Monday, February 22, 2010

Grandstanding Alert! House Debating Hedy Weinberg Resolution Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 11:50 AM

click to enlarge Removing references to gay people and the outcasts of society made Weinberg's resolution acceptable to some Republicans.
  • Removing references to gay people and the outcasts of society made Weinberg's resolution acceptable to some Republicans.
The great debate of the legislative session heads to the House tonight. Will lawmakers thoughtfully deliberate how best to help families in need in the great recession? Of course not. No, Republicans and Democrats will duke it out over whether to honor the ACLU's Hedy Weinberg with a proclamation. In the Senate, the resolution passed 26-0 with four Republicans abstaining. But that came only after the sponsor, Sen. Joe Haynes, agreed to delete phrases offensive to some senators in the original resolution and substitute it for this one. As Tom Humphrey reports, they couldn't abide references to the ACLU's "gay and straight" membership or Weinberg's defense of the "outcasts of society" or her campaign against racial profiling. Even after Haynes tossed all that, some Republicans weren't sure what to do. The electronic vote board sparkled like a pinball machine, with five senators--including Ron Ramsey--pushing different buttons as they wrung their hands over the political consequences of honoring Weinberg for a quarter-century of public service. In the House, Republicans already have bumped the resolution from the consent calendar, where such measures are usually adopted unanimously. It's on tonight's House agenda for a separate up-or-down vote. Fireworks are likely. Update: The House postponed voting on the resolution at the request of the sponsor, Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville. There was no debate.

Peeler Park: A Review

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 7:19 AM

In short: Location: Out at the end of Neely's Bend.
click to enlarge Looking towards the parking lot with the river to your left.
  • Looking towards the parking lot with the river to your left.
Crowds: Light. Approximate Age of Patrons: Wide variety Topics of Conversation: "Can you believe this weather?" Stray Dogs Seen: One Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: Cars and SUVs Perceived Safety: High Number of Gunshots Heard: None Dog Friendliness: Middling Number of pitbulls sighted: Mine Accessibility: Very high if you are on wheels. Not great if you need to be able to stop and sit frequently. Incorporation of Local History: Strong Recommended Patrons: Bicyclists, horseback riders, remote-control plane enthusiasts

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New 'Friends of Coal' License Plate: A Hand Up or a Handout?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 6:53 AM

click to enlarge Here's a great image for the new "Friends of Coal" license plate.
  • Here's a great image for the new "Friends of Coal" license plate.
Lawmakers want to make new special license plates for hummingbird awareness, solar power, teachers, drunken drivers, the sandhill crane, firefighters and paramedics, a cave salamander, Johnson City's Children's Hospital, the Appalachian Trail, the Cherohala Skyway, the Church of God in Christ, Habitat for Humanity, Fisk University, and Lion's Clubs, just to name a few of the ideas. But of all the proposals--and there are roughly 150 of them by Pith's count--our favorite is the one by Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, and Sen. Mike Faulk, R-Kingsport, for a "Friends of Coal" plate. Under their plan, the proceeds would go "to Tennessee surface mine reclamation fund to be used for reclamation and revegetation of property affected by mining and exploration operations." That's right, now you too can help pay to clean up the environmental damage inflicted by King Coal. Is that a hand up or a hand out? Who cares? It's good for business.

Morning Roundup: Wamp Falls to His Knees in Governor's Race

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 6:16 AM

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"Knees down, chin up!" That's Zach Wamp's new motto. He says prayer, presumably in favor of his candidacy, will serve as an "equalizer" in the governor's race. ... Candidates focus on spending cuts, just say no to taxes. ... Bill Haslam says economic stimulus "papering over real problems" in Tennessee. ... The Chattanooga Times slams Ramsey and Wamp for pandering to the Brentwood biz pigs:
Political candidates may spout off against environmental regulation to grab knee-jerk applause from unthinking audiences, but they do us all a disservice. And they do not demonstrate good credentials to lead state government.
Governors say the worst is yet to come. ... John Ford transferred to prison in Memphis. ... Childhood obesity declines slightly. ... Study says state unemployment will stay above 10 percent all year. ... Students protest higher education cuts. ... Starting today, it's legal to carry a loaded handgun in the Smokies. ... Rep. Matthew Hill says his "state sovereignty" bills are misunderstood. ... More than 50,000 Tennesseans got a handgun permit last year. ... A.C. KIeinheider thinks Ramsey's the most likely tea party candidate. ... Rep. Ben West says he won't endorse anyone running to replace him:
"... I expect a vigorous campaign, by a lot of people, and I'm gonna sit on the sideline, with my popcorn, and watch 'em."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rock Star: Harold Ford Jr. Edition -- Or, I Spent $19,000, and All I Got Was This Lousy Former Congressman

Posted By on Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 6:37 AM

click to enlarge harold_ford2_opt.jpg
Uh-oh. Guess whose tour rider got leaked to The Smoking Gun.
Like Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, Harold Ford, Jr. has a tour rider. The former Tennessee congressman, who is now trying to carpetbag his way to a Senate seat in New York, banks about $20,000 when he gives speeches booked by the Greater Talent Network agency. According to the below contract for an appearance Wednesday at a Missouri college, Ford demands that when his limo driver picks him up, the chauffeur must be carrying a sign reading "H.F.." Presumably, if the Democrat's name was spelled out, hordes of fans/groupies would be alerted to his impending arrival and swarm him (something that has bedeviled the Jonas Brothers).
But seriously, don't even think about offering him shellfish. h/t: Patrick Rodgers, superstar.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Andrew Sullivan on Mosque Attack: 'This Little Incident Moved Me Deeply'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Andrew Sullivan picks up both the City Paper and Pith reports on the aftermath of the Al-Farooq mosque vandalism. How come the loons don't pester him? (h/t: Steve H.)

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Metro Water's Return to Paper Billing Does Not Sound the Death Knell for the Mayor's Green Initiative

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Both by phone and email, Metro Water customers who had been receiving their bills electronically were informed that, starting this month, we'd once again be getting paper bills. I set out to discover (1) why I can't just open up my online banking and be informed of how much I owe Metro Water like a civilized person; and (2) how, exactly, the Mayor's office squares a return to paper billing with Nashville's Green Initiative. Sadly, for a blogger whose bread and butter is snarky trouble-making, it turns out there is a reasonable explanation.

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Blog Summit Recap: Sean Braisted, Yvonne Smith and Adam Gold at Vanderbilt

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 9:44 AM

The writing studio at Vanderbilt University had local blogger
click to enlarge An artist's rendering of the three bloggers.
  • An artist's rendering of the three bloggers.
s Sean Braisted, Yvonne Smith, and our own Adam Gold as the guests at Thursday night's installment of "On Writing." It was really nice. The bloggers were well-chosen. In just three people, the audience got a good sense of the breadth of experiences contained in the term "blogger." You had a political guy who blogs for fun, a vegan activist who blogs in order to raise the profile of her cause, and a music writer who gets paid, in part, to blog about music. And the questions were thoughtful and elicited many interesting responses.

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Announcing Tea Party Television!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 8:12 AM

click to enlarge oie_teapartytv.jpg
Pith is excited to help announce Tea Party TV! It's advertised as a weekly series delving into all facets of this mighty grassroots movement. Our hosts include Glenn Reynolds, wacky Instapundit blogger and professor of law at that hotbed of liberal academe, the University of Tennessee.

Morning Roundup: Ben West Surrendering State House Seat

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge oie_news01.jpg
Rep. Ben West won't run for reelection. ... Bredesen administration rejects Republican claims that overzealous environmental regulators are inhibiting economic growth. ... Under this Senate-passed bill, you can keep your bullets near your guns in your pickup truck. ... University of Tennessee workers rally to protest bloated administrative salaries. ... Elections administrator claims she's the victim of a political witch hunt. ... Eleven candidates running for juvenile court clerk. ... Democrats outnumber Republicans signing a resolution honoring Zach Wamp. ... Congressional Democrats and Republicans say they want to overhaul the No Child Left Behind law. Alexander calls for focusing on a few fixes that can attract consensus.

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