Tag Archives: 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.


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:


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?


Reaction has been swift:



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


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



Filed under Tennessee

Oh Lookie, Tennessee Grew A Terrorist & He’s Been Arrested

Oddly, I haven’t heard anything about this in our Tennessee news media, and a part of me wondered if it weren’t some weird hoax. But then, it’s Tennessee, and nobody does crazy like we do:

An American man who stood in elections for the US Congress has admitted plotting to attack a Muslim community, shooting residents and burning down a mosque.

Robert R. Doggart, 63, was arrested by the FBI before he could carry out the plan to “utterly destroy” Islamberg, a village in New York state.

Posts on his Facebook page, tapped phone calls and conversations with police sources revealed the plot to attack on 15 April, setting fire to key buildings and killing anyone who resisted with guns or machetes.

According to a plea agreement filed at the US District Court of the Eastern District of Tennessee, Doggart wrote a Facebook post in February saying: “Target 3 [Islamberg] is vulnerable from many approaches and must be utterly destroyed.”

He met several co-conspirators in different parts of the state, justifying the carnage by claiming that residents were “planning a terrorist attack”, legal documents published by Heavy said.

They planned to burn down buildings including a mosque, a school and a cafeteria, shooting anyone who tried to stop them.

In a phone call to an FBI source on 6 March, Doggart was recorded saying: “Those guys have to be killed. Their buildings need to be burnt down. If we can get in there and do that not losing a man, even the better.”

He issued advice on guns, telling people to arm themselves with AR-15 and M-16 rifles.

Doggart, who ran as an independent candidate for the 4th Congressional District of Tennessee in 2014, admitted planning to carry an M4 carbine and offered to arm the FBI source with “the meanest shotgun on Earth”.

Doggart ran for Congress in 2014 to represent Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district, the seat currently heald by Scott “abortion for me but not for thee” DesJarlais. According to Ballotpedia, Doggart only got 9,238 votes. He’s apparently an engineer in the energy industry and spent 17 years with TVA.

His platform reads like your typical Fox New-watching Tea Party wackaloon:

Doggart said his platform calls for the integrity of the Constitution, the protection of the people, land and form of government by the military; fair distribution of appropriations; reversal or revision of the Roe vs. Wade court decision allowing abortion on demand; limiting immigration or amnesty to reasonable numbers supportable by the economy; and full disclosure related to the Benghazi incident.

So, you know, just your standard-issue Tennessee Republican. Off to slaughter Muslims in Islamberg, New York. Looks like Tennessee has its own home-grown terrorist now, plotting to attack a community in New York. Of course, if the local media ever does get around to reporting on this story, do you think they’ll use the “T” word? I’m thinking …. not.


Filed under Islam, right-wing hate, Tennessee

Tennessee Out-Crazies Texas With Wingnutty Homeland Security Group

So, who is this weird “Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security” claiming it has a “mandate” from the Tennessee legislature in its fundraising letters and on its website?

The group in fundraising literature describes itself as a “non-profit publicly funded and operated body with a mandate endorsed by Members of the Tennessee State Legislature to protect the citizens of Tennessee from the existential threat posed by various acts of terrorism.”

The legislature, for its part, is distancing itself from the group, saying,

[…] the group “does not function in any official capacity.”


[…] it would be “erroneous” to claim the group had been endorsed by the General Assembly.

As an side, I’m curious, what do they mean by “publicly funded and operated”? Do they get public appropriations? Or are they saying they get money from the general public? I ask because on their website they say they are,

[…] a non-profit privately funded body with a mandate endorsed by Members of the Tennessee State Legislature to protect the citizens of Tennessee from the existential threat posed by key terroist entities.

Which one is it? Privately-funded or publicly-funded? Do they even know?

I wanted to know more about this strange group that doesn’t know where its money (or mandate) comes from. Let’s ask the Great Gazoogle. Here’s a story from March of this year in which they held a private “briefing” for legislators. Their spokesperson is Jeff Hartline, the Tea Party wackaloon who unsuccessfully ran for Jim Cooper’s Congressional seat:

The group is chaired by Jonna Z. Bianco, formerly the vice president and director of the congressional Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus.

Yes, I’ll stop you right there, buckaroo. The Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus is a delusional sci-fi conspiracy popular with the WingNut Daily crowd. As Salon.com explains it, the fear is that some Dr. Evil-type will detonate a nuclear weapon in the upper atmosphere, which:

[…] sends gamma rays flying in all directions, which produce high-energy electrons, which create an electromagnetic pulse that will damage electronic systems. According to the Federation of American Scientists, to create an EMP that would affect the entire country, the malefactor in question would have to detonate a “large device” some 400-500 kilometers over Wichita – roughly the altitude at which the International Space Station orbits earth.

Alrighty then. So maybe technically possible but realistically bullshit. So this is the group “briefing” our Tennessee state legislators in a closed-door meeting to which the media were excluded. Why am I not encouraged that the legislature is making very weak noises about not being associated with these crazies? The fact that they’re even listening to what they have to say is alarming enough. And they do seem to have found a kindred spirit in notorious Agenda 21 wackaloon Rick Womick.

From the March Nashville Post story:

Legislators said, off the record, after the closed meeting the information shared by the task force was interesting, but some details appeared taken out of context.

Hartline said aspects of the group’s message include organized crime, illegal weapons transferred in and out of the state, human trafficking, and electromagnetic pulse devices. “That’s a piece of it,” Hartline said about EMPs, “because that does present a clear and present danger to the ongoing of commerce in Tennessee.”

In 2013, state Rep. Rick Womick claimed in a legislative hearing that an electromagnetic pulse bomb was set off outside of Shelbyville, an attack local authorities said they had no record of.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

So who is Jonna Z. Bianco, this group’s “chair”? Again, to the Great Gazoogle:

Jonna Bianco is the president and founder of the American Bondholders Foundation (ABF), an organization that seeks to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for its debt obligations to U.S. investors dating back to the first half of the 20th Century.

Ms. Bianco brings an encyclopedic understanding of this matter, and achieving liquidity for ABF’s bondholders has been her sole professional focus since 2001.

She also sits on the following related boards:

• United States Congress’s EMP Caucus “Task Force on National and Homeland Security”
• Prague Security Studies Institute (Czech Republic)
• Prague Security Studies Institute (Washington D.C.)
• National Defense University Foundation
• Center for Security Policy (Washington D.C.)
• Tennessee Freedom Coalition (Nashville, Tennessee)

These are interesting groups. The Tennessee Freedom Coalition has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group by the SPLC. The Center for Security Policy is Frank Gaffney’s fearmongering anti-Muslim organization. See a pattern here? The rest are some lower-tier Neocon think tanks and free-market groups operating on the fringes of the foreign policy apparatus. What’s interesting is that I couldn’t find any supporting documentation that Bianco actually sits on some of these defense boards. However, I did find this interesting lawsuit related to her work with the American Bondholders Foundation.

This “Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security” is starting to exude a strong stench of merde. Yes, kids, I’m starting to think the whole thing may be an elaborate scam. And it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a Tea Party-affiliated group was just an elaborate money-grubbing hoax.

I’m not sure we’re any clearer on who the Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security is. Quite honestly, I’m not sure even they know who they are. One thing I’ve learned about the Tea Party is that organizationally it is like a hydra that continually spawns new crazy groups with which to fleece the gullible. And that’s exactly what this group looks like: a bunch of tin-foil hat paranoiac grifters who will ultimately embarrass this state worse than Jade Helm 15 has tarnished Texas.


Filed under Tennessee

Tennessee: Where Conservatism Has Come To Die

National conservative groups are focusing their activities (and money) on Tennessee, and I find that very odd:

Most prominent in enhanced spending are three national organizations that have dramatically expanded their Tennessee activity within the past three years:

* Americans for Prosperity, based in Arlington, Va., was founded and — at least initially — mostly funded by businessmen and philanthropist brothers David and Charles Koch with the proclaimed aim of advocating for free enterprise. AFP’s Tennessee operation reported spending more than $1.1 million in Tennessee lobbying last year. AFP reported spending less than $10,000 in all prior reports filed with the Tennessee Ethics Commission since it became active within the state in 2012. AFP reported no explicitly political spending, but state Director Andrew Ogles says the lobbying report covers “educational” ads that sometimes criticized or supported legislative candidates.

* The American Federation for Children, based in Washington, D.C., advocates education reforms involving “school choice” for parents. The AFC’s state organization reported spending between $75,000 and $150,000 on Tennessee lobbying in 2014 to the Ethics Commission and reported a total of $606,345 in political spending by the political action committee set up by its state affiliate, the Tennessee Federation for Children, to the state Registry of Election Finance during the 2014 election cycle, including 2013. The state PAC was launched in 2012.

* StudentsFirst, based in Sacramento, Calif., and founded by Michelle Rhee, a former District of Columbia school superintendent, also advocates expanded options for education, including school vouchers. The organization reported spending between $100,000 and $200,000 on lobbying in 2014 — plus a $13,907 reception for legislators — and reported spending of $573,917 within the state during the 2014 election cycle by its state PAC, which was launched in 2012. (Rhee was formerly married to Kevin Huffman, who served four years as Tennessee’s education commissioner.)

These groups set up shop in Tennessee fairly recently and started building a “grass roots” network of state resident members, although much of their funding still comes from outside the state — substantial chunks of money transferred from national headquarters in the case of StudentsFirst and AFC.

The article also mentions other national conservative groups actively lobbying in Tennessee, such as the National Rifle Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition to lobbying, I know that all of these groups have been buying up beaucoups amount of local TV air time, too — at least in the Nashville market.

And I find this very odd. Republicans have a supermajority in Tennessee. Our legislature is as hard-right, Teanutty wackadoodle as it comes. Why do the Koch Brothers and Michelle Rhee need to set up an office here and spend over a million dollars in one year lobbying a Republican legislature already friendly to their ideas? Why devote so much time and money and energy to a state that should be a gimme? Shouldn’t they be focusing this kind of intensity on more “purple” states where they could make some headway, not a deep-red state where they’ve ostensibly won the fight?

How is this not a sign of retreat? Would like to hear your thoughts on this.

Oh, and this from the article made me laugh:

But Harwell said legislators can be trusted to look to the interests of their constituents, not of the lobbyists.

Riiight. Harwell is the one who voted “present” instead of “no” on controversial guns-in-parks legislation, even though she said “my district doesn’t want it.” Great representation, lady.


Related: A Heartfelt Breakup Letter to Tennessee: This Is Why I’m Leaving.

Good read.


Filed under conservatives, Tennessee

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Someone check the campaign donations to Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander and see if there are any ceiling fan manufacturers on that list:

I can’t pass this up: Tennessee must have quite the ceiling fan lobby. As we mentioned earlier this week, Rep. Marsha Blackburn has introduced measures to defund DOE’s work to improve the efficiency of ceiling fans in recent years. So, it stood out to ME that one of the bills on the ENR agenda today is one from Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander to “remove the authority of the Secretary of Energy to amend or issue new energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans.”

Yes, we absolutely must have inefficient ceiling fans. Because freedom. And reasons.

BTW, wonder if Marsha was able to unload all those inefficient lightbulbs she was handing out for Christmas one year.

(h/t to Jamie in Comments)


Ah, thanks to Joe in comments, I found this in the 2013 memory hole:

Ceiling fans: Big government, or just hot air?

While making homes more energy-efficient is a legitimate, even vital goal of federal policy, government agents aren’t about to pry inefficient fans from the ceilings of American homes. That didn’t stop Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, from pushing a measure to block any new federal energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans — or from defending that measure in overheated terms. “We’ve already seen the federal government stretch their regulatory tentacles into our homes and determine what kind of light bulbs we have to use,” Blackburn said on the House floor. “Now they’re coming after our ceiling fans. It is a sad state of affairs when even our ceiling fans aren’t safe from this administration.”

Actually, it was President Bush and a Republican Congress who called for national efficiency standards in 2005 as a way of preempting state regulations; the Department of Energy began taking steps to implement national rules this year. As well it should have: Home appliances represent a huge opportunity to reduce energy consumption, and many ceiling fans use technology that is decades old.

And for all Blackburn’s zealfor liberty, it’s also noteworthy that one of the nation’s top ceiling fan companies, Hunter Fan, is in her home state. Roll Call reported that the company has already complained about the potential costs of new rules to the Energy Department and asked for a delay “until there are further advances in fan technology.”

None of which has stopped Hunter Fans from saying all the right “green” things on its website, such as:

It’s a promise—your Hunter ceiling fan can have a positive impact on your wallet and the world.

“It’s a promise”? Really? That promise is looking pretty damn empty.


Filed under Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

Maybe David Fowler Should Just Shut Up Already

Here’s an interesting admission from David Fowler, the far-right religious nut who heads the Family Action Council Tennessee:

It happened on a family rafting trip in North Carolina.

David Fowler’s daughter went into the bathroom and never came back out. He sent his wife in to investigate and was later told his daughter had begun menstruation.

“For me, at the time, it was a relief my wife was there to handle a situation I felt utterly incapable of addressing,” Fowler said.

“It truly took both of us to raise our daughter; one without the other would have been a total disaster. My daughter might still think it was a total disaster,” he said with a laugh.

Fowler’s inability to deal with his daughter’s first period is supposed to be the reason we can’t let gays marry, which seems rather weird and not relevant. Should we remove all children from single-parent households, then? But beyond the illogic of his argument as relates to marriage equality, I have another question:

If David Fowler can’t handle his own daughter’s menarche, WHY THE FUCK HAS HE SPENT HIS ENTIRE CAREER TRYING TO LEGISLATE WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS????????!!!!!!

Just Go. The Fuck. Away.


Filed under GLBT, religious right, Tennessee politics, women's rights