Monday, February 8, 2016

The Clowns Are in New Hampshire — And So Is Red State Update

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Watch Jackie Broyles and Dunlap's close encounters with Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jim Gilmore, Marco Rubio and others in a stirring salute to democracy in action. Follow their previous installments here and here.

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Lawmakers Proudly Reveal New Way to Mess with the Poor

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 11:41 AM

click to enlarge Sen. Kerry Roberts  and Rep. Dan Howell
  • Sen. Kerry Roberts and Rep. Dan Howell
A couple of lawmakers held a press conference today to announce they’ve developed new ways to demean the poor and treat them like trash in this state.

Our drug-testing of welfare recipients isn’t working out as the wingnuts expected, so it’s time to double down and make Tennessee a shining beacon of cruelty and jackassery once and for all.

Laughably titled the "Act to Restore Hope, Opportunity, and Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE)” the bill by Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, and Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, aims to make poor people in this state jump through as many unnecessary hoops as possible for their meager welfare checks. (The maximum monthly benefit for a family of three is around $185.)

The bill prohibits use of electronic benefit transfer cards to buy a long list of stuff, including “travel services provided by a travel agent,” and “cruise ships.” So listen up, all you welfare mooches out there! No more Caribbean cruises for you!

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Renaming the Napier School Is Finishing the Work Racists Started

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Overlooked in the news of the next round of charter school proposals is the fact that, if the Martha O'Bryan Center (named after one 19th century Nashville do-gooder) gets a hold of Napier School (named after another 19th century Nashville do-gooder), they're going to change the name. It won't be Napier School anymore. It'll be the Southside Community School.

I don't have a dog in the charter school fight. I don't particularly care if the school gets taken over or not. I leave that for others to fight about.

I'm here to say that it would be a terrible and gross injustice to change the name of Napier school.

Nashville has had a long and rather unpleasant relationship to the Napier family. When J.C. Napier was a child, it was illegal for black children to go to school in Nashville. Black parents found ways — J.C.'s certainly did — because they knew that a good education was going to transform their kids' lives. Every school they started white Nashville found a way to shut down.

The last school J.C. Napier attended in Nashville was burned when white Nashvillians rioted against it. Napier and his family had to flee to Ohio.

When J.C. returned, he did a lot of things for Nashville. You can read his entry in the Tennessee Encyclopedia. What they leave out is all the ways that, every time J. C. Napier tried to do some good in this city, Nashville tried its hardest to ruin it. I'm going to stick to schools, but read up on the streetcar boycotts or how Vanderbilt did him and see how Nashville was constantly undermining him.

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Why Haslam's School Spending Increase Isn't the Best Thing Ever

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 7:42 AM

click to enlarge Great headline. Too bad it isn't true.
  • Great headline. Too bad it isn't true.
OK, we get it that Gov. Bill Haslam is painfully short on accomplishments with only two years left in office, and he needs to puff up things a little. But this is ridiculous. Spinning madly, Haslam now is claiming he’s put record spending for education in his FY17 state budget.

Worse, the gullible MSM are falling for it, letting the governor play them like a fiddle at the Grand Ole Opry.

When Haslam gave his State of State address a week ago (a really boring speech even by Haslam standards, by the way) he boasted he was adding more money to public schools without a tax increase than ever before in Tennessee history—the key phrase being "without a tax increase." He didn’t break it down for us. Still, using our powers of deduction, we figured there had to be at least one bigger spending increase that came with a tax hike, right?

Well the next morning right off the bat, here comes The Tennessean with a banner headline: A RECORD BOOST FOR EDUCATION.

Catchy, but wrong. In his speech, even Haslam didn't make that claim.

But now the governor himself has dropped his little caveat about the tax increase, and he’s just outright bragging that he—the Great Bill Haslam—is doing something historic. In Memphis to the Commercial Appeal editorial board, he said:
We just have to do the right thing. When you make a record investment in education, I'm not certain how anybody can say we're not committed to doing what we can.

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Paul Stanley Crawls Out from Under Rock, Offers Commentary on Durham

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 7:41 AM

Paul Stanley
  • Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley, who quit the state Senate in disgrace in 2009 in a sex-and-blackmail scandal, is offering a little commentary on state Rep. Jeremy Durham’s travails.

On his blog, Stanley criticizes all involved in the Durham scandal from the media to House leaders to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the latter for telling reporters Durham had an affair with a legislator who resigned the House.
Even if the rumors turn out to be true, Ramsey had no business repeating it to the press. What if I came forward with the names of every sitting legislator I know—who for a fact has had an affair in Nashville? I could also release a list of people of whom ‘I’m fairly certain’ have had an affair. I could also list those ‘I’ve heard may have had an affair.’

If that were the case, we’d be down to a mere handful of sitting legislators and Capitol Hill politicos.
As for the House attempt to expel Durham, since he won’t quit like Stanley did, Stanley says it’s “ridiculous and treads on thin ice.” Why? Because in Stanley's opinion, lawmakers are such a bunch of horny wild asses that they might all face expulsion.
The first question is, what grounds does the legislature have to expel Durham? Having an extra-martial affair while in office? As I’ve already mentioned, this charge would then include several members, who also would have to resign.

Sending inappropriate text messages? It’s possible even more members could be expelled.

Being stupid? Even more members gone.
We should point out here this has been a consistent theme of Stanley’s since he was run out of Nashville as a loathsome scoundrel. To make himself feel better, we guess, he casts the entire political world as disgustingly immoral.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

GOP Debate Recap: Leadership vs. Truancy Edition

Posted By on Sun, Feb 7, 2016 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge nhdemdebate0.jpg
While the Republican presidential candidates were taking the debate stage in New Hampshire Saturday night, Nashville’s Long Players were on stage down at 3rd and Lindsley covering the Rolling Stones album “Some Girls.” It was a fitting choice by Bill Lloyd and crew for a gig alongside the GOP debate: Side one of the album opens with a eulogy for the recently departed Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee and the excluded Carly Fiorina (“Miss You”), and offers up tributes to the campaigns of Chris Christie (“When the Whip Comes Down”), Ben Carson (“Just my Imagination [Running Away with Me]”) and Ted Cruz (“Lies”). Side two celebrates Jeb Bush (“Before They Make Me Run”) and Donald Trump (“Beast of Burden” – you knew that was coming), and the album closes with a new anthem for a nation led by any of these jokers (“Shattered”). Sadly no song quite fits Marco Rubio, though he does come off at times as a respectable fellow with far away eyes.

A spirited time was in the cards on both stages, though only New Hampshire’s was charged with expectations of high drama given several floundering campaigns swerving on fumes toward a crackup in Tuesday’s primary. “Without a breakout moment” on Saturday, the Washington Post’s political writers foreshadowed, “the candidacies of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich could end.” Note the omission of Ben Carson from that sentence. Yes, he was there Saturday in all of his usual somniferous glory (having completed his offbeat brand of debate prep), but even a breakout moment won’t revive his medically induced coma of a campaign.

Odds are pretty good you were doing something more, um, exciting with your Saturday evening than debate watching (like, say, catching the Long Players). But fear not pithheads, once again we watch the candidates so you don’t have to. So here’s the blow by blow...

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Former CM Greene Indicted in Connection With Cousin's Domestic Violence Case

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 9:26 PM

click to enlarge Loniel Greene Jr. - METRO NASHVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Metro Nashville Police Department
  • Loniel Greene Jr.
A week after his resignation amidst a brewing scandal surrounding his involvement in his cousin's domestic violence case, former Metro Councilman Loniel Greene Jr. was indicted Friday and charged with coercion of a witness. Metro police say in a media release that Greene turned himself in at police headquarters a short time ago. 

Greene is accused of attempting to coerce a domestic violence victim, the woman who was allegedly abused by his cousin Tavares Buchanan.

Last week, a court filing from the Davidson County District Attorney's office
accused Greene of lying when he told a judge that he would pay $10,000 for a bond to get Buchanan out of jail after Buchanan had been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The filing, a motion to revoke Buchanan's bond, also included transcripts of a recorded jailhouse telephone conversation in which Buchanan and Greene openly discuss their desire to keep the alleged victim from cooperating with authorities.

In the conversation, according to the transcripts, Greene says he's going to "deal with" the alleged victim. 

“My problem with her is she think she smart," Greene says at another point, according to the court filing. "And I'm like bitch, I’m smarter than you. 'Cause this game you try to play the system. Motherfucker, I am the system.”
After resigning, Greene appeared in court Wednesday. He admitted that it was him speaking to Buchanan in the recorded phone calls and that he had previously lied under oath about the source of the money to pay Buchanan's $10,000 bail. The money, he testified, had actually come from a bag at Buchanan's mother's house.  Through a deal with the DA's office, Greene was granted immunity from perjury and money laundering charges in exchange for his immediate resignation and his testimony in court. The DA's office made clear on Wednesday that the deal did not preclude other charges. 

Greene is currently being held on a $10,000 bond. 

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The Daily Links: John Wall, the Planetary Defense Office and Lord Lucan

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 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 TimesCrane Collapse in Lower Manhattan Kills One Person

From WPLNBittersweet: The Bees Atop Music City Center Have Died

From The New York TimesLord Lucan, Missing Since 1974 Murder, Is Declared Dead (Again)

From DeadspinThis Photo Of John Wall Will Probably Get More Viewers Than Colin Cowherd's TV Show

From The Washington PostDear Colin Cowherd: Here’s how John Wall is different from Johnny Manziel

From The Los Angeles TimesBill Cosby's court defeat: How it happened, and what happens next

From Scientific AmericanNASA's New Planetary Defense Office Gets to Work Protecting Earth

From The Hollywood ReporterWarning! This Shane Smith Interview Has 52 F-Bombs: "If I Can Come Up With the New Algorithm, Then I Win"

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


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Fletcher, Funk Deny Any Wrongdoing in Chase Case

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 2:30 PM

As Pith reported yesterday, documents from an ongoing civil suit in Williamson County filed by David Chase — the prominent developer at the center of a domestic violence controversy in 2014 — contain allegations of extortion, blackmail and possible bribery. There were several developments in the story late Thursday afternoon, Here's a rundown.

Bill Fletcher:

On Thursday afternoon, Fletcher sent a statement to the Scene rejecting any claims of wrongdoing. For background: The Chase family had hired PR pro and longtime Democratic political operative Fletcher to do crisis communications work amid the controversy surrounding David Chase's 2014 criminal case, in which he was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend twice in 24 hours. Those charges would later be dismissed, with the DA's office saying the alleged victim's statements weren't credible.

But in depositions taken in September 2015 — before the criminal case against Chase was dropped — Chase's parents, say they were approached with a request for $2 million. Dean Chase says someone requested $2 million from him that was not for legitimate work and, later in the deposition, says that in his opinion Fletcher tried to extort his family. In her deposition, Sandra Chase says the $2 million request came from Fletcher. And in a text message to his mother, David Chase says "my PR guy went beyond the extortion of me and told my dad he needs $2 million to, quote, 'make this go away.' 

According to the documents, the Chases rejected the request and fired Fletcher. At one point in her deposition, Sandra Chase says she believes her husband inferred that the purpose of the $2 million was for a bribe. For obvious reasons — primarily that he would be the one with the ability to make Chase's charges go away — Funk comes up in the deposition. But after questioning, Sandra Chase says, “I did not get that feeling at all, that Glenn Funk asked for a bribe, no.”

In his statement, Fletcher denies the allegations:
Allegations made in media reports about my business relationship with the Chase family with regard to criminal charges filed and then dropped against David Chase are completely false.

I have never proposed any payments of any kind to anyone regarding the criminal case.

I never had any contact at all with District Attorney Glenn Funk, anyone in the Office of the District Attorney, or anyone representing Mr. Funk or his office in my representation of Mr. David Chase, his family or the D.F. Chase Company.

I will explore all my options to see to it that these false and scurrilous allegations are corrected on the public record.
In an interview with News Channel 5 Thursday night, David Chase said he had talked to Fletcher — it's not clear when — and that Fletcher told him that "make it go away" was supposed to refer to the negative press attention surrounding the Chases. 

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Dem Debate Recap: Artful Smear Edition

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge demfeb4-0.jpg
Going into last nights Dem tilt in New Hampshire the imperative for Bernie Sanders was maintaining his copious lead in the polls so that he doesn’t find himself falling short of  expectations in next Tuesday’s primary. For Hillary Clinton the goal was partly to erode his lead a bit, but mainly just getting this whole New Hampshire thing over with so she can move on to more promising territory south and west. Although the debate vibe is less exciting now that we’ve lost the policy stylings of Marty the Party O’Malley, things did get spirited at times. Let’s go to the play by play.

8:03 The very first words out of Sanders’ mouth: “Millions of Americans are giving up on the political process.” That’s an upbeat start! It’s also actually sort of wrong. Given the chronically horrendous levels of voter participation in the U.S. compared to other advanced countries, it feels like those millions gave up long ago.

8:04 Clinton in her opening declares that “special interests are doing too much to rig the game.” A fair point, but it’s a bit, shall we say, rich coming from someone who just one night earlier on CNN couldn’t cogently answer a question about why it’s been okay for her to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from Wall Street interests to give speeches.

8:06 Moderator Chuck Todd asks Clinton why she thinks Bernie’s ideas are untenable – why he won’t be able to make the things he’s running on actually happen. Her answer goes a bit wonky on several issues but doesn’t really answer the specific process question Todd posed. She concludes with a canned aphorism: “A progressive is someone who makes progress.” As a snappy way to synthesize her view on the (im)practicality of Sanders’ ideas, it’s mildly clever, but it’s also facile and wrong. It matters quite a bit what one makes progress on. Trump, for instance, plans lots of progress on his fabulous Mexican wall, but he ain’t no progressive.

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