Friday, May 30, 2014

Blueprint for a Red Nation: Statesmen’s Dinner Success Ensures Tennessee Will Remain a Model for the Rest of the Nation

Governor Christie, Over 1,700 Attendees Help to Bring in Over $700,000 to TNGOP

TN GOP press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Tennessee gave a warm and enthusiastic welcome to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at this evening’s Tennessee Republican Party Statesmen’s Dinner.

Gov. Christie was introduced to a sellout crowd by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam who outlined Christie’s strong record of leadership as New Jersey’s chief executive and as the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. “I appreciate the leadership Governor Christie has shown. As tonight’s event demonstrated, he knows what it takes to win and be successful—attributes Tennessee Republicans know and respect,” remarked Haslam. “Anyone who was in attendance will be able to tell you that Governor Christie is going to play a prominent role for our Party in 2014 and beyond.”

Gov. Christie added, “With its recent economic and educational achievements, Tennessee is clearly moving in the right direction. Thanks to the efforts of Gov. Haslam and Republican leaders, Tennessee is a model for success."

During the event, TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney announced that, while the totals were still being finalized, the event would easily finish as one of the Party’s top three all-time events both in terms of total attendance and in dollars raised. Devaney stated, “We showcased some star power tonight, both from within our own ranks and also from a national perspective. Clearly, tonight would not have been possible without Congressman Marsha Blackburn’s outstanding effort as our Dinner Chair. With over 1,700 attendees and over $700,000 raised, the Tennessee Republican Party is well positioned to ensure our state continues being a ‘blueprint for a red nation.’”

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What's on the June 3rd Council Agenda, with Analysis and Commentary

The June 3rd Metro Council agenda is available now at this link: Agenda. The staff analysis is available here: Staff Analysis. Council meetings are really boring if you do not know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis they are just boring instead of really boring.

Here are the highlights:

Confirmation of Appointments: Four people are on the agenda for confirmation of appointments to boards and commissions. Appointees to these post are never questioned and the Council automatically rubber stamps whomever the mayor appoints.  The Council misses an opportunity to influence the direction of these agencies by not taking an active roll in the confirmation of appointees. Appointed to the Planning Commission is Jessica Farr who works for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, sits on the Board of The Housing Fund and active in affordable housing issues. Jeff Yarbro, Democrat candidate for the State Senate in the 21st district is up for reappointment to the Metropolitan Transit Authority. 

Public Hearing: There are twenty bills on public hearing. Most are zoning bills which would interest no one but the nearby owners of the properties.  Here are the bills of more general interest. 

  • BILL NO. BL2014-774 is The Budget Ordinance. Last year there was a line of pro and con people that wanted to speak on the budget and it stretched about thirty or forty deep. A tax hike is not proposed this year so don't expect a lot of people to speak on the budget.  It seems tax opponents never advocate for efficiency and elimination of waste in years in which there is not a proposed tax increase. They never advocate for a tax cut, they only oppose tax increases. Expect for people to ask more for schools, libraries, mass transit, sidewalks, employee raises, parks and a few other agencies and causes. The same agencies have a constituent of supporters who always ask for more spending. I will be surprised is over twenty people speak and all of them will be for more money for their cause. 
  • BILL NO. BL2014-788 is the Capital Improvements Budget, which is not a budget but a planning document that prioritizes capital improvement projects. 
  • BILL NO. BL2014-747 defines "communications hut." This is necessary to move forward with the proposed Google network, which everyone supports.  
  • BILL NO. BL2014-769  modifies the definition and conditions of “Accessory dwelling, detached.” Basically what this would do is allow someone to build on a lot zoned for for single family homes or duplexes, a smaller detached housing unit of up to 1000 square feet footprint (700 sq ft living space) on lots of 10.000 sq ft. and 500 sq. ft. living space on smaller lots. There has been a lot of chatter about this on neighborhood websites and a lot of people have concern. While I could be open to persuasion, at this point I think this is a good proposal. It may result in fewer tear-downs and overbuilt lots and we need more affordable housing. A small detached house on the same lot would be great for aging parents, or one's graduated college student who can't find a job, or an extra source of income for the homeowner.  Greater density will make mass transit and commercial service entities such as coffee shops and restaurants more likely and new smaller units will provide affordable housing for young people just starting their careers and people of modest income. 
  •  BILL NO. BL2014-77 changes the definition duplex.  In zones now, where you may have a duplex, one will see homes that are only connected by having two protruding rooms, such as a utility room, share a common rear wall. They are almost detached.  This would allow them to actually be detached. I support this.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-776  would create the Music City Cultural Heritage Overlay District which would apply to property on Broadway, Second Avenue North, and Printer’s Alley. It would require any new businesses in those areas to offer live music or "contribute to the cultural fabric of the district," which means they must sell cowboy boots or hats or tea shirts or tacky music city souvenirs. This bill is in response to Walgreen's interest in opening a drug store on Broadway. While I am a big fan of honky tonks and love lower Broadway, I have reservations about this bill. Tourist in the hot sun attending out door Music events might benefit from a place to buy Tylenol, sunscreen and bottled water, or maybe a folding lawn chair or whatever. I don't wont to destroy the things that make Nashville unique, but maybe some upscale antique shops, or art galleries or places to eat that don't have music, or a sports memorabilia store could enhance the area rather than destroy it.
Resolutions on the Consent Agenda: A resolution is on the consent agenda if it is assumed to be non-controversial and stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Bills on the consent agenda are considered as a group instead of voted on individually. A bill may be taken off of the consent agenda by any single councilman. There are 21 resolutions on the consent agenda. Here are the ones of interest:
RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1052, RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1087, and RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1088  are all proposed Charter amendments. One proposed amendment would prohibit Metro Council members from serving any other elective office while serving in the Metro Council, another would reduce the size of the Council to 27 members, one would increase the number of terms a council member could serve to three, and one would prohibit Metro Government from asking a potential employee about his criminal record and one would remove protections for the Fair Grounds. The Council can only pass one resolution for charter amendments but that resolution may contain several proposed amendments, so one of these will pass and if any of the other resolutions contain a proposed amendment the council wants to pass then it will be amended into the one resolution. Any proposed amendments that pass the Council will go to the public for a referendum.

Bills on First Reading almost always pass as a group without discussion. First Reading is simply allowing the bill to be on the agenda. The bills are not analyzed by staff until after First Reading.

Bills on Second Reading: Second reading is where any debate takes place, generally.  Here are the bills of interest:
  • BILL NO. BL2014-698 attempts to curtail those free Tennessean newspapers that litter the neighborhood. Due to First Amendment protection, the press has a greater right to litter than other people so this bill can't do a lot but it is an attempt. According to this bill one could opt out of receiving the free newspaper if they sent a registers letter notifying the distributor not to drop one at their house and it provides for legal action if the request is ignored. This is a good attempt and I would vote for it, but it wont do much because a lot of those freebee newspapers are left where people don't care and won't pick them up or at vacant homes, but it is an attempt.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-775 establishing the tax levy. This will be deferred. Since a tax increase for Metro is not proposed, the levy will not change from what is in this bill.
  • BILL NO. BL2014-779  This is the metro benefits for same-sex couples bill. Here are the requirements to be eligible:
Domestic partners means two (2) adults who meet all of the following requirements:
1. Both adults have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring that is intended to be lifelong;
2. Both adults currently share a primary residence;
3. Both adults have shared a primary residence for the preceding three hundred sixty-five (365) days;
4. Both adults are jointly responsible for basic living expenses, as demonstrated by a signed declaration of financial interdependence and by providing three (3) of the following as proof of joint responsibility:
a. Joint ownership of a primary residence or joint tenancy of a residential lease;
b. Copy of a utility (water, gas, or electric) invoice listing both domestic partners;
c. Joint ownership of an automobile;
d. Joint bank or credit account;
e. Joint liabilities (e.g. credit cards or loans, etc.);
f. A will or trust designating the domestic partner as beneficiary;
g. A retirement plan or life insurance policy beneficiary designation form designating the domestic partner as beneficiary;
h. A signed durable power of attorney to the effect that the employee and the domestic partner have granted powers to one another;
i. Copies of each domestic partner's driver's license that indicates the same address;
j. Other acceptable proof of joint financial responsibility as determined by the department of human resources.
5. Both adults have been jointly responsible for living expenses during the preceding three hundred sixty-five (365) days; and
6. Neither adult is in a lawful marriage recognized by the State of Tennessee or is in another domestic partnership.
This bill will cost Metro between $450,000 and $900,000 a year.

We should not be normalizing perversion. I would as soon approve polygamous threesome relationships or adult incest relationships as homosexual relationships. If the bill authorized an employee to name their mother with whom they share a house as the beneficiary of his or her metro benefits, or two sisters, or any two friends who share a house to name the other as a beneficiary, then we would not have to care if the relation ship was "intimate and committed," Why should two homosexuals get to share Metro employee benefits but not a son who looks after his aging mother? 
 This bill should be opposed! Let us see who the real conservatives are on the Metro Council. Is Nashville already the San Fransisco of the South?
Bills on Third Reading: There is nothing important on third reading.

Memorializing  Resolutions:  
RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-984 requests the Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly to introduce and support the necessary legislation to provide a dedicated funding source for local mass transit.

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Forbes examines the Gibson Guitar raid

If you live in Nashville and pay attention to public events at all, you probably recall the Federal

governmen'ts raid on Gibson guitar.  Gibson was accused of used illegally imported wood in making of some of their guitars. Instead of bureaucrats in suits showing up to ask to see records and discuss the matter, a thirty-man swat team in full battle gear descended on the plant, cleared out the plant, questioned employees without reading them their rights, refused to state the reason for the raid, closed the plant for days, and confiscated wood. 

I have no way of knowing, of course, if some of the imported wood was imported with phony papers and, if it was, I have no way of knowing if Gibson Guitar knowingly or unknowingly purchased the illegal wood. The case was settled without charges ever being brought against Gibson.  In my view, the guilt or innocence of Gibson makes no difference. In America, we do not expect to be raided by a force of heavily armed men in battle gear for a minor non-violent infraction of some law. One does not have to be a tin-foil-hat-wearing worrier about FEMA concentration camps to be concerned about the militarization of the American government.

There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of agencies of the government with their own little armies. The Fish and Wildlife Agency, Social Security, EPA, Bureau of Land Management and most agencies do not need to have their own swat teams under their command.  If an agency has SWAT teams they will find occasion to sue them.

 Forbes magazine examines the SWAT team raid on Gibson Guitar and the issue surrounding that raid in this article: 

Lumber Union Protectionists Incited SWAT Raid On My Factory, Says Gibson Guitar CEO 

“Henry. A SWAT team from Homeland Security just raided our factory!”

“What? This must be a joke.”

“No this is really serious. We got guys with guns, they put all our people out in the parking lot and won’t let us go into the plant.”


What is happening?” asks Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz when he arrives at his Nashville factory to question the officers.

“We can’t tell you.”

What are you talking about, you can’t tell me, you can’t just come in and …”

“We have a warrant!”  

Well, lemme see the warrant.”

“We can’t show that to you because it’s sealed.”

While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. (link)

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Few Americans Say Healthcare Law Has Helped Them. More say it has hurt them.

According to the Gallup Poll, about one month after the new healthcare exchanges closed with over 8 million new enrollees, there has been little substantial change in Americans' perception that the healthcare law has helped them. Most Americans say the law has had no impact on their healthcare situation, while those who do perceive an effect are more likely to say it has hurt them rather than helped them.

When asked what the long-term impact of the Affordable Care Act would be, an increasing number of Americans think it will make things worse. Thirty-nine percent think it will not have much impact, 36% think it will make things worse and only 22% think it will make things betters. (link)

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Ashley Judd makes pitch for Jeff Yarbro at fundraiser

Ashley Judd
by Michael Cass, The Tennessean, May 28, 2014 - Williamson County's most famous Democrat ventured up Interstate 65 on Wednesday to help a Nashville candidate who's looking to hold on to one of the party's few seats in the state Senate.

Calling herself a "district interloper," actress-activist Ashley Judd spoke at a fundraiser for Jeff Yarbro, who's running against Mary Mancini for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 21. Sen. Douglas Henry, a Democrat who is retiring, has represented the district since 1971.

Judd said she first met Yarbro, an attorney who nearly defeated Henry in the 2010 primary, on the way home from the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where she was a Tennessee delegate. (link)

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

School board meeting of 5/27/2014: The wasting money on a charter study school board meeting.

The school Board produces great agendas which include all of the attachments that the school board members have. To get your own copy of the 59-page agenda, follow this link.

I have not watched this meeting yet myself and don't know if I will have the opportunity. If someone else would like to watch it, summarize it and provide time stamp notations, I will update and post your summary and give you credit.

Here is the Tennessean's report on the meeting:

 A third-party vendor has been tapped to tell Metro Nashville Public Schools how much charter schools cost the district, but the move isn't sitting well with everyone.
 Following one of its most animated discussions on charters to date, the Metro school board voted 6-2 Tuesday to hire Olympia, Wash.-based MGT of America to conduct a study on the financial impact of charter schools in Nashville.

The district will pay $43,000 for a study that should conclude this summer..... (link)

Will Pinkston posted on Facebook: At the 4:58 time mark, I gave a big "shout out" to the Glencliff High School Class of 2014. In just one year, Glencliff doubled its number of college-going seniors. Great work by Principal Clint Wilson and the entire Glencliff team!

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Sugar Dive Meet and Greet for Sabrina Orr, candidate for Chancellor

Monday, June 2, at 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Sugar Dive, 4100 Hillsboro Circle, Nashville, Tennessee 37215

Bring the kids! Come meet and greet and have a sweet treat. The Sugar Dive will be hosting a meet and greet for Sabrina Orr, Candidate For Davidson County Chancellor Part IV, and Marian Cheadle Fordyce, Candidate for Davidson County General Session Judge. What a great opportunity to meet these two great candidates in a fun, kid friendly location.

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Bottom line, TEA does not want real accountability for student outcomes.

From TN Edu-Independent:

I have a little value-add, pun intended, to this piece, but it is good on its own:

Teacher Dismissals Under New Evaluation Systems by Russ Whitehurst and Katharine Lindquist at Brookings (Brown Center).

Referring to new teacher evaluation systems in states:
"...these evaluation systems are strikingly better than what they replaced: slapdash approaches involving a couple of classroom visits by a building principal for some teachers in some years that resulted in virtually all teachers being classified as high performing."

I agree. The new teacher eval systems in place in many states, including TN with TEAM, are a big improvement over what we had previously.

Regarding the effectiveness of these new eval systems:
"Our report concluded that, in general, the evaluation systems we examined do a decent job of distinguishing teachers based on characteristics of classroom performance that predict how teachers will perform in subsequent years"

I really think TEA's actions represent a deeper values fight as I've written in a previous post.

What I think TEA is really after is getting rid of any sort of professional performance management system of teachers. Value add is the angle by which they're trying to bring down the entire credibility of the TEAM teacher evaluation system (this playbook is playing out in other states as well).

If they're able to throw out the value add component, it's easy to throw out the rest of the teacher eval model or render it useless.  It'd be back to the days of old: "slapdash approaches involving a couple of classroom visits by a building principal"...

Read: no real accountability for student outcomes.

Whitehurst and his team are actually finding the value added component of the new eval systems is not the most problematic. It's the more subjective, qualitative teacher observation component:

"At the same time, we identified flaws in the evaluation systems that need correction.  The most troublesome of these is a strong bias in classroom observations that leads to teachers who are assigned more able students receiving better observation scores.  The classroom observation systems capture not only what the teacher is doing, but also how students are responding.  This makes the teacher’s classroom performance look better to an observer when the teacher has academically well-prepared students than when she doesn’t."
I think there are legitimate concerns about school wide value added components being derived for non-tested subjects (subjects like PE, music, art). Yet TN's TEAM system has worked to develop alternate value added models for some of these subjects. So far they've developed one for Fine Arts and World Languages, with PE in the works.

My point is the state seems to be proactive in working on this concern. Contrast that with the lawsuit happy TEA, who hasn't mentioned a single thing about fidelity of classroom observations (being completed by teachers and principals themselves, often TEA members) or proposed alternate solutions to value added measures in non-tested subjects.

"The bias in classroom observation systems that derives from some teachers being assigned much more able students than other teachers is very important to the overall performance of the teacher evaluation system.  One of the consequences of it not being addressed is that teachers who understand how the system works and value high evaluation scores will do their best to be assigned to schools with high ability students, and within schools will do their best to get assigned the best students."

My point is this: I don't see a "solutions oriented" approach from TEA in their public actions. If they don't like the current eval model with value added (which they helped construct and signed on to) - then what's a legitimate proposed alternative?

I would say it needs to have student test data in there, to act as a check and balance against the qualitative observation side - so that there are independent measures of student growth and achievement in the model to either confirm or deny what the teacher's observation scores are saying.

If I saw any action from TEA around fidelity for the qualitative observation component, I'd have more confidence that they really believe in the value of a teacher performance management system and accountability for student learning outcomes.

It's troubling that the observation component of teachers for an evaluation system is resulting in some of the greatest disconnects of teacher scores vs. the actual skill of that teacher.

From where I'm sitting, I don't believe TEA leadership a value of accountability - they would rather not have a performance management system for teachers.  With no accountability for the adults in education, that's not going to fare well for students and their learning.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Great opportunity for young conservative activist


Do you know someone who is interested in saving America's universities?

You or someone you know can become one of the nation’s best-trained, most effective, conservative leaders through the Leadership Institute’s 2014 Fall Field Representative Program.

Each year LI’s National Field Program sends out across the country a team of motivated, highly trained field representatives.  LI field reps help students promote and defend their conservative principles on campus.

Currently, LI’s Campus Leadership Program includes 1,553 active campus groups.

Now, you or some other dedicated conservative you know can join LI as a full-time fall field representative.

The pay is generous.  The experience is priceless.

Opportunities for full-time, paid jobs fighting for your beliefs do not come along very often.

Your employment with LI as a field rep is résumé gold.  Field reps use the experience and connections gained from LI’s National Field Representative Program to launch rewarding careers in:
  • Grassroots activism
  • Political campaigns
  • Public policy
  • Congressional offices
  • Lobbying
  • Conservative non-profit organizations
To take advantage of this unique opportunity, apply online at

As a field rep, you will travel to the campuses in your assigned region to identify, recruit, organize, and train conservative students to win battles against the radical left on their campuses.

LI will fly you to the Institute’s Arlington, VA, headquarters for a week of intensive training in August and provide you with the tools and techniques necessary for success.

If you know of others who might like to join LI as a field rep, please pass this email along.

Be aware that these positions fill up fast, so time is of the essence.

Morton Blackwell

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1ST TUESDAY: See Governor Haslam on Tuesday June 3rd!

1ST TUESDAY members and friends....
 NO DOUBT...      This event will SELL OUT ! 
Get your seats secured while they are still available !! 
Even more  good news.... Waller's new and expanded underground parking garage is now OPEN... so there will be ample parking available...even for an event this size. 
Enter on 6th Ave...about 100 yard past the building and the Hermitage Hotel
As usual, doors at WALLER Law [ 511 Union Street -27th floor] will open at 11AM for Coffee and Social Time. 
Lunch becomes available at 11:30AM and the program will start at NOON
Lunch is still $20 for Members and $25 for Guests..... and I cannot encourage you enough to secure your seat(s) while they are still available !
Expect a room full of notable guests ... Important new faces....  plenty of vibrant discussions ... AND.... a day to remember for multiple reasons ! 
While you have your calendars out... plan on July 1st when Congressman Marsha Blackburn is confirmed to return and the 1ST TUESDAY of September brings us one of the most powerful and well known Lobbyist in Washington DC - Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform
WE expect a Summertime of Sell Outs at `1ST TUESDAY... so don't delay in getting your seats !!!  And pass the word to those you know.
See you on Tuesday, June 3rd at 1ST TUESDAY !!
Tim Skow
ps - please REGISTER or update your best contact info if you've got new -- or a preferred -- address.

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Alexander, Fincher, Black Introduces Bill to Evaluate Impact of Obamacare on Small Businesses

Legislation introduced in House and Senate requires one-year delay of employer mandate if CMS or GAO study finds negative impact on jobs or premiums

WASHINGTON, May 22 –Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Representatives Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Diane Black (R-Tenn.) today introduced legislation to protect small businesses from Obamacare’s job-killing mandate to provide employees government-approved health insurance or pay a fine.

Alexander said: “Republicans want to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage. I’ve heard from many small business owners with more than 50 employees who say Obamacare is making it hard to offer workers health insurance and, for some, hard to stay in business. This bill says, ‘Let the facts speak for themselves—if premiums are going up and jobs are being cut—then delay the mandate.’”

Fincher said: "Across the 8th District, I've heard from working class men and women who are struggling to make ends meet as their health care premiums have sky-rocketed under Obamacare. This study will prove how Obamacare is impacting American’s health care costs and stifling small business job creation."

Black said: “When I travel throughout my district, the number one concern for my constituents continues to be jobs and the economy. That is why it is such a top priority for us in Congress to work where we can to reduce the burdens government is placing on employers so that they can put Americans back to work. This is especially problematic with the costly mandates and fines contained in Obamacare. The President and Congressional Democrats should welcome any effort to help Americans get back to work, which is just what the Certify It Act aims to do.”

The Certify It Act, introduced in both the House and Senate, requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Actuary to work with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on annual studies to assess the impact Obamacare will have on small business health insurance premiums and jobs. If their studies find that the healthcare law is having a negative impact on either, the Certify It Act delays the employer mandate for the following year.

My Comment:  This bill is the smart way to fight Obamacare until Republicans can gain control of the machinery of government and repeal and replace it. President Obama himself, with no authority to do so, delayed the employer mandate by a year, to 2015, and gave companies with between 50 and 99 employees another year’s grace period after that. Does anyone besides me think that was a calculated move on the part of Obama to delay the ill effects of Obamacare and anticipated voter revenge until after the mid-term election? This proposal by Alexander, Fincher and Black seems like a reasonable proposal that Democrats, not blinded by Obama loyalty and ideology, could support.  If Democrats really believe Obamacare will not have a negative impact on insurance premiums or jobs, then why would that not support it? It will probably pass the House and die in Harry Reid's Senate, however.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

The Nashville Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society presents.......

A Brave New (First Amendment) World:
How the Roberts Court Found Religion
Scott Gaylord
on May 27, 2014 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
The Law Offices of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP
Nashville City Center. 511 Union Street, Suite 2700 Nashville, Tennessee 37219
Lunch Will Be Served. If you’d like to join us, please pay $15 by noon on May 26 via this link.

SCOTT GAYLORD is an associate professor of constitutional law at Elon University School of Law, where his scholarship examines the scope of First Amendment speech and religion under the Roberts Court. Based on this research, he was asked to write amicus briefs for cases in the Third, Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits of the United States Court of Appeals challenging the requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that most employers must provide employees with health insurance that covers all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures..  In his current research, which is the basis for an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in City of Greece v. Galloway on behalf of several cities across the country, Gaylord contends that certain prayer policies are constitutional under the Court’s prior holdings in Marsh v. Chambers and Pleasant Grove City v. Summum even when particular prayers contain sectarian references. Before joining Elon, Gaylord practiced with the Charlotte, N.C. firm of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson. During seven years with the firm, Gaylord handled complex civil and commercial litigation involving breach of contract, unfair trade practice, bankruptcy and appellate work in both state and federal courts. He served as a law clerk to Judge Edith Jones on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston from 1999 to 2000. Gaylord began his teaching career in 1990 as a teaching fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received the Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award. Gaylord received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where he was a member of the law review and received the Dean Joseph O’Meara Award as salutatorian

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Ronald Reagan memorial tribute

Memorial Day is more than the start of summer. We need to pause and remember and honor those who gave all. This is a moving tribute. God Bless America

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson book signing June 3, Cool Springs

Neurosurgeon and political pundit and potential Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson will be signing copies of his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future, at the Brentwood Barnes & Noble, 1701 Mallory Ln., Brentwood, June 4rd at 4PM.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation says Carr can win. He must be delusional.

Judson Phillips head of Tea Party Nation, writing in the Washington Times today says of the Alexander-Carr contest, "Lamar Alexander is very vulnerable, and he could be the one RINO the tea party knocks off in 2014." Say what? Are you serious?

Lamar Alexander
I don't see it that way at all.  I don't see it as even a close race. Phillips bases his optimism on a recent poll that shows Alexander leading Carr 44% to 20%. "The immediate reaction of a lot of people to the poll is that Alexander is beating Carr by more than 2-to-1," writes Phillips. Well, "duh." That is my reaction.

Phillips goes on to say, "He is a Republican institution and he is polling at less than 50 percent. For politicians, those kind of numbers are red alerts. Any time an incumbent is under 50 percent, they are in a lot of trouble. Alexander is not only below 50 percent, he is significantly below 50 percent. In the poll, 27 percent of likely Republican voters said they were undecided.

I guess that is looking at the class half full rather than half empty. (Or, should I say 20% full rather than 80% empty.) Certainly there are a lot of Republicans who think Lamar is insufficiently conservative. While he does have a more moderate voting record than I would like, on some issues such as taking on wind subsidy, education reform and minimum wage, he has shown tremendous leadership and conservative values. He is one of the few Republicans who says we should not only not raise the minimum wage, but should abolish it. I am not as critical of Lamar as some others on the right.

His demeanor of thoughtfulness, reasonableness and respectfulness may strike some as more moderate than he actually is.  He is certainly not a bomb thrower or fire brand. Admittedly, he is more moderate than many Tennessee activist Republicans but the degree of separation is not as great as some may think. Freedom Works gives Alexander a current score of 60%. As a means of comparison, liberal Republican Susan Collins scores a 20, Orrin Hatch a 40, and Ted Cruz scored a 75, and Marco Rubio scored an 80. So, on the Freedom Works scorecard Alexander closer to Ted Cruz than he is Orrin Hatch. Alexander is not a Susan Collins.

Heritage makes Alexander look more liberal than does Freedom Works. Heritage Action gives Alexander a low score of 46%, but as a means of comparison, Susan Collins gets a 26 and Orran Hatch a 58, and Curz a 98 and Rubio an 85.  The American Conservative Union gives Alexander a score of 60, compared to Susan Collins at 28, and Hatch at 75 and a perfect 100 for Rubio and Cruz.

Admittedly those are some low scores for Alexander but most voters don't care about scores and are not going to be swayed by the rankings of groups like Freedom Works or Heritage Action or ACU. Only the most activist of Republicans care about scores. Alexander has a perfect 100% score from pro-life and pro-Second Amendment groups and if attention is paid to scores at all, those would likely carry more weight.

Tennessee has had a history of electing more moderate Republicans ever since Tennessee began electing Republicans in 1960's. While the state's Republicans may have become more conservative in recent years and Republican primary voters are more conservative than general election voters, I do not agree that Alexander is too liberal for Tennessee voters. More moderate than the average Republican primary voter? Probably. Too moderate for Republican primary voters? I don't think so.

Joe Carr for Sentate
Judson Phillips, thinks that Alexander is so liberal that the undecided will break for Carr over Alexander if they learn more about Carr. Even it that were true, Carr would have to get almost every one of the "undecided" to beat Alexander. I don't think it could possibly happen.  Now, if Alexander's opponent was someone like Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey or maybe Senator Mark Green, Alexander might have a serious challenge, Republican primary voters might chose a more conservative contender, but Joe Carr? I think the more people learn about Joe Carr, the more likely they are to vote for Alexander. 

Carr is of the right wing fringe.  He is far outside the mainstream of conservative thought. He subscribes to the discredited theory of nullification, he believes the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims and the Second Amendment should allow one to carry a gun onto the private property of another regardless of the desires of the property owner.  Also Carr has flip flopped on several issue. Also Carr just does not strike me as that competent or smart. Even if one agrees with Carr's positions more than those of Alexander, they may still choose electability and competence over ideological purity.

A recent Vanderbilt University poll shows Lamar Alexander holds a commanding lead in the upcoming Republican primary election. According to the poll, Alexander has 64 percent favorability ratings among likely Republican primary voters, compared to 20 percent for his opponent Joe Carr. Fifty-five percent of those likely voters said they’d never heard of Carr. This poll was analyzed by The Nashville Scene and it reported:
The Senior Senator's approval ratings are 47 percent among tea party members. That's not a "throw him out of office" kind of number. ....
From the last poll in December until now, pollsters at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions discovered that Carr's favorable ratings among registered Republicans rose from 16 percent to 17 percent. Seventy-five percent of the group either didn't know or had never heard of Joe Carr.
Joe Carr Has Moved The Needle 1 Percent In Five Months.
I don't think Alexander has anything to worry about from Joe Carr. I think Jason Phillips is seriously delusional if he thinks Carr can knock off Lamar Alexander.

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Why is the school board's loudest rabble-rouser turning his back on Jesse Register?

by Andrea Zelinski, The Nashville Scene, May 22,2014-  Will Pinkston isn't known for his patience. But for months, the school board member says he has bitten his tongue while privately warning Metro Nashville's director of schools that his fuse is running short.

Pinkston says he would forward concerns from people in the community to Metro Schools' Central Office. And one by one, the queries would disappear into a "black hole" and take months to emerge, if they were resolved at all. (link)                                                                             

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What other are saying about the Repubican "establishment" win over the Tea Party in primaries this week.

After the primaries on Tuesday, I gave own analysis, noting that the tea party lost in all important contested races and the establishment won. To read my comment on what this meant for the Republican Party and the tea party movement, follow this link.  Below are what others have had to say about the issue.

Red State: Does The Tea Party Need More Experienced Candidates?

The larger number of Establishment victories this season has fueled the “Tea Party is dead” narrative. Certainly it illustrates the growing sophistication of the Establishment campaigns (especially incumbents) in spotting Tea Party challenges early and working to close them off. It also illustrates the number of races in which a low-quality, poorly-funded Tea Party primary challenge will be mounted against incumbents who in years past would simply have run unopposed.  Tea Partiers may occasionally find a diamond in the rough, but their desire to celebrate the citizen-politician shouldn’t obscure the fact that politics is a craft, and people who have practiced it for some time are more likely to have gotten good at it.
The above is a detailed analysis of the primaries on Tuesday and the fate of the tea party. The author says the tea party can win with good candidates and when they run good campaigns. 

Daily Beast: Tea Party Loses Key Battles, But Is Winning The War
Defeats handed to Tea Party candidates last night only tell half the story—the Tea Party’s real success has been to change the very DNA of the GOP. .... The Tea Party got shut out on Tuesday night. .... Despite not having any candidates who draped themselves in Gadsden flags win marquee races on Tuesday, the election results showed the ultimate success of the Tea Party’s effort to change the very DNA of the GOP, as the median voter in a Republican primary has become far more conservative in the past few years. The “establishment” candidates may have won—but they did so by becoming increasingly conservative. (link)
I said something very similar to the above in my analysis. Much of the establishment is tea party.

Hot Air: The GOP’s “civil war” is over, and the tea party has “swallowed the establishment” — according to Debbie Wasserman Schultz

From Daniel Horowitz:  Establishment Republicans Only Win With a Tea Party Message
 As the GOP primary season progresses, the media narrative of the grassroots vs. party establishment has vacillated wildly. Whenever a candidate backed by the party elite wins, readers are bombarded with headlines trumpeting the demise of the tea party. Whenever a candidate heavily backed by the grassroots and tea party groups wins, the narrative turns back against the establishment. In reality, neither storyline is correct because the policy positions supported by the party elites have never shown up on the campaign trail.  
Elections hinge upon several complex variables – factors that are often unique and isolated to a specific race. But one variable has been consistent: establishment candidates will not run on the positions taken by their supporters; they must run on the tea party message to win.
The tea party is not represented by any individual organization or candidate. It is a set of ethos advocating return to the constitutional principles of our Founding Fathers – principles that have gradually been eroded over the past century, and most precipitously in recent years. The civil war between “tea party” Republicans and the party elites has been manifest in specific policy disagreements stemming from these principles, such as bailouts, debt ceiling increases, funding for Obamacare, open borders, corporate welfare and federal control over local functions.
Yet in none of the election victories claimed by establishment candidates did they run on the position espoused by their side of the ideological divide. (link)
From Richard Vigueri of Conservative HQ: Don’t Be the GOP Establishment’s Cheap Date
Now that another round of Republican primaries have passed there will be a litany of pundits and party leaders coming forward to demand that conservatives line-up behind establishment primary winners like Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Monica Wehby in Oregon. However, many conservatives are going to be asking “What should I do now that Republicans have nominated an establishment candidate for Senator, Congress, etc. in my state?”
Our advice is, don’t be the Republican establishment’s cheap date......
The grassroots movement conservative voters who are powering this cycle’s outsider campaigns cannot be taken for granted.
Tea Partiers and grassroots conservative activists must redouble their efforts to takeover the Republican Party (link)
 Reporter for U.S. News & World Report (blog) quoting Joe Carr: Tea Party Candidate: Conservative Groups Hurt Bevin
The finger-pointing within the tea party has begun in the aftermath of a wave of Republican establishment victories in congressional primaries Tuesday night.
State Rep. Joe Carr, a tea party challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Wednesday outside conservative groups had a negative impact on the movement's chances in the Kentucky Senate race, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell throttled challenger Matt Bevin.
“I think it's equally argued that they had a negative impact with Mitch McConnell and here’s why: All the attention that Mitch McConnell drew through Matt Bevin and the conservative groups came from outside of Kentucky," Carr said on a Nashville radio station Wednesday morning. "It’s obvious that Kentuckians never latched on to the Matt Bevin campaign." (link)
That has got to be one of the lamest rationalization I have ever heard. Does Carr really believe that? I guess Carr is happy he is safe from getting any of that out of state tea party money to taint his campaign.
1. Establishment GOP has learned to play ball: Since its birth in 2009, the tea party has had successes in primaries but those have given the GOP plenty of headaches and hurt its chances of winning back the Senate, effectively costing Republicans five winnable elections over the last two cycles.
This year, the establishment has had the upper hand in most contests against tea party-backed challengers. Showdowns on Tuesday in Kentucky, Idaho, Georgia, and Oregon kept that winning streak going.
 "Every establishment candidate ran like a tea party candidate. It's hard to tell the difference this time around, because they had a uniting factor in opposing Obamacare but also united on issues like immigration and trade and climate change. The establishment Republican Party ran to the right this time," said CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. (link)

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Campaign Kick-off reception for Sterlina Brady May 27th

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Rod, come back to the Tea Party

by Gene Wisdom

Gene Wisdom
Rod Williams is not everyone’s idea of a conservative. The local 9-12 chapter decided a while back that he just wasn’t one of them—and they kicked him out. I know that Rod didn’t lose any sleep over that. Hell, I’ll bet good money that he went to sleep that night chuckling. And I know that I’m not everyone’s idea of a conservative. One libertarian friend jokingly (?) calls me a neo-conservative. For some that would be fighting words. Since there are some fine “neo-cons”, beginning with Charles Krauthammer, I’ll take that as a compliment. Even though I’m not one. I don’t really give a rat’s hindparts if I meet anyone’s definition of a conservative because I know what a conservative is and I know I are one. And I would put some more good money on the fact that Rod feels the same way.

Which is why I’m confused. I am perplexed over Rod’s recent decision  to disavow the Tea Party label. We know he is a “disgruntled Republican” but apparently now also a disgruntled Tea Partier. The difference is that while he still considers himself a Republican he has left the Tea Party.

As a conservative I know that words mean things. It’s what allows us to converse with one another and to exist with our fellow human beings in society. It is a core assumption of Western civilization that is just one more reason for its success. Hopefully that notion will survive the postmodern assault on truth. On justice. And on the American way. And even though the word “conservative” includes many strains of thought and conservatives will argue with blue faces over who is truer, we as conservatives all know what the Tea Party is.

Yes, of course we’re smart enough to ignore the Left’s smears and attacks on that term and on Tea Partiers. We can ignore that because they do that to everyone on the Right, everyone who doesn’t agree with them. Because the Left is dominated by bullies who preach tolerance. Oh, they see an alternative, all right. There’s their way. And there’s the highway.

But we know. Taxed Enough Already. Ben Cunningham’s Nashville Tea Party best summarizes the core principles: (1) Constitutionally limited government, (2) fiscal responsibility, and (3) free markets. Anything else is extraneous. Though most Tea Partiers are social conservatives—and I would guess, vice verse—not all are. And foreign policy is almost irrelevant to the Tea Party vision. If you believe in those three things you are a “member” of the Tea Party. By definition.

In his column Rod bemoans at length the involvement in the Tea Party of members of the John Birch Society. I’ll here offer a brief opening defense of the JBS by way of a disclaimer: I was a member a long time ago, for a year. What attracted me to the organization was the education I received through JBS books and publications on the nature and menace of Communism, both nationally and around the world. As I read more, though, I began to learn of “the conspiracy”, the diffuse cabal going back, as Rod explained, to the formation of the Illuminati in 1776 down through the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. I obtained from the CFR copies of some of their annual reports which included their membership list (not a very effective conspiracy, huh—they tell us who they are. But there wasn’t a picture of the secret handshake). A quick perusal of that list turned up some stalwart conservatives, including several who were in the Reagan Administration: Richard Allen, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Elliot Abrams and many others. It also included the godfather of the modern American conservative movement, William F. Buckley, Jr.

Thus ended my affiliation with the John Birch Society. I also began to learn, as I studied liberalism, that among its core elements is internationalism. They see things not through a prism of what is good for America or for the principles represented by America but they seek rather to advance international institutions, which is also rooted in their view of the “brotherhood of man” and a Rousseauian view of man’s nature as good. So I began to understand that what the JBS saw as a plot was often little more than liberals being liberals. That still makes them and their worldview dangerous but not the machinations of a secret society.

What Birchers have brought into the Tea Party is this misguided paradigm which skews the focus into chasing phantoms like, as Rod noted, Agenda 21. These issues distract the Tea Party from its identity of restoring fiscal sanity and limited government to the halls of power. While I suppose I remain a member of 9-12 despite my dampened enthusiastic two cheers, I disagree with them on such issues and perhaps with them, and others, on the nullificationist approach also detailed by Rod. There is a wide range of strong support for the Second Amendment short of arresting federal agents at the state line and stripping employers/property owners of the right to refuse to allow guns in the workplace and on their property.

One area where I tend to agree with them and greatly credit them for their efforts to educate the public is on the issue of radical Islam. While I believe that reasonable people can disagree on the issue of Governor Haslam’s hiring of a Muslim woman to his administration there can be no doubt of the dangers of a Muslim Brotherhood organized effort to ingratiate jihadism into American society. Including the building of a Wahhabist mosque in Murfreesboro. Though I respect Rod’s holding fast to First Amendment religious liberty, I disagree with my friend that this is a benign development in our community.

But again, I believe that Rod has allowed himself to be distracted by these agenda items of some local Tea Party organizations. Though I disagree with them on Agenda 21 and nullification and for the most part agree with them regarding radical Islam, neither is a part of what the Tea Party in general stands for.

And yes, the Tea Party has made some poor choices in politicians. On that I would just offer that (1) hey, nobody’s perfect. Some choices don’t pan out; and (2) hopefully the Tea Party will learn from these mistakes and perhaps do something that principle-based organizations and causes have a hard time doing, which is to learn to temper their enthusiasm with prudence. Don’t give up the principles but be wise. Sounds like something Rod Williams might say.

It is also true that such efforts, however misguided they might seem, especially in hindsight, are based in what I’m sure Rod knows is frustration that we all feel as conservatives. The liberal agenda has crammed some foul-tasting policies down America’s throat that have made our country sick and weak. We have truly become a nation of takers growing increasingly dependent on a welfare state that becomes bigger and gains political support—votes—from more people on the dole. Our culture is being pushed downward by a Hollywood hostile to traditional values and pulled by a culture already sunk into that pit. Personally, I wonder if America has reached a tipping point.

It is my hope, though, that Rod will decide not to leave the Tea party but will come to see that many there, including some fine organizations with some fine people, have allowed themselves to become disoriented. And maybe that’s not fair. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that some Tea Party organizations have other or additional objectives. Others, though, aren’t driven by JBS views, such as Americans for Prosperity. And some, like the Nashville Tea Party, are driven by the animating ideals of the Tea Party as originally conceived. Take your pick, Rod. Don’t let the disparate and even disagreeable agendas of a few groups push you out of what you know is your ideological home—commitment to sound government, fiscal responsibility and free enterprise. Proudly don your “Don’t Tread on Me” shirt and come back. You know it fits.

Gene Wisdom is an Alabama native but has lived in the Nashville area since 2007. He, his wife Vicki, and their dog Savannah live near Nolensville.  Gene is a conservative activist 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

McKnight for Senate District 21 campaign kickoff event.

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"Establishment" beat Tea Party in all primaries last night. What does it mean?

Last night the "establishment" won and the tea party lost, for the most part.  There were some primaries for house seats were tea party candidates won the nominations, but tea party candidates lost the big races. Mitch McConnell won handily in Kentucky beating Matt Bevin by 25 points. In Georgia, tea party favored candidate Karen Handel did not make it into the run-off. In Oregon, Monica Wehby took 51 percent of the vote to defeat tea party favored candidate Rep. Jason Conger. In Idaho, GOP Rep. Mike Simpson easily defeated primary challenger Bryan Smith who was backed by The Club for Growth and other tea party PAC's.

I don't know enough about these races to know how I would have voted in each of them. In Oregon, I would have had a difficult time voting for a pro-abortion candidate.  In Idaho, if Smith was a sensible conservative Republican, I would have probably supported him over Simpson who has a score of 46 from the American Conservative Union. However, without knowing more about each of the races, I don't know how I would have voted.  Pundits this morning are saying that the more electable Republicans won and the Party is poised to have a good shot at picking up the six seats they need to take the Senate. I assume that is true and that is good news.

One thing that is a factor in how I vote and would be a factor if I resided in one of the state with a primary last night, is "electability." I would vote for a moderate Republican over a more conservative Republican if I was convinced the more moderate Republican had a considerably greater chance of winning the general election.  I think there is nothing wrong with casting a strategic vote. Even a liberal Republican is a vote to replace Harry Reid, is a vote for all committees of the Senate to be controlled by Republicans, and even the most liberal Republican votes with the Party most of the time. Even a pro-abortion Republican puts Republicans in charge of the Senate and the Judiciary Committee, which advances the pro-life cause. It matter not only who serves, but which party governs.

Quite frankly, I think way to much is being made about a civil war in the Republican Party between "establishment" Republicans and "tea party Republican." When tea party favorite Rand Paul endorses Mitch McConnell, then it is time to bury the hatchet and end the civil war. The tea party has succeeding in electing some  Republicans who were more conservative and in pushing some incumbent Republicans into taking more conservative positions and showing more backbone.  Many of the "establishment Republicans" are now "tea party Republicans" and many tea party Republicans are now establishment Republicans.

I think there are some tea party organization who are in the battle to give themselves a job and stroke there own ego and would never be satisfied. There are some Republicans who so self righteous they think they are the only real Republicans and everyone else is a RINO. They are sort of like Christians counting angels on the head of a pin. Any deviation from their view of orthodoxy is heresy. They think all winners must be sell-outs. Their whole purpose for existence is to cast stones at the establishment and tout their purity. As the Party moves right, they move further right until they fall off the cliff. I think the more conservative the establishment Republicans become, the more fringe many of those who call themselves "tea party" become. 

Not all by any means, but some in the tea party are so far outside the mainstream that they are a footnote in the political spectrum. There are the libertarians who have attached themselves to the tea party.  Now, all conservative Republicans have some libertarian leanings. Libertarianism is a key component of the modern conservative movement, but there are those who are almost anarchist who believe in almost no government.  These extreme libertarians have found a home in the tea party.  Also, you have the conspiracy nuts and the tin foil hat crowd who believe that a cabal of "insiders" control everything and they worry excessively about FEMA concentration camps, and the NAFTA superhighway, and Agenda 21. The conspiracy of the month dominates their concern.

And, then you have a small faction that are the populist who hate big government, and big corporations, and big unions, and foreigners, and anything that smacks of being big, successful, or popular. They are the "anti's" and feel the world is passing them by and everyone else is getting a better deal than they.  They are swayed by the politics of resentment. I suspect some of these people would be on the far left if they were not on the far right. They want to be part of a movement to make things right. They are not well grounded in what they believe and are low information voters and a nudge this way or that and they could be "occupy" rather than "tea party."

So, what will happen to the tea party movement?  I don't think it will completely disappear anytime soon.  However, it will become less and less significant.  Here in Tennessee, the tea party challenger to Lamar Alexander believes in the discredited theory of nullification, believes the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims and believes the Second Amendment gives you the right to carry guns onto the private property of another who prefers a "no-guns" policy. Most conservatives do not believe those things. Sensible, intelligent conservatives will distance themselves from those who hold those views. Also, at some point those who believe in limited government and a strong national defense will distance themselves from those who believe in less than limited government and isolationism (or non-interventionist foreign policy, as the libertarian prefer to call it). Also, sensible conservatives will distance themselves from the John Birch Society and the nutty conspiracy theorist as happened once before in the conservative movement in the 60's.

Maybe some will still claim the name "tea party," but more and more, I suspect they will drop that label of identification. Those tea party organizations that were more mainstream conservative will survive but less and less will they attach the name "tea party" to their identity. There was a dynamic conservative movement before there was "tea party" and there will continue to be.  The American Conservative Union, Heritage Foundation and National Review and dozens of others were  active prior to the tea party.   Some of the "tea party" groups that have sprouted up, such as Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity and others, will continue to be a healthy force contributing to the marketplace of ideas.  They are not dependent upon their "tea party" label to stay viable. In essence, I think the "brand" tea party has been damaged and will slowly fade. Unless the label can be reclaimed, it will become something with which no responsible conservative wants to be associated.

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Get ready to pay back your Obamacare subsidy

We still don't know how many people got health insurance due to Obamacare. Seven million registered but how many paid their first months premium and continued to pay their monthly premium after that, we don't know.  Now, however, it looks like as many as one million of how ever many it was that got insurance under Obamacare, may have gotten the wrong subsidy. Subsidies are tied to income and it appears a lot of people reported the wrong income. Maybe some of them did not get all the subsidy to which the law entitled them, but a lot may have gotten too much subsidy.  To read all about it, follow this link.

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Metro Council Meeting of 5/20/2014

Charter amendments were deferred one meeting. However the amendment that would reduce the size of the Council from 40 members to 27 was defeated in the Charter Revision Committee of the Council.

Never in doubt of passage, the Council passed unanimously the bill that would let Google use city property to construct fiber huts to facilitate the new proposed Google high speed internet service.

Below is the Tennessean's report on last nights council meeting:

Metro Council approves Google Fiber 'huts'

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Six states will host Republican primaries tonight. Does the tea party still have any clout?

States holding Republican primaries tonight are Pennsylvania, Idaho, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oregon and Georgia. The primaries in Pennsylvania and Arkansas are gubernatorial primaries with no serious contest and are of little interest. Here is the status of the other races:

In Kentucky, tea party favored candidate Matt Bevin is challenging incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell. Libertarian Republican and tea party favorite Rand Paul has endorsed McConnell.  The Senate Conservatives fund, a tea party PAC has spend more than $1 million on behalf of Beven. Expect McConnell to win.

In Idaho,  Eight-term incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson with an ACU score of 46, is being challenged from the right by Bryan Smith. Mitt Romney has endorsed Simpson. CNN calls Smiths campaign a "serious primary challenge."

In Oregon, of all things, there is a rare pro-choice Republican candidate, Dr. Monica Wehby, seeking the nomination and appears to be leading over her tea party favored opponent Jason Conger. Wehby has been endorsed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Sen. Rick Santorum has endorsed Conger. The winner will face Democrat incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley. Dr. Wehby is favored to win the nomination.

In Georgia there is a seven-man race to win the nomination to  succeed Sen. Saxby Chambliss who is retiring. Since one candidate is unlikely to win a majority of the votes cast, there is likely to be run off. Karen Handel is the tea party favored candidate having been endorsed by Sarah Palin and Red State's Erick Erickson, however the tea party support was split and two other candidates got some tea party support. Handel is one of the top three candidates. The person ahead in the polls is David Pardue. Handel has been attacked by one of her opponents for "promoting teenage homosexuality," for a vote she took in favor of funding for an LGBT youth program when she served on the Fulton County Commission. Wow, if any member of the Metro Council ever runs for office, any one of them could be charged with the same thing as they all voted at some point for a budget that funded the Human Relations Commission.  A victory for the tea party would be Handel making the run-off.

For source material for the above see this link and this link.

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MAY 22nd! Liberty on the Rocks presents Tony Stiles

It promises to be a lively evening as Tony Stiles joins us. His upcoming media venture is titled Truth Be Told and will be a high production quality web series about government, corporate, and media coverups. .

Tony Stiles, host of the fastest growing radio show in America - nationally syndicated Tony Stiles Show. Stiles is a media commentator seen on Fox News, CNN, RT and heard on hundreds of radio programs nationwide.

Thursday, May 22nd, 5:30-9:30PM
Mafioso's on 12 Ave S. 

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How well are Metro Schools doing in preparing students for college? We don't know.

From TN Edu-Independent:

As we close out the school year, we've seen some great stories about the next step for many Nashville high school seniors. We've seen LEAD Academy's 100% college acceptance rate and also a story on Glencliff High School celebrating its inaugural college signing day. It's really a great thing to celebrate these important milestones, and we absolutely need to recognize and celebrate the hard work of students, teachers, and school leaders as they transition to postsecondary.

This season has also made me realize that we need much better data collection around college going efforts across MNPS in district, magnet or charter schools.

I recently emailed the district central office, and received an ambiguous and skeptical response.  I had asked if they could share data on the college acceptance rates for each MNPS high school, broken down by how many students had 2 year vs. 4 year college degree plans.  I was told the data was not available.

I was a bit shocked frankly, given the millions of dollars they have invested in the data warehouse system, their emphasis on data driven cultures, and purchases of different technology applications.  I went to high school in the 90s, and the school newspaper printed the name of every college bound senior and where they were planning to attend, 2 year or 4 year.  This info was available in the 90s at my public high school, but not with MNPS in 2014 with the supposed progress we've made in data systems and data driven policies and instruction?  Maybe the district does have the data and didn't want to be transparent, but I'm still very surprised it wasn't readily available.

It's important to have this data. If we say one of the primary goals of our K-12 public education systems is to prepare students for postsecondary, then we really need to do a better job with longitudinal "P-20" data systems and measuring postsecondary outcomes.

What is measured matters.

If we are going to more accurately measure "to and through college" success rates, I think we need to regularly track:
  • in middle school, how students are progressing to demonstrate readiness to attend college or graduate (PLAN or EXPLORE)
  • in high school, how many students have the skills and knowledge that is considered "college ready" (ACT test, scores by high schlooking at college ready benchmarks)
  • in high school, college acceptance rates of the senior class, by 2 year degree programs, 4 year degree programs, technical training programs or military service
  • graduation rates
  • in college, fall enrollment the immediate fall after high school graduation (also by 2 year, 4 year, tech program or military service)
  • in college, persistence rates (1 year, 2 year, etc, again for the same 2 year, 4 year, tech or military service)
  • in college, graduation rates
There is a whole continuum of "getting to" and "through" college (or postsecondary as the better word choice).  There are many important data points on that continuum that we need to be collecting and analyzing at the individual student level and at the school level.  I think every district, including MNPS, ought to publish a College Completion Report every year that analyzes how its K-12 students have done in postsecondary.

More consistent and accurate data in this area can help better inform education policy and practice.  For example, if we had baseline data from last year on every MNPS high school, and we could look at students who planned to attend 2 year degree programs vs. how many actually attended, and then compare that to this year, and next would help give some good data around the tnAchieves and TN Promise program, and how it is impacting students.

We could look at specific high schools and how well they are doing in preparing students or sub-groups of students for college, actually getting them there, and actually seeing if they graduate or not.  Better data around college indicators and outcomes can be used to better inform the culture and practices of high schools.

What is measured matters.

This article was reposted from TN Edu-Independent.

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