Two items from the Chattanooga Times Free-Press to keep you apprised of the situation regarding scandal-ridden Congressman Scott DesJarlais:
First, about that call from Tennessee Conservative Union chairman Lloyd Daugherty for DesJarlais' resignation — the answer is no:
DesJarlais campaign manager Brandon Lewis charged that Daugherty "is neither genuinely conservative or Republican and routinely supports liberal Democrats like Lincoln Davis and Eric Stewart in an effort to drive a wedge among conservative groups for his liberal puppet masters."
Also, the TFP's Chris Carroll reports this morning that DesJarlais' second girlfriend is standing by the version of events she gave to the paper last weekend, despite a statement from DesJarlais calling the story "factually inaccurate":
The woman spoke on condition of anonymity. Her statement came two days after she contacted the newspaper with concerns about the story's accuracy; until Tuesday, she declined to respond to a Times Free Press reporter's follow-up inquiries about what portions of the interview were being challenged.
On Tuesday, the woman said she initially reached out because she "got scared" and didn't realize the interview's potential impact, fearing she may have wrongly remembered details from 12 years ago. But upon further reflection, she said, she stood by her story and the newspaper's account of it.
Steve Dickerson is certainly open to criticism in his state Senate race. To all those soccer moms in Green Hills, he tries to come across as a reasonable, moderate Republican. But when he's talking to social conservatives, he suddenly transforms into Rush Limbaugh, embracing largely unpopular right-wing positions. In an Eagle Forum questionnaire, for instance, he revealed he's for making abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest. We doubt many voters in Nashville's Senate District 20 agree with that.
Democrats pointed out a few of Dickerson's extreme viewpoints in this direct mail piece. But did the party go too far by opening this mailer with this picture of a frightened woman holding her child next to the word "BEATING"? At first glance, you might think Dickerson is accused, like another GOP legislative candidate, of domestic violence. The woman even seems to have a black eye.
We asked the party's communications director, Brandon Puttbrese, if he could defend this mailer, and he replied:
Dickerson would not be good for women or children. We need a leader in the legislature who will protect our families, not endanger their future by cutting investments in public schools and eliminating health care protections for women.
"Beats up" is not the same as "takes a beating," which is a common phrase used to describe harm being done.
That's splitting hairs, isn't it? We realize Democrats are desperate to hang onto Joe Haynes' Senate seat. The Tennessee Journal rates Dickerson's contest with Democrat Phillip North as a tossup. But with mailers like this, the party risks turning off more voters than it attracts for North.
Days after the Scene published a story exposing the conditions of a north Nashville apartment complex (and Metro Codes' relative unresponsiveness to the plight of its tenants), a website called Lexington Gardens Revealed has posted what it says are photos that reveal more about the day-to-day life there.
In addition to photos of bed bugs and their resultant bites, rotting fixtures and broken windows, the site also tells the story of the tenants who live there:
One mother, “Kendra,” invited us into her one-bedroom apartment and showed us the dozens of bedbug bites on her arms and legs. She didn’t realize the apartment was infested until after she signed the lease. Her three young sons were living with her and they showed us the countless bites on their bodies, red and swollen from itching. When she turned on the light in her kitchen, bugs scattered across the wall and floor. She tried spraying, but the bedbugs and roaches kept coming back. She showed us the exposed outlets, the defunct smoke detector, the stove that sparks, the air conditioner that blows out damp air that smells like mildew, and the small, bedbug infested mattresses on which her boys sleep. She wanted so desperately to leave, but the cost of moving was too much.
"Every tenant of Lexington Gardens should have a home in good general repair and maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition," reads the site's objective page. "Every tenant of Lexington Gardens should have a copy of their lease, and for that lease to be in compliance with the law. Every tenant should know their rights, and be confident to assert those rights without fear of retaliation."
I watched this video a couple of times, trying to think of something snarky and coherent to say. But I kept having the same three thoughts. One, thank goodness for Phil Williams digging this stuff up and making someone go on camera to defend it. Two, you couldn't pay me enough money to do Patricia Smith's job, having to defend this nonsense. Three, I wonder how demoralizing this must be for state employees? For years, they've been demonized, found their pay doesn't keep up with the cost of living, had their health insurance costs go way up and dealt with year-to-year uncertainty about their jobs and budgets.
And, apparently, if their departments had been structured to receive money a tiny bit differently, they could have been going to Dave & Buster's and having big office parties and going to Christmas parties at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
That's got to sting.
I'm eager to hear if Gov. Haslam thinks this is an OK use of a state agency's money.
It's safe to say Congressman Scott DesJarlais probably won't listen to calls from the Tennessee Democratic Party for him to leave Congress and go directly to jail. But pressure from within the conservative ranks could make things more uncomfortable for the incumbent Republican, with just a week to go until election day.
Over at his blog, Tom Humphrey passes along the word that the Tennessee Conservative Union is now, in no uncertain terms, calling for DesJarlais' resignation. The full statement from the group appears after the jump:
As many of you recall, my living room ceiling collapsed in July. In the aftermath, we discovered that we either had to replace the den ceiling or never go in there again — at least until it also fell, as it seemed sure to do.
Now that I'm once again in a house full of safe ceilings — knock on wood — I wanted to share with you how to check to see if your ’50s ranch ceilings are in danger of coming down on their own.
The best way is to hire a contractor to get in your attic and see if he can stick his hand between your ceiling joists and your ceiling. If he can, you need to get him to deal with it immediately. He can either take the ceiling down safely — and this may be the only option if it's already severely cracked — or he can at least brace it with two-by-fours screwed into the joists from below.
But I know times are tough and you may not want to hire a contractor unless you already know there's a problem. OK, then here's an easy way to judge if it's time to bring in a contractor. Measure the distance from your floor to the ceiling at the wall. (If you don't have a tape measure that can reach, you can always use a piece of string or yarn.) Then measure the height of the floor to the ceiling in the middle of the room. If you have a half inch or more variance, you need to get someone in your attic to check.
Keep in mind that if your room has a light fixture in the middle of the ceiling, your biggest sag may not be in the center. In my den, for instance, the light fixture was holding the center of the ceiling up. So, we had a sag that was more doughnut-shaped. So, take a few measurements.
I can't say that this will be a problem in every ’50s ranch. Even in my own house, we had two rooms with ceilings that either collapsed or were on the verge of collapse, and three ceilings that look like they'll be in place for another 60 years. But I will say that every contractor who came to my house to give me a bid took one look at what had gone wrong and said, "Hmm, I bet we start seeing a lot more of this."
And believe me, Nashville, if your ceiling has to come down, it's much better if it comes down when you've decided it should, and not when it decides to surprise you.
Assessing the economic impact of the health care law, the University of Memphis found that expanding Medicaid would pump an additional $7.5 billion in federal money into Tennessee's economy in ObamaCare's first five years. In 2014 — the first year alone —the study estimated an extra $454 million in federal spending would create 7,573 new jobs, growing to 29,440 jobs by 2019. And 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans will gain health care coverage at the same time.
House Majority PAC is pitching in to help Democrat Eric Stewart in his underdog campaign against Rep. Scott DesJarlais. The national PAC is spending $180,000 to run this ad beginning today in Nashville and Chattanooga. Campaigns can crank out these attack ads fast, but not fast enough to keep up with this sex scandal. This one was out of date before it ever aired, with another of the good doctor's patients coming forward to say she had sex with DesJarlais (and smoked weed with him). What a hound! Betsy Phillips may "almost feel a tiny bit bad for DesJarlais" but Democrats don't.
Update: “DesJarlais ran his medical practice like a Craigslist cathouse," Chip Forrester says, "and now he’s mad that people are upset about it."
If you had to pick between being Mistress Number 1 (who had to endure Scott DesJarlais' crybabying about having to accompany you to have the abortion he was trying to pressure you into, and who now has to endure his claims that said whining was a ruse to get you to admit you weren't pregnant) or being Mistress Number 2 (who allegedly got pot and recreational prescription pills and home-cooked meals), I don't think there's any question that you'd choose to be Mistress Number 2.
Mistress 2 recently sat down for an interview with The Times Free Press and she made DesJarlais out to be ... well ... not the kind of guy you'd expect to be the delight of conservative Republicans:
"His biggest thing that's completely unethical is him just picking up women while he's a doctor," the woman said in an interview last week. "I mean, seriously, that's his big no-no. ... He's just a hound."
The woman said the affair lasted six months and included mutual illicit drug use.
"Scott was just a regular guy," she said. "He smoked. I mean, he smoked pot. He [did] all that stuff." [...]
"He was the nicest guy — made dinner, supernice, tried to razzle-dazzle you with his conversation," she said. "I don't know exactly how it started, but I mean, when it did, he just kept on and kept on."
Mittmentum getting you down? Worried sick that the election is slipping away? Stockpiling water and batteries for the coming apocalypse one might affectionately label a "Romney-Ryan administration"? We have the remedy, and it comes from those dastardly polls.
The campaign endgame began with the conclusion of the final presidential debate last Monday, and since then both sides have felt compelled to frame a piece of their closing argument as "we're winning" — partly as a GOTV turnout strategy and partly as media narrative management strategy. With so many polls now released daily it is somewhat possible for each side to cherry-pick some data to build an impending victory spin.
But get a grip, Obamaphiles: The fact is polls in the aggregate are actually painting a quite consistent picture, one that favors Obama in almost all the important battlegrounds. The picture looks like this: In every key state starting in mid-August (pre-conventions), Obama built a lead, a working margin that was whittled down in the wake of the first debate on Oct. 3 to a substantially smaller lead. And here's the essential part: Since the few days immediately following that first debate (roughly the period Oct. 4-9), the race has been stable ... a smaller but consistent Obama lead, with the raw numbers for Obama and for Romney creeping up in tandem as undecideds break.
You can see this dynamic in every state that matters: Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire. Don't believe me? Then check out the graphic after the jump ...
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