From The Tennessean there's this story about Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long complaining because our meth problem is out of control and the state legislature won't make pseudoephedrine prescription-only:
The meth users are winning, police say.
They’ve beaten new restrictions on how much pseudoephedrine — a main ingredient in methamphetamine — they’re allowed to buy, despite a computer system designed to stop bulk sales. A bill in the legislature that would have made pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug was killed yet again for another year. And funding to clean up meth labs across the state is set to run out at the end of this year.
But here's what irritates me. If we admit that restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales have made no difference, then why is this in the story: "As an alternative, Shipley has filed a bill that would further limit quantities of pseudoephedrine that can be sold to consumers to 7.2 grams per month or about 240 pills"?
If we know that our efforts to limit sales have done nothing good — and in fact have created a whole new class of criminal, in the smurfers who buy the drugs for the manufacturers — why the hell would we further limit sales?
Well, it gives me an idea for how we should deal with Georgia yet again throwing a fit about our border. Now they're demanding either a thin strip of land be transferred to them so they can have water from the Tennessee River, or else they want everything south of the 35th parallel.
Georgia lawmakers have approved a resolution seeking to redraw the state line with Tennessee in hopes of gaining access to water from the Tennessee River.
The Georgia Senate voted 48-2 on Monday for the legislation that asks for the transfer of a thin strip of land leading to the river southwest of Chattanooga.
Supporters of the resolution say the 35th parallel was the intended state line nearly 200 years ago, but a flawed 1818 survey wrongly put the border farther south of the Tennessee River.
Well, now we know what they're gunning for. So, let's take a page from Memphis' book and preemptively move the river. I propose we dig a channel right at the Pryor Cemetery and reroute the river down the Sequatchie, where it would rejoin the traditional river safely north of Alabama.
And out of the greedy sight of Georgia.
The Tennessean continues its look at how DCS runs and the story in Sunday's paper is among the most upsetting of the series.
Susan Randolph was shot and her husband killed after the father of a girl DCS had temporarily placed with them came to their house to murder the girl (which he did). Randolph sued the state for negligence in the shootings and won, and then the state attempted to keep the judgment a secret. When you hear all the ways DCS screwed up, you can't blame the state for not wanting anyone to know:
The judgment documents a series of missteps by DCS, which had asked the Randolphs to take in a neighbor’s daughter for the weekend until the agency could investigate accusations of child abuse against her father.
The judgment found DCS never warned the Randolphs that Chris Milburn was accused of severe sexual and physical abuse or that he could be violent. It found that a DCS caseworker didn’t follow agency policies and that she backdated her signature of necessary paperwork after the murders. And it found that DCS never gave the couple any instructions on what to do if Milburn insisted on seeing his daughter.
From the City Papercomes this report of the indictment of Elizabeth Garner:
According to Murfreesboro Police Department records, in February while Garner was staying at the 12-year-old boy’s home, he got up in the night to go to the bathroom, and Garner followed him into the bathroom. Garner allegedly asked the boy if he’d ever been with a woman and grabbed his penis from the outside of his pants, before attempting to take his shorts off and stating that she wanted to perform a sex act on him.
Garner told police that she was drunk that night and got the boy “confused” with a man who was also at the home at that time.
As reported, Garner's excuse rings false, as it seems unlikely that there are a lot of straight men her own age that she could reasonably ask if they'd ever been with a woman and think they wouldn't take it as an insult. Just try to imagine it. You're a roughly 40-year-old dude, a woman takes your penis in her hand — and then she asks if you've ever been with a woman. You're going to think she's either insinuating that you're gay or implying you look hopelessly inexperienced. It's just not the kind of line that works on a man her age.
But it is the kind of line child molesters like. Molesters often seem to believe that they're doing their victims a favor by initiating them into sex. But it's also pretty easy to see the fucked-up nature of that — since the seeming thrill for the molester is that he or she is doing things to the child that the child has no context for and no other experiences to bring to bear.
It's often difficult for male victims of female perpetrators to get justice. A huge segment of our society frames it as a great conquest for the child, since he had the sexual attentions of a hot older woman. So sometimes even getting authorities to recognize that there's been a real crime with a genuine victim is difficult.
Good to see that the Rutherford County authorities took these accusations seriously enough to convene a grand jury.
Over at the Nashville Post, William Williams has a really interesting story about the future of the warehouses on Charlotte Avenue right before 440. I drive by them every day and they are really striking. And, yes, empty.
But something is in the works:
Holladay and Cassidy Turley principal Ronnie Wenzler — known for having teamed on the local Sawtooth Building and BowTruss Building projects — will call the adaptive reuse development The Sheds on Charlotte. Located at 2200 Charlotte Avenue, the 1940s-built row of corrugated metal sheds will be transformed into a light-filled office and retail complex linked with courtyards and offering free surface parking. Nashville-based Tuck-Hinton Architects will handle design work.
This is great news (with a bit of bad news attached — the TDOT building isn't structurally sound and can't be salvaged). That part of Charlotte is prime for development. It's very convenient to downtown and there's already been a lot of stuff happening on Charlotte closer to downtown. Plus the Richland Park area along Charlotte, which had been trying for quite a while to congeal into something, has finally started attracting new businesses that complement the funky stuff that was already there. And the new connector makes it super convenient to get from Charlotte to West End and opens up a lot of space that previously was just an industrial wasteland.
So, it's good to see people looking to fill that space with interesting projects that also try to respect the history of the area. And frankly, I think the concept art for the warehouses looks beautiful. The old purpose of the buildings is still obvious, and they're transformed into open, light, airy spaces. We get to keep historical structures and we get to give them a modern purpose. It's really great.
Regardless of your feelings on traditional marriage, I think we can all agree that, if your goal is to "celebrate traditional marriage within the State of Tennessee," you have already failed when you designate the day you want to hold such a celebration as “ido4life Traditional Marriage Day.”
It took me a good five minutes of just staring at SJR0134 to figure out that "ido4life" is not a typo and not pronounced "eye doe four life." Is the best traditional marriage can inspire in people a terrible Twitter hashtag? I have to say, maybe it makes me an old fogey, but I don't think it's appropriate to enshrine the use of "4" for "for" into legislative resolutions. It makes it look like we're letting people write our laws in text messages.
Yes, back in my day, men married women and we walked uphill both ways in the snow to go to school. But if we'd written "4" for "for" or failed to capitalize the pronoun "I," we'd flunk English. You want to celebrate traditional marriage, celebrate it with some goddamn traditional spelling.
Sen. Jack Johnson, you sponsored this resolution. You have a B.S. in education. Shame on you.
Way down at the bottom of this AP story about the ongoing cost of all our wars is this interesting tidbit, "The Civil War payments are going to two children of veterans — one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee — each for $876 per year."
I can't decide if it's more shocking that there are still kids of Civil War veterans who are alive or that our country doesn't die of shame only giving them $876 a year. The AP story explains, "Children under the age of 18 can also qualify, and those benefits are extended for a lifetime if the person is permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18." So: Something happened to these kids before they were 18 that resulted in them not being able to support themselves ... and we give them $876 a year.
Now, granted, back in 1865, that was the equivalent of $10,000-$12,000, which would be a nice little chunk of change to help offset the fact that these kids couldn't support themselves. But now? I guess it's better than nothing. But not by much.
It's really cool to know that we have children of Civil War veterans still alive. According to this Knoxville News Sentinel story from 2010, at that time we had six such people: "Tennessee boasts four Confederate sons — two in the Knoxville area, including Brown — along with a Union son and daughter." And it's a good reminder of just how young we are as a country. People whose fathers fought in the Civil War are still alive. It wasn't that long ago.
The Glass Mounds are important because they're some of the largest remaining traces of the Woodland people who lived in Tennessee 2,000 years ago. These particular mounds date to between 200 and 500 A.D., and the cooperating organizations were hoping to show that aside from some damage done by earlier excavations, the mounds are intact. The good news is that this is the case.
Aaron Deter-Wolf, from the state, showed the small crowd how you could see a clear difference in the soil from where the top layers had been farmed and eroded and the actual structure of the mound, made up of wavy layers of baskets full of dirt. Most of us are more familiar with the later Mississippian culture with their stone box graves. But these Woodland people were a full millennium earlier. So, no stone box graves, no great ceremonial complexes. But the scant information we have on them suggests some cool stuff about the history of the area.
Would it be inappropriate to send a condolence card to our state attorney general, Robert Cooper? After all, it's his job to examine all the ridiculous bills our state legislators want to pass and tell them whether they're going to get shot down by a court.
On Thursday, Cooper announced that the Anti-All-Comers Bill that was designed to strip Vanderbilt of its police force was just as unconstitutional as the anti-all-comers bill Haslam had to veto last year:
The constitutional infirmity of SB1241 is not cured by the fact that it withdraws the police power from private universities that exercise their right to free association rather than simply banning, outright, the exercise of that constitutional right. It is well established that the State may not condition continued receipt of a valuable state benefit (here, the exercise of the State’s police power to commission and maintain a police force) on a private institution’s compliance with an unconstitutional condition. Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc., 547 U.S. 47, 59-60 (2006); L.L. Nelson Enterprises v. County of St. Louis, Missouri, 673 F.3d 799, 805-06 (8th Cir. 2012). Because SB1241 arguably imposes an unconstitutional condition, it is facially constitutionally suspect.
Cooper reasons that while the state does have the right to decide which universities have police forces, it "cannot assert that interest through an unrelated requirement that a private university abandon its right of free association." In other words, the state can't use the threat of Vanderbilt losing its police force as a back-door means of violating the university's free-association right.
I was reading Pierce Greenberg's story in The City Paper about Alex Friedmann, who is battling CCA in court for access to prison records — the same kinds of records a prison run by the state would have to disclose. I had no idea this was an issue — that private prisons would argue that they don't have to meet the same disclosure standards as public prisons. But look here:
The Court of Appeals ruled in Friedmann’s favor for a second time two weeks ago — affirming a Chancery Court ruling that ordered CCA to give Friedmann settlement agreements stemming from legal complaints against the company. CCA attempted to argue that the documents were protected “attorney work product.”
But Friedmann expects CCA — which brought in $436.9 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012 — will continue the court fight.
The whole interview with Friedmann is really fascinating and it's worth your time to read. But this immediately made me wonder if we could run into similar problems with other private entities providing public services. Charter schools, for instance. If they're not quite public, are they bound by the same rules as public schools for making information available to the media and interested tax payers? If CCA manages to eventually convince some appeals court that they can provide public services while enjoying a private company's opaqueness, the implications go beyond not being able to learn what's going on in our prisons.
Unclesam, I remember my peers laughing at the Hollywood and other out-of-state depictions of Tennesseans…
It amazing that people think we are the manifestation of Lil Abner, Ma and Pa…
While Goad was in Nashville, I was in Atlanta and didn't see anything much but…
@AnglRdr: You only pay attention when it suits you so I'll repeat a previous rant:…
I just love the irony of Betsy criticizing another writer for writing something allegedly ridiculous…