“I guess some in Washington think the Tennessee election is over, how typical. Not a soul in our state has voted and they are already calling it? I guess we should just go ahead and crown Bill Haslam. Why bother asking Tennesseans if they want a Big Oil executive running the show or a big city mayor who talks about being conservative while strapping Knoxville residents with higher taxes. Do Tennesseans really want a governor who won't help small businesses but is fine taking government money to help his own multibillion-dollar company?
"Washington may have voted for Bill Haslam, but Tennessee voters have not. We just humbly differ with Mr. Cillizza and say let the Republicans have their primary, their voters would like to have a say. And by the way, the rest of us, we’d like to go through an election on our own without a lot of help from the Washington Post.”
May 14 was a lucky day for convicted murderer Finis Lewis — released from the Metro Jail due to a clerical error — but a scary day for the rest of the city. ... A trial date has been set for Juana Villegas, the illegal immigrant who gave birth shackled to her bed while in custody of the Davidson County's Sheriff's Office. ... A motel clerk is pistol-whipped in Berry Hill.
In flood news: Franklin, Tenn., ups the estimate of the number of flood-damaged homes the city may buy through a federal emergency grant program. ... Kings of Leon's Nathan Followill chimes in on the flood, and suggests the band will discuss the situation at Bonnaroo. ... There are a zillion Dairy Queens, but only one Dairy King, and sadly, its post-flood future — as well as the future of its renowned deep-fried chocolate pies — is in jeopardy. ... At least someone is benefiting from the disaster.
A Nashville woman who owns beachfront property in the Florida Panhandle sues BP and other companies involved in the oil rig castastrophe. ... Smyrna Nissan plant gets a shout-out from the prez. ... We can't promise the hoopla of the 2008 presidential debate, but the gubers will be facing off at Belmont on July 12 and Oct. 11.
And finally, Gail Kerr compares state lawmakers to CMA Music Festival fans, and you'll never guess who comes out on top.
And in Tennessee, Mike McWherter, son of former governor Ned Ray McWherter, is the likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee but doesn't have much chance of claiming the state's top office in the fall.
Wow! So Chris Cillizza has written off McWherter. Why are we even bothering to hold the election? Let's do the Republican primary and call it a day. It's true that, given the political environment, you'd have to consider McWherter an underdog at this point. But he's still got a decent shot at winning, doesn't he? And what if crazy Zach Wamp or Ron Ramsey is the Republican nominee? Suddenly, McWherter will look like a world-beater. We don't think Cillizza knows what he's talking about.
Too bad the police don't see it that way. They arrested this daring crimefighter and charged him with unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangerment disorderly conduct and unlawful discharge of a firearm. His handgun and concealed weapons permit were seized.
"It is important to remember that no matter how frustrated one may be with crime and the criminal justice system, it is not permissible to use deadly force in this type of situation," Gresham Sgt. Rick Wilson said in announcing Witter's arrest. "Those two rounds could've gone anywhere. In fact, we're still not sure where they went. They could've struck an innocent bystander or damaged property."
Witter says he was shooting for the car's tires. He missed, and police say he was firing straight at a public transportation hub. OK, that doesn't sound so safe. But does that mean we should surrender to the criminals?
Tell me this tweet doesn't pique your curiosity:
1 elected state lawmaker, 1 lobbyist, 1 DC staffer, moderated by Bruce Barry. Panelists' identification withheld for now.
Yes, tonight at The Belcourt, Metro Council Member-at-Large Megan Barry and Pith contributor Bruce Barry are hosting a special screening of Alex Gibney's documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money. Gibney has taken up the Michael Moore/Robert Greenwald mantle of documentary muckraking in films such as Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side. This one's an account of the sleazy acquaintances and sleazier practices that landed uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the pokey.
Want to find out who's on the panel — and to see what's so juicy about it that the participants' names had to be withheld? Show up for the 7 p.m. show. The panel discussion's afterward. And anyone who goes, please report back.
This all came up at this weekend's tea party debate. (We just finished watching the video.) When the moderator asked about gun rights, that's when Wamp stuck out his chin and started talking like Clint Eastwood:
"I sleep with a gun next to my head and I'm not going to tell you what it is or frankly who it's titled to. To me it's like a right that we have and I'm a no exceptions, no excuses kind of guy. I think governors, as this separation takes place in our country between good places and bad places and as long as this nanny state federal government is going in that direction, this is one of those things we may have to meet them at the state line about. And I"m just telling you Tennesseans because there are some tough times coming. Don't elect some sissy wannabe as your governor. It's time for tough people standing up to protect what we have left in this country. We're going to need those kind of tough people. This is one of those issues we're going to have to buck up on."
Then he handed the microphone to—guess who?—Haslam, who mumbled something about how he agrees there's a right to bear arms. He also said he would have signed the guns-in-bars bill if he had been governor, but he didn't sound all that enthusiastic about it. Then, looking relieved, he handed the microphone to the next guy. But the tea partiers weren't letting him off the hook.
Betsy touched on something recently that's been gnawing at me, but I haven't had the time or motivation to address it until now. It involves something that has been a longstanding pet peeve of mine — though one that I've slowly had to come to terms with as being slightly misplaced.
This pet peeve has to do with the phenomenon of what I like to refer (referred?) to as "faux-charity" — the sort of good deeds that allow us to contribute to the less fortunate in some form or fashion, but without significantly sacrificing the posh middle/upper-class lifestyle to which we (if you'll allow me some crude approximation of PITW's readership demographics) have become accustomed. Or, in more egregious cases, by actually flaunting it. Steeplechase is a good example of this. Yes, we put on our finest hats and seersucker and spend a ton of money to go get raucously drunk, watch horses race around a track and get a brutal sunburn. It's rough, yes — but you see, it's for the children!
This sort of faux-charity runs the gamut from your average small-time bake sale on up to various black-tie soirees. They're nice and all, but It was never clear to me why, if you wanted to raise funds for something, you couldn't just ... give money. Or volunteer. Eat Out for Nashville was something that perplexed me a bit, because I found it a lot easier to just eat at home that night and just donate some money to CFMT.
But it's easy to sit on my high-horse and feel self-righteous about my moral purity. What's harder is to take a closer look at the efficacy of these tactics, and doing so has forced me to acknowledge that it does nonetheless have a net positive benefit for a few reasons:
Not long after Zach Wamp said he feels freedom slipping through his fingers and Ron Ramsey said "we're kind of an island of sanity in a nation that has gone absolutely crazy," things took a squirrelly turn at last weekend's tea party-sponsored debate. The Tennessee tea party coalition's Vince DiCello angrily grabbed the microphone and came unhinged.
"There are people here that are with campaigns that are stealing other campaign signs. They are doing it right in public. We have photos. That is a felony. The individual is wearing a Zach Wamp sticker. I am very upset. That individual better put those signs back today within 30 minutes or I'm going to call the police. We have the photo. ... Whatever campaign is supporting that, you had darn well better stop it, OK? This ticks me off to no end. This is what the Democrats do. This is what the far left does. This ticks me off, OK? ... Am I making myself clear?"
Wamp was outraged:
"I know from 16 years of very decent and upright public service, I don't tolerate anybody breaking any rules. If anyone that has anything to do with me did that, they're gone. That's just the way it is. ... We don't tolerate that kind of trash, period."
Alrighty then. Once that was cleared up, the candidates went back to their usual ranting and raving. Our favorite is that mean little apple-cheeked dude on the end named Samuel Duck. "I'm going to tell you point blank our opponents is the ACLU. Our opponents is the spread of Islam," he said in answer to a question about his campaign fund-raising. Another Duck insight: "Europe, China and New York thinks they're smarter, but what can they actually do with their education?"
If enough voters saw this video, the Democratic Party would make a miraculous recovery in Tennessee.
"The White House seems to feel that bipartisan is defined by when we agree with the president. Either the White House doesn't know how or doesn't want to do anything bipartisan."
People familiar with the meeting said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who negotiated with Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd on a financial reform bill, told Obama the White House's role during Senate consideration of that bill was far from bipartisan.
Sources said Corker referred to the White House as "duplicitous," saying officials pressured Dodd to stoke populist anger at Wall Street and dare Republicans to vote against a Democratic bill.
A person briefed on the exchange said Obama's response was essentially, "'Are you kidding me? I'm really bipartisan.'"
"There was a degree of audacity in him even showing up today," Corker said afterward.
Does anyone detect a little hypocrisy here? This is rich. Corker and the rest of the senators from the obstructionist Party of No are upset because the president actually tried to make his case for financial reform and succeeded in putting some much-needed public pressure on Republicans? Wah! That's called democracy. Corker's hissy fit shows why he's known among political insiders as the Chattanooga Boo Hoo.
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