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New job for former Sen. Corker staffer

Courtney Geduldig, former chief financial counsel to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. who left to join the Financial Services Forum in 2010, has a new job.

She’s just joined JPMorganChase’s Washington D.C. team. JPM has been building up its staff with Republicans, according to Morning Money, a daily newsletter published by Politico.

Bleu Patio Launches ‘Go Retro’ Party Series

More than 100 Memphis socialites showed up for Bleu Restaurant and Lounge’s patio opening Thursday, April 19, and the launch of its summer series of “Go Retro on the Patio” parties.

The newly renovated patio set opened in Rat Pack style – celebrating the swinging sound of the era with tunes from Jeremy Schrader – and a vintage cocktail menu that included aptly named drinks like the Dean Martin and the signature patio drink, The Bleu Velvet (skyy vodka, blue curacao and lime juice).

Guests also got a first look at some of Chef Robert Nam Cirillo’s patio menu items like seafood ceviche on fried green tomatoes, braised lamb chops, chicken satay, grilled oysters and consistent crowd favorite, the lobster tempura roll.

The rest of the upcoming patio parties – featuring decade appropriate music, food and drinks – are as follows:

  • April 26 Funky 70’s Disco
  • May 3 Nifty 50’s Doo Wop
  • May 10 Groovy 60’s Beatles
  • May 17 Roaring 20’s Speakeasy
  • May 24 Swinging 40’s Blues Juke Joint

Photo credit: Darriel Photography

Life is good Spreads Optimism in Downtown Memphis

It’s like a scene out of a movie.

New England native and Memphis transplant Kelly Smith was invited by her neighbor last spring to hear Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. address a crowd of the city’s movers and shakers at One Commerce Square about optimism and Downtown development.

Later that day, while enjoying some patio weather at the Majestic Grille, a family walked by, all sporting Life is good t-shirts. Smith had already been working with the Downtown Memphis Commission looking at spaces for a new retail concept but was undecided as to what that concept would be.

As that family walked by, she looked across the street at Belz Enterprises’ Peabody Place Office Tower and said to herself, “I want to go there.”

Smith calls that her “A-ha!” moment.

“Life is good’s whole mission is to promote optimism,” Smith said. “People are so excited to see this space, which has been empty for so long, be filled with something positive. I had no interest in being in the suburbs. I’m happy to bring a national brand Downtown and I think people are just as happy.”

Life is Good opened at 175 Peabody Place Thursday, April 19, and will have its grand opening ribbon cutting Friday, April 27 at 4 p.m. with Mayor Wharton, the Greater Memphis Chamber and the DMC. Live music on the Main Street mall in front of the store will be provided by Forklift – a boy pop band from Germantown – and free snacks and drinks will be served.

Smith has made it a priority to utilize local talent with her independently-owned chain, from using Memphis Area Minority Contractor’s Association to build out her 1,900-square-foot retail space to seeking Margretta Dobbs with Outside the Box.creative for her PR and marketing efforts.

Life is good recently sponsored the Memphis Farmer’s Market 5K, and has signed on for the Gibson Guitar 5K in June. Life is good is also sponsoring a parking lot for this summer’s Live at the Garden series, and Smith will be giving away tickets to each concert in-store.

But perhaps the most lasting impact Smith plans to have on Memphis is with its impoverished youth. Nationally, Life is good has a nonprofit called Life is good Kids Foundation, which has helped more than 135,000 children “play and get their childhoods back.”

“I hope we can get a Life is good Kids organization here,” Smith said. “One of the most important things I want to do is get involved in the community.”

Are Schools Really “Failing” — And Are They Being “Reformed”?

A very interesting, cautionary opinion piece from American Journalism Review about how the media covers schools.

http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=5280

We’ve spent a lot of time covering the schools in recent years in the paper and on the Behind the Headlines show. The reform efforts of Superintendent Kriner Cash, the Gates Foundation efforts, the rise of charter schools, and of course the pending consolidation of city and county schools, all have occupied a lot of space. For good reason, I think.

After reading this, though, I’m frantically trying to think about where, when and how often I’ve fallen into some of the easy lines described by Farhi.

Two items from the story that stuck out to me:

“’The discussion [of the state of schools] is quite simplistic. I’m not sure why exactly. My suspicion is that the media has trouble with complexity.’”

“In 2011, the percentage of parents who gave their children’s school an A grade was at its highest ever (37 percent), whereas only 1 percent of respondents rated the nation’s schools that way. Why the disparity in perceived quality? Gallup asked people about that, too. Mostly, it was because people knew about their local schools through direct experience. They only learned about the state of education nationally through the news media.”

 

Lawsuit Planned over “The Bachelor”, “The Bachelorette” and alleged racial discrimination

On Wednesday, April 18, two Nashville residents – described in a press release as “an All-American football player and an aspiring National Football League player, respectively” – are going to sue over what they say is an intentional exclusion of “persons of color” from the ABC reality television programs “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”

“Over 10 years and a combined total of 23 seasons of ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette,’ neither show has ever featured a single person of color in the central role of the ‘Bachelor’ or ‘Bachelorette,’” a release on behalf of a group of law firms reads.

The lawsuit is planned to be filed in federal court in Nashville, but reporters around the country, for obvious reasons, have been emailed alerts about it.

Plaintiffs Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, working with co-counsel George Barrett of Barrett Johnston, LLC, Cyrus Mehri of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC and Byron Perkins of Perkins-Law, LLC are planning to sue American Broadcast Companies, Inc., Warner Horizon Television, Inc., Next Entertainment, Inc., NZK Productions, Inc., and Michael Fleiss, the executive producer of The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises, “on behalf of all persons of color who have applied for the role of the Bachelor or Bachelorette.”

Dansette

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