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War looming

War looming

On Monday night, President George Bush sounded the war bugle, issuing an ultimatum to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein that he and his family either leave the country or endure a massive military strike. While a new CNN-Gallop poll indicates that support for a war against Iraq is strengthening at a nearly 2-to-1 margin, antiwar protests, including one this past Saturday on Jefferson Street, are flourishing nationwide. Meanwhile, freedom of expression would appear to be among the early wartime casualties. Radio stations across the country are dropping the Dixie Chicks from playlists after singer Natalie Maines said in a London concert that she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” She has since apologized. Of course, corporate country radio has no problem with singers making political statements—e.g., Toby Keith, Charlie Daniels—just so long as they don’t tilt to the left.

Chief Business as Usual

Last week, Mayor Bill Purcell appointed Deborah Faulkner, 51, interim police chief, making her the heavy favorite to replace outgoing Chief Emmett Turner. Faulkner would not only be the first female police chief in Nashville, but her selection would also appease the department rank-and-file, with whom she is very popular. Yet the choice of good-ol’-gal Faulkner would do little to reshape the oft-beleaguered department, which has endured more than its share of questionable shootings, gut-bunching scandals and ludicrous conflicts of interest over the years. Two years ago, she summarily dismissed serious charges against two officers for doing nothing while renegade security guards terrorized local Hispanics. This, even though her department’s own internal affairs division produced a tome of evidence documenting the officers’ misconduct.

The Republicans were right?

Gov. Phil Bredesen’s new budget, which slashes most branches of state government by nearly 10 percent, continues to win raves from Democrats and Republicans, the latter of whom grumble that when they proposed more modest cuts, they were ridiculed. Meanwhile, Bredesen is touring the state to drum up support for his new budget, which would probably pass even it were written in French.

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