Monday, June 29, 2015

David Fox for Mayor fund raiser, Tueday, June 30th.

I am co-hosting this event and urge you to join me in supporting David Fox.  I think David Fox is by far the best candidate for mayor and there is not a close second. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night. Rod

Follow this link for map.

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Nashville SEIU supports charter amendment for smaller council, expanded terms.

"Choose smaller Metro Nashville council, no term limits," is the title given an op-ed in the Tennessean written by Mr. Doug Collier, who is the president of SEIU Local 205. I assume the title was written by the staff of the Tennessean, not Mr. Doug Collier. The charter amendment which will be on the August 7th ballot calls for reducing the Council to 26 seats and expanding the number of terms a council member may serve from two to three; not "no term limits."

 Unless you subscribe to The Tennessean, you can't read their stuff online as they have finally put it behind a pay wall. In this piece, Mr. Collier laments that metro employee salary increases have not kept pace with inflation but says, "those budget constraints haven’t stopped councilmembers from rubber-stamping virtually every major capital project Mayor Dean has proposed."

He is critical of tax giveaways like Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) deals which mean that a lot of the new construction downtown does not put much more money in city coffers. He calls it "corporate welfare." I agree.

He says the Council is not responsive to the needs of metro employee's because only being able to serve two terms, they do not have to fight to be reelected and do not have to be responsive. He also says the size of the Council is a problem, saying that a small council, "like a small classroom — enhances that learning process and allows them to come up the curve quickly."

I am sure there are a lot of things I disagree with the SEIU about, but I agree with Mr. Collier in supporting reducing the size of the Council and expanding terms. It is an advantage to have people in the Council with institutional knowledge, who remembers how certain things came to be. Also, with a large body it is easier for one not to step up and really study the issues and do the hard work of the Council. When you are one in a group of forty it is easier skip the committee meetings than when you are one of a smaller group.

The bureaucracy is permanent and a department head can snow a new council member and the bureaucracy answers to the mayor, not the Council. The goal of a department head is always to have a bigger budget and more employees. No department head tries shrink his department and have fewer employees.

It takes a while to actually learn how government functions and to know when someone is being truthful with you. Term limits and a large Council, make for a weak Council and a strong mayor. That is not the most important change I would make to shift the balance of power to the Council, but it is a step in the right direction.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Charlie Daniels: my honest feelings on the Confederate flag.

Charlie Daniels
Reposted from Charlie Daniels Soap Box - The recent senseless act of slaughter in a church in Charleston, South Carolina awakened America to the ever present lunacy and evil that walks among us and has also reopened some old wounds and deep feelings on both sides of a long festering situation.

Before I go any farther with this piece, I wish to express my love and admiration for the people of Charleston who have, in the face of immense pain, shown a restraint and a common sense seldom seen in tragic situations involving race.

When I saw the pictures of the people who had been murdered I made the statement, "I know these people", which I didn't mean literally, but figuratively, in that they were the kind of Christian people I have been around all my life, worked with and sat in the pews of churches with.

Salt of the earth folks, who not only professed to know the Lord Jesus Christ, but lived their faith every day of their lives. The kind of people you want to have praying for you, the kind who know how to put their arms around a hurting person and comfort and console.

The kind of people who raised their families to turn to Almighty God in times of trouble and heartbreak, proven by the forgiving words spoken by family members in court to the monster who had wantonly murdered their loved ones.

As in all Satan inspired iniquity, God has the ability to bring great good and in this situation, the people of Charleston South Carolina have shown the world what being a Christian is all about and the depth of common sense and class that exists in that community.

I feel sure that a jury of peers in South Carolina will see that Dylann Roof gets what’s coming to him and justice will be served and meted out to the full extent of the law.

In relation to the main crux of my column today I would like to relate an experience I had in a Midwestern city when the band was appearing with the local symphony orchestra. In the evening before the show started, one of the venue staff came to me and said, "There is a gentleman out front who is offended by the confederate flag on your piano".

I responded that we didn't have a Confederate flag painted on our piano. The upshot of the whole thing was that Taz, our keyboard player, had an American flag and a Tennessee flag with the flagstaffs crossed on the front of his piano with a drawing of his namesake, a cartoon Tasmanian Devil, and the phrase "Yessiree, Tennessee" painted under it.

The point I'm making is that this gentleman was probably the kind of person who looks for something to be offended about and sees things that aren't even there in an attempt to find something.  Of course the situation concerning the Confederate flag in Charleston is a much more serious situation with justifiable feelings that go back a century and a half, and the problem has the potential to be a racially divisive one.

The bottom line is that the flag in question represents one thing to some people and another thing to others.  Far be it from me to advise the people of South Carolina or any other state as to what they should fly over their capitol buildings or anywhere else in the state for that matter, but I truly hate to see the opportunists move in and create a symbol of hate out of a simple piece of cloth.

Of course we know most politicians are going to chime in and glean whatever political hay that is available, but, in my book, the corporate rush to rid their shelves of anything with the Confederate battle flag on it is pure hypocrisy.

If they felt that deeply about the subject, they should have done something years ago and I notice they have no problem accepting the profits from the merchandise they have on hand. I have received many requests to do interviews on this subject and had a lot of tweets asking me to comment, but I declined, wanting to take the time to explain my feelings in detail, without having to answer other people's loaded questions or express myself in 140-character limit of Twitter.

This will have the potential to be lengthy, so bear with me and I will try my best to relate my honest feelings on the Confederate flag in question which was actually the battle flag carried by several Confederate army regiments, and not the official flag of the Confederacy.

I was born in 1936, a mere 71 years after the Civil War ended when the South was looked upon by what seemed to be a majority of the Northern States as an inbred, backward, uneducated, slow-talking and slower-thinking people, with low morals and a propensity for incest.

This was in the days before television and about all the folks up North knew about Southerners was what they heard and there were a lot of people who took great pleasure in proliferating the myth, and some still do it to this day.  As you might suppose, people in the South bitterly resented this attitude of superiority and in some quarters the words “damn” and “Yankee” became one word and a somewhat fierce type of Southern pride came into being. The Confederate battle flag was a sign of defiance, a sign of pride, a declaration of a geographical area that you were proud to be from. That’s all it is to me and all it ever has ever been to me.

I can’t speak for all, but I know in my heart that most Southerners feel the same way.  I have no desire to reinstate the Confederacy, I oppose slavery as vehemently as any man and I believe that every human being, regardless of the color of their skin is just as valuable as I am and deserves the exact same rights and advantages as I do.

I feel that this controversy desperately needs to be settled without federal interference and input from race baiters like Al Sharpton, that it's up to the individual states as to what they allow to be a part of their public image, what the majority of the people of any given state want should, in my opinion, be their policy.

Unfortunately, the Confederate battle flag has been adopted by hate groups - and individuals like Dylann Roof - to supposedly represent them and their hateful view of the races. Please believe me when I say that, to the overwhelming majority of Southerners, the flag represents no such thing, but is simply a banner denoting an area of the nation and one's pride in living there. I know there will be those who will take these words of mine, try to twist them or call them insincere and try to make what I've said here some kind of anti-black racial statement, but I tell everybody who reads this article, I came up in the days of cruel racial prejudice and Jim Crow laws, when the courts were tilted against any black man, the segregated educational system was inferior and opportunities for blacks to advance were almost nonexistent.

I lived through the useless cruelty of those days and did not get my feelings out of some sensitivity class or social studies course, but made my own decisions out of experience and disgust.  I hold no ill feelings and have no axes to grind with my brothers and sisters of any color. The same God made us, the same God will judge us, and I pray that He will intervene in the deep racial divide we have in this nation and make each person – black or white - see each other for what we truly are, human beings, no better, no worse.

It's time to do away with labels, Caucasian-American, African-American, Asian-American, Native American and so forth.  How about just a simple "AMERICAN"?

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem. God Bless America.

Charlie Daniels

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The other hate symbol that is popular among liberals is the image of Che Cuevara

We the Individuals's photo."The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese. And the two ancient races have now begun a hard life together, fraught with bickering and squabbles. Discrimination and poverty unite them in the daily fight for survival but their different ways of approaching life separate them completely: The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations." - Ché Guevara

My friend Daniel Lewis posted the above to Facebook. It is worth sharing.  Like the peace sign, the other  hate symbol that is popular among liberals is the image of Che Cuevara which I find more offensive than the Confederate flag. Rod

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By what authority were our Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights taken away for a July 4th celebration?

The following was posted to Facebook by former Councilman Randy Foster:

The following are among the posted rules for the July 4th event downtown in downtown Nashville: "Will my personal items be searched? All personal items are subject to search. Random searches will occur." Pray tell me who has authorized the suspension of the 4th Amendment and upon what basis? What are the bounds of the affected zone?
I also note that the online rules state: "No Guns, Knives, Other Weapons or Dangerous Devices of Any Kind." How is this consistent with Tennessee's laws on carrying firearms? Will carrying my pocketknife be criminal? Upon what basis is this being done, and just what are the limits of the cutlery exclusion zone?
Just wondering...
Friends on the Metro Council, can you make inquiry on my behalf and, perhaps, enlighten me?
Good question! By what authority were our Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights taken away? 

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Bill Freeman wants a $12 minimum wage for Nashville

Mayoral candidate Bill Freeman has proposed a $12 minimum wage for Nashville, the effect of which would be to keep poor people poor and decrease opportunity for entry level jobs.

Freeman has proposed rising the minimum wage from $7.25, which is the current federal minimum, to $12 an hour. Thankfully, it is unlikely that out Republican controlled state legislature would permit Nashville to establish it's own minimum wage.

The effect of a minimum wage increase to $12 an hour would be that many jobs that now pay lower than that minimum would simply disappear, the way service station attendant jobs and bag boy jobs, which included loading your groceries in your car, disappeared long ago.  The number of people employed in the fast food industry would shrink as automated ordering and paying would increase. Many employees would see their hours cut. Another effect would be that a lot of things we purchase would increase in price.

Unfortunately, many people are not worth $12 an hour but finding a minimum wage job gives them an opportunity to learn work skills and develop work habits which opens the door for better paying jobs later. Increasing the minimum wage is cutting off the lower rungs of the latter of opportunity for the poor.

Freeman is the first mayoral candidate to openly campaign for an increase in the minimum wage but Megan Barry has spoken favorably of a local minimum wage and has said $11.04 an hour would constitute a "living wage."  I think the other candidates should out bid Freeman. Megan Barry should say she wants people to have more than just a "living wage," that working people deserve some luxuries and entertainment and other pleasures of life also and that she thinks a $15.50 minimum wage is about right. Then Kane or Rebrovick or Gentry should say, no, that is still niggardly, it is unfair that their are any poor people. Make it $17 an hours, or $18 an hour, or $20 an hour.

I know! The area median income for a single person in Nashville is $44,800. Divide that by 52 weeks and divide that by 40 hours and that comes to $21.54 an hour. Make the minimum wage $21.54 and hour and Bingo!, we have ended poverty and all people make at least the median income!

To read the Tennessean report on Freeman's proposal follow this link.

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Bill Freeman makes a LOT of $$, but all of the mayoral canididates do OK.

The Tennesssean had an article this morning reporting on the results of an examination of the tax return of all of the mayoral candidates.  All of the candidates voluntarily released their income tax returns. All except Howard Gentry are married and filed joint returns, so the income is for both husband and wife except for Gentry. Here is the adjusted gross income for each of the candidates ranked from most income to least:

Bill Feeman: $2,412,451
Linda Eskind Rebrovick: $963,883
David Fox: $643,254
Charles Robert Bone: $255,282
Megan Barry: $243,144
Jeremy Kane: $227,596
Howard Gentry: $130,522
 Bill Freeman make a lot of money and all of them make a lot more than the average person.  I don't really think that is important and is not one of the criteria that would influence me in determining for whom I vote. However I do like knowing, just in a nosy sort of curious way, not that I think it is an important fact.  To read the full Tennessean article follow this link.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

More Mayoral and Metro Council Forums.

Send me notices of candidates forums and I will post them. Email to

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Friday, June 26, 2015

What people are saying about the Supreme Court same-sex Marriage ruling. (update 4, Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black)

Rep. Diane Black
Representative Diane Black:
With the drop of a gavel, five Supreme Court justices have silenced the voices of thousands of Tennesseans. I have always believed that marriage is a sacred promise between man, woman, and God. I respect that others may disagree and I believe that we should encourage a thoughtful, open dialogue about this issue in the individual states – not attempt to cut off debate by imposing a sweeping, fixed interpretation of marriage nationwide. Sadly, that is exactly what the court has done.

Tennesseans are a compassionate people, and we should be able to make laws that match our values on issues of marriage and family, while respecting the dignity of those with whom we may disagree. As we look ahead to implementation of this ruling, we must now ensure that religious freedom is not further eroded and that the conscience rights of our clergy and faith-based wedding officiants are protected.

Marsha Blackburn:
Today's Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is -- a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Gov. Bill Haslam: 
The people of Tennessee have recently voted clearly on this issue. The Supreme Court has overturned that vote. We will comply with the decision and will ensure that our departments are able to do so as quickly as possible.

David Fowler, former State senator and President of The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT):
Today a handful of Americans on the Court have stripped the people of the freedom to democratically address the meaning and role of society’s most fundamental institution, marriage. The majority have arrogantly said they are not only smarter than the 50 million Americans who have voted to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but also millions of human beings over thousands of years across the entire globe.

As with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the Court has taken sides on a domestic policy not addressed in our Constitution and told believers in natural marriage that their voice is not allowed. But when people begin to experience the effects of this ruling in ways they never envisioned, the Court may find that it has only awakened a slumbering giant.

Bill Freeman
Bill Freeman, Nashville Mayoral candidate:
Today is a historic day in our country and I am very pleased the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in every state, including Tennessee. Nashville is a vibrant city of inclusion that supports equality and dignity for ALL its residents. Now the law reflects that sentiment and I am proud of our country.

Jeremy Kane, Nashville Mayoral Candidate:
This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that all loving couples deserve marriage equality. I look
forward to celebrating our progress with everyone at the Nashville Pride festival this weekend. Love conquers all.
Jeremy Kane's tweet: Children like my three-year-old daughter Wells won’t remember a time without marriage equality and that’s beautiful. #SCOTUSmarriage.

Ryan Haynes, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman: 
Tennesseans overwhelmingly voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman. If a change was to be made, it should have been allowed to play out through the democratic process but, unfortunately, today’s judicial activism short-circuits that ability. While this has long been pushed by the Democrats' agenda, the issue is far from settled.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey:
The Supreme Court today issued an unfortunate and fundamentally wrong opinion. In 2006, not even a decade ago, over 80% of Tennessee voters issued a strong mandate in favor of traditional marriage. Today, the Supreme Court declared that mandate null and void.

While the Supreme Court did not stand up for traditional marriage, this decision does not end the institution. The federal government may have the ability to force Tennessee to recognize same-sex unions but it cannot and will not change the hearts and minds of conservatives and traditionalists in Tennessee and elsewhere.

In the communities and churches across this state, the true definition of marriage, a union of one man and one woman, still lives and breathes. It is an eternal truth that no law or government can truly alter.

Congressman Jim Cooper:
Love and equality win.  I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history.

Mayor Karl Dean:
I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in Tennessee. I joined Mayors for the Freedom to Marry last year because I believe all people should be treated fairly and equally and that everyone’s individual dignity should be respected. Welcoming and supporting people of all backgrounds and beliefs make our city stronger.

When asked if he would be preforming a same-sex marriage at the Courthouse. Dean said, "As sort of a matter of policy, I have not presided over any marriages since I’ve been mayor.  I think I’ve been busy enough without getting involved in that."

Megan Barry
Megan Barry, Candidate for Mayor and currently an at-large member of Metro Council: 
Words cannot express the joy I have for so many of my gay and lesbian friends and family who now have the freedom to marry whomever they love. I am confident that Obergefell v. Hodges will stand the test of time as a Supreme Court decision which fundamentally strengthened the United States of America – bringing us ever closer to the dream of all men and women being created equal under the eyes of the law. I want to thank Abby Rubenfeld and Bill Harbison for fighting on behalf of marriage equality and helping to make marriage equality a reality in Tennessee.”

The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has effectively overturned laws across the country designed to block same-sex couples from enjoying the freedom to marry. Barry is committed to seeing Davidson County implement the court’s decision as quickly as possible, and has already agreed to officiate the ceremony of same-sex couples wishing to exercise their rights.

We have worked hard to make Nashville a warm and welcoming place to all who enter – no matter where you were born, no matter how you got here, and certainly no matter whom you love,” said Barry. “Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, I hope that the State of Tennessee will fully join the City of Nashville in embracing equality by removing any last vestiges of discrimination that still exist in our laws.

Linda Rebrovick
Linda Rebrovick, candidate for Mayor Tweets: 
Overjoyed @ today's ruling. Couldn’t be happier to see that marriage equality is a reality. Look forward to friends' and families' weddings!

My Statement (Rod Williams):
From the dawn of time until now, marriage has been a union of male and female. The family is the essential building block of society.  This ruling will further undermine an institution that has already been severely weakened.  This ruling will have far reaching implications beyond the damage it does to the institution of marriage and family.  This ruling will lead to challenges to the tax exempt status of churches and colleges and will change what is taught in public schools. It is a blow to religious liberty. As Merle Haggard sang in a song, "We are rolling down hill, like snowball heading for hell."

My additional thoughts (Rod Williams): Instead of meekly complying, maybe the State of  Tennessee should simply suspend the function of registering marriages. Or, maybe we should register any two or more people and let them pay a marriage registration fee and submit a signed affidavit they they are married, but we simply do not verify any facts. If Micky Mouse and Donald Duck get married, and pay the license fee then their marriage is registered in the state of Tennessee. If three people want to register a marriage; register it.  If a man wants to marry is mother; register it.  If a women wants to marry her dog; register it.

Check back for updates. 

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What people are saying about the Supreme Court Obamacare King v. Burwell ruling.(update)

Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Antonin Scalia (reposted from Heritage Foundation):

Justice Antonin Scalia is known for his sharp wit and even sharper pen. He pulled no punches in his dissent today from the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell allowing the Obama administration to allow Obamacare subsidies to flow through the federal exchange.
Here are nine highlights:

1. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare … [T]his Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years … And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

2. “This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it.”

3. “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’”

4. “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”

5. “The Court interprets §36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the ‘most natural sense’ of the phrase ‘Exchange established by the State’ is an Exchange established by a State. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that ‘it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)’”

6. “Perhaps sensing the dismal failure of its efforts to show that ‘established by the State’ means ‘established by the State or the Federal Government,’ the Court tries to palm off the pertinent statutory phrase as “inartful drafting.’ This Court, however, has no free-floating power ‘to rescue Congress from its drafting errors.’”

7. “The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress ‘[a]ll legislative Powers’ enumerated in the Constitution. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them.”

8. “More importantly, the Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men. That means we are governed by the terms of our laws, not by the unenacted will of our lawmakers. ‘If Congress enacted into law something different from what it intended, then it should amend the statute to conform to its intent.’ In the meantime, this Court ‘has no roving license … to disregard clear language simply on the view that … Congress ‘must have intended’ something broader.”

9. “Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it, the Court should have left it to Congress to decide what to do about the Act’s limitation of tax credits to state Exchanges.”

Representative John Ray Clemmons (State rep, District 55):
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on King v. Burwell, and budget deficit arguments, as well as other reasons for opposition, have proven baseless. No more excuses - we must act now on Insure Tennessee. Further delay is harmful and inexcusable. While the Governor and the majority in the state legislature sit on their hands quixotically awaiting political winds to change, hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans continue to needlessly suffer without access to affordable healthcare.

Thousands of Tennessee families sit around their dinner tables praying this week's paycheck will not be their last. Dozens of hospitals across the state remain in budgetary limbo doing whatever it takes to keep their doors open. As elected officials, we have a duty to serve all the people of Tennessee. Let us not forget that this is a duty each of us voluntarily placed upon our own shoulders. The inexcusable failure to act immediately and effectively on this issue constitutes a breach of our public duty, and those responsible for this failure should be held accountable.
Rep. Diane Black

Representative Diane Black
Today’s irresponsible Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is a fundamentally broken law that has failed to deliver on its most basic promises.  I am deeply disappointed that the court shirked its duty as a coequal branch of government by not acting to hold this President accountable for following his own laws, but my resolve to erase Obamacare remains stronger than ever. After today, one thing is certain: if this disastrous law is to be stopped, it will require strong leadership from Congress. We as conservatives must redouble our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is what voted for at the ballot box last November and that is what they expect from us today.

Representative Marsha Blackman:
While today's Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell is extremely disappointing, it does not change the fact that Obamacare is broken and was passed based on a series of deliberately misleading promises. The president’s health care law has led to higher costs with even higher costs coming. The law has failed to provide affordable healthcare to Americans. It is nothing more than a broken promise - an insurance card but not actual health care. The law is fundamentally flawed, and the court’s decision does not change our resolve to repeal it and replace it with patient-centered solutions that will increase access to affordable healthcare for all Americans. Much like TennCare, Obamacare will have to be fixed by the next Administration.

Sen. Lamar Alexander
Senator Lamar Alexander: 
It’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court didn’t read the law the way that Congress wrote it. The 36 percent increase in some individual health care rates announced recently should remind Tennesseans that Obamacare was an historic mistake. It gave Americans higher health care costs while reducing our choices of health plans, doctors and hospitals. Republicans are ready to reduce the cost of health care so more people can afford it, put patients back in charge, and restore freedom and choice to the health care market.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey
The Supreme Court today provided mere short-term relief to a long-term problem. While the Supreme Court decision will not result in millions losing their health coverage immediately, it is clear to everyone that deep and fundamental flaws in the law remain. I look forward to 2016 and electing a president who can appropriately assess the damage and chart a course away from Obamacare.

Senator Bob Corker
Senator Bob Corker:
Today’s ruling affirms that it is up to Congress to come together around a responsible solution that provides relief from the damaging effects of the president’s health care law, including policies to provide far greater choice in the marketplace so affordable plans that meet the actual needs of Tennesseans can openly and effectively compete for their business.

Congressman Jim Cooper:
Press release- U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today praised the Supreme Court for preserving federal subsidies that help an estimated 6.4 million Americans – including nearly 200,000 Tennesseans – pay for health insurance. Cooper celebrated the ruling’s implications not only for those with federal subsidies, but also the insurance market and the preservation of benefits in the Affordable Care Act. For instance, health care insurers can no longer deny people for pre-existing conditions, and young adults can stay on a parent’s insurance plan until they turn 26.

Cooper also noted that the ruling removes a stated obstacle for passing Insure Tennessee. “Tennessee legislators said they were waiting for the ruling,” Cooper said. “We now have it. They should finish the job and provide protection for all Tennesseans by passing Insure Tennessee.” On Monday, Cooper will join a coalition of state and community leaders for a press conference on what’s next after today’s positive ruling.

Check back for more.

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The Confederate Flag and "I sang Dixie."

It looks like it belongs in the Dixie Putt-Putt golf course.
I  think the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina should come down, but I don't live there and it is not for me to decide but I can still have an opinion, like everyone else who has weighed in on the topic. I think it is unnecessary to offend other people unless there is goods reason to do so, and many people find the Confederate flag offensive.

Following the tragedy of the senseless shooting in Charleston South Carolina it seems the focus has shifted to the appropriateness of having a Confederate battle flag fly on the grounds of the state capital, as if there was a connection between the two. From the issue of the appropriateness of the confederate battle flag flying on the grounds of the state capital in South Carolina the discussion has expanded to other displays anywhere that memorialize the civil war in the South and pay homage to our ancestors and heroes.

As it relates to the fiberglass stature of Nathan Bedford Forrest on I-64, I really dislike it.  I doubt most tourist driving through know it is Nathan Bedford Forrest, however.  At 70 miles an hour you probably have no idea what it commemorates.  My dislike for the stature has to do primarily with aesthetics. It looks cartoonist. It is ugly. It looks like the kind of "art" one finds on a putt-putt golf course. Maybe travelers going up I-65 at 75 miles an hour think they have just missed a putt-putt golf course.

Also, I have to ask: the horse has a saddle, but no bridle.Why is that?  Should it not have a bridle? Surely General Forrest did not ride a horse without a bridle? Despite my dislike of the statue, I think it is a waste of effort to try to build a foliage barricade to hide it from sight.

In response to controversy over the Confederate battle flag near the South Carolina state house, Walmart, Amazon, Sears, and eBay have all stopped selling items featuring the Confederate flag and the parent company that owns the rights to the Dukes of Hazard merchandise has announced they will no longer license the General Lee car featured in that show. Other states and locals have began looking at the appropriateness of statues and bust of Confederate heroes and images on state and county seals that recall historical Confederate associations and names of streets, bridges, and buildings named to honor Confederate dead.

I understand the desire to ban the Confederate flag.  I guess if I were African-American I would find it offensive and want it banned.  I think I know how they feel because I feel much the same way about that hate symbol known as the "peace" sign.  That is the symbol that those who betrayed out troops in the field, marched under during the Vietnam war.  That is the sign carried by the American fifth column on campuses and in the streets of America that encouraged the enemy not to give up because they had massive numbers of supporters in America who were daily trying to persuade their own government to give up, pull out of the war and give the North Vietnamese an easy victory.  Now, that symbol of betrayal is sold on eBay, Walmart, Amazon and Sears and elsewhere as a fashion accessory. You can find it on backpacks and clothing and pocketbooks and any number of items. Personally, I would prefer to ban the peace sign over banning the confederate flag. I personally find the peace sign offensive. No one grantees me the right to not be offended however.

The flag we cal the "Confederate flag" was not a national flag of the Confederacy but was the
battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.  It only came to be considered the Confederate flag, later. I don't think most people who display it or celebrate seeing it being displayed think of it as a racist symbol. During the civil rights era, some southern segregationist appropriated the flag as their own symbol to show defiance to federal authority but time has passed since then and I think that to most people the Confederate flag is simply a symbol of southerness.

I myself am from East Tennessee, which during the Civil War was pro-Union. That is why East Tennessee was a Republican stronghold in a Democrat Tennessee from then on.  Areas of the South that were too hilly to grow cotton were generally pro-Union in the Civil War and became isolated Republicans strong holds for the next 125 years in an otherwise solid Democrat South.  So, I did not come from a pro-confederate part of the South, but I still had an identity that was represented by the Confederate flag. I never wore a confederate belt buckle or had a confederate license plate on my pick up truck (I never owned a pick up truck). I did however, own a Lynard Skynyrd album that featured a Confederate flag.

My favorite music has always been Country music but during the 70's I became a big fan of Southern Rock. My preference in Southern Rock never went as far toward the hard rock end as the spectrum as Molly Hatchet, tending more toward the country rock of The Charlie Daniels Band and Marshal Tucker Band.  For several years I attended the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jams held at Municipal Auditorium. These shows were a blast of great music and hard partying that easily ran ten hours long and while I saw everyone from Roy Acuff to James Brown and even an occasional classical musician or gospel choir, the foundation of the shows was Southern Rock. Many participants brought Confederate battle flags and waved them during the show.

Charlie Daniels would start the show by saying, "Ain't it Great to be alive and be in Tennessee!"  And, the crowd would go wild.  I think that like celebrating a shout out to being in Tennessee, the Confederate battle flag was symbolic of a shout out to being proud of one's southerness. A lot of Southern Rock bands not only celebrated being Southern but celebrated their State identity.  Charlie Daniels' albums often featured representations of the tri-star symbol from the Tennessee flag and at the start of his performance would say, "I'm Charlie Daniels from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee."  Marshal Tucker's shows would start with an announcement: "From Spartanburg South Carolina, it's the Marshall Tucker Band!" And, The Alman Brothers let it be known they were from Georgia and several of their album covers featured some representation of the peach, which represents Georgia. Southern Rock, like Country music often celebrated the South and a sense of place.  I still love the CDB song "The South's Gonna do it Again."

I know that now America is becoming so homogenized that there is not much sense of place any
Southern Motel
more. Almost any where you go, you see the same chain restaurants and people listen to the same music and you rarely hear a heavy accent. There may be more people living in Nashville born elsewhere than there are native Nashvillians. I don't know if that is really a good thing or not.  I certainly want foreign immigrants to become Americanized, and would not want so much regionalism that it was a source of conflict. By the same token, I think something valuable is lost when we lose the way we speak, the way we interact and when we all become antonymous individuals rather than people with a sense of place and history and a sense of belonging.

I think this search to take down symbols of southerness had gotten out of hand. Recently, mayoral candidate Charles Bone who is an investor in the lower Broadway venue Acme Feed and Seeds, responded to a complaint about a piece of artwork that hung in that establishment and he had it removed. The artwork features a women wearing a Confederate flag bikini in front of a sign that says "Southern Motel."  Wearing the Confederate flag on your butt is not honoring the flag. Any idiot who is offended by this piece of art should be told to "get over it."  As Tom Morales owner of the establishment said about the piece, it is "satirical commentary on Southern culture."

This is nuts! What next? Ban the songs of Stephen Foster? Ban the playing of "Dixie?" Burn down the surviving antebellum plantation
mansions? Remove the Confederate memorial statue in the square in Franklin?

Political correctness has already stifled speech in America to where conservative commencement speakers are disinvited from speaking if students object. People shout down views they do not agree with. Are we to become the American Taliban and destroy icons of the past because they don't fit our current ideology?

I'll close with this:

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Clements for Council, A little about me.

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Letting no tragedy go to waste, Many Mancini uses Charleston to Fund Raise for TN Demo Party

Following the senseless  tragedy in Charleston S. C., I received this tasteless appeal for a contribution from Mary Mancini, Chair of the Tennessee Democrat Party.
Dear Rod,
On Saturday morning I attended an event that had been on my calendar for many months but that took on additional significance in light of the horrific murders in Charleston, S.C.
The event was the commemoration of a little known piece of Tennessee history - the murder of Elbert Williams, a founding member of the first NAACP Chapter established in 1939, in Brownsville, Haywood County, TN. One year later, Mr. Williams was overheard organizing a voter registration drive in his community, was taken from his home by members of the Brownsville Police Department, shot dead, and thrown in the Hatchie River.
Elbert Williams"Elbert Williams was a founding member of the first NAACP Chapter established in 1939, in Brownsville, Haywood County, Tennessee. On the night of June 20, 1940, while still in his pajamas, he was taken from his home by members of the Brownsville Police Department. He was never seen alive again. Three days later, his disfigured remains were found in the Hatchie River, six miles south of Brownsville. His wife was summoned to the riverbank to identify his remains. Without benefit of investigation, the authorities ordered his immediate burial in Taylor Cemetery. No funeral was held, and his grave was unmarked. Plans to memorialize his contribution and heroic acts on the first anniversary of his death in 1941 never materialized. In December of 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II. The memory and courageous contribution of Elbert Williams, was lost to time." Read more....
Last Saturday morning, while sitting in the gym of the Haywood County High School in Brownsville, TN, it was impossible not to draw a straight line from the murder of Mr. Williams to the shootings in Charleston.
And yet, we refuse to do so. Some are already treating this as an isolated incident, much the same way in which we treat every mass shooting in this country - as an isolated incident. We forget history so quickly.
We’re seeing the pattern play out again now - outrage, 24/7 news coverage, push back by the Right on the murderer’s motives, and then nothing – no changes to public policy and no shift “in how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively” – a shift that could keep us safe from these kinds of mass killings; that could  keep us safe at school, or church, or in Bible study.
75 years after the racially motivated murder of Elbert Williams in Brownsville, TN, we witness the racially-motivated mass murder in Charleston. 75 years after a murder motivated by the “collective evil of Jim Crow," we witness multiple murders motivated by the collective evil of 21st-Century Racism. This time, there is no way we can blame mental illness.
The murders in Charleston have uncovered a “gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist.”
If we continue to pretend the “gaping racial wound” doesn’t exist, if we continue to be afraid to bring it out in the open and talk about it, if we continue to remain silent, then we will be complicit in perpetuating "the collective evil of 21st-Century Racism."
Mary Mancini
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party
Invest in the TNDP

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