Friday, January 27, 2012

The Hippodrome: Must David Poile and The Predators Make A Move?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 7:13 AM

This Week In The 'Drome: Poile's choice, Vandy's identity, Storm Troopers at Lipscomb, and physics (in Latin!)

Mark Ricci looks like Geddy Lee
  • Mark Ricci looks like Geddy Lee

Opening Face-Off

Isaac Newton vs. Geddy Lee: Two great philosophers who had two different outlooks on decision making.

Newton's First Law of Motion and Hockey Personnel Decisions says (in part) "Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo movendi uniformiter in directum" — the old "object in motion will stay in motion" saw. Dr Lee, on the other hand, reminded us in a 1980 treatise "if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

As discussed in this week's dead tree, Predators general manager David Poile is faced with a conundrum in the month before the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline. Does he try to keep his team in motion by adding a few key parts, or does he trust what he's got is good enough to get it done?

At least one of the more confounding problems has been dismissed. With Ryan Suter headed to the open market in July, there was speculation Poile would trade him ahead of the deadline for the blockbuster forward and veteran defender the team lacks. Apparently, though, Poile has kiboshed the idea, allegedly sending either an email or letter to his 29 counterparts pulling Suter off the market.

The Predators have proven they are capable of competing now with the pieces in place — the team's won 12 of 14 heading into the All-Star break. Does Poile risk upsetting the balance of the team by shipping a young player in exchange for a veteran who has proven himself elsewhere, or does he stand pat, betting on the hand he's dealt?

Complicating matters further is the conventional wisdom Suter and Shea Weber want to stay in Nashville, but want a commitment the team is going to compete — a commitment proven by adding a scorer. Can the prized pair be placated by simply looking at the standings, or do they still need Poile to show them the sniper?

Tough questions. Maybe they can only be answered with Natural Science.

Continue reading »

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Stacey Campfield Spreads Deadly Misinformation

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 5:05 AM

As Jonathan Meador pointed out, Stacey Campfield continued on his quest to make Tennessee the laughingstock of the nation on Michelangelo Signorile's radio show. I won't go into his bizarre theories about how just hearing about gayness can turn you gay or how a monkey-fucking pilot gave the world AIDS. You can read up on that stuff at the Huffington Post or at MetroPulse or at Knoxviews.

I do want to focus on this part of the interview where he says, "My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex ... very rarely [transmitted]."

This is absolutely wrong. Believing this can get you killed. Spreading this kind of misinformation and having people believe it will get people sick or dead. It is NOT virtually impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex. In fact, it's very easy.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stacey Campfield on the Origins of AIDS: "It Was One Guy Screwing a Monkey"

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Ever the historian, Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield dished on a variety of topics with Sirius XM radio host Michelangelo Signorile today, and in the process revealed his belief that AIDS happened because a gay airline pilot had sex with a (gay?) monkey:

Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community — it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall. My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex...very rarely [transmitted]. What's the average lifespan of a homosexual? it's very short. Google it yourself."

If your brain is reeling from that statement, that's because Campfield's words are such pure-grade bullshit that their gravity becomes infinitely dense, warping space-time to plunge readers 30 years into the past to an era where the lack of information on AIDS fueled a panic that is, unfortunately, alive and well in the state's 7th District Senate office.

Pith has called Campfield's office to see if he has joined the rest of the world in the 21st century in the time since his remarks were made, but we have yet to hear back.

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

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Online Petition Against 'License to Bully': 15,000 Signatures and Counting

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 1:24 PM


As you'll recall, the odious "License to Bully" bill — which would allow bullies special protection under the guise of religious conviction — went viral pretty fast, and the indignation came fast and furious from the corners you'd expect: Wonkette and other political junkies. But the proposed legislation has done what few pieces of proposed legislation do, which is to say it has crossed over into the broader culture's awareness — and with a target on its back.

Today, Paramore singer Hayley Williams — not normally given to retweeting TN Report or quoting Chip Forrester — took to Twitter and beseeched her 2 million-plus followers to sign this online petition opposing the bill. I'm not sure what the original goal was, but the new goal is 20,000, and according to SignOn, they've already crossed 15,000, a fact I'm sure was not hurt by Ms. Williams' tweet.

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CCA Appeals Yet Again in Ongoing Open Records Tussle

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Keeping America safe from reading its records
  • Keeping America safe from reading its records
Yesterday, Corrections Corporation of America filed its latest appeal to block an open records request filed years ago by a nonprofit media organization.

ON Jan. 25, CCA filed a notice of appeal in Davidson County Chancery Court in what amounts to its third appeal in a four-year-old battle with Prison Legal News, whose associate editor, Alex Friedmann, has been trying to get the private corrections company to release documents concerning its operations and potential legal snafus since 2008.

"Thus, after four years, CCA is still fighting hard to avoid producing the records I requested, which would have to be produced if I requested them from any public agency," Friedmann tells Pith via email. "This is a perfect example of the lack of transparency and lack of public accountability in the private prison industry."

Of course, it's no surprise why CCA is stalling. Considering CCA's reputation for poor treatment of immigrant detainees, allegations of fraudulent reporting practices, and its close ties to, ALEC, the authors of Arizona SB 1070, Friedmann's original records request could very well puncture even more holes in CCA's veil of secrecy.

A request for comment from CCA has not been returned.

At the heart of the battle is whether CCA, a private company, can be compelled to release information even though it contracts with governments and performs what has been traditionally a public service. So far, Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals side with Friedmann, but the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case. In December, Chancery Court again ruled in Friedmann's favor on remand, which led to CCA's recent notice of appeal.

If Friedmann succeeds, CCA will be ordered to release documents detailing legal complaints in which CCA has paid out in excess of $500 to complainants; "state, county and municipal government reports, audits and investigations" of CCA; "court rulings issuing injunctive or declaratory judgments against CCA, including sanctions and contempt orders"; and "spreadsheets, summaries or similar databases showing all litigation concluded against CCA in Tennessee which resulted in the payment of money damages, settlements, sanctions, claims and/or attorney fees."

Pith'll keep you posted on future developments.

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Chilhowee Mountain Makes SELC's Most Endangered Places List

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 11:07 AM

The Southern Environmental Law Center has named East Tennessee's Chilhowee Mountain to its 4th annual Top 10 Endangered Places for 2012.

According to the SELC's website, the list comprises "areas of exceptional scenic, ecological, or cultural value that are facing immediate, potentially irreversible threats," and posits that a proposed road corridor that would cut through wild expanses of Cherokee National Forest would irreversibly harm the Chilhowee-area.

Chilhowie Mountain and the rugged peaks and hollows in its viewshed are in the path of Corridor K, a chain of highways linking Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina. Despite the fact that completion of the interstate system made the project obsolete, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is studying multiple options for finishing the leg of Corridor K running through the Ocoee Region. Among them are proposals for routing a new four-lane, divided highway across the shoulder of Chilhowee Mountain and through largely unspoiled reaches of the Cherokee National Forest.

When it was conceived in 1964 by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Corridor K was seen as a means of lifting this area out of poverty. But since then, local citizens have built a thriving, tourism-based economy that capitalizes on the Ocoee Region’s extraordinary natural assets. Pushing new asphalt through national forest lands would jeopardize the intact wildlife habitat, clear-running rivers and streams, and mountain scenery that have made Chilhowee Mountain and the Ocoee Gorge a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts.

Rather than pour a billion dollars or more into a new road, TDOT should focus on targeted upgrades along the existing two-lane highway, U.S. 64—the lifeline of the local economy. This would improve safety, enhance the flow of traffic during the busy tourist season, and preserve the natural and cultural features that are vital to the Ocoee Region and its communities.

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Was John Arriola Doing Drive-Thru Weddings?!

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 6:36 AM

  • "Inowpronounceyoumanandwife!"
As I've mentioned previously, my dad is a retired Methodist minister, which means that many Christmas and family vacations were paid for by weddings and funerals. So you can imagine my interest in learning that Davidson County Clerk John Arriola made over $100,000 over five years presiding over weddings. I had no idea that just marrying people paid so well.

Shoot, Davidson County, if you need someone to just stand around marrying people for $40 a pop, just tell me where to have my dad apply. If people want to throw in an extra $10, I can guarantee he'll sing the greatest honky-tonk version of "There Is a Fountain (Filled With Blood)" you've ever heard, wedding or not.

According to James Nix in The City Paper (and also The Tennessean's Michael Cass):

In June 2011, Arriola told employees to refer to the $40 payments as gratuities instead of fees. Over the period of time covered by the audit — between Sept. 1, 2006, and July 30, 2011 — auditors estimated that Arriola performed about 2,985 marriage ceremonies and collected about $119,400.

Two-thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-five weddings. For context, there were about 1,800 days there. Was he just lining them up, 10 couples deep, and asking "Do you both? Great. I now pronounce you man and wife. Sign here. And get out of the way. Next!"?

I don't know whether to be appalled or impressed at his efficiency.

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No, It's Not an Acid Flashback — It's PETA Protesting the Ringling Bros. Circus

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 5:15 AM

The Pink Floyd Animals Tour
  • The Pink Floyd Animals Tour
If you're walking down Lower Broad today at noon and you think you're having an acid flashback to the 1977 Pink Floyd Animals Tour, fear not — it's just PETA protesting the arrival of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which pulls into Nashville for a four-day stand starting today.

Last time I blogged on this subject, I was practically run out of town on a rail. (To the guy who said he knew grade-school kids who write better than me: Please have them send their résumés to

Anyway, the PETA protest starts at noon today on the corner of Fifth and Broadway.

Here's more info from the press release:

An inflatable elephant. Note the difference.
  • An inflatable elephant. Note the difference.

Protesters Draw Attention to Ringling's Violent Treatment of Baby Elephants

What: A giant inflatable elephant will lead PETA members in a protest against the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Thursday. The protesters will display signs that read, "This Is Ringling Baby-Elephant Training," alongside banners emblazoned with compelling photos taken inside Ringling's training center. The photos expose how baby elephants used by Ringling are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods. These abusive sessions go on for several hours a day in order to force the baby elephants to learn to perform circus tricks out of fear of punishment.

"Nashville residents would run screaming from the big top if they knew how baby elephants are violently forced to perform difficult, confusing, and sometimes painful tricks," says PETA Director Delcianna Winders. "We're telling parents that if their kids love animals, the last place they should take them is the circus."

Where: Bridgestone Arena, southeast corner of Fifth Avenue S. and Broadway, Nashville

When: Thursday, January 26, 12 noon

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tharon Chandler Wants You to Want Him

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 2:13 PM

A profile picture from the Facebook page of William Tharon Chandler
  • A profile picture from the Facebook page of William Tharon Chandler
Standing 5-foot-10, weighing in at 155 pounds (give or take a few), and quixotically "looking for a Woman with which to 'Procreate' or make or have children," Mr. William Tharon Chandler is the latest independent candidate to enter the 7th Congressional district Thunderdome currently ruled by Baroness Marsha, of the Blackburns.

With the eloquence of a Nigerian scammer, Chandler's campaign blog is one of the purest screwball political artifacts to grace this fine state for quite some time — if only because the site itself is an artifact of Chandler's 2010 California congressional campaign: A serial office-seeker, he became the, uh, victim of "technical malversation" in a failed 2008 bid for Missouri's 7th, where he didn't even bother entering the primary (Chandler ran as a Democrat); ran and lost for the 7th Tennessee district in 2004; spends a lot of time in The Philippines; had his identity stolen by something called the Tennessee Mafia, which "switched" his and his brother's identities; and is currently homeless as a result of different conspiracies.

Oh, he's really into California girls, too:

Now, it is not young teen girls i am seeking in my adventures around the country and recently on international treks, but 'Older' teen girls and young women; like the kind that every real man likes, unless he is a lier. I have wanted and sought a wife though in the process I like 'Island girls' and California girls, and southern belles and Northern girls. Perhaps it is an older, jealous women whom is persecuting me. Likely at least one of those is included in the cruel group as includes some small town big fat lawyers, some former governors, a jealous brother-in-law, a diabolical sister, a cold cruel father and his dishonest secretary and also his wives, and then my younger brother who makes an eager crony for a pseudo-significant mafia Don, in a small pond.

Thus, the Southern Gothic novel was revived.

Although we're no campaign finance experts, we're not sure if it's exactly kosher to run for two offices at the same time, as Chandler appears to have a barren 2012 California campaign running alongside his current Tennessee bid.

We wish him the best of luck, especially for highlighting the issue of illegal buttock-localized marrow extraction.

And if you are still on the fence as to whether he's your guy, check out some of his facebook photos.

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Ignoring Critics, Floyd Repeats Threat Against Transgender People

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Rep. Richard Floyd
  • Rep. Richard Floyd
Gov. Bill Haslam seems sympathetic to fears that anti-gay rhetoric and bills in the legislature could lead to more harassment and violence against GLBT people in Tennessee. Asked at a news conference today whether he shares that concern, the governor said:

Obviously, that’s not the environment we want to set in Tennessee. In terms of legislation, I think there’s better things for us to focus on this year.

But Rep. Richard Floyd remains unrepentant. Pith asked Floyd today whether he’d like to take back that threat to “stomp a mudhole” in any transgender person who offended his wife or daughters. Instead, Floyd complained about threatening email and phone calls he said he’s gotten since he made the remark and went on another rant against transgender people.

I’m not anti-anything. I’m just pro-family. They can say anything they want. If they want to talk about violence, I’ll let them read the emails I’ve gotten. I never said anything about violence. I said what I would do personally if my family was involved, and I meant every single word of it. I’ve had a few phone calls with death threats. It is what it is. Do I regret saying it? No, I don’t regret saying it. Would I do it? Yes I would. Or try. It would just be a bad hair day if somebody approached me.

The Family Action Council’s David Fowler, meanwhile, also claims to be under attack since he made his "License to Bully" bill his organization’s No. 1 priority for this session. Fowler's critics apparently are hoping he winds up in a special place in hell.

The unfortunate thing in our culture is that we’re getting to the point where oftentimes we can’t say anything without it becoming uncivil and getting off the merits of the discussion. What’s ironic is that if children are learning from the parents who send me the emails that are very descriptive as to what I should do with myself and where I should spend eternity, if they are emulating their parents then they are probably the bullies.

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