Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Daily Links: Uni Watch, the Second Amendment, and Graphic Images

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From ESPNThe 2015 Uni Watch college football preview

From National Review OnlineAn Open Rant Aimed at Those Who Would Repeal the Second Amendment

From Rolling StoneN.W.A: American Gangstas

From New YorkDonald Trump Is Going to Lose Because He Is Crazy

From CityLab9 Super-Annoying Things You Do At Restaurants, According to Restaurant Workers

From The Society of News Design: The quandary of graphic photography (Warning: disturbing images)

Those are the links. This is a lynx... 

click to enlarge PHOTO: AMIEE STUBBS
  • PHOTO: AMIEE STUBBS

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TDOC To Undergo Independent Review

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 3:55 PM

At a specially called Senate corrections subcommittee on the status of the Tennessee Department of Corrections today, the department's head, Derrick Schofield, said the system would now go through an independent evaluation from the American Correctional Association.

This comes after current and former employees have brought concerns of staffing shortages and safety issues amid overcrowding in the state's prisons. Also at issue was the way the department has classified (or reclassified, depending on who you ask) incidents where inmates assaulted officers.

Former warden of West Tennessee State Penitentiary, Jerry Lester, who worked for the department for 27 years, told legislators Schofield asked wardens to diminish incidents to "staff/inmate provocation" rather than classify them as "assaults" or they would be fired.

Lester himself was injured on the job — an inmate broke his arm — and says the commissioner called him in and told him not to "get his feelings" hurt if he saw in the media that the commissioner did not say he was injured. His broken arm was classified as a "participation in a security threat group."

"Wardens were directed to reduce (incidents) like mine to a lesser, nonviolent incident," Lester told the packed hearing room.

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#MayoralChatter: ‘If Anybody’s a Centrist in This Race, It’s Me’

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 1:25 PM

click to enlarge cover_8-27-15.jpg
This week's cover story is the Scene's interview with At-Large Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Megan Barry. 

We talked about transit, taxes, education, her attacks on David Fox, his attacks on her, and a little bit about that mysterious meeting with Bill Freeman (which is no longer a mystery). 

Here's an excerpt from my introduction to our interview:

All this plays out as the Fox campaign seeks to paint Barry as a member of the “far left,” which strikes many political observers as a bit like painting a hammer-and-sickle on a Target handbag. Her council record has been a source of interest and irritation, depending on the point of view, precisely because of the ways it has not matched that description. The irony of Fox’s attack is that ever since she was elected in 2007 as a pro-neighborhoods progressive fighter, her harshest criticism and skepticism has come from people on the left, worried that political ambition and calculation were pulling Barry to the center.

As has been chewed over many times by now, her council tenure included sponsorship of a nondiscrimination ordinance and a living wage for Metro workers — 14 of them. But she also provided a reliable yes vote for the corporate tax incentives and big downtown development projects that have bothered, among others, some of the neighborhood activists and progressives who would be Barry’s natural constituency.

But Barry has not shied away from her record in the least. At the close of our interview, she had this to say on the topic of the seeming partisan nature of the race:

I think that by saying, “Hey, look, here’s Megan and here’s all the rest of us” — all the rest of us are unions, teachers, firefighters, the business coalition, you know. And so, I think it’s kind of a false dichotomy. If anybody’s a centrist in this race, it’s me, and I’ve got the track record to prove it.

You can read the condensed version of the interview as it appears in this week's print issue here. We'll have the complete transcript on Pith tomorrow morning. 

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#MayoralChatter: We Do Not Know What To Think About This New David Fox Ad

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 12:01 PM


David Fox has a new ad. It's a spoof. And an attack. It's a spooftack? Watch it. Drink it in. Then meet us after the jump:

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Ashley Madison Users of Tennessee, Let's Talk

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 9:46 AM

Hi guys. Yes, you six guys from tn.gov who signed up for Ashley Madison with your work email, the seven guys who work for the city of Memphis, the eight guys who work for the city of Nashville, the two Chattanooga city workers, the rumored political operatives and ex-political operatives, I am talking specifically to you, but also, in general, to all men who might find this helpful.

First, if you're going to cheat on your spouse, get an email that is something other than yourname@gmail.com or yourname@tn.gov. Second, don't cheat on your wives, you dickbags. If you want some strange, tell your wife you want some strange. Give her the opportunity to divorce you before you bring home something she can't live with (or, hell, maybe she'll be cool with it; stranger things have happened). In this day and age, if you both want to stay in a relationship and want to cheat on your spouse without him or her knowing it, it's because you find titillation in seeing how close you can come to hurting your spouse. That's a gross impulse.

But here's what I really want to say to you guys: Women are people. For thousands of years, men have tried to insist that women were less than whole people, that our only jobs were to be pretty, baby-making machines that will cook and clean for you. And for thousands of years, we have disappointed you by failing to be only those things.

There's no magic place you can go—not Russia, not Asia, not Ashley Madison—where you can open your wallet, choose all the characteristics you want in a sentient sex toy, and come up with a woman who will actually care about you. You can't buy love and affection. You can only buy the appearance of love and affection.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Daily Links: Larry King, Katrina Oaks, and the Roanoke TV Murders

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 5:05 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From The New York Times MagazineLarry King Is Preparing for the Final Cancellation

From The Daily BeastHow Cops Caught Roanoke’s TV Murderer

From The Marshall ProjectDoubting Jennifer Herndon: An appeals lawyer who has represented more than a half-dozen men put to death in Missouri faces questions about her competency.

From Wired: Think Like a Tree: What We Can Learn From the Oaks That Survived Katrina

From The Washington PostWhat Colin Trevorrow got right about women directors and big movie franchises

Those are the links. This is a lynx...

click to enlarge PHOTO: AMIEE STUBBS
  • PHOTO: AMIEE STUBBS

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Quiet Night At the School Board

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Following weeks of contention on issues like charter schools and who to hire for superintendent, the Metro Nashville School Board cruised through its meeting last night without incident. 

The board unanimously approved zoning changes within the Glencliff cluster, heard a breakdown of last school year's test scores and renamed Stratford High School — which will absorb Bailey Middle School next year — as Stratford STEM Magnet School. They also talked, briefly, about wanting to lead the state in literacy growth amid a statewide lull in reading scores.

Here's a the tweet-by-tweet of last night's meeting, after the jump.

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#MayoralChatter: Megan Barry, David Fox, and the Karl Dean Problem

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Ever since the beginning of the mayoral race — which seems like decades ago at this point — Mayor Karl Dean has been something like the sun in this campaign galaxy, with varying degrees of gravitational pull on all the other candidates. Sometimes that force has been subtle, but it is increasingly less so. 

The entire field had the same essential dilemma with relation to the current mayor. None of them were selling anything all that different from Dean. And anyway, the sort of people who host big fundraisers and make up business councils have had a pretty good eight years. An overt campaign for Change wasn't likely to do so well in those relatively small, but influential circles. 

So we get Linda Eskind Rebrovick, Dean plus some gadgets, or Charles Robert Bone, Dean plus more and farther and wider and jingles. Whatever his campaign's other shortcomings, Howard Gentry might have been offering the biggest contrast from the current state of things, with his consistent focus on things like poverty — a crisis that has persisted right on through the It Storm.

And now we find ourselves in the runoff, with two candidates who aren't all that different from Dean, nor as different from each other as they're straining to appear. So we get a discussion chock full of inherent contradictions and cop outs.

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ICYMI Every Other Time: TDOC Commissioner Insists All Is Well

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 10:19 AM

Remember the old saying about repeating something so many times that you (and maybe other people around you) start to believe it's true?

It seems the Tennessee Department of Corrections just might be suffering from that ailment.

At a two and a half hour meeting with the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators Tuesday, TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield hit all the same notes he's hit here, here and here.

Don't worry about how a new schedule may have contributed to a staffing shortage, or about safety concerns from corrections officers, or that vacancy numbers reported about the department diverge from officer rosters.

Basically, just trust him: The prisons are fiiiiine.

In fact, so fine that when Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, asks whether prisons are overcrowded, Schofield decides they are not.

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Why Don't We Give Poor People the Incentives?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 7:04 AM

Over at the Nashville Business Journal, Adam Sichko has a really interesting interview with former mayoral candidate, Bill Freeman. It's mostly about Freeman's fight with the Chamber of Commerce, which is fairly uninteresting.

But eventually Freeman gets around to talking about affordable housing. He says:

I've seen that legislation the council passed [in pursuit of new zoning that would set a goal of making 14 percent of new units qualify as "affordable" and "work force"]. That is a terrible idea. It's well-intentioned, but that's not the way to attack the problem.

We need to make it attractive to develop affordable housing, not mandatory. Incentives will do that. And it needs to have a timeline, maybe a 10-year lifecycle, where after that point, the developer could rent those units at market rates. I am confident you could get several thousand units online, and then of course you'd have other projects come along later with their own 10-year requirements. I think that's fair because it is not something short-term, but we also wouldn't be requiring developers to do it for a lifetime, either.


I find myself somewhat agreeing with Freeman, in that it does seem strange to tell developers what they can charge for space. I'm also not convinced that people who are some of the best paid people in the state are the right people to decide what's "affordable" housing.

But I'm struck by this "incentives" idea. Because, if I'm reading this correctly, Freeman thinks we should pay developers to build affordable housing and then, after a decade, let them make the housing unaffordable. Under this plan, if you are a poor person and you rent, don't get too attached to your home, because you'll have to move at least once a decade, assuming that you are fortunate enough to get into one of these incentivized affordable homes right when it opens. We then end up with a situation where not just the poorest of our poor are in a constant hunt for housing, but where all poor people have to be. That seems shitty.

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