety of subjects, one of which was Japan.

Smith said he expects Japan will bounce back relatively quicker than many people think they will.

“We resumed traffic into Japan really about 12 hours after the event, as I recall, and never ceased operations at Osaka,” Smith said. “So there’ll be some disruptions, no question, going into this horrific scene of devastation. And we’re just so upset about this and feel for the Japanese people with this unbelievable loss. But commerce will continue and I think the effects of that–except for perhaps localized supply chain disruptions, high-tech and automotive in certain instances–I think it’s a very resilient country and a very industrious people. I think you’ll see the effect less than some of the folks thought initially.”

Memphis Mentions

Despite what it might seem like sometimes, Memphis has been showing up in the national press lately beyond arbitrary magazine rankings that like to label us as obese, miserable, crime-scarred and who knows what else.

Men’s Journal has included Memphis in a roundup listing of cities where living well is more than a slogan. The cities listed put a premium on conservation, civic engagement and other quality of life issues.

Elsewhere, the prominent Huffington Post blog takes a more-than-cursory look at the back story and ramifications of the referendum in which voters supported Memphis City Schools’ surrender of its charter.

Read This

A group of creditors is arguing in bankruptcy court that the parent company of Davis-Kidd ought to probably pursue a liquidation rather than a bankruptcy reorganization.

The creditors take a pretty hard line: the book store chain, they say, is living on borrowed time.

Their stance involves some pretty crucial assumptions though. Namely, that the book industry is in an irreversible and uncontrollable decline.

Note those 2 adjectives I used. Maybe you think one or both of them apply to the book industry.

But I would like proof if anyone thinks they both apply. Because, so far, I don’t see it.

I’m keying in on the “uncontrollable” adjective, especially. I think the industry’s troubles are somewhat manageable, e-readers and the like notwithstanding.

Innovations like the Kindle and Nook are only exacerbating a more fundamental issue. And I think that issue is how book chains got too big, too fast, and loads of debt and sprawling footprints no longer make sense in this economy.

Those problems don’t have to signal the automatic death of the industry. They can be worked through.

Dansette

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