Tag Archives: Tennessee

Sign of the Times

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

WingnutBibleChurch

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.

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Filed under gay equality, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee

TN Legislature Grandstanding Over Nonexistent Threat

Apparently Tennessee legislators are unfamiliar with the First Amendment of our Constitution because they have been crafting a “Pastor Protection Act” to make sure no pastors are forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies:

A new bill in Tennessee seeks to “protect” churches and clergy from performing same-sex marriages. But is it necessary?

The move comes after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage on Friday. State Reps. Bryan Terry and Andy Holt anticipated the Supreme Court ruling and have been working on the bill for several months, reports Nashville’s CBS affiliate.

Both representatives reject the validity of yesterday’s decision. “God is the ultimate Supreme Court and he has spoken. Marriage is between one man, and one woman,” Representative Holt said in a press release.

The proposed law would reiterate protections already in place. As Representative Terry noted, “The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.” He also cited Article 1 Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution and said “personal freedom of religion is protected and no human authority can interfere in the rights of conscience.”

Oh. So they know this law is unncessary but they want to “reiterate” protections already in place because Tennessee politicians can never pass up an opportunity to grandstand on the culture wars. Which they are always losing, I might add.

Hey, if you guys want to write in stone how you’re yet again on the wrong side of history, be my guest.

What this really comes down to, of course, is religious conservatives wanting to be protected from criticism for being on the wrong side of history. Sure as day follows night, there will be a case where a same-sex couple wants to use a pavilion or building owned by a religious non-profit and they will be denied — legally. And it will hit social media, and they will be mocked for their recidivist stance, and there will be pearls to be clutched and couches on which to faint, and once again conservatives will confuse free speech with the free hand.

This will happen because this always happens. Hell, churches around the South still have a problem with interracial couples.

So why don’t we dispense with the bullshit and remind everyone that nobody is forcing anyone to perform a ceremony they don’t want to perform — hell, religious groups have been refusing to officiate ceremonies between divorced couples, interfaith couples, etc. since forever. None of that is changing. Lots of churches already refuse to rent out their buildings for weddings to couples who are not church members. Why? Because weddings are a huge pain in the ass for church staff.

So nothing is going to change. And every time you idiots grandstand about how God doesn’t wants gays to get married and God Hates Fags and all that crap we’re going to mock you and tell you you’re wrong and call you names. And that noise is just going to get louder and louder.

[ALSO, let me repeat: Tennessee Republicans are really off the mark when they grandstand on the homophobic crap but can’t be bothered to grandstand with a vote of disapproval when the goddamn Ku Klux Klan holds their annual meeting at one our state parks.]

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Filed under culture wars, gay equality, GLBT, religious right, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Summer In Tennessee: An Abbreviated Gun Report

I’m sorry I don’t have time to keep the gun report going but we did have two accidental shootings (at least) reported this week.

First, I want to call everyone’s attention to the excellent HBO documentary, Requiem For The Dead: American Spring 2014. I hadn’t heard anything about this documentary at all, and just stumbled across it while channel surfing last night. I found it riveting and tragic and enlightening — even for me, who considers herself rather well-informed on the issue of gun violence.

The first thing you notice is how young the victims are. Many of them young teens — people with their entire futures ahead of them. The second thing you notice is how random and how senseless it all is. Gun victims are of all colors and ethnicities, it’s not something that happens “in that neighborhood” or “to those people.”

Give it a look-see, maybe consider having a viewing party. These peoples’ stories deserve to be shared.

Without further ado:

• June 25, 2015:

1- A 13-year-old Roan Mountain boy accidentally shot himself in the leg:

Lacy said her son had been in his brother’s bedroom at 246 Ingram Branch Roan on Tuesday. She said her son noticed a .38-caliber revolver and thought it was a toy gun. The boy pulled the trigger on the gun, shooting himself in the right calf.

2- Guns and ammo stolen from a home in Greenville. I guess locking this shit in a safe is too hard for y’all to manage. FAIL.

• June 24, 2015:

This kind of incident normally wouldn’t make the Gun Report but it happened literally one block from my house, at a time when I’m ordinarily walking the dog while Mr. Beale does the dinner dishes:

At about 7 p.m., the woman was walking to her vehicle in the 1600 block of Woodmont Boulevard when a suspect approached her with a handgun, took her purse off her shoulder and ran away, said Metro police Capt. Michael Alexander.

So here’s a question: I know the pro-gun crowd thinks everyone should be carrying to prevent such a thing from happening, but if the victim had a gun in her purse, what good would it have done? In fact, it just would have given the thief a second gun! Unless we’re all supposed to be walking around with guns in our hands, like cops on TV or something. Stupid.

• June 23, 2015:

An East Knoxville woman was accidentally shot in the hand and leg at a barbecue when another guest was showing a friend his gun.

• June 19, 2015:

1- Clarksville police say they are seeing more guns and more fights turning deadly due to guns. Gee, I wonder why. Thinking ….

More people are now carrying loaded guns in their vehicles, and legally. Despite what many people believe, a law passed in Tennessee last year allows anyone who can legally own a gun to carry loaded weapons in their vehicles.

That can be in a seat, glove box or under a seat. So long as the person is not a felon or otherwise restricted from owning firearms, there’s nothing to stop someone from having a loaded handgun, shotgun or rifle within reach, said Capt. Craig Gipson, who oversees the Clarksville Police Department’s Special Operations Unit.

Before the state legislature changed the law last year, only people with state-issued handgun carry permits could legally keep loaded guns in their vehicles. Anyone without a permit could keep guns only if unloaded with the ammunition stored separately.

“We just see more on the street than ever before,” said Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley.

And it’s not just in cars. Police are seeing more guns being drawn and fired during fights.

Ansley said the presence of more guns can quickly escalate an argument or scuffle into something far more dangerous.

“We have seen a lot of guns and weapons,” he said. “Especially compared to 10 or 15 years ago.”

Wow, I thought more guns was supposed to make us safer? Guess not!

2- In Memphis, a woman says her next-door neighbor pulled a gun on her and her 7-year-old daughter over a parking space. Armed/polite, yada yada.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Top 5 Ways The State Of Tennessee Welcomes Racists

Betsy at Pith has a post up about how communities provide cover for racists. She writes:

It’s not too much to ask that we look around our communities and ask ourselves if there are ways we’re signalling to dangerous racists that we support their cause. Are there ways that we’re normalizing and making ordinary and mundane things that should be read as warning signs?

Good point. Not to toot my own horn, but I made a similar observation back in 2013 when the League of the South announced plans to hold rallies in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro. At the time I wondered:

What is it about Tennessee that draws the hatemongers out of the woodwork? Thinking … thinking ….

But all sarcasm aside, maybe it’s time to revisit the topic. What signals are we in Nashville and across Tennessee in general sending to racists that their ideas are welcome? How does our state government send the message that we tolerate racist ideas? Let me count the ways.

1- When the Memphis City Council voted to rename city parks named after Confederate figures like KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, the state legislature responded as it always does: by passing a law preventing municipalities from renaming city parks named for military figures. Not included in that legislation: a provision preventing municipalities from also renaming parks and monuments named for civil rights leaders. The measure passed overwhelmingly in both chambers:

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro was approved 26-3 by the Senate on Thursday. The companion bill passed the house 69-22 last month.

Approved 26-3 by the state Senate. Wrap your head around that for a second. Did our noodle-spined governor sign it? Of course he did! Why do you even ask?

2- This hideously ugly assault on common decency off I-65 just south of Nashville:

nbfs2

This is a privately-funded statue of the aforementioned Nathan Bedford Forrest, KKK founder and Confederate general, clearly visible as one drives I-65 between Brentwood and Nashville. Besides being hideously ugly, and honoring a hideously ugly idea, it’s also (usually) surrounded by a display of Confederate flags. Anyone driving into Nashville from the south sees this entirely inappropriate “welcome.”

While the nightmarish statue is privately funded and sits on private land, TDOT has right-of-way alongside the Interstate. Why the hell a massive tree screen wasn’t planted to prevent this assault on the senses from being the “welcome” visitors see as they enter our state capitol, I have no clue. (UPDATE: an effort to restore a vegetation screen has begun.)

3- When racist groups like the Southern National Congress, Stormfront and American Renaissance hold their annual conferences in our state-owned facilities like Montgomery Bell State Park and Fall Creek Falls State Park, it not only goes completely unremarked from our spaghetti-spined Republican governor and legislature, some of our state reps even speak at the events.

As I wrote at the time:

It’s amazing to me that our state legislature can hold pointless, grandstanding votes on anti-UN nonsense like Agenda 21, but a bunch of intolerant bigots and extremists hold a gathering at a taxpayer-funded state facility and no one can be bothered to make even the slightest gesture in objection.

When these things happen and our government can’t even be bothered to issue a declaration of protest, it sends a signal to hatemongers and racists that they are welcome.

4- When empathy-challenged Tennessee legislators troll people of color to garner headlines for themselves and are not rebuked by their caucus.

5- When shit like this happens, and no one is fired.

At what point will the state address the intolerance it endorses?

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Filed under racism, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Remember the kerfuffle a few weeks ago about Tennessee’s hideous new $46,000 logo? Gov. Haslam said we needed it for “uniformity of messaging” or some such BS.

Well, our new logo was rejected by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office:

According to the federal office, the art was “primarily geographically descriptive,” which was against the rules.

You’d think for $46,000 someone would have known the rules.

FAIL.

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Filed under Tennessee

Tennessee Gun Report

Haven’t done one of these in a while but two accidental shootings in one day reminded me it’s time …

• June 11, 2015:

Country singer Randy Howard went out in a blaze of glory:

“He said he wasn’t going back to jail,” one of Howard’s neighbors shared with WSMV of the musician. “That’s what he told me.”

Howard missed a court appearance on charges that included DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a revoked license, and possession of a gun while intoxicated. When a bail bondsman went to collect him, Howard began shooting.

• June 10, 2015:

1- Memphis 4-year-old finds dad’s gun, lets freedom ring. Very sad.

It’s also highlighted Tennessee’s weak CAP laws, said to be among the worst in the country for prosecuting gun negligence:

In the wake of the tragedy, many are asking who should be held responsible.

Tennessee’s CAP Law states that criminal liability can only be imposed when a gun owner intentionally, knowingly and/or recklessly provides some or all firearms to children. That’s one of the weakest CAP Laws in the country.

We asked Tennessee State Representative Antonio Parkinson if change was in the works.

“I hadn’t heard anything in regards to strengthening the laws in regards to children having access to guns, but it’s definitely something that should be looked into,” Parkinson said.

In this case the boy’s father was outside when accident happened – Whether or not this situation meets that standard is yet to be determined, but it’s a fine line.

Do you prosecute for negligence, or show compassion for a grieving father? The question is one that needs has yet to be answered.

“What the legislature is willing to do? Are they willing to prosecute those who do not store their guns legally? But it’s definitely something worth looking into,” Parkinson said.

Would be nice if something good could come out of this, namely strengthening the laws about gun negligence. Tennesseans, write your legislators. They’ve guaranteed that innocent people will have more contact with firearms than ever before. Now they need to protect us unwitting bystanders by giving prosecutors the tools they need to go after cases of gun negligence. No more letting people off scott-free for injuring or killing innocent people just because they’re too scared to walk out the door without their security blanket.

2- In Chattanooga a man accidentally shot himself at home.

• June 5, 2015:

Guns and “hundreds of rounds of ammo” were stolen from a U-haul outside a Fairfield Inn in East Memphis. Responsible gun owners responsibly leaving their shit out where people can steal it. So responsible, y’all.

• June 3, 2015:

Welcome to Tennessee! Errr… or not:

Taylor is alleged to have fired a gun towards an occupied vehicle at the Tennessee Welcome Center. Assistant Sullivan County District Attorney Gene Perrin says charges are forthcoming in that first incident, pending completion of an investigation.

Shortly after shots were fired on I-81, at approximately 12:55 p.m., Sullivan County authorities were alerted to an 11-W motorist who was “pointing a gun and racking it.” In statements later obtained by police, the victim stated he was westbound on 11-W near J. H. Fauver Road. A Pontiac Grand Prix reportedly approached from behind “at an extremely high rate of speed.”

The driver of the car, later identified as Taylor, allegedly swerved back and forth while following the other motorist, then sped past. After pulling over in front of the other driver, Taylor reportedly “brake checked him as if he was trying to cause an accident.”

The victim told police that he flashed the headlights on his vehicle. That reportedly prompted Taylor to produce a black handgun out his driver’s side window, pull the slide and point it towards the other driver.

I’m so glad we’re all allowed to drive around armed. Makes me feel SO much safer! /sarcasm

• May 26, 2015:

A Springfield, TN airman walked into a North Dakota Walmart and “opened fire” for no apparent reason. He then turned the gun on himself. What a terrible tragedy all the way around.

• May 22, 2015:

The Tennessee Legislature recently voted to arm constables, those rural cop wannabes who are charged primarily with issuing warrants. Which in light of this recent incident seems a supremely stupid idea:

ONEIDA, Tenn. (WATE) – A man who is a lieutenant with the Scott County Jail and an elected constable is charged with firing a BB gun at several children near his home Wednesday night.

Michael Wilson, 58, is charged with assault. Officers with the Oneida police department say they were called to The Church of God on Paintrock Road around 8:30 p.m. A caller said several children had been shot with a BB gun while they were playing volleyball at the church.

Parents said around 20 kids were playing volleyball at the time.

Tennessee constables have a pretty checkered past. Here’s one who was charged with dealing drugs. Here’s one who, as a student at MTSU, was found to have a gun in his dorm room in violation of school policy.

• May 20, 2015:

1- A Shelbyville woman pointed a gun at another driver because they “came into her lane”:

The suspect was driving a black SUV, passed the victim driving in the otner direction, then quickly stopped and yelled at her, deputy Tim Fox’s report said.

“She allegedly stepped out of her vehicle holding a small caliber handgun in her right hand with her finger on the trigger,” Fox said. “She allegedly accused her of coming into her lane and said she needed to leave or it would be bad.”

The woman is described as in her 30s with black hair in a ponytail and weighing approximately 120 pounds.

Guns in cars, such a great idea!

2- And speaking of guns in cars, people in Kingsport just can’t stop pulling out their guns and pretending they’re Yosemite Sam. In one instance the guy flashed his concealed carry permit, pretending it was a police badge. In another incident, the guy (who had a concealed carry permit) pointed his gun at the driver of a car who honked at him because FREEDOM.

Such responsible people.

• May 15, 2015:

1- Interesting note of distinction here:

The most distinctive cause of death in Tennessee is the accidental discharge of firearms, according to new mapping data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 336 accidental gun deaths in Tennessee between 2001 and 2010.

Accidental gun deaths aren’t the main cause of death in Tennessee. Heart disease typically ranks as the leading cause of death in the state each year. The CDC data instead focused on causes of death in each state that veer most widely from the national average.

Once again, Tennessee is at the top of a list you want to be at the BOTTOM of. Slow clap, Tennessee Republicans.

2- And as if on cue: A Hickman County deputy’s daughter accidentally shot herself.

3- Dumbass Rutherford County man unaware that gravity is still a thing nearly shot his neighbor when he fired his gun to scare away vultures:

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Bullets rained down beside a Rutherford county man as he was standing in his backyard. It turns out, a neighbor was firing shots to scare away vultures.

It happened Monday morning at daybreak when a swarm of vultures converged on top of the cell phone tower next to Tyler Moody’s home on Old Lebanon Road in Rutherford County.

Moody grabbed his .22 caliber rifle in hopes of scaring them away.

“I just fired warning shots up in the air,” he told News 2.

A nearby neighbor said he heard the gunshots before bullets started falling down beside him in his backyard.

• May 7, 2015:

A Knox County jury convicted Rodney Lee Scott of manslaughter in a road rage shooting incident.

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Filed under Guns, Tennessee

What $46,000 Can Buy

Apparently, a super crappy logo:

7835634_G - Version 2

Seriously, our state government just paid $46,000 for that? Excuse me, I got so bored looking at it that I fell asleep. Someone wake me uuu… oh wow, I did it again.

This is a seriously shitty logo in every way a logo can be shitty, chief among them being it’s so generic it could be Indiana if they just added a bottom to the “T.” It also kinda looks like the LP Building Products logo, which not coincidentally the marketing company that designed the state’s new logo also represents. I wonder if they designed their logo, too. This logo is so utterly lacking in any creativity that I have to think there’s another agenda at play. Like someone’s favorite PR company needed some work to do, or some big donor’s daughter needed a class project.

I can’t imagine what was wrong with our old logo:

th

I liked this. According to Wikipedia, the three stars represent East, Middle and West Tennessee. It’s distinctive. The circle and stars is our state flag. It’s simple but we all know what it means.

So, why change what ain’t broken?

[UPDATE]:

Reaction has been swift:

CFkcaECVEAEkDlY

[UPDATE]: 2

This being the age of social media, the new logo has a Twitter account. A sample:

logoHaslam

I’ve also seen some funny logo parodies. For instance:

CFlOH6FUkAAv0XO

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Filed under Tennessee