Thursday, May 21, 2015

This Logo Cost $46,000

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 4:32 PM



[h/t Tennessee Watchdog and WSMV]

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#MayoralChatter: Barry Releases First Ad, Rebrovick Rides a Garbage Truck

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Two new ads were released into the mayoral campaign atmosphere this morning, including the first television appearance from Megan Barry.

The second ad, from Linda Eskind Rebrovick is

Here's the Barry spot titled "Bank." You'll recognize a few images in the beginning:

"My opponents are breaking the bank on TV ads," Barry says, as clips from Bill Freeman, Rebrovick, and Charles Robert Bone ads play in the background. "I don't have their millions, but I do have a record of taking on the tough fights for Nashville."

The ad cites her sponsorship of legislation creating a living wage for Metro workers, a nondiscrimination ordinance for Metro workers and efforts related to affordable housing (she recently co-sponsored a bill with Councilwoman Berkley Allen to direct a portion of the tax revenue collected from Airbnb properties to the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing). The Barry camp says the ad will begin airing next week.

If you're interested in who has what kinds of money, here's our breakdown from the last fundraising deadline.

Continue reading »

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Google Fiber Announces 'Digital Inclusion Fellowships'

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 10:51 AM

Google Fiber will be funding full-time fellows at the Nashville Public Library and the Martha O'Bryan Center to assist those organizations in strengthening and expanding their efforts at bridging the digital divide. The positions are part of a Digital Inclusion Fellowship that Google Fiber is announcing today.

In partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network, Google Fiber will recruit and train two fellows in each of the eight Google Fiber cities and place them at organizations working to make sure whole sections of society aren't left out of an increasingly digital world. Google Fiber will fund salaries for the fellows ($33,000 for the year), including benefits, while providing a $5,000 to $10,000 stipend to each organization for their digital inclusion programs.

The search-engine giant announced in January that it was bringing its gigabit Internet service — with speeds 100 times faster than the current average — to Nashville. The service is currently either available in or coming soon to eight U.S. cities, including Austin, Atlanta and Charlotte.

Continue reading »

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Attention WKRN — Being Trans is Not a Crime

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM

On Monday, WKRN ran a story about a person who paid cash for a hotel room in Murfreesboro, so the hotel manager called the cops and the person was arrested for prostitution. The story framed this as being helpful for the arrested person, because, as we all know, being arrested never jacks a person's life up and having to go to court always improves people's lives or something.

People get arrested for prostitution all the time, so you may wonder what made this particular arrest a story. Apparently, WKRN thought it was newsworthy because the prostitute is a transgender woman. Ha ha, get it? A person who identifies as a woman doesn't fit WKRN's expectations of what a woman is, and, even though we live in a state where transgender women are regularly assaulted and killed, where former State Rep. Richard Floyd can talk unrepentantly and openly about stomping a mudhole in a transgender woman, rather than express even the least bit of concern about the woman's safety, they out her.

Nice, WKRN.

Perhaps, WKRN should take some time with their friends at the Associated Press, who advise, "Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly."

This story, as it stands, is a cruel embarrassment. There's nothing wrong with being transgender. There's nothing particularly newsworthy about someone being arrested for prostitution (though perhaps WKRN could turn its attention to how often people are arrested on prostitution charges without, you know, actually engaging in prostitution, since intending to break the law isn't actually illegal). So, what's the basis for this story other than to publicly humiliate the woman who was arrested?

That someone makes you uncomfortable and you're not mature enough to handle it without publicly humiliating her isn't actually a news story. But it should be cause for introspection.

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Tempers Flare: 3 Things to Know About Yesterday’s Testy School Board Meetings

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 9:11 AM

Tension over charter schools drove much of the school board agenda Wednesday afternoon in back-to-back committee meetings about district finances and new rules aimed at charter schools. In short, lots of issues are still up in the air. Here’s the rundown:

1) Board to review legality of its newly-minted school standards. Board members voted 5-3 to hold schools to a new set of accountability standards last month without knowing for sure which of those rules may violate state law. After much debate, they voted 5-3 to get a legal opinion on that matter by June 15, in just enough time for charter school operators seeking approval next month to know what hoops they're agreeing to jump through.

Why it was testy: Charter advocates like Board Member Mary Pierce argue school board members say one minute they want collaboration but in the next approved the standards without seeking charter school feedback. Amy Frogge, who brought the idea to the board (although Anna Shephard ultimately carried it two weeks later) argues a vote on the standards has already been made and charter schools missed their chance. Charter leaders, teachers and parents showed up by the dozen Wednesday night hoping for an opportunity to speak up, but committee meetings typically don’t set aside time for public comment, so there was none.

It’s worth noting, however, a copy of the resolution was missing from the board packet until the morning of that night’s school board meeting, making it a surprise to most onlookers that the standards would apply to all public schools and not just chartered ones. Charter leaders generally say they’ll bend to the board’s will on the standards, but say a lot of the rules can cause trouble for other district schools, like by requiring all schools produce and post their budgets online and banning selectivity for admission, a hallmark of magnet schools.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Daily Links: Farewell, David Letterman

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 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 Rolling Stone: David Letterman: Happy at Last

From Rolling Stone: David Letterman: Famous Fans Say Goodbye

From The New York Times: No. 10: How to Leave ‘Late Show With David Letterman’; No. 9: What’s Next?

From The New York Times: Paul Shaffer, ‘Late Show’ Bandleader, on Saying Goodbye to Letterman After 33 Years

From Gawker: A Brief History of David Letterman Interacting With His Female Guests

Continue reading »

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#MayoralChatter: New Freeman Ad — "Leadership Heart"

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 2:39 PM

The Freeman TV Blitzkreig continues to rain down new ads, this one dubbed "Leadership Heart":

He grew up with five sisters, built a company with almost five hundred employees. Bill Freeman has what we want in our next mayor: heart and leadership. A leader who wants Nashville to grow the right way, for all our neighborhoods. Bill has a big heart. He’ll solve the problems growth created for families and our neighborhoods, so we all benefit. Heart and leadership. Bill Freeman, a mayor for Nashville’s future.

Neighborhoods mentioned twice? Sounding the alarm on growth? Do we hear echoes of the Bone and Fox campaigns?

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Four Charter Amendments Appear Headed for August Ballot

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 1:05 PM

It looks like four amendments to the Metro Charter will be put to Nashville voters in the August election.

Metro Councilwoman Emily Evans announced last week that she was nearly 15,000 signatures on a petition to get a referendum on her proposal that would shrink the Metro Council from 40 to 27 members, and extend term limits from two terms to three. Evans led a petition drive on the proposal last year, but paused the effort for fear that she might not have enough signatures to clear the required threshold — at least 10 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last Metro election. The target number this year is 6,845, so the proposal should easily secure a spot on the ballot.

Here is our interview with Evans on the proposal from last month.

Last night, another charter amendment aimed at term limits took a step toward the ballot via different means. Metro Councilman Ronnie Steine secured the needed 27 votes from the council last night to get a referendum on his proposed amendment, which would solely increase term limits from two terms to three.

Continue reading »

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Ancient Tennesseans' Trash Current Tennesseans' Treasure

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Kristina Killgrove at Forbes has a really interesting story about the work state archaeologists and MTSU have been doing to salvage prehistoric sites in the wake of the 2010 flood. As you can imagine, a lot was washed away and some jackasses looted, but Tanya Peres from MTSU and Aaron Deter-Wolf from the Tennessee Division of Archaeology were able to discover some interesting stuff.

From the article:

While piles of shells may seem like particularly unglamorous features for archaeologists to be concerned with, Peres and Deter-Wolf explain in their article, “Archaic shell-bearing sites of the Middle Cumberland River Valley of Tennessee,” that their origins in the Late Archaic period, roughly 3000-1000 BC, are shrouded in mystery. One interpretation is that these massive piles of shells reflect seasonal occupation of sites or even sedentary living. If droughts decimated terrestrial game animals and reduced river levels, Native peoples may have exploited aquatic resources to a much greater degree than before. Another suggestion is that people deliberately piled up the shells to create massive mounds, which may have marked territories or been used as celebratory locations. When Peres and Deter-Wolf undertook carbon-14 dating of the shell middens, they found that they were used for over a millennium, between 3900 and 2600 BC. This calls into question both starvation behavior and construction techniques, instead revealing that over the generations, people were slowly building these middens out of a plentiful food resource.


Five years’ worth of archaeological work along the Cumberland River has shown Peres and colleagues that the Natives who lived there “do not fit the traditional model of terrestrial hunter-gatherers.” They can instead be seen as more similar to “coastal fishing-gathering populations, such as those in the Pacific Northwest.” Early occupants of the Middle Cumberland River Valley were eating sustainably gathered freshwater shellfish.

So, we thought these big piles of shells might be from people eating shellfish rather than starve. Or maybe they made piles so you'd know when you got to the edge of their territories. But it turns out that probably people just really liked to eat them.

I'm a big fan of Deter-Wolf and his colleagues who pretty regularly find out that the stuff we thought we knew isn't quite right. I also think it's really important for Nashville to have a sense of itself not as some 250 year old town built in an empty wilderness, but as a place that has been occupied for thousands of years. You often hear, when people return from Europe, remarks about how old everything over there is. Things are old here, too. The mastodon paths leading down the ridge to the lick gave us a place to put our interstates, for instance. We just need to learn how to see what's left of the old cities among this one.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Daily Links: Game of Thrones, Snitches, and the Twin Peaks Shooting

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 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 The Washington Post: ‘Game of Thrones’ has always been a show about rape

From City Lab: When Parolees Spread Out, Recidivism Goes Down

From New York: Was the Iraq War a Crime or a Mistake? Yes.

From The Intercept: Texas Bill Would Ban Snitch Testimony In Death Penalty Cases

Continue reading »

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