Tag Archives: Nashville

Stuff Happens

The Tennessee Firearms Assn. is making frownie faces over the Nashville fair board’s decision to suspend gun shows at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Metro’s legal department ruled existing contracts must be honored, and the state’s Republican legislature, predictably, is all, “can they even DO that??”

Meanwhile, as all of this rages in Nashville, there was an accidental shooting at a gun show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix last weekend. And now we’re finding out more about what exactly happened. In an effort to reassure other public venues on his itinerary, producer Bob Templeton of Crossroads Of The West Gun Shows explains:

Templeton provided new details on the shooting. He said a licensed dealer zip tied the weapon he was going to sell before checking the chamber.

According to Templeton the dealer sold the weapon to a man who cut the zip tie before accidentally firing a round, hitting his friend. The man who was shot is expected to recover.

That “licensed dealer” has been banned from future events. So we’re good, right? Just one bad actor, nothing to see here, move along! Meanwhile:

Crossroads of the West Gun Shows has a long history of holding safe events, said Templeton. Inspectors check weapons coming into the building, making sure they are empty and zip tied. They also go around checking displays to make sure weapons are zip tied, he said.

Loaded guns are not allowed, and all participants are required to thread a zip tie through their guns to show the gun has been checked for ammo and to prevent it from firing.

So I’m just curious: with this nice list of safety measures which are routine parts of any Crossroads Of The West event, how did this one vendor somehow manage to zip-tie a loaded gun? You would think that this incident would reveal a gaping flaw in Templeton’s security protocol. But, no, that would require a gun show producer to admit something went wrong. Banning a dealer is so much easier than ramping up security, right?

This is my favorite part:

“It shouldn’t be of concern to the folks who come to the shows because it’s not like guns are going off at the shows on a regular basis,” he said. “We’re grateful the young man who was injured wasn’t more severely injured.”

Thoughts and prayers, don’t worry, this never happens you guys! Except, you know, that one time, and that other time, and that other time, and this time, and that time, and this other time, and don’t forget this one … etc.

I mean, stuff happens, right? Even at gun shows. Each time the vendor is banned and guess what, stuff keeps happening. So maybe the vendors aren’t the only problem.

Note: For a complete list of gun show accidents, check out David Waldman’s Pinterest board.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Nashville, Tennessee

#GunSENSE Victory In Nashville

It’s not often that the NRA and its bullies don’t get their way but today, the the Board of Fair Commissioners voted to no longer hold gun shows at the state fairgrounds in Nashville.

That’s right, and yes, this is the city which just hosted the NRA at its publicly-owned convention center. Yee haw! From The Tennessean link above:

Citing three cases that linked guns purchased at the fairgrounds to criminals, the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners voted 3-0, with one member abstaining, to terminate future gun shows at the fairgrounds after fulfilling any existing contracts with show operators.

The plan is to later adopt new safety measures and other rules for any future gun shows before deciding whether to allow the events to continue at the fairgrounds.

The board’s action, which could trigger an appeal from at least one gun show operator, means Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Shows, which has rented space in the fairgrounds since the 1970s, will still hold an already scheduled set of gun shows at the fairgrounds this Saturday and Sunday. Future events more than 30 days out by Goodman and RK, a separate gun show producer that contracts with the fair board, will no longer take place.


The most significant testimony came from Assistant Davidson County District Attorney Jenny Charles, who detailed three criminal cases in Nashville that she said involved people who purchased firearms at gun shows at the fairgrounds.

Go to the link for details on the three stories she cited.

Both Bill Goodman and R.K. Shows have had problems, not just in Nashville but in Tennessee and, indeed, around the country. Goodman most notably was outted by Michael Bloomberg’s group in 2009 for allowing illegal gun sales at several of his shows across the country, including right here in Nashville. Goodman claims that he took action to stop the illegal sales, and now requires private sellers to go through a dealer so background checks can be done on every sale. But check out this Ohio story from 2013:

Within 20 minutes of paying $8 to enter Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife show at the Vandalia Aiport Expo Center earlier this month, I was offered an SKS semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine for $450, no background check required.

The seller, who didn’t give his name, said he had the gun for years but was selling it because the price of semi-automatic rifles had ballooned.

Another man, who gave his name as John, strolled the aisles of the gun show with a semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 slung over his shoulder. Taped to the end of the barrel was a piece of paper listing four guns he had for sale.

They included an AR-15, commonly called an “assault weapon” or “military style” gun because it looks similar to weapons used by SWAT teams or military. This is the same type of gun used by shooter Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

John said the AR-15 was available for $1,500, “straight out of the box.” I asked to see the gun and was escorted to John’s car in the parking lot and shown the gun in the trunk. John offered to throw in a second 30-round magazine with a cash purchase.

When asked if any paperwork was required, John said no. He said I only needed to be an Ohio resident and be allowed to buy a weapon. I told John that I wasn’t a felon.

Well, forgive me for not being comforted by the notion of “new safety measures and other rules.” Seems to me that if you get a bunch of gun guys together, sooner or later someone is going to buy or sell something under the table, out in the parking lot, you name it.

RK Shows has been even worse. There was the Chattanooga gun show purchase that ended up killing a police sergeant, the accidental shooting in the parking lot of the Gray, TN gun show, and the vendor at the show in Knoxville who accidentally shot himself in the hand. And then there’s RK’s squirrelly banking practices, which caught the attention of the Feds in Iowa.

So, yeah. I’m not sure the taxpayers should be partners in crime with these folks.

The gun loons will probably call for the fainting couches, but truth be told, there’s a gun show just about every weekend in these parts. I don’t think the gun people will be too inconvenienced. But at least the county doesn’t have to be part of this dirty business.

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Filed under Housekeeping

Jim Cooper FAIL #2

I’m done with you, buddy. Seriously. You either lied to the Nashville Scene or were utterly clueless about this SAFE Act vote; either way, you don’t belong in Congress anymore.

Okay, Mary Mancini, Chris Moth, Jeff Yarbro … either of you want to move to Washington D.C.? Anyone have any other ideas?



Filed under Congress, Current Events, Housekeeping, immigration, Nashville, Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee

Nashville Mayor’s Race Gets Ugly

Election night update:

Going negative failed.

Dear David Fox: you had me at “focus on our infrastructure” and “we don’t want to be Atlanta.” You lost me at the pathetic “Megan Barry is a godless liberal” BS.

For my non-Nashville readers, we in Music City will elect a brand-new mayor on Thursday. The incumbent was term-limited, so August’s general election presented voters with a large buffet of fresh faces. Now we have a runoff between the top two contenders: Megan Barry, most recently an at-large councilmember, and David Fox, a hedge fund guy and former chair of our school board.

Nashville’s mayoral races are non-partisan, though Nashville is a blue dot in red Tennessee. This means most viable candidates for office are usually Democrats — or at least they say they are. And in my 30 years in this town I’ve always known our mayoral races to be mostly drama-free affairs. Not this time, though.

The first sign this campaign was headed to crazy town was when Fox’s wife, Carrington Fox, appeared in ads saying Barry championed causes that are the “extreme issues of the social left.” What those causes may be are left to the imagination. Doesn’t matter.

The message was clear: Barry is a LIBERAL. Gasp.

Not long after that, the Fox campaign started running radio ads in African-American markets calling Barry an atheist.

OH. A godless liberal.

Now we’ve hit a new low with some ex-councilmembers of the conservative persuasion making the ludicrous claim that Barry omitted “under God” every time she recited the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of council meetings.

And I guess she forgot to wear a flag pin, too?

This ridiculous labeling — liberal, atheist, godless liberal — is extraordinary for a mayoral race in Nashville. It’s the kind of thing one is more accustomed to seeing in hotly contested senate races, even presidential races. The fact that Fox is working with conservative groups out of Texas may explain some of this strategy. Others have suggested Fox’s real ambition is the governor’s seat, and this mayoral race is just a “branding” exercise toward higher, statewide office. Maybe.

I will say, there is an awful resonance to these attacks on Megan Barry. Are we really wondering if she says “under God” when she recites the Pledge of Allegiance? What next, rumors that she’s a secret Muslim? Studied at a madrassa? Maybe she was born in Kenya, too? Hey, David Fox: should we ask to see her birth certificate?

These are ugly, personal attacks, and while they don’t have the same racial undertones of the right-wing’s attacks on President Obama, they come from the same place. Label the opposition as “other,” “different,” and “not one of us.”

In other words: Unfit for office.

This is Politics 101 for national races. Making it a part of our supposedly non-partisan local races? Uh-uh. You lost me. Voting for David Fox is endorsing the kind of smear tactics that have infected our national discourse for the past 8+ years. Do I want this dirty pool to pollute my city? No, thanks.


Filed under Nashville, politics

Who Will Stand Up For The Poor, Beleaguered Hipsters?

Most of my readers do not live in Nashville, but I’m sure we can all appreciate the frustration one feels when they’re treated poorly by a retail establishment, have the cojones to actually complain about said rude treatment, and then the store adds fuel to the fire by acting all “whaaah I’m the real victim here!”

Such is what happened to my friend Tina, whose daughter consigned some clothes at the shop FLIP on 8th Avenue South. Here’s the exchange; let me preface all of this by saying that in this day and age, when there is some real shit going down in places like Charleston, S.C., calling for the fainting couches over a comment about hipsters is pretty lame all the way around. Get over your damn selves. You’re not all that special.

So here’s the set-up: In an effort to teach teenage daughter the value of a dollar, parents tell her to consign her cast-offs. Kid goes to FLIP and is ignored for an hour by rude and snotty sales staff. Store eventually takes a few items to consign, then when the family is out of town, store owner emails to say there are more rejections and they need to be picked up right now or they’ll be thrown in the trash. So mom does what anyone would do: begs for more time. They’re out of town, duh.

What follows is hilarious.


Good morning! Due to having minimal space for storing these rejected items, we can sometimes allow for minimal exceptions but we don’t currently have the excess space to store these items through the end of the month. The good news is we do allow a friend or family member to come pick up these items so we will need these to be picked up by their expiration date which is end of business 2/23. There are 2 items to pick up…a dress and a top.

All the best,

Note repeated use of the word “minimal.” They don’t have room to hold onto a dress and a top until the family is back in town, got it? It’s minimal at Flip. Or maybe they just couldn’t be bothered. You decide.

Here’s Tina’s response:


Thank you for always being so nice in your rejection of my daughter, her clothes and her requests. You guys are ALWAYS polite with your communiques.

The good news for you is that Camilla’s brother picked up her items and in doing so, also picked up several bow ties, therefore increasing your bottom line. The bad news is that we won’t be bringing Camilla’s clothes to your shop any more. After she waited for nearly an hour to get attention when she brought in her clothes (albeit with an apology) and you couldn’t wait a few days for her to get back in town, I just don’t see the benefit in working with this entity any more.

I know that you will continue to grow in your business and that it will be successful. You’re smart and you know your market. We’ve just been around too long to be swept up in the whole rude, hipster vibe.

This mom rocks. Wish she’d been my mom, for sure. What happened next, as the saying goes, will blow your mind. The shop owner emailed back. He was, shall we say, in high dudgeon over her “rude, hipster vibe” comment. Read on:


After reading your email below, there are several things that need to be addressed but what I’m most concerned about is your lack of sensitivity. To hear you disparage hipsters is very disappointing. We have come so far as a country but comments such as the one you made below unfortunately show we still have such a long way to go.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Back to the email:

For the last 4 years, Flip has partnered with a company called Diversity Builder (link below) and as you can assume by the name of their business, they work with clients to help foster a culture of diversity and sensitivity. One way we work with them is to periodically provide them names of people we believe need to be educated on how not to disparage groups of people. Our board meets monthly to discuss topics such as this and during our next meeting, we will discuss your email and vote on whether you should receive this training.


Tina, I see you copied Camilla and Theodore. I’ve copied Mark, Holly and Kelley. They are all part of our board and it’s important they understand what has been said. Last but not least, I know you will continue to visit businesses and be a great but difficult client to deal with. I wish you the best in your endeavors.

Shorter: “We’re reporting you to the Diversity Police, beeeyatch!” Seriously, “we will discuss your email and vote on whether you should receive this training”? OMG is this like the FEMA re-education camps Michele Bachmann was warning us about? Yikes!

You know, when Nashville became “It City” I didn’t realize that we created an “It City Gulag” to re-educate those not already down with the hipster thing. Considering some redneck roared past my house with two ginormous Confederate flags waving from the back of his pickup truck on July Fourth, I’m going to guess that the It City Gulag hasn’t been created yet. Or else we missed a few folks in need of diversity training.

So here is Tina’s response. It’s priceless.


Thank you for that lesson on diversity. I honestly didn’t realize that hipsters were a mistreated, maligned and marginalized part of our society and I am ashamed. To think of the time I’ve wasted on the homeless, LGBT and special needs communities! Quite simply, I am afraid that I am beneath this esteemed company’s target market. My offspring, however stylish and — dare I say hipster — have the misfortune of being my progeny with my tendency toward the sale rack at Target and TJ Maxx. Obviously I am neither educated, nor am I urbane enough to understand the nuances of sensitive language toward the delicate sensibilities of a retail business that is as customer oriented as yourselves.

I do apologize for the frustration I exhibited after my daughter waited, ignored, for nearly an hour while seeking assistance in the shop. I am certain that her purple hair and six foot stature were intimidating and insensitive to the marginalized persons in the shop at the time. I understand why you would eschew her and it is certainly my deep regret that I ever questioned it. I also apologize for detailing my despair after learning that her rejected items would be lost after waiting two-and-a-half-weeks to hear from your establishment if they would be rejected or accepted. It certainly is my very own fault that we were in West Virginia helping my aging parents out as my mother received diagnostic testing in the form of a heart cath and I was frustrated that the store would not wait five more days for us to return. As I stated, it was just good luck that my son could pick up the items as well as several bow ties, therefore ensuring your profit margin and meeting your high expectations.

I shall breathlessly await the board’s vote to discover if I need diversity training. Will it be at the store? Will my 2004 Honda Pilot with Obama Mama, Coexist, Human Rights Campaign, “My Dog is a Democrat” and a quote from Margaret Meade be an embarrassment in your parking lot? I’m afraid I also will need a handicap spot, as I have a rather nasty autoimmune disease and can’t walk very far. Perhaps I should just take it online so as not to sully your fine establishment by my insensitive, overweight and thoughtless person.

Meanwhile, I will set aside today’s tasks of writing my congressman on the ignorance of open carry in light of two people being shot at the Fireworks event on Saturday and instead focus on getting to 12S and East Nashville to do community service and make up for my thoughtlessness directed toward hipsters. I am so very, very ashamed.

Poor hipsters. I mean … seriously. Who knew they should be a protected class? I guess when gay marriage got legalized nationwide we should have seen this coming.


Filed under Nashville

Sign of the Times

Sign in front of what I affectionately call the Wingnut Bible Church located near my house:


The Wingnut Bible Church appears in this space about once a year. Last year they were (illegally) advertising a fringe U.S. State Senate candidate. Every Memorial Day and July Fourth they put dozens of American flags out on their lawn, too. Because Jesus was totally all about America, you guys.

Wonder if they’ll go all in with the American flag display this Independence Day or if they’re so disgusted with SCOTUS that they’ll take a pass.


Filed under gay equality, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee

I Have A Steaming Cup of STFU For HCA/Centennial


Oh, God. It’s worse than we thought. I just heard two stories from people in my same insurance group that are as bad if not worse — both involving emergency care. One at Vanderbilt hospital.

Let me repeat: we all have excellent insurance. We have an HRA which pays 100% of the deductible. I’m not out one penny and the hospitals aren’t footing the bill for anyone. You will get your money from us. Leave us the fuck alone.

It appears the entire hospital system is trying to harass and bully fully insured patients into paying more/sooner. Hey fellas, if you have a beef about payment, take it up with AHIP. Patients shouldn’t be put in the middle of this.

More suckitude from the “best healthcare system in the world.” Baaah. I don’t know why we have to put up with this bullshit.


Dear HCA/Centennial: I am beyond tired of you dicking me around on payment for a goddamn mammogram. You do this every year. The creative lengths you go to wrest payment from me, the patient, instead of waiting for BlueCross-BlueShield to pay you, as they do every year, has grown old.

You will get your money. You always get your money. You have never not gotten your money. I have top-notch insurance for a reason, one of them being so I don’t have to deal with some hospital billing office calling and sending me invoices when they haven’t even given my insurance company sufficient time to process payment. I’m just sick of it.

So this year I go in for services at the end of May, they billed insurance on June 3, and they sent me a bill on June 8. That’s barely time for BlueCross-BlueShield to receive the bill, let alone process it. I called the billing office and they apologized saying it was “a mistake” and I “shouldn’t have been sent a bill this soon.” Gee, ya think?

Thing is, a similar thing happened last year. I blogged about it here. That time it wasn’t “a mistake” but an “option.” I could pay now “if I wanted to” and have HCA pay me back when they got their payment from the insurance company.

Why the fuck would I want to do that?

Let me add, a neighbor of mine was in a horrific bicycle accident last year and got a whole bunch of diagnostic imaging services at HCA-Centennial. He told me they got the same “pay us now, if you want to” harassing phone calls. Followed by bills they knew they didn’t have to pay because it was covered by insurance. They wanted to know what that was about, too. They thought it was weird, too. It’s not just me.

You guys have to cut this out. It’s obnoxious and unnecessary. I”m sick of it.

I’m going to call my doctor and ask if someone else does mammograms in Nashville so I don’t have to deal with it anymore. I’m done with you people.


Filed under health insurance, healthcare

My Annual Healthcare Rant

It’s time for me to get my annual mammogram at the for-profit HCA/Centennial, which means it’s time for my annual rant about our for-profit healthcare system. I blogged about my experience last year, in which I was offered an opportunity to pay for the service out of pocket upfront, at no discernible benefit to me because it’s all going to be paid by my insurance anyway.

So this year I got the same “give me my money” phone call, which they laughably call “pre-registration.” I give them my name and address and other contact info (which they already have because it’s in their system) and then I get the rigamarole about how much the service will cost — this time she’s clear to say it’s “because my insurance hasn’t been verified.” Last year, they just told me the service would be $150. So I’m glad they’re at least clarifying the insurance angle. But still, I’m supposed to do what, exactly, with this information? Start selling off the family heirlooms? I have insurance, mammograms are covered, now go away, please.

And then 24 hours later I get yet another phone call from the same person who “pre-registered” me yesterday, to say my insurance has been verified. Which you’d think would be good news, but in HCA Land, it’s actually another opportunity for them to try to get my money. For a 20% discount, I can pay now! Yes, that’s actually the deal I was offered. I can pay for the service at 20% off now, or I can do nothing and my insurance company will pay the full price (repriced, but whatevs). I mean, my insurance pays 100%.

I mean, seriously, people? WTF? Why not just lower your prices 20% and then we can all reap the reward of lower insurance premiums?

I cannot believe this is going on.

Mr. Beale is furious. He wants to know, if I do pay now at the 20% discount, and then BlueCross/BlueShield remimburses at 100%, who gets that extra 20%? HCA?


Filed under HCA, health insurance, healthcare, Nashville

Holy Loophole

IMG_1649I just love this story: A swinger’s club which had operated without incident for years near Nashville’s oh-so-hot Gulch neighborhood was recently forced to move because of a new mega-development going in. So they were going to relocate to a building in Madison, north of town. And the good Christian folks up there got wind of it and decided they didn’t want no swingin’ sullying their neighborhood and would someone please think of the children and so the Tennessee State Legislature and the Nashville Metro Council passed laws that prevented “social clubs” from being in certain neighborhoods (small government alert!), and so now the swinger’s club is reopening as a church. Whose members all pay dues to the swinger’s club:

On paper, at least, plans have changed dramatically for a Madison property where a swingers club tried to open before city and state policymakers moved swiftly to block it.

The owners now plan to open a church — a church that honors the paid memberships from the swingers club.

The United Fellowship Center at 520 Lentz Drive will honor memberships to The Social Club, according to a member newsletter, but baseball caps, bandanas, skull caps and sagging pants won’t be tolerated.

The center was “founded on the basic belief that we are all children of the same universe,” the newsletter says. “Every individual is free to practice their religion in the manner of their choosing, as mandated by the First Amendment, so long as that expression does not impinge upon the rights or freedoms of others and is in accordance with the government’s laws.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ….

By the way, I spotted the decal above on a mailbox outside a bbq place here in town during the height of the swinger’s club controversy. I thought it was pretty funny. I just love how we’re all in favor of small government here until sex gets involved and then it’s like OMG WE GOTTA PASS A LAW. I mean honestly, I do not care what people do in their bedrooms, who (or how many) they share a bed with, who marries whom, etc. It simply is not my business. As long as it’s all consenting adults, I really would prefer to not even know about everybody else’s sex life.

I used to live in a small town in Kentucky and let me say, you would be shocked at how many of these fine Christian folks who were so downright upright were also taking trips into Nashville on the weekends to indulge in carnal entertainment. I’d place bets that some of those passing laws targeting this “social club” have indulged in a little swing time themselves.


Filed under culture wars, Nashville, Tennessee

Rallying For GunSense

What a gorgeous day for a rally in Nashville today! The Moms Demand Action group was here and it was great to get together and hear from such powerful speakers as Richard Martinez, Shannon Watts, and Lucy McBath. It wasn’t a huge crowd — maybe 175 or so — but I didn’t expect it to be. It was a nice gathering and a beautiful day.

Many people had signs honoring those who had been lost to gun negligence and gun violence. I saw just one troll, a pretty wacko guy who kept saying his “Ban All Cars” sign had nothing to do with guns (although the back read “Kiss My Green Tip”). He said he just wanted to make sure we were all real careful crossing the street, and I told him thanks, since my dad was killed in a crosswalk years ago (he was). I tried to ask him if he wanted everyone to have a license to use a gun, like how we all need a license to drive a car. Or if he wanted us to register guns, like how we need to register cars. Or liability insurance. Or … or …. he got kinda incoherent at that point. They always do. He said I could take his picture but then he kept getting too close and I had to tell him to back away. It was a weird encounter.

One thing that I wanted to say about the Moms Demand Action group is that they’re always stressing that they’re not anti-gun, to the point where I find it almost annoying. Every speaker had to give their pro-gun history: “I grew up with guns,” “I hunt,” “I have a carry permit,” etc. That’s fine but after a while it got old, and I’m not sure how useful it is, anyway. The other side still refers to us as “gun-grabbing Mommies,” forever and ever, amen. Anyone advocating common-sense gun control will forever be labeled as a gun-grabber or anti-gun. There’s simply no middle ground with these folks, zero. If asking for universal background checks or promoting initiatives that educate people about safe gun storage makes you a “gun-grabber” and “anti-gun,” then there’s not much room for discussion.

I suppose the point was to stress to the media in attendance that the group is not anti-gun, perhaps strike a reasonable counterbalance to the extremist rhetoric happening just a few blocks away at the NRA convention. But I suspect a lot of that is lost on our clueless media anyway, and the constant reminders of everyone’s pro-gun bonafides weakened what I think is the most important message, which is how gun violence and gun negligence damages American society. Just my .02.

Below are some photos from the event. Enjoy:





Group photo: I'm in the back.

Moms In Nashville



Filed under gun control, Guns, Nashville, protests