The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Tennessee: corrupt, cheap and dumb

Not the whole state, just four of its state legislators [1].

If you're going to do corruption, first check out your counter-party; because, for one, chances are, if he's looking to bribe you, he's not a stand-up guy.

And, for another, he might be law enforcement.

The Feds didn't really try that hard:
E-Cycle Management Inc...had business cards, a Web site, and a chief executive who lobbied lawmakers over wine and finger food...The FBI even went so far as to register E-Cycle as a corporation with the Georgia Secretary of State, listing its chief executive officer as "J Carson." E-Cycle had a storefront office in Memphis, not far from the Beale Street entertainment district.

It was supposed to be an
electronics and computer recycling firm

But the outfit clearly got less checking than Michael Isikoff.

There was plenty the four could have done - using unknowing surrogates, of course: seeking credit reports, offering business to the fake company, asking for references from other customers.

And when they found out it was a sting - why, then they'd get in the state police to arrest the Feds for attempted bribery!

(If you're wondering about the partisan breakdown (is the Pope Catholic?), the senators are all Democrats, the representative is Republican.)

Notable among the Dems is John Ford, uncle of Harold Ford. The most cursory search suggests that John Ford is a colourful character: Earl Long comes off as John Kerry in comparison.

One question puzzles me: Harold Ford is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. But I can trace no reference to the race of his scapegrace uncle [2].

Now, Harold is light-skinned, somewhere around the Adam Clayton Powell shade, as best I can gauge.

Is it possible that John Ford is white?

I discussed on January 20 2004 an article by Daniel Sharfstein on the fluid nature of racial classification in the first few decades after the end of the Civil War. Decisions on race during this period were not, as it were, black and white.

And Tennessee, though Jim Crowed, was not Mississippi. (For instance, it returned Albert Gore and Estes Kefauver to the US Senate at a time when other Confederate states were practising massive resistance.)

Of course, if John Ford was white, the papers needn't say (white is the default); and if he was black, they wouldn't say, for fear of being branded racist.

That's the Land of Free Speech for you...

  1. Unless the FBI is lying on an epic scale. And when has that ever happened?

    The indicted four are senators John Ford, Kathryn Bowers and Ward Crutchfield and Rep Chris Newton.

  2. There is such a thing as the Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus, but it doesn't seem to have any online presence.

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