Tag Archives: Tennessee

Straight & Narrow Minded

Blount County, Tennessee, punted on its “please, God, go smite someone else” resolution: after crowds showed up to protest the item, the commission did the cowardly thing by not approving the meeting’s agenda and adjourning. That’s a principled action!

This is the part I love:

The resolution, sponsored by County Commissioner Karen Miller, has gained national attention. The resolution focuses on recognizing and protecting ‘natural marriage,’ or marriage between a man and woman.

‘I had no idea this was going to take place. I was totally in the dark. It’s a total surprise,’ said Miller.

Nobody could have anticipated. Nobody could have seen this coming. Nobody could have foreseen that a resolution that is…

…petitioning for God’s mercy and asks God ‘not to destroy our county as he did Sodom and Gomorrah’ …

… would turn tiny Blount County, Tennessee into a national laughingstock. Truly it’s a mystery to Commissioner Miller that this has generated any attention at all, forcing the commission to pull the plug on the entire meeting and scurry into their holes. Hoocodanode?

This is what I love about fundiegelicals. Putting aside for a moment the whole church/state thing, and the fact that not every person is a believer, and not every believer is a Christian, I think one of the most annoying things about the fundiegelical wing of Christianity is that they always think they’re the only Christians in the room.

They always think they speak for everyone else. In a religion with literally hundreds of different denominations and splinter groups, why do they always assume that their version of Christianity is the “agreed-upon” version?

Or maybe they aren’t assuming that, maybe they’re just asserting it. “Our version is the right version and everyone else has to live by our rules!” I mean, how rude is that? To just barge into the faith and tell dozens of other denominations that they’re wrong, we’re right, and shut up.

Look, there are plenty of Christian denominations out there which don’t buy into any of that anti-gay bullshit. And I’m not even talking about “fringe” wings of Christianity like the New Thought churches (Unity, Christian Science, Religious Science) or even those pesky Unitarian Universalists. Mainstream denominations (Presbyterian Church-USA, United Church of Christ, Anglican, Lutheran, Christian Church-DoC) not to mention splinters within the more conservative denominations (there is, believe it or not, a Baptist church down the street from me with an openly lesbian pastor).

So, you know, the fundiegelicals don’t speak for everybody, yet here they come marching in, acting as if they own the joint. No, you don’t own the joint. Shut up. Go away. Practice your faith your way and let others practice their faith their way, and let those who don’t subscribe to any faith also be allowed to live as they please. You’re not the boss of PCUSA or Disciples of Christ or anybody else. So rude. So ignorant.

And that goes for those people wanting to post the 10 Commandments everywhere, blithely unaware that there isn’t just one version. Or teaching Creationism in school: which Biblical version of the Creation are you wanting to teach? There are three in the Old and New Testaments. What arrogance to assume that your version is the one everyone else will agree with!

Get thee behind me, you useless idiots.


Filed under Christianity, gay equality, GLBT, religion, religious right, Tennessee

WTF Ron Ramsey

Tennesee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey just posted this on his Facebook page. It’s positively chilling:


Holy holy war, Batman! What the hell is wrong with this man? “It’s time to prepare”? “Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise”? Are you fucking insane? How’s that been working for us, buddy? Everyone is already armed to the teeth! Amazingly, we’ve had more mass shootings! More, not fewer! What’s that they say about insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

This is some irresponsible BS. Shame. On. You. SHAME. ON. YOU.


Oregon is one of 7 states allowing CCW holders to carry on campus. And apparently there were at least two CCW holders on campus when the shooting happened. They opted not to intervene, out of fear they’d become targets themselves. This was, by the way, absolutely the right call: most of the time, the “good guy with a gun” ends up either getting in the way of law enforcement, getting shot, or hurting an innocent bystander. I just point it out by way of illustrating to Ron Ramsey and the rest of the gun loons that arming all the “good guys” clearly isn’t working. We’ve been doing that for over a decade now and all we have to show for it is more gun violence, more shootings, and a rise in the murder rate.

Watch the interview:


Filed under Guns, religion, Tennessee

Someone ALWAYS Pays, Governor!

Gov. Haslam, still hot for privatization, might want to check out what’s happening in our privatized prison industrial complex, which has apparently found a wonderful new revenue source:

A private probation company in Tennessee is violating racketeering laws by jailing impoverished people who fail to pay court fines for traffic violations and misdemeanor offenses, and by refusing to waive fees for the indigent, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

In the lawsuit, seven probationers, many of them sick or disabled and living on as little as $129 a month in food stamps, say they lost housing, jobs and cars, sold their blood plasma and went without food after repeated threats by the company that they would be jailed if they could not pay.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Nashville, alleges that the county and the company, Providence Community Corrections in Rutherford County, southeast of Nashville, are violating racketeering laws by extorting money through “the wrongful use of fear.”

Ah, terrific! Literally profiting off the plasma of the poorest of the poor. You know, I didn’t think it was possible to get blood from a stone but Tennessee Republicans have certainly managed to find some. I guess I didn’t think about the selling plasma part.

This is how privatization works, Gov. Haslam! I mean, when your only concern is whether a private company can do something cheaper, privatization looks pretty awesome, right? But the savings have to come from somewhere, right? This is how capitalism works, right?! Someone, somewhere along the line, pays. So let’s unpack this story and see who that person is:

The lawsuit in Tennessee, filed by Equal Justice Under Law, a civil rights group, and the pro bono arm of the law firm Baker Donelson, describes a financial arrangement between the county and Providence Community Corrections that is typical in many respects: The county pays nothing to the company, which earns money instead by charging monthly fees to probationers as well as surcharges for drug tests, warrants and other services.

Oh, that’s nice. So the county pays nothing, and the company charges the indigent. Somehow the good Christian people of Rutherford County thought this dirty piece of business was gonna end up being clean? Seriously? You thought you could get something for nothing? Are you people idiots?

And let’s look at these surcharges for drug tests. Were they, maybe, performed by Aegis Sciences, the drug testing company owned by the husband of prominent Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black? Maybe! Love how the Republican Welfare Gravy Train works, don’t you?

But wait, there’s more:

The company even refused to let destitute probationers complete their required community service hours without first paying a community service fee, the plaintiffs say.

The arrangement gives the company a direct financial interest in the length of probationary periods. It also gives it broad powers to set the conditions of probation, including such requirements as forbidding alcohol consumption regardless of the nature of the offense, and to “revoke” probation and have the offender jailed, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs say that once they were sent to county jail, they were manhandled or ridiculed by jail officials. Paula Pullum, a 48-year-old plaintiff with severe medical problems — including a heart ailment — claims that when she submitted a letter detailing her health issues and required medications, a jailer tore it up.

Plaintiffs say that even when the company was aware of their indigence, they were not told they could apply to have their court costs waived. When they asked for a waiver, they said, they were denied or told they would first have to make payments for several months, pay for the form, pass a $20 drug test and pay a $25 fee to get a court hearing.

Yes, someone always pays! And when it’s the poor — or the poorest of the poor — who cares, amiright? That’s what they get for being poor. Stupid poors! Why can’t you be rich like the rest of us! Meanwhile, let’s continue to tell ourselves that the poor are lazy, that the playing field is even, that everyone has the same opportunities as everyone else, etc. Then we can grandstand about tight budgets and small government and the super awesome private sector and the need to privatize because cheaper, better, shinier, sparklier, etc. etc. etc. It’s super awesome, you guys — as long as you don’t look to closely.

And by the way, the lawsuit has been filed by the D.C.-based civil rights non-profit Equal Justice Under The Law. This is the kind of stuff ACORN used to do. I expect this group to be targeted by some James O’Keefe acolyte in 5 … 4… 3….


Filed under corporations, Tennessee

Ordinary, Everyday Gun Negligence

This is the kind of thing we warned about when the Tennessee Legislature forced guns-in-cars on us:

Several guns stolen from cars in Bartlett over weekend

BARTLETT, Tenn. — Four more guns are in the wrong hands on Mid-South streets Wednesday.

Bartlett Police confirmed three cars were broken into over the weekend and four guns were stolen.

One of the victims agreed to speak with WREG to prevent this from happening to others. He said he did not want to be identified because the crook or crooks are still out there.

“My stomach dropped. My heart sank,” he said.

The gun owner recalled the moment he saw the holster in his car was empty Sunday. The rag he used to cover the handle of the gun was on the seat.

You mean the magic invisibility rag you used to hide your gun didn’t work? Shocked face!

But this one for the win:

Police reports showed that all three cars that were broken into over the weekend were parked at home. Police reports suggested at least two of the three cars were left unlocked.

The man we spoke with admitted he left his car unlocked because he felt his neighborhood was very safe.

If your neighborhood is so safe, why the hell do you need a gun in the first place?


Look, let’s just dispense with this ridiculous notion that gun owners are in any way safer, more responsible, or more concerned about public safety than the average schlub who thinks if they leave a laptop in their car overnight with a jacket thrown over it, nobody will know it’s there.

You. Fucking. Idiots.

So thanks for playing, jerks. Now there are more guns in the hands of criminals — guns which may be used to kill an innocent person, a child perhaps. Because every gun used in a crime started its life legally. And this is precisely the kind of thing we told the Tennessee Legislature we were concerned about. But no, we were told that gun owners are so responsible, you guys!

And will there be charges filed for this negligence? Don’t be silly. They’re the victims, y’all!

I wish I could say this was a rare occurrence but sadly, no. Unsecured guns are stolen from cars (and homes) all the time. Sometimes this negligence is charged. Usually not. It all depends on our strange hodge-podge of state laws. Here in Tennessee if you lose your gun or if it’s stolen, you’re not even required to report it. So let’s just say negligent gun storage in Tennessee ain’t exactly viewed as a crime. How does this make sense? It doesn’t — unless you’re deep in the pockets of the Tennessee Firearms Assn. and required to pretend that all gun owners are the most responsible, most awesome citizens ever.

We have loosened pretty much every restriction on where you can carry a gun, but there’s been no attendant requirement related to responsible gun ownership. That’s how it is with the gun loons: all rights, no responsibilities.

And it’s not just guns in cars. Check out this useful idiot in Utahone of our safest, most responsible EVAH, needs to conceal-carry on his trip to the local Walmart because, shit, I dunno, maybe he’s scared of getting robbed or something. So what happens? He goes to the bathroom and gets robbed of his gun! Slow clap, asshole! If only you’d had a gun to protect yourse– ah, never mind.

Look, the more people walking around, driving around, carrying guns everywhere, the more shit like this is going to happen. Now after years of decline we’re seeing a rise in the murder rate, thanks to “a proliferation of arms.” Gee, it’s almost as if more guns everywhere doesn’t make anyone safer. Who knew?


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Tennessee Gun Report

I promised I’d get back on board with this …. still trying! Enjoy the parade of gunfail and lunacy.

• September 18, 2015:

A drunken 21-year-old fired shots at an ETSU fraternity house. Kids today.

• September 17, 2015:

1- Hey everyone! Check out my new gun! Oops, sorry about the shot to the head:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A 28-year-old woman was shot in the head and lives to tell the story. Despite all she has been through, Tara Ellis is staying positive.

Ellis was at an apartment complex in Bellevue with a group of people on Sept. 7 when the man who lives there showed his gun to everyone.

Metro police said another man was holding the gun when it accidentally went off, striking Ellis in the back of the head.

“We were at a friend’s apartment. We were about to go to the movies and that’s kind of the last thing I remember other than waking up with the paramedics,” said Ellis.


Ellis told News 2 she can’t see out of her left eye, she has no feeling on her left side and has to endure months of physical rehab.

“Washing my hair is a huge issue it’s really difficult you know it’s hard to wash my hands or open the refrigerator,” said Ellis.

Naturally she doesn’t have any insurance so there’s a GoFundMe campaign. Typical millennial, thought she was bulletproof.

2- A Meigs County man shot his uncle to death in an argument over a fighting rooster.

Respect the culture.

• September 13, 2015:

A woman was shot in the hand at a Nashville dog park.

This happened at the dog park that I go to, when I go to the dog park. Glad I wasn’t there.

• September 11, 2015:

Tennessee’s General Assembly really opened a can of worms when it passed “guns in parks.” That might be fine for people living in Bumfug TN but most of the population lives in cities and that’s a problem. The mayor of Knoxville decided to ban guns at the Tennessee Valley Fair and even Gov. Haslam agreed with the decision but the pants-wetters made a sadface. So far close to 150,000 attended the fair and yet nobody needed a 2nd Amendment Hero to come in and save the day.

I eagerly anticipate more such bullshit as we try to make sense of this idiocy. Already we’re going to have to go through metal detectors at the hockey game because Responsible Gun Owners are too confused about where they can and can’t bring their security blankets. How about just leaving them at home, folks?

• September 9, 2015:

1- A Nashville sixth-grader brought a gun to school and threatened another student if he told anyone.

2- A Clarksville woman was charged with trying to bring a loaded gun into the Montgomery County courthouse. You know, if it had been an airport she’d have been given a warning and it would have been written off as an “honest mistake.”

• September 8, 2015:

A Harrison man described as an “experienced” shooter accidentally shot himself while holstering his gun at the shooting range:

“One of our range members was out there shooting, and when he went to holster his gun, it went off. We’re not sure if he had his finger on the trigger, if the holster hit the trigger, or if his gun malfunctioned,” said owner, Kristi Manning.

The experienced shooter and long-time shooting range member was rushed to the hospital. Manning said the incident serves as a reminder to shooters of all skill sets.

“Don’t get careless. I mean, you can get yourself in such a situation where you’ve done it so many times. Like this gentleman, he’s done it so many times that, it just kind of happened. And it can happen to the best of us,” Manning said.

So much for “safest, most responsible ever.” Looks like complacency = gunfail, too. Guess guns just aren’t safe, no matter whose hands they’re in.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Support The Troops

[see update below}

Across Tennessee (and, indeed, around the country) “armed volunteers” have taken it upon themselves to stand guard over military recruiting stations.

People, there are no two words in the English language which strike more fear in my heart than “armed volunteers.” This is a recipe for disaster. But they’re so cute, you guys:

“We’re here to serve and protect,” Clint Janney said Tuesday, wearing a Taurus 9mm handgun as he stood in a parking lot across from a recruiting center on the west side of Columbus. “What the government won’t do, we will do.”

Ahh ….. and, no. “Serve and protect,” now isn’t that the motto of law enforcement? Go to the police academy if you want to “serve and protect,” you narcissistic paranoiac.

I absolutely adore how this story is playing into all of the hero fantasies of the gun humpers, though. Here they come to save the day! The gummint has failed — but they never will!

Roll tape: “In a world, where Islamofacsist terrorists lurk behind every bush and shrub, and the local strip mall has become a battlefield .. one brave patriot stands on guardFOR FREEDOM!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

You have to know that the only reason our gun loons are doing this is because the Chattanooga shooter was Muslim. I don’t recall the case of Christopher Clark Farrar generating anything close to the same attention or media interest. I certainly don’t recall any of our safest, most responsible citizens evah vowing to stand on guard outside black churches after Dylann Roof went apeshit, do you? Oh but nooo that was an isolated incident!

Meanwhile, the gun humpers stand by their MOAR GUNZ! solution to this mass shooting disease America has contracted, which is their only solution every time there’s a gun tragedy. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and yet the only way we can stop mass shootings is with more guns because guns don’t kill people … erm, the circular logic hurts my head.

Going completely ignored by the news media is that fact that not less than 24 hours after the Chattanooga shootings, a Navy recruiter in guns-everywhere Georgia brought his gun to work and promptly shot himself in the leg with it. You’d think as we “debate” the common sense of having armed recruiters in civilian strip malls that might get mentioned, but, nope! And buried at the very end of a long CBS This Morning piece on this story came the information that there was, in fact, an armed person at the Chattanooga military base where all those people were shot. You’d think that would be mentioned a little more prominently in this “debate” but again, no.

Anyway, I eagerly await the moment one of these Barney Fifes passes out in the 90+ degree heat and narrowly misses shooting some mom and her toddler leaving the local Walmart.


Hmm. Evidently MOAR GUNZ is not, in fact, the answer. Imagine that:

A report distributed among senior Navy leaders during the shooting’s aftermath said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center’s commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage Abdulazeez, Navy Times confirmed with four separate sources. A Navy official also confirmed a Washington Post report indicating one of the slain Marines may have been carrying a 9mm Glock and possibly returned fire on the gunman.

So not one but two of the military personnel at the Chattanooga base where five people were killed were armed. Didn’t help, did it?


Filed under Guns, Tennessee

Rep. Rick Womick Is Certifiably Crazy

Every state has their lunatic legislator (or three): Texas has Louie Gohmert, Minnesota had Michelle Bachmann. Here in Tennessee we’re blessed with an abundance of wackaloons, and our state legislature could easily be mistaken for the set of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest rather than the deliberative legislative body it’s supposed to be.

Chief among these mental cases is Rep. Rick Womick, who has now made headlines for his calls to impeach the Supreme Court justices and Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam over same-sex marriage:

NASHVILLE — Furious at Republican Gov. Bill Haslam for having “bowed down” to the U.S. Supreme Court on the same-sex marriage ruling, a tea party-style GOP Tennessee lawmaker wants colleagues to give “serious consideration” to removing the governor from office.

In his Facebook posting Monday night, state Rep. Rick Womick, R-Murfreesboro, brought up impeachment as he shared a link to MSNBC liberal talk show host Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” page, which featured a video of South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright attacking the legalization of same-sex marriage during a debate on the Confederate flag.

In the post Womick said, “And where is Tennessee’s leadership oh that’s right our Governor bowed down to the five self appointed gods in black robes just minutes after they issued their ‘opinion!'”

Womick went on to charge that Haslam “changed Tennessee state law and our State Constitution without ever consulting with the General Assembly. I think it’s time to give serious consideration to impeachment hearings against Gov. Haslam and these five rogue SCOTUS justices!”

Rick Womick is a certifiably crazy person. There isn’t a conspiracy theory he hasn’t embraced, a fringe idea he hasn’t endorsed. Of course he thinks Haslam can (and should) be impeached. He doesn’t know how the world works, so this makes perfect sense to him. The only thing crazier is that he has been elected to the state legislature, I assume by other crazy people.

A brief rundown of Rick Womick’s greatest hits:

• Rick Womick believes that an “electromagnetic pulse bomb” was detonated outside of Shelbyville in 2013.

• Rick Womick believes Agenda 21 is a U.N. conspiracy to take away citizens’ property rights.

• Rick Womick believes that a local ordinance requiring Papa’s Butts and BBQ Hot Sauce Store repave its parking lot is proof of how the U.N. is taking away citizens’ property rights.

• Rick Womick believes Muslims are trying to kill him and should therefore be purged from the U.S. military.

By the way, there is “zero support” for Womick’s impeachment idea. Unfortunately, this idiot remains elected to the state House for reasons I cannot fathom. Surely there’s a less crazy Republican in this part of the state who can do a better job? No? How about a decent Democrat? Anyone?


Filed under Tennessee, Tennessee politics