Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Daily Links: Whale Watching, Tim Gunn, and the Oregon Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 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 LongreadsWhale Watch: On the trail of an elusive marine mammal.

From The New York Times MagazineThe Year We Obsessed Over Identity

From Spy Magazine (via Who Rules America?): Masters of the Universe Go to Camp: Inside the Bohemian Grove

From Musing: 36 Books We Love Right Now

From Internet Archive: Over the Edge Radio: Negativland

From The Los Angeles TimesDaddy, he began to shoot': A daughter's account of Oregon rampage

From BloombergBusinessTim Gunn Hates It When You Wear Gym Clothes on the Street

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


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La Vergne Mayor: Calls To Backpage.com Numbers On City Phone May, May Not Have Been Made By Him

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 3:26 PM

Well, it looks as though calls were made on La Vergne Mayor Dennis Waldron's city cell phone to numbers listed on escort website Backpage.com.

The mayor had an explanation for the Daily News Journal

“It’s like the paparazzi,” Waldron told the Murfreesboro daily. “For over 10 months, people loyal to the previous administration have been stalking me. They’re accusing me of being places I haven’t been and being with people I have not been with."

Waldron is not saying he didn't make the calls. He's not saying he did. He's not saying much of anything, other than someone's been saying he's been places he hasn't been.

But one thing's for sure: If he makes those calls again, it won't be on a city cell-phone number. From the Daily News Journal:

“I’m not going to say I didn’t,” said Waldron. “I’m not going to say I did.”

If he did, Waldron said, it was by error, or he was making a return call to an incoming one that he missed, not realizing what the number was.

Whether he did or didn’t make the calls — or someone else made the calls — on a city-issued phone, Waldron said he knows it will never happen again.

“I have decided for safety and the best interest of all to turn my city phone into the city and purchase my private phone. No one will have access to it,” he said.

Continue reading »

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Blount County Commissioner Doesn't Think God Knows What's in Her Heart

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 7:45 AM

We're just finding out all kinds of weird things Christian politicians in this state believe are Christian beliefs. First, Ron Ramsey, believing that Christians should run around shooting people, and now Blount County Commissioner Karen Miller, who doesn't seem to believe that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. This is contrary to most mainstream Christian understandings of God (though probably a great relief to every masturbating teenager), but whatever. Karen Miller is not leaving it to God to know what's in her heart or the hearts of her fellow Blount Countians. She wants to send Him a resolution.

From the Huffington Post: "A Tennessee county plans to take up a resolution begging God for mercy and asking that the deity not smite their community 'like Sodom and Gomorrah' because of the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage."

They're reporting that the resolution reads in part:

"WE adopt this Resolution before God that He pass us by in His Coming Wrath and not destroy our County as He did Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities. As the Passover Lamb was a means of salvation to the ancient Children of Israel, so we stand upon the safety of the Lamb of God to save us.

WE adopt this Resolution begging His favor in light of the fact that we have been forced to comply and recognize that the State of Tennessee, like so many other God-fearing States, MAY have fallen prey to a lawless judiciary in legalizing what God and the Bible expressly forbids."

This is hilarious, not just because she thinks God isn't able to know this stuff unless they tell him, but also because she's sinning in saying so. The very same guy, Paul, that said God hates gays said that women need to shut up and not take leadership positions over men. But there she is, taking leadership over everyone in the county, male and female, and, from the sound of the resolution, trying to exert leadership on our many male politicians.

Karen Miller, you're just as bad as those homosexuals you're so worried God is going to smite us over. Maybe you should go home and think quietly about how your actions have contributed to our about-to-be-smote state. Or you could think about extending to your gay neighbors the same generous interpretation of Paul's words that you've extended to yourself. Either one.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

The Daily Links: The Next Mass Shooter, Kesha, and a Sacrificial Goar

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 5:05 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 Mother Jones: Inside the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooter 

From Fader: Kesha used her voice to stand up for victims. So why is no one doing the same for her?

From The Washington Post: Discovering the Deep South's Cliches All Over Again

From The New Yorker: The Simple Truth About Gun Control

From The Guardian: Suffragette's Publicity Campaign and the Politics of Erasure

From The Orlando SentinelFlorida candidate for U.S. Senate admits to sacrificing goat, drinking its blood

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


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The Truth about Ron Ramsey's Enthusiasm for You Buying a Gun

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Steven Hale covered all but one of the important points about Ron Ramsey's ridiculous efforts to reframe Jesus' message from "love your enemies" to "kill your enemies before thy kill you."

That important point is this: Nobody can carry a gun at Ron Ramsey's workplace, except for trained law enforcement.

Ron Ramsey wants you to carry a gun because Ron Ramsey will not extend to you the same luxury of not spending your days in fear of being shot to death that he has. Ron Ramsey is one of the most powerful people in the state. He could tell the NRA to suck his butt and, unlike most politicians in this state, he'd end up with wet cheeks. So, Ron Ramsey could do many things to make our state safer. He could pass stricter background checks. He could pass a law that required gun owners to have liability insurance on their guns. He could introduce a mandatory waiting period and close gun show loopholes. He could require that guns be licensed and he could require that people get trained before they receive their licenses.

In other words, he could lean heavily on the "well-regulated" part of the second amendment. It's right there, in the text. The government has a right to create a "well-regulated militia" out of all these folks who want to own guns.

Ron Ramsey doesn't have the political courage to grant us the luxury he lives and works in every day. He could do it, but he's too chicken shit. Since he's worried for the people he likes and too cowardly to help them, we're left with this harebrained idea of "Christians who are serious about their faith" all getting guns.

Tennessee, if having more guns were truly the answer—and not smoke Ramsey was blowing in order to disguise the fact that he's too cowardly to do what must be done—he'd invite guns into his workplace.

That he doesn't tells you all you need to know about Ron Ramsey's true feelings about firearms.

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Haslam: Don't Criticize Prison Audit Until Results Released

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 7:45 AM

Over at WPLN, they've got words from Republican Gov. Bill Haslam asking critics not to put the cart before the horse on a recent review of the state's prisons that has already been called into question before its release.

The review comes amid former and current employee complaints concerning violence and a new schedule that's caused a staffing shortage all while the system faces overcrowding. The Tennessee Department of Correction initiated the review after the department's head, Derrick Schofield, took heat at a Legislative hearing at the end of August.

Rep. Mike Stewart, D- Nashville, and Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, have also both recently called on the governor to launch an investigation into the department because of media reports and documents passed to Stewart by TDOC employees.

Continue reading »

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Holleman Arrested For Violating Order of Protection For Allegedly Sending Slew of Texts

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 3:37 PM

  • Metropolitan Nashville Police Department
Three weeks after a devastating loss in his bid for a Metro at-large councilman seat, Jason Holleman was arrested Thursday for violating an order of protection. 

According to the affidavit, Holleman sent his ex-wife Margaret Martin approximately 30 text messages in the span of three to four hours. According to the affidavit, "these text messages, so far, have not been threatening in nature, but are very upsetting, and 'emotional' to her." 

Holleman posted $1,000 bond and was released the same day. 

Holleman's personal life tribulations became public knowledge about a year ago after his ex-wife said arguments between the two of them led her to call police on him three times over the better part of a year. In one such incident, she said he threw a lamp at her, according to a police report. Charges were never brought against him.

"Nine months ago, I agreed to give my ex wife an order of protection following a contentious divorce. I hoped that acquiescing to such an action would give us a period of separation and allow us to effectively communicate again," Holleman told Pith in a statement.

"I now regret agreeing to that, and I regret not going back to court in the months that followed to seek dissolution when subsequent circumstances warranted such action. Now, I find myself arrested for sending a single email to her, an email that was in no way threatening or profane," he said.

He later clarified that he meant to say text message and added, "ironically, the text was about how she has damaged me professionally with false accusations." 

Once a hopeful for a vacant state Senate seat, he dropped out of that race in 2013 citing concern the effect of serving in the statehouse would have on his family. The term-limited Metro Councilman from Sylvan Park then decided to run for one of five vacant at-large seats. Details of his past troubles with his ex-wife resurfaced during the election, exploited with the help of an anonymous mail piece. While he narrowly made the runoff in August, he came in last in the September election. 

Holleman is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, Oct. 13.  

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After Oregon Shooting, Ramsey Calls 'Serious' Christians to Arms

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 3:27 PM

As you will have heard or read or watched by now, a gunman killed 9 people, and wounded seven more, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon Thursday morning. To say it was just another day in America would be wrong, because we average more than one of these horrible events per day. Thursday was the 274th day of 2015 and this was the year's 294th mass shooting.

The deceased gunman, identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, owned 14 guns, according to law enforcement officials, all of them purchased legally. The New York Times reports he brought "six guns, multiple extra ammunition magazines and a flak jacket" with him to the college.

As is to be expected, details about the shooting, the shooter, and what led him to this violence are still coming into focus. But some have emerged.

From the Times:

Family members of some survivors said their relatives told them that the gunman, identified as Chris Harper Mercer, 26, specifically targeted Christians. Law enforcement officials have not confirmed that.

“‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them,” Stacy Boylan, father of Anastasia Boylan, 18, told CNN. “ `And if you’re a Christian, stand up.’ And they would stand up and he said, `Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them, and then he kept going down the line doing this to people.”

He said his daughter was shot in the spine but survived.

Continue reading »

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Barry Plans Talks On Amendment 3 Implementation, Will Review AG Opinion

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 12:08 PM

Before 58 percent of voters decided the city should require local workers be hired on city construction projects, several groups pooh-poohed the idea, like the business community, builders and a few mayoral candidates. Then-Mayor Karl Dean opposed the amendment too. 

Add to that list state Attorney General Herbert Slatery who opined Thursday that the charter amendment — mandating 40 percent of construction hours on city projects with budgets of at least $100,000 be promised to local workers — runs afoul of state law.  

Despite the opinion, Mayor Megan Barry plans to meet with stakeholders anyway to chart out the best way to implement the new requirements as the city's legal team reviews the opinion from the state's top attorney. 

“We have asked the Metro Department of Law to review the opinion, but nevertheless, as I told the Metro Council earlier this week, my administration plans to bring together council members, business executives, labor leaders and others to work out the proper implementation of the local-hire charter amendment," she said in a statement Friday morning. "We are going to solve the problem Nashville voters asked us to solve.”

The provision is invalid, according to the attorney general's opinion. Local government cannot impose additional restrictions on state-licensed contractors, nor can it discriminate against them based on the contractor's non-residency in the municipality, he said, arguing contractors in Kentucky who are licensed here can get out of the benchmark for hiring local workers, but a company inside the Tennessee line cannot. In his opinion, he says:
Amendment 3 directly contravenes Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-6-111(i)(2)(c). Most — if not all — contractors bidding on or procuring public building project work for Metro would be required to be licensed contractors under the Act. Metro is prohibited by the Act from imposing any additional requirements on such state licensees or their employees and Metro is prohibited by the Act from discriminating against licensed contractors because they are not Metro residents. But that is what Amendment 3 does: it imposes additional requirements, namely residency requirements, on licensed contractors and it discriminates against non-resident contractors. Thus, Amendment 3 conflicts with a state statute.

Slatery’s opinion comes at the behest of state Rep. Glen Casada, the House’s Republican Caucus leader from Williamson County who is a perpetual thorn in Davidson County’s side. Casada orchestrated legislative maneuvers to undo county ordinances, such as regulating a prevailing wage and non-discrimination regulations for contractors doing business with the city.

Along with Casada, Gov. Bill Haslam is also opposed to the new requirement, as is Williamson County state Sen. Jack Johnson, a Republican and chair of the Commerce Committee. All represent the tip of the iceberg in Republican, business-minded legislature willing to muddy the waters between local and state policy control.

But many other people voiced concerns about the amendment, including several of the candidates who ran for mayor. Barry was one of few to openly support the amendment but said she expected the state to find a way to overturn it.

But she announced earlier this week plans to to tap the brakes on implementation of the amendment, which was supposed to go into effect Oct. 1. She explained that decision by saying time will give everyone more time to study how to make the plan work.
"This delay in implementation will give us all a chance to research best practices in other cities and for my office to meet with members of the Metro Council, the business community, labor leaders and other stakeholders to develop guidelines that will meet our goals of training and hiring more Davidson County workers for jobs funded with their tax dollars."

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Pinkston Argues He Doesn't 'Love a Fight'

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 8:40 AM

The Metro School Board's Will Pinkston is regularly a subject of great intrigue, and, likely for that reason, he found himself on the cover of this week's Nashville Ledger

In an article called, "Will Pinkston loves a good fight," the paper profiles the South Nashville school board representative, a former lieutenant in Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration who has a reputation for knocking skulls. But this lengthy profile focuses more on his battles of today, his lost friendships since his election to the school board and his fight against "charter zealots." (The article quotes his charter nemesis Townes Duncan, who, for full disclosure, is chairman of SouthComm, the Scene's parent company.) 

Pinkston's reaction to the profile?  

In it, the paper also attempts to tap into his political future, saying he's "neither ruling out nor contemplating running for higher office." Having served in state politics then switching gears to serve on the local school board, his political plans have been a curiosity.

In June, he told the Scene he would decide whether to run for reelection based on whether he is content with the next mayor (he was backing now-Mayor Megan Barry, so that's presumably a yes) and whether he is confident in the next superintendent (who will likely be selected after deadlines to run for election). With a series of possible lawsuits on issues like education funding or unabated charter school growth, it's unclear whether he would step away quite yet. 

Another takeaway? On the director's search, Pinkston sends a message for the kind of superintendent he is looking for. Among his wants, now out for any potential candidate to measure up against, is someone who is willing to put his or her foot down on the current proliferation of charters. 

As with most other topics, Pinkston has some strong opinions about priorities the next director should take.

Those include:
  • A focus on pre-kindergarten expansion
  • Adoption of English Language Learner initiatives
  • Efforts to improve reading in early grades
  • Reduction of standardized testing time
  • Turnaround strategies to remove 14 Metro schools from Tennessee’s “priority list” for poor performance
  • Lobbying for more funding at the state level (Metro is ranked 54th of 67 urban school systems in per-pupil funding at $9,000)
  • Creation of a teacher recruitment and retention plan
  • Stopping unabated charter growth

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