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Leave it to House assclown Brian Kelsey to nearly blow up an ironclad, bipartisan deal to pass Republican legislation expanding charter schools in Tennessee. Democrats dropped their opposition this week in exchange for Republican agreement to fund the governor's pre-kindergarten program the way he preferred. The skids were greased! But then Kelsey tosses out a press release trumpeting charter schools in which he made this clever statement: "Our public school system is the last vestige of slavery."
When Rep. Ulysses Jones, D-Memphis, read that sentence on the House floor today, everybody went ballistic. House Democratic leader Gary Odom (That's right! It's an Odom sighting!) was quivering with rage. According to this colorful account
by the Nashville Post
's Ken Whitehouse, Odom was headed for the well of the House to rant and rave, but the bill's sponsor, Rep. Beth Harwell, grabbed his arm.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't know." Finally, House Democratic caucus chair Mike Turner said, "We've worked too hard on this bill, let's put everything aside and vote this bill out" and the thing passed anyway by a vote of 79-15.
: After almost single-handedly screwing it all up for charter school advocates, Kelsey has the gall to put out a press release thanking himself for passing the bill. "In my opinion, this bill will do more good for low-income children than any other bill we've discussed this year."