Monday, March 31, 2014

Update: Mayor's budget hearing for police, fire, sheriff and related departments

The 2014 Mayor's office budget hearings started today. Below are links to the Metro Police Department, Fire, Sheriff's Office and some other related departments.  I will be watching some of them and summarizing and commending but will not watch them all. Anyone contemplating running for Metro Council should watch all of the hearings.  Since Metro had a property tax increase last year, I doubt a property tax increase will be proposed this year. Unfortunately, metro departments only get close scrutiny during years in which a tax increase is  proposed.

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What is on the Council Agenda April 1, with commentary and analysis.

Council meetings can be really boring it you don't know what the Council is voting on. When you do, they are still boring, but not quite as boring. To get your own copy of the Council agenda click here; to get your copy of the agenda analysis you can download it here.

There are 16 bills on public hearing. They are mostly zoning bills except for couple and they would interest no one except neighbors of the proposed rezoning. Here are a couple of interest:

  • BILL NO. BL2014-714 is a text change that would require new development or expansions in certain zoned districts to provide parking spaces for bicycles. 
  • BILL NO. BL2014-715 would require the zoning application fees and public hearing notice costs be borne by the city for amendments to the official zoning map initiated by a member or members of the Metropolitan Council. The Director of Finance has said this would cost over $93,000 a year and has not approved it for availability of funds.
There are sixteen resolutions on the consent agenda. A bill is put on the consent agenda if it is assumed to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda unless it fails to pass the committee to which it was assigned unanimously. Any council member may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. Here is a bill of interest:
RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1031 appropriates over $9 million to various agencies from the 4% fund to fund departments that exceeded their budget. The largest is $5.2 million to the hospital authority to fund the transition payments to employees of the nursing homes metro is privatizing. Some of this money will be offset from payments to the city from the companies taking over the two metro facilities. 

$714,900 is going to Farmers market. Farmers market continues to be an expensive drain on the city and cannot break even. They got a subsidy of $214,600 in this year’s budget and now need an additional $714,900. I would hope some council member would take the Farmers Market to task for their failure to operate efficiently and let it be known that they must figure out how to be self-sufficient or at least operate on a much smaller subsidy. It appears to me that the market is not really a farmers market where farmers can sell in bulk to retailers such as restaurants and grocery stores but is designed to cater only to consumers who purchase for their own use. I like the farmers market myself and in the summer I go about once a week, but it is not really a farmers market. To support farmers, farmers need to be able to sell bushels of tomatoes at a time time not four or five at a time.

There are 17 bills on First Reading. First reading is a formality that allows bills to be on the agenda. Merits of the bills are not discussed until second reading. I have not reviewed the bills on first reading.

Bills on Second Reading: BILL NO. BL2014-696 would amend the Metro code to require the Director of Finance to submit an annual debt report to the Metropolitan Council. This is a good bill and deserves to pass.

Bills on Third Reading:BILL NO. BL2014-699 expands the Tax Increment Financing capacity of the city by modifying several redevelopment zones. Some redevelopment district that were to expire are extended another ten years. Other districts have their maximum TIF capacity increased. TIF is a form of financing, whereby a loan is repaid with the additional tax income the development generates. This development tool has been used to finance such projects as the County Music Hall of Fame and the Omni Hotel. This ordinance does not appropriate any money but increases the lending capacity. TIF is an important tool to encourage downtown development.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1029 is a memorializing resolution asking the state to provide driver’s license in Arabic. This resolution will probably be on the consent agenda. In addition to English, drivers license test are now offered in Spanish, Korean, and Japanese.

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Senator Mark Green added to 1st Tuesday lineup

From First Tuesday:

You likely attended the recent CPAC conference....or saw some notable clips from it.  
Senator Mark Green
One of our own, TN St. Senator, Dr. Mark Green, not only attended, but was 1 of the memorable speakers. Following our Q&A session, Mark will provide a 1st-hand account to those attending 1ST TUESDAY !!! 
 
What a way great way to cap a great Tuesday !!
If.... you have not already secured a seat for lunch on Tuesday, please visit  http://www.1sttuesdaynashville.com/
Scroll down for details for lunch and our pre-event.  
_______________________________________
  April 1st will be at 1ST TUESDAY [ yes, it will be on the 1st Tuesday of the month... and NO.. it won't be an April's Fools joke ! ]
 
There is SOOO much going on in Washington DC right now... AND...the TN Legislature is fast approaching the end of the 2014 Session... with the State Budget, the end of Hall Tax, the Common Core education hoopla and more still unresolved. 
 
No one in TN is talking to more people and answering more question on all these topics ... AND MORE... than our next featured speaker ...
 
TN State Senator... [ and most expect in November will become Congressman-elect ] ....
Senator Jim Tracy
JIM TRACY
 
Given that filing deadline for office this year will also be next week... we are inviting all prospective candidates for the Legislature, Judge or Metro office and Jim to come for a meet-and-greet prior to lunch. You will have a chance to meet 1st-hand and speak with those who will be vying to represent you on the ballot in August and November !
 
YES... our April 1ST TUESDAY event will be on the 1ST TUESDAY of April. 
 
As usual... doors at Waller Law will open at 11:00AM for Coffee and Social time. Lunch will be ready at 11:25 and our program will start at Noon.  Each of our candidates in the room will get 1 minute [Tootie will have the STOP-clock !! ] ... Once they are done... we will hear from Congressman-To-Be Tracy.  Our noted Q&A session will follow. You are free to ask questions that apply at the Federal or State level !! Given we are likely to have multiple members of the State House attending who can also contribute.. this out to be a remarkable Q&A session
 
Lunch is $20 for Members and $25 for Guests. Secure your seat(s) by visiting the 1ST TUESDAY website at  http://www.1sttuesdaynashville.com/ ...and click on Shopping Cart.  Please forward on to those you know who care about politics at any level ... for we will have something for everyone on Tuesday, April 1st  !!
 
Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday !
 
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Take action for parent's right to review material used in the classroom.

From Tennessee Eagle Forum:

SB 2559 by *Bowling ,Hensley, Bell, Tate, Green, Dickerson, Burks, Crowe, Gardenhire
HB 2453 by *Matheny, Holt, Dunn, Hill M, Moody, Butt, Womick, Casada, Faison, Carr J, Matlock, Shipley, White D, Carter, Doss, Pody, Weaver, Kane, Williams R, DeBerry J, Alexander, Spivey
Education - As introduced, requires every LEA to allow parents to review all instructional materials used in the classroom of the parent's child; mandates the LEA to allow parents access to review all surveys and evaluations administered to the parent's child

NOTE: This bill came directly from complaints from parents about not having access to materials used in their child's classroom, their student not being allowed to take a textbook home, and surveys  being giving that actually violated federal law when permission was not sought prior to administering the survey.  School - minor children in the classroom by compulsion. Therefore, NOTHING should happen in the classroom that parents (or guardians) cannot have access to!! PERIOD!! The last section of the legislation (requiring review and an op-out for "surveys, analysis, or evaluations" took on increased importance and urgency as we learned about NOT WITH MY KIDS, YOU DON'T!

STATUS:  Absolutely thrilled to report that on Tuesday HB2453, as amended, was unanimously voted out of the House Education Subcommittee and will be in Full House Education Committee on Tuesday, April 1.  SB2559, as amended, was voted out of Senate Education on Wednesday, 9-0!!

ACTION:  Please contact these legislators and ask them to support this important legislation: rep.john.forgety@capitol.tn.gov, rep.harold.love@capitol.tn.gov, rep.raumesh.akbari@capitol.tn.gov.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Lamar Alexander on his vote against Democratic legislation that would extend unemployment benefits

March 27, 2014 - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on his vote against Democratic legislation that would extend unemployment benefits without considering Republican proposals to help unemployed Americans:

"There are many good ideas for helping unemployed Americans find a job, and Republican proposals should be debated and deserve a vote. The Democratic leader has repeatedly cut off amendments and debate on important issues facing our country. We need to offer Americans real solutions to jumpstart our slow economy by liberating the free enterprise system, replacing long-term unemployment insurance with job training and using existing federal education dollars to give low-income families the chance to choose a better school."

Alexander is a cosponsor of the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, bipartisan legislation that would provide approximately $145 million for job training in Tennessee, and was passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which Alexander is the lead Republican. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a more streamlined version of the Senate legislation earlier this year that would consolidate 35 federal programs and create a single Workforce Investment Fund.

Alexander has introduced the Scholarships for Kids Act, which would create $2,100 scholarships out of existing federal education dollars to follow 11 million low-income children to schools they attend. He has also supported efforts to repeal burdensome regulations, such as Obamacare, that make it harder and more expensive for businesses to create jobs.


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Thought for the Day


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‘Republican’ label on anti-Islam event confuses some reports The Tennessean

The Tennessean, 3-27-2014  - The Tennessee Republican Party won’t formally distance itself from organizers of an anti-Islam event being thrown in Nashville this weekend. But the event’s organizers are quick to distance themselves from average Republicans.  Calling themselves “the Republican Wing of the Republican Party,” the Tennessee Republican Assembly will host anti-Islam activists Michael Del Rosso and Andy Miller at its annual conference Saturday.

My Comment: Just for the record, neither is A Disgruntled Republican affiliated with the Tennessee GOP or viewed as an auxiliary organization. To see my previous post concerning the TRA, follow this link.


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Bob Corker joins Democrats in supporting unemployment benefit extension

Roll CallMarch 27, 2014 - The Senate easily cleared a 60-vote threshold Thursday to advance a bipartisan extension of emergency unemployment insurance benefits.

With backing from Republicans, the Senate voted 65-34 to end a filibuster against bringing the bill up for debate. It’ll still face the likelihood of another filibuster before final passage, expected next week.

Ten Republicans voted with Democrats to advance the bill: Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Dean Heller of Nevada, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. (link)

My Comment: I am disappointed in Corker's vote. The pending bill would  provide for a 5 month extension of unemployment retroactive to December 28. It is not that I am hard hardhearted and do not want to help those in need, but extending unemployment does nothing to create jobs. Long term unemployment benefits may in fact contribute to unemployment. Many people can be choosy about which job they accept if they have unemployment benefits. I cannot find the documentation to support this assertion, but I believe it is true that most people on unemployment find a job right before the unemployment expires. The longer the term of the benefits, the longer they remain unemployed.  Also, the longer a person is without a job, the harder it is for them to find a job.

A recent study quoted in the Washington Post (link) says that if you have been unemployed only five weeks you have a 31% chance of finding a job in the next month.  If you have been unemployed 53 weeks you have a 9% chance of finding a job within the next month.

I know many people are still unemployed after 26 weeks unemployment but then many are still unemployed after a year. At some point there must be a cut off. Is giving benefits for one year and then cutting off benefits any more kind than cutting off benefits after 6 months?  Instead of extending unemployment benefits, I think we should be  encouraging job creation and opportunity. Such things as declaring areas of high unemployment as special zones where income tax collections are suspended, giving cash payments to people who relocate from areas of high unemployment to areas of low unemployment and giving employers tax breaks for creating new jobs would be preferable to extending unemployment benefits.


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Senate Approves Bill Blocking The Amp's Current Design (UPDATED)

Nashville Scene - Without discussion, or any vocal protest from members of the Davidson County delegation, the state Senate gave near-unanimous approval to legislation that would block The Amp as it's currently proposed.

Jim Tracy's bill passed 27-4, with the only opposition coming from Democrats Lowe Finney, Jim Kyle, Charlotte Burks, and Nashville's Thelma Harper, ...(link)

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boehner On New Obamacare Delay: ‘What the Hell Is This? A Joke?’ (VIDEO)

House speaker John Boehner (R–Ohio) ridiculed the latest Obamacare delay today, sarcastically saying that President Obama “hasn’t put enough loopholes into the law already. The administration is now resorting to an honor system to enforce it.”

Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that people would be allowed to sign up for Obamacare past the March 31 deadline, as long as they stated they had tried to sign up before.

“This is part of a long-term pattern of this administration manipulating the laws for its own convenience,” Boehner added, “and it’s not hard to understand why the American people question this administration’s commitment to the rule of law.”

I believe this is the 38th unilateral change President Obama has made to the health care law. This is contempt for the rule of law.  Obama is not acting like a president who is the leader of a democracy but like a king with absolute authority.  

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Muslims unwelcome, Dead or Alive. The effort to stop the Murfreesboro Mosque cemetary.

In case you missed it, the war against freedom of religion led my Lou Ann Zelenik in Murfreesboro continues.  Opponents of the Murfreesboro super Mosque don't want Murfressboro to be home to Muslims, dead or alive. This is an interesting report revealing the tensions in the hallway where there was a hearing where Mosque opponents were seeking an injunction to stop the cemetery at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro from moving forward. In January the Board of Zoning appeal had been approved the cemetery. Unfortunately, you must watch a few seconds of commercial before the news story, but this is interesting.WSMV Channel 4
For more post on the topic of the Murfressboro Mosque follow this link

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Common Core compromise is in the works

 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Senate sponsor of a contentious proposal to delay further implementation of Tennessee's Common Core education standards for two years said Tuesday that a compromise is close on the legislation

Earlier this month, a broad coalition of Republican and Democratic House members passed a bill seeking to delay implementation of the new standards, as well as the testing component for the standards for the same amount of time. 

The Senate would have to agree to those provisions before the measure would head to the desk of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who has said he's against delaying the standards. (link)


 
NASHVILLE — Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says efforts by fellow Republicans to put off Tennessee's Common Core standards face problems because of money: a two-year delay is estimated to cost $10 million, atop a looming budget shortfall that could hit $275 million.

Still, the powerful speaker said that doesn't mean he isn't interested in finding some remedy to address concerns raised by Common Core critics.

"I think we can reach a compromise on this somewhere," Ramsey said. (link)

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Take action to end the Hall Income Tax

From Nashville Tea Party:
Unfortunately Tennessee still has one remaining income tax. It is the Hall Income Tax on interest and dividends. We have an historic opportunity this legislative session to eliminate the Hall Tax and truly make Tennessee income Tax FREE. Please take a few seconds to click on the link below to email key Senators who will soon be voting on this issue in the Senate Finance Committee, Thank YOU!
Click HERE to Email Key Senators to ask them to eliminate the Hall Income Tax so Tennessee can truly be income tax free.
 
If the link above does not work in your browser
you can also call and email these key Senators
individually. When you call simply leave a message
with their staff saying “Please eliminate the Hall
Income tax.” THANK YOU!!
Senator Randy McNally
sen.randy.mcnally@capitol.tn.gov
(615) 741-6806
Senator Bo Watson
sen.bo.watson@capitol.tn.gov
(615) 741-3227
Senator Doug Overbey
sen.doug.overbey@capitol.tn.gov
(615) 741-0981
Senator Steven Dickerson
sen.steven.dickerson@capitol.tn.gov
(615) 741-6679
Senator Ferrell Haile
sen.ferrell.haile@capitol.tn.gov
(615) 741-1999

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The April 1st Council meeting agenda is now available.

The April 1st Council meeting agenda is now available. To get your on copy follow this link. If you will wait I will read if for you and highlight the important legislation.

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Action Alert: Stop AMP

From Stop AMP:
We are on the final approach of finalizing the first of two bills at the Capitol and need your help once more!

Tomorrow before the Senate will be the final approval of Senate Bill 2243 which prevents any bus rapid transit to be built in the center lanes of any state highway. The passing of this bill will help us in 'Stopping the AMP'.

We are urging all STOPAMP supporters to contact all the Senate members and ask them to support and pass Senate Bill 2243 tomorrow.  Listed below is a link to email all the Senate at once.

We also encourage you to attend the Senate Session which will be on the second floor of the State Capitol at 8:30 a.m. and to please wear RED.  This bill is the 6th on the Tennessee State Senate Calendar in the morning and should not take long.

Thank you for all you have done to help make this bill into law.  Without you we would not have been able to accomplish this!  You have truly made a difference!
 Rick Williams, Chairman
For a link to the email addresses of Senate Members click here.
Click here for sample letters to help you create your communication.

Be sure to visit our Facebook page and share with your friends!
 
P.S. Be sure to visit the web site to request a StopAMP.org 
sign the petition and request a yard sign.

Please donate to help us to keep up the fight. CLICK HERE.

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1st Tuesday presents the candidates

From First Tuesday, Today at 12:44 PM:
1ST TUESDAY members and friends
 
What a great day Tuesday, April 1st will be at 1ST TUESDAY [ yes, it will be on the 1st Tuesday of the month... and NO.. it won't be an April's Fools joke ! ]
 
There is SOOO much going on in Washington DC right now... AND...the TN Legislature is fast approaching the end of the 2014 Session... with the State Budget, the end of Hall Tax, the Common Core education hoopla and more still unresolved. 
 
No one in TN is talking to more people and answering more question on all these topics ... AND MORE... than our next featured speaker ...
 
TN State Senator... [ and most expect in November will become Congressman-elect ] .... JIM TRACY
 
Given that filing deadline for office this year will also be next week... we are inviting all prospective candidates for the Legislature, Judge or Metro office and Jim to come for a meet-and-greet prior to lunch. You will have a chance to meet 1st-hand and speak with those who will be vying to represent you on the ballot in August and November !
 
YES... our April 1ST TUESDAY event will be on the 1ST TUESDAY of April. 
 
As usual... doors at Waller Law will open at 11:00AM for Coffee and Social time. Lunch will be ready at 11:25 and our program will start at Noon.  Each of our candidates in the room will get 1 minute [Tootie will have the STOP-clock !! ] ... Once they are done... we will hear from Congressman-To-Be Tracy.  Our noted Q&A session will follow. You are free to ask questions that apply at the Federal or State level !! Given we are likely to have multiple members of the State House attending who can also contribute.. this out to be a remarkable Q&A session
 
Lunch is $20 for Members and $25 for Guests. Secure your seat(s) by visiting the 1ST TUESDAY website at  http://www.1sttuesdaynashville.com/ ...and click on Shopping Cart.  Please forward on to those you know who care about politics at any level ... for we will have something for everyone on Tuesday, April 1st  !!
 
Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday !
 
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Nashville Housing market 13th most stable of 50 Metro areas

Freddie Mac, the giant quasi government agency that provides mortgage capital to lenders,  today released its inaugural Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market Index. MiMi is a new tool that monitors and measures the stability of the nation's housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 50 metro markets. MiMi assesses where each market is relative to its own long-term stable range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on house prices, mortgage rates and household income), proportion of on time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture.

In the ranking just issued today, Nashville is shown doing well; not great, but better than many. Nashville is ranked 13th out of 50 Metro areas. Memphis, the only other Tennessee metro area in the top 50 areas is ranked at 45th.  The top three slots are all in Texas: San Antonio, Houston and Austin. At number 4 is New Orleans. My daughter lives in New Orleans now and I had an occasion to visit for a month last fall. While there are still areas not recovered from Katrina, New Orleans has attracted lots of newcomers and  there is a lot of rebuilding and gentrification going on. Still, I am surprised to see it rank so high.

Detroit which, as we know,  has large section of the city that have been abandoned or burned by arsonist and looks like something out a science fiction movie about life after the apocalypse, ranks at 36. I expected it to be at the bottom. Las Vegas comes in at number 50. All 50 metro areas and all states are shown to be improving.

In the state ranking, which includes the District of Columbia, Tennessee ranks 31st of 51. The oil boom state of North Dakota ranks number one, followed by the District of Columbia. I guess government is always a growth area and booms while the rest of the nation suffers. Other top states are Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana and Montana and South Dakota. At the bottom of the list is Nevada.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gail Kerr, RIP. Dead at age 52.

Long time Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr passed away today at the age of 52 from a blood clot. She was battling cancer.

I did not always agree with Gail, but then again I don't always agree with anyone. Actually, I found myself agreeing with her about as often as I disagreed with her.  Even when I disagreed with her, I usually thought she was fair in her reporting. Any one-sided reporting came from her liberal biases and not understanding the other side or thinking it valid; not malice or ill will. She was liberal but not a dogmatic ideologue and she had a sense of fairness. She never seemed like she had an axe to grind.

She seemed to generally approve of large government projects and was not one focused on ferreting out waste and corruptions but she had a basic sense of fairness and justice.  She looked at the abuses going on at NES and wrote that, Audit of NES shows an outrageous lack of ethics. She could be outraged by unethical behavior.

When UT gave a golden parachute to a fired UT President she wrote an excellent article detailing the history of previous UT presidents who also were fired or forced out and how they also got golden parachutes. "Giving John Petersen almost 16 months of pay to do nothing is shameful", she wrote.  "It is an insult to every hard-working Tennessee taxpayer who is struggling to make ends meet right now."

I recently took her to task for her assertion that somehow for-profit ran charter schools would be immortal. She said we should not allow companies to make a buck off the backs of Tennessee school kids. I said we should. (link) Like many liberals she was not comfortable with the idea of companies making a profit off of delivering an essential service and thought government was superior to markets.

Sometimes, however, Gail surprised me.  Back in 2012 she wrote  It's way past time for change at Nashville General. I was surprised. General has long been a massive drain on the local treasure and few liberals reached the conclusion we should cut it lose. Gail was a pragmatic liberal who was not afraid to come to a conclusion that ran counter to liberal orthodoxy.

One of her best moments was back in 2008 when the city was attempting to take the property of  Joy Ford by condemnation. Gail did a profile of Ms Ford and took her side in the fight writing, "The Metro Development and Housing Agency is trying to take Ford's business and land. Not for a road or a bridge or some essential service. For a 225,000-square-foot office and retail high-rise for a private out-of-state developer."  That issue found her on the side of organizations such as the Institute for Justice and conservative and libertarian activist.

Gail covered the Metro Council during the time I was in the Council so I sort of felt like I got to know her. She started at The Tennessean in 1978, which was only a year or so after I moved to Nashville, so I have been reading Gail Kerr (then Gail McKnight, I believe it was) for 36 years. She has become a fixture of my life. She was like a neighbor or a familiar land mark. She will be missed. Rest in Peace.

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How Obamacare cut home health care for 3.5 million poor and ill homebound senior citizens

AMAC, March 19 - On January 1, 2014, ObamaCare cut nearly $22 billion from Medicare home health care over four years. That means an estimated 3.5 million poor and ill homebound senior citizens woke up on New Year's Day to discover that ObamaCare had slashed funding for their home health care program.

Last year, Medicare home health services were delivered to approximately 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries. According to the federal government's own data, these seniors are older, poorer and sicker than the Medicare beneficiary population as whole. Many of these seniors also reside in rural communities, where home health care is especially important because other sources of treatment are often located many miles away.

But wait, there's more: according to the Obama Administration's own statistics, "approximately 40 percent" of all providers of home health services face net losses as a result of this Medicare cut. Put more plainly, 4-in-10 of all the providers on whom homebound seniors depend face the threat of bankruptcy and closure as a result of ObamaCare. That's 5,000 home health care companies and 500,000 jobs wiped out in order to pay for ObamaCare.

Of course, this is merely one example of how ObamaCare is hurting American citizens, affecting American businesses and impacting American jobs. AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens, is leading the charge to rescind this reprehensible attack on America's seniors and small businesses. We have always believed that ObamaCare was a destructive and costly monstrosity - and we support a full repeal.

As the fastest growing alternative to groups like AARP, we aim to champion the interests of mature Americans, seniors and prospective retirees. We believe in religious freedom, free enterprise and support common sense solutions to our Nation's largest challenges.

Our nation's economic growth and our citizens' future prosperity should not be threatened from bad policies emanating from Washington DC.

Join the AMAC Army today and spread the word to friends, family and neighbors - help us fight government overreach and unaccountable Federal spending in the nation's Capital with greater strength in numbers!

AMAC - Fighting for you to make America strong! Click to Jo4

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Joe Carr: "Work hard, Nap Hard."

    Representative Joe Carr's campaign against Senator Lamar Alexander is not going that well. There are many Republicans who may feel that Alexander is insufficiently conservative for their taste but few of them are jumping on the Carr bandwagon. The national tea party organizations that have primaried other more moderate Republicans in other states but have not come to the aid of Carr. Carr's campaign can not gain traction or get much media coverage.

    Last week Carr was invited to appear on Glen Beck's The Blaze Internet radio program on a segment called Doc Thompson. While The Blaze is not mainstream press, it is the most successful Internet media outlet in the nation. While an insufficient number of Tennesseans would have heard Carr on The Blaze to make a significant impact directly among the electorate of Tennessee, it could have been a shot in the arm to a lagging campaign.  It could have resulted in funding flowing to the campaign from sources outside the state and possibly some volunteers would have come in to campaign for him and it could have created a buzz among die hard tea party types and resulted in nationalizing a lack luster campaign.   Unfortunately for Carr he overslept and missed the show.


    From his first bolt out of the chute when he posted a sign that said, "Carr of Sentate" to this, his campaign has been a joke. I am not the greatest speller in the world but I do have spell check and do not think I would have misspelled "Senate" in my campaign material. Joe Carr is more of a joke than a serious candidate. Is former SNL personality and tea party visionary Victoria Jackson running his campaign? Just wondering.

    His sleep-in has resulted in derision and made Carr the butt of jokes. Here is some twitter samples.
    • Nate Harrison “Joe Carr, Creating Pillow-Ready Jobs for TN” 

    • VSean C@seanycanfly Mar 18 @RepJoeCarr a stand up guy. No wait. A lay down guy "elect me and I'll go to DC and...... zzzzzzzzz" 
    • #joecarrcampaignslogan NEW SIGN OFF Good morning Joe Carr where ever you are. Onyon you go home now.
    •   Dr Know@johnwhalenb @DocThompsonShow  #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan Joe Carr Go To Guy or Where'd that guy go to?
    •   Dr Know@johnwhalenb Mar 18 @DocThompsonShow #WhatILearnedToday #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan Joe Carr Stand Up Guy, no wait, a guy that stands people up,
    •   JaredOffTheGrid@nero_jared  "Ho ho, what's this? An extra hour of sleep!" FallBack > SpringFwd

    •   Dr Know@johnwhalenb @DocThompsonShow #WhatILearnedToday #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan There's no SNORE in Senator, oh wait, there is, and two other letters too...
    •   JaredOffTheGrid@nero_jared @DocThompsonShow @skiplacombe Screw Income inequality, I'll fight against sleep inequality.. Just a few more minutes. 
    •   Mike Hunt@youseenmikehunt #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan "I will pass no bill before I sleep on it"
    •   Heisenberg™@bigevan67   If you're running for the Senate and stand up @TheBlazeRadio #You'reDoingItWrong
    •   Heisenberg™@bigevan67@DocThompsonShow #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan I don't always appear on radio, but when I do, It's in my dreams!!
    •   Wayne Rice@wayneblairrice #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 
    • #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan Always willing to do America's work in @skiplacombe's king sized bed 
    •   Travis Trupiano@tctrupiano #JoeCarrCampaignSlogan Tennessee can be fixed, but I gotta have 5 more minutes. 

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    Monday, March 24, 2014

    War on First Amendment Escalates

    By Rick Manning

    The First Amendment is a pesky thing to politicians.  It allows, nay encourages, the exact kind of diverse political speech that those in power loathe.  Born out of the legacy of the Revolutionary War pamphleteers and their radical thoughts of freedom, today these liberty lovers take the form of citizen journalists utilizing the Internet to push ideas, advocate, report and uncover stories that aren’t being told, afflicting the powerful and holding them accountable.  This has been at the heart of press freedom, not the corporate media empires that are often little more than government propaganda machines.

    Now, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), not content to just continue her long running attempt to put a dagger into the right to keep and bear arms, is leading the charge to create a federal government sanctioned journalist licensing system that threatens the First Amendment as well.

    Her Orwellian titled “Free Flow of Information Act of 2013”, which is also known as the “media shield bill” has passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to gain the votes necessary to get out of the Senate.  Proponents of the bill, are advocating that journalists be licensed by the federal government so that they can be protected from potential prosecution from a government insisting that their confidential sources be revealed.

    In a scorching legal rebuke to Feinstein, Senators Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and John Cornyn argue vehemently against the law in a Minority View report writing,

    “The freedom of the press does not discriminate amongst groups or individuals—it applies to all Americans. As the Supreme Court has long recognized, it was not intended to be limited to an organized industry or professional journalistic elite. See Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 704 (1972) (the ‘‘liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest photocomposition methods. Freedom of the press is a fundamental personal right[.]’’); Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 452 (1938) (‘‘The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets.  . . . The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.’’).

    The Founders recognized that selectively extending the freedom of the press would require the government to decide who was a journalist worthy of protection and who was not, a form of licensure that was no freedom at all. As Justice White observed in Branzburg, administering a privilege for reporters necessitates defining ‘‘those categories of newsmen who qualified for the privilege.’’ 408 U.S. at 704 That inevitably does violence to ‘‘the traditional doctrine that liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest photocomposition methods.’’ Id.

    The First Amendment was adopted to prevent—not further—the federal government licensing of media. See Lovell, 303 U.S. at 451 (striking an ordinance ‘‘that . . . strikes at the very foundation of the freedom of the press by subjecting it to license and censorship.  The struggle for the freedom of the press was primarily directed against the power of the licensor.’’).

    But federal government licensing is exactly what the Free Flow of Information Act would create. The bill identifies favored forms of media—‘‘legitimate’’ press—by granting them a special privilege.  That selective grant of privilege is inimical to the First Amendment, which promises all citizens the ‘‘freedom of the press.’’ See Branzburg, 408 U.S. at 704 (‘‘Freedom of the press is a fundamental personal right[.]’’) (emphasis added). It also threatens the viability of any other form of press. The specially privileged press will gain easier access to news. That will tip the scales against its competitors and make it beholden to the government for that competitive advantage. A law enacted to protect the press from the state will, in fact, make that press dependent upon the federal government— anything but free.”

    Feinstein’s proposed licensing law might seem innocuous if not for the fresh stench of federal government targeting of conservative groups through the IRS, the Federal Communications Commission’s recent attempts to monitor news rooms, the spying on Associated Press reporters by Obama’s Department of Justice to gain access to their sources and most recently, the announced giveaway of First Amendment protections for those who use the Internet by the U.S. Commerce Department all of which serve as recent examples where this Administration has proven their enmity to dissent.

    Feinstein’s bill, when coupled with the U.S. government’s attempt to turn the Internet over to international control, represents a turning point in the relationship between the federal government and the free flow of information in the modern world.

    Under the Obama Administration’s proposal to give control of the Internet to unspecified international sources, citizen journalists will necessarily lose their First Amendment shield of protection from censorship.  A censorship that is likely to first find its form in blocking ideas inimical to the unelected, unaccountable, unknown new Internet governing body’s group think.  Ideas that are deemed “dangerous”, “hateful” or “offensive” to some arbiter of worldwide political correctness will disappear from the Internet as Internet Protocol addresses of “offending” parties simply vanish.
    Unlicensed political dissent, a critical component to the Web’s democratization of information that scares the elite who cling to power, is equally threatened by Feinstein’s attempt to create a non-protected class of journalists.  The local blogger who has a buddy who reveals corruption at City Hall deserves the same right to be able to protect sources as the Washington Post reporter who dutifully regurgitates the latest Obama Administration planned Friday afternoon leak.

    The same whistle blower’s identity should be protected whether he or she talks to NetRightDaily.com, TalkingPointsMemo, or the Los Angeles Times.

    Failure to convey the same First Amendment protections to all people, whether they are paid or not for their activities, strikes at the heart of the basis of our nation’s most precious freedoms, and Congress should reject the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013.

    Rick Manning @rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government. Reprinted with permission.

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