Category Archives: Tennessee politics

Clueless Bill Haslam Demands Answers About Routine Event In Tennessee

Apparently Gov. Haslam has no clue what is going on in the state of Tennessee.

In a pathetic attempt to appear tough on the Muslim-Usurper-Blackety-Black-Man-In-The-White-House and exploit a national news story, Gov. Haslam has sent what local media are calling an “angry” letter to President Obama demanding answers about 760 immigrant and refugee kids who were sent to families here in Tennessee.

In so doing, he has made an absolute fool out of himself:

The unaccompanied minors have been placed into Tennessee households with approved “sponsors” — typically their own families and relatives — as has been happening for years, said immigrant and refugee advocates.

“They’ve got somewhere to go,” said Eben Cathey, spokesman for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. “They’re not getting dropped off. They’re getting placed with their mom, dad, aunt or uncle.”

Haslam’s letter demanded to know such things as how the sponsors were selected, what criteria were used to determine sponsors’ suitability, etc. The Haslam administration is “still waiting” for answers, too. Which I find hilarious. Haslam is demanding to know answers about something which has been going on routinely in this state for over a decade! Perhaps there’s someone right here in Tennessee he can ask? The Tennessee Office of Refugees, perhaps?

It’s hard not to see this for the political maneuvering it so obviously is. I guess Bill Haslam is still harboring dreams of a presidential run some day down the road. Hilarious. No one is fooled, though:

Dan Kesselbrener, National Immigration Project executive director, said the process for minors has been the same since 2002 and has never included a mandate to inform states about placements.

“The only thing that’s new is the volume,” he said. “To me, the only way to make sense of the letter is that he cares now because it’s a bigger deal. It appears to be consistent with someone who is trying to score points against the administration.”

Bingo! Thank you for playing!

You know what else I just love, love, love? Right-wingers are always all like, “let the churches deal with x, y, z problem, let charities handle it.” Catholic Charities does, in fact, carry a tremendous amount of the load when it comes to immigrants and refugees, not just here in Tennessee but everywhere. But they have an especially strong presence here in Tennessee, providing sponsors, placements, English classes, and all sorts of other programs. Tennessee in general is blessed to have a lot of churches and charities which serve the refugee community — we’re the Volunteer State, fer crying out loud. It’s why we’re a go-to place for refugee resettlement, because of the support from the church sector. It’s why we have the largest Kurdish population in the nation. It’s why we have so many refugees from Somalia and Sudan living here. It’s why Nashville is seeing a large number of refugees from Myanmar. So we are, in fact, doing what right-wingers want: churches and charities shouldering the load, embracing refugees from war-torn parts of the world, assimilating immigrants into America, rah rah.

And Bill Haslam wants some answers from the White House about what we’ve been doing for years? Puh-leeze.

Here’s a thought for Gov. Haslam: why don’t you just high-tail it on down to NICE, Catholic Charities, the TIRRC, Conexion Americas, or, heck, just take a little tour down Nolensville Road and talk to some shop owners to get yourself up to speed on immigrants in Nashville. Hell, you can sit in on my ESL class today. We won’t mind. Just keep your yap shut since so much stupid keeps falling out.

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Filed under Gov. Bill Haslam, immigration, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

What It Takes To Get An “A” Rating From The NRA

I’m just now catching up on all the news I missed from the past week. This is absolutely hilarious:

NASHVILLE — U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., has gotten a boost in his reelection bid in the form of an endorsement from the powerful National Rifle Association’s political arm.

“On behalf of our five million members across the country, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is proud to endorse your candidacy,” wrote James J. Baker, the group’s director of federal affairs in a July 14 letter.

The NRA-PVF gave DesJarlais an “A” rating.

DesJarlais is facing a tough reelection fight after it was revealed that the pro-life Tea Party wackaloon is a serial philanderer who pressured at least one mistress to have an abortion, while his wife had two abortions. This is a pattern with pro-lifers: my abortion is necessary and perfectly fine. Yours, not so much.

But here’s what I love about the NRA endorsement: this is the guy who allegedly dry-fired a gun outside his then-wife’s locked bedroom door and held a gun in his own mouth for three hours during an argument with her.

An “A” rating from the NRA, yessirree. And they wonder why we call them gun-humpers.

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Filed under gun control, NRA, Republican Party, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Take That, Bob Corker: VW Chattanooga Has UAW AND SUV

Oh, my! Major Tennessee Republican FAIL: On Friday, the United Auto Workers established a local union to represent workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

Today Volkswagen announced the Chattanooga plant will manufacture VW’s new SUV line, a move expected to bring some 1,350 jobs to Tennessee.

Suck on that, Bob Corker.

(For more on this, read here, here, here and here.

[UPDATE]:

Trying to make lemonade out of this huge bag of lemons they’ve been handed, right-wingers are saying there’s no way that Volkswagen will ever recognize the new UAW local in Chattanooga. Really? I beg to differ:

First, the February vote was a narrow loss — 53 percent to 47 percent — and the result showed strong support among workers, despite heavy opposition from outside groups and Tennessee legislators.

Second, the UAW said it already had signed cards from a majority of the workers prior to the election, saying they favored representation.

I have no doubt in my mind that the UAW would have won that February election had it not been for outside interference from the likes of Sen. Bob Corker and right-wing cheap labor groups.

I suspect that unionization, like Obamacare, is one of those things people actually like once they’ve lived with it for a while. That’s when they realize it’s not the path to ruin/Fascism/Socialism/FEMA death camps they’ve been told it is by the Fox News crowd but, in fact, something that actually benefits people. And that’s why Republicans like Bob Corker and Bill Haslam have been shitting bricks over this VW plant for the past year.

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Filed under Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee, Tennessee politics, unions

Your State Under Republican Rule

Hey, Gov. Bill Haslam: you might want to rethink that whole “we can’t afford the virtually free Medicaid expansion” deal the Feds are offering:

Crews were called to the Advance Auto Parts on Nolensville Pike after the robbery occurred around 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to a release from the Metro Nashville Police Department.

With a black mask concealing his face and a semiautomatic pistol in hand, he demanded money from a cash register. He allegedly repeatedly told the clerk “my girl’s got cancer, I need this money,” police said.

After the cashier complied, police said, the suspect fled on foot near the Full Gospel Mission Church.

I swear to God, Republicans have no clue how to run a government. On the other hand, I guess they’re wishing/hoping that cashier had been armed so he could “stand his ground” and shoot and kill the guy. Problem solved!

Republicans don’t care about people, plain and simple. They don’t care about black people, poor people, sick people, or anyone who’s either not a fetus or or a person of the “corporate” person.

Looks like it’s time for me to amend my “Top Signs Your Healthcare System Is Broken” list and add #6: when people rob you at gunpoint to pay for their girl’s cancer treatment.

I’m sick to death of Republicans driving people to desperation because they’ve never had to wonder where their next meal is coming from and assume everyone who does is just lazy. Fucking fuckers.

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Filed under healthcare, Nashville, Republican Party, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

When Being Anti-Union Is More Important Than Being Pro-Job

Welcome to your modern Tennessee Republican Party, folks. They talk a good game about getting the government out of the way of business but when that business wants to work with the UAW, all of that good talk gets chucked by the wayside:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Volkswagen warned Tennessee officials during difficult negotiations over incentives to expand the automaker’s Chattanooga plant that the company has already secured offers to build a new SUV elsewhere.

Volkswagen attorney Alex Leath in a Jan. 27 email to the state Department of Economic and Community Development said “non-deal” issues were causing delays in completing the deal in Tennessee, an allusion to a dispute over whether the United Auto Workers would represent workers at the plant.

That email, I repeat, was dated January 27. So when Sen. Bob “Budinsky” Corker opened his fat yap and let some stupid fall out, was he lying? Or just hopelessly wrong? Corker tried to sway the UAW vote by telling everyone if workers rejected the UAW, the plant would “reward” the state with an expansion:

“I’ve had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga.”

And again:

“If the UAW is voted down they’re going to come here immediately, within a two week period, and affirm they’re going to build a line here,” Corker told The Associated Press on the second of three days of voting.

All of this when, just two weeks prior, the state had been notified that “VW has already secured offers to build a new SUV elsewhere.” So, was Corker, lying? Or just stupid? It’s always so hard to tell.

Meanwhile that two-week period has long-since passed. So where’s the announcement, Senator?

Corker, by the way, still stands by his bald-faced lie unsubstantiated claim blatant fearmongering completely unfounded assertion. He’s obviously visited Frank Luntz’s Little Shop Of Wordtweaking, claiming the UAW is the bad guy here, not his rigid adherence to political ideology over jobs for Tennessee workers:

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said today that the United Auto Workers’ withdrawal of its appeal to February’s union vote at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant opens the way to re-engage with the company to attract a potential expansion.

“It’s a shame the UAW slowed the momentum on our expansion conversations with Volkswagen, but now it’s time for VW, our state and our community to re-engage and move forward with bringing additional jobs to Chattanooga,” said Corker in a statement.

Ah yes, such a shame, Senator. One of the most hilarious bits in this whole farce is the part about how Corker claimed a pro-UAW vote would force VW to move its SUV manufacturing to Mexico — blissfully unaware, it seems, that VW’s Mexico plant is unionized. What a buffoon.

I’m just trying to understand why VW at this point would want to expand in Tennessee. No amount of incentives thrown their way can overcome that stench of merde wafting over political interference in VW’s plant operations.

This is what happens, Tennessee, when you elect Republicans. You get a lot of talk about creating jobs and small government and getting the government out of the way of business, but apparently the only thing they’re actually able to do is shut down Planned Parenthood clinics.

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Filed under Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee, Tennessee politics, unions

Today In Tennessee Banning Things

As our legislative session limps to a close, let’s look at what our elected representatives decided we can’t have:

Bus Rapid Transit — Applies only to Davidson County (Nashville) and Moore County. Because … Koch Bros. and Lee Beaman.

• Flash Mobs — Because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gets a little twitchy when large groups of people show up in front of a retail establishment. Pretty sure this is a free speech issue but hey, I’m not a lawyer. Bite me, U.S. Chamber. We didn’t vote for you.

• Risky behavior when you’re pregnant – – Or as I call it, the “Vessels Law.” This bill would make it a criminal act for women to use illegal drugs while pregnant, but a provision could make it illegal to even drive recklessly. What this bill will really do is keep women who are substance abusers from getting treatment. Another shot fired in the war on women by a bunch of men who have no fucking clue what challenges women face on a daily basis. Slow clap for the pro-life crowd. You just ensured more women and babies will die, more women will seek out illegal abortions, and more pain and suffering will go around. You guys are really good at this.

• U.N. Election Monitors — I’m trying to think of the last time I saw a U.N. election monitor at a polling place in Nashville. That would be never. Still! This one is courtesy of the Black Helicopter crowd, aka, John Birch Society.

Bans on bans on Christmas — This one came from the usual source, State Sen. Stacey Campfield, and had a House counterpart, and last I heard it was awaiting the Governor’s signature. Basically this was a solution in search of a problem, though Campfield claims he heard that “some groups” have “threatened” to sue over holiday displays at schools. Right. And I’ve heard you’ve got monkeys up your ass.

• An apology for slavery – – Okay, this wasn’t a ban, but it was ridiculous. The House voted to express “profound regret” for slavery and discrimination, after removing the original language which was “profound apologies.” Cause we regret it but we’re not sorry, you guys. That would be wrong.

It wasn’t all bad. We kept our ban on guns-in-parks and open-carry (for now!) and a bill allowing sales of high gravity beer in grocery stores passed. Which you will need to guzzle today when the House takes up a bill criminalizing union organizing activity.

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Filed under Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Things Don’t Go Better With Koch

You know what I always say: nothing screams “small government” like a national corporate astroturf group getting your state legislature to crush a municipal transit project.

This won’t mean anything to anyone outside of Nashville, but the Amp has been a hotly debated, very controversial bus project proposed for our city, which sorely needs to improve its craptacular mass transit. I have some good friends in the “Stop-Amp” crowd and some good friends in the “Amp-Yes!” crowd and I’ve been on the fence until now.

The best argument the Stop-Amp folks had was that while the project is a good idea, the route was all wrong. But they pretty much ditched that argument when they got the state Senate to basically ban all mass transit projects in the city. How’s that small government workin’ for ya, folks? The fact that the major funder behind this nonsense is the awful Lee Beaman, who owns several major car dealerships in the city, might strike one as rather self-serving, as well.

So now we have the Kochs stinking up our capitol, and be careful who you align yourselves with, folks. Because having turned the state of Wisconsin into what Charlie Pierce calls “a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries,” it looks like Tennessee is next:

AFP pushes for low taxes, less government spending, more accountability and better schools, Ogles said. The Amp wasn’t the only excitement last week for the group, which has three employees but plans to double its staff soon.

AFP hailed a Senate committee’s passage of school voucher legislation, though it wasn’t as broad as the proposal the organization lobbied for, and the General Assembly’s approval of a measure requiring Gov. Bill Haslam to get legislative approval before expanding TennCare.

Not bad for an outfit that got started here just nine months ago with a budget that Ogles calls “sizable” but won’t disclose. Ogles, one of two registered lobbyists on the staff, said Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee doesn’t endorse or contribute to political campaigns. But he said it saw a political gold mine — and a national launching pad — in Republican-dominated Tennessee.

“With supermajorities in both houses,” he said, “Tennessee is a great state to pass model legislation that can be leveraged in other states.”

Umm … how about some accountability by revealing your budget and donors? No? Gee, I wonder why not.

Is Tennessee ready to be a Mid-South subsidiary of Koch Industries? It’s worked so well for Wisconsin, which has continued to bleed jobs since the Kochs installed Scott Walker in the governor’s office.

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Filed under astroturfing, Lee Beaman, Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessee politics