Thursday, January 27, 2011

Filling the Hole That Was Melrose Lanes

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 6:31 AM

Gripe and ye shall receive. After Pith's tirade last week about the festering hole that used to be the cherished Melrose Lanes, J.R. Lind shows up in Nashville Post with a sudden rainbow of hope for the Franklin Road eyesore:

The long-dormant Melrose Shopping Center — home of the late, beloved Melrose Lanes — may get a brand new look as the home of nearly 200 apartments.

Parkes Development and Fulcher Investment Properties have submitted plans to the Berry Hill Planning Commission for a three-building development totaling 200,805 square feet, including 10,780 square feet of retail space and nearly 8,000 square feet of restaurant space on the Franklin Pike property.

The best part? They won't touch Melrose Billiards, Lind reports.

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Lisa Howe on Belmont Anti-Bias Policy: 'This Is a Landmark Day'

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 5:44 AM

In the City Paper, Jerome Boettcher has more on yesterday's decision by Belmont University to add the term "sexual orientation" to its nondiscrimination policy — a move that clarifies the school's official stance toward GLBT students and faculty, after nearly two months of controversy. The firestorm began in December, when Belmont women's soccer coach Lisa Howe was ousted after disclosing that she and her female partner were expecting a baby.

Boettcher notes that much remains to be seen — namely, how the school will put the policy into actual practice toward openly gay students and faculty. But at least one person was pleased with Belmont President Robert Fisher's announcement:

“This is a great victory for the values of inclusion, human dignity and respect,” Howe said in a statement issued through her attorney, Abby Rubenfeld. “I am incredibly proud of the Belmont faculty and students for pushing for this policy. I am also grateful to the Belmont board for recognizing that being gay and being Christian are not mutually exclusive. This is a landmark day.”

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Pick of the Day: T.L. Solien Lectures at Watkins

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 5:17 AM

Anniversary Artist Lecture Series Presents T.L. Solien
Where: Watkins College of Art & Design, 2298 MetroCenter Blvd.
When: Thu., Jan. 27, 6:15 p.m.

Most of painter T.L. Solien's work pairs a muted palette with bold collisions of pop-culture artifacts and expressionistic abstraction. A given Solien canvas might copy Jean Dubuffet, steal a title from Monet and include the likeness of Disney’s Goofy before giving way to frantic mark-making as a scene spills over the edge of the canvas. Full of both dark humor and free-floating feelings of alienation, Solien's paintings are capable of conveying the absurd while remaining formally compelling.

The artist's talk at Watkins tonight is the last installment in their 125th Anniversary Artist Lecture Series. If you don't want to wait for another century-and-a-quarter to hear a contemporary master like Solien gab, you better get down there tonight.

For more information, call 383-4848.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Belmont Adds "Sexual Orientation" to Nondiscrimination Policy

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 4:01 PM

The campus paper Belmont Vision is reporting that Belmont University has formally added "sexual orientation" to its nondiscrimination policy — the university's strongest response to date to the controversy over the ouster of Belmont women's soccer coach Lisa Howe last month. From Pierce Greenberg's story on the paper's website:

“Belmont University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or sexual orientation in its administration of education policies, programs or activities; its admission policies; or employment,” the policy reads.

Fisher held a press conference at 4 p.m., to make the announcement.

“Today, our Board of Trustees met and affirmed, officially, who we are and who we will continue to be,” Fisher said. “We are a Christian community that is welcoming, loving, and inclusive of everyone.”

“The Board voted today to amend the university’s written anti-discrimination policy to reflect our long-standing practice of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

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Cooper's Gerrymandering Bill Far Too Sensible To Pass In House

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Rep. Jim Cooper
  • Rep. Jim Cooper
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-5th) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) are proposing a bill aimed at ending the hyper-partisan redistricting process known as gerrymandering, where congressional districts are redrawn by the state legislature in tortuous, Rorschach-like shapes found only in the animal kingdom.

This is done for a number of reasons: To exclude a potential rival, to include a wealthy contributor, or just plain distilling a district to its highest proof, the goal being grain-alcohol strength political purity — even if that purity is utter artifice and the districts are unrepresentative of the actual community. You should care because this has the effect of creating extremely partisan districts that then elect extremely partisan representatives and, well, here we are. The House, particularly its Tennessee reps, is a zoo filled with zealots compelled at every turn to demonstrate their zealotry to the zealots back home, or lose the seat.

Instead of giving the state legislature the reins, a bipartisan commission would be formed, whose members can't have recently worked on a campaign or aspire to political office in the next 10 years, the News Sentinel reports. It's not an outlandish proposal. Iowa and California, for example, have similar processes, allowing more public scrutiny.

Cooper's proposal, if passed, would allow the public to see who is redrawing the lines. Light, as he says, "is the best disinfectant." It could take effect this year if passed. If Shuler's bi-partisan commissions get the green light, they wouldn't take effect until 2020. Of course, this all makes way too much sense to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives, a deliberative body now far more hysterical than usual.

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Stacey Campfield: Soft on Terrorism, Hard on Babies

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Stacey Campfield has introduced SB 0132, which denies birth certificates to babies whose parents aren't here legally.

Too bad for Campfield that President Bush back in 2004 passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. This was a sweeping change to federal law that came about in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and was designed to make it harder for terrorists to hide in our country.

The act, which implements many of the recommendations of the 9/11 committee, has a section 7211, which sets the minimum standards states must adhere to when issuing birth certificates. States (or local governments) must issue birth certificates to "an individual (regardless of where born) who is a citizen or national of the United States at birth," and those birth certificates must meet certain federal requirements.

Since we have the 14th Amendment, kids born here are U.S. citizens and Tennessee is required by federal law to issue them birth certificates. And why do those certificates have to meet certain standards? To make it harder for terrorists to forge their own.

But, hey, if Campfield thinks the feds are too hard on terrorists, that's good for Tennesseans to know, right?

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Hop Up: Bridgestone Arena Set For Next-Level Beer-Dispensing Technology

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 1:10 PM


It's a good year to be a Predators fan. The team has made nice with the Sports Authority, Dan Hamhuis is making untimely turnovers somewhere else. And despite a rash of injuries and a run of streakiness, the team is, heading into tonight's game with conference-toppers Vancouver, just four points behind the dreaded Red Wings for the Central Division lead.

The injury-riddled Preds get a few days off for the All-Star Game (except for defenseman Shea Weber, who will be taking his DeathStar Slapshot to Raleigh for the proceedings), and at some point after they come back from the break, their fans will get to experience 21st century beer technology.

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Colbert to Steve Cohen: Next Time, Use the 'Nazi-O-Meter'

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 8:42 AM


Here's Stephen Colbert from last night, reacting to an article that had him and Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen going head to head in a race to spoil "the new civility." Hilarious, though surely Col. Klink from Hogan's Heroes merits at least a three-quarters Hitler. (Don't ask, just watch.)

My unasked-for two cents on the matter: Any time you invoke Nazis in an argument, you've pretty much ceded defeat. Cohen seems mostly guilty of proper attribution — he could have made his "big lie" point without the hat tip to Goebbels — but the principle behind Godwin's Law stands: Rhetorically, Nazi comparisons are a nuclear option that almost always drops on the user's foot.

That said, "civility" is becoming just as lame a debate-stopper. It's the harrumph you often hear after someone performs the needed public service of calling bullshit on something obnoxious, harmful and false. In Cohen's case, it was the Republicans' disinformation campaign about "government takeover of health care," and he was hardly the first to point out that it fits the if-you're-gonna-lie-lie-big playbook to a T.

No wonder the politicians he was criticizing accused him of disturbing their peace. Regrettably, Cohen's N-bomb (or rather, G-bomb) gave them an excuse to divert attention to bad manners. Even so, oftentimes the least "civil" thing a public figure can do is tell the truth.

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"They're All Just Labels": Is the Police Department Missing the Point?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 7:39 AM

I was reading The Tennessean's story about how the police are reclassifying many of the reported sex crimes that ended up "matters of public record" back into the actual crimes they were, when I came to these two baffling paragraphs.

Metro police maintain that the reclassification is simply a change in paperwork with no real-world consequences and that every case, even if labeled a matter of record, is investigated with the same vigor as if it were labeled a rape.

"Matter of record, rape, sodomy, they're all just labels, when you look at it. It's just the label that goes on the report," said Lt. Preston Brandimore, head of Metro's Sex Crimes Unit and the one in charge of reviewing the cases after news media reports raised questions about the rape statistics. "When we're talking about prosecuting or investigating, they all get investigated the same."

I'm trying to give the police department as much of a benefit of the doubt as humanly possible. Perhaps Brian Haas's typification of of the reclassification being "simply a change in paperwork with no real-world consequences" is unfair. One hopes.

And yet, based on what Lt. Brandimore says in the next paragraph, I have my concerns.

So let's be clear: This isn't simply a matter of a "change in paperwork with no real-world consequences."

This is a matter of the Metro Police Department lying to the people of Nashville about how many sexual assaults happened in this city over the past few years. Lying to make themselves look better. Lying in a way that gave potential victims a false sense of how safe the city is.

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Pick of the Day: Shrek: The Musical at TPAC

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 6:23 AM

Shrek: The Musical
Where: TPAC's Andrew Jackson Hall, 505 Deaderick Street
When: Through Jan. 30
Tickets $27.50-62.50

A lineup of endearingly freaky creatures, slick sets and costumes, plus a score that epitomizes Broadway musical bombast at its conventionally modern best (in other words, to the point of sappy excess) — these are the hallmarks of this musical adaptation, four years in the making and spearheaded by the DreamWorks commercial factory that produced the original 2001 Shrek film.

The original Broadway production opened in December 2008 and ran for about a year — not really that long when we talk about blockbusters. Still, major players boarded the Shrek train, including Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole), Olivier-winning composer Jeanine Tesori and director Jason Moore (Avenue Q), who was commissioned to shepherd the idea from concept to stage reality.

The material is based on William Steig’s original 1990 book, further inspired by the well-known movie, but also freshly amplified into a veritable revue of familiar fairy-tale characters. Shrek is played by Eric Petersen, who joins the tour from the Broadway production. Haven Burton, also from the Broadway company, portrays the feisty Princess Fiona. Alan Mingo Jr. is Shrek’s lovably annoying best friend, Donkey. There’s also a large supporting cast of players with plenty of big-league stage and TV experience. Presumably, the kids (and their parents) will love it.

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