Monday, July 27, 2015

The Daily Links: The Cosby Accusers, Junior Seau, and Twitter Jokes

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 5:20 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 New York‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

From The New Yorker: It's Trump's Debate: What does his success say about the G.O.P.? 

From GrantlandSilenced: The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Junior Seau Bungle

From The Verge: Twitter is deleting stolen jokes on copyright grounds

From WiredNSA to Destroy Phone Records it Illegally Collected

From SB NationTexas cut free meals for coaches, while schools with less money even feed *me*

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

click to enlarge PHOTO: AMIEE STUBBS

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Going Looney: The Takeaways

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 8:15 AM

It was too good to be true. The highly successful candidate for superintendent of the year was about to take a job here, leaving in the dust Metro Nashville’s wealthy arch rival, Williamson County. 

School board members known for circling the wagons found themselves coming together, laughing and excited about a new day under Mike Looney’s leadership, patting themselves on the back that he was willing to escape his tumultuous school board for theirs. They had the sense he could bring them together, and regular followers of the board agreed, hoping for an end to the district’s Cold War.

Then Looney broke their hearts, signing a contract extension with Williamson County Schools. Here are the takeaways:

1) Nashville to flush down the toilet six months of searching for a superintendent.

The school board began looking in earnest for someone like Looney in February when it began interviewing search firms. Now, several school board members and Board Chairwoman Sharon Gentry say they should start over from scratch, likely kicking their search firm to the curb. If that’s what the board ultimately decides to do, they’ll start at square one: interviewing and hiring a new firm, advertising the position, giving the firm time to recruit, releasing names, narrowing candidates, choosing their favorite and hoping than he or she doesn’t change their mind the next day.

How long will this second search take? Gentry doesn’t know. When will they start? At the moment, the school board is thinking about taking a breather until their next meeting on Aug. 11 and figuring out their lessons learned at a retreat in September. There's some pushback against waiting so long, with loner Tyese Hunter pushing for the board to meet ASAP to consider appointing a candidate from the group's short list. 

Continue reading »

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Hey, Ladies, Here's the Growing List of Things to Avoid Should You Want to Stay Alive

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 7:05 AM

I was really hoping the movie showing during Thursday's theater shooting was randomly selected. I was hoping John Russell Houser just picked whatever theater currently had a film playing. "It could've been any movie," I tried to convince myself. But evidence suggests the Houser, who killed himself after killing two women and injuring nine others, had a history of being "anti-feminist." It's horrific and likely Houser chose Trainwreck because it is a film starring a funny, smart feminist comic and he knew women would likely be in the audience. And it appears Houser doesn't care much for women. Another recent report claims both his wife and his daughter "filed an order of protection" against Houser in 2008.

Going to see a movie starring a feminist is now one more item on the growing list of things that women can't do without hearing the tiny voice in the back of their head first asking, "Will this get me killed?"

So, ladies, if you're keeping track, here are the things that you might not want to do, should you want to stay alive:

Go see a goofy rom-com about a funny woman who enjoys consensually humping a variety of dudes.

Refuse to give a man your phone number. 

Go away to college.

Get into an argument with your boyfriend.

Break up with your boyfriend.

No, seriously, don't break up with your boyfriend.

Start seeing someone else if you do decide to break up with your boyfriend.

Exist in the world as a transgender woman of color.

Not show interest in a boy who has a crush on you.

"Piss off" your boyfriend.

Tell your ex-boyfriend you don't want to get back together in a Facebook chat.

These are all reasons women were killed, just in the past year. Going to the movies, turning down a man's advances, going away to college ... women should feel free and able to do these things without being worried that they'll be shot, beaten, strangled or stabbed by a man who values his ego and feelings more than a woman's life. And it's fucking terrifying that mounting evidence makes that impossible.

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Man, What a Great State for Rich People!

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 6:40 AM

We have a great example of a trickle-up economy in this state, where poor people just get squeezed harder and harder so that rich people can get a little richer. Take, for example, Tom Wilemon's Tennessean story about how we're paying more and more rich people at the Department of Corrections more and more money while regular folks get dicked over.

The new positions include a chief of staff making $125,352 a year and two additional deputy commissioners making $129,900 a year. Those deputy commissioners each earn $26,460 more annually than the salary of the one deputy commissioner on the payroll in 2010. Schofield, who became commissioner in 2011, has an annual salary of $158,556.

Currently,16 employees within the agency make $96,000 or more a year compared with four earning that or more in 2010.

Those executive salaries dwarf the $27,070 starting wage for correctional officers — the employees responsible for prison safety who are bearing the brunt of a budget cut. When the agency switched correctional officers from a traditional 40-hour work week to a 28-day schedule, overtime was cut as part of an effort to save $1.4 million.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Francis Guess Dies at 69

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 10:52 AM

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Civil rights leader and businessman Francis Guess has died at his home Thursday night. He was 69. 

From the Post:

Known largely as a civil rights advocate and humanitarian, Guess served on the National Civil Rights Commission and as the first African-American commissioner for the Tennessee departments of Labor and General Services under then-Gov. Lamar Alexander.

Guess, a Nashville native, worked in military intelligence with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict. He would later earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management. Eventually, he completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University.

In the public sector, Guess, a Republican, served 30 years as a member of the Tennessee Commission on Human Rights. Nationally, he was appointed as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by then-President Ronald Reagan.

In a statement to The Tennessean, Mayor Karl Dean notes that Guess helped "to get Tennessee to become one of the first states to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday." He is survived by his daughter, Maria Guess; his mother, Kathryn Driver; three brothers and three sisters; and multiple nieces and nephews.

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Looney Turns Down MNPS, Will Remain in Williamson County

Posted By and on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 8:32 AM

Mike Looney has turned down Metro's offer to be the next director of schools and will instead return as superintendent of Williamson County Schools.

Looney announced his decision in a statement posted on the WCS website Friday morning:

My family and I are humbled by the support and prayers we have received over the past few weeks.

The support from the Williamson County community, including parents, former parents, students, Williamson Inc. and the business community, and Williamson County Schools employees has been overwhelming. I also appreciate the support of the Williamson County School Board members who have worked with County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Williamson County Commissioners.

I want to thank the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Board of Education for allowing me to get to know them and for allowing me to explore the opportunity of working for boys and girls in Nashville. I was impressed with the warm reception I received. It is evident the Board’s focus is on student success, and I am encouraged about the future of MNPS.

After careful consideration, I have made the decision to remain in Williamson County Schools in order to continue our journey to becoming a district recognized nationally in the academics, athletics, and the arts.
The rarely-unified Metro school board voted 8 to 1 Thursday night to officially offer Looney the job, knowing that many in his home county were still fighting to keep him. Looney emerged as the board's preferred candidate after a long and frequently messy search for Dr. Jesse Register's successor. His decision to leave Metro at the altar raises many questions. Among them: Who gets to be Nashville's very public Plan B? 

More as this story develops. 

Updated (9:28 a.m.): Several board members want to hit the reset button and start over, both with a new search and a new search firm.

“I’m disappointed that Metro Schools will not have the opportunity to work with Dr. Looney however I understand his decision to stay in Williamson County,” said Jill Speering. “The search process served to unite the board in a common effort to define what’s best for this district.”

Others were less understanding, like Anna Shepherd who said she asked Looney point-blank during a site visit whether he was using Metro’s interest as a bargaining tool in his home district.

Shepherd said he responded that he wasn’t, and at the time was convinced he was being truthful. She said she was none-the-less let down by his decision Friday morning.

She, Speering, Mary Pierce, and Will Pinkston told Pith early Friday they want to start the search over. Pith has yet to hear back from Chairwoman Sharon Gentry, Vice Chair Elissa Kim, Amy Frogge and Jo Ann Brannon.

Tyese Hunter, who was skeptical of Looney early on, said she’d like to hire Angela Huff, a favored candidate they passed over for Looney.

“Everyone sang Huff’s praises last week. I definitely think we should go with Huff,” she said.

Looney is hosting a press conference at 10 a.m. in WCS and Metro Schools is expected to host its own later this afternoon.

“I hope he really likes it in Williamson County,” said Pinkston. “He’s probably going to be there for a good long while.”

When asked Thursday night about the prospect of Looney passing on MNPS, Gentry said: "We would have to start the process over.”

Update (9:45 a.m.): MNPS has released this statement from board chair Sharon Gentry:

“I am surprised and greatly disappointed in Dr. Looney’s decision to decline our offer. Throughout the negotiation process he appeared committed to this opportunity. We would not have carried through with the contract and final vote if he had not been. Not only did the Board commit a tremendous amount of time and energy into finding who we thought would be a great fit for our school system, but the entire community participated in this process which we now have to begin again.

“The Board will need to regroup on how we move forward from here. The district is in capable hands with Chris Henson as interim director, so I do not feel a sense of urgency to make any immediate decisions. Our upcoming Board retreat in the fall will be an opportunity for us to discuss this and come together on the best course of action to ensure we get a top-quality leader that our students and teachers deserve.”

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ballpoint Pen in Looney’s Court

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 7:15 PM

Tyese Hunter was the lone no-vote in the Metro Schools board decision to make Williamson County's Mike Looney the next director of schools Thursday night.

The reason: He’s not Angela Huff.

“I still believe that Angela Huff was a better candidate,” said Hunter after the board meeting about a previous favored candidate who drew support from the community. “I don’t see a tremendous amount of diversity from the candidate as well as his background, and that being where he’s serving now, currently.” 

Hunter — on the losing side of an 8-1 vote symbolizing a coming together of the school board — said she will still support Looney when she feels he is right on issues, but said she’d be remiss if she didn’t vote her conscience.

“Williamson County is just so different from MNPS and we can all agree with that,” she said. 

School board members were otherwise pleased with their decision to hire Looney, who has spent the last six years in a wealthy white county but also ran several Alabama school districts that closer resemble Metro Schools. They expect he will sign the dotted line Friday morning.

Here’s the play-by-play of tonight’s board meeting, after the jump.

Continue reading »

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Boom Town Chats: What Does the City of Nashville Need?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 5:36 PM

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Here we are in the thick of Nashville's It City Days, our boom-town status bringing all sorts of things to town — restaurants and television shows, celebrities and condominiums. That recently got Scene editor-in-chief Jim Ridley and myself thinking about not only all the changes that have taken place in recent years, but also the changes that haven't gone down. After all, for every successfully built amphitheater, for instance, there is an Amp that stalled.

Over in our archives — affectionately referred to as The Morgue — Ridley dug up a 1990 issue of the Scene. The cover story? "A Master Plan: The 30 Things Nashville Needs and the People to Do Them." In the issue, Scene staff explored "a new generation of ideas (do we sound like John Kennedy?), new projects, new life," from projects that would improve the city to glaringly absent patches in our food scene. Many of the 30 items listed have since come to pass ("A Record Label That Does More Than Country," for instance, "Curbside Recycling" and "A High School for the Performing Arts"), while we're still waiting on others ("An Experimental Bus-Rail Line" and, um, "Hydrofoils on the Cumberland River").

So here's what we, the Scene staff of 2015, want to know: What does Nashville need now? What upgrades could Music City use infrastructurally, culturally and otherwise? Got an idea to better Nashville's dining options? Transit? Parks? Let us know in the comments.

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The Daily Links: Superhero News, Surfing Writing, and the Outlaw Sea

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 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 GrantlandMeet the King of Superhero Movie News

From The New York Times MagazineWriting Waves

From The New York Times MagazineWhen the Internet’s ‘Moderators’ Are Anything But

From The New YorkerKacey Musgraves, Harper Lee, and the Home-Town Dilemma

From AeonAre professional ethicists good people? According to our research, not especially. So what is the point of learning ethics?

From Smithsonian MagazineOver a Quarter-Million Vietnam War Veterans Still Have PTSD

From The New York Times: Murder At Sea: Captured On Video, But Killers Go Free

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

click to enlarge PHOTO: AMIEE STUBBS

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#MayoralChatter Roundup: Endorsements for Barry and Rebrovick, Another Ad for Freeman

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 9:36 AM

We round up the Super PAColypse in the Pith column of this week's print issue (and we'll have more on it later) but for now, a round up of some other mayoral campaign items from yesterday.

• Women In Numbers announced their endorsements Monday, for the mayoral and Metro Council elections. You can read them all here. For mayor, WIN — which describes themselves as "a nonpartisan organization established to engage, encourage and endorse qualified women to be elected to public office" — endorsed Linda Eskind Rebrovick.

That would be less notable if there were only one woman in the race, but there are two, meaning WIN picked Rebrovick over Megan Barry, whose appeals to woman have been much more overt (and whose endorsements include the Women for Tennessee's Future PAC).

The organization doesn't explain their endorsement, either on their site or in a statement sent out by the Rebrovick campaign. Here's what Rebrovick — that's Reb-ruh-vick — had to say though:

“It’s an honor to have WIN’s endorsement and support, and it’s a huge boost to my campaign at a critical time in the race. I want voters to elect me based on my skills and background, but I hope women specifically factor this endorsement in when considering who to vote for.”

Continue reading »

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