Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Which Candidate For DA Does The Tennessean Think Will Let Criminals Evade Justice?

Posted by on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Every once in a while you get a real corker from whomever is running The Tennessean's Twitter account:


"Evade justice"?

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House Democrats Planning Shenanigans...And They're Brilliant

Posted by on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 9:28 AM

House Democrats have planned some mischief for today's floor session, and we wholeheartedly endorse it.

A resolution sponsored by Rep. Joe Carr, and others, condemns a federal court decision granting a preliminary injunction in the case Tanco et al v Haslam. You can read the whole thing here.

Democrats have filed nine amendments to the resolution, and they are as follows:

A1: House Local Government Committee Amendment #1 (016633):

Adds a new resolving clause to the resolution that strongly urges the Attorney General
to vigorously and zealously defend the constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18 of the
Tennessee State Constitution. MOVE TO ADOPT.

A1toA1: House Amendment #1 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016693):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to forcefully and energetically” defend the
constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

A2toA1: House Amendment #2 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016708):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to fervidly and bombastically” defend the
constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

A3toA1: House Amendment #3 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016707):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to obsessively and frenetically” defend the
constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

A4toA1: House Amendment #4 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016706):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to earnestly and eagerly” defend the
constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

A5toA1: House Amendment #5 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016705):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to rabidly and fanatically” defend the constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

A6toA1: House Amendment #6 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016704):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to passionately and eagerly” defend the
constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

A7toA1: House Amendment #7 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016710):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to softly and tenderly” defend the
constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

A8toA1: House Amendment #8 to 1 by Rep. Jones (016709):

Rewrites the language regarding the Attorney General from “strongly urged to
vigorously and zealously” to “strongly urged to half-heartedly and lackadaisically”
defend the constitutionality of Article XI, Section 18.

We strongly urge the House to passionately support these amendments, and immediately adopt them with ardent enthusiasm.

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The State House Will Not Apologize for the Sins of Its (Great, Great, Great) Grandfathers

Posted by on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM

So here's a line you don't often get to see in an Associated Press news alert:

The Republican-controlled chamber removed language from the original resolution that sought to offer "profound apologies" for slavery.

Now, now, hold on, before you get all riled up. The state House yesterday voted 97-0 to express "profound regret" for slavery and segregation, and denounce the "fundamental injustice, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and the discrimination that was slavery's legacy." According to Nashville Rep. Mike Turner, the resolution's sponsor, Tennessee is the last state to do so.

But they simply would not apologize.

And surely you can understand. No doubt they sincerely wish these things had not occurred, but they were not there running the auctions or unleashing the dogs and so, my gawd sir, to apologize for them would be absurd. Unjust, even. Profoundly unjust!

Actually, I'd argue that a real apology is due from the representatives of the state of Tennessee, which had apparently not made any official gesture of remorse until now.

The members of the House and Senate are not just individuals who did not live during the time of slavery. They represent the state, and if the state has not apologized for the state-sanctioned atrocities that happened then, it would be appropriate for them to do so in its name, even if it is just symbolic.

Then again, that'd be splitting hairs.

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DA Candidates Answer Extensive Questionnaire

Posted by on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 8:34 AM

One of the first fora of the district attorney race was held at The Temple in early March. The topic? "The Nashville Campaign to End the New Jim Crow," which was an extension of a discussion the congregation was having about the book by the same name.

After it was over, The Temple asked the candidates a 25-question follow-up and asked them to submit their responses in writing. Here is a PDF of all of their answers on a wide range of prosecutorial questions.

Temple member Daniel Horwitz, who gave the responses to Pith this week as early voting opened, characterized their answers this way:

As I read their responses, the clearest differences between the candidates are reflected by their answers to questions 5, 6, 11 and 17, with #5 (reducing deportation consequences for undocumented misdemeanants) being the most crucial. I also think that the candidates' agreement with respect to question 1 (open file discovery/Brady violations) and questions 9 and 10 (adequate funding for indigent defense) is extremely important, and that their relatively similar views on the death penalty (question 2) would probably be newsworthy as well.

We thought The Temple provided a great service by collecting them. It's interesting reading.

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Privatization of Bordeaux and Knowles Nursing Facilities Isn't a Done Deal...Yet

Posted by on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 6:30 AM

In March, the Metro Council approved Mayor Karl Dean's plan to privatize the Bordeaux Long Term Care and Knowles Home Assisted Living facilities with a 29 to 1 vote.

But a piece of state legislation allowing a nursing home to relocate a portion of its licensed beds was needed in order to finalize the deal. And as the legislature enters what could be its final day in session, that bill — HB 2342 / SB 2429 — passed the Senate unanimously, but has been on ice in the House for weeks.

House sponsor Nashville Rep. Harold Love, Jr., told Pith Tuesday that he delayed the bill, and at one point even took it off notice, because of concerns he had about the plan's effect on current employees at the Bordeaux facility and the impact the possible development envisioned in the plan would have on the surrounding community, which he represents. He wasn't alone in those concerns. The only opposing vote on the council came from Bo Mitchell, who is also a state representative.

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Unless Haslam Vetos It, Miscarriages are About to be Crimes

Posted by on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Usually, I like to gloat when I'm right about something, but it brings me no joy to see Tennessee moving toward the criminalization of miscarriages. I can't imagine what it would be like to suffer through a miscarriage and then have to call the police so that they can come and investigate me, to see if I fucked up my pregnancy in some way. But it's been obvious for a while that this was the way we were headed. And now here we are.

Women's rights groups have been trying to raise the alarm about SB1391, which allows prosecutors to go after women who give birth to babies who are addicted to drugs or whose babies die because of drug use, but there hasn't been much outcry here in the state.

Tara Culp-Ressler over at Think Progress explains the many problems with this bill — that it's scientifically inaccurate to describe newborn babies as "addicted," that there's little proof that illegal drug use by pregnant women has long-term harmful consequences for babies, that this will disproportionately hurt women who are poor and of color, and, as I said, it adds to the tragedy of miscarriage, since it seems impossible to determine if, and I'm quoting from the bill here, "if her child dies as a result of her illegal use of a narcotic drug taken while pregnant" unless you investigate every miscarriage to see if the mother was illegally using narcotics.

If you're thinking this will encourage drug-addicted pregnant women to go to rehab, Culp-Ressler points out, "Only 19 of the state’s 177 addiction treatment facilities currently provide care for pregnant women, an issue that SB 1391 doesn’t address whatsoever."

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Daily Links: Flash Boys, Retweet Rules, and Everybody Talk About Pop Music

Posted by on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 5:10 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 Observer: Flash In the Pan: On ‘Flash Boys,’ Michael Lewis’s Baffling New Book

From Shadow and Act: Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film

From NPR: Why We Fight About Pop Music

From the Billfold: Can't Take It With You

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RIP Jack Gunter: Banner Exec, Power Player, Wild Man

Posted by on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Gunter.jpg
Services were scheduled today for Jack Gunter, a decorated Korean War veteran, award-winning photographer, Nashville Banner news executive, local power player and as original a wild man as I've ever known.

The order of burial was to take place at St. George's Episcopal Church, which he often called, with a smile, "Our Lady of the Mink."

He grew up humbly in East Nashville, not far from Shelby Park. He then served as a photographer in the Korean War where, according to a recent obituary by family friend Mary Hance (and I'm borrowing some other facts from her), he was decorated for acts of heroism. I am not surprised.

After the war, he returned to Nashville, becoming a photographer at the Banner where he had worked while a student at East High School. He ultimately rose to become the newspaper's chief photographer, churning out images in a day and age when ethics were adjustable.

As former Banner writer and editor Pat Embry reminded us the other day, Gunter liked to carry around an empty bottle of whiskey and a tricycle in his car. Upon arriving, say, at the scene of a fire, Gunter might just throw the bottle and tricycle in the yard so they would appear in the frame of the conflagration. Think about that.

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The General Assembly Decides Rape Victims are Too Expensive to Help

Posted by on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Monday morning, I caught Bobby Allyn's story at WPLN about how Rep. Matt Hill's efforts to include some kind of raise for teachers had failed. This part stuck with me:

As debate ping-ponged, some warned that the pay raise issue could pit the party against itself. In particular, Rep. Curry Todd, standing in front of a group of his Republican colleagues, said: “The last thing we need to do is go out of here a split Caucus.”

I thought about Todd's warning as I read Brian Haas's story over at The Tennessean about Rep. Antonio Parkinson's efforts to get some money put in the budget to force the immediate testing of rape kits has run into trouble. Yes, we're not talking about dealing with the backlog of rape kits, not just in Memphis, but across the state (though the situation is Memphis is so dire that the DNA evidence of 12,000 rapes going back almost 30 years remains untested, and no one has been fired or died of shame or been struck by lightning, which is mind-boggling), which is another task that the state legislature is also going to fail to address.

We're talking about a law that would require "police departments to forward all new rape kits to the TBI within 10 days. The TBI would have to analyze those kits within six months." And what does Parkinson tell Haas?

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Monday, April 14, 2014

The Daily Links: Local News, 'Say Anything,' and the Pulitzers

Posted by on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 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: Local News, Off College Presses

From NPR: Nothing bought, sold or processed — 'Say Anything' at 25

From NPR: Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community

From Spin: You Will Ache Like I Ache: The Oral History of Hole's 'Live Through This'

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