Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tennessee's Haircut Cops Bust Barbers Who Lack High School Diplomas

by Eric Boehm, Reason - The Tennessee barber cops caught up with Elias Zarate on January 18,
2017.

Zarate was working upstairs at The Revolution Studio, a small barbershop on trendy Front Street in downtown Memphis. The job, which he had held for only a few weeks before getting busted, was like a dream come true for Zarate. He'd learned to cut hair while helping out in his uncle's barbershop as a kid, and he had honed his skills over the years by cutting his siblings' and friends' hair. At Revolution, Zarate had served clientele from ordinary working-class to members of the Memphis Grizzlies, the local NBA team.

But getting that job required a state-issued license. Zarate had bought one a few months earlier from a friend "who knew a guy." He wondered at the time if the license was legitimate, but the opportunity seemed too good—and why shouldn't it be that easy to get a barber license?(link)

My Comment: The requirement to have a high school diploma in order to cut hair should be rescinded.  I would like to see a top to bottom review of all license requirements. Those that have no rationale other than keeping competitors from entering the market should be removed.  Those that are irrational should be removed.  Those that require years of training when the skill could be learned in one day should be modified to reflect the amount of training reasonably required.  Those licensed in another state should have their certification honored in Tennessee.  I am not opposed to all licensing. I kind of like that doctors and electricians have to be licensed. For health and safety reason there are some license requirements that are rational. However, why should a shampoo girl require 300 hours of expensive training? Washing my own hair is something I have been doing almost my whole life. Washing hair is not rocked science. I think I could do it. Yet, if I wanted to wash hair and get paid for I could not do so in Tennessee. Tennessee is one of only five states that require a license to wash hair. That is only one of many jobs that require a  license in order to perform the work. If Tennessee should review their license policy, they should also examine those license that prohibit anyone from practicing the profession who has previously been convicted of a crime. It is difficult enough for an ex-con to reenter society without being excluded from many professions. Over time, the number of profession one can only practice if one has permission from the state has grown. It is time to examine all professional license laws and make them make sense.

Government should not be in the business to keep people from earning a living. 

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Senator Lamar Alexander: Shutting Down the Government Should Never Be a Bargaining Chip

From Senator Lamar Alexander - Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare. It should be banned.

More than 50 senators last night, including almost all Republicans and 5 Democrats, voted to keep the government open. The president has said he would sign the continuing resolution to keep the government open. The Democrats are closing down the government because they want a result on an important issue, and they want it now.

The American people sent us here to make the government work for them, not to shut it down. That should be unthinkable. That should be like chemical warfare. We should never even consider that. So I urge my friends on the other side, let Senator McConnell and Senator Schumer—who are veteran senators, they respect this institution, they're friends with all of us, they're able to make a decision—let them sit down themselves and find an agreement to get this government back open. Let's go to work on the two-year budget agreement, the children's health insurance program, on lowering the cost of health insurance for people buying insurance in the individual market, on the DACA bill and on disaster relief. Let's get that done in a very short period of time.
ww.facebook.com/senatorlamaralexander/videos/10155217822733837/
 Click on image to play the video.

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Democrats shut down the government. How is the fake media reporting it?

Democrats blocked a four-week budget extension Friday night resulting in a government shut down. The House passed the short-term funding bill on Thursday but the vote in the Senate was 50 to 49, but 60 votes were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. The stumbling block to reaching an agreement is that Democrats want permanent status for "dreamers," but no border wall, and Republicans and the President want a permanent status for dreamers and a border wall.  The vote Friday night was a vote to simply keep the government open for four more weeks while continuing to talk and trying to resolve differences. Democrats balked at the extension and filibustered. The Congress is meeting this weekend to continue trying to come to some agreement to pass the extension. If the government reopens by Monday, then most people will not even know it was closed, since most non-essential government services are usually closed on the weekend anyway.

It is going to be interesting to see how the media reports this.  Here is the report from AP.

Government shutdown begins and so does the finger-pointing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans awoke Saturday to learn that quarreling politicians in Washington had failed to keep their government in business, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration.
The three previous times the government was shut down, it was because a Democrat president would not give in to Republican demands; this time, a Republican president will not give in to Democrat demands.  The situations are essentially the same. Look at the above headline and story. Instead of blaming the shut down on Democrats as they would have if the parties were reversed they say Democrats will blame Republicans and Republicans will blame Democrats and both sides are to blame.  That is probably accurate, but that is not how they reported it when it was Republicans voting against raising the debt ceiling or voting against a continuing resolution that resulted in a government shut down. I would not complain about the way this is reported if that was the same way the media had reported other government shutdowns.

Here is a MSNBC headline and link to a story in 2013 following a government shutdown: Why Republicans shut down the government.   This is similar to how most of the media reported past shutdowns.

I have been critical of some of Trumps comments about the media.  He once said he would have the FCC pull a cable new outlet's license when in reality the FCC only licenses local stations, not TV networks.  He has also said some things that were denounced as attacks on the First Amendments. Sometimes things he has said may legitimately be interpreted has attacks on a free press.  I know Trump can be bellicose and crude and inaccurate.  He apparently says whatever comes into his mind without having it researched to see if it is accurate or evaluated to see if it is a wise thing to say.  He is like a normal person. I wish he was more measured and diplomatic and thoughtful. Nevertheless, his sentiment is right.  It is way passed the time to stop pretending that there is any such thing as media objectivity or media impartiality or journalistic integrity. The mainstream media might as well be a branch of the Democratic Party.

If this government shutdown last past this weekend, I expect the "Democratic Party media," the "fake media," the "drive-by media," to stop saying both sides are to blame and begin an attack on Republicans for shutting down the government. Truth and accuracy takes a back seat to political ideology for the fake media.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Southeast Nashville Conservatives' Breakfast topic is the impact on the Fairgrounds of the MLS Soccer Field. Sat. 1-20-18


Location: Shoney's (Nolensville Rd & Thompson Lane)
Saturday, January 20th
Social &  Breakfast 9:00 - 10:00 am
Program begins at 10:00 am
**Note the time change

Speakers: DCRP Chairwoman Melissa Smithson & Jim Roberts will provide a behind the scenes update of the Fairgrounds versus the impact of the MLS Soccer Field.

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President Donald J. Trump: Year One

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How will the media respond if the Democrats shut down the government?

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, is prepared to lead a filibuster against a temporary spending measure to keep the federal government funded for four more weeks. During past years when a Democrat president could not agree with Republican spending priorities and the result was a government shut down, the mainstream press almost universally described it as "the Republicans shut down the government." Now that the exact same circumstances exist but the shoe is on the other foot, will the main stream press described a government shutdown as, "the Democrats shut down the government."  If so, then they have at least a little journalistic integrity. If not, then they can forever fairly be referred to as "the drive-by media," "fake news media," and "the liberal media."

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ex-mayoral candidate David Fox joins the fight to stop Mayor Barry's mass transit plan

Ex-mayoral candidate David Fox lends hand to PAC fighting Mayor Barry's transit referendum

by Joey Garrison, USA Today Network, Tennessee - Former Nashville mayoral candidate David Fox is lending his support to a new political action committee that has organized to defeat Mayor Megan Barry's transit referendum proposal. 

The new group, called the NoTax4Tracks PAC, was announced Tuesday to oppose over the coming months what its leaders call "an ill-conceived plan" that would make Nashville's sales tax the highest in the nation while not fixing the city's traffic congestion. Barry wants a referendum on her transit plan put on the May 1 ballot. 

....Fox, who has broken what had been more than two years of public silence on city matters... "It's just an enormous outlay of capital," Fox said. "If you look at just the capital costs, it's eight times the size of the Music City Center. And it's going to be more than that because this assumes federal grant money, which the feds have indicated is not going to happen."

Fox said other cities with similar densities have been unsuccessful in building riderships to justify light-rail projects like the one put forward by Barry. He also said the proposal to increase sales tax by a half cent, and later by 1 cent, would be "brutal to the middle class and brutal to the lower-income residents.

"I think the plan is like a tribute to urban transit plans of decades ago. It's like something out of the 1980s to me. It's like, well, we missed our turn 25 years ago when this was the vogue thing to be doing, and now we're adopting a plan that's I think a backward-looking, extraordinarily expensive change that's not going to materially improve transportation here," Fox said. (link)

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Join the "No TAX 4 TRACKS" movement.

http://www.notax4tracks.com/join
I have joined. This is serious organized opposition to the mayor's backward-looking $9 billion mass transit plan that would make Nashville one of the cities with the highest sales tax rates in the nation and would do nothing to relieve traffic congestion. Join the effort. Follow this link.

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Council meeting postponed to Jan. 23th.

January 16, 2018. Press release -Due to inclement weather, Vice Mayor David Briley has postponed the January 16, 2018 Council meeting until next Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 6:30 pm in the interests of public safety. Associated committee meetings will be conducted on Monday, January 22, 2018.
“We have Council members who have indicated that they cannot attend this evening’s meeting due to the weather. Since there are important votes on the agenda, I do not want to deprive any Council member of the chance to vote on these items.”
Special meetings of the Metro Council can be convened pursuant to Section 3.04 of the Charter of the Metropolitan Government.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Celebrating President Trump's 8 Biggest Accomplishments





I did not support Trump in the Republican primaries. When he first announced, I thought it was a publicity stunt. When it became clear he was serious, I compared him to a carnival barker with an inflated ego and was sure his candidacy would not last.  After he got the nomination, I still could not bring myself to support him.  I was a "never Trumper."

I did not vote for him in the General Election, casting my vote for instead for Evan McMullin. Being certain that Trump would get all eleven of Tennessee's votes I had the luxury of not voting for "the lesser of two evils." If the popular vote mattered or if Tennessee would have been a toss-up state, I would have voted for what I perceived as the lesser of two evils and would have voted Trump, but I would have had to hold my nose to do so.  I was resigned to enduring a Hillary presidency.

Since the election, I have continued to be embarrassed by Trump and scared that he was going to really do something stupid.  I still think he is a person who is crude, rude, undisciplined and a person without a well-founded ideology. Nevertheless, I find myself warming to Trump. I am still embarrassed from time to time and some of the things he says makes me cringe. but I am pleased with his accomplishments.  Not mentioned in the above eight, I am also pleased that he is taking the threat of North Korea seriously.  It is almost too late. Obama had eight years to curtail North Korea and failed. Not mentioned above, I am pleased that illegal immigration has taken a nose dive.  I still have reservations about building a wall the length of the southern border and I have reservations about a budget-busting infrastructure program.  I still fear Trump may disrupt world commerce and weaken the US due to his isolationist and protectionist tendencies, but more and more I am thinking those are simply posturing positions to use in negotiations. So far, he has not damaged international trade.

While I am not yet a Trump enthusiast, I am pleased with his accomplishments. While I often wish he would be more circumspect and diplomatic in what he says, on the other hand, I sometimes find it refreshing that he does not equivocate and use typical political weasel words to express himself. When he says something, you usually know what he has said. Since he has parted ways with Steve Bannon, I am even more hopeful that Tump will really govern.  I know, as of today, 2018 does not look good for Republicans and the House looks like it may be in danger of being lost, but with Bannon gone, there is time for Trump to grow his popularity and rally the nation to his side. With Bannon gone, there is less likelihood, Republicans will nominate nutjobs for candidates who just hand seats to Democrats. If Trump would only moderate his tone a little and if the economy continues to boom, all may not be lost.

In any event, win or lose in 2018, there is much to celebrate about Trump's first year in office.

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What's on the 1-16-18 Council agenda: The mayor's $9 billion transit plan, trampling property rights and stopping affordable housing, new Airbnb rules, and creating a Police Community Oversight Board

By Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. The hot topics are the mayor's transit program, a bill to create a police citizen's review committee, the bill that would trample a person's property rights and kill an affordable housing development, and bills that would change the rules on Short Term Rentals such as Airbnb. If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the staff analysis  or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links.

Mayor's mass transit plan.
Bill BL2017-1031  is the bill to adopt  the Mayor's transit improvement program and approving  the program, and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018 to approve the tax increases to support the program.  While this should be controversial, expect it to pass overwhelmingly. At a three and a half hour public hearing on January 9th the proponents vastly outweighed the opponents, supporters have been organizing for months, the proposal has the support of Chamber and other movers and shakers in town and the Council meeting as a special council committee composed of the entire body voted 29 to 1 to recommend it. A group called Transit for Nashville Coalition has gathered over 30,000 signatures in favor of a mass transit program for Nashville but the signatures were supporting mass transit not a specific amount of taxes to support mass transit.


Despite the vote in favor of approved this is already determined, I expect a few speeches in favor and look to Councilman Robert Swope and Councilman Jon Cooper to possibly speak against it.  While the bill says the price tag for the plan is $5.4 billion, when all cost are included the price tag is closer to $9 billion.  This assumes no cost overruns. With cost overruns typical of similar projects the real cost is more likely to be between $15 billion and $22 billion. While the vote on Tuesday night well be overwhelmingly in favor of the plan, I am not assuming it will be approved in a public referendum especially if organized resistance emerges.  Some Council members will justify their vote in favor by saying they are simply letting the public decide the issue. That is not what the bill does. It puts the Council on record endorsing the plan. To fully understand the issue see page 6-14 of the staff analysis.

Police Community Oversight Board
Bill BL2017-951  on Second Reading would establish a Community Oversight Board to conduct investigations and provide citizen oversight of officers of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  It would provide for an eleven member board, seven nominated by citizens groups or by petition confirmed by the Council, two appointed by the Council and two appointed by the mayor subject to Council confirmation. The Board would have the authority to investigate allegations that MNDP officers have committed misconduct in violation of policy or criminal misconduct.The Board would hold regular meetings and have a staff of researchers and lawyers. This would cost about $386,000 a year. A previous Council staff analysis said there are due process concerns with the way the board would operate. In my view this bill needs to be defeated. This bill will probably not be voted on due to procedural issues regarding council rules. More than likely the sponsor will have to start over with a new bill.  Nevertheless, depending on how lenient the vice mayor is, expect some passionate speeches in favor.

Trampling property rights and stopping affordable housing

The Ridge Apartments
Bill BL2016-219   is the bill that tramples a persons property rights, partially taking property without compensation, and kills an affordable housing development. This bill is on third and final reading and it is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission which means it will take 28 votes of the Council to pass.  This has been in the works for a very long time. Most zone changes allow people to do something with their property they were previously not allowed to do; this bill is a "down zoning," taking away a right someone now enjoys.  The developer is already vested in the project having designed the development and arranged financing.  If this passes it is an outrage. There will likely be lawsuit which Metro will most likely lose and the state has threatened to withhold low income housing tax credits, an essential financing tool for most affordable housing developments.  For more on this issue, see Contact your Council member. Stop the trampling of property rights and the killing of an affordable housing development.

Changing the rules regarding Short Term Rental (Airbnb" or home sharing). 
Bill BL2017-608,  Substitute Bill BL2017-937Bill BL2017-981, and Bill BL2017-982   all concern short term rentals. I am supporting 937, the least offensive of the bills. The worst of the bill, which would phase out non-owner-occupied short term rentals in areas zoned residential is bill 608. Bill 937 is being supported by the the citizens groups of home sharing advocates. It was worked on for a very long time by a special Council committee and was the subject of numerous meetings. It is called the "compromise" bill but many of the more vocal neighborhood activist are not happy and want to abolish home sharing all together and favor 608 which would abolish non-owner-occupied short term rental. For a more detailed explanation of these bills follow this link, this link, or see the staff analysis starting on page 16.

    


Other agenda items:
There are seven mayoral appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda for confirmation and as always they will be affirmed. There are no bills or resolutions on public hearing.  There are 10 bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading.  Normally bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote. It is rare that a bill on First Reading is voted on separately. I normally do not read bills until they get to second reading.
 
There are 12 resolution on the agenda and all are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes  unanimously the committees to which it was assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. None of the resolutions on this agenda are of much interest.

There are only four  bills on Second Reading and one of them is the bill to create a Police Community Oversight Board discussed above and another is the mayor's transit plan above. The only other bill on second reading of interest is this one:

Bill BL2017-941  would establish a a Commercial Permit Parking Program. The council would have to approve the geographic areas in which this applied. In those areas commercial vehicles could only park on the street if they had a permit to do so.  As we grow, parking become more of a problem with people parking on streets taking parking places that deny those spaces to those who have businesses or residence on the street a place to park. These seems reasonable.
There are 32 bills on Third Reading. One of them is the bill to trample property rights discussed above.  Others are the bill concerning short term rental discussed above. Bill BL2017-1026 is the only other bill of interest and it is only of interest because it is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission and will require 28 votes to pass.  It changes from RS5 to RM20-A zoning on property located at 1308 Montgomery Avenue.

To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person but I wouldn't recommend it. There will be a mob of people for this meeting. You can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site and you can watch it live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel. If can stand the suspense and just wait, I will post the video on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary.

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Mayor Barry uses MLK day as oppornunity to stir racial annimosity and denouce Trump. Shame on Megan Barry.

Instead of using MLK day as an opportunity to promote racial healing and celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. King, Nashville's Mayor Barry used the opportunity to denounce President Trump as a racist.

I am not a fan of Mayor Barry, but there had been several times when she surprised me by her reasonableness.  There have been occasion where she could have taken a hard left position on issues and did not. Also, despite disagreeing with some of her policies I have often thought she was probably a good person.

Perhaps Barry played the stir-racial-animosity card because of her declining support in the Black community.  She has come under criticism by some in the Black community for not taking a harder line in denouncing the police following the police shooting last year of an armed Back man in a James A. Cayce Homes parking lot who resisted police following a routine traffic stop. She has also not endorsed the creation of a Police Citizens Review Board.  Many Black activist are not supportive of Barry's proposed $9 billion mass transit plan, saying it will take away from improved bus service and will promote more gentrification. Perhaps the biggest cause of Mayor Barry's loss of support among members of the Black community is that she proposed converting General Hospital from a hospital to an out-patient clinic. The expensive hospital that requires massive subsidies and cannot fill it's beds is a source of pride in the Black community.

It appears that to get back in the good graces of the Black community, she resorted to stirring  racial animosity. Shame on Megan Barry. For more on the story follow this link.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Shame on President Trump for using the term "shitholes"

Shame on President Trump for using the term "shitholes" to refer to certain countries, assuming he did in fact use that term.  He should have referred to the countries in question as disease-ridden, crime-ridden, poverty-stricken, corrupt, dysfunctional, unstable, dirty, shabby, third-world countries.  You know, the kind of places we think of as "shitholes."

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