Don's Blog: January 2013

Clay Shaw/Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw/Dueling Voices/I Lost It at the Beginning/101 Reasons Not To Murder The Entire Saudi Royal Family/He Knew Where He Was Going (?)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Former Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter Rises From Grave, Apologizes For Banning Imported Beer On Draft

From 1987 to 1995, in bars serving fine beers across Tennessee, bartenders and customers alike cursed the name of then-Governor Ned McWherter for his sly efforts, quite effective at the time, to ban the sale of imported beers on draft. McWherter was the owner of a Budweiser distributorship, and like Budweiser nationally, wanted to stifle competition (Budweiser was well known for opposing small brewpubs in Missouri, its home state). McWherter's slyness came in stiff regulation of the size of the kegs, which had the effect of prohibiting the sale of the imported products, whose beer kegs were slightly different in size from the American products.

Last week, McWherter, who weighed close to 400 pounds as Governor, launched himself into orbit and appeared over Tennessee, stunning news reporters who had known him well, as he had died in 2011. Asked why he had returned, McWherter said that he had been refused "permission to enter" until he had fully confessed his offense.

"It is true what they said about me," he said sheepishly to the assembled group. "All those bartenders. I was a crony capitalist, using government to stifle competition and benefit my family business. That was and is how Tennessee works. We're good ole boys; we do things like that. I knew we didn't have enough imported beer drinkers here to raise a fuss. At the time, drinking a British beer was more shameful than being gay in Tennessee. The choices were Bud and Bud Light; that had been good enough for our fathers and grandfathers. Now I see maybe I should have been more forward-thinking. If I could have just done it without losing sales in the business..."

Asked if he thought it strange that imported beer on draft was banned at a time when Nashville had the world's largest adult bookstore, and houses of prostitution operated openly, McWherter shook his head. "I wasn't in any of those businesses. It was a business decision, not a moral one. I don't tell folks what they can do in their private lives. But drinking beer in a bar is public activity."

Questioned as to whether he now believed that he would secure "permission to enter," he nodded thoughtfully. "I do, I really do. Those fellows really like Newcastle Brown Ale...And they like Latin phrases, and here I am doing a mea culpa."


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Clay Shaw and the CP Matter

Another mention in Clay Shaw's diary, begun after his arrest, that I never quite untangled, was a reference during the summer of 1967 to the "CP matter." Shaw mentions that he asked Mario Bermudez to check up on it.

There is an FBI document, about 22 pages long, dealing with, among other things, the "CP matter." It is very heavily redacted even today, and a recent request to open it in full was refused; we must wait until the 2017 date set by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) at the earliest.

I have assumed that it has something to do with some rumor related to the Communist Party, but besides that, I am unclear on it, or why Mario Bermudez could specifically have helped in this regard. There are indications that the document still redacted is part of a huge FBI file related to the Burgess, McLean, Kim Philby spy case in Britain. I suspect it deals with some rumors about Shaw during that era, whether substantiated or not.

If anyone has any ideas, all input is appreciated


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Clay Shaw and the Mysterious Visit of ASP

I am now putting what I hope are the finishing touches on the Clay Shaw biography, a real labor of love. As with any project, there are unanswered questions.

One is related to an entry in Clay Shaw's diary, which he maintained for some period after his arrest. In one entry around mid-May 1967, a little over two months after his arrest, he mentions a "mysterious visit by ASP."

Does anyone out there have any idea who or what "ASP" is or was? I solved most of the cryptic references in his lengthy diaries, but this is one where I struck out.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Baptist Church Does Double U-Turn, Condemns Gossip Rather Than Sex

It may have been the crowd of tourists from Paraguay that came through Nashville back during the summer, chattering away about people that they saw during their visit. Or it could have been latest music awards festival held there, and the fistfights that followed what seemed like the type of talk that had occurred for centuries.

In any case, the Board of Directors of the Baptist Church, in one of the most stunning reversals in history, has decided to switch its condemnation from sexual activity of all types to gossip.

"We just decided that gossip really was, and always has been, the greater danger to society," said Thomas Malicious, President of the group. "I don't know how we missed it over the centuries. Sexual activity has its things to be concerned about, like disease and pregnancy, but people engaged in sexual activity don't really intend to hurt anybody. Whereas gossipy people really do..."

Asked if the change of heart included all forms of voluntary activity crossing the lines of sexual orientation and unorthodox activity, Malicious replied, "Oh, yes, we've made a clean break. We realize that different people are going to get into different things, and as long as they don't force anyone else into them, we are OK with it. Nobody ever volunteers to be gossiped about."

"We even realized," he went on, "that there is a similarity between the two activities. When a person gossips, their cheeks flush, their veins stand out, their heart pounds. We began to see how many of our members were actually substituting harmful gossip for healthy sex, trying to cause the same sensations to the body, but without having to be nice to somebody else, on the contrary being mean to them. I think that was the clincher. This is really about getting our members back to good health.

Malicious added that it had been a personal matter to him as well; a cousin of his with the last name of Gossip had, a year or two ago, named her first-born after him, giving it his last name as the infant's first name. "I guess we all learned something here in our own way."