Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Power to the Poor

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2008 at 2:39 PM

In this week's cover story, "Outlawing the Poor," Jeff Woods examines the plight of Nashville's homeless, who—at the behest of downtown residents and businesses—have become the target of a law enforcement crackdown for panhandling and “quality of life” violations. From 7 p.m. tonight till 9 a.m. tomorrow, Nashville's homeless population will have a national platform to voice their frustrations as the 11th Annual Homeless Marathon takes to the airwaves on over 100 radio stations across the country, including Radio Free Nashville, 98.9 FM. (If you can't get the signal, you can stream it online here.) The Marathon broadcasts from a different city each year, and according to director Jeremy Weir Alderson, “We're hoping our broadcast can reach across class and color lines to help tip the balance towards treating homeless people like citizens instead of criminals, not just in Nashville but across America.”

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Nashville Businesses Go to "Cool School"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2008 at 10:10 AM

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a “Cool School” next month so that area businesses can learn how to attract the most happening employees to our fair city. The two-hour seminar promises to teach companies how to showcase Nashville’s “coolness factors” like public parks and museums to attract young professionals—whom it refers to as YP’s—to the city. If anybody knows cool, it’s the chamber of commerce! So Nashville should be flooded with Yuppies—er, “YP’s”—in no time. Get down!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

GOP Grandstanding Against the Bunker

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2008 at 3:37 PM

Republican lawmakers went before the TV cameras this afternoon on Curtiswood Lane to grandstand against Bredesen's Bunker. They asked the governor to stop digging a giant hole in the front yard of the Executive Residence to build an underground banquet hall. “We, the taxpayers, have no legal recourse,” House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower said. “But we are calling on the governor to end this project and redirect these funds to a more worthwhile cause.” Rep. Debra Maggart: “This state just experienced devastating tornadoes that have ravaged many of our counties. I do not understand why this seems to be a priority over matters that are more pressing.” Sen. Jack Johnson: “Let’s be honest, the majority of Tennesseans will never step foot in Conservation Hall, and there are other worthwhile projects that will benefit all Tennesseans.” Rep. Susan Lynn: "I am hearing dissatisfaction from my constituents and they want to know why building this project seems to be a priority." Rep. Joey Hensley: “In my district, the schools have a total of 31 portables. It’s shameful that we are educating our children in portables but somehow find the money to fund this wasteful project.” House GOP Caucus Chair Glen Casada: “As a steward of the taxpayer’s money, I am calling on the Governor to stop this project. This is not personal, this is business—and bad business at that.” I wonder how many of these legislators will refuse to attend Republican fund-raisers that could eventually be held at Conservation Hall? UPDATE: Democrats point out that zillionaire car dealer Lee Beaman, a sworn enemy of the bunker, has given money to Republicans. Democratic Party flack Wade Munday: "At this point, Jason Mumpower, Beth Harwell, and the Tennessee Republican Party are nothing more than wholly owned subsidiaries of Lee Beaman." Via VV.

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Bye-Bye Bunny Ears

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2008 at 10:28 AM

I have a hate/love relationship with "the latest rankings of major U.S cities." They're generally reductive, rarely cite their methodology and are, frankly, kind of dumb. On the other hand, I always read them. The latest to cross the Pith path should have you cowering in fear, or at least thinking about either braving the Comcastic planet, signing on with a service that's available in more places, like New Sanfrakota, or taking a trip to Radio Shack: Nashville ranks 42nd in study of digital TV preparedness. Don't say you weren't warned.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

With Friends Like These...

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Last week's cover story detailed the Southern Baptist Convention's dismissive—and often uncaring—response to clergy sexual abuse. We have an interesting little twist to report, but first some background: Our feature included tales of several fallen pastors, including that of the Rev. Darrell Gilyard, who was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious conduct in January after a Florida woman told police that the pastor sent explicit text messages to her teenage daughter. Paige Patterson, a former SBC president and current president of a Baptist seminary in Texas, has come under fire for his involvement with Gilyard, who Patterson mentored and promoted through the denomination's ranks. In the early '90s, several Texas women told The Dallas Morning News that Gilyard had abused them. But when they came to Patterson for help, the women said Patterson questioned the validity of their allegations and asked them to keep quiet. Even when Gilyard told Patterson that he had committed adultery, Patterson still didn't do much to warn Gilyard's future congregations of his young protégé's admitted indiscretions. That code of silence isn't all that uncommon among SBC leaders. The Scene also recounted the story of Paul Williams, a former minister of prayer at Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis. In 2006 Williams told Bellevue senior pastor Steve Gaines that he molested his own son. Despite that confession, Gaines allowed Williams to remain on staff for months, keeping the transgression confidential until Williams' son came forward and asked why his father was able to continue working at the church. Even though Gaines admitted to keeping the abuse secret, he's still pastoring at Bellevue today. It seems that Gaines, much like Patterson, took a licking and kept on ticking. Now, amid the allegations of impropriety and a general lack of pastoral care that have scarred both of their careers, Gaines and Patterson have found some common ground: They're lining up speaking gigs for each other. Patterson trekked from Texas to Memphis to take the pulpit at yesterday's Sunday worship service at Bellevue (see Patterson's smiling face pictured in Bellevue's church program above). And word in the Baptist blogosphere is that Patterson will return the favor by having Gaines speak at his Texas seminary in April.

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A Spectacular Doofus: A Brief Look at Mark Silverman's Long Career

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2008 at 9:39 AM

This week I wrote about the Sonny Corleone of local journalism, none other than Tennessean editor Mark Silverman who recently hurled a newspaper at features editor Cindy Smith, though as far as we know he didn't pummel his brother-in law. Since the newspaper toss heard 'round the world, Silverman's staffers have blamed their boss's explosive management style for pushing good reporters out the door and intimidating those who remain into meekly following orders. That's not how you lead, which is why Sonny would have made for a horrible don. And as it turns out, this is hardly the first time Silverman has struck his staff as something of a mobbed-up tough guy. A 1997 Columbia Journalism Review story touched on that famous temper of during his brief tenure as the editor of The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Here are some highlights from the CJR piece that we didn't have room to include in the paper: • Staffers characterized Silverman's time there as a “reign of terror.” • Disobeying the first rule of damage control, Silverman defended himself by repeating the accusations against him and telling CJR, "I was not a hit man.” • When Ben Ivory replaced Mark Silverman, he could sense the culture of dread Silverman left behind. “Never," he said at a brown-bag staff lunch, had he “seen so many tight asses.” • Silverman also garnered his share of catcalls while he served as the editor and publisher of The Detroit News. Here is a sampling of comments about him from the Metro Times, a smart and engaging Detroit alt-weekly: • During a pointed interview with a Metro Times reporter, Silverman warned against “getting into a contentious interview with a guy like him.” • Upon his departure from Motown, Silverman was tabbed one of “the most spectacular doofuses in the history of Detroit journalism.” • Later, the Metro Times editors also lamented that they “don't have News publisher Mark Silverman to kick around anymore.”

Friday, February 15, 2008

Clever Title

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2008 at 4:29 PM

The title of this week's Rage cover story might ring a bell:
That's because it was the title of the Scene's Sept. 22, 2005 cover story:

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Can Holleman Have it Both Ways?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2008 at 3:38 PM

Nashvillians know Jason Holleman as a Metro Council member who represents the 24th District, which includes the Sylvan Park neighborhood. He’s also an accomplished attorney who specializes in local government issues and has, in his words, represented “neighborhood groups and small communities.” In Mt. Juliet they know him by another title: city attorney. While no one on this side of the Davidson County line seems to care that Holleman serves two masters, some folks in Wilson County see conflict on the horizon. From Radio Free Mt. Juliet:
If there’s a fight over commuter rail funding, whose side will the City Attorney/Nashville City Councilman be on? If there’s a fight over the rates Nashville charges Mt. Juliet for sewer treatment, whose side will the City Attorney/Nashville City Councilman be on? If the City Commission and City Manager need legal advice in negotiating a legal contract with the City of Nashville, whose side will the City Attorney/Nashville City Councilman be on? If Nashville and Mt. Juliet get into a fight over where the Central Pike interchange will be located, whose side will the City Attorney/Nashville City Councilman be on?
Wilson County insiders that I’ve spoken with have very nice things to say about Holleman, but are genuinely concerned about the above issues. Are these concerns well founded or is his role in Metro government limited enough to render them moot?

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Weekend of the Living Dead

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 1:34 PM

I think the proper term to describe this tidbit is "freakin' awesome." OK, first of all, filmmaker George A. Romero is the scheduled guest of honor at next month's seventh annual Nashville Full Moon Tattoo and Horror Festival, to be held Mar. 21-23 at the Nashville Airport Marriott. Hello? George Night of the Living Dead Romero? George Dawn of the Dead Romero? George Day/Land/Diary of the Dead Romero? Dude deserves a parade just for The Crazies alone. Wait, it gets better. Adrienne Barbeau, beloved of a generation of horny ’80s cable addicts for her work in John Carpenter's The Fog and Escape from New York (and don't forget Swamp Thing!), is scheduled to be on hand, as is Dee Wallace Stone from Joe Dante's The Howling and an obscure indie feature called E.T. Pioneering gore-effects whiz Tom Savini, Michael "The Hills Have Eyes" Berryman, Tony "Candyman" Todd and Halloween III: Season of the Witch director Tommy Lee Wallace are also listed in the line-up. What more could there possibly be? The answer's on the flyer in all caps: "LIVE FREAK & BURLESQUE SHOWS DAILY." In other words, it'll be just like the Republican or Democratic National Convention—only with, y'know, Adrienne Barbeau.

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Inside This Week's Scene

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 12:59 PM

This week, staff writer Elizabeth Ulrich exposes the hypocrisy of the Southern Baptist Convention, which continues to bury its head in the sand about clergy sex abuse. Matt Pulle finds himself on the wrong side of Tennessean editor Mark Silverman, who responds to the charge that he's a temperamental tyrant by being a temperamental tyrant. Sarah Kelley details the latest crackpot decision at the Capitol, which led to the demise of a crucial death penalty study committee. And the latest in a series of staggeringly depressing stories about the plight of one of the state's most vulnerable populations chronicles alleged rapes inside a state-licensed youth treatment facility. Finally, our latest Confederacy of Dunces column takes aim at the likes of Karl Dean, Bill Hobbs and a poor bastard with a bad muffler and a pocketful of pot.

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