Category Archives: Tennessee

I Don’t Think Human Rights Means What They Think It Means

I hate to tromp all over my last post but this just crossed my desk and I’m just … dumfounded:

A former Metro councilman known for spearheading Nashville’s failed English-only referendum is set to serve on the board of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission after receiving an appointment from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

Eric Crafton, long ridiculed by Democrats for his unsuccessful push in 2009 to make English the official language of Metro government, will begin his service on the nine-member volunteer board Friday after getting the nod from Ramsey last month.

I’m sure Sheila Butt was unavailable.

Here’s a medley of Eric Crafton’s hits.

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Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, Nashville, Tennessee

When Is A Meeting Not A Meeting?

Well now, isn’t this special? It appears that Tennessee House committees are routinely meeting in secret to discuss pending legislation, but it’s not a violation of the state’s Sunshine Law because, the Tennessee General Assembly says,

… it does not come under the state’s Open Meetings Act or Sunshine Law because one legislature cannot bind a future legislature …

… and also, as House Speaker Beth Harwell explains,

… “they’re not having meetings as you think of meetings.”

Ooooookaaaay. Let’s see, the dictionary defines “meeting” as:

: a gathering of people for a particular purpose (such as to talk about business)

: a gathering of people for religious worship

: a situation or occasion when two people see and talk to each other

Follow the dang link and find out what happened in “meetings” in Speaker Harwell’s conference room. Or, hell, I know y’all are too lazy. Here ya go:

Later, at Harwell’s prompting, Lundberg opened the meeting where a thorough, often-free wheeling discussion of various bills expected to come up in committee or subcommittee was underway.

One bill under discussion involved taking some discretion away from judges on a particular issue.

“By what authority do we tell that branch of government what they can and cannot do?” asked Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, an attorney and former Hamilton County General Sessions Court judge.

No actual votes were taken. But each bill was thoroughly reviewed in a way not always done in subcommittees, which are now tasked with vetting, and committees.

Sounds like it’s a meeting to me! And you know, I don’t see what difference it makes whether actual votes are being taken. It’s the debate that’s important. The media and general public should be notified and allowed to listen in on this debate. I mean I’d looooove to have heard the “pre-meeting” discussion on these gun bills the legislature is voting on this week. And I shouldn’t have needed to be a fly on the wall, either.

Also, I love how the news media was originally refused entry to the House Civil Justice Committee’s “pre-meeting” by Republican Rep. John Lundberg of Bristol because,

…. Lundberg said he “never had anyone come” before …

Yeah, y’know, if you don’t tell anyone there is a meeting, not to mention the where’s or when’s, that’s gonna happen.

FAIL.

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Filed under Tennessee

Priorities, Tennessee-Style

Here’s a good reality check from Democratic State Senator Jeff Yarbro, whose district is in Nashville. He makes the point that I’ve been making for years: Tennessee is so gun-friendly, arms manufacturers like Beretta are actually moving their operations here! So what the heck is everyone whining about with this rash of unnecessary gun bills currently before our legislature? Why are we taking up valuable time, energy and oxygen on stuff that really isn’t that important? The gun people already think we’re wonderful, we’re so awesome we’ve got the dang NRA coming here by the tens of thousands in three weeks. Guys, they got the message. We love guns. ’nuff said.

Meanwhile, we’re at the bottom of nearly every national list you want to be at the top of: education, healthcare, etc. This makes no sense but it’s awfully reminiscent of when the Republicans took over our legislature and immediately began focusing like a laser on lady parts and rooting out Sharia Law in public bathrooms. Tennessee Republicans clearly want to work on the easy stuff while letting the real challenges people here face go unaddressed.

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Filed under gun control, Tennessee

Tennessee Gun Report

Been a while since I’ve done one of these — I just don’t have time to troll the local papers like I used to. That said, now is possibly the worst time for me to be slacking on the gun report: Nashville is preparing to hit Peak Wingnut as the NRA has its annual convention here in April, and Republican presidential hopefuls will arrive to fellate pay their respects to the gun loon crowd. It’s gonna be a fun week. Not. Of course, to make the gun loons feel fully welcome, there is a major push on to loosen all gun laws in advance of their arrival. The governor is not amused.

Meanwhile, the number of handgun permits in the state of Tennessee has exploded. Nationally, gun ownership continues to decline, despite an increase in gun sales: this tells us that the hard-core true believers are stockpiling weapons while the rest of us are getting on with our lives. I’d be worried about this militarization of the crayzee contingent save for their propensity to fulfill Darwin’s Law. And without further ado:

• March 12, 2015:

1- That push to loosen gun laws in Tennessee I mentioned above? Here’s an update: an attempt to end the carry permit requirement in Tennessee failed to pass out of committee. Bullet, um, dodged.

2- A responsible gun owner responsibly forgot all about their loaded gun inside their carry-on bag at the Nashville International Airport. It’s the 13th gun found at BNA by TSA agents so far this year.

• March 11, 2015:

1- Memphis police were called to a domestic dispute involving a father and his mentally-ill son, which ended predictably: the police shot and killed the mentally ill, gun-brandishing son.

The man who called police said he was involved in an argument with his intoxicated son who has a history of mental illness.

When they arrived, 31-year-old James Greenwell was sitting on the front porch with a gun. Police say he had already fired a shot at the house before they got to the scene.

As officers tried to get Greenwell surrender, he began firing shots. Three officers returned fire, striking Greenwell. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Nobody else was injured.

You know, people: if there is anyone in your family with mental illness, get rid of the fucking guns. Just, don’t even do it. Jesus Christ, how fucking hard is that to understand?

2- Here’s an update of an item that appeared in the gun report last October: a Murfreesboro man has plead guilty in the accidental shooting death of his cousin. The incident happened in Pennsylvania:

Authorities said the two had come to Wyomissing to repair hailstorm-damaged vehicles. They said the victim had gone into a bedroom and begun jumping on a mattress to wake the defendant, who then brought out the gun to scare him.

You can guess what happened next.

• March 10, 2015:

A Kingsport grandfather pointed a shotgun at his 9-day-old grandchild while confronting his “bully” stepson. Why do I get the feeling a trailer park was involved?

• March 7, 2015:

An 11-year-old Nashville boy was charged with murder in the accidental shooting death of his 15-year-old friend:

An 11-year-old has been charged with his death. Detectives said the 11-year-old told them he was playing with a gun he had found when it went off and hit Ziegler.

Saturday, those in the neighborhood said this tragedy was a wakeup call for the community.

The incident happened on a day when Nashville’s gun-free schools were closed because of the snow. Remind me again how unsafe these gun-free zones are. I’m all ears.

And let me just say: we’re charging the 11-year-old? The 11-year-old? Not the adult who owned the gun? Is this coming from our new District Attorney, the guy who campaigned on the slogan that he “knows the difference between a bad person and a good kid in trouble”?

• March 3, 2015:

A 3-year-old in Coffee County shot his 18-month-old brother in the head. UPDATE: a grand jury will take up the case in April to determine if charges should be filed.

• March 1, 2015:

The Maryville restaurant and bar which made international news for encouraging handgun owners with a “Firearms Welcome” sign went out of business. Apparently competition from a nearby Bojangle’s was the last straw. Also, taxes, gummint and probably Obummer.

• February 19, 2015:

In Nashville, an argument escalated and because everyone is always armed, the predictable happened:

The incident was reported Wednesday afternoon in front of Fire House Subs on Charlotte Pike.

Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department said an unidentified man was sitting alone in the outside eating area when 28-year-old Labrian Lyons drove up to meet him about a loan. The two men ended arguing inside the car and at one point, fell out of the passenger door.

Just after 2:30 p.m., shots were fired and Lyons was apparently struck in the leg and arm. The unidentified man drove off in the car.

I shop at this shopping center all the time; it’s where the CostCo is located. I keep saying this but the country’s gun craziness will only stop when people start staying home from shopping malls because they don’t want to be around the armed and irresponsible.

• February 11, 2015:

A Springfield man accidentally shot himself in the stomach, then blamed it on a fictitious assailant.

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Filed under gun control, Tennessee

Black Ice

Chaka and Willie enjoy some playtime.

Chaka and Willie enjoy some playtime.

This morning a local news reporter brought us the sad news of a traffic fatality in which “an SUV hit some black guys.”

Swear to God. Kicking myself for not recording it. This old bit from Key & Peele will have to suffice. Nashville is encased in ice right now. I’m staying home, and if I venture out anywhere it will be on foot.

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Filed under Nashville, Tennessee, weather

Tennessee Gun Report: Facts Have A Known Liberal Bias

There’s yet another move afoot to send wet kisses to the NRA and allow guns in Tennessee’s parks. While the Depends crowd will no doubt bring up the threat of boogey men waiting to rape your women and steal your children and flat-screen TVs, today’s New York Times has this to say about our safest, most responsible evah (h/t, Jo in comments):

There is no central tally of the effects, with states often barring release of concealed-carry data and Congress hewing to the gun lobby’s opposition to research on guns’ effects on public health. But a methodical gleaning of eight years of news accounts by the Violence Policy Center, a gun safety group, found that in research involving 722 deaths in 544 concealed-carry shootings in 36 states and the District of Columbia, only 16 cases were eventually ruled lawful self-defense — even though this has been a major gun rights selling point for the new laws.

Nothing screams “my pro-gun argument completely lacks any basis in reality” louder than “states barring the release of concealed-carry data.” But I digress.

More gravely, the study found that the fatalities included 17 law enforcement officers shot by people with legal permits along with 705 slain civilians. There were 28 mass shootings (involving three or more victims) in which 136 people were killed — even though concealed carry has also been sold as a defense against massacres like the one in Newtown, Conn.

In studying the 544 shootings, the center found 177 cases where people with gun licenses were ultimately convicted of crimes, including homicides, and 218 cases where the permit holder used the gun to commit suicide. There were 44 total lives taken by licensed individuals who first murdered others, then committed suicide.

The full death toll attributable to concealed carry is undoubtedly larger because the center’s study did not cover all 50 states. Lawmakers dare not allow a national tally, so badly needed, to be kept by the government. No one is sure how many citizens now legally carry guns, but estimates run beyond 11 million nationally with many statehouse agendas pursuing even more permits.

What we don’t know surely won’t hurt us, amiright? But let’s put this “safest, most responsible evah” bullshit to bed right now.

And now, your Tennessee gun report:

• February 9, 2015:

This pants-wetter claims the mall in Morristown violated his 2nd Amendment Rights. Apparently he needs to revisit the concept of “private property rights.”

• February 7, 2015:

A 19-year-old Chattanooga man accidentally shot himself when he adjusted the gun he had in his pants. He does not appear to have hit anything important.

• February 4, 2015:

1- A 15-year-old in Morgan County accidentally shot himself. He died.

2- A 69-year-old Greeneville man pointed a loaded gun at another man, then clocked him on the head with it. Appears to be road rage, from what I can tell.

• January 31, 2015:

Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas are in the top ten states for gun deaths in 2013. Tennessee ranks ninth. For more on this, see our January 30 gun report item.

• January 30, 2015:

State Senator Frank Nicely has proposed a “Second Amendment sales tax holiday” which would eliminate sale tax on firearms, ammo and hunting supplies the first weekend of September. From the story:

The bill is modeled after similar legislation in Mississippi.

Because Tennessee is so dumbed down we’re actually getting ideas from Mississippi, the state that is permanently last in everything sane people want to be first in.

My thought is we don’t need a sales tax holiday. We need to double or even triple the sales tax on guns, ammo and hunting supplies, to compensate for the cost of all the gun fail. I’m tired of privatizing gains and socializing losses. There’s a public cost associated with gun ownership and we need to make the gun owners responsible, by requiring liability insurance and providing funds to be used toward the medical and law enforcement costs that stem from gun ownership. Personal responsibility time.

• January 29, 2015:

1- Nashville man trying out new birthday shotgun accidentally shot out his neighbor’s window. Yes, alcohol was involved.

2- A Franklin County sheriff’s deputy was in Murfressboro and left his gun and bulletproof vest in his car, whereupon it was stolen. Slow clap.

• January 26, 2015:

Someone shot a bald eagle in Vonore, Tennessee. There’s a $10,000 reward for information.

• January 19, 2015:

This Memphis man shot two dogs with an AK-47. One died.

• January 18, 2015:

This Dyer County man chased a German shepherd puppy around his neighborhood shooting at it until he finally killed it.

• January 16, 2015:

A McMinn County man was arrested after waving an AK-47 and pointing it at traffic.

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Filed under gun control, Tennessee

It’s The Infrastructure, Stupid

Pardon me while I get hyper-local for a bit. But to the current crop of candidates running for Mayor of Nashville and Metro Council, please take note of the following:

Nashville has had yet another water main break this morning. The temperatures have been in the low- to mid-60s for the past week so this is not due to cold weather and freezing pipes.

This is the eighth water main break I’ve counted in the past six months. To recap the other seven:

• January 9, 2015: Natchez Trace/Blair Blvd.

• January 8, 2015: Two water main breaks, one on Harding Place at I-24 and one on McMurray Road in South Nashville.

• November 20, 2014: Harding Place at Jonquil Drive.

• September 25, 2014: Two in Green Hills/Oak Hill area: one on Lealand Lane and one on Harding Place.

• July 31 2014: 100 Oaks/Home Depot. This was the big one that shut off water to thousands of residents for days. The Mall at Green Hills was forced to close. Restaurants closed. It was a mess.

Having said all that, let me add: Clearly I’m waaay underestimating the water main issue because according to this story,

Metro has responded to an average of 450 water main breaks each year. Last January alone there were 168.

Obviously, most of those have been small enough so as to not be newsworthy.

Regardless, as Nashville seems hell-bent on investing tax money on stupid projects like the Gulch-SoBro Pedestrian Bridge, a new baseball stadium, and the new Music City Center which continues to underperform in the convention booking department, I’m wondering if anyone would mind reinvesting back in our existing communities and neighborhoods? Just a bit? Pretty please? I get that tourists are important and all, but honestly, that $16 million you just took out of the general fund to build a bridge to nowhere when there’s already a bridge a block away was just stupid. We need that money so we can get some dang water to our homes and businesses (and hospitals, and schools).

I find it deliciously ironic that today’s water main break has forced the headquarters of Bridgestone America to close. This is the same Bridgestone America that was just handed $52 million in tax incentives (including paying zero property taxes) by our Metro Council so they’d build a new skyscraper downtown. Bridgestone is currently headquartered out by the airport, a part of town that is presently without water. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Serves you right. Can you say, karma?

That’s a few million dollars in revenue that we just threw away that could have gone toward things like, I dunno, rebuilding our ancient water infrastructure. Bridgestone threatened to leave Nashville though — something I find highly unlikely, since they were already here. Now they’ve lost at least one day’s worth of productivity.

Nashville has always been an incredibly short-sighted town where planning is concerned. We’re the geniuses who tore down the governor’s mansion for a Popeye’s chicken franchise. We’re the ones who built a performing arts center without considering the need for parking, because I guess families coming in for a matinee of “Wicked” will just magically teleport themselves downtown.

You could take a band of monkeys from the Nashville Zoo and throw them into our planning department and I daresay they’d do as good a job as our esteemed pencil-necked “planners” who have destroyed our neighborhoods, increased traffic gridlock, stressed our city’s infrastructure, and overseen the bulldozing of historic landmarks.

But it’s always been that way. Nashville has never cared about its history. It would rather build an ersatz Antebellum hotel/theme park and charge you $10 for parking than protect the real treasures in its midst.

But God, at least pay some dang attention to infrastructure, people. How can you call yourself an “it city” when businesses are forced to close because of busted water mains? When people can’t navigate the overwhelmed roads and say screw it, I’ll shop at home?

Stuff needs to be paid for. The people who actually live here need services. It can’t always be all about the tourists, okay?

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Filed under Nashville, taxes, Tennessee