Category Archives: Tennessee

It City Status Officially Revoked

Yesterday Nashville tore down this gorgeous 135-year-old mansion on Music Row to make way for Richard Branson’s new Virgin Nashville Hotel:

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Sorry I don’t have a better picture. Nobody saw this coming. Maybe if we’d had a heads’ up someone could have gone down there to get a goddamn photo before the bulldozers arrived, y’know? As it is, we’re forced to rely on Google Street View to be the official record of Nashville history.

So, this is progress? No thanks. Real “It Cities” respect their history. And Rebecca Hamilton, trustee of the estate, who sold out and conveniently hid behind “no comment”? Giving you a one-fingered salute, honey.

[UPDATE]:

In an email, the Metro Historical Commission tells me they’d been talking with the building’s new owners since December in an effort to get them to incorporate the original building into their design. This tells me they’ve known the wrecking ball was coming for months and never clued anyone else in about it: not the community they’re supposed to serve, not preservationists, not the news media.

As I said, if anyone had a heads’ up we could have at least got a goddamn picture. But no. So, major fail for another city agency.

Would love to know who’s financing this project. If it’s a local Nashville bank you can expect to hear from me and my middle finger.

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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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Tennessee Gun Report

Today in “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” comes news that Remington Arms has recalled two models due to faulty triggers which can cause accidental shootings, or if you prefer the more polite term they used, “unintentional discharge.”

This week’s gun report features a mixed bag of good news and bad. Good news is our legislature has finally said no to the Tennessee Firearms Assn. In the bad, there were three accidental shootings this week, but no injuries.

Stay safe!

• April 15, 2014:

1- Tennessee’s open-carry law, which was passed by the state Senate last week, appears to have died in the state House. Also shot down: the guns-in-parks bill.

2- A Chattanooga man pulled a gun on a car dealer and demanded he fix his son’s car, which had recently been purchased from the dealership as-is without a warranty. Somewhere during the altercation the gun accidentally fired:

Dedios says it all started when 64-year-old Modesto Cardenas and his son came into his shop, demanding Dedios fix the car his son bought two days earlier. Dedios says he offered to pay for the labor only because he says, the 2007 Chrysler Pacifica was sold as is, and without a warranty.

“I got him right here beside me. He pulls out a gun and points it right here. Right at my head,” said Dedios.

Dedios says he then pushed the gun away and that’s when he says it fired. Dalton Police say the bullet went through a window, making it’s way onto East Morris Street. Cardenas was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm.

I suppose this whole thing could have been avoided if Dedios shot the man and his son as soon as they walked in the door.

/sarcasm

• April 13, 2014:

A Chattanooga man thought he was “dry-firing” his 9mm Glock but — woopsies! — there was a bullet in the chamber. The gun fired through his living room window and took out a neighbor’s car tire.

No, we definitely do not want these people walking around openly carrying their guns. They simply have not shown themselves to be responsible.

• April 11, 2014:

A Nashville first-grader brought a gun to an after-school program at Dan Mills Elementary School. Apparently the gun was “found in a wall during some remodeling.” That sounds mighty suspicious to me.

• April 9, 2014:

1- A drunken Kingsport man was handling his 12-guage late at night when it accidentally fired, sending shots into his elderly neighbors’ house.

2- Sign of the times: Sumner County’s Sheriff’s Department is issuing “active shooter” bags to its deputies.

[UPDATE]:

This just popped in my email box. Chilling:

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Tennessee Gun Report

We had three accidental shootings this week, plus a whole passel of gun cray. In light of yesterday’s action by the state Senate to approve open carry/no permits required, public safety has just taken a turn for the worse here.

Here’s your weekly gun report:

• April 8, 2014:

A Nashville man came home from work to find a burglar inside his house. He detained the man until police arrived, and he didn’t even need a gun to do it. Amazing. NRA talking point FAIL.

Here’s the thing I don’t get with you gun loons: your only argument is, “I have a right to protect myself and my property,” ergo you need to keep your guns with you at all times and in all places. But you never explain why the only way you can protect yourself and your property is by killing someone. Stealing your flat-screen TV is not, at this juncture, a death penalty offense. And there are a whole bunch of ways that people can protect themselves without a firearm.

There are way too many tragedies because someone went off half-cocked and blew an innocent person away under the mistaken idea that they were protecting themselves. Thinking of Ronald Westbrook, Johran McCormick, Carl and Garrick Hopkins, this unnamed 14-year-old Colorado girl, and, of course, Trayvon Martin. The people who chose to use deadly force where it wasn’t warranted will have to live with their tragic mistake for the rest of their lives. You can’t bring dead people back.

At some point we’re going to have to decide what we value more: peoples’ lives or their property.

• April 7, 2014:

1- Greeneville, represent! Congratulations to 62-year-old Donnie Franklin, who accidentally shot himself in the calf while “messing around” with a .25 caliber gun. You are Greeneville’s 7th accidental shooting in the past 12 months.

Y’all are waaay too tiny a town for this much GunFAIL. Just sayin’.

2- A Chattanooga couple decided to shoot up every single room in their house, including their childrens’ toys and their furniture, trying to eradicate imaginary lizards and snakes. Yes, meth was involved. At some point a neighbor collected the couple’s children and took them out of harm’s way. I don’t think they’ll be seeing those kids for a while.

3- A road rage incident in Murfreesboro resulted in one driver pulling a gun and pointing it at the head of another driver.

4- Also in Murfreesboro, some men who crashed a party and started smoking in the host’s apartment turned violent when they were asked to smoke outside. They attacked residents and one pulled out a handgun and started firing.

5- And again in Murfreesboro: shots were fired at the Haynes Manor Apartments, though no injuries were reported. However, children live in the apartment directly above the one that was shot at.

Murfreesboro regularly appears in the Gun Report (and the daily news) for gun violence and gun lunacy. The sheer number of shootings happening down there on a daily basis is alarming. Again: wtf, people?

• April 6, 2014:

1- A Davidson County man accidentally shot his wife in the leg while trying to shoot an “aggressive pit bull.” Yes, that would be the definition of “fail.”

2- A North Chattanooga man fired seven rounds into another man’s door “to scare him.” Just as the Founders intended.

• April 4, 2014:

1- The Monteagle police chief accidentally shot and killed his friend while turkey hunting.

2- This story has gone underreported in the Tennessee press: four Greene County teenagers have been captured in South Carolina with nine guns (including an AK-47) and over 200 rounds of ammo. They were wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Greene County’s Robert J. Blanchard, father of one teen involved in the shooting. Two of the kids are age 15, the others 16 and 17. And I think WTF where did kids this age get their hands on this kind of arsenal and also, y’all can shut up now about rural American being so much better than big cities.

Holy hell.

3- Time to check in with the TSA blog! Well, lookie here:

Agents found a live flash bang grenade in a checked bag at the Memphis airport. Also in Memphis, a loaded .45 caliber handgun with a round chambered was found in a traveler’s carry-on bag on March 29. Meanwhile, a traveler forgot about his or her loaded 9mm left in their carry-on at the Nashville airport on April 3.

I repeat: you lose the right to call yourself a responsible gun owner when you forget where the hell you left your guns. End, full stop.

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TN Senate Approves Open Carry, No Permit Required

So, this just happened:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The state Senate has passed a bill to allow Tennesseans to openly carry guns without a state-issued permit.

The chamber voted 25-2 in favor of the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet.

Beavers said the measure would keep the background checks and training requirements in order to carry concealed firearms, but would allow anyone legally allowed to own a gun to carry it openly.

I’ve been compiling my weekly list of gun loonery and accidental shootings for tomorrow’s Tennessee Gun Report post. We have two three accidental shootings this week, one fatal, which is about the average: we tend to get two a week across the state — at least, those are the ones that are reported in the news media. Most responsible evah, etc. etc. Say it often enough, that still doesn’t make it true.

So, is the Tennessee Senate ensuring the rest of us are at least financially protected from the personal and property damage caused by idiots who can’t take off their pants without accidentally shooting something? Or can’t load a Christmas tree in the back of their truck without shooting themselves? Or can’t clean their guns without accidentally shooting a person eating breakfast in an entirely different room?

Of course not. Because we can throw all sorts of road blocks up to block people trying to vote, or exercise their freedom of religion that’s not Christian-flavored, but the Second Amendment is somehow different from all of those other ones. Somehow that’s the one that Tennessee politicians are just too chicken shit to touch.

So congratulations ALEC, Walmart and Koch Bros.! You got this one. I hope you reap every single ounce of bad karma you deserve for this bone-headed move.

The only solution to this, I fear, is public mocking and shaming. When I see one of these loons walking around with his gun proudly on display, I plan to offer my condolences about his penis. I may start traveling with a box of adult diapers, and hand them out to any one of these scaredy-cats who can’t leave the house without his security blanket. Or how about just asking them, “what the hell is wrong with you?”

Absolutely insane.

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Good News Friday

Lots of good news this week and I’m going to be out of pocket most of the day so enjoy and behave yourselves!

• Married same-sex couples now qualify for Medicare benefits.

• A UN court has halted Japan’s annual whale hunt, saying it’s “not done for scientific purposes.”

• After their daughter’s wedding was called off at the last minute, Atlanta’s Carol and Willie Fowler donated the reception to the homeless:

Fowler had this message for other families:

“Events are canceled, and sometimes for unknown reasons. Do no allow that opportunity to go to waste. Call up your favorite charity. Give them an opportunity to use that for people that will not have an opportunity, perhaps in life.”

Awesome. Apparently this happened last fall but it’s just now hit my radar.

• A Saudi Arabian college student injured in the Boston marathon bombings has sued Glenn Beck for defamation. Beck repeatedly claimed on the air that Abdulrahman Alharbi was linked to the bombings, even criticizing federal authorities for not pursuing this false lead.

It’s about damn time people started suing these assholes for the lies they spread.

• Archaeologists in Egypt have found a 3,3000-year-old tomb that once had a 23-foot-high pyramid.

• New dwarf planets were discovered in Pluto’s neighborhood, and astronomers named one Joe Biden for some weird reason.

• They’ve found water on one of Saturn’s moons.

• A 10-year-old California girl traveled to the Vatican to beg our hippie pope to save her dad from being deported and amazingly it worked.

• The new CEO of software giant Mozilla resigned after his anti-gay views and support for California’s Prop 8 sparked backlash from dating sites like OKCupid and web developers.

• While still below its peak levels, membership in the UAW grew slightly last year.

• West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed the legislature’s 20-week abortion ban, calling it unconstitutional.

• Willie Nelson got his armadillo back.

• For the first time in 10 years, an entire month passed with zero U.S. troops dying in combat.

• Paris elected its first-ever female mayor. And she’s a socialist, too — a real one, not a made-up one.

• The mayor of Kansas City, Mo., has launched a Women’s Empowerment initiative called WE, designed not just to help women-owned businesses get city contracts but more importantly to increase the number of women on city commissions and boards.

• A federal appeals court has backed two San Francisco gun ordinances, one banning hollow-point bullets and one requiring firearms to be stored in a locked container or use trigger locks.

• Obamacare has led to the largest expansion in health coverage for Americans in the past 50 years, with more than 9.5 million previously uninsured people getting coverage.

• Congratulations to Gabrielle Turnquist, a Florida 18-year-old who is the youngest person to pass the UK’s bar exam.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• The Kingsport Police Dept. is using a Nissan Leaf for its codes enforcement vehicle.

• Tennessee death row inmate Nickolus Johnson has been granted a stay of execution.

• A bill that would have allowed for-profit entities to operate charter schools in Tennessee was killed.

This week’s video: Check out this pistol-packing hockey player. I ask you: who the fuck is so stupid they are actually wearing a dang gun while they’re playing hockey? Either this guy took one too many pucks to the head, or the whole thing is a hoax.

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Tennessee Gun Report

Lots of loonery this week, plus one (possibly two) accidental shootings. Enjoy.

• March 31, 2014:

This is one outrageous piece of gun loonery out of Chattanooga:

A woman’s teenage boyfriend fired five shots at another woman, a disabled man and three children after his girlfriend had an argument over trying to get baby formula.

I got nuthin’.

• March 30, 2014:

A woman driving her car just north of Nashville was struck in the leg by a stray bullet which came through the car door. Police have no clue where the bullet came from.

This part of the county is pretty rural and since the incident occurred at 3 pm on a lovely, sunny Sunday afternoon, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it was some yahoo target shooting.

• March 28, 2014:

From Murfreesboro:

MURFREESBORO — A resident of the Brownstone Apartments on Lascassas Pike accused his neighbor of striking him with the butt of a double-barreled shotgun, according to a reported filed Thursday with the Murfreesboro Police Department.

The 19-year-old man told Officer Phillip Simpson that he confronted his neighbor around 11:30 Tuesday night about her harassing his girlfriend over the phone.

The victim said he told her to stop and the 19-year-old woman responded by slamming the door in his face, Simpson said.

“As (the victim) was walking away, (the subject) came back out of the apartment carrying a double-barreled, side-by-side shotgun. (She) approached (the victim) with the shotgun, pointed it at him before flipping it around and striking (him) in the right eye with the buttstock,” Simpson wrote.

• March 26, 2014:

Also from Murfreesboro: Knock knock! Who’s there? Gun. Gun who?

A 35-year old woman at a local apartment complex called the police after she says her neighbor pulled a gun on her. The incident was reported on Tuesday at Saddlebrook Apartments. The victim reported that she had past issues with the neighbor and that he previously spit on her car.

On Tuesday, the victim said she received a knock at her door. When she opened it, her neighbor was allegedly standing with a gun pointed directly at her. She told Officer S. Harris that he held the gun on her for about 5-seconds then started to laugh and walked off.

At this point, the culprit has not been arrested. The case was labeled as an “Aggravated Assault.”

I don’t know, is it a sign of progress that people have stopped using their guns for shooting each other?

• March 18, 2014:

A Murfreesboro man was cleaning his handgun when he accidentally shot himself. It happens.

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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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Tick Tock

An update on this story from last month about Rep. Curry (DUI) Todd’s effort to exempt Tennessee from daylight savings time:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An effort to exempt Tennessee from daylight saving time has failed by one vote in the state House.

The House State Government Committee on Tuesday voted 6-5 against the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville.

All together now: awwwwww. As you may recall, this was a half-baked idea from the get-go, with Rep. Todd originally proposing to do away with daylight savings time completely, then amending it to make daylight savings time permanent. He didn’t seem to know exactly what he wanted to do, just that for some reason changing the clocks twice a year seemed to chafe his britches and it must stop!

The confusion continued when Todd’s bill hit the State Government Committee:

Several lawmakers from the part of the state in the eastern time zone raised concerns that the measure would have caused their region’s time to be mismatched with neighboring states like Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia during part of the year.

Todd amended the bill to exempt East Tennessee from the bill, which caused other lawmakers to raise concerns about possible confusion over only part of the state adhering to daylight saving time.

Just …. stop. Stop being such a crazy old fool. Curry Todd’s district is just east of Memphis and I have to wonder if there isn’t something wrong with the water there. There’s a lot of cray-cray going on in that part of the state.

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Tennessee Gun Report

[UPDATE]:

Big news from SCOTUS today:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court says a federal law barring people convicted of minor domestic violence offenses from possessing guns can be enforced even in states where no proof of physical force is required to support the domestic violence charge.

The justices on Wednesday reinstated charges against a Tennessee man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault in 2001. He was then charged in 2009 with illegal possession of a firearm. Lower courts threw out the gun charge because Tennessee law doesn’t require physical, or violent, force to have been used in misdemeanor domestic assault.

The Supreme Court reversed that decision in an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

The Obama administration argued that the lower courts’ reading of the law would render it unenforceable in many states.

————————————————————

Three accidental shootings make this week’s report, one law-enforcement related, plus a sad update on last week’s accidental shooting in Nashville. But nothing tops this story out of Utah: an 8-year-old, showing his 9-year-old cousin how to handle a .45, while riding in the backseat of a pickup truck. What could possibly go wrong? Listen, folks, just ’cause you don’t believe in Darwin doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in you. Culling the herd, indeed.

Without further ado, I bring you your weekly wrap up of #GunFAIL from across the state.

• March 26, 2014:

A Nashville-area man accidentally shot himself in the hand when he grabbed his gun:

The man told police that he was woken up by a noise at his home on Wellington Court around 4 a.m. While trying to grab his gun, he dropped it and it discharged. He was struck in the hand by a bullet.

That sounds about right.

• March 25, 2014:

1- Two teenagers were arrested for trespassing on the campus of Manassas High School in Shelby County, one carrying a handgun and one carrying a box cutter. They were not students. Seems way too many teenagers have access to guns in this state.

2- Residents of Elder Mountain outside of Chattanooga seek peace from the “Fourth of July every day” they experience due to an illegal gun range at the 86-acre Firemen and Policemen Outing Club.

• March 24, 2014:

A 15-year-old Sevierville teenager accidentally shot himself in the leg with a Colt .45 while putting on his gun belt:

Galloway told Allen they had completed their ride and were feeding their horses when a male in their party, who was 15 at the time but turned 16 on Monday, said he was going to check his “game cameras.”

“He went outside and put his gun belt on,” Allen stated in his report. “A few minutes later they heard him screaming as he came out onto the porch. He told them he had dropped his Colt .45 out of the holster, and when it hit the floor it went off.”

The bullet reportedly traveled through the front side of his lower right leg and exited just above it, Allen added.

Respect the culture, etc. etc.

• March 23, 2014:

1- A man fired shots into the air after an argument at his cousin’s house and was promptly arrested.

2- Update: the Nashville teenager accidentally shot in the neck last week by his friend has died.

3- Lots of gun violence this week, which I don’t normally report here, but I wanted to call attention to this story: One person died and three others were injured when an argument inside a Johnson City nightclub escalated and someone began shooting in the club parking lot. You know, things don’t “escalate” to deadly levels if people don’t have guns with them everywhere. Just sayin’.

But yeah, there’s that one chance in five thousand that you might get to use your gun to play Sir Galahad and live out your wingnut hero fantasies, so by all means, take that chance.

• March 19, 2014:

A Bartlett police investigation into a shooting that occurred while suspects were being served warrants states that the shooting was accidental:

Marcus Allen was shot in the hip as Bartlett officers tried to service a warrant for drugs.

Rikard says Lontrelle Green accidentally shot Allen during the raid.

Bartlett police officers said Green pointed a gun at them so they fired ten shots but did not his either man

All officers involved has been returned to duty.

Also love that the police officers fired 10 shots but didn’t hit anyone.

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