Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Assumed Senator-elect Bill Hagerty's statement on the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Bill Hagerty
Nashville, TN — Bill Hagerty, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement following the news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. 

 “My family and I join Americans across the country in praying for Justice Ginsburg’s family during this difficult time,” said Bill Hagerty. “For more than two decades, Justice Ginsburg served on the Supreme Court, and she blazed trails for women and believed deeply in public service. 

President Donald Trump can – and should – nominate a constitutionalist to fill this Supreme Court vacancy; the future of our nation for generations to come depends on it.”

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Tony Tenpenny, Rest in Peace.


Condolences to the family and friends of Tony Tenpenny.  He was a good man and a good public servant. He passed  away as a result of complications from the Coronavirus. 

Here is a Facebook eulogy from Melissa Lening Smithson: 
Just heartbroken of hearing the news about our dear friend and fellow Woodbine brother Tony Tenpenny. What a giving soul, a fighter, a true spirit of being a blessing to others. We will deeply miss you here on Earth, but know you are with our Lord Jesus Christ and Almighty, visiting those that went before you and watching over us. You will always be with us, thinking of you when we are fighting the good fight, and your legacy will live on in your son and beloved wife. Rest in Peace brother! We WILL see you again.
Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Luke 20:36: For they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

 The Tennessean: Former Nashville councilman Tony Tenpenny dies from COVID-19 complications

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Senator Alexander's statement on Trump's intent to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

 From Facebook:


Rod's Comment: I am pleased but not surprised. To all of those who say Republicans are hypocritical because they opposed the Merit Garland nomination, Alexander responds to that.  If Republicans are hypocritical for opposing a  nominee to the Supreme by a Democrat in an election year but now support a Republican nominee in an election year, are not Democrats equally hypocritical for advocating the appointment during an election year and now opposing it when Trump tries to do it?  That argument is obviously phony.  If Democrats had the votes, they would block an appointment. 

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9-17 Society event was the motivating boost and shot of enthusiasm I needed.

by Rod Williams - I have been a little down recently.  Much of it is personal which I won't go into in detail but I am not getting to see my wife or touch and hold her due to her being isolated in a nursing home during this pandemic and she no longer knows who I am.  That hurts. I also miss my daughter and my young grandson and hated to see them go after a short visit, and I have family members with health problems and  some other personal things going on that bring me down.  Also, however, in addition to the personal, I have been feeling really down about the direction of our country and feeling anxiety over the upcoming election.  I have never let political circumstances affect me so. 

As I witness riots that have been going on for all across America for over 100 days, I at times feel like the America I knew is being lost before my very eyes.  We, "are going down hill like a snowball headed for hell, ..." Cities burn, innocent people are pulled from their car and beaten, police officers are assassinated, statues of our founders are pulled down, innocent people simply trying to enjoy a meal out  at an outdoor café are harassed, and senseless violence and harassments and destruction abounds and it appears people who identify as Democrats condone it or at least refused to condemn it. 

On top of that our youth embrace socialism and crazy unrealistic proposals such as defunding the police and the Green New Deal.  I don't think they know of the 100 million victims of Communism that was socialism in action.  I am appalled they they can argue real socialism has never been tried and think they are smart enough to get it right when we have the examples of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro  and countless others tyrants who resulted from others who experimented with socialism. They would willingly, joyously march themselves and us into the Gulag and the cattle cars. "We are going down hill like a snowball heading for hell." 

I am feeling a lot of anxiety about the upcoming election.  I plan to lay out a more detailed explanation of my hypotheses of what could go wrong and share the mechanics of what could happen, but in a nutshell, I see Trump apparently wining the electoral vote, Biden the popular vote and various complications resulting from mail-in ballots and other nefarious things that result in a contested election with the side that loses not accepting the outcome of the election and, perhaps, by inauguration day us still not knowing who won the election. In my worst-case scenario we descend into either a civil war or at least a period of intense uncertainty with a major increase in violence. On top of this, we could have another uptick in Cova-19 cases, a new lockdown,  and an economic collapse. 

On Thursday night September 17th my sprits were lifted.  I attended a celebration of the 9-17 Society.  It was good to see old friends and socialize but the program was inspirational and lifted my spirits. The mission of the 9-17 Society is to, "to empower every 8th grader with the knowledge of their individual freedoms and provide them with their very own lasting copy of the U.S. Constitution as a "rite of passage" into American Citizenship and celebrate Constitution Day each September 17th."'

The pocket constitutions are handed out and signed and dated and includes the citizenship pledge that immigrants take when becoming citizens.  Reports are that 8th graders take this very seriously and see it as a big event.  Remembering when my own child was an 8th grader, I think that is the perfect age to do this.  They are smart enough to grasp complicated concepts but have not yet become know-it-all resentful teenagers.

The 917 Society is the brain child of Joni Bryant.  She has a bubbly personality and her passion for what she is doing is contagious.  It is hard to be around Joni and not feel better.  She started the project just a few years ago with nothing but a conviction that is something she ought to do.  She started small with boxes of the constitution in her car and went county by county, school by school distributing copies of the constitution.  It has taken off and now has covered Tennessee and expanded to several neighboring states.  Her dream has grown and now she has a vision of spreading the project to encompass all 50 states. 

At Thursday night's event the program was exciting and motivational.  We heard from several luminaries.  Dr. Ming Wang told of his escape from China with $50 in his pocket and how he barely avoided being sent to the countryside for a life of poverty and hard labor during the cultural revolution. He has risen to being the premier Lasik ophthalmologist in America, maybe the world. He spoke of his love for this country and what America means to him. 

We heard from Carol Swain. She rose from being one of twelve children raised in a two room shack without running water by poorly educated parents to become a graduate of Yale Law School and went on to be a professor at Vanderbilt, an esteemed scholar whose work has been quoted in Supreme Court cases, an author and a political commentator. She spoke of the greatness of American that made such a transition possible. 

The highlight of the evening for me, was the speech by Rep. John DeBerry.  He is an orator! He has served in the House of Representatives since 1995 as a Democrat representing a district in Memphis.  This year, too late to qualify as either a Republican or an independent, the State Democratic Party stripped him of his status as Democrat candidate. He would have been unable to run, had not the House stepped in and changed the rules. He is now on the ballot as an independent.  The State Democrat Party kicked him out of the party because he has voted for pro-life policies and policies that favor school choice.

He gave a humble but motivational speech that left me standing and cheering when it was over.  He spoke about the how he was taught to love this country and the wisdom found in the Constitution. He warned of how America has turned its back the values that made up great. He spoke of the character of America and the courteous fights to overcome injustices and the struggle and challenges that brought up thus far. He left me with a message of hope that all is not lost.  America is still the beacon of liberty in the world. 

My view of the potential for a struggle over the outcome of the upcoming election and the potential for a disastrous outcome has not changed.  I still view the embrace of socialism by many in this county as troubling.  The future is in the balance and it could go either way. History is not laid out.  The outcome of history is up to those who push it one direction or the other.  We could be like Venezuela in a short period of time.  The threat is real and the future hangs in the balance. 

I left the meeting, not feeling like the challenges we face are less than I did when I went into the meeting, but with a new determination to face the challenges.  I felt hope.  I felt revived. 

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Art Break: A new portrait mural being painted on the side of Zanies at Douglas and 8th Ave South.

September 2020

 

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Governor says "no" to Metro's request for additional COVID-19 relief funds. Politely blast Metro's strategy for economic recovery and the massive tax increase.

 


 Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Thursday he would not be giving additional COVID-19 recovery funds to Nashville after Mayor John Cooper's request last week. He says to give money to Nashville is to take away funding from 94 other counties. He says he disagrees with Metro's approach to the crisis, that he thinks we should be cutting budgets; not raising taxes. He says Metro Nashville is the least rapidly recovering Metro economy in the United States. In my view, says the Governor, Metro Nashville's strategy for dealing with the economic impact of Cova-19 is not an effective one.

I agree with the Governor. Metro has not been a good steward of the money it has received and does not deserve a bail out. 

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Certain virtues must prevail to avoid great and lasting damage to our republic.

by Richard Upchruch- I agree with many these days who are seriously worried about the unusually high levels of hostility and mutual recrimination that have become a part of the current contest for the presidency. 

A famous quotation from one of our country's founders, James Madison, reminds us that the written constitution we cherish is only a part----although a precious and essential part--- of what really constitutes us as a nation. I think he is telling us that we cannot survive as a free people unless we as individual citizens have attained certain attributes of maturity, and that these attributes have got to be somehow effectively passed from one generation to the next. These observations seem always relevant but especially so now. 

I believe that certain virtues enjoined by traditions both religious and secular, if better followed, might help us to a place where we might still have the necessary robust public discussion of policy issues these times call for, but with less chance that chaotic behavior might prevail and do great and lasting damage to our republic. I believe that chief among these virtues is a kind of civic humility, a tough belief that one's opponent may not be entirely evil or deranged, but rather that he may indeed be advocating for the good as he sees it.

Translated into terms more obviously relevant in this election cycle, perhaps this would mean that those on the Republican side need to admit that their candidate has chosen a rather extreme form of polarizing rhetoric to keep his supporters excited and committed, that his manner seems deliberately brusque and provocative; and, on the other hand, that the left has indeed rushed to adopt radical techniques of advocating change, redefinition of marriage, calling into question the most essential aspects of human personal identity, at the very foundation of human society, in addition to advocating for more mundane economic and social policy---changes that many consider deeply harmful and destructive to both society and government.

Each faction needs to listen and try to understand the point of view of the other. The question cannot be, "are these two sides irreconcilable?" It must be, rather, can these conflicting visions, and these contending energies, be contained and expressed within our constitution and used to guide us into a future that as always requires both preservation and adaptation. We all need to obtain news and comment from a variety of points of view. And also, very importantly, from friends and acquaintances of various beliefs and affiliations. 

Benjamin Franklin, another of our brilliant founders, famously answered an inquiry by saying that "we have a republic, sir, if we can keep it." Without more and better listening to one another than we have now, we just may not be able to keep it. 

Richard Upchurch is a scholar and philosopher who lives in Nashville.

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13 Titans players take a knee during national anthem ahead of opener vs. Broncos

The Tennesseean- ...Thirteen members of the Titans took a knee during the national anthem ahead of their season-opening game against the Broncos on Monday. ...Titans coach Mike Vrabel said ahead of his team's season opener that if his players wanted to protest peacefully, they would have the organization's full support. (link)


Rod's Comment: Disgusting! Shame, shame, shame. 

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Cova-19 cases inflated by 13,800 by State health officials. Cases listed as "active," even after patients recovered.

The Tennessean: Coronavirus: 13,800+ Tennessee infections left as 'active' long after they weren't.

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Leaked email shows there was no justification for closing bars and restaurants in Nashville.

This is a big deal and making national news.  The number of cases of coronavirus transmitted through bars and restaurant contact was so low, the mayor and health officials tried to keep the numbers a secret.  This has been picked up by national media outlets and even Donald Trump Jr. has weighted in tweeting, "The Dem Mayor of Nashville KNOWINGLY LIED ABOUT COVID DATA to justify shutting down bars & restaurants, killing countless jobs & small businesses in the process. Everyone involved should face jail time."  


For more on this story see link, Link, link,

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I will not attend the "A Rally for American Patriots" event and here is why.

 


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 AT 5 PM – 7 PM A RALLY FOR AMERICAN PATRIOTS: A call to preserve our Constitutional Republic! Franklin Tn Downtown Square.

by Rod Williams - This event was originally scheduled for September 17th and delayed until September 23 due to the threat of bad weather.  I will not be attending this event. While I would like to be part of such an event, I am not comfortable with the host.  If Ms Laurie Cordoza-Moore was just one member of a host committee putting on this event, I might attend.  But, I am not quit comfortable being part of a crowd that is her event.  

If you recall when a Muslim congregation was attempting and eventually was successfully in building a mosque in Murfreesboro, Laurie Cardoza-Moore was a leading opponent trying to stop that from happening.  The argument against it was that Islam is not really a religion and that Muslims were going to be building a terrorist training center in Murfreesboro.  While I hope the government is keeping close taps on what is going on in the Muslim community and while there have been radicalized American Muslims who have committed acts of terrorism, I am not comfortable with someone who claims the world's largest religion is not really a religion and who wants to deny First Amendment protection to other Americans. The First Amendment also applies to Muslims

The host of this event also once charged the Williamson County School Board with promoting anti-Semitism due to an objectionable portion of a text, taken out of context, in a social studies text book (link).  I doubt the Williamson County School Board is anti-Semitic.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Ms Cordoza-Moore's organization, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a hate group.  Now, I do not put much stock in what the SPLC says.  They have called a lot of good conservative groups, especially Christian groups, hate groups.  Any group that does not fall in line with the politically correct, woke, permissive, mainstream culture is considered a hate group.  If you are pro traditional marriage, believe boys should use the boys bathroom, or are pro life, you might be a hater. So while I don't put much stock in SPLC,  I do think it is worth noting.  Being listed by SPLC as a hate group may not make them what I think of when I think of a hate group, but it is an indication that they are outside the mainstream. It raises a red flag.  It tells me they deserve  a closer look before joining their cause.  

My concern in attended a rally for an event sponsored by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations is that I will become part of a cheering crowd that is a prop for some anti-Muslim rant or some weird conspiracy theory.  I don't really fault anyone else for attending.  It is not as if you are attending a Klan rally or anything, but for me, I am uncomfortable being part of a PJTN rally.  I am really not trying to convince anyone else not to attend, I am just explaining why I won't attend and hoping people will look closely at this event and the decide if it is for them. 


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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Trump Administration Is Supporting the People of Tennessee

From Alexander Willette, Special Assistant to the President, Updated September 14, 2020:

 
Overview: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, State managed, and Federally supported. Successful emergency management requires nationwide cooperation and unity of effort, combining the strength and ingenuity of our citizens and private sector with a sweeping, all-inclusive, and whole-of-government response. The below is a partial overview of Federal assistance provided to the State of Tennessee and the people of Tennessee to combat the Coronavirus. The information is bolstered by hundreds of additional actions by the Federal government to help the people of Tennessee. President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have appreciated the strong State-Federal partnership with State and local leaders in Tennessee. 
  • The President quickly approved Tennessee’s major disaster declaration on April 2, 2020 and National Guard funding requests on and National Guard funding requests on April 2, 2020 providing additional Federal resources to supplement State response efforts. 
  • This year, over 5.7 M N-95 masks, 118 M surgical & procedural masks, 818 K eye and face shields, 7.8 M isolation & surgical gowns, and 592.5 M medical gloves have been shipped to Tennessee through private sector, State, and Federal collaboration. 
  • The Federal government has directly supported10 community based testing sites in Tennessee and will be providing 200,000 swabs and 200,000 media to support state testing needs in the month of September. To date, the federal government has provided over 1 M swabs and 100,000 media. 
  • The Federal government has and continues to coordinate the surge of resources to Tennessee Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes. And to supplement private sector supplies, the federal government is coordinating the provision of point-of-care COVID-19 testing to 267 of Tennessee’s Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes. 
  • Deployed a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to Tennessee that can decontaminate up to 80,000 N-95 masks daily. 
  • Coordinated donation of 205 cases (40 vials per case) of Remdesivir, and 630 cases of commercially available Remdesivir, to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Tennessee.  
  • Medical facilities and providers in the State of Tennessee have received over $3 B in COVID-19 related allocations from HHS. This includes more than $2.6 B from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and ensures uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19. 
  • The State of Tennessee and eligible local governments received over $2.6 B from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help address unforeseen financial needs and risks created by the COVID19 public health emergency. 
  • The Small Business Administration has issued over $8.9 B in loans to 99,579 Tennessee small businesses. 
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury has made 3.4 M Economic Impact Payments totaling more than $5.8 B to hardworking taxpayers of Tennessee. 
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has made over $414.9 M in COVID-19 funding available to Tennessee grantees to help America’s low-income families and most vulnerable citizens via CARES Act authorizations. 
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided Tennessee agriculture producers with $124.2 M in financial assistance for price declines and additional marketing costs due toCOVID-19. 
  • The U.S. Department of Education provided $237.2 M to support postsecondary education students and institutions of higher education in Tennessee, authorized $63.6 M for the State from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, and $279.9 M to ensure learning continues for all elementary and secondary students. 
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation allocated more than $229.7 M to help the Tennessee public transportation systems and $124 M to help Tennessee airports.

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Council considered and then deferred on second reading, until March 2021, the bill to end life-time health care benefits for metro Council.

by Rod Williams - On Tuesday night the council considered  and then deferred on second reading the bill to end life-time health care benefits for metro Council.  This was after earlier in the month getting the bill put back on the agenda after it was taken off of the agenda over the objection of the sponsor (link).  The bill was deferred until March 2021! I am usually OK with a deferral of one meeting or maybe two meetings of anything that is controversial.  People may need more information or they may just need to think about their vote before casting it.  However a six and a half month delay is an outrage.  The deferral vote passed 20-18. Check back. I will be posting the names of those who voted for this unheard of lengthy delay. 

The Council amended the bill so as to exempt from the impact of the bill anyone currently serving.  Those currently serving if reelected and serve a total of eight years would get the current deal.  That current deal is that when they leave office, former council members continue to get the Metro employee health insurance for themselves and family as if they were an employee.  That is, they pay a quarter of the premium and the city pays the rest.  This amendment probably enhances the chance that the bill will pass. 

An amendment by Freddie O'Conner is pending that would not end  the benefit for future Council members but would reduce the benefit to instead of the city paying 75% of the premium and the former Council member paying 25%, the former member would pay 75% of the premium and the city would pay 25%.  While I think the benefit should be abolished outright, if I were serving in the Council and thought that a straight repeal would fail, I would vote for this amendment.  A half loaf is better than none. 

See this link for more on this story, and this link, this link 

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Results of 2020 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of the Homeless

Press release, July 9, 2020 - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities across the country to conduct an annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of persons experiencing homelessness who are unsheltered, sleeping in an emergency shelter or transitional housing. The PIT Count is conducted on a single night during the last ten days of January and is led by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) in collaboration with the Metropolitan Homeless Impact Division and the Homelessness Planning Council. 


The 2020 PIT Count for Nashville-Davidson County was conducted on the evening of Jan. 23 and in the early morning hours of Jan. 24. More than 100 volunteers from 27 different agencies and universities took part in this year’s Count. Room In The Inn and Nashville Rescue Mission operated their shelter programs and counted people staying with them during that night. No Metro overflow shelters were opened on the night of the count, and the community’s cold weather plan was not activated.

The 2020 PIT Count found a total of 2,016 individuals experiencing homelessness – 1,432 (71.0%) people living sheltered and 584 (28.9%) people living unsheltered – in Nashville-Davidson County. These results reflect a 15.0% total decrease in overall homelessness since 2016 and a 1.5% increase in the number of people experiencing literal homelessness since 2019 (30 people).

“Nashville’s Point-in-Time Count is a vital resource that helps Metro serve our unsheltered and unhoused neighbors,” said Mayor John Cooper. “Our office will continue to work closely with MDHA and our community partners to serve Nashvillians experiencing homelessness as part of Metro’s ongoing commitment to one of our most vulnerable communities and throughout our city’s coordinated COVID-19 response.” Additional key findings from the 2020 Homeless Count include: 
  • 73% of the adult population experiencing homelessness on the night of the Count were men, compared to 48% of Nashville’s population. 
  • 45% of the adult population experiencing homelessness on the night of the Count were Black or African American, compared to 28% of Nashville’s population. 
  • 82% of unsheltered individuals said that lack of income was their primary barrier to finding housing. Other reasons included health problems, past evictions and legal issues. There was no increase in Veterans identified from 2019 to 2020. 
  • There was a 14% increase in people experiencing chronic homelessness identified from 2019 to 2020.
  • There was a 7% decrease in families with minor children identified from 2019 to 2020. 
  • There was an 11% decrease in unaccompanied youth ages 18-24 identified from 2019-2020. 
  • 41% of unsheltered individuals and 31% of sheltered individuals reported problems with substance abuse. 
  • 38% of unsheltered individuals and 25% of sheltered individuals reported mental health problems. 
  • 22% of unsheltered individuals and 14% of sheltered individuals reported being survivors of domestic violence.
“The annual PIT Count is a reminder of why we do the work we do, and the information we are able to gather allows us to better direct our efforts to reduce homelessness in our city,” said MDHA Executive Director Jim Harbison.

“I’m extremely grateful to MDHA staff for their continued work on these efforts, the Metropolitan Homeless Impact Division and the Homelessness Planning Council for their partnership and the volunteers who participate each year.” 



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Nashville gets $10 million in CARES dollars funding to address COVID-19, designated to address homelessness.

Metro press release - Nashville has received a total of $10 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding as part of its CARES dollars to address COVID-19. These funds are designated to addressing homelessness. They are one-time funds and are exponentially higher than the usual annual ESG allocations, which was $450,000 for 2020. 


In addition to the $10 million, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided Nashville with free technical assistance and has assigned Heather Dillashaw of ICF (icf.com) as our local consultant to use the COVID-19 allocations to improve our Housing Crisis Resolution System. The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) is receiving and managing the grants. 

The first allocations totaling just under $1.5 million were awarded to 14 nonprofit organizations. During the first round of applications, agencies will receive funding for prevention, street outreach and Rapid-Re-Housing programs. The deadline to submit applications for the remaining grant dollars is Friday, September 18. 

The current Request for Applications (RFA) will focus on street outreach and Rapid Re-Housing services. Housing Surge In order to support the efforts to house approximately 400 individuals and families with the Emergency Solutions Grant funds, the community will work collaboratively to increase the available housing inventory through a housing surge. Under the leadership of the Mayor's Office, our community is currently looking for funding that would allow the Atlanta-based nonprofit Open Doors branch out into Nashville. Open Doors has created a centralized landlord engagement and recruitment model that will pair well with the great efforts already in the works in Nashville through countless efforts as well as our Coordinated Entry process. Local nonprofits have voiced their strong support in bringing Open Doors to Nashville to leverage their housing efforts.

Rod's Comment: After spending a career in the field of housing counseling and serving at one time in the Council as co-chair of a committee on homelessness, I continue to have an interest in this area.  I know that if one goes downtown and sees the number of homeless, one may think we have a terrible homeless problem.  Actually,  our problem is not nearly as bad as in many other cities. While homelessness in America has been increasing, homelessness in Nashville has remained flat or slightly decreased

Homelessness is a problem in all cities, but I commend Nashville for the way we have handled this difficult problem. I think we have struck the right balance between humanely caring for the homeless and discouraging homelessness camps and panhandling.  After Nashville elected the self-styled progressive Megan Barry, I feared our period of pragmatically addressing the issue would take a turn toward indulging and tolerating. I was pleasantly surprised when Mayor Barry cleared the homeless camp that had taken over Fort Negly. Mayor Cooper continues the same balanced approach, 

I also think we have struck the right balance between immediate help for the homeless and striving for longer term solutions to the problem of homelessness.  While we need to help people get the long-term care they need and get disability care to which they be entitled and find housing solutions for those who want it, we cannot do all of that at the expense of letting people freeze to death on a cold night. We have to look for long-term solutions and provide immediate help when needed. 

I am kind of stingy with my praise, but I think government entities and non-profits like MDHA, Nashville Rescue Mission, Room in the Inn, Urban Housing Solutions and various others, have done a good job of serving the least among us.  I hope Nashville uses this $10 million dollars wisely, but we have done a lot with a little in the past and I suspect we will with this money also. 

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Monday, September 14, 2020

How Council members voted on life-time health care benefits. They cast a final vote Tuesday, September 15th.

by Rod Williams - Former members of the Metro Council get a benefit that would be the envy of almost every person in America. They get a benefit more lavish than that provided by the State, the Federal government or the largest corporations in America. After serving only eight years in the Council, they get for themselves and their family, Metro-provided health care as long as they live.  They pay the same premium as active employees which is about one-quarter of the premium.  This is "Cadillac" insurance which includes dental care. 

At one time, before term limits, there were not that many ex-council members and this was not that costly of a benefit.  Council members tended to be older when first elected, almost always were reelected and served a very long time.  Now, there is turn over of the full body every eight years. The cost of this benefit for current and former Council members comes to over $800,000 a year and will rise to $1.2 million by 2024.

On August 4th, a bill which would end life-time health care benefits for ex-council members passed first reading. On August 18th the bill was deferred indefinitely at the recommendation of the Personnel, Public Information, and Human Relations Committee over the objection of the sponsor. 

The rules of the Council provide that when this happens that  "the sponsor may submit a written request to the Clerk that the matter be reinstated onto the agenda for the next regular meeting for purposes of requesting override of the indefinite deferral. The matter shall appear on the agenda as the last item prior to adjournment." 

That is what happened. At the September 1st meeting, the Council voted on "Rule 8 Reinstatement Bill BL2020-3872."  It passed by a vote of 20 in favor and 18 opposed.  A vote in favor was a vote to put the bill back on the agenda.  A "no" vote was a vote to kill the bill and keep it off of the agenda.  In other words, those who want to keep this lavish benefit for ex-councilmembers voted "no."  Those who want to end this benefit voted "yes." I have highlighted the names of those in whom I am very disappointed. 

Voting "yes." This is a vote to put the bill back on the agenda, indicating support for ending this benefit. 

Bob Mendes, Burkley Allen, Steve Glover, Zulfat Suara, Kyonzte Tombs, Tonya Hancock, Zach Young, Erin Evans, Bradford, Jeff Syracuse, Jinny Welsch, Tom Cash, Freddie O'Connell, Brandon Taylor, Tom Druffel, Russ Pulley, Courtney Johnston, Robert Nash, John Rutherford, and Angie Henderson. 

Voting "No." This is a vote to keep it off of the agenda, the effect of which is that members votes to keep this benefit. 

Sharon Hurt, Johnathan Hall, Jennifer Gamble, Robert Swope, Shawn Parker, Bret Withers, Nancy VanReece, Larry Hagar, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Kathleen Murphy, Tanaka Vercher, Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda, Joy Styles, Antoienette Lee, and Dave Rosenberg; 

Abstain (0). To abstain is to push the "abstain" button.  
No one was absent this meeting, but these two members did not vote: Emily Benedict and Gloria Hausser. 

The bill is back on the agenda for the final vote tomorrow night, Tuesday September 15th.  If you wish to let you council member know how you feel about this matter, you can find your council members contract information at this link. 

Bill BL2020-387 
An ordinance amending Section 3.24.010 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws pertaining to health insurance benefits for Members of the Metropolitan Council after they leave office. 

WHEREAS, in 2019, Metro Council members received a $8,100 raise approved in the prior term which was recommended by the Department of Human Resources under the belief to properly compensate Metro Council would help to promote a more diverse and inclusive Council body; and 

WHEREAS, the citizens of Davidson County expect the Council to manage taxpayer money wisely, yet over $800,000 per year is spent on a benefit for Councilmembers that is not offered to other part-time Metro Government Employees; and 

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government spent $837,438 health insurance benefits for both current and former Metro Council Members in 2020. This cost is expected to increase to $1,208,134 by 2024; and 

WHEREAS, July 17, 2020 the Metropolitan Council passed a $1.066 property tax rate increase in the USD ($1.033 in the GSD), constituting the highest increase in the history of Metropolitan Nashville; and WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government is $4.5 billion in debt, with depleted reserves; and 

WHEREAS, in 2014, the Mayor’s Office contracted with an independent consulting company (Deloitte Consulting LLP) to provide data upon which Metro could make decisions about current pay levels. This study revealed that none of Metro Nashville’s peers offer retiree medical coverage to council members. To be consistent with common practice, the study recommended that Metro eliminate lifetime medical coverage for Council Members; and 

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council should remove the lifetime health insurance benefits for Council members after they leave office. 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY: 

Section 1. That Section 3.24.010 of the Metropolitan Code is hereby amended by deleting the provisions of subsection C. in their entirety and substituting with the following new provisions: 

“C. Council member participation in the comprehensive health care plan. 

1. Members of the metropolitan council, during their term of office, shall be authorized to participate in the health insurance program under the same terms and conditions as are available for regular Metropolitan Government employees. The benefits and contribution rates shall be equivalent to those benefits and rates paid by Metropolitan Government employees. Each member of council shall have the option of participating in the program by notifying the employee benefit board of their desire to participate in the program at any time during their term of office. 

2. Members of council holding office for less than eight (8) years prior to August 31, 2023 who were participants in the comprehensive health care plan during the time they held office may elect to continue the health care plan, provided they pay the full amount of the premium without any subsidy from the Metropolitan Government. 

3. Members of council satisfying one of the following criteria shall be eligible to continue participation in the comprehensive health care plan at the contribution rate equivalent to those rates paid by Metropolitan Government employees: 
a. Those members of council holding office for eight (8) years or more on or prior to August 31, 2023;
b. Those members of council serving prior to September 1, 2007, that served part of one term and a full consecutive term and were prohibited from serving a third consecutive term pursuant to Section 1.07 of the Metropolitan Charter. 

4. Those members of council serving at least eight (8) years who are not covered by subsection 3 above shall be eligible to continue participation in the comprehensive health care plan under the same terms and conditions as retired Metropolitan Government employees, and at the contribution rates based upon years of service as follows: 
a. The Metropolitan Government shall contribute twenty-five percent of the contribution rate established for medical care benefits for a former member of council that served at least eight (8) but less than fifteen (15) years; 
b. The contribution rate for members of council serving fifteen (15) or more years shall be based upon years of service as provided in Section 3.16.020c.3. of this chapter applicable to retired employees hired after January 1, 2013. 

5. Members of council serving at least (8) years who are otherwise covered by subsection 3 above shall have the option of participating in the comprehensive health care plan at the higher contribution rates set forth in subsection 4 above if they so choose. 

6. Except as provided above, no member of council serving after August 31, 2023, shall be eligible for the subsidized health care plan after leaving office.” 

Section 2. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsor(s) Tonya Hancock, Erin Evans, Freddie O'Connell, Russ Bradford, John Rutherford, Angie Henderson

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Council to vote to accommodate sidewalk café dining. Will Metro protect the dinners?


by Rod Williams - On September 1, the Metro Council passed by voice vote on second reading Substitute Bill BL2020-403 which modified the Metropolitan Code of Laws relative to sidewalk cafes. It allows them to expand into sidewalk right of ways, allows restaurants to convert a part of their parking lot to dining areas and allows the sale of alcoholic beverages at the outside dining areas including public sidewalks.  

I support this and think it needs to pass on third reading.  We need to make reasonable accommodations to allow people to safely carry on with their lives and the economy to function.  However, across the nation sidewalk cafes have become a target of BLM aggression.  Metro needs to commit to provide law and order so customers of sidewalk cafes are not subject the the violence and disruption, seen in these two videos. 

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Lamar Alexander: Likely to be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year

 


It was good to have Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, testify at the Senate health committee hearing I chaired this week on the importance of vaccines.

by Lamar Alexander - chaired a hearing in the Senate health committee on Tuesday to explore the remarkable progression science is making toward a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as to remind parents to have their children get their childhood vaccinations and encourage as many Americans as possible to get the flu vaccine this fall. I received an update on Operation Warp Speed, which is working around the clock to develop, manufacture, and distribute safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines as rapidly as possible. Some people incorrectly believe “warp speed” means cutting corners, but it refers to the extraordinary investment in research, development, and manufacturing scale-up for a COVID-19 vaccine. Perhaps most significantly, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has taken the unprecedented step to help speed up manufacturing for hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines early in the process by buying these doses in advance so they can be ready to distribute as soon as the new vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Despite the speed with which scientists are developing a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Commissioner of the FDA, said the agency is not skimping on its review of safety and efficacy: “This is going to be a science, medicine, data decision. This is not going to be a political decision,” Dr. Hahn has said.

At the hearing I addressed three questions that Americans have about vaccines: 1. Are they safe; 2. Are they effective; and 3. Is the doctor’s office safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

1. Vaccines are reviewed and approved by the FDA. FDA can either license a vaccine or authorize a vaccine for use during a public health emergency – and the FDA’s stringent approval process is the gold standard for the rest of the world. The vaccines that are routinely given to children are specifically recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an outside group of experts that looks at all available scientific information about each vaccine. Medical associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians work with ACIP to develop these recommendations.

2. Polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. Following introduction of polio vaccines, the number of polio cases fell rapidly to less than 100 in the 1960s and fewer than 10 in the 1970s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thanks to a successful vaccination program, the United States has been polio-free since 1979.

3. The pandemic has made some parents leery of the doctors’ office. For parents who are worried about taking their children to the doctor during the pandemic, AAP says pediatricians are working to ensure their offices are as safe as possible for children to visit. According to the AAP’s Dr. Sean O’Leary, “Medical offices are among the safest places you can be right now given the really extensive measures they’ve taken to prevent spread of COVID-19 both to themselves and their patients. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to go to their doctor.”

Fortunately, thanks to an unprecedented effort by private sector and our government, as well as scientists around the world, there is likely to be a COVID-19 vaccine ready for the most vulnerable citizens by the end of the year and hundreds of millions of doses early in 2021. Some of the challenges apart from developing a vaccine are: how to distribute it, to whom it should go first and how to persuade Americans that it is safe to take.

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American Nativity Scene needs volunteers to put a nativity scene in the state capitol.

From The Thomas Moore Society: 

Can you honor our Lord in a special way this year by bringing the nativity scene to your state capitol? To get a nativity on the state capitol grounds, we need private citizens like you to team up with the American Nativity Scene and the Thomas More Society. 

If you are willing to volunteer this year and express your freedom of speech and freedom of religion we can help you do it right! 

In 2019 we were able to help bring the nativity to a record 27 state capitols, the largest number in our history.  This year there are a few states where we are still lacking volunteers, and your state is one of them. We need you, and folks like you, to help us get nativities in your home state's capitol. 

Our staff are available to offer free legal help for our volunteer applicants and the American Nativity Scene is available to supply a free nativity set to be displayed. All we need is an eager volunteer to help organize an event, build a creche for the Holy Family, and bring them into the public square. 

The American Nativity Scene has an ambitious goal to get a nativity in your state this year, will you help us?


If you'd like to volunteer, or are a part of a group that can volunteer, please contact us by email, ctalty@thomasmoresociety.org to help walk you through the steps of applying for a permit to display a nativity scene on your state's capitol.

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Art Break: The Lions at 10th Avenue South and Bradford Avenue.

 

These two lions stand guard at the sidewalk entrance to a house on the corner of Bradford Avenue and 10th Avenue South.  Until recently they were white and then they received this wonderful treatment.  I don't know if it is a restoration or a modification.  When white, I thought they were kind of tacky.  Now, I am impressed.  I had never really thought much about them before the new paint job.  I just assumed they were concrete yard art.  They are cast iron.  The eyes seem to glow, but they are not glass.  That is paint. Beautifully done. 

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Election Commission has verified enough signatures to warrant a referendum. "Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act” will be on the ballot in a December referendum.

 My Comment:



See Nashville Voters A Step Closer To A December Referendum Election.

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Mail-in ballots are an open invitation to cheat.

Albert Tieche
by Albert Tieche- Mail-in ballots are an open invitation to cheat. It is like announcing that there will be no police on the interstate to pull over speeders. In both scenarios, most people will obey the law but some will not. It is that simple. Some will cheat. 

Mail-in vs Absentee ballots 

There is a big difference between the procedure for absentee ballots and mail-in ballots. While there is variation from state to state, in Tennessee absentee ballots must be requested by voters. Conversely, mail-in ballots are automatically sent to voters without a request. Here are some specifics about the absentee voting process in Tennessee: 

To vote absentee: 
1. A voter must be a properly registered voter on the county voter database.

2. A voter must request an absentee ballot using a form designed for that purpose. Here is the Davidson County absentee request form. The request forms are filled out by the voter, signed, and returned by mail or fax, or emailed with a scanned signature.
    a. The absentee ballot request form requires the voters identifying information, including their SS number, the reason for requesting the absentee ballot, the address to which the ballot is to be mailed, and the requesting voter’s signature. That signature is matched to the signature on file with the election commission. The election commission then sends out the absentee ballot to the voter along with instructions and a specialized ballot envelope that has places for voter information on it. This return envelope must also be filled out.

3. A voter must complete the ballot, seal it in the provided return envelope and return that in a larger outer envelope. 
    a. When the absentee ballot is received at the county election commission, the information the voter provided on the specialized return envelope is used to verify that the ballot is being properly cast in that particular election BEFORE the envelope is opened. This procedure protects the secrecy of the ballot. A ballot itself can NEVER contain voter information, so verification must be done from the envelope before the ballot is revealed. A team made up of people of both parties examines the envelopes and declares absentee ballots to be accepted or rejected. A different team, again made up of people from both parties, looks at the accepted ballots and tallies the votes. The absentee process opens up an opportunity for voter fraud because the “chain of custody” of the ballot is broken from the time the absentee ballot is received in a voter’s mailbox, until the completed ballot is received back at the election commission. But, that risk of fraud is preferable to denying the vote to a voter who could not get to the polls in their home county on election day or during early voting. It is a cost-benefit analysis. Responsible people designed the absentee process to minimize the opportunities for fraud while also making allowances for those who would be absent. The absentee process works well. 
Voting by Mail

In contrast, vote-by-mail massively expands the number of ballots that are open to fraud. Simply stated, if all voters are sent a mail-in ballot, then all ballots are outside the chain of custody and every single ballot presents an opportunity for fraud. But, it is even worse than that. The number of mail in ballots sent out would be larger than the largest turnout ever in the history of every county that does mail in ballots. Here is why. 

Let’s assume for this discussion that ballots would be mailed to all registered voters. Makes sense, right? There would be no other way to do it. OK. Should ballots be mailed to “inactive” voters, too? What is an inactive voter you ask? “Inactive” is a designation noted on the voter rolls when a voter fails to vote, or contact their election commission, or respond to mailings from the election commission for a number of years. An inactive voter is still a registered voter. But, state law is written to address the fact that the election commission has good reason to believe the voter may have moved, died or otherwise ceased to be an active voter. The inactive voter designation and procedures are in place to prevent voter fraud when a voter’s status is in question. In a vote-by-mail situation, sending ballots to inactive voters, many of whom have moved out of the jurisdiction or died, would be an invitation to voter fraud. Would you mail ballots to inactive voters? Why or why not?

In large elections with high turnout, such as a presidential election, around 70% of registered voters actually vote. That means if ballots are mailed to all registered voters, 30% of the ballots will be mailed to people who would not normally vote. For other elections, the percentage turnout goes much lower, down in to the 25% range. No one likes to talk about it but, at a minimum, about 30% of registered voters, do not vote, even in the hotly contested presidential elections. There is no way to determine in advance, who is not interested in voting. It changes from election to election. With in-person voting, the uninterested voters, a minimum of 30%, simply do not show up to vote. That is how we know they were uninterested in voting. However, if we mail ballots to every registered voter, that huge additional percentage of “unwanted” ballots, (for lack of a better description) would exist outside the chain of custody, and are yet another expansion of the opportunities for voter fraud. If you are mailing to all registered voters, that 30% who were not going to vote, even in the upcoming “most important election of our lives,” as both major parties like to say, will receive ballots that they do not care about. Is that a good idea? 

We know from history that there are several methods to commit voter fraud when there are significant percentages of ballots outside the chain of custody. 

Here are some of the more common ways voter fraud can and will occur. 
1. The day or days that mail out ballots arrive in peoples mailboxes cannot be kept secret. People willing to commit voter fraud can steal ballots from other people’s mailboxes when they are delivered, by the USPS. They can complete the stolen ballots, fraudulently sign them and return them. The fraudulent ballots may, or may not, be detected upon return to the election office. Are you OK with that?

2. “Vote harvesters” can go to those who are not particularly interested in voting (30%) and persuade or intimidate them into casting a vote for the candidate for whom the “harvester” is working and being paid. We know from news reports that people are being trained to do this. Are you confident that no coercion will occur in this scenario? If you think it might happen sometimes, but not much, give me a % of time that coercing another person to vote the way you want is OK. 

3. If unwanted ballots are thrown away in the trash, “vote harvesters” can retrieve those ballots from the trash, fill them out for their preferred candidate and return them. Is that OK?

4. People who are not particularly interested in voting (remember the 30 %?) can sell their votes. You don’t think people would do such a thing? In years past, people often sold their votes for a ½ pint of whiskey. I recommend the book The Secrets of the Hopewell Box by James D. Squires. It documents the breadth and depth of voter fraud in Davidson County, TN in the 1950s. The same things were going on all over the country. The system has been greatly improved since then. Do you want to go back to the old system and the fraud involved in it?

5. Relatives can acquire the ballots of frail or disabled voters, either from the mailbox or from their homes, fill them out and coerce the frail or disabled voter into signing and returning the ballots. If you do not think that can happen, or that it could never change the outcome of an election, may I recommend the book “Injustice” by former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams. He describes how that very thing happened in Noxubee County, Mississippi until the feds stepped in and people went to jail. It should be noted that state officials knew what was happening but failed to act. 

6. Corrupt postal workers can fail to deliver the blank ballots to voters in areas where the voters tend to be one party or the other. Of the 75,000 USPS mail carriers, let’s assume that 99% are perfectly honest and above reproach. That leaves 750 postal carriers who might be tempted to throw away the thousands of ballots they were assigned to deliver in order to assist a candidate for a cash reward. So are you OK if candidates corrupt only 1% of postal workers? How about ½ of 1%?

7. Postal workers can fail to deliver completed ballots back to the election commissions. Same questions as above. 
It comes down to this: What percentage of fraud are you comfortable with in a given election? 5%? 1%? ½ of 1 %. Many elections are won on much smaller margins than that. Over the years, we as a country have tightened up election laws and processes expressly for the purpose of eliminating opportunities for fraud. Why should we revert to a system that opens up massive opportunities for fraud? Another good look at human nature and voter fraud is the movie “The Battle of Athens” which shows how easily humans can justify committing voter fraud. 

The Ostensible Reason for Mail-in Ballots

COVID 19 and the need for social distancing is cited as the reason states need to move to mail-in ballots. The claim being made is that there is no way to maintain social distancing while standing in a line on election-day. That may indeed be true. However, two  weeks of early voting renders that concern irrelevant in Tennessee or any other state with early voting. Early voting locations in Tennessee currently produce around one-half of all votes cast in elections. The early voting sites are rarely crowded. “Steady all day” is typically as busy as early voting gets. The busiest times are morning rush hour, evening rush hour and lunch time. These early voting sites can handle significantly more volume they are currently handling while maintaining social distancing. 

In other words, no one needs to wait in line at a crowded poll on election day when early voting is available. In addition, if early voting still seems too risky for older people, who we now know are by far and away the most vulnerable to COVID, it should be noted that in Tennessee, ANYONE over age 60 can request an absentee ballot based on their age alone. That means COVID does not present the obstacle that some are claiming. It is only an excuse to open more opportunities for voter fraud. 

Conclusion 

We as a society, have a set of voting laws that we have agreed on through several hundred years of experience. The election process has been improved over the years and the existing laws work well to minimize opportunities for fraud. It is extremely ill-advised for a society to allow voting laws to be ignored or, to change voting laws that were designed to prevent fraud. A secure election system insures fairness and maintains citizens’ confidence in a civil society. 

Vote-by-mail opens new and large areas for voter fraud. People of both parties who have experience with election procedures and laws know that there are indeed people who will commit voter fraud if given the chance. An election system designed and operated in a manner that prevents opportunities for voter fraud will be trusted. An election system that allows multiple, large, opportunities for voter fraud will erode everyone’s confidence in our system of representative government. Vote-by-mail opens up an opportunity for fraud for every ballot that is mailed. Anyone who understands the voting process knows this. Anyone who does not understand the voting process is too uninformed to be involved in determining voting procedures.

Albert Tieche is retired manufacturing consultant and lives in Madison, TN. He began working as an election-day poll worker in 2002, served as a contact trainer for election-day poll workers and eventually served two years as the Administrator of Elections for Davidson County, TN.

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Friday, September 11, 2020

917 Society CONSTITUTION DAY CELEBRATION TICKETS

WE ARE ALMOST AT CAPACITY!! RESERVE YOUR TICKET TODAY!
When: September 17th of course!! 
Where: Elks Lodge #72 485 Oak Meadow Drive Franklin, TN 37064 
Time: 6:00-7:00 Cocktail hour (cash bar available and heavy appetizers) 7:00-8:30 Presentation.

We have a fantastic line-up to honor our Constitution. Founders Club Members will have special recognition in the presentation, seating and a photographer will be there to take group and individual photos for the website social media and newsletter. Parking is free and plentiful.  Masks and Social distancing will be observed. 

JOIN THE 917 SOCIETY TODAY BY CLICKING THIS BUTTON!

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Reflections on 9-11. Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.

by Rod Williams -  On September 11, 2001 I got up like most days and got ready for work. As I recall,

I had the TV on when a program was interrupted saying a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I did not think a lot about it at first. No details were available, and I assumed some private small plane had flown off course and accidentally crashed into the building. 

By the time I got to work, the second plane had hit and it was clear that the U. S. was under attack. My long-time, long-distance girl friend, Louella Ballenger, who is now my wife, worked in Washington DC at the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, located right next to Union Station which is across the street from the back of the US Capitol. I do not recall the sequence of events exactly, but it must have been after the Pentagon was hit and I started wondering what was next. I feared we were under an all out attack. I tried several times to reach Louella. I wanted to see if she was all right and tell her I loved her. I feared the worse. 

After several attempts, I reached her. Chaos was reigning at her place of work. People were free to leave work, but the subways were not running and the roadways were jammed. She was waiting out the crisis at her office. We told each other how much we loved each others. 

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

I was working at the Woodbine Community Organization, which was a community-oriented social services agency, neighborhood organization, and a housing counseling agency.  I went to my boss, Cathie Dodd, and said we ought to do something. She agreed. We busied ourselves the next day putting together a program and emailing and calling people to tell them about it. With little advance notice, we had a full house. Co-workers and people from other agencies we work with, friends, agency clients, and people from the community joined in a memorial service at work. We prayed and sang songs and were comforted. All rancor and petty conflicts were put aside as we held hands in prayer and hugged and comforted each other. People cried. It was a healing process. 

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

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

 

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning  

Were you when the world stopped turning 
that September day 
Out in the yard with your wife and children 
Working on some stage in LA 
Did you stand there in shock at the site of That black smoke 
rising against that blue sky 
Did you shout out in anger, In fear for your neighbor 
Or did you just sit down and cry 
Did you weep for the children 
Who lost their dear loved ones 
And pray for the ones who don't know 
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble 
And sob for the ones left below 
Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue 
The heroes who died just doing what they do 
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer 
And look at yourself to what really matters

I 'm just a singer of simple songs 
I'm not a real political man 
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you 
The difference in Iraq and Iran 

But I know Jesus and I talk to God 
And I remember this from when I was young 
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us 
And the greatest is love 

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day? 
Teaching a class full of innocent children 
Driving down some cold interstate 
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor 
In a crowded room did you feel alone? 
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her 
Did you dust off that bible at home? 
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened 
Close your eyes and not go to sleep 
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages 
Speak with some stranger on the street 
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow 
Go out and buy you a gun 
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching 
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns 
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger 
Stand in line and give your own blood 
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family 
Thank God you had somebody to love?
 
I'm just a singer of simple songs 
I'm not a real political man 
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you 
The difference in Iraq and Iran 
But I know Jesus and I talk to God 
And I remember this from when I was young 
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us 
And the greatest is love 

I'm just a singer of simple songs 
I'm not a real political man 
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you 
The difference in Iraq and Iran 
But I know Jesus and I talk to God 
And I remember this from when I was young 
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us 
And the greatest is love 
The greatest is love 
The greatest is love 

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Rally for Freedom, Friday September 11th

 No description available.


RallyforFreedom.Com

Rod's Comment: I have qualms about seeing the 9/11 commemoration day used for partisan political purposes.  Maybe it is too much to hope for, but I would like to see kept alive the spirit I recall displayed on 9-11.  It did not matter if one was a Republican or Democrat; we were all Americans.  Sometimes I get the feeling that Republicans love America and Democrats do not.  I don't want to believe that is true. I want to think of Democrats as our adversaries with a difference of opinion on some issues of governance, but not our enemies.  I want to think of them as just wrong; not evil. After 9-11, it seems to me, that Democrats were as patriotic as Republicans and rallied around the flag.  That was not that long ago. We need more opportunities where non-partisan patriotism can be displayed.  We need opportunities where we can come together on those things that unite us and ignore those things that divide us. I don't want to see 9-11 become a Republican holiday.  I am undecided if I will be attending this event.  

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Defend the Police! Organize a Save the Country Rally.



by Rod Williams - I look forward to participating in a large, high-profile, Defend the Police Rally here in Nashville. There has been a local effort to show support for the police and I commend those who have organized it and hope they are continuing their effort and are participating in this national effort to have Defend the Police/Save Our Country rallies across America.  

To get noticed and have our voices heard, those of us supporting a return to law and order have to be vocal and show that there are a lot of us. We have to make a showing that will not be ignored by the media.  We have to get the attention of politicians. 

If people do not demand a return to law and order and encourage local governments to put a stop to the violence and riots occurring across America, I fear we are headed for a worsening situation.  We have already seen the appearance of private militias in some places across America.  I do not know if these militia are admirable citizens trying to protect the lives and property of their neighbors or are violent right-wing thugs looking to do battle with Antifa.  When we start seeing armed right-wing radicals engaged in pitched battles in our streets with armed left-wing radicals, the civil unrest becomes a civil war.  So far, a few people have died in the riots.  It this civil unrest escalates into opposing groups battling for control of the streets, many may die. So far we have seen left wing radicals run rampant and police retreat, "deescalate," and give the left-wing mobs free reign. This can not continue. 

Unless, the police are permitted to restore law and order it is inevitable that people will take the task of defending their lives and property into their own hands.  If the government won't restore order and protect citizens, then citizens will take the law into their own hands and some of those doing so, may be as ruthless and violent as the left-wing mobs. 

It is time to voice our opinion and show that instead of wanting to defund the police, we want to defend the police. We want the police to restore order and we want a return to a civil society. We want to save the country.

I do not know anything about the Defend the Police organization beyond what is on their website so am not vouching for the organization, but I hope this is the real deal and the start of the silent majority regaining their voice. 

Below is a message from Defend the Police.
To our supporters, We continue to be excited about our rally! We have also taken note of some heartfelt opinions we received regarding the proposed date of September 11th. We appreciate what it means to so many and to our country as a whole, and feel the day is best served to remain a day of personal reflection versus a public rally. 

We have received an incredible amount of interest that we did not expect, yet are grateful to have received such an outpouring of support! To be clear, we are not political activists. We are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, and colleagues. And, we want to ensure we maximize the safety of our supporters and the effect of our event by doing it the right way! After thoughtful consideration, respect for September 11th, the overwhelming interest, ideas, and feedback received, we plan to move our Save the Country Rally in Massachusetts to Saturday, September 26th. We will provide a location for our local rally in Massachusetts as we get closer to the date of the event. 

For all those who are interested in hosting a rally in their neighborhood or community, please contact us so we can work with you and help make that happen. All updated details will be posted on our Facebook event page, and our website. Contact us at the following link if you continue to be interested in supporting us! Click below to RSVP to the event!https://www.facebook.com/events/1188302578211652

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Nashville To Return Teachers And Students To In-Person Classes

by DAMON MITCHELL, WPLN News, SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 - Metro Nashville Public Schools is making a greater commitment to protect the health of teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the district prepares to transition back to in-person classes. ...


Starting Wednesday, the district is transitioning students attending Genesis Academy and High Roads School of Nashville, special day schools for students with disabilities, back to school buildings. All students with disabilities will be allowed to return to classrooms with face-to-face teacher support by Sept. 23. 

Schools leaders are planning to bring more teachers back for in-person instructions in October, starting with educators who teach the district’s youngest learners. Meanwhile, the district is asking parents to choose between online and in-person classes in a Metro Schools survey by Sept. 15. Families who do not complete the survey will be selected for in-person learning by default. Students who do return to school buildings will be required to wear face masks and follow health and safety protocols. (read more)

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Who are Tennessee's Taxpayer Heroes and Taxpayer Foes

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN), the Volunteer State’s leading grassroots advocate for economic freedom, announced the release of their taxpayer scorecard today. The grassroots group produces this comprehensive legislative digest to inform Tennesseans on how their elected state officials voted on some of the most impactful bills from the 2019-20 legislative session, covering issues such as cronyism, taxes, health care, and criminal justice reform.


AFP also announced a robust digital and mail effort that promotes the scorecard across the Volunteer State and lets citizens know which lawmakers earned the designation of being “Taxpayer Heroes”. Legislators are scored on an A-F scale based on their voting records and bills sponsored. In order to obtain the “Taxpayer Hero” designation, legislators must receive an A or higher on the group’s scorecard. This year, a record 79 legislators met the criteria for being a “Taxpayer Hero”. 

AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable issued the following statement: “AFP’s Taxpayer Scorecard is our good faith effort to inform citizens about the performance of their elected representatives. There is no better barometer by which to measure lawmakers’ allegiance to fiscal responsibility, economic freedom, and breaking down barriers so every Tennessean can live the American Dream than to evaluate their votes on important legislation. Simply put, their votes are their record.”



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Let Nashville Parents Choose!

 

I support his effort.  It is time to let kids get back to school! Children are not very vulnerable to catching the virus. If other businesses are allowed to reopen and social gatherings are permitted to resume, schools should also reopen.  Many parents cannot return to work because their children must stay at home, so a parent must stay at home. This affects the economic recovery and is causing a severe economic hardship on parents. Some families cannot pay their house payment or rent because of the reduced income or in the case of single parents, lack of an income, due to this policy. Students are losing ground in their academic development.  Reopen schools! For those parents afraid to return their child to the classroom, we could continue to offer virtual learning. For Facebook connection to this cause, follow this link

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Friday, September 4, 2020

Nashville has declared war on affordable housing




by Michael Dioguardi, reposted from Facebook -  The Barnes Fund, another useless waste of money that does nothing to help with affordable housing but creates the appearance that the city is doing “something”. 

But the reality is the city IS doing something....something wrong. Local government basically has declared war on affordable housing with layers of restrictions preventing people from providing affordable housing. City planners control what sort of housing can be built — and where — through zoning and land-use laws. These central planners tell us where housing must be single-family or multi-family. They tell us if you're allowed to rent out one of your bedrooms to a non-relative. They tell us if you can build an auxiliary housing unit on your property. With so much government planning at work, the effect has been rising home prices and a higher cost of living. 

And again, those who suffer the most tend to be those with the lowest incomes. We've all seen it at work over and over again in many of these older inner suburbs: A landowner realizes the housing demand has increased in the area and attempts to put a four-unit building where a single-family home once stood. Naturally, this change will create more housing, bring down rents, and, of course, allow a private-property owner to exercise his rights as an owner. But, in many cases, the private-property owner quickly finds he has no such rights. The neighbors, who don't want to live near a row of townhouses or have more cars parked on the street will protest to the city government, demand a zoning hearing, and fight to ensure that only a single-family unit is allowed on the lot. In many cases, they'll use the increasingly-popular tactic of "downzoning" in which people who earlier bought property with the hope of developing it later will be robbed of their property rights. They'll be told: "sorry, that thing we once said you could do with your property — you can't do that anymore." This is done so that the community's other residents can maintain the status quo in that neighborhood until the end of time. 

At the same time, employment continues to expand in nearby commercial areas, so employees — instead of living in inner suburbs — must move further and further outside the urban area and commute on taxpayer-funded roads. Nor is this problem limited to what many view as primarily residential areas. Even on major thoroughfares, nearby residents will protest new apartment buildings because they are believed to be unsightly, or will create more local traffic, or are simply something different they don't like. The "solution" in this case is to shift traffic somewhere else — to the suburban freeways, for example — and shift the cost to statewide taxpayers who now must foot the bill for extending infrastructure ever further outward. 

In all these cases, one group of voters uses the power of government to force costs onto some other group of voters in some other area — and onto the workers who must live further and further from employment. This is all done to save the "character" of the neighborhood. But it's really done because many homeowners have no qualms about using the power of the state to prevent other property owners from using their own property as they see fit. Having caused the shortage of housing in places where people actually want to live, our "progressive" advocate for low density and exclusionary zoning may then attempt to sooth his conscience by advocating for a small number of subsidized housing units nearby. Or, he may demand "inclusionary zoning" which mandates that developers set aside a certain percentage of all new units as "affordable" units with legally-imposed limits on how high prices can go.

Unfortunately, thanks to the continuing role of government in housing production, attempting to meet the needs of renters and buyers continues to be an exhausting quest to deal with an endless assortment of ordinances, mandates, regulations, and plans. The current planners don't want more housing. The government planners only want a certain type of housing. Meanwhile, the renters live in smaller and smaller units, and drive further and further. But there's one thing of which we can be sure. "Capitalism" will be blamed for it all.

Michael Dioguardi lives in Nashville, Tennessee where he is a Property Manager and Residential Asset Management. He is one of my favorite commentators on Facebook. He does not comment on every snippet of news or meme but when he does comment, he writes thoughtful essays.

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