Occupy Wall Street

Radley Balko Talks HuffPo, Nashville, OWS, & Cory Maye

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"A story like the Cory Maye story is why you become a journalist," says former Reason staffer Radley Balko. "It's probably the most rewarding thing I'll ever do." In 2006, Balko first reported on Cory Maye, a Mississippi man given a death sentence for shooting a police officer who was leading a no-knock raid on his apartment. Balko's continued coverage of the case, and the shaky testimony of expert witnesses, eventually led to Maye being released not just from Death Row but prison altogether. (For Balko's Reason archive, go here.)

Reason.tv caught up with Balko in Nashville, where he's been writing for the Huffington Post since May and helming The Nashville Byline, a blog that covers news and events in the Music City. He also continues to run The Agitator, his popular personal site.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Balko discusses what working at the HuffPo is like, how Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring protesters are using social media to make government more transparent than ever, and why Nashville nannies sometime push restaurant owners into serving hard liquor rather than beer.

About 4 minutes long. Shot by Anthony Fisher and Joshua Swain; edited by Swain.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions of this video and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to get automatic notification when new material goes live.

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  1. “In a wide-raning conversation”

    Reason can’t afford editors thanks to people like me.

  2. Save you the 4 minutes: Radley talks about freeing a convicted murder, going to church, and fucking in Nashville’s gay district to the sound of the Blues.

    1. You forgot about the mexican liquor.

  3. Yes, Cory Maye will probably be the greatest thing Balko ever does, but you never know. Bigger audience and the right cause that clicks, he might wake some people up.

  4. Nashville’s gay district

    As someone who lived in Nashville for 5 years in the 90s…. I’d call the whole city a pretty gay district. As in mostly lame. Though was certainly no shortage of ‘appreciators of broadway musicals’ as well. His mention of the strange proximity of Churches to sex-shops is accurate though. Downtown (which is extremely small, really) has a remarkable proportion of porn vendors, strip clubs as well as churches, which I think speaks to his comment of Nashville having some inherent contradictions between its ‘moral conservatism’ as well as ‘big city liberalism’. I didnt see it that way so much, more considering it a natural reflection of the quasi-repressed nature of the region. Its possible or even likely that the best repeat customers of say, the Worlds Largest Adult Bookstore* were actually the parishioners (or even clergy?) of the churches. Maybe it was the thousands of small-town tourists who rarely got an opportunity to choose from a wide selection of dildos. That would make sense too. This was pre-internet.

    Coolest place in Nashville in my day was Skulls’ Rainbow Room in printers alley. Skull Schulman, the owner, I believe had been a producer of (or worker on) Hee Haw, managed some musicians (Tanya Tucker?), and owned either a porn store or strip club as well.. He was an interesting old guy…somewhere in his 80s. He sat on a stool in the back every night in multicolored overalls and a satin jacket covered in buttons, and watched horseracing on 3 closed-circuit TVs while reading the paper, occasionally picking up one of 2 phones to place bets. One man OTB. In a bar. He always had a little poodle with him. He never really talked to anyone. He was a sort of a weird living legend. There was a country house band that played every night and knew like 10,000 songs, and if they didnt know it, they could whip up a facsimile on the fly. Whenever they got a 10minute break they’d rush to the bathroom and get coked up. “Billy Dee” was the frontman and he’d hang out with me and a buddy late every night and tell us pieces of his horrifying life story. Basically, modern cowboy tragic hero. The bar had been host to Hank Williams Sr., Chet Adkins, Roger Miller, Jimmy Dean, Hank Williams Jr., Andy Griffith, Connie Frances… but surprisingly it was never very crowded and surprisingly untourist-y for a tourist city. Cheap beer, good music, eccentric owner, aura of ‘old school’ Nashville. I think its featured in Altman’s movie actually.

    One night shortly after I left town someone murdered Skull and the place closed. He was like 85 or something. People say he haunts the area. I am not surprised.

    *Picture of WLAB here =
    http://docstonecold.smugmug.co…..9976_mnnTg

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  7. Anybody else notice that cops-shooting-dogs incidents declined precipitously after Radley left Reason?

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  9. Fuck the OWS in the ass. Tired of hearing about those fucking hippies.

    1. People are still talking about them? I thought the Dems pulled the plug on OWS (in the MSM, at least) once the poll numbers flipped with more people approving of the Tea Party.

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  11. I’ve gone down to Nashville a few times a year since the 90’s visiting transplanted family/friends. It’s my favorite city in the US. Smoking and non-smoking bars shoulder to shoulder. Amazing musicians, friendly people, a seemingly complete lack of racial tension, etc. Plus housing is reasonable. If it wasn’t for the housing market I’d sell and move there in a second.

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  12. I guess whatever credibility Balko once had he’s now had to ditch it to write for the huff-po tards…

    1. Same here.

      1. Correction:

        Same sentiments here.

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