Monday, June 1, 2015

The Daily Links: Steve Prefontaine, Lester Bower, and the Patriot Act

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 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 Marshall Project: After Lethal Injection: Three states, three ways to kill a human being.

From Grantland: Steve Prefontaine’s Last Run

From The Washington Post: Fatal police shootings in 2015 approaching 400 nationwide

From The Intercept: Doubts Still Plague The 31-Year-Old Lester Bower Case But Texas Is About To Kill Him Anyway

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North Nashville Groups Allege Civil Rights Violations in Police HQ Relocation

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 3:48 PM

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  • @Iamstevenhale
With a Metro Council public hearing coming Tuesday night on Mayor Karl Dean's plan to relocate Metro police headquarters to Jefferson Street in North Nashville, the group Justice for Jefferson Street and the Nashville chapter of Black Lives Matter, among others, are alleging Civil Rights violations and looking to get the state and federal government involved.

The groups have filed a Civil Rights complaint with the Title VI Tennessee Department of Transportation Civil Rights Office, as well as a request for the United States Department of Justice to investigate the Metro police department's administration of the Operation Safer Streets program.

At issue, they allege, are violations of the following statutes: Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987; Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Anti-Discrimination Provisions); Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Anti-Discriminatory Provisions); Executive Order 12898 (the "Environmental Justice" Executive Order).

In April, Dean, Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson and Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced plans to relocate the run-down Criminal Justice Center. The plan calls for the relocation of the Metro police headquarters from downtown to a new $23 million facility at the corner of 14th Ave. and Jefferson Street, in the center of a historically African American community, and a new $110 million Davidson County Sheriff's Office facility, including a relocated jail, on a piece of Metro-owned property in southeast Nashville.

The plan has been met with strong opposition in both North Nashville and the Antioch area, where residents and council members have questioned the effects each relocation would have on the surrounding communities and decried the lack of community input in the plan.

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It's Time for Our Leaders to Act Like Leaders on Health Care

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 7:50 AM

Raymond “Robin” Feierabend wrote a heck of a letter to the Bristol Herald Courier about how alarming it is that Ron Ramsey and Beth Harwell are pushing off dealing with our healthcare crisis until some magical day in the future when there are rainbow farting unicorns.

Feierabend says, "To deny 280,000 Tennesseans (over half of whom are employed) access to affordable health care coverage that they need today, based purely on hypothetical future situations, makes no sense; it is neither economically nor morally justifiable."

I have often wondered about this. If you and I were sitting in a room and someone burst in and said, "My brother needs to go to the hospital! Help!" I think we would both jump up and try to get the guy's brother to the hospital. If someone came in and said, "I need you to make a decision. Can my brother go to the hospital?" I still would like to think that our impulse would be to say, "Yes, of course. We're not going to stand around and see if your brother dies."

The truth is that every day these Tennesseans are uninsured is a day that some of them don't go to the doctor when they should, when they let a strange lump go, because it's not really bothering them, or they don't go get stitched up or get checked for a concussion. They ignore minor problems now that will become severe problems later. Every day these folks don't have insurance, more of them are shifting into the "Gonna die early" category. This isn't hyperbole. It's just a fact. We're so massively curtailing people's options that some of them are going to pay with their lives.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

The Daily Links: Riker's Island, Rickrolling, and Sepp Blatter

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 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 Intercept: Death and Neglect at the Riker's Island Women's Jail

From New York: The Case of the Amazing Gay-Marriage Data: How a Graduate Student Reluctantly Uncovered a Huge Scientific Fraud

From SB Nation: SEC = Southeastern Communism? EACH TEAM GETS AN EQUAL SHARE OF A PIE, EVEN IF THEY DON'T DO AN EQUAL SHARE OF THE WINNING. LET'S FIX THAT.

From Rolling Stone: The Not-So-Secret Shame of Sepp Blatter and the FIFA Scandal

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Weak Field of Superintendent Candidates Is Also Very Strong?

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 11:49 AM

In this week's print issue of the Scene, we published a story by Andrea Zelinski about Metro's search for a new schools director. It ran under this headline:

Search firm: Metro doesn't have enough 'heavy hitter' candidates yet for school superintendent

Headlines can be funny things. As anyone who consumes news media knows, they can occasionally lead you to expect one thing from a story that sort of gives you something else. We would never do that here. But you could see where this one came from early on in the story:

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Charter School Champion to Lead Mayor’s ‘Project Renaissance’

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 11:28 AM

The organizer of a new group aimed at improving educational outcomes for Davidson County kids says the mission is about more than charter schools, but it’s newly named co-CEO comes directly from the charter industry.

Justin Testerman is leaving his position as chief operating officer of the Tennessee Charter School Center to become co-CEO of Project Renaissance, according to a letter to charter school leaders Friday. The project is a new Nashville-based not for profit organization pegged by Mayor Karl Dean as his next endeavor after he leaves office,

Executive Director Wendy Tucker, formerly an education adviser in Dean’s administration and a member of the Tennessee Board of Education, said the group will recruit charter schools to Nashville, but will also focus on policy, community engagement and teachers. Dean is expected to formally join the group in the fall after finishing his term as mayor.

In an annual report filed with the Secretary of State earlier this month, Project Renaissance named several members to its board, all with ties to the controversial independently-run publicly-funded schools known as charter schools. Among them is Bill DeLoache, a wealthy charter school backer who also sits on the board for the Tennessee Charter School Center.

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Front of the Book: Human Trafficking, the Superintendent Search, and the Planning Commission

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM

PHOTO: ERIC ENGLAND; PROP STYLING AND PHOTO ASSISTANT: ALICIA AVANS
  • PHOTO: ERIC ENGLAND; PROP STYLING AND PHOTO ASSISTANT: ALICIA AVANS
On the cover this week, Abby White on sex trafficking of minors and the fight to bring it into the light:

Nashville's proximity to Atlanta — one of the largest domestic human trafficking hubs, according to a 2014 Urban Institute report commissioned by the U.S. Justice Department — and the fact that three major interstates intersect within our city limits makes it an ideal location to funnel people through a reverse underground railroad.

Compounding the problem is the fact that human trafficking is an extremely difficult issue to tackle. Discrepancies exist in the reporting of incidents, especially involving minors. Young victims of trafficking are often entrenched in complicated dependent relationships with their captors, unaware that they're being held in forced prostitution.

Legislation involving sex trafficking is relatively new in Tennessee, and intervention work by law enforcement and social services is challenging. But lawmen, government agents, lawmakers and victims' advocates are working to build their own anti-trafficking network, before Nashville becomes a fixed point on a grid of modern-day human slavery.

Here's what else is in the front of the book:

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Daily Links: Unionizing, Coffee Time, and Dennis Hastert

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 6:00 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 Gawker: How We're Voting on the Union, and Why

From Slate: That’s All She Wrote: Why I left ladyblogging.

From Grantland: Sophomore Sensations: Our Favorite Second Rap Albums

From The Washington Post: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert indicted by federal grand jury

From New York: The Best Time to Drink Your Coffee Is Probably Not When You’re Drinking It

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

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  • Amiee Stubbs

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#MayoralChatter: Rebrovick Campaign Will Change 'Garbage' Ad

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 5:00 PM

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An argument that has been going on quietly for the last week bubbled into the open this afternoon as Vanderbilt University political science professor John Geer took questions on Twitter about the mayor's race.

An anonymous user by the name of @yellowdawgtn — who hasn't really been active since 2012 — asked Geer what he thought about an image toward the end of Linda Eskind Rebrovick's new ad, "Garbage" and whether it was "stereotyping/."

The ad featuring Rebrovick explaining that she won't run negative ads during her campaign. As she does so, she is seen riding on a garbage truck, picking up flat screen TVs and tossing them into the back. Toward the end, an African American woman appears with an old tube TV and sets it on her garbage can.

"Interesting question!" Geer tweeted back. "All flat screen tvs except for this woman. Someone should ask Linda that question."

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Register to Board: Test Scores Look Promising for Priority Schools

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 8:00 AM

With preliminary scores from standardized tests in hand, Director of Schools Jesse Register told school board members Monday that the city’s lowest ranked schools may have scored high enough to exempt themselves from state takeover next year.

According to a state law added to the books this month, the state Achievement School District is barred from taking over low-performing “priority schools” if student growth scores (Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System or TVAAS) on state tests measure “above expectations.”

Here’s what Register had to say about test scores in a memo obtained by Pith:

“So far, we are looking good in this regard. I hope to have some released data before the end of June. On first look, it is possible that we will have NO schools eligible for ASD take over next year! It is too bad that we did not have the full three years as originally intended to deal with the original priority schools list. It looks as though the outcome would have been much different. Caution… this is still premature information at this time.”

Schools have received preliminary test scores from this spring’s state standardized tests, but school and district officials don’t know what to make of them yet, said Paul Changas who heads up the Department of Research, Assessment and Evaluation for Metro Public Schools. Teachers have complained the preliminary schools appear inflated and lack details on student proficiency.

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