Here's the footage of last month's protest of newly hired Belmont University of Law Professor Alberto "Ashcroft Whisperer" Gonzales by members of the Tennessee chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
As you can see, the former Bush Administration attorney general says "I'm proud of my service" when ostensibly asked how he sleeps at night for his torture apologetics, stacking the deck of U.S. attorneys for political gain and telepathically communicating with an ailing John Ashcroft over NSA wiretaps.
The 20-10 vote was a foregone conclusion, but spectators still were forced to endure a farcical debate in which the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dolores Gresham, pretended this was not about quashing free speech. No, the legislature is merely acting as good stewards of public property, she said. To hear Gresham talk, you’d think we were designating a new wilderness area somewhere.
Republicans obviously read their talking points from legal counsel. It’s fun to slap down protesters like some two-bit dictator, but it looks bad in federal court. Better to avoid the usual ranting and raving against long-haired hippie types and to claim instead that you’re passing an innocuous land management law.
“The bill is designed to create order in the use and management of public lands so that these properties are available and accessible to all the people of Tennessee,” Gresham said, somehow keeping a straight face.
The bill's sponsor, House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, isn't casting any stones on this one. He dismisses the possibility that Haslam's behaving petulantly here. Instead, Naifeh is about to start trying to raise the $6,000 privately to pay for the signs. Hint: A certain someone close to Conte probably would be willing to contribute.
It's appropriate to name a sidewalk after Conte because she was big on walking—even if her husband wasn't. Bredesen once took his Lincoln Town Car across the street to the Bicentennial Mall for a media event with his wife to urge state employees to exercise more often. It's something less than a quarter-mile from the governor's office to the mall. But Bredesen hopped in his sleek Town Car for the short ride on the cold, winter day.
He arrived all toasty warm. Roughly 100 bundled-up state employees were there waiting for him, stamping their feet to fend off frostbite. "Did you walk over today, governor?" we asked Bredesen. "No," he admitted sheepishly, "I took the car over here today because I got through with a meeting very late. But I'm fully on board with the notion of trying to use lunch hours and the like to do walks, and I'm certainly encouraging state employees to do this."
"I did walk over here today," the first lady interjected.
2. As Roger Abramson points out on Twitter, state Rep. Bill Sanderson wants to make it illegal to buy beer through the self-checkout lane after "He got the idea from 1) a movie that 2) he didn't even see." Yes, he doesn't think we should be able to buy beer through the self-checkout lane because someone told him a story about a make-believe situation already covered by our laws regarding theft. I'd rather not have any legislation based on made-up situations, but my god, is it too much to ask that, if we have to, that they be made-up situations a legislator has personally witnessed?
3. According to The Tennessean, state Rep. Mike Sparks has a bill, HB2923, that "will punish store owners caught selling the newer synthetic or more traditional drugs in their stores by suspending their ability to sell beer and cigarettes" by requiring "the commissioner of revenue to revoke the tobacco license for 60 days."
The problem? Store owners in Tennessee don't have to get a tobacco license. Nope. According to state law (67-4-1015), tobacco manufacturers and wholesalers are licensed, not retailers. No one thought to find out who has to get a tobacco license before trying to legislate who's going to get it taken away?
Really, is it too much to ask that our state legislators not waste the state's time and money with legislation that doesn't address actual reality?
It's finally come to this.
Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, is planning to switch over all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by the end of the year, it announced during an investor day held in Manhattan Wednesday.
“We will begin to restrict some access to non-subscribers,” said Bob Dickey, president of community publishing. The model is similar to the metered system adopted by The New York Times a year ago, in which online readers are able to view a limited number of pages for free each month. That quota will be between five and 15 articles, depending on the paper, said Dickey. Six Gannett papers already have a digital pay regimen in place.
There is one Gannett title, however, that will remain free, at least for the foreseeable future: USA Today. Gannett CEO explained that decision as a matter of priorities, noting that USA Today is in the midst of overhauling its website to create a user experience more similar to that of an iPad app.
I shudder at the thought that, by year's end, we'll have to pay to read Gail Kerr's columns.
However, while paying a premium for premium news content à la The New York Times makes sense, will news consumers pay a premium for the decidedly non-premium product that the Gannett Co. churns out of its atrophied regional news organs as the company's executives give themselves bonuses for razing the fourth estate? What say you?
"District Selectman" D.W. Moorehouse is proposing legislation that "will outlaw androgynous names, for the children," and make it "illegal to name a child anything other than an appropriate, gender-specific Christian name," (e.g. Stacey) in an obvious lampoon of Sen. Campfield's onerous "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would protect freedoms by banning discussion of the gays in elementary and middle school classrooms.
The upcoming March/April issue of the literary journal Nashville Skyline will center on the theme of "Home." But for her piece, Amanda Cantrell Roche chose the opposite tack. She spent a night in a tent on War Memorial Plaza with the Occupy Nashville encampment, which led her to make this video.
With the encampment's days on the plaza likely numbered, and the journal not coming out until next month, we asked Roche — a founder of Murfreesboro's Blue Moves Modern Dance Group, now in its 23rd year, and a veteran of numerous local arts groups — to describe her experience:
Obviously, if a flower makes its home only in our state — and the Tennessee Purple Coneflower can only be found in the wild in Tennessee — it's fitting for us to feel as fondly toward it as it feels toward us.
I know, with the mild weather that we've been having, some of you are getting itchy about getting your gardens started. May I make a case for putting e. tennesseensis in your garden? A domesticated version is available at many of our local nurseries. I've most recently bought it at Bates Nursery on Whites Creek Pike. It will thrive in any sunny spot in your garden and it doesn't need much special care. Since it's local, it's used to the amount of rain and sun we get. Sure, feel free to water it, but it'll thrive if you ignore it as well.
Unlike regular coneflowers, the Tennessee Purple Coneflowers are recognizable because the petals on the blossom radiate straight out from the central cone (the regular coneflower has petals that go down, like a shuttlecock). They're also a lighter purple than most coneflowers and have notches at the ends of the petals.
They're a delightful addition to your garden and to our list of official wildflowers.
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