Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shouldn't the NRA Deduct Points for Gun Safety Issues?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Last year, I marveled at the fact that Scott DesJarlais could be under the false impression that he's a responsible gun owner:

I hope most gun owners have the common sense to realize that, once they've brought out a gun in a fight with their spouse, once they've fucking put a gun in their own mouth, they don't need to own a gun ever again. Let me be clear — I'm not saying that it should be illegal for DesJarlais to own a gun. I'm saying that, once a person knows that that's how bad it gets for him, he should be responsible enough to say, "You know what, I shouldn't own a gun."

I know there's a big cultural divide between gun owners and non-gun owners. But I would hope that gun owners can appreciate how unsettling this scenario is. We're supposed to be concentrating on the "bad" guys and leaving responsible gun owners to regulate themselves. But here's a brilliant man — he's got an M.D. — who knows the bad places his mind can take him when he's at his worst.

And yet he still owns a gun.

Well, wait around long enough and the answer comes. Scott DesJarlais thinks he's a great gun advocate because he is! The NRA said so. J.R. Lind's got the press release:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has endorsed Congressman Scott DesJarlais in the Republican primary for Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional District.

According to the NRA, Congressman DesJarlais has earned an “A” rating from the organization for his “consistent and proven voting record” of supporting Second Amendment rights and in opposition to President Obama’s gun control agenda.

If a man can bring a gun into the middle of a fight with his wife — which, come on, was obviously supposed to be some kind of threat — and put the gun in his mouth and "pretend" to be threatening to kill himself for three house and at any time for the rest of that dude's life the NRA gives him an "A" rating, the NRA is basically just trolling us.

DesJarlais broke rule one of gun safety by failing to act at all times like his gun was loaded. He used his gun to try to win a domestic dispute. And then he put his gun in his mouth. Three things that, if you did them at a gun safety class, would have you kicked out of the class. But he gets an "A" from the NRA.

Apparently, they have no standards.

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Did Terri Lynn Weaver Forget to Make It a Crime to Expose Your Unborn Baby to Meth?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 5:30 AM

With any luck, this whole drug-baby legislation fiasco is going to blow up in Terri Lynn Weaver's face so bad that she won't be allowed to sponsor bills anymore. We already talked about how the law simply does not do what she claims it does — only address the worst of the worst.

Well, we're back with another problem with Weaver's bill. As you recall, a couple of weeks ago Mallory Loyola was the first woman to be charged under the new law after her baby tested positive for methamphetamines. Except the wording of the law is "narcotic drug."

As Alex Harris over at TNReport explains:

Tennessee state law defines “narcotic drug” as opium, opiates, coca leaves or any compound, derivative or preparation of such substances. But while “opiate” is generally defined in medical or scientific terms as relating to or resembling opium or morphine — and that would include heroin — the definition under Tennessee’s statute also alludes to any substance “being capable of conversion into a drug having addiction-forming or addiction-sustaining liability.”

Yet on the House floor back in April, Weaver declared repeatedly that her legislation “only deals with cocaine and heroin.” She never mentioned methamphetamine or any other banned substance.

Oops. On two levels. Oops, how do they keep Loyola in jail when they've charged her for a crime that doesn't exist? Oops, how in the fuck does Weaver write a bill that leaves out one of Tennessee's favorite drugs to abuse?

Honestly. I don't know if it's more embarrassing that Weaver put forth this bill or that everyone voted for it and none of them noticed that it didn't cover meth. And our Governor? What about him? Mr. "I'm going to hear from everyone (except women suffering from drug addiction because yuck) and then think lofty thoughts and come to the right conclusion" Haslam? He also didn't notice that the law seemed to leave out a lot of uppers?

There used to be a lot of world-weary conservatives, men like, oh, say, Clint Eastwood, who had probably tried everything back in the day and who now are devoted to making sure that the ugliest of humanity's excesses don't hurt civilized society. We don't seem to have conservatives like that in Tennessee. We have a lot of frightened prudes legislating from a position that seems to believe all urban legends are true. (We have AIDS because an airline pilot fucked a monkey. All drugs are opiates. All babies born dependent on drugs are going to be as bad off as crack babies. Etc. Etc.) It'd be nice if we could get some of the former, even if only to advise the latter on how not to make us look like fools in front of the whole country.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Daily Links: Kanye West, When Harry Met Sally, and Israel-Palestine

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 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 Grantland: When ‘Harry’ Met ‘Annie’

From The New York Times: Riding the Juggernaut That Left Print Behind

From GQ: From GQ: Kanye West: A Brand-New Ye

From The New Republic: The Explosive, Inside Story of How John Kerry Built an Israel-Palestine Peace Plan—and Watched It Crumble

Continue reading »


Everyone Needs An Editor, Including Big Money PACs

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Everyone needs an edtidor etitor editor, including PACs.

Because what you don't want to do is spend money creating so-called "push cards" to point people toward the candidates you're endorsing ... and send folks to the polls on the wrong day.


Yup, Nashvillians United for Fairness and Justice — the group formed by Bill Freeman and former Tennessee Democratic Party chair Chip Forrester — apparently printed cards with the wrong date for Election Day. A Pith tipster found this on their car yesterday after church. And for the record, electioneers, you can't go on private property without permission. We're just sayin'.

(Of course, there was a noticeable error in the press release announcing the group's formation, so maybe we're not that surprised. Guys, we know some editors who could use the work. Call us.)

If you've got pictures of other direct-mail or election-handout goofs, pass them along to editor@nashvillescene.com.

And don't forget to vote on August 7. It will be a little lonely at the polling place on the 6th.

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Preserving Printers Alley

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 7:14 AM

I'll admit, when I first heard about people fighting with developers over the developers' desire to put a boutique hotel back into a building that used to be a hotel in Printers Alley, I thought it was stupid. Returning a hotel to a hotel sounds like a great idea. Imagine a dramatic, main entrance on 4th Avenue, right downtown near so many of our great tourist attractions and then, you slip around back—or maybe even through some pseudo-secret special hotel door, like we're all still speak-easy patrons during Prohibition and you're in the Brass Stables or listening to live music or whatever. What a great idea to capitalize on the draw of Printers Alley.

I just never considered — simply couldn't comprehend — that these folks who are planning to put up a hotel would be thinking of closing the businesses that make a hotel in that spot a cool option. It's like putting up a grand hotel right near a theme park so that you can make tons of money from theme-park visitors staying in your hotel and then closing the theme park. And no one would be so stupid and short-sighted in this city again, would they?

But Bobby Allyn over at WPLN has the skinny:

Several businesses along Printer’s Alley are being kicked out to make way for a boutique hotel. One resident’s attempt to organize the downtown community against the redevelopment has picked up momentum.

The new owners, including developer Bill Barkley and financial backers Alex Marks and Billy Frist, plan to renovate the old building but displace the tenants, which include Lonnie’s Western Room, Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar and others.

This just goes to show you that you can have unlimited cents and limited sense. It also goes to show you that today's crop of rich people is boring as fuck. Back in the old days, rich people went to places like Printers Alley because they got a thrill from mixing with the decadent poors. Nowadays, they want to build these urban playgrounds with names that hearken back to times when their naughtiness crossed class boundaries without actually having to cross class boundaries. They want their friends to be able to stay on Printers Row without risking the chance of running into the likes of us.

They're fixing to make the whole downtown too classy for the kinds of people whose hard work and tourist dollars helped make it what it is today.

I hope Kim Brooks and the outraged people of Facebook are able to figure out how to stop this, or at least redirect the developers into a hotel that works for them and preserves the character and businesses of Printers Alley.

But more than that, I hope that glorious Printers Alley stripper Heaven Lee comes out of retirement, climbs naked onto her horse one last time and rides by the developer's homes, two middle fingers a-blazing. That would be a fitting protest.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Daily Links: Ukraine, PSH, and Floyd Mayweather

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 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 Grantland: The ‘Would You Trade Wiggins for Love?’ Shootaround

From The New Republic: I Met Igor Bezler, the Russian Rebel Who Said, "We Have Just Shot Down a Plane"

From The New York Times: Staring at the Flame: John le Carré on Philip Seymour Hoffman

From New York: Why Do We Treat PR Like a Pink Ghetto?

Continue reading »

Is Ron Ramsey Alone In Wanting To Remove Supreme Court Justices?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 8:17 AM

So, just about everyone is getting into the fight over whether or not to retain three sitting members of the state Supreme court.

Yesterday, the Fraternal Order of Police, for the first time ever, endorsed the sitting justices over a Ron Ramsey-backed movement to just replace the Democrats on the court.

The FOP said it decided to take the unusual step of endorsing the justices because the group feels strongly about the importance of fair and impartial courts.

“We enforce as officers the laws that are written, and we expect our justices to enforce the laws the way they interpret the laws and adjudicate on what the interpretations are,” said State FOP President Johnny Crumby.

So, on a bipartisan level, the cops, most lawyers and most of the state's elected officials are all against Ramsey's attempt to pack the court.

In an extraordinary Q&A earlier this year, Ramsey admitted that this is pure partisan politics and that he and his side are willing to skew facts in order to win the election.

Q: But you're proposing a misleading campaign, aren't you?

RAMSEY: Oh, come on. No, I'm not misleading. I'll have our side. They'll have their side.

Q: Why not tell both sides?

RAMSEY: That's the other side. If I'm running for election do I tell both sides? No, I tell what I think will enhance my election. That's what it's for. Then you have an election. The other side tells their side. Does Barack Obama tell the good side, or the bad side, when he's running? No, that's what elections are about. And let the people decide who's telling the truth.

Maybe enough people have decided that half-truths from the Lt. Gov. are bad for the state and are standing up against radically politicizing the courts.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Daily Links: Malaysia Flight 17, Israel Invades Palestine, and Sting Returns

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 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 Grantland: Sting Speaks as WWE ‘Battleground’ Approaches

From The New York Times: ‘It Fell Down in Pieces’: Malaysia Airlines Plane Leaves Trail of Debris

From The Intercept: NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children

From Yahoo!: Inside The Secret CIA Museum

Continue reading »


PAC-Man: Stacey Campfield is Dependent on Political Action Committees

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 4:07 PM

We've already directed you to The Stacey Chronicles, Metro Pulse's opus on Knoxville's Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield.

But today, the Pulse has even more on Campfield, and given our own history of interest in one of the nation's worst politicians, we feel honor-bound to pass it on as well.

By way of a reader's analysis of state financial disclosures, the Pulse reports that Campfield is addicted to PAC money.

And here’s what’s really amazing—only 36 percent of Campfield’s donors—for only 20 percent of his total donations—are from the county he represents.

So where’s his money coming from? Political action committees, either via straight-up donations from the PAC, or funneled through other candidates’ accounts. And although only 33 percent of Campfield’s donors are PACs or other candidates, 64 percent of his funds come from those donors. In comparison, less than 11 percent of Briggs’s donations are PAC- or candidate-related.

Campfield is facing Richard Briggs, a doctor and veteran of the first Iraq War, in the Republican primary. Read more from the Pulse here.

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Metro Police to Investigate TN Chamber Spoof Poll In School Board Race

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 7:24 AM

Metro Nashville Police are investigating who was behind a mysterious school board push poll last month seemingly favoring a particular candidate in the Hillsboro cluster.

The phone calls that went out over a month ago claiming to come from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce while pushing ideals counter to the organization’s positions have puzzled the community faced with choosing between two well-financed and dogged candidates for an open school board seat.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to determine who is responsible but we’re going to try,” said Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron, who said the department’s fraud unit is working on the investigation.

He said the department will likely examine records from communications companies, but declined to elaborate further on the agency's methodology. He said he couldn’t estimate how long the investigation would take but said the department sees few cases like these.

Metro officials issued the chamber an official incident number for the investigation Thursday, according to Bradley Jackson, vice president of government relations for the state chamber. Information submitted to police included complaints the chamber collected from people on the receiving end of the phone calls, he said.

“They were very upfront with us that these are hard to track,” he said, adding that filing a police report is “really the only thing we can do to deter it from happening again.”

The phone calls came in Friday, June 20, after the close of the business day. Jackson said officials at the chamber’s Nashville office had locked up and left for the day.

But that evening, people who live in the Metro Schools eighth district — where candidates Mary Pierce and Becky Sharpe are facing a heated race for the school board — began receiving phone calls from a pollster claiming to work on behalf of the state chamber.

Questions appeared to be geared toward Sharpe. They included whether knowing that Sharpe’s children attended public schools and Pierce has children in private schools would affect their vote. The pollster also asked leading questions about charter schools and gauged whether endorsements from the chamber, specific labor groups, the mayor and the local daily paper would influence their vote.

Depending on what the department finds, there is a potential to file charges of fraud on whoever is behind the poll, but it’s too early to say, said Aaron.

Someone who pretends to be a representative of some person or organization is committing “criminal impersonation,” a Class B misdemeanor punishable by no more than six months imprisonment, up to a $500 fine, or both, according to state code.

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