Yesterday marked the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Thousands of activists flooded our nation's capitol, some marching in protest of abortion, others marching in order to preserve the right to it. It's difficult for anyone who is part of a generation born after this landmark decision — myself included — to imagine not having access to safe abortion. Knowing that it was a legally guaranteed option gave me peace of mind, should I ever be faced with that difficult decision.
Imagination aside, over the past few years, we have seen the reality of what happens to women when their elected officials pass legislature that restricts their ability to access an abortion procedure. We've seen what happens when four states — Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — only have one abortion-providing facility within their borders, or when another state enacts a 72-hour waiting period that adds additional expense, stress and time to an already stressful circumstance. Regardless of which state you live in, we're in a state of crisis.
The abortion argument continues to intensify on a national level. On Wednesday, House Republicans saw their Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — a bill sponsored by our very own Rep. Marsha Blackburn that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy — faceplant due to protest from female GOP lawmakers, highlighting a growing rift in the party. Amid the many concerns with this bill is the mandate that a rape victim could only receive an abortion after this time period if she reports the rape to police, a terrifying idea in the rape-shaming society we unfortunately still exist in. (Instead, on Thursday the House voted on a bill that would forbid federal funding for abortions. It passed.)
Locally, tensions are also rising accordingly. On January 13, the Women's March on Nashville politely stomped over the first day of the 109th General Assembly. At 10 a.m., hundreds of people gathered for a rally at the foot of the Tennessee Tower, where speakers opined on topics ranging from fair wages to abortion.
Merry Christmas to all from Pith and the Scene!
When a Kenyan socialist wins the presidential election (twice!), extreme measures are in order. Tennessee is one of at least 20 states with unhappy citizens demanding the right to secede in petitions on the White House website. Our state's petition is polite and to the point: "Peacefully grant the State of Tennessee to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."
Of the petitions, Texas has the most signatures — more than 23,000. Nearly 18,000 people have signed Tennessee's, meaning petitioners have only 7,103 signatures to go at last count before they can force the White House to respond.
While we're not glossing over the usually glossed-over specter of male sexual abuse, we are morbidly entertained by footage of this bizarre press conference concerning the alleged butt-chugging incident out of Knoxville.
University of Tennessee student Alexander P. Broughton, 20, and his bow-tied attorney lambasted the press yesterday for covering the contents of a police report, repeatedly denying that any vessel containing distilled spirits was, or ever will be, inserted into Mr. Broughton's rectum, for your information, and that his client isn't gay — not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.
Pete Doughtie, publisher of the xenophobic Rutherford Reader, is at it again.
According to the Murfreesboro Post, Doughtie printed the name, address and home phone number of reader Sara Mitchell, who had complained to the Reader's advertisers over the paper's less-than-pleasant content, including "columns from DailyRollCall.com and other sources that are critical of Islam."
Mitchell said she has seen similar material in The Reader over the years. So, on July 16, she called its biggest advertisers and told them she will not support their businesses as long as they support The Reader with advertising dollars.
She said she received a phone call from Doughtie at 7:30 p.m. July 16.
“He threatened a lawsuit because he says you can't just go around calling anything hate speech,” she said, adding Doughtie then asked her where she works and said "I know where you live."
The next night someone egged her husband’s car. Since then, she has received threatening phone calls from various people.
One came at 12:50 in the morning, July 19. A woman, who called herself “Marjorie Smith,” asked Mitchell why she was threatening Smith’s friend.
Another call at 10:30 the same night was from a man, calling himself “Mohammed,” who said “thank you for your support. Thank you for sucking my big, fat c***.”
If the situation sounds familiar, that's because it mirrors the plight of Smryna resident Anthony Mijares, who launched a successful campaign to steer advertisers away from The Reader over its anti-Muslim contentand found himself drawing Doughtie's ire, as chronicled in a Sept. 29, 2011, Scene cover story.
The National Resources Defense Council has released its second annual list of the "Toxic 20," aka the worst states for toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants. According to the list, Tennessee is the nation's 11th worst offender.
In a press release sent out this afternoon, the NRDC ranked the Volunteer State "11th in industrial toxic air pollution in 2010, emitting more than 9.6 million pounds of harmful chemicals, which accounted for 37 percent of state pollution and about 3 percent of toxic pollution from all U.S. power plants."
The report (found here) used data from the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory, a compilation of toxic emissions data as reported to the federal agency by offending industries. It also found that Tennessee ranks 21st among states with the worst levels of mercury air pollution from industrial sources, citing 1,250 pounds of the toxic substance released into the air in 2010.
Kentucky ranked number one as the worst polluter. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas round out the top 10.
The release made special note of Sen. Lamar Alexander's opposition to efforts to repeal national air and mercury standards set in place by the Obama Administration — standards that would reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants from 34 tons annually to 7 tons by 2015, and all but wipe out emissions of hydrochloric acid. Alexander's counterpart, Sen. Bob Corker, supported efforts to repeal the standards.
The city of Lebanon has a lot to be proud of. From the headquarters of Cracker Barrel to the best damn county fair in the state, it would almost seem there's little room for further accolades hailing from this rural Tennessee town.
Well, except for their tank.
In an article on Wired's Danger Room blog, the Lebanon Police Department's LAV-150 Commando "reconnaissance vehicle" makes a list of dubious military hardware purchases by increasingly militarized small town law enforcement agencies across the country.
In Lebanon, Tennessee, a town of less than 30,000 people, Mike Justice, the public safety coordinator, was so eager to accumulate military goods that he used to wake up at 3:00 a.m. so he was the first person logged in at the government’s first-come, first-serve online store. Thanks to his sleepless nights, since 2007, Lebanon has collected $4 million worth of stuff, including tanks, weapons and heavy equipment like bulldozers and truck loaders. Lebanon’s tank, an LAV 150, has been used only “five or six times,” according to Justice. Although it did help save a man who tried to commit suicide, spotting him with the tank’s infrared camera.
Pith wonders if it's cheaper to purchase an infrafred camera without the accompanying tank, or if it's a package deal they force you to sign on the lot.
After months of legal wrangling and hyperbolic rhetoric, a Rutherford County chancery court judge has approved the construction of the controversial Murfreesboro mosque that has inflamed conservatives wary of domestic-based jihadist training camps. The conservative anti-Muslim backlash led to much in the way of national derision.
In an order filed today, Judge Robert Corlew permitted construction to continue on the site of the planned 6,800-square-foot Islamic center, despite also ruling that the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission violated the Tennessee Open Meetings Act on grounds that insufficient notice was given in advance of public hearings on the proposal.
The suburban mosque first came under fire two years ago, around the same time as the uproar over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York City. Opponents tried to draw connections between the Murfreesboro mosque and terrorism, and argued Islam is not a constitutionally protected religion.
The judge threw out that argument, but voided the county’s approval of the mosque under the state’s Open Meetings Act. The order out today (pdf) includes a footnote, saying it does not mean construction has to stop. It says such an order would have to be taken up separately. Meanwhile, the mosque’s first phase of construction is set to finish in July.
The ruling effectively swats down the intention of plaintiff Kevin Fisher, a columnist for the anti-Islamic Rutherford Reader, to halt construction on the mosque under order of an injunction.
"The plaintiffs propose that the Court enter an injunction against the Court, mandatory in nature, directing the County officials and third parties to cease construction [on the mosque]," wrote Corlew. "The court notes, however, that such is not now a part of this action, and, in fact should be the subject of separate matters."
Whether that means the planning process will start over again, or if Fisher and company plan to file an appeal, remains to be seen.
Doug Demosi, planning director for the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission, tells Pith that it's too early to tell what the next phase in the process will be.
"At this time, we still have to meet with our legal staff to determine what our next steps are," Demosi says.
Nashville's efforts to combat obesity will be featured in an upcoming HBO documentary highlighting nationwide efforts to battle our collective bulge.
From the press release:
Three years in the making, the series spotlights the causes of America's obesity epidemic — showing how obesity affects the health of the nation and cripples the health care system, and shedding light on solutions to restore our individual and collective health.
The efforts of Mayor Dean to address the obesity epidemic in Nashville, including his highly-successful "Walk 100 Miles with the Mayor" campaign, are featured in Part 4 of the film series. In addition, Nashville was the only city to be the subject of one of the 12 bonus short films produced for the series.
Bringing together the nation's leading research institutions, THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION is a presentation of HBO Documentary Films and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. The film series comprises four documentary films that will premiere on HBO on May 14 and 15, a three part "The Weight Of The Nation For Kids series" including one airing May 16, 12 bonus shorts, a social media campaign, a book published by St. Martin's Press and a nationwide community based outreach campaign to support the initiative.
TCAP will host a Nashville premiere for a screening of the Nashville portion of the series, as well as a Music City-centric short film titled “Nashville Takes Action: A City Battles Obesity," on April 16. Attendees will also get a chance to speak with the Nashvillians depicted in the documentary after the screening.
The documentary arrives on the heels of a 2012 Gallup-Healthways poll that reveals Tennessee's well-being index remains in the bottom 10 in the nation. According to the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control, the vast majority of Tennessee counties (Davidson included) maxed out on an age adjusted scale for percentage of obese adults.
What's so bad about making sure that people who are getting checks are the people…
I really like the "Harris Media" ad placement in the center of this blog. (I'm…
The real racism is that motivation that keeps local and state governments from properly funding…
Y'all, is there NOTHING you can do about the spambots? Don't act like Bill Haslam,…
Has Rep. Durham said whether he intends to seek re-election this year?