And the winner (or should we way whiner) is ... Chip Christianson, vice president of legislative affairs for the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association! Christianson had this to say in a Tennessean state legislature preview piece the other day on the matter of allowing wine sales in grocery stores:
“This is 100 percent pushed by the grocers. Polls, schmolls. There’s no groundswell of people trying to get this done.”
Multiple polls-schmolls have found that upwards of two-thirds of Tennesseans want this to happen, so Christianson's view can be not-so-loosely translated as, "Fuck you, consumers." Look, we get it — the TWSRA represents liquor store owners, and the last thing they want to see is the competition and downward price pressure that will come with grocery store sales. (And there is empirical evidence that retail wine prices will drop with grocery store availability.)
It's quite remarkable that a conservative state legislature continues to find it so difficult to make this happen. What principles are more bedrock conservative than letting the people have what they clearly want, by way of more rather than less market competition? House Speaker Beth Harwell sounds almost reasonable when she says "I believe it's time for grocery stores to be allowed to sell wine — and I believe Tennesseans want that — but we want to do it in a way that creates an equal playing field for the mom-and-pop stores as well." But where is her "equal playing field for mom-and-pop stores" vibe when big-box retailers are decimating the mom-and-pop economies of small towns and cities?
And by the way, wine in grocery stores is hardly novel or adventurous. More than two-thirds of states allow this in one form or another, including such bastions of radical progressivism as Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, and North and South Carolina.
A version of this post also appears at BruceBarry.net.
Scenes from the end of a lost season . . .
— What if you threw an NFL game and nobody came? Twenty minutes before the kickoff to the Titans' season-ending contest against Jacksonville, LP Field could charitably be called a quarter full. If you said it was a tenth full, nobody would argue that either. NFL fans can be a bit of a late-arriving crowd, but this was a lot.
— Tickets in section 113 — primo sets, right behind the visiting bench, and important for the season, in the sunshine — were going for as little as $28 on StubHub. Tickets in the nosebleed sections could be had for as little as $2.55.
— Titans mascot T-Rac drove onto the field at 10 minutes to kickoff, firing soft footballs into the stands. Most of the balls hit seats, not fans. At 8 minutes, the Jaguars came out and the LP sound system cued up Beck's "Loser." For a battle between teams which were a collective 7-23 entering the day, it was an appropriate theme.
— It seemed like even the Air National Guard has given up on the Titans — on a crystal clear day, there was no flyover at the end of the national anthem.
With school vouchers and a statewide charter authorizer potentially coming down the pike at the statehouse, the Metro Council will weigh in on both at its next meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8.
A resolution — which appears in full after the jump — sponsored by Councilman Steve Glover expresses opposition to "all state legislation that would create a school voucher program in Tennessee or a state charter school authorizer without adequate state funds being appropriated to local school districts to cover the additional costs."
This Week In The 'Drome: Music City Bowl, Raiders roll, Pro Bowl, toilet bowl and more ...
Convenience vs. Expediency: This week's City Paper cover story examines Vanderbilt's relationship with the Music City Bowl and indeed with Music City itself.
It's hard to overstate the barely restrained teeth-gritting in that piece. The Vandy folks are still awash with the excitement of playing in a bowl — any bowl, even one that's just across the river. But the Nashville Sports Council didn't come off as terribly enthusiastic of getting stuck with the 'Dores.
It's hard to blame them, of course. As the article explains, Vandy isn't the SEC school of choice for many people in Nashville — the city being attractive to alums from across the conference. And certainly, Vandy fans will occupy far fewer hotel rooms than, say, Ole Miss fans.
But everyone is trying to make the best of the situation. And sometimes these things work out.
Sometimes the first choice — even if it's the splashier selection — isn't the right one. John Kerry will sail through confirmation as Secretary of State and may prove to be a better pick there than Susan Rice.
Consider Princess Dagmar of Denmark. In the late 19th century, Denmark, like Vanderbilt, was trying to prove its relevancy in Europe, the world's ultimate power conference. Unable to compete militarily with Prussia or Russia or Britain (the Alabama, LSU and Florida of this analogy) it sought simply to be the best of the rest.
The plan of action was to marry off the royal daughters to future crowned heads. Alexandra married the future Edward VII. Thyra married Ernst Augustus, who would have been King of Hanover but for those aforementioned Prussians.
And Dagmar? She got engaged to Tsarevich Nicholas. Poor guy died before he could take the throne (a fate only slightly worse than losing to Vanderbilt and ending up in Birmingham's Compass Bank Bowl), so Dagmar just moved on to his brother, who became Tsar Alexander II. And it worked out. You know, until 1918.
The point is this: For Vandy, the Music City Bowl isn't so bad. It's on TV. It's winnable. No, it's not in Florida, but it's a damn site better than no bowl game at all. For the bowl, they could do worse than Vandy. Maybe the fanbase isn't the biggest but they are enthusiastic. Maybe they aren't a British Princess, but there are certainly uglier daughters of Denmark.
Sadly, the world did not end on Dec. 21, thus allowing the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, to unveil his dystopian vision of a post-Newtown America in which our safety, and that of our school children, is ensured by perpetual standoff.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said at a press conference last Friday, the NRA's first public response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a week earlier that left 20 children, six school administrators and the gunman's mother dead.
LaPierre blamed gun violence on just about everything but guns — video games, movies, President Barack Obama, hurricanes (potentially), and even the "nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill." He then offered the NRA's contribution to this National Conversation we've been having: A proposal to put an armed guard in every school.
Sound familiar? In this week's print edition of The City Paper, Andrea Zelinski reports that Tennessee legislators are characteristically ahead of the curve when it comes to expanding access to guns.
Merry Christmas to all from Pith and the Scene!
In an act of bipartisan unity, the members of Tennessee's congressional delegation will be hosting the Tennessee State Society of Washington, D.C., 2013 Inaugural Ball and, in another act of bipartisan unity, they won't be seen doing so with Congressman Scott DesJarlais.
An invitation to the event, to celebrate the presidential inauguration and the swearing-in of Tennessee's congressional delegation, lists the entire bunch as "Honorary Hosts," with Rep. Jim Cooper as the "Honorary Chair." DesJarlais is nowhere to be found.
Add this to the list of things DesJarlais has been left out of — the most notable of which was a list of honorary co-chairman for Sen. Lamar Alexander's re-election campaign — since revelations from his decade-old divorce, including sexual relationships with patients and multiple abortions, made him a political leper.
The invitation appears after the jump:
It's not the direct "No" we got from House Speaker Beth Harwell, but in a conference with reporters earlier this week, Gov. Bill Haslam didn't seem to find the idea of arming teachers particularly appealing.
As seen in the video above, from TNReport, the governor says he knows "a whole lot of teachers that wouldn't want to be armed" and says that knowing his daughter, a second-grade teacher, "that's the last thing she'd want to do."
"To me, it's hard to see what kind of — how much we gain in doing that," Haslam says.
This Week In The Drome : Local hoops, R.A. Dick-eh, Brett Kern punts again, The Ottoman Empire and more ...
Bland vs. Tortuous : There is bad. And bad isn't bad if a team is so bad they can get better (witness 2011's Bad Colts turning into 2012's Playoff Colts).
And bad isn't bad if bad isn't boring, like any number of MAC games.
I harp on this a lot — that fans will tolerate a bad team if there's hope or if there's something aesthetically pleasing about the horror.
Finding a willing partner in the Jets for their dance macabre Monday night, the Titans were bad — not as bad as the Jets, but still pretty terrifying — and the game was boring. It's easy to call it a trainwreck — so horrible it's hard to turn away. But trainwrecks have speed and power, the tangible might of the American industrial machine careening off a track.
Monday night's game was only watchable in that it was utterly unwatchable. And if there is any lesson coming out of it, it's that Mike Munchak increasingly looks like a coach who doesn't want to lose — or at least lose badly — rather than one who wants to put his boot on the neck of the other team.
The lone highlight was Chris Johnson's record-setting 94 yard touchdown run. It took less than 11 seconds — which is pretty remarkable considering those 94 yards didn't come as the crow flies and CJ was weighted down by football equipment (he was wearing shoes inscribed with the names of the Newtown victims, but he's worried about the attention). Pity the poor soul who had to put a 30-second package together about the game, more so to the ESPN production assistant who had to find two whole minutes of replays in what was the worst Monday Night Football game in 30 years and perhaps ever since Rock Island beat Decatur in 1921.
The Monday game has lost its luster — any remaining suspicions it still counted as a marquee game was erased sometime between Brett Kern's seventh punt and Mark Sanchez's fourth interception — and yet it's still a national event.
And Monday's display of smack-head football was a perfect lead-in to the holidays. The Titans so woefully impersonated a professional football team, it compels us to apologize to the rest of the country, like the first time your significant other has to sit down to turkey dinner with Racist Uncle Eldridge.
It's awful. We know it. We're sorry. We've been eating this turkey all year.
But because the Mayans never believed the world was going to end today in the first place. The Mayan calendar under consideration just rolled over like an odometer. And just like your car doesn't cease to exist when you roll the odometer over, neither does the world when the Mayan calendar begins again.
The long count calendar, which is the source of all the hubbub is flipping to the next Baktun tomorrow. Todays date is baktun 12 katun 19 tun 19 uinal 17 kin 19. Tomorrow will be 126.96.36.199.0 — leap years don’t come into it. It runs like an odometer on a base 20 system except for the uinal which is base 18 (whats that all about anyway?…)
But even this is not the end as the Baktun wont flip to zero till the end of the Piktun, which happens on October 13, 4772. At that point it will be 188.8.131.52.0.0
So, happy new Baktun, make the most out of it. But it is just the 13th Baktun of a long cycle.
So, if the Mayans didn't believe today was the Mayan Apocalypse, just where did we get the idea that the end of the world was coming today?
Turns out it comes from the son of a gal who used to date Jack Kerouac — Daniel Pitchbeck. Partially inspired — and you're going to be COMPLETELY unsurprised by this next part — by his use of hallucinogenics and the great "revelations" they gave him, Pinchbeck apparently became convinced that this was the day of Mayan doom. You can learn all about it in his book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. A clue that the book wasn't going to be a fount of historical accuracy is that Quetzalcoatl is an Aztec god, not a Mayan one — their feathered snake god was either Qucumatz or Kukulkan. And yes, from the outside, it's easy enough to say that one snake god with feathers from Central America must be the same as another. But that's like saying God, Zeus, and Santa Claus are all the same god because they have big white bushy beards and are popular in Europe.
If you wouldn't trust the a prediction about the end of the world made by a guy who decided "Eh, Santa? Zeus? Same difference," you shouldn't trust a prediction by a guy who's not making any distinctions between Quetzalcoatl and Qucumatz.
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