Sleeping with the enemy
If it had been a missed connection on Craigslist between 42-year-old Juvenile Court detention clerk Tammy Graves and the 17-year-old she's accused of sleeping with, it would have read something like this:"You were the locked-up delinquent reeking of danger—cocksure and brimming with all the potential of a budding career criminal. I was the 42-year-old with short brown hair, unremarkable features—like a minivan-driving, middle-class soccer mom you'd glance at and completely forget the next moment. I felt electricity between us as you were processed..." Unfortunately for the woman from Mt. Juliet, they connected, so to speak, leaving the 17-year-old with a story he'll brag about to his buddies. Police say Graves took the kid to a home on Meridian Street after his release last month and that they drank vodka and had weird kid/middle-aged woman sex. Juvenile Court employees noticed her odd behavior around the kid, and police investigated the statutory rendezvous, resulting in her arrest last week. She's been charged on suspicion of aggravated statutory rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. —Brantley Hargrove
Tony Shipley's new civil war
On the OpenPen blog, an unidentified lobbyist for children's issues reported on an alien encounter in Nashville.
Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport reportedly told this lobbyist (1) that God will lift up entire states, apparently starting with California, then plop them into the ocean and drown everyone for letting gays adopt babies, and (2) God-fearing Christians might secede from the union and start shooting minié balls at people if gays keep trying to adopt babies.
From the blog:
My last visit in Nashville was to the newly elected representative from Kingsport, Tony Shipley. When the subject of this bill came up, here is what he said (I am quoting directly as best as I possibly can):
"They can do whatever they want out in California, with gays passing babies around, and violating God's law, but when God drops California off into the sea, they will have to deal with the consequences of their actions."
"That [gays adopting] ain't gonna fly—I'm sorry, I'm a Southern Baptist, I'm a Christian."
And the most alarming, in my opinion:
"If [the 'secular progressives'] keep pushing and pushing and pushing... they're pushing us too far, and something will happen, just like we did in 1860."
We tried to reach Shipley for comment, but he hasn't returned our calls. Pith was able to contact the anonymous lobbyist, who said she can't give her name for fear of losing her job.
"If I take this anymore public than I already just posted on the blog, I could literally be fired," the lobbyist told us. "I was just shocked because Rep. Shipley had never met me before. I thought, 'How do you know I'm not gay? How do you know I don't have a gay kid?' " —Jeff Woods
Obama to the rescue?
Gov. Phil Bredesen won't save our mountains, but maybe President Obama will. Under the headline "Appalachia's Agony," The New York Times urges Obama to intervene to stop coal companies from blowing the tops off more mountains.
At issue is a 2002 rule by the Bush administration that brazenly took mining waste off the list of the Clean Water Act's prohibited pollutants. Environmentalists want the White House to order the Corps of Engineers to suspend mining permits until that rule is reversed.
If it were up to our governor, we could kiss our mountains goodbye. He's afraid the state might have to compensate coal companies if the legislature passes a ban on mountaintop removal mining. "I certainly don't have the money to go buy every seam of coal in the state," he says.
But environmentalists note that we'd have to compensate coal companies only under rare circumstances, namely when the coal isn't accessible by any other means than blowing up the mountain. But even if the state had to buy every coal seam in Tennessee, wouldn't that be worth it to save the main attractions for a gazillion-dollar tourism industry? —Jeff Woods
For daily adventures of Pith in the Wind, go to nashvillescene.com.
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