Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ozment: Why Jim Cooper's Vote on Syrian Refugees Was Wrong

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:45 PM

We received this essay from Elliott Ozment, an immigration attorney who speaks and writes frequently as an advocate for immigrant rights.

I’ve known Jim Cooper for years. I’ve attended his receptions and given money to his campaigns. All this only multiplied how stunned I felt when I learned of Congressman Cooper’s support for the Republican bill that would effectively stop Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to the United States.

And yes, Congressman, I’ve read H.R. 4038. Your claim that passage of this resolution will result in a “happy ending” because President Obama will still be able to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees simply doesn’t hold water. This law will require three cabinet-level officers (FBI Director, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Director of National Intelligence) all to certify personally and unanimously that each of 10,000 Syrian refugees “is not a threat to the security of the United States”. Then, the Inspector General of Homeland Security must do a risk-based review of what his boss has already certified (along with two other cabinet-level officers). Finally, the Secretary of Homeland Security has to send a report each month to twelve (12) different congressional committees.

Think for a moment how preposterous this is: if each cabinet officer spent just five (5) minutes reviewing the paperwork for each of 10,000 Syrian refugees, then each would spend a total of 833 hours (21 weeks) on just this certification job and nothing else. Since each would have to wait for certification by the other two, unanimous certification would take at least 63 weeks if they devoted every working hour to this project. Uh, . . . Congressman, . . . President Obama only has about 60 more weeks in office.

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Crowd Pushes Back Against Lawmakers' Calls to Turn Away Syrian Refugees

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 11:38 AM

click to enlarge People pause for a moment of silence during a rally for refugees at Legislative Plaza on Monday night while gathering in support of the Syrian refugees coming to United States. - PHOTO: MARTIN CHERRY
  • People pause for a moment of silence during a rally for refugees at Legislative Plaza on Monday night while gathering in support of the Syrian refugees coming to United States.
A few hundred Middle Tennesseans gathered in front of the steps of the War Memorial Monday night decrying recent statements by state legislators about suspending Syrian refugee settlement.

Balloons, some of them with “What if I was a refugee?” scrawled in black Sharpie marker, floated above the diverse group of protesters.

The crowd huddled together in the cold, many holding white vigil candles. A young bearded father fed his baby on the steps as a refugee from Somalia told his story of coming to the United States in the early ‘90s.

And when the co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), Stephanie Teatro, said the name of ol’-round-’em-up Rep. Glen Casada, a steady stream of boos rang out from the otherwise peaceful crowd along with a singular “Fuck him!” from one man in the multitude.

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Gay Rights Activists Knock on Rednecks' Doors, Live to Tell About It

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Like hobbits trekking to Mordor, gay rights activists have been fanning out across the Land of Bumpkins Simple Rustic People—aka rural Tennessee—to knock on doors and drum up support for same-sex marriage. In a bizarre twist, they’re succeeding.

More precisely, they say they’re succeeding in convincing people that Sen. Mae Beavers’ cockamamie Tennessee Defense of Natural Marriage Act, which purports to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage, is a ridiculous waste of  our money.

According to the Tennessee Equality Project’s Chris Sanders, the organization’s canvassers have knocked on 400 doors and come away with cards signed opposing Beavers’ bill from 55 percent of the homes. The survey’s respondents might not like gay marriage but they don’t want to throw away a bunch of tax money defending Beavers’ lost cause in court.

Sanders says they went into small towns in the sticks to give their message a true test, and they hope it means their survey will carry more weight with the rubes in the legislature, of which there are many.

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It's Time for Gun Education

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 7:00 AM

This story about the poor dead kid in Goodlettsville is just incredibly terrible on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. From WKRN:

Prior to the shooting, the dad had been watching television with the two children and was playing with the family’s cat with a laser mounted onto a gun.

Police said the man later went into the kitchen and forgot to put the firearm out of the children’s reach.

The older child picked up the gun in an effort to get the cat to chase the laser. Police said the child was unfamiliar with how the laser worked and instead pulled the gun’s trigger, firing one shot.

The 5-year-old victim was struck and killed.

The father stated he kept a weapon nearby for protection.

Set aside, just for a second, that a child died in a completely predictable and preventable way. This jackwagon who lives in an apartment complex was waving his loaded gun around in the vicinity of his children in order to play with his cat. He was playing with his cat by flailing a loaded gun around.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Haslam Dances Around Whether State Should Let Syrian Refugees In

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 5:34 PM

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Never before in his five years in office had Gov. Bill Haslam's office fielded more calls on one issue than it did last Monday as people scrambled to tell the governor's office what they think he should do about Syrian refugees locating in Tennessee. 

Since then, the governor has asked the president to hold off on placing more refugees here until the feds can loop Tennessee homeland security and other officials into the vetting process. Later, House Republican Caucus Leader Glen Casada made the case for the Tennessee National Guard to round up and detain Syrian refugees, warranting a second response from Haslam.

The governor took questions from reporters Monday after addressing the Nashville Rotary Club. Here's what he had to say:   

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The Daily Links: Women of Hollywood, Enya, and Frozen Lion Cubs

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 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 New York Times MagazineThe Women of Hollywood Speak Out

From New York: In Conversation With DeRay Mckesson

From Buzzfeed: The Keys to Enya's Kingdom

From SlateHow 'The Hunting Ground' Blurs the Truth

From The New York TimesFrozen Lion Cubs Still Have Their Fur 12,000 Years Later

From National ReviewDemocrats Using Terror Fears to Subvert the Second Amendment Should Be Tarred & Feathered

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


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Fowler Sees Wrath of God in Terrorism

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 3:00 PM

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It’s the week of Thanksgiving and our state’s Christian conservative Family Action Council has chosen to deliver an enchanting message all about … drum roll please … the wrath of God! Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?

On the council’s website, its president David Fowler—Tennessee’s version of Michele Bachman—makes the case that the threat of terrorism very well might be God’s punishment against America for allowing abortion and same-sex marriage. He likens Nashville to Nineveh, the ancient Middle Eastern city that Christians believe was sacked and destroyed for its citizens’ misbehavior. We should have closed Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge a long time ago.

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Cartoon: Rep. Casada Invites Rep. Cooper and Gov. Haslam to the Refugee Twist.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 1:50 PM

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'Times Square of the South' Goes Digital at Broadway/West End Split

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 11:17 AM

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The analog Times Square of the South is about to go digital.

Starting this week, the iconic multi-story billboard space that has sat atop the old Trabue Transmission building at the Broadway/West End split for at least a half-century is coming down. In its place will be … a multi-story billboard space.

Only this one will be a lot easier to see. At 36 x 38 feet, with a 34 x 34 trifold on the back, it will be one of the highest resolution digital signs of such size in the city — the equivalent of a three-story plasma TV irradiating one of the busiest traffic arteries in the state.

The sign is a project of Trabue Triangle, LLC, the family enterprise that owns the coveted peninsula of land. In October, the company led by manager John S. Sanders, the son-in-law of Nelson Trabue, Sr., and owned by his wife, Dancey Trabue Sanders, her brother Nelson Trabue, Jr., and sister Susi Trabue, purchased the one-half interest owned by the Osborn sisters, stepchildren of the late Nelson Trabue, Sr., for around $4 million. The sale turned heads last month, with some speculating the owners were primed to cash in on the booming development market.

They are, says Chenault Sanders, Sanders’ son and a Trabue family member and founder of Blackbird Media, LLC, the exclusive management agent for the new media property — just not in the way everyone seems to think.

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Mayor Barry, Fix Our Traffic Problems!

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 10:41 AM

One day last week, as I waited twenty minutes to turn left from 20th Avenue onto Charlotte because discourteous assholes, five or six at a time, blocked the intersection by being in it when the light was red on their side, I gave some thought to what might improve the situation.

1. We could change all lights to do like they do on Lower Broad. Briefly, they're red in every direction. But, instead of allowing pedestrians to move through the intersection, this four-way red would be the time that spikes jutted up in the middle of the intersection, ruining the cars of all the jerks in the intersection. This would be a nightmare for the week or so that it was necessary, but people would learn to stay out of the intersection.

2. The city could identify ten or twelve especially ridiculous intersections where people repeatedly sit in the intersections through red lights and put four or five police officers on foot at the corners of those intersections. When the lights turn red, the police could walk into the intersections and ticket everyone in them.

3. We could put up signs that say, "If you can't get through the intersection, do not get in the intersection." I have my doubts about how well this will work, considering that we put up a bunch of signs up to tell people that they, pedestrians, have the right of way in crosswalks and yet, as any pedestrian can tell you, our crosswalks are still really dangerous.

But we need to do something. Yes, traffic is bad and only going to get worse, but we have time to set a driving culture that will make this bad traffic bearable. The answer may not be impaling bad drivers, but it's not ignoring the situation.

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