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NASHVILLE - Tributes and accolades flowed in in honor of the late Tennessee governor Ned McWherter, who died Monday afternoon at age 80 following a months-long battle with cancer.

Choking back tears, two of the former governor's closest lieutenants remaining in the state legislature, House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, and Rep. Lois DeBerry, D-Memphis, the former House speaker pro tem, recalled McWherter in a press conference and moments later in short tributes on the House floor.

Both said they spoke with McWherter almost every Sunday afternoon since his cancer was diagnosed late last fall. They recalled two of his most frequent homespun utterances as the longtime powerful speaker of the House from 1973 to 1986 and then as governor from 1987 to 1995.

McWherter borrowed the first from the late Northwest Tennessee congressman Robert "Fats" Everett, whom a young McWherter served as a driver during Everett's campaigns. It's inscribed on Everett's memorial on the Obion County Courthouse lawn in Union City:

"If a man didn't want to work, he oughtn't to have hired out."

I may be off a word or two on that but that's the gist of the words McWherter would deliver as House Speaker to restless members when floor sessions ran late into the evenings and the wee hours of the mornings.

Naifeh repeated the other story on the House floor Monday night:

"When he (McWherter) was campaigning for governor his first time, he went back to his hometown of Palmersville in Weakley County and he went into a little store, campaigning. He spoke to the two gentlemen on the front porch as he went in. When he came out, one of them said, 'Ned Ray, I've been seeing you on TV a whole lot lately.' He said 'Yes sir, I've spent a whole lot of money on it' - which he hated spending money on anything. But the man said, 'You know Ned Ray, you can go all across this state and see all these people and a whole lot of folks are going to think a lot of you -- but the crowd at your funeral's going to depend on the weather that day'."

Other tributes poured in from both sides of the political spectrum:

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who preceded McWherter as governor while McWherter was the powerful House speaker, paid tribute to McWherter on the Senate floor:

"When I became governor, Ned McWherter said, 'I'm going to help him, because if he succeeds, our state succeeds.' He was true to his word. That bipartisan spirit symbolized Ned's entire career. He was one of our state's finest public servants and a close friend. I will greatly miss him."

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, whom McWherter helped persuade to run for governor the first time in 1994 - an unsuccessful run that Bredesen lost to Republican Don Sundquist:

"Ned McWherter was my mentor and my friend. I'd never met him, but after I'd run for mayor and lost, he called me up to the (Governor's) Residence. We sat in the office there, talked a little while, and then told me he was going to help me. I'm not sure I had a choice. What a life-changing experience for me! Over the years, we got to know each other better and better, and a genuine friendship grew. There were a number of years when we went hunting together with other friends in Texas, and I remember how much he enjoyed it; not hunting itself so much as sitting around the camp with friends and trading stories. Ned's life was a genuine American story, from shoe salesman to Governor, never losing his bearings on the journey. He was grounded in Tennessee; he loved the people of his state and they loved him back. I can't think of a finer epitaph."

Gov. Bill Haslam:

"This is a sad day for Tennessee. Governor McWherter was a true statesman who cared about this state and its citizens. He had a long and distinguished career in the legislative and executive branches as well as in business. I will always be grateful for his personal kindness to me and the wise advice he gave me during my first months in office. Crissy's and my thoughts and prayers go out to Mike and the entire McWherter family during this difficult time."

Former President Jimmy Carter:

"Ned McWherter was one of the most effective and finest public servants I have known. He was very helpful to me with his wise counsel while I was President and in the years after.Rosalynn and I are saddened to hear of his passing. We extend our sympathies to his family and many friends and to the people of Tennessee. Our nation has lost a great leader, and I a trusted friend."

Former President Bill Clinton:

"Hillary and I join his family and friends in grief over the passing of Governor Ned Ray McWherter, and in gratitude for his wonderful life. Ned was a great friend and a strong supporter to both of us. Just being around him always made me feel better. He calmed me when I was excited and lifted me up when I was down. His legendary ability to cut to the heart of a problem in a few blunt words was invaluable to me in the White House. Those of us who served as Governors with Ned knew that under his leadership, there was no state better run than Tennessee, because of his commitment to both continuous change and sensible management, and his uncanny blend of old-fashioned common sense and progressive values. He loved people, politics, and policy. He took his obligations seriously but always found something to laugh about. He was a bear of a man with a huge heart. I love him very much and I will miss him. I hope his memory will inspire young Tennesseans to follow in his footsteps. My thoughts are with his children, Michael and Linda, his grandchildren, and the people of Tennessee."

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville:

"It was an honor to have known him. He was truly a statesman. He cared deeply about this state and cared deeply about being speaker of the House. He gave a lot of credibility to the legislative branch and he was a man I truly admired."

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester, who served on Gov. McWherter's first campaign gubernatorial campaign, and who is also mourning the death of his son this weekend at the University of Arizona where he attended:

"I'm saddened by the loss of one of Tennessee's great Democratic leaders. I had the high honor of serving in his first campaign for governor and count him as one of my true political mentors. His gift of understanding what working people cared about and his vision for what Tennessee could become has inspired me my entire political career. Gov. McWherter was every man and he was bigger than life. We have a lost a great one."

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.:

"I join my fellow Tennesseans in mourning the loss of one of our state's finest and most beloved public servants," said Corker. "Ned was always upbeat, looking for the best in people and situations. He was incredibly kind to me when I came in as commissioner of finance. I never forgot that and continued to seek his counsel throughout my career, as recently as the past few weeks. He was a great friend to me, and I will miss him."

Lt. Gov. and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville:

"Few men have meant as much to as many Tennesseans as Gov. Ned Ray McWherter. This state has lost a true statesman and a true original. My heart and the hearts of all Tennesseans go out to the McWherter family today."

State Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney of Jackson:

"Tennessee lost a true legend today in Governor Ned Ray McWherter. Governor McWherter left his legacy across our great state, and there is no doubt that we are better for his leadership, his vision and his compassion. Governor McWherter never hesitated to do what he believed was best for all Tennesseans, whether that was raising up our children through education reform, or creating jobs in rural areas through infrastructure improvements. Under his direction, Tennessee set a national standard for fiscal responsibility that endures today."

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn.:

"Today is a sad day for all of Tennessee as we mourn the loss of Ned McWherter. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Tennessee was blessed to have a true leader like Ned. I am grateful for his many contributions to this state and his legacy will forever be remembered."

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney:

"I am saddened by the news of Governor McWherter's passing. I believe all Tennesseans, regardless of political affiliation, appreciate his years of service to our state even after he served as Speaker of the House and Governor. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

State House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley:

"I was saddened to hear of the loss of my friend, former Speaker and Governor, Ned McWherter. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. Governor McWherter was a statesman of the first degree. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on for generations."

University of Memphis President Shirley Raines:

"Everyone associated with the University of Memphis is saddened by the death of Gov. Ned McWherter. His reputation as "The Education Governor" is nowhere more evident than the magnificent library on the U of M campus, which bears his name and honors his commitment to education in general and to the University of Memphis in particular. On behalf of all of us in the University of Memphis community, for whom his friendship has meant so much, I offer his family our sincerest condolences." /blockquote>

The 8th District's empty lectern


JACKSON, Tenn. - Jackson's Steve Bowers said at outset of the 8th Congressional District debate he moderated at Lane College Thursday night that the decision facing the district's voters is an important one for the region. "These congressional seats don't open very often," Bowers said.

The last time the seat had no incumbent running for re-election was 1988 when John Tanner won the seat. He replaced Ed Jones, who won it in 1969. And Jones succeeded Robert A. "Fats" Everett, who won it in 1958. Everett frequently uttered the memorable phrase, inscribed on his statue at the Obion County Courthouse, "If a man don't want to work, he hadn't ought to hire out."

Which is relevant in this election, given Republican Stephen Fincher's failure to show up at the Lane College debate - or any of the other half-dozen or so debates, forums and joint appearances that were either held or proposed to be held for the 8th District candidates since the Aug. 5 primary. Since winning the GOP primary, Fincher's backers have run the most expensive Tennessee congressional campaign in history, thanks to hundreds of thousands of dollars cascading in from Washington special interest groups either contributing directly to his effort or spending money "independently" on his behalf.

Lane College emphasized Fincher's absence by setting up a lectern with his name on it, like the other three that had actual candidates standing behind them - Democrat Roy Herron and independents Donn Janes and Mark Rawles. Unlike Union University, which folded its tent after Fincher refused to debate there and substituted separate appearances by only Fincher and Herron before small groups on different nights.

At Lane, before an audience that grew to nearly 100, Herron, Janes and Rawles engaged in a spirited but civil discussion of the issues for an hour and a half. Bowers allowed the candidates to engage with and rebut each other. Unlike the pseudo debates televised in our statewide elections, Bowers simply presented the candidates with the topics and let them go at it rather than engage himself in a self-aggrandizing game of "gotcha" with them.

Fincher, 37, came under fire from all three for boycotting the event. "Stephen Fincher has said we need someone with courage to stand. I couldn't agree more," said Herron, 57, a state senator and lawyer from Dresden. "If you send me to Washington I'll show up and I'll stand up. I won't be afraid to release my tax returns and to list my asset and liabilities on legally required forms. I won't be afraid to stand up for you."

Janes, 45, a computer consultant from Brighton, landed a zinger. Referring to a recently released list by a congressional watchdog citizens group, Janes said "There's a website that I believe Mr. Fincher is going to get on soon - it tracks the 15 most corrupt politicians in Washington."

But actually the attacks on the vacant lectern were a small part of the evening. Herron, Janes and Rawles discussed in some detail their views on topics like the national health reform, Social Security, immigration, jobs, education, American competitiveness, the national debt, government spending and the spiraling budget deficits, energy policy, gays in the military. They agreed on some, disagreed on others.

The audience left Lane College last night having a pretty good feel for how Herron, Janes and Rawles feel on those topics and what they'd do if elected to represent the 8th District's people in Congress. Fincher and his Washington backers are spending a lot of money on TV ads that tell very little about his positions on much of anything.

Janes told the crowd at one point: "This is a job interview, folks. If an applicant didn't show up for a job interview would you hire that person?"

Steve Cohen meets Meryl Streep


WASHINGTON - Who's that woman in glasses and a heavy necklace posing with U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.? Why, it's actress Meryl Streep.

The Hill newspaper ran the photograph in its Thursday edition after snapping it Tuesday night. Streep was the guest of honor at the National Women's History Museum event Cohen attended.

Cohen said this morning that they talked about Tennessee's historic role in passing the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote before she was led off to be seated with "higher rollers."

The Hill also pictured Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran's black-tie appearance at this week's PEN/Faulkner Awards for Fiction event.

We've run across some worthwhile pieces recently. See below for the links:

Everybody wants a more efficient government, it seems, and everybody's got their own public policy version of the killer app to make it happen. Now along comes former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw with what is a pretty radical op-ed piece in The New York Times titled, "Small-Town Big Spending."

The PBS Newshour snagged a very interesting breakdown of presidential approval ratings by various kinds of places where people live. President Obama is most popular in what is labeled the "Industrial Metropolis" and least popular in "Mormon Outposts" and "Evangelical Epicenters." Interestingly, his popularity has risen the most since the election in "Tractor Country" and dropped the most in "Immigrations Nation." Swivel has the entire breakdown right here.

Public Policy Polling points out that if the 2008 voting turnout had matched the expected voter composition of the 2010 elections, John McCain might well have defeated Barack Obama (instead Obama's raw-vote margin of victory was the largest in history by a non-incumbent) -- McCain would've won Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida if those voters saying they plan to vote (or not vote) in 2010 had  comprised the 2008 electorate.

But Democrats are trying to find reasons to muster optimism, as evidenced by this Washington Post op-ed written by the man who in 1994 was among the first Democrats to predict the Republicans would take the house for the first time in 40 years. Brief summation -- at least this time the Democrats see the tsunami coming and still have time to rally the troops and limit damages.

And that rallying of troops, it more and more appears certain, will involve reminding voters how much they did not -- and still do not -- much approve of President George W. Bush's handling of economic matters. This USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 71 percent of Americans believe Bush deserves blame for the bad economy. The bad news for President Obama and the Democrats -- those who believe President Obama deserves blame for the bad economy is at 48 percent, up from 32 percent last year. Predictably, the poll showed a gulf in partisanship. "Republicans by 4-1, 44%-10%, were more likely to give Obama a great deal of the blame than Bush. Democrats by more than 20-1 targeted Bush: They said the former president bore a great deal of the blame; just 3% said that of the current one."

At closed-door event, Republicans giddy about prospects of redistricting


 NASHVILLE - Tennessee Republicans are downright giddy over the prospect of being in charge of legislative and congressional redistricting next year for the first time - apparently few more so than Tim Skow, head of a downtown Nashville GOP luncheon club called First Tuesday.


First Tuesday's guest speaker today was Memphis lawyer John Ryder, Tennessee's Republican National Committeeman and chairman of the RNC's redistricting committee. Skow's e-mailed invitation to First Tuesday members for today's meeting gave a glimpse of what Democrats might expect from Republicans in the redistricting process next year if the GOP retains its majorities in the state legislature, as expected.


"You want to know what we can do 'legally' to make the DEMS scream as a result of redistricting?" Skow wrote in the e-mail. "For years our cry has been 'Win the Pen in 2010' - then we can redraw  the line for Congress, the State House, and State Senate WITHOUT any input from the dreaded DEMs! - Well, John Ryder is our party's legal expert on this critical issue - and it will be John who leads our fight in court if (or WHEN) the DEMs sue because they don't like the way WE draw the lines. (don't know about you but I can't wait to hear the whining coming from the DEMS when the new lines become public should we 'Win the Pen in 2010' and redraw the lines!)" (sic)


We should note here that these are Skow's words, not Ryder's. 


That kind of buildup naturally drew the attention of the press. But when five reporters -- including me -- arrived to chronicle the revelation of the grand strategy, Skow barred entrance, declaring it a closed event. The club is private and, of course, has every right to close its meetings. First Tuesday's monthly meetings attract a mixture of grassroots Republican activists and Capitol Hill officials. For example, Nashville lawyer Linda Knight, a member of the state's Ethics Commission, attends frequently.


Before Skow was elected its chairman, the group's meetings were routinely open to reporters who occasionally dropped by to hear what officials, candidates and insiders had to say.


Skow alternates where he places the blame for the current sometimes-open, sometimes-closed policy. Occasionally, he says the law firm that hosts the meeting in its expansive conference room, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, must clear the presence of reporters lest they spy some client  who prefers privacy. Other times, he's said that particular month's speaker doesn't want the coverage. And other times, he's just simply noted First Tuesday's status as a private club that can admit whomever it wishes. Sometimes, reporters are allowed in.


Today though, Skow declared: "It's a members meeting....  If a candidate wanted you here, we'd be glad to do it. All the people who are attending the meeting were well aware that it's a Republican Party meeting, okay? A dues-paying members meeting, okay?"


Skow later said reporters need only let him know in advance so he can clear their presence with Waller Lansden.

UPDATE: Ryder -- a cross between an expert attorney and a college political science professor -- walked across the street to the Legislative Plaza pressroom to give the ink-stained wretches there our own briefing on the status of the reapportionment process. (A report on that appears separately in our print and online editions.) 

Ryder said he did not ask Skow to keep the press out and said he basically told the First Tuesday members the same thing he told us -- that the redistricting will have to be "fair and legal" in order to pass constitutional muster and the courts. Because Tennessee has "tilted Republican" -- as evidenced, he said, by the general trend of statewide elections in recent years -- a majority of legislative districts will reflect that.

When filibusters required a special bag

The filibustering on the filibuster brought the reminder of a maneuver attributed to former Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver back when senators really did have to go to great lengths to extend debate to obstruct, delay or otherwise kill legislation that otherwise had 50-plus votes. A Wall Street Journal article earlier this year on the filibuster mentioned how former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond once dehydrated himself prior to taking the floor, so that he would not need to leave to use the facilities.

According to the article:
To avoid the same problem, Sen. Estes Kefauver (D., Tenn.) once rigged up a bag so he wouldn't have to leave the Senate floor.
One quarrel with that article, however -- the author unfairly lumped Kefauver and Thurmond together as southern senators who used the filibuster to stop civil rights legislation from going to a vote (the legislation had majority support but could not get past the filibuster). Kefauver and fellow Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore Sr. were among those rare southern senators most often opposed to filibustering civil-rights legislation; both deserve credit for taking courageous political stands, along with President Lyndon Johnson (a former southern senator himself), in favor of civil rights legislation.

This archived piece from TIME spells it out:
The entertainment was a filibuster, staged not by Deep Southerners−the most frequent filibusterers of recent years−but by liberal Democrats, notably Oregon's Wayne Morse and Maurine Neuberger, Tennessee's Estes Kefauver and Albert Gore, Texas' Ralph Yarborough. Some of them, over the years, had conspicuously denounced Southern filibusters against civil rights measures. Ex-Republican Morse (he quit the G.O.P. in the midst of the 1952 campaign) once called filibustering a "disgraceful and contemptible procedure," and has been one of the Senate's most vociferous advocates of rule changes to shut off filibusters, even though in 1953 he set a senatorial wind record with a speech lasting 22 hours and 26 minutes.

More filibustering . . .

One of the interesting things about the current debate over whether the filibuster is unconstitutional, necessary to prevent majority overreach or whatever your viewpoint, is that views can flip depending on which party controls the Senate. In 2005, it was Democrats who extolled the virtues of the filibuster, because they were using it to block some of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees. Back then, there were calls by Republicans to trigger what some called the "nuclear option," which would have meant eliminating the filibuster on judicial nominees and likely would have led to the elimination of it altogether.

In 2005, at least a few liberal bloggers (here and here) were advocating that Democrats allow the filibuster to meet its demise, on the theory that political movements run in cycles and Democrats would have the majority at some point. And in 2005, many conservatives were saying use of the filibuster at that time by Democrats was wrong, unconstitutional, obstructionist, etc.

See excerpts below from the liberal bloggers in 2005 begging the then-minority Democrats to cut a deal with Republicans to break the filibuster:

Matthew Yglesias:
As conservative activist Jim Boulet Jr. has wisely argued in a memo to his comrades, the filibuster is crucial to conservatism. By his account, without it, majorities would exist to raise the minimum wage; reform labor law to make new union organizing easier; ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in employment; reduce greenhouse-gas emissions; and close the "gun-show loophole." . . . In the past, of course, the filibuster is most famous for its role in delaying the dawn of civil rights. Less well known is that it was integral to the defeat of Bill Clinton's health care plan in 1993. If liberals ever get another chance to go for comprehensible health-care reform, the filibuster will once again rear its ugly head.
Nathan Newman
So the filibuster allows conservatives to block any decent policy proposed by progressive leaders, then when those conservatives are in office, they pass watered down versions of policies they know are inevitable, then take political credit for them. This is the broader political problem of the filibuster, which is that it creates continually divided and thus unaccountable government. And unaccountable government is used by conservatives to block policy under Democratic-dominated governments, grab credit for (halfway) measures when they are in office, then play faux populist games to run against a government conservatives may ultimately control.
And then there was this in 2005 from the conservative Weekly Standard:
Suddenly Democrats are wrapping themselves in the Constitution. Emphasizing his commitment to maintaining the filibuster as a way to stop President Bush's judicial nominees, Senate Democratic whip Richard Durbin said last week, "We believe it's a constitutional issue. . . . It's a matter of having faith in the Constitution." The trouble is, the filibuster is nowhere mentioned, or even implied, in the text of the Constitution.

Is the U.S. Senate broken? Or working just fine?

There is no Senate campaign in Tennessee this year, which is sort of a shame, given the implications in Senate races for President Obama and also because there has been a recent spate of articles on the transformation of the Senate from one of the world's great "deliberative" institutions to one of the world's great "dysfunctional" political chambers.

An op-ed this week in The New York Times calls for various things, including going back to the future with filibuster rules that require the minority party to actually, you know, filibuster by reading from the phone book and bringing out the cots keeping those marginally in favor of obstruction motivated to continue. The column, by Norman Ornstein, does a nice job of explaining the filibuster and calls for modest reforms:

True, the filibuster has its benefits: it gives the minority party the power to block hasty legislation and force a debate on what it considers matters of national significance. So how can the Senate reform the filibuster to preserve its usefulness but prevent its abuse?

For starters, the Senate could replace the majority's responsibility to end debate with the minority's responsibility to keep it going. It would work like this: for the first four weeks of debate, the Senate would operate under the old rules, in which the majority has to find enough senators to vote for cloture. Once that time has elapsed, the debate would automatically end unless the minority could assemble 40 senators to continue it.

The New Yorker published a long narrative piece on the Senate which featured many passages focused on Tennessee's two senators, Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander. Here's one excerpt on Corker and the role he tried to play in fostering bi-partisan teamwork on a financial reform bill:

Finally, on February 10th, Dodd called Corker, who, though he was one of the committee's junior members, agreed to be the chairman's Republican negotiating partner. When Corker informed McConnell and Shelby, they expressed surprise. "It was an odd place to be," Corker recalled. "And yet that night we began meeting." The junior Republican savored the rare experience of creating, rather than opposing, legislation. In response, Shelby's conservative staff tried to undermine Corker, spreading rumors among Republicans and their lobbyists that he was giving too much away.

Alexander was featured as a kind of "institutionalist" who decried the polarization of the Senate but came out against changing rules to make it harder for the minority party to obstruct.

"They'll get over it," Alexander said of the Democrats' enthusiasm for rules reform. "And they'll get over it quicker if they're in the minority next January. Because they'll instantly see the value of slowing the Senate down to consider whatever they have to say." He added that the Senate "may be getting done about as much as the American people want done." The President's ambitious agenda, after all, has upset a lot of voters, across the political spectrum. None of the Republicans I spoke to agreed with the contention that the Senate is "broken." Alexander claimed that he and other Republicans were exercising the moderating, thoughtful influence on legislation that the founders wanted in the Senate. "The Senate wasn't created to be efficient," he argued. "It was created to be inefficient."

Ford Jr., best-selling author, still registered in Shelby County


WASHINGTON - Harold Ford Jr., who considered a run for the U.S. Senate from New York earlier this year, is still registered to vote in Shelby County, elections commission administrator Richard L. Holden confirmed this morning.

Unless and until New York state voting authorities, or the voter himself, inform Shelby County that he is registered elsewhere, the local registration is appropriate, Holden explained.

Ford, a vice chairman at Merrill Lynch and a regular television commentator, added best-selling author to his list of credentials when his More Davids Than Goliaths reached the No. 4 spot on The Washington Post's best-seller list last week.

Holden Ford Jr. last voted in Shelby County in the November 2008 presidential race. His father, Harold Ford Sr., is also a registered voted in Shelby County, although he lives in Florida, and last voted in Tennessee in 2007.

Will local Dems infiltrate GOP events?

This DNC project, called the "Accountability Project,"  could be interesting. Essentially, Democrats have created a program that encourages its partisans to attend Republican events and get audio and/or video that they then upload to a central website. Will the Republicans create a similar program? I would be interested to hear if any Democrats in the area a) have heard about this b) plan to participate and/or c) really believe a local Republican would be unwise enough to say something to an audience that might embarrass the party.

Whichever way you lean, of course, it takes a special kind of temperament to attend events where the opposing party is confidently proclaiming how awesome is its political philosophy (and how abhorrent is your side's political philosophy). In launching the project, Democrats are citing the infamous 2006 moment when Virginia senatorial candidate George Allen used a slur aimed at the Democratic partisan actually holding the video camera hoping for such an incident. It's easy to forget now, but when Allen was in Memphis earlier that year for the 2006 Southern Republican Leadership Conference, he was considered a serious contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. That video and his subsequent upset loss to Jim Webb set back his national ambitions considerably.
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As the process for merging Shelby County's schools accelerates into action, we'll provide bonus coverage here at, with a particular focus on the 21-member transition team and the 23-member unified school board. Comment early and often. If you have any tips or suggestions you wish to share, contact Zack McMillin at or 529-2564.

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