Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hillsboro Village Sliced in Half by New Metro Redistricting Map

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 12:49 PM

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So Fido is in District 21, on one side of 21st Avenue — but Bosco's, on the other side, is in District 13?

That's how it looks, anyway, in the first of the new Metro Council and Board of Education redistricting maps, redrawn to reflect changes in the city's population as measured by the most recent census data. Among other oddities, it seems to parcel District 18 into different districts with 21st as the dividing line. The City Paper has an overview of the dramatic proposed changes:

Many of the city’s 35 council districts would be renumbered and rearranged, among them District 6, which would shift from including parts of downtown to covering exclusively East Nashville. Downtown would be its own district (renumbered 13), while the Hillsboro-Belmont area would be split up so that Vanderbilt and Belmont universities no longer fall into the same district. The Berry Hill neighborhood would be its own district, while East Nashville would trade one of the most oddly shaped council districts — the 15th — for new boundaries splitting off its southwestern portion into a new District 14 that would stretch across the Cumberland River and into the area south of downtown.

Sean Braisted has put together a helpful spreadsheet of council candidates who would be shifted into other districts if the map holds. He also points out some of the map's interesting implications:

Brady Banks is now in the 28th district, where he would face Chris Harmon, Brock
Parks, Will Canterbury and Michael Poindexter. ...

Seanna Brandmeir was intended to run against Sharon Weiner in the 22nd to succeed Eric Crafton, but has been placed in a new 18th district with Bo Mitchell.

Nancy Van Reese of the 4th has been shoved into the 3rd district (Goodlettsville) along with Danny Turner. ...

The proposed changes will ultimately go to the Metro Planning Commission for approval, before going on to the council. The city's official website says that this is the first of several proposed redistricting maps, and others will be posted here over the next eight days. The public is encouraged to comment, and a list of public hearings can be found on the same page.

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Are Matthew Hill and Stacey Campfield Trying to Keep Kids Out of Religious School Groups?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 11:52 AM

The Davidson County Young Democrats are all over Hill and Campfield's SB0426, which would require parental permission for students to join school groups.

The DCYD get at the implications of the bill:

How could a bill that mandates that schools tell parents about all the clubs available at the school, their mission, and the details of the club be bad? Why should we be concerned about it? How is it “ugly”?

Good questions. I’m glad you asked. HB 0432 is “ugly” because, like so many of Sen. Campfield’s bills, this one too is a shot aimed right at gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Tennesseans.

Sure, it seems like this law is designed to let homophobic parents keep their kids out of pro-LGBT groups.

But here's the question Christians might ask: Wouldn't this law also allow the children of non-Christians to prevent their Christian kids from joining groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes? Sure seems like it. Atheist Mom and Dad could just go on down the list and exclude their kid from every Christian religious organization. Is that really what Campfield and Hill want?

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Elizabeth Taylor on the Big Screen This Weekend at Belcourt

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Few people under the age of 30 in Nashville have ever seen Elizabeth Taylor on the big screen — so they probably wouldn't understand why someone called me this morning in tears to say the embodiment of Hollywood glamour had just died, and with her a piece of their childhood. But a rare chance comes this Sunday, when The Belcourt shows John Huston's 1967 drama Reflections in a Golden Eye as part of its "Visions of the South" series.

It's a strange movie, a failure at the time that has since found a large and fervent cult following. In Huston's adaptation of the Carson McCullers novel, Taylor plays the nymphomaniac wife of Army officer Marlon Brando, who seethes with lust for new recruit Robert Forster. The Brando part was meant for Taylor's close friend Montgomery Clift, who died before production. Perhaps more of a testament to Taylor than the movie is the fact that she reportedly put up her salary to guarantee the troubled Clift the role.

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Pick of the Day: A Face in the Crowd at Belcourt

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 5:20 AM

Until somebody discovers Don Knotts in a Tijuana donkey flick, this is the real skeleton in Andy Taylor's closet. Wait until you see folksy, lovable Andy Griffith as snarling reactionary demagogue Lonesome Rhodes, a no-'count folksinging prisoner who gets discovered by TV producer Patricia Neal and becomes a nationwide phenomenon. What's weird is that Rhodes — who turns his good-ol'-boy act on and off as need be and despises his fans for the gullible rubes they are — isn't much different from Griffith's TV persona. The difference between Rhodes onstage and off somewhat resembles the difference between Griffith in the black-and-white years of The Andy Griffith Show and after it switched to color. Either way, it's hard to see Sheriff Andy in quite the same way once you've watched Rhodes screw, swindle and swagger his way to the top of the heap.

Naturally, this being 1957, Rhodes ultimately takes a fall — but by that time he's seduced Neal, corrupted innocent teenage cheerleader Lee Remick (in her first movie role) and virtually manhandled his way into the White House. Directed with crackling venom by Elia Kazan, the movie's indictment of TV-drugged sheep predated Network by two full decades. As scripted by Budd Schulberg, who wrote Kazan's On the Waterfront, the movie's a sometimes queasy mixture of cautionary populism and liberal contempt for the masses (just like Network), but Kazan's staging was never more crudely dynamic.

The movie screens twice today as part of The Belcourt's "Visions of the South" series.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ICE Doesn't Claim "Any Interest in the Outcome" of 287(g) Challenge

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM

In the clearest indication yet that the Feds are ready and willing to write off Nashville's embattled 287(g) program as the cost of doing business in America, U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin — on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — has "disclaimed any interest in the outcome of this litigation."

Martin filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Elliott Ozment in federal court because, as we've discussed here, the plaintiff isn't seeking any judgment against ICE.

Ozment was ordered to include the United States as a party to the lawsuit by Chancellor Carol McCoy — even after Martin sent a letter to the parties signaling the Fed's disinterest in joining Metro Government in its defense of Sheriff Hall's 287(g) partnership with ICE, which allows certain deputies to screen inmates for immigration violations. By enforcing federal immigration law, Ozment asserts the Davidson County Sheriff's Office is violating the Metro Charter by exceeding its mandate. This could mean the agreement violates state and local law, automatically running afoul of federal statute, rendering the 287(g) agreement void.

(For a more involved discussion of the challenge and 287(g)'s problems, check this.)

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The Anti-Social Network: Haslam v. Ramsey and the State of the State's Journalism

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 6:20 AM

Gov. Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ramsey are having a Facebook fight. Yes, the form of internet interaction most often reserved for high-schoolers has now reached the height of Tennessee politics. Surely, we are on the verge of Haslam and Ramsey defriending each other and changing their statuses to "It's complicated."

But there's an interesting side-note I didn't want you to miss.

According to The Tennessean's own timestamp, it posted what would later become Gov. Haslam's Facebook note at 12:27 Sunday morning. The Commercial Appeal had Haslam's editorial up by midnight. And the editorial ran in the print editions of both papers. After which there was radio silence from the rest of the media in the state.

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Pick of the Day: The Art Guys: Idle Chatter at Vanderbilt's Space 204

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 5:16 AM

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The Art Guys: Idle Chatter
Where: Space 204, 25th Avenue South and Garland in the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center on the Vanderbilt campus
When: Opening reception 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, March 22; exhibit runs through April 5.


The latest project from Houston provocateurs The Art Guys, who’ve been challenging preconceptions for nearly three decades, Idle Chatter features digital answering machines set to speaker mode, programmed to take calls at (615) 343-7000. Anyone who dials the number will have his or her words broadcast live throughout Vanderbilt’s Space 204.

According to the press release, “Callers may say or do anything they wish.” So go ahead Nashville (and the rest of the world): Spout your political opinions! Give a raspberry! Read the crappy poem you wrote to the girl who spurned your advances in junior high! Breathe heavy! Recite the phone book (if you actually still keep one around)! Sing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” at the top of your lungs! But be warned: While you’re frantically trying to get your basset hound to bark “Taps” (“He’s done it before a million times, I swear!”), us highbrow Scene staffers will be brushing up on our Bart Simpson phone pranks — so if you get a busy signal, rest assured that Hugh Jass is in the house. Or space.

(Attention disgruntled WRVU fans! Again, that number is (615) 343-7000! Hint hint nudge nudge!)

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Oh, the Irony: Arianna Huffington, Ray Winbush Speak Tonight in Nashville

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Molly Secours
  • Molly Secours
On her Red Room blog, Molly Secours notes the irony of timing that brings two very different programs to Nashville tonight: At 7:30 p.m. in Vanderbilt's Langford Auditorium, Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol will deliver a lecture/discussion titled "How Does the Media Speak to the Middle Class?" Meanwhile, at 7:30 p.m. in Tennessee State University's Thomas E. Poag Auditorium, Ray Winbush, former director of Fisk University's Race Relations Institute, will give a lecture titled "Reparations for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade."

Secours, a former Huffington Post blogger, finds it ironic that, just as American slave owners got rich from someone else's labor, Huffington herself just collected a nifty $315 million payday from AOL for her website — while 9,000 bloggers who built up her empire received no financial remuneration.

As Secours explains it:

In “Pigs at The Trough," Huffington exposes the sins of corporate greed and brilliantly articulates how Americans have “scandal fatigue” and that often times the dollar figures associated with corporate excess are too enormous for people to wrap their minds around and that the public becomes numbed by the dollar figures. For example, Ms. Huffington explains to readers how a 3.9 billion dollar bonus for an Enron Executive could have instead been used by Habitat for Humanity to build 83,691 homes at the cost of $46,000 each.

To help those who have trouble understanding why Huffington's values are being questioned as to whether or not she is being a little 'piggish' herself, let's apply her formula above. What if instead of keeping $315 million from the AOL sale that as a gesture of thanks (and to demonstrate the wealth sharing she promotes in every interview and article written) that she rewards the 9,000 bloggers with a one-time $1000 check. After compensating 9000 bloggers Ms. Huffington would still have $308 million dollars left to spare and more followers than a pied piper.

Read the full text here.

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Maldonado: In Union Battles, Why Are Teachers Taking More of a Beating Than Police or Firefighters?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Over at the City Paper, Charles Maldonado's blistering essay on why unions matter — specifically the teachers' unions under attack across the country — has the switchboard buzzing. Maldonado (the husband of a Metro schoolteacher) raises a point we'd been curious about:

I don’t think they made enough of the fact that the collective bargaining bill was drafted by the Tennessee School Boards Association, the very people with whom the union negotiates — which is, to me, a glaring conflict of interest. I don’t think they’ve made enough of the fact that this is all about political patronage: Republicans don’t get money from unions and Democrats do. Bill Ketron himself has admitted that’s what is really driving these anti-union bills.

This should be insulting to Tennessee taxpayers and voters, who are not here to watch public officials take a pre-existing, half-formed prejudice and then attempt to legitimize the myths supporting that prejudice. It is, of course, all the better if the prejudice is against a group with limited power, like unions, which are weak in Tennessee already.

Even better for Ramsey, Ketron and the gang might be unions with a lot of women in them. You’ll notice how much harder this national debate has been on the teachers’ unions as opposed to firefighter or police unions, for instance. It’s hard not to think that there’s an element of, “Well, it’s mostly secondary incomes anyway. Their husbands will take care of ’em” to all of this.

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Woodmont Park: A Review

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM

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In Short

Location: On Estes out in Green Hills
Size of Park: A large small park
Crowds: light
Approximate Age of Patrons: Parent and kid age
Topics of Conversation: "Who has to pick up all those tennis balls?"
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: Family vehicles
Perceived Safety: I felt safe; the kid on the bike was concerned his dad wasn't paying enough attention to him
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Good for small dogs
Number of pitbulls sighted: Just mine
Accessibility: Okay
Incorporation of Local History: There is a sign explaining what used to be there and who the park is dedicated to.
Recommended Patrons: Kids. This is a great kid park.

Continue reading »

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