Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Donate to the #HolidayScenery Second Harvest Virtual Food Drive

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:00 PM

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If you're following along with our Holiday Happenings calendar (click here to get it!), you already know that today's activity is to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

According to Second Harvest, one in six adults and one in four children struggle with hunger every day in Tennessee, and it just take $1 to supply four meals to those in need.

To make it extra easy for you, we've set up a virtual food drive through Second Harvest, and we'd love for you to join us in raising $500 by Dec. 1. That'd supply 2,000 meals! Of course, we'd love to raise even more. So head over to to throw a few bucks into the pot — let's help ensure every Nashvillian has plenty to eat this holiday season.

(If you want to set up your own virtual food drive for your office, school or even just between you and your family and/or friends, click here. It's fast and easy to do.)

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Sources: Steele On His Way Out of MNPS

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 11:16 AM

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Jay Steele, Metro Nashville Public Schools’ chief of academics, plans to step down from his post at the school district, multiple sources tell Pith. 

Once thought next in line to run the school system, Steele apparently intends to vacate the post after several messy failed attempts to snag the school district’s top job after the June retirement of Jesse Register.

Sources throughout the district agreed to speak to Pith only on condition of anonymity, for fear of losing their jobs.

Some say Steele, at times a polarizing figure in the district, had planned to announce his departure during a principals’ meeting the first week in November. That timing was thwarted when News Channel 5 came out that week with an investigation critical of high schools’ grading and testing practices. Steele, the district's chief academic officer and former director of high schools, has refused to comment on the series. 

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A Night of Peace at the School Board

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 9:01 AM

After weeks of Metro Nashville Board of Education meetings where board members couldn't avoid talking charter schools, a night of relative peace came Tuesday.

The board saw a presentation about Gov. Bill Haslam's signature program, Tennessee Promise, from executive director of the initiative, Mike Krause. It also heard from Tony Majors, chief support services officer for Metro Nashville Public Schools, about PASSAGE, a program that is working to address discipline disparity in schools.

Here are the Twitter highlights from Tuesday's meeting, after the jump.

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Traveling Gun Owners Give Thanks for Diane Black

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Congresswoman Diane Black was inconvenienced at Nashville’s airport, and now she's literally making a federal case out of it. She forgot her driver’s license and—shock of all shocks!—TSA agents wouldn’t let her use her handgun carry permit to board her plane. So now she’s decided it’s urgently important to change the law to make handgun carry permits an acceptable form of identification for clearing airport security.

It’s not about Black showing TSA who's boss for delaying her briefly while she rummaged around for her congressional voting card—an acceptable form of ID. Oh no, Black explains in this Fox News article, this is all about ending rampant discrimination against our nation’s citizen gunmen, who have been treated like dirt by that damn Obama administration.

We all understand the need for tough security measures at our nation’s airports, but these policies must be rooted in logic and fact, not someone’s political agenda.

One in three Americans own a gun and there is no reason to make them feel like second class citizens when traveling. …

After seven years of hostility from this administration towards Americans who exercise their Second Amendment rights, passage of the TSA Act should be a simple, bipartisan step we can take to stop the government’s marginalization of gun-owners and alleviate confusion for millions of American travelers this holiday season.
With the threat of terrorism rising, you’d think Black could stop pandering to the NRA for just a little while and focus on larger issues than easing travel headaches for handgun carriers who’ve forgotten their driver’s licenses. How about trying to stop terrorists from buying guns in this country? Just a thought. 

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The Daily Links: A Police Execution, the Downed Russian Jet, and Magnificent Bears

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 5:00 AM

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 TimesThe Origins of Jihadist-Inspired Attacks in the U.S.: All of the Sept. 11 attackers entered the United States using tourist, business or student visas. Since then, most of the attackers in the United States claiming or appearing to be motivated by extremist Islam were born in this country or were naturalized citizens. None were refugees.

From the Chicago ReporterHow Chicago tried to cover up a police execution

From The New YorkerThree Questions About the Downed Russian Jet

From Rolling StoneTwo Insane Days on Tour With Tyler, the Creator


From The blog of Annukka Mäkijärvi: The Magnificent Bears of the Glorious Nation of Finland

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


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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Daily Links: Chris Hayes, Black Lives Matter, and a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 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 International Business Times: Chris Hayes Is Still ‘All In’ At MSNBC, Even As Everyone Counts Him Out

From The New York TimesActors of ‘The Big Short’ Talk About the Debt Crisis, in Beverly Hills

From JezebelDaddy Don't Go Shows the Havoc Poverty Wreaks on Struggling Single Fathers

From DeadspinTitans: Please Cheer For Us

From The AtlanticThe 5 Black Lives Matter Protestors Shot in Minneapolis

From NBC NewsAt Least 12 Dead in Attack on Tunisia Military Bus

From Google: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

From New YorkTrey Gowdy on Hillary Clinton, the PR Disasters of the Benghazi Committee, and Why He’s Had It With D.C.

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


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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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