Monday, September 30, 2013

A "Beat Lamar" insider's anonymous report on the disarray in the beat Lamar movement

Dear Rod,

I enjoy reading your blog regularly, and wanted to inform the public of what happened in the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate meeting last night. I apologize I have to keep my identity concealed, but as a faithful member of one of the tea parties and and as one who considers Joe a friend, I hope to do no harm to the movement, but am very worried this process is destroying both the movement and our ability to defeat Sen. Alexander.

At the beginning of the day, only 27 of the 63 groups in the coalition even showed up. Three groups left before the final voting commenced. Joe only received 59% of the vote on first ballot. Four other groups abstained (including Campaign for Liberty). And, of the 20 remaining groups sympathetic to Joe (out of 60+!) who participated in the final ballot, he could not even get a unanimous vote. Some groups are going home to our members to discuss formally withdrawing from the coalition.

The reason that the majority of the tea party groups did not show up, that seven left/abstained, and that several others are going back home to discuss withdrawing is because Beat Lamar is an absolute joke and has split the conservative movement much more than united and its leaders have tried to force Joe on everyone, including most who believe Joe is not our candidate. The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of us realize Joe cannot win. His latest embarrassment with the plagiarism can be forgiven by many, but to most of us, it shows he does not have what it takes to defeat the powerful lion of the Tennessee Republican machine. The bigger issue is Joe has not and will not win the support of national conservative groups (like Senate Conservatives Fund and Madison Project, who've said in recent newspaper reports that they will not support him), without whose money, network, and aid, we simply cannot win.

The fact of the matter is we are still looking for our candidate, with or without Beat Lamar. We believe we can still defeat Lamar, united, but that requires the right candidate and a fair process. It's not over, and Beat Lamar does not speak for us. We will start anew, and we will find our guy (or gal).

Thanks for your consideration,

A patriot in Tennessee

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bob Corker on the Continuing Resolution and the effort to stop Obamacare

From Senator Bob Corker:

I wanted to take the opportunity to share my position during what has been a confusing debate on the Senate floor over the last few days.  I am concerned about the negative effects the President’s health care reform law is having on our state, our country, and future generations. I have continued to oppose Obamacare at every turn, including efforts to repeal and defund it.

Today, I voted in support of advancing the House continuing resolution that would permanently defund Obamacare while funding the federal government. After the defunding provision in the bill was struck by an amendment that I opposed, I voted against passage of the amended bill. The bill, nonetheless, passed the Senate with only Democratic votes, and now moves back to the House. In the House, Republicans have the majority and can make other good policy changes that continue the fight against Obamacare. I hope the House can send something back to the Senate that will pass both chambers.

Some have suggested that it would be better to shut down the government rather than accept a bill that lacks the Obamacare defunding provision. But this would be self-defeating: a shutdown would not prevent Obamacare’s implementation because the funding for it is almost entirely mandatory, meaning that it occurs regardless of a shutdown. This tactic would only divert attention from the cascading reports of the very real consequences of the law for individuals, families and American businesses.

This doesn’t mean we say "game over." It means we work toward actual solutions that have a possibility of becoming a reality. I look forward to the Senate taking up the bill again after the House improves it.

Comment: Since the above, the House has passed an amendment to the CR that delays ObamaCare for one year. The Senate will take that up on Monday. Harry Reid says it is DOA and President Obama has said he will veto it if it passes. Obama has said he will not compromise. In my view, Republican Senators should hold firm anyway. If my understanding of what happens next is correct, should Democrats prevail in the Senate and refuse to pass the House version, the two versions would then go to conference committee. I would urge more compromise on the part of the House, should that occur, maybe a CR of only 6 months and a 6 month delay of Obamacare should be proposed.

If the Democrats and Obama will not accept any compromise, then reluctantly we should let them shut down the government. Republicans will likely get the blame. They should immediately start calling the shutdown the "Obama Shutdown," and engage in a massive PR and advertising campaign to label the shutdown as such. We should see TV ads and billboards lamenting the "Obama Shutdown." In every interview, Republicans should regret the "Obama Shutdown." We should spend millions to get out the message. We should make this backfire on the Democrats. Republicans should not let liberal elites and media control the labeling of the shutdown. Republicans should be prepared to do massive labeling and damage control.

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Update from Marsha Blackburn on Continuing Resolution to defund Obamacare

From Marsha Blackburn:

As many of you know, the House is in a rare Saturday session today to take up the Continuing Resolution the Senate sent yesterday. The Senate’s version stripped the Obamacare defunding clause and only funds the government for two months. The House will vote to add two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution and funds the government through December 15. I’m headed to the floor to offer the first amendment- my legislation, HR 2809, to delay Obamacare for one year. The second repeals Obamacare’s job-killing medical device tax. From here, the CR will go back to the Senate.
I went to the Floor this morning to speak on the Obamacare delay as well as restoring fiscal responsibility. I’m against shutting down the government and I think President Obama and the Democratic-led Senate should negotiate reasonably and prudently on the Continuing Resolution, the delay of Obamacare, and the repeal of the medical device tax.
Screaming for compromise doesn’t work; you have to actually be willing to come to the table and negotiate. My colleagues and I have extended an offer to negotiate to President Obama and that offer has been refused. We are quickly working, it seems in a vacuum, to avoid a government shutdown. The House has done its job and will send a good bill to the Senate. It’s up to the Senate to pass it and avoid shutting down the government.
While in session today, we will pass the Drug Quality and Security Act. Many of you may remember when 16 lives were lost last year in Tennessee due to a meningitis outbreak. Those cases stemmed from contaminated compounded drugs and this bipartisan legislation would ensure necessary steps are taken to prevent a tragic outbreak from happening again.
Saturdays are busy times. I remember the Saturdays when my children were little! So please know how much I appreciate you taking the time to keep updated with your Congress. Follow Facebook and Twitter as I’ll be posting throughout the weekend.
My Best,
A programming note: I’ll be joining Face the Nation tomorrow morning at 9:30 Central on CBS. I hope you can tune in or set the DVR. Also, wanted to share with you last night’s segment on Hannity.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

What's on the Council agenda for October 1st with commentary

The Metro Council agenda and staff analysis for October 1st is available at these links: Agenda, Analysis. If you know what the Council is voting on it is still boring but not quite as boring. This should be a really short meeting. All issues have already been resolved and there is not anything controversial on the agenda.

Elections and Confirmations: There are position to fill on the Industrial Development Board, the Charter Revision Commission and the Transportation Licensing Commission. I see no reason that any of these appointments should be controversial but even if there was a reason they would all be approved unanimously anyway. The council does not take its responsibility of filling positions on Boards and Commissions seriously and always approves the Mayor's appointees.

Bills on Public Hearing: There are seven bills on public hearing. All of them are zoning bills and should be of interest to only nearby neighbors except for BILL NO. BL2013-513 which is a massive rezoning effecting hundreds of properties that borders main street and Gallatin Rd all the way from downtown to Briley Parkway. The compromise bill seems to satisfy everyone and I do not expect opposition, but one never knows. This rezoning has been in the works a long time. For more information on this issue, follow this link.

There are eight resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. I see nothing on the consent agenda that concerns me.

Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are nineteen bills on first reading.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are eight bills on second reading. I see nothing on second reading that is very controversial. The following items are interesting:

BILL NO. BL2013-526 and Bill NO. BL2013-527 establish a Metro Injury-on-duty clinic and approve an entity to operate it. It looks like it has been a deliberative process to reach this point and it appears this will save the city money. Apparently this mode of operation is successfully used by major corporations. These are good bills.

Bills on Third Reading: Third reading is the final reading and when a bill passes final reading it becomes law unless vetoed by the mayor and that almost never happens. Most of the bills on third reading this time are really boring things like abandoning easements and accepting easements. The bill below is the only bill on third reading I find of interest.
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2013-543 would allow business sponsorship within Metro Parks. Current law prohibits advertising in Metro Parks and this has been interpreted to prohibit sponsorships. This is a good bill. As an example of how this bill would work, by letting companies but their logo on doggie poop bags, that could save the city $30,000 a year. That is only one example of how this bill will bring private money into the park system.

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Compromize massive Gallatin Rd rezoning on Council agenda Tuesday

A compromise has been reached over the controversial proposed mass rezoning along East Nashville’s Gallatin Pike. The current proposal which will be on the Council agenda on Tuesday would now allow property owners to “opt in” to the new urban-inspired guidelines during future development. This is a much more flexible Urban Design Overlay than was proposed in August which resulted in deferral of that bill.

The Planning Commission voted September 26, 2013, to approve rezoning of various properties along Gallatin Pike, Gallatin Avenue, and Main Street between South 5th Street and Briley Parkway from about a dozen different zoning classifications to the new Urban Design Overlay (UDO) over that same area.  That new zoning supports a more pedestrian- and transit-oriented corridor, as described in the East Nashville Community Plan. Under the new UDO if, when property is redeveloped, the developer decides not to build to the sidewalk property line they will not be required to do so but must meet alternative design criteria. At the September 26 planning commission meeting, no one spoke in opposition to the rezoning.

Based on what I know of the current plan, I think it is a good compromise. I support efforts to encourage smart growth and urban design but think the previous plan was too inflexible would have been excessively heavy-handed and would have actually discouraged development. Two years ago Publix was going to build a grocery store on Gallatin Rd but backed out due to the inflexibility of  the then in place overlay design guidelines (link). Since then the Overlay was ruled unconstitutional. To fix the legal issue, the city simply tweaked the law to make it legal but intended to essentially keep the same guidelines. Now they appear to have come up with a more reasonable approach.

Last council meeting, the council passed a zoning text change that described the new zoning, the bill on this agenda Tuesday night actually rezones the property. To read more on this controversy see this link

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More about that anti-Alexander protest that didn't happen last Sunday

The Tennessean, by Joey Garrison, September 23rd, 2013- It was supposed to be another public demonstration of disenchantment in what will surely be a long series of tea party protests targeting U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander before next year’s Republican primary.

Tea party and liberty advocates had a time and place: the home of Republican fundraiser Monty Lankford on Trinity Road in Franklin at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, when the state’s most powerful Republicans would be gathering to raise money for the incumbent senator.

The memo went out to the press to be there. ...... The lead organizer himself, Matt Collins of the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty, wasn’t even present. (link)

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Alexander's agenda to replace Obamacare

Lamar Alexander
DYERSBURG, TN – At the Dyer County Reagan Day Dinner in Dyersburg Friday evening, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said he voted Friday in the Senate to defund Obamacare and then voted against sending back to the U.S. House of Representatives a resolution that funds the government without defunding the new health care law. The senate Democratic majority nevertheless sent the resolution back for consideration by the House of Representatives, which has a Republican majority, he said.
Alexander said: “The bill is now back in the hands of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. I support the original House legislation that continues funding the government but defunds Obamacare. The health care law is an historic mistake that should be delayed, dismantled, repealed and replaced.” 
During the week, Alexander also voted for two procedural motions (called “cloture”) on whether to cut off debate about the health care law. The first cloture vote passed 100-0; the second passed 79-19. If either of these cloture votes had failed, the government would have shut down Monday at midnight, Alexander said.  
Alexander continued, “I’m not in the shut-down-the-government crowd, I’m in the take-over-the-government crowd. Take it over the way the Constitution says: Elect more conservative senators and a president and do all we can to delay, dismantle, repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Shutting the government down would delay paychecks to 3.4 million active-duty military men and women, delay processing permits for gun owners, delay Social Security payments and delay air travel for 2 million daily fliers — but Obamacare would just keep going because the president has the authority to do that under the law.
“In the mid-90s, the last time the government shut down, it lasted only a few days. The uproar was so great that congressmen couldn’t get back to Washington fast enough to start the government back up again. The shutdown cost taxpayers $1.4 billion. Republicans were blamed and President Clinton was re-elected.”
Alexander also told the story of “two Tennesseans who went to Texas, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett. Both were brave men who used different tactics to fight for the same goal: Texas independence. Crockett died at the Alamo. Houston withdrew to San Jacinto, where he won the war of Texas Independence.” 
“I’m in General Sam Houston’s camp on this one,” Alexander said. “We honor Davy Crocket for his bravery, and we remember the Alamo. But Sam Houston had two things Davy Crockett would have liked to have: he had more time and he had reinforcements. The moral of the story is we need time and we need reinforcements – we need to elect more Republican senators and a Republican president to delay, dismantle, repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Alexander said that in order to gain the trust of the American people, Republicans should continue to offer a step-by-step agenda to replace Obamacare with health care laws that offer more choices and competition and actually reduce premiums for most Americans.  
1.  Make Medicare solvent, so seniors can depend on it to be there for them and their grandchildren.
2.  Give governors more flexibility with their state Medicaid programs, so they can lower costs, improve health outcomes, and have more money for other programs like education and roads.
3.  Repeal the medical device tax that increases costs for patients.
4.  Change the definition of “work week” from 30 hours to 40 hours under Obamacare, or any new health care law, which would give employees the opportunity for a 33 percent pay increase and more options for health care coverage.
5.  Strengthen innovative workplace wellness programs that empower employees with more incentives to make healthy lifestyle choices.
6.  Let small businesses pool their resources and offer lower-cost insurance plans for their employees.
7.  Provide families the opportunity to purchase insurance across state lines, creating greater competition between insurance companies and lowering premiums for everyone. 
8.  Expand access to Health Savings Accounts and catastrophic health insurance plans, giving people more affordable insurance options that fit their lifestyles.
9.  Incentivize the growth of private health insurance exchanges to give consumers expanded health insurance choices and allow them to keep insurance between jobs.
10.  Make it easier for patients to compare prices and the quality of doctors and medical services. 
11.  Incentivize states to reform junk lawsuits that drive up health care costs for everyone and are driving medical professionals out of their profession.
The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher and Fleischmann.
The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.
Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

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Why we must defund ObamaCare

Phil Roe
by Phil Roe, M. D, U. S. Congressman, 1st District of Tennessee

Wednesday was Deficit Day—at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the federal government ran out of money. This means all government operations for the rest of the year, nearly $10 billion each day, will be funded by money the government has borrowed. It is no secret that the government spends too much and borrows too much, and under the president’s health care law our deficit will only grow.

Over the last three years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has revised its cost estimates for ObamaCare several times. In February of this year, the CBO released its latest estimate: ObamaCare is estimated to spend roughly $1.85 trillion from 2013 to 2023. But cost isn’t the only reason we need to repeal the president’s health care reform law.
Just this week the ObamaCare insurance premium information was released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While HHS touted “lower-than-expected” premiums for those going into the exchange, they failed to mention how ObamaCare will impact the premiums for people who already have health care coverage. Before the president’s health care law, nearly 196 million Americans, or 64 percent, had some form of private health care coverage. Among the uninsured, nearly two-thirds are under the age of 40, which also happens to be the age of the people who will be hurt most under ObamaCare.
A recent column in Forbes examined the impact of the law on 27, 40 and 60 year olds, as well as the contrast between men and women. In the state of Tennessee, a 27-year-old woman will see her premiums rise 21 percent, while a 27-year-old man’s premiums will increase by a staggering 69 percent. This is just one more example in a long list of how ObamaCare will hurt the very people it was alleged to help. And it gets worse. This law will negatively impact jobs.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Education and the Workforce Committee that the stories regarding employees losing jobs, wages and hours at work because of the health care law were merely “speculation.” Unfortunately, the Secretary’s statement is being proven wrong in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. On October 1, Lee Regional Medical Center in Pennington Gap, VA will close, eliminating approximately 140 jobs. The hospital cited ObamaCare as one of the reasons they were forced to close their doors. A Burger King franchisee in my district, Mike Clayton, was forced to close a store in Johnson City. Mike put a thank you note in my hometown paper, The Johnson City Press, thanking the people of the Tri-Cities area for 39 years of loyal business. When explaining his difficult decision, Mike said that politicians had “passed a law so unfriendly to business and workers that it forces the business to limit hard-working Americans to less hours and lower pay at a time of high unemployment and less opportunity for people to prevail.” Mr. Clayton underscored there is no “give by government to correct these unintended consequences” so his decision to close his store was greatly impacted by the lack of flexibility.

That is why we must repeal and replace the president’s health care law. I, like the majority of Americans, am adamantly opposed to this law and was proud to support the House continuing resolution, which fully funds the government but fully defunds ObamaCare. Unfortunately, that provision was stripped from the Senate bill. This weekend, the House and Senate are working to avoid a government shutdown. The people of the First District didn't send me to Washington to shut the government down; they sent me here to help run it, work to make it smaller, and cut spending. Rest assured I will continue to closely follow this issue and work to find a way to do this. 

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Buy Barillla, Italy's No. 1 Pasta

A salute to Barilla for refusing to participate in normalizing deviancy. Next time I buy pasta or pasta sauce, I am buying Barilla!


Dear MoveOn member,
My family, and especially my 12-year-old son, eats a lot of pasta—and my wife and I have often chosen Barilla Pasta because of the wide variety available at our local grocery store.
No more. Today Barilla Pasta President Guido Barilla made it clear how he felt about families like mine by saying that he'd never show gay families in advertisements for Barilla. He said that gays "can go eat someone else's pasta" if they didn't like his message.
I'm taking him up on that and so should you. Sign the petition to tell Guido Barilla that you stand with gay families and won't buy Barilla.
That's why I started a petition to the Barilla Pasta company, which says:
Barilla Pasta President Guido Barilla's statement that he'd never consider showing gay families in his advertisements is outrageous. I'm supporting gay families by boycotting Barilla Pasta.
Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.
–Beth Allen
This petition was created on MoveOn's online petition site, where anyone can start their own online petitions. Beth Allen didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the list.

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Common Core, Common Core and more Common Core: More than you ever wanted to know.

I don't know who wants to watch ten hours of the Senate Education Committee hearings on Common Core, but someone may.  Below are the Senate Education Committee hearings of September the 19th and 20th. I have not watched them myself. If you watch them, please feel free to comment and leave a notation telling me where to go in the video to see the best parts. If some enterprising person would like to cut it down to a condensed version with outtakes of the best parts, I will post it.

Senate-Education Committee - Sep 19th, 2013

Senate-Education Committee - Sep 20th, 2013

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Metro Council agenda and Council staff analysis for the October 1st council meeting are now available.

The Metro Council agenda and Council staff analysis for the October 1st council meeting are now available. If you will wait I will read them for you and tell you what is important, but if you just can't wait, here it is: Agenda, Agenda Analysis.

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Ramsey: Little Chance Of Carr Upsetting Alexander

Ramsey: Little Chance Of Carr Upsetting Alexander LINK

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No protest at the Lamar Alexander picnic Sunday

Sunday afternoon was a great day to get out of the city and attend a political picnic.  I attended the Lamar Alexander fundraiser picnic at Monty Langford’s farm off Highway 96 between Franklin and Murfreesboro. The afternoon temperatures were a comfortable low 80’s, the sky was a clear blue and the sitting was a large white tent in the front yard of Monty Langford’s house on the edge of acres of gassy pastureland surrounded by rolling hills.

We were served barbecue and listened to a light jazz music. I think the band’s name was “Free Enterprise” or something like that. They consisted of a guitarist and upright bass player and vocalist performing mellow jazz favorites such as the songs of Hoagy Carmichael. About 250 people attended the event. There were twenty tables of ten each and people were standing and coming and going, so it could have been that 300 people attended.

Race car driver Darrel Waltrip was present but did not speak. Speaker of the House Beth Harwell was in attendance. Monty Langford offered an opening prayer and welcoming remarks and Governor Bill Haslam spoke and introduced Senator Alexander. Senator Alexander spoke about what is going on in Washington and defended his record saying it is one thing to make speeches and another thing to govern and get things accomplished. To illustrate a division within the Republican Party, he told a history of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. He said both famous Tennesseans helped liberate Texas and shared the same goal and both should be honored and respected but he said, Crockett died at the Alamo and Houston won the war. He said winning is more important than standing firm and being defeated.

I was looking for protesters at the event. There were none. Matt Collins, ousted former First Vice Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party, operating under the name Tennessee Sons of Liberty had called for protesters to be on hand to protest, but he, nor anyone else, was there protesting.

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I do not see how this current effort to defund Obamacare can work

As much as I admire Senator Ted Cruz’s tenacity and as much as I would like to see ObamaCare defunded, I am afraid the current effort to do so is a quixotic attempt that is doomed to failure.

The continuing resolution that passed the House stands zero chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate. If a miracle did occur and somehow it passed the Senate, the President would veto it. Even firebrand Senator Rand Paul had conceded this tactic has little chance of stopping Obamacare. Worse than simply failing to stop Obamacare, the tactic may doom future chances of stopping Obamacare.

Assume the Senate version of the continuing resolution and the house version of the resolution goes to conference committee and something emerges that partially defunds Obamacare and that is what goes to the President. If a standoff occurs between the legislative and the administration and the only way a continuing resolution can pass is for President Obama to sign a bill that delays Obamacare or substantially defunds it, I suspect the President will refuse and then we will have a government shutdown.

We must accept the reality that Republicans would get the blame for the government shut down as they did in the 90’s when we had a shut down. One could argue that the shutdown would be the fault of the President because he refused to compromise and refused to approve the continuing resolution he was presented but that is now how it would be perceived. That is not how it would be reported. The media would blame the Republicans. Popular culture would blame the Republicans.

Then what happens in 2014? Instead of picking up seats in the Senate, Republicans loose seats. They may even loose seats in the House. At Senator Lamar Alexander’s picnic on Sunday, he told the story of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, both brave Tennesseans who shared the goal of liberating Texas from Mexico and both men who should be admired. Crockett died at the Alamo; Houston won the war.

Those leading this effort to defund Obamacare may cheer the hearts of the grassroots activist but I fear they are tilting at windmills. I admire the passion of those attempting to use the continuing resolution to defund Obama care, but I doubt their wisdom. I fully share their goal but question the tactic. If the firebrands succeed in causing a government shutdown, I fear they may have caused us to lose the war.

I would welcome a compelling argument that argues the other point of view. Please explain how we can win this battle. How is this a winning strategy?

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Video: New standards lead to lively MNPS Board discussion

New standards lead to lively MNPS Board discussion

Metro school board hears how new plan gets results

The Tennessean, Sept. 25, 2013- School officials gave high marks to a newly implemented grading system that prioritizes testing and eliminates zeroes from gradebooks at a Metro Nashville school board work session Tuesday evening.

The changes were put in place at the beginning of the school year as part of a push to evaluate students entirely on their comprehension of material outlined in state standards. The policies mandate that students are graded entirely on in-class work, offered the chance to retake an exam twice and are given scores no lower than 50 percent on assignments. (link)

Amy Frogge criticized newly-enacted policies reforming Metro Schools' grading systems.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Humor Break: A man died and went to heaven.

A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.
He asked, “What are all those clocks?”
St. Peter answered, “Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move.”
“Oh,” said the man, “whose clock is that?”
“That’s Mother Teresa’s. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie.”
“Incredible,” said the man.
“That’s Abraham Lincoln’s clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life,” St. Peter informed him.
“Where’s Obama’s clock?”
“His clock is in Jesus’s office. He’s using it as a ceiling fan.”

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Congresswoman DIANE BLACK returns to 1ST TUESDAY .

From Tim Skow:

WOW !! 

Are you keeping up with the current high-stakes Budget fight going on this week in Washington DC ?
IF you too are intrigued by NOT ONLY IN WHAT IS GOING IN FRONT of the cameras.... BUT ALSO behind the scenes..
Then you will want to be at lunch MONDAY,  OCT 7th when Congresswoman DIANE BLACK returns to 1ST TUESDAY .
DETAILS follow... if you want to read more.. OR... visit our website at  and then click on Shopping Cart... to secure you seat.
Remember, Diane sits on both ... the House Budget Committee and ... the House Ways & Means Committee.
In short, if its about $$$$$$   ... and its going on in Washington DC ... [Budget, Debt Ceiling, Sequester cuts 2, and more] ... then Diane knows !  
Visit the 1ST TUESDAY site... and get your seats while they last.... and join us along with some VERY SPECIAL GUESTS !  Pass the word. Invite some friends. It will be a GREAT event!
See you on Monday, OCT 7th  ---   at 1ST TUESDAY
Tim Skow

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Senate Republicans actually do have the votes to stop Obamacare

Republicans have 46 members in the U.S. Senate, more than enough to defeat cloture on any continuing resolution that ultimately will fund Obamacare.

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Blackburn Discusses Fight To Defund & Delay Obamacare on Meet the Press

Beware of anchors bearing fact checks. To see how David Gregory distorted the "facts" follow this link.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Marsha Blackburn on Delay, Defund, Repeal, Replace Obamacare

From Marsha Blackburn:

You might have heard me use these four words lately. I've talked a lot about delay and defund the mechanism to remove the job-killing Affordable Care Act. My colleagues and I are committed to delaying, defunding, and repealing this train wreck. That's not all I'm after. I want to take a minute today to let you know about the "replace" component of my plan.
This week, I joined fellow members of the Republican Study Committee to introduce the American Health Care Reform Act. It was great to work with Clarksville native and fellow colleague Dr Phil Roe as he led the working group in creating the American Health Care Reform Act. This legislation takes a market-centered approach to reforming health care by allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines. It also permits businesses to pool together in association health plans in order to drive competition. When we replace Washington-centered law with interstate competition, we encourage efficiency and pass cost-savings on to you and your bank account.
Today, the House voted on legislation that controls spending, defunds Obamacare, and prevents a government shutdown. It passed the House 230-189. I hope our colleagues in the Senate will do everything they can to force this debate on the Senate floor. Obamacare isn't ready for primetime - it will fail to deliver on all the promises the Obama Administration has made. Many advocacy groups have called for the defund debate to be pushed in the Senate. It has been heard in the House and now the American people need to encourage the Senate to act. Join me in tweeting using the hashtag #SenateMustAct.
Also this week, my colleagues and I voted to close loopholes in the SNAP program.
SNAP is a federal assistance program which provides help to low- and no-income individuals and families living in the U.S.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), there are currently about 1.8 million people enrolled in SNAP who should not qualify based on their assets and income.  We have an obligation to you, the taxpayer, to be as prudent with your money as possible. Closing these loopholes is a great place to start.
It looks like we'll be back in DC next week, so don't forget to keep up with the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.
Have a great weekend,
PS- I'll be joining Meet the Press this Sunday. Tune into NBC at 9:00am if you can!

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What happened at the Senate Education Committee Hearing on Common Core | Nashville News, Weather

by Aundrea Cline-Thomas, Channel 5 News, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thursday, a standing room only crowd showed up for a Senate Education Committee session concerning the new set of standards known as common core.

"We stand here in support of Tennessee's Common Core State Standards," Dr. Vicki Kirk, Director of Greene County Schools, said while flanked by educators and parents during a press conference preceding the hearing. "We support raising the bar in our classrooms."

The Common Core State Standards are an issue where divisions are not just down party lines. (link)

Common Core’s Loudest Opponents Come from Outside Tennessee 

Nashville Public Radio - For and against, for and against. Tennessee lawmakers swayed between supporters of Common Core and opponents in a day-long hearing Friday. Many of those testifying have been debating the education standards in other states.

Georgia state Sen. William Ligon talked about why his state is ditching the PARCC test associated with Common Core. A spokesperson from the conservative Heartland Institute suggested the standards are a liberal conspiracy.

Peg Luksik – who is a politician from Pennsylvania – argued against what she sees as a one-size-fits-all approach. (link)

Common Core foes take their best shots

by Chas Sisk, The Tennessean, Sept. 20, 2013- Opponents of new education standards passed by the state three years ago took their best shot at convincing lawmakers to reverse course.

Foes of the Common Core State Standards Initiative took a scattershot approach to attacking the effort, offering arguments that ranged from claims that the standards are too low to one suggestion that they could lead to brainwave monitoring of children. (link)

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This Sunday's picnic at Monty Lankford's home for Lamar with special guests including ...

"Tennessee Family BBQ" on Sunday, September 22, 4:30pm, at the Lankford Farm in Franklin. Special guests Governor Bill Haslam, Speaker Beth Harwell and race car legend Darrell Waltrip. Reservations are $50 per person or $100 maximum for the entire family. If you would like make a reservation, please visit our website here to make your secure on-line contribution. No political speeches - just a day of family, fun, great food and live music. 
PLACE:4141 Trinity Road, Franklin, TN
3:30pm until 5:00pm

Tn Sons of Liberty have announced they will be present to protest the event.

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Rep. Joe Carr Calls on Sen. Alexander to Change His Mind and Join Senators Cruz and Lee to Defund Obamacare

Joe Carr press release, September 19, 2013, Nashville, TN- House Speaker John Boehner announced the House will vote on a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare, while still providing funding to keep the government open. The ball will then be in the Senate’s court.

“Senator Lamar Alexander has refused to join Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee to defund Obamacare claiming it would cause a government shutdown. Although Senator Lamar Alexander agrees with Obama on this point, it is false,” says Representative Joe Carr.

“Obamacare is bad for America and we should be doing everything possible to stop it. I choose to stand up and fight. I stand with Senators Cruz and Lee to defund this bad bill. I am calling on Sen. Alexander to change his mind and stand up with Senators Cruz, Lee, and the citizens of Tennessee to defund Obamacare,” said Representative Joe Carr.

Senator Alexander released an ad claiming he’s led the fight against Obamacare and stood up to the President. “He is trying to re-write history by ignoring his votes yet again. Senator Alexander stood with the President Obama on March 20, 2013, when he voted in favor of the FY2013 continuing resolution, which included funding for the implementation of Obamacare,” says Representative Joe Carr.

“Unfortunately, Senator Alexander is not fighting for Tennesseans by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Senators Cruz and Lee who are leading the fight against Obamacare. Let’s hope he decides to stand with Tennesseans this time around by choosing to defund Obamacare,” said Representative Joe Carr.

Representative Joe Carr is an announced candidate running against Sen. Lamar Alexander in the 2014 Republican Primary. He is a principled conservative who believes that Washington needs to return to our founding core principles of personal responsibility, individual liberty, and free and fair markets.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Report from Rick Williams of StopAMP

Rick Williams
Good Morning To All the Stop AMP Team!!!!

As I was flying back from Washington, DC last night and I was thinking about how I would describe in a little report what was accomplished yesterday. I thought I would tell you who I was able to touch base with.

 First of all, Diane Neal, Malcolm Getz and myself all met with Mr. Peter Rogoff, who is head of the Federal Transit Administration at his office in Washington, DC.  Mr. Rogoff and his top officials were very nice and tried to answer all of our questions about the process. The  process is anything but a done deal. Malcolm and Diane pointed out many of our arguments against the AMP project to Mr. Rogoff and his staff.  We also were able to deliver a letter from Lola Brown, who by the way is the late Dr. Dorthey Browns' daughter, to the acting director of the office of civil rights of the FTA. This letter addressed the inequity of this AMP bus route for people that live in North Nashville, but gives no increase in bus service to that same community. Dr. Sekou Franklin has already filed a civil rights complaint against the FTA for lack of current service to the parts of Nashville with high unemployment rates and the lack of input on planning of the AMP. They gave us a timeline of how this project would move forward. We must get busy and ramp up our efforts. We will have more definitive plans in an E-Mail early next week.

After that meeting, Diane and Malcolm left for the airport and I headed to the U.S.Capitol. I text Congressman Steve Cohen from Memphis and he responded to come on by his office. Well he preceded to take me with him to a vote and introduced me to many members of Congress. I had a few minutes with Congressmen Stephen Fincher from Frog Jump, TN. and Congressmen Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield, both of Kentucky. I went by the offices of Congressmen Jim Cooper and Jimmy Duncan. I just left my business card at Congress Lady Diane Blacks' office. I also was able to meet personally with Mr. Jim Tymon who is a key contact person in the Congressional office of the House Transportation Committee. I left him a report that Margo Chambers had prepared. So on balance with just  12 hours on the ground in Washington, DC I think it was a banner day for the team.  I do think I need to do another trip in the next 30 days and have a tactical plan on who to see and why we are visiting them.

Congressman Cohen was great about introducing me around due to our 35 year friendship. But it certainly was a lucky day that only God could have directed to happen. I will give you more details in our meeting next week. I am working with Diane and Malcolm to have a joint steering committee meeting
between BRT Concerns, Inc. and Citizens for Responsible Transit next week.

ALSO, I learned from Congressman Cohen's office that the transit authority in Memphis is wanting to do a BRT in Memphis. And just like Nashville, they are using the most traveled and economically advanced route like West End Avenue: Popular Avenue which goes to the wealthier part of Memphis, Germantown. GO FIGURE!!!!!

Please reply with any questions that you may have:
Rick Williams,
Board Member of Citizens for Responsible Transit.         

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What happened at the 9/17 Council meeting and video.

This meeting is an hour long. It begins with a couple recognitions, one for the Principal of McGavock High School

The two current council members who are on the city's audit committee, Jacobia Dowell and Steve Glover are approved for reappointment by acclamation.

Resolutions: All resolutions except 845 and 846 are on the consent agenda and none are pulled. 845 and 846 are the bills granting an incentive to UBS of up to $2.5 million and a good deal on parking spaces in the public square parking garage. See 23:00 in the video for the discussion. When individuals or companies or institutions accept government money it usually comes with strings attached. While legal requirement are not put in place to dictate who the company may hire or where those they hire must live, there is discussion of those issues both in committee and on the council floor. Resolution 845 is put to a machine vote at the request of Josh Stites. It passes with only Stites and Tenpenny voting in opposition. 846 passes on voice vote.

All bills on First Reading pass and none are pulled from the agenda.

Bills on Second reading:  There are a couple deferrals and everything else passes.

  • BL2013-526 and Bill NO. BL2013-527 which establishes a Metro  Injury-on-duty clinic and approves an entity to operate it are deferred a meeting. 
  • Bill 543 would allow business  sponsorship within Metro Parks is explained by the sponsor and passes. It my view this is a good bill. An example of how it could save the city money is that an entity could put their logo on doggie poo bags and save the city up to $30,000. The bill's sponsor is Charlie Tygard. There is a failed attempt to defer the bill by Councilman Bo Mitchell. The discussion starts at 40:20.
Bills on Third Reading: All bills on Third reading, including  Bill 516 which is a code text change to allow the city to impose a "specific plan"over  a large area, pass without discussion.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meeting of the Metro Council Budget & Finance Committee on September 16, 2013

To really understand the most important issues facing the city, one needs to watch the Budget and Finance Committee. Is is in committee that explanation are offered and questions are asked.

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What's on the Council agenda for September 17th with commentary

The Metro Council agenda and staff analysis for September 17 is available at these links: Agenda, Analysis. If you know what the Council is voting on it is still boring but not quite as boring.

The Council will be elected two of their members to serve an the city's audit committee.  I don't know who is seeking the post, but if I was nominating, one of the people I would nominate would be Emily Evans who has a background in municipal bond finance and I would hope the Council would nominate someone with an accounting background. I also think Tim Garrett or Charlie Tygard  would be good for this post. They have both served the city a long time, are smart and ask good probing questions in committee.

There is one bill on public hearing to allow a restaurant to have a beer permit. The West End restaurant is within 100 feet of either a house, church, day care center or other entity which would disqualify it from getting a beer permit, except that it already has a liquor license. In that case, the council can exempt it from the 100 foot requirement after a public hearing. How screwed up are our liquor, wine and beer laws?  The State issues liquor license and Metro issues beer license, so there are some places where you can order a shot of whiskey but not a beer. All of our alcoholic beverage laws need to be reviewed and modernized in my view.  I doubt anyone will speak in opposition.

There are fifteen resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda.
A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. Below are a couple resolutions that concern me but I doubt they will be pulled off of Consent.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-845 is one of those "incentive" grants where we bribe companies to come to Nashville or not leave Nashville.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-846 gives the same company a sweetheart deal, (I assume it is a sweetheart deal) by leasing them 125 parking spaces in the Pubic Square parking garage for $100 a month. I don't know what they are worth, but I would bet considerably more than that.
Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading.  I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are six bills on first reading.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. I see nothing on second reading that is very controversial. The following items are interesting:
BILL NO. BL2013-526 and Bill NO. BL2013-527 establish a Metro  Injury-on-duty clinic and approve an entity to operate it.  It looks like it has been a deliberative process to reach this point and it appears this will save the city money. Apparently this mode of operation is successfully used by major corporations.  Read the staff analysis to learn more. I hope Budget and Finance asks lots of probing questions.  
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2013-543 would allow business  sponsorship within Metro Parks. Current law prohibits advertising in Metro Parks and this has been interpreted to prohibit sponsorships. I assume this would apply to sports teams as well as events such as concerts. This looks like a good bill.
Bills on  Third Reading: Third reading is the final reading and when a bill passes final reading it becomes law unless vetoed by the mayor and that almost never happens. The bill below is the only bill on third reading I find of interest.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-516 is a zoning text change that would allow for a large area to have a "specific plan" put in place. This zoning would not have to be initiated by the property owner but could be initiated by the district councilman or the planning department. The SP could dictate that all buildings be up to the sidewalk with no set back or that all parking be to the rear or virtually anything planners wanted that the Council would be willing to approve. This bill does not rezone any property but was precipitated by the Tennessee Court of Appeals striking down a SP plan that put design standards in place for Gallatin Rd from Main St. to Briley Parkway. With this text change in place, the Council could again put those SP regulation in place and they would be then be legal.

While I personally like "smart growth" or "new urbanism" or "urban design," or whatever the terminology is that indicates development is on a human scale and is pedestrian friendly, I do not think that can be efficiently mandated. If it is mandated then development may not occur for a very long time. All of the good planning in the world will not come to fruition unless investors are willing to invest. I do not think massive zoning such as was in place for Gallatin Pike is wise.

I also have reservation about the infringement on property rights. I am not opposed to zoning or planing and accept that any zoning is an infringement on property rights.  However, zoning and planing should not go beyond zoning for a public purpose such as planning infrastructure needs, or protecting the investment of neighboring property owners. I know this is not a clear distinction between what is a legitimate infringement on property rights and what is not.  However, like many things, zoning is a judgement call without clear guidelines on which to pass one's judgement. I think in a historic neighborhood, a historic overlay is appropriate. I do not think requiring all building along seven miles of Gallatin Road be build at the sidewalk property line is appropriate but realize that is a judgement call and good people may disagree. I know ideologues may not have any trouble with this. Some think any restrictions on property rights, even taking a persons property to sell it to a developer is appropriate, and those on the other end of the spectrum think any use restriction are wrong and the market should determine use. They would permit hog farms next to a schools or homes. Everyone in between has to exercise judgement.

I suspect this bill will pass; the planning commission approved it and no one spoke against it when it was on public hearing. I then suspect the Gallatin Road plan to be passed by the Council at a later date but am not sure of the status of the actual SP zoning bill for Gallatin.  To read more on this issue, read the council staff analysis, here, and here.

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Taxpayers to pay $7 million for UBS Nashville expansion

Metro's share of this is $500 each for the anticipated 1000 new jobs or $500,0000 per year for a maximum of  $2.5 million.. The resolution is on tonight's Council agenda. There is no requirement that the new employees live in Davidson County.
WZTV FOX 17 :: Newsroom - Top Stories - UBS Spending Millions on Nashville Expansion But so are Taxpayers - Erika Lathon

While I think it is a shame that we must bribe companies to move to Nashville, stay in Nashville or expand here, I realize it is hard to stop playing the game.  If we don't pay them to expand here, some other city will.  So, while I don't like this trend, I am not sure we can do anything about it. This is one of those issues that I would like to oppose on principle but pragmatism persuades me to support.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Senate Education Committee to hold hearnings on Commmon Core

Tennessee Senate Education Committee will conduct a hearings on Common Core  September 19 and 20. Experts on both sides of this issue will speaking.

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Liberty on the Rocks This Thursday

  • Thursday, September 19, 2013
    5:30 PM to
  • 2400 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN (map)
    ask the hostess to direct you to our sectoin
  • Liberty on the Rocks is a great place to meet other people, have a beer and some great food. We promote thoughtful and rational discussion on a wide range of topics.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

"Coming Apart by Charles Murray is the next selection of Conservative Fusion book study

The next meeting of Conservative Fusion will be Oct. 2. There is still time to get and read the book. Join us.

From Amazon description:

In Coming Apart, Charles Murray explores the formation of American classes that are different in kind from anything we have ever known, focusing on whites as a way of driving home the fact that the trends he describes do not break along lines of race or ethnicity.

Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, Coming Apart demonstrates that a new upper class and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship—divergence that has nothing to do with income inequality and that has grown during good economic times and bad.  
The top and bottom of white America increasingly live in different cultures, Murray argues, with the powerful upper class living in enclaves surrounded by their own kind, ignorant about life in mainstream America, and the lower class suffering from erosions of family and community life that strike at the heart of the pursuit of happiness. That divergence puts the success of the American project at risk.  
The evidence in Coming Apart is about white America. Its message is about all of America.
From Amazon review by author Niall Ferguson:
Since the advent of "Occupy Wall Street," there has been a tendency to assume that only the Left worries about inequality in America. Charles Murray's Coming Apart shows that conservatives, too, need to be concerned.

This is an immensely important and utterly gripping book. It deserves to be as much talked about as Murray's most controversial work (co-authored with Richard J. Herrnstein), The Bell Curve. Quite unjustly, that book was anathematized as "racist" because it pointed out that, on average, African-Americans had lower IQ scores than white Americans.

No doubt the same politically correct critics will complain about this book, because it is almost entirely devoted to the problem of social polarization within "white America." They will have to ignore one of Coming Apart's most surprising findings: that race is not a significant determinant of social polarization in today's America. It is class that really matters.

Murray meticulously chronicles and measures the emergence of two wholly distinct classes: a new upper class, first identified in The Bell Curve as "the cognitive elite," and a new "lower class," which he is too polite to give a name. And he vividly localizes his argument by imagining two emblematic communities: Belmont, where everyone has at least one college degree, and Fishtown, where no one has any. (Read: Tonyville and Trashtown.)

The key point is that the four great social trends of the past half-century--the decline of marriage, of the work ethic, of respect for the law and of religious observance--have affected Fishtown much more than Belmont. As a consequence, the traditional bonds of civil society have atrophied in Fishtown. And that, Murray concludes, is why people there are so very unhappy--and dysfunctional.

What can be done to reunite these two classes? Murray is dismissive of the standard liberal prescription of higher taxes on the rich and higher spending on the poor. As he points out, there could hardly be a worse moment to try to import the European welfare state, just as that system suffers fiscal collapse in its continent of origin. What the country needs is not an even larger federal government but a kind of civic Great Awakening--a return to the republic's original foundations of family, vocation, community, and faith.
Coming Apart is a model of rigorous sociological inquiry, yet it is also highly readable. After the chronic incoherence of Occupy Wall Street, it comes as a blessed relief. Every American should read it. Too bad only the cognitive elite will.
From Gene Wisdom, My own thoughts:
Charles Murray is the author of Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980 which was a blockbuster critique of the social destruction by and miserable failure, by its own declared goals, of the welfare state. This book seems to be an extension of the consequences of the unwillingness to "get it", to see that the welfare state is tearing down the fabric of American society, the family and the work ethic. I am looking forward to reading and discussing it and I hope you will join us.

To RSVP visit the  Facebook page: Conservative Fusion

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Say Goodbye to child-only insurance plans in Tennessee thanks to Obamacare

It is obvious to anyone, except those with a blind faith in President Obama, that the Affordable Care Act is seriously flawed. Beyond just the impact on insurance and health care, it is having a negative impact on the whole economy. It may spell the end of the 40-hour work week as employers restructure there work force to use more part-time workers to avoid Obamacare penalties.  When workers find that their workweek has been reduced to 29 hours, many workers will find themselves among the ranks of those living in poverty.   It is stifling economic growth as more companies are avoiding having fifty or more employees to avoid provisions of the law.

From temporary waivers, to Congress exempting itself from the Act, to union  dissatisfaction, to a delay in the out-of-pocket caps, to privacy concerns, more and more issues emerge which show that Obamacare is simply not working.  Here in Tennessee we have seen the lie to the claim that "if you like your insurance you can keep it."  Due to the Obamacare prohibitions on limited-benefit plans, TnCover will no longer be offered by the State and 16,000 will lose coverage. Another group of Tennesseans who are losing coverage is children covered by private child-only plans.  I do not know how many people this will impact in Tennessee.  Some people work for companies that provide insurance for employees but do not offer family plans.  In those situation, parents often purchase private insurance for their children. Now, in Tennessee those plans will not be offered.

Below is the report from The United States Senate, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:

All 50 states responded to the survey. In 39 states, at least one health insurance carrier has exited the child-only plan market following issuance of the Rule. The survey concluded that in 17 states, there are no carriers that currently sell child-only plans to new enrollees. The 17 States without carriers offering child-only plans to new enrollees are: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware , Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. As a result of the new regulations, children who are not eligible for Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), or high risk pools have fewer plans to choose from, and in many states are no longer able to obtain insurance coverage under child-only plans. Parents and grandparents in 17 States have no options for insuring their children who are not eligible for these programs. (link)

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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Police should follow the law

by Ken Jakes

It appears that police departments across our state are violators of the law. The very ones that are charged with upholding the law are violating it at the expense of the citizens. Let me give just three examples.

1.  Davidson County was charging $9.00 for a six page accident report at Central Records. It is a violation of law for them to charge more than .15 cents per page. I addressed this with the Director of Metro Legal and the State of Tennessee Comptrollers office which resulted in Davidson County having to lower the fee for the accident reports to .90 cents, a savings to the citizens of $ 8.10 per report. Metro was charging $10.00 for a copy of a DVD which was in violation of law. I filed another complaint, which resulted in Metro reducing the price of a DVD to $1.00, saving the citizens $9.00 per DVD.

2.  I was informed later that the City of Hendersonville was charging $5.00 for a six page accident report. Again I filed a complaint with the Comptroller, which resulted in the City of Hendersonville having to lower their fee of obtaining an accident report to .90 cents, saving the citizens $4.10 per report. Again, I find that they are charging a fee of $10.00 for the public to obtain a copy of a DVD. Another complaint filed resulted in the City of Hendersonville lowering the fee for obtaining a copy of a DVD to $1.00, saving the citizens $9.00 per DVD.

3. This week my secretary informed me her mother and father were involved in a wreck in Goodletsville, Tn. Her dad went to the Goodletsville Police Department to obtain an accident report. He was charged $6.00 for the three page report. I informed my secretary that was a violation of the law and I would address that issue on behalf of her father.

I went to the Goodletsville Police Department and spoke with Chief G. Goodwin. I explained to him that it was a violation of law to charge $6.00 for a three page accident report. He responded to me, and let me quote his words, "we are aware it is in violation of law."  I was shocked to hear these words spoken by the Police Chief.

A lady, whom I did not know, stepped up to the window and obtained an accident report. I asked Chief Goodwin if he was fully aware that it was a violation of law to charge $6.00 for an accident report, then was he going to charge this lady $ 6.00 for the report? He answered "YES."   While I was discussing this with the Chief of Police, the lady paid by credit card and left. Wanting to have the contact information of the lady, I purchased a copy of the same accident report.

Thinking the person picking up the report might not have been the person listed in the police report, I decided to obtain a copy of the receipt just given to the lady. Both women at the front desk of the City of Goodletsville Police Department informed me that I could not obtain a copy of the receipt because it was paid by credit card. They also informed me I would have to fill out a public record request form (like I have never filled one of those out before). I filled out the form and informed both ladies that they are totally wrong about me not being permitted to obtain a copy of a receipt paid by credit card. I requested that they redact the receipt and provide all the information that was public. After talking with the city manager, the ladies were told to provide me with the receipt I had requested.

Needless to say, another complaint filed with the Comptrollers Office resulted in a reimbursement for my secretary's dad, the lady who purchased a report, and myself. Now a three page report is a total charge of  45 cents, saving the citizen $5.55 per report.

It is my opinion that every police department across Tennessee is violating the law by over charging the public for obtaining copies of  reports. This is a revenue stream for the government stolen from the pockets of the citizens. There does not need to be a law created to stop this theft. The law is already created. We just need some elected official to step up to the plate and say enough is enough. The State should inform all departments and agencies of the law and place very strict penalties on those who violate the law. The police and other government agencies are not above the law. It should not be left to the citizenry of Tennessee to hold the police accountable to operate within the law.

The battle of taking our Country back never ends and you don't have to look far from home to find corruption within.

Ken Jakes is a frequent critic of Metro Government and a citizen activist discovering and exposing government corruption and waste. He is a former and probably future candidate for public office.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Alexander: “No Family In Tennessee Should Ever Be Forced To Comply With The Mess And Mistakes Of Obamacare”

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12—The senior Republican on the U.S. Senate health committee this week joined in introducing a bill and an amendment to delay the health care law’s employer and individual mandates until 2015.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “Full repeal of this law is my goal—no family in Tennessee should ever be forced to comply with the mess and mistakes of Obamacare—but I hope even Democrats will be willing to see that families certainly shouldn’t have to next year when American businesses are getting a break. We need to repeal this law and start passing step-by-step reforms that transform the health care delivery system by putting patients back in charge, giving them more choices, and reducing the cost of health care so that more people can afford it.”

The Fairness for American Families amendment was introduced by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) with Senators Alexander, John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)

Alexander also co-sponsored a bill introduced by Senator Coats earlier this week that would delay the health care law’s employer and individual mandates until 2015.
He is an original cosponsor of legislation introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to fully defund the law.
Alexander voted against the health care bill after warning his colleagues it would be “an historic mistake,” and has since voted on the Senate floor to repeal or defund Obamacare 23 times since it became law, and overall to oppose or repeal Obamacare or its provisions more than 90 times.

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Caffeinated Conservatives September Meeting - GUNS UP! Edition

From Steven Clemmons:

Tennessee Firearms Association President John Harris is coming to talk with us about one of the most important issues in the history of ever: the right to keep and bear arms, and the fight to keep that freedom. John has literally been on the front line of the effort to maximize and defend Tennesseans' rights to self-defense, and if you've never seen him speak, you will thank yourself for coming to hear what John has to say.

Bring your opinions, a friend, and your thirst for good coffee, mind-blowing bagels, and fun people, and get your political fix! See you there!

Saturday, September 21, 2013,  12:00pm until 2:00pm
Bagel Face Bakery,700 Main Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37206

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MNPS Board meeting of 9/10/13 This is a regular meeting of the Metro School Board. To view the Agenda, follow this link: Agenda.

This is a regular meeting of the Metro School Board. To view the Agenda, follow this link: Agenda.

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Metro Council meeting of September 10,2013

At 32 minutes, this is a short meeting. I am not doing a detailed play-by-play report on this council meeting, so if you want to make sure you don't miss something that may be important, watch it for yourself.

The two massive rezoning bills for Gallatin Pike are deferred to the first meeting in October.

The Council approved the $500,000 subsidy for "Nashville."

The bill that set a "goal" that 20%  of all construction contracts in which metro participates be spend with minority-owned or female-owned businesses passed.

The resolution that would have placed a moratorium on approving new charter schools was deferred indefinitely.

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Where were you when the world stopped turning

On September 11, 2001 I got up like most days and got ready for work. As I recall, I had the TV on when a program was interrupted saying a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I did not think a lot about it at first. No details were available, and I assumed some private small plane had flown off course and accidentally crashed into the building. By the time I got to work, the second plane had hit and it was clear that the U. S. was under attack.

My long-time, long-distance girl friend, Louella Ballenger, who is now my wife, worked in Washington DC at the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, located right next to Union Station which is across the street from the back of the US Capitol. I do not recall the sequence of events exactly, but it must have been after the Pentagon was hit and I started wondering what was next. I feared we were under an all out attack. I tried several times to reach Louella. I wanted to see if she was all right and tell her I loved her. I feared the worse. After several attempts, I reached her. Chaos was reigning at her place of work. People were free to leave work, but the subways were not running and the roadways were jammed. She was waiting out the crisis at her office. We told each other how much we loved each others.

After getting off the phone with Louella, I just had a sense that I needed to talk to people I love so I next called my daughter. Rachel was in no danger of course. She was in Chattanooga attending college but I just wanted to hear her voice and tell her I loved her. I then called my mother.

I remember how everyone at work and everyone I talked to was effected by the event. I went to my boss, Cathie Dodd, and said we ought to do something. She agreed. We busied ourselves the next day putting together a program and emailing and calling people to tell them about it. With little advance notice, we had a full house. Co-workers and people from other agencies we work with, friends and people from the community joined in a memorial service at work. We prayed and sang songs and were comforted. All rancor and petty conflicts were put aside as we held hands in prayer and hugged and comforted each other. It was a healing process.

After the immediate crisis was over, I asked Louella to quit her job and move to Nashville.  We had, had a long-distance relationship for about ten years and were in love and we planned that when she retired she would then move down to Nashville and we would get married and be together. I think 9-11 made us realize that you don't know what tomorrow holds and that life is short. Louella took early retirement, we bought a house and on thanksgiving weekend Louella moved to Nashville.

This song by Allen Jackson captures that day perfectly for me. Alan Jackson said a day or two after the event he woke up and this song just poured out of him. He said it was the easiest song he ever wrote.

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning
by Alan Jackson
Were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry
Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below
Did you burst out in prideFor the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really mattersI
'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love
I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love
I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love
The greatest is love
The greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

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