Friday, March 27, 2015

The Daily Links: Don Draper, Jeremy Lin, and the TSA

Posted By on Fri, Mar 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 The New York Times: As ‘Mad Men’ Comes to an End, Jon Hamm Reflects on Don Draper

From Rolling Stone: The Children of ISIS: Why did three American kids from the suburbs of Chicago try to run away to the Islamic state, and should the Feds treat them as terrorists?

From Storify: Sabres/Coyotes as Absurdist Art

From ESPN: Inside Jeremy Lin's life after Linsanity and the New York Knicks

Continue reading »

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Front of the Book: Vouchers, City Hall, and the Preds in the Postseason

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 9:49 AM

On the cover this week, Randy Fox explores the Country Music Hall of Fame's new exhibit, Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats. Here's what's in the news:

A voucher plan is on track for low-income kids in failing schools — but will private schools buy in? by Andrea Zelinski:

Legislators plan to supply up to 5,000 school vouchers, redeemable this fall, to low-income students from the state's lowest performing schools. Any vouchers (also known as "opportunity scholarships") left over would be free to any student qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch anywhere in the county.

Passion for the idea comes largely out of Memphis, where 50 schools ranked among the bottom 5 percent in the state last year based on three years of standardized tests. This low performance got them designated as "priority schools." Now private institutions such as Jubilee Catholic Schools are eager to absorb Bluff City students, for a roughly $6,600 tuition check from the state for each child.

But private schools in and around Nashville are less eager to join the party, according to the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools, a nonprofit affiliation of private schools. In fact, the group's executive director says the only schools that have reached out to him about TAIS backing the idea have come from Memphis.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Daily Links: Tikrit, One Direction, and Germanwings

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 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 Guardian: Final battle for Tikrit: 'We won’t let the Americans take the glory'

From The Washington Post: Boston mayor: We must ‘soldier on’ after Zayn left One Direction

From The Los Angeles Times: German airline crash: How do you get through a locked cockpit door?

From The New York Times: Thousands Protest Plan to Oust University Chief in Mississippi

Continue reading »

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Sidewalks, or the Lack Thereof

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 6:00 AM

I'm glad to see that the city is finally putting sidewalks on Harding Place, but this story over at WKRN irks me.

More than two years after a deadly accident put a spotlight on the need for sidewalks in south Nashville, people living in the area are finally getting them.


City leaders have spent years planning and doing research on the street, located in a busy area near retailers, restaurants and a hospital.

We live in a city. We live in a city that is going to grow a whole lot in the next decade. And we live in a city that is trying to encourage people to use more public transportation. We need sidewalks. That stretch of Harding has needed sidewalks for the past fifteen years, and probably further back than that.

Clarksville Pike needs sidewalks from the Autozone to Kings Lane. Thompson Lane before Nolensville Pike needs sidewalks. Dickerson Pike needs sidewalks. Parts of Gallatin need sidewalks. Etc. Etc. Etc.

No one should be praised for spending years planning sidewalks, because, if there's one constant, ongoing embarrassing failure in this city, it's the lack of sidewalks. If it's a street with stoplights, especially stoplights and bus stops, there should be sidewalks. No one should be taking credit for just getting around to putting in sidewalks now.

As far back as I can remember, mayors promise sidewalks and then, mostly, we get convention centers and ball fields and music venues and flood walls. And I like those things (I mean, I have some qualms about the convention center and the flood wall, but I don't hate them), but sidewalks make a huge difference to a lot of Nashvillians.

Yet they're never a priority until it becomes embarrassing that we've let them languish—like when someone dies.

Mark Pullo should not have been the human sacrifice that enticed the city to put sidewalks where it's long been obvious we needed sidewalks. And we shouldn't be patting ourselves on the back now for the city finally getting around to doing what needed to be done, when it came too late for Pullo.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Daily Links: Hip-Hop Messiahs, Elephants, and Death Row

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 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 Magazine: Notes on the Hip-Hop Messiah

From NPSO Deputies find Two Elephants keeping Eighteen Wheeler from overturning on I-49 near Powhatan

From YouTube: Rosie Perez on Soul Train for Daily Links

From Grantland: Kingdom Came: Notes on ‘Empire’ and the State of Black Television Drama

Continue reading »

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Barbic Frustrated His Former Charter is Pulling Out of Memphis

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 3:57 PM

Once a leader of Texas charter school YES Prep and familiar with people at its helm, Chris Barbic says he’s shocked the charter school network he once founded would ditch the Memphis school he wanted them to run.

But that’s what happened Tuesday, with the Houston-based group telling Barbic and the Tennessee Achievement School District superintendent that changing political climate and ASD model have led them to change their mind on taking over a Memphis middle school for the fall 2015 school year.

“This is difficult no matter who it is. It’s a little even more surprising knowing how well I know some of the leaders, and then in some ways not surprising at all because I know who some of the leaders are,” Barbic told Pith.

“It certainly adds a little bit to the drama of this, unfortunately. The main thing we’re concerned with right now is we’ve got to make sure the 80 to 100 families that were zoned to go to sixth grade Airways (Middle School) next year, that we’re making sure they’ve got really good high-quality options,” he added.

The charter organization’s leaders told Chalkbeat Wednesday that inadequate community support in Memphis, political shifts against the ASD and structural changes in the district’s model were their reasons for leaving. Attempts to reach YES Prep for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday afternoon.

Continue reading »

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#MayoralChatter: Megan Barry Leads Banner's Power Poll

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 1:09 PM

The resurrected Nashville Banner has released the results of its first Power Poll on the 2015 mayoral race and, among those who say they've decided on a candidate, Megan Barry is in the lead. Still, more than a third of the respondents said they're still undecided.

The Banner sent a two-question survey to 592 people, thought to be "the city’s thought leaders, from business and civic leaders to media and political insiders." Right about half of those people (299) responded to the poll. (I was kindly included in the group of people invited to participate in the poll, as were the Scene's Andrea Zelinski and Steve Cavendish. While we read the poll's results with great interest, and completely agree that we are among Nashville's leading thinkfluencers, we declined to participate.)

The poll results are interesting for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that its respondents likely represent a solid sample of the relatively small group of Nashvillians paying close attention to the mayor's race at this point. Secondly, it was Banner boss Bruce Dobie himself who wrote in 2013 that Barry was failing to appeal to the sort of crowd that eats at Jimmy Kelly's and participates in this sort of poll. He wrote this in a column for The Tennessean which is no longer available online because Gannett.

Anyhow, the poll's two questions were: "Whom do you intend to vote for in the Aug. 6 election for mayor?" and "List the order in which you think the candidates will finish in the election." Barry comes out ahead in both categories — 22.74 percent say they plan to vote for her, while 32.44 percent say they believe she'll win the race. In terms of whom respondents intend to vote for, David Fox came in second, selected by slightly more than 12 percent.

You can dig through more of the results here.

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News You Can Use! Campaign Finance Disclosures and Budget Hearings

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 9:18 AM

A couple of items to help you stay informed about your city government and the people hoping to be elected into it.

Finally, after years of whining from political observers and reporters like us, Metro campaign finance disclosures are available online. Disclosures from the quarter that ended in January are there now, while the next round is due April 10. You might notice some Metro Council candidates missing from the list, because they appointed treasurers for their campaigns after the last fundraising deadline. Those candidates will be required to file a disclosure next month.

Secondly, the mayor's annual budget hearings with Metro departments begin next week. Mayor Karl Dean and some of his top aides will hear from presentations from department heads starting Monday morning and running through Thursday. An extended hearing with the Metro school board will be held April 6.

The full schedule is here. The hearings will also be broadcast on Metro 3. On that front, here's this info from a release by the mayor's office:

All of the meetings are open to the public and will be broadcast live by Metro 3 on Comcast cable channel 3 and on AT&T U-verse channel 99, as well as online through streaming video at Budget hearings will be archived on Metro Nashville’s YouTube channel at

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Frogge Wants Legal Advice on BEP Battle

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 8:14 AM

In the shortest meeting the Metro Nashville School Board has had in years, Amy Frogge announced she wants the board to hire a lawyer to wade through the legal debate over education funding.

Metro Schools has so far shied away from joining other large school districts in exploring their legal options to milk more education money from the state — which has been cited by a state-level review committee for shorting school districts in money for teachers and using the old Basic Education Program funding formula.

“Basically, I think we need legal advice,” Frogge said. “We need to be well-informed as to whether we should join the lawsuit.”

A day after superintendents met with Gov. Bill Haslam’s office and joined hands in collaboration over finding ways to plug more money into education funding across the state, the Hamilton County School Board and neighboring boards of education filed suit against the state Tuesday.

Register, once a proponent of a BEP challenge, has been something of a loner opposing a lawsuit as of late. After he threw cold water on joining other large school districts in exploring legal action earlier this month, the Metro School Board backed off voting to evaluate its own legal options. Frogge says it’s time to assess the district’s choices and understand how a lawsuit might impact students and teachers.

Board Chairwoman Sharon Gentry agreed that soliciting legal advice is a good move to make, but officially joining a lawsuit should be the worst case scenario.

Continue reading »

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Wow, Rich People Make Out Like Bandits in Tennessee

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 6:00 AM


WalletHub has this really interesting analysis of how much of a percentage of people's income goes to taxes in various states. Tennessee is the 4th best state to be a rich person in, apparently, because rich people only devote 4.97% of their income to taxes, while chumpster poor people are dishing out a dime for every dollar they make.

Connecticut is the worst place to be a rich person, by this measure.

But, somehow, low, low taxes on rich people here in Tennessee isn't driving them to abandon Connecticut, so I guess "best" and "worst" are somewhat subjective.

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