Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two Years Ago Today: The Nashville Flood

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 1:38 PM

McGinnis Drive in Inglewood, two years ago
It's not exactly an anniversary that makes us want to celebrate, but the Nashville Flood began two years ago today.

We're guessing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service aren't in a partying mood either. As Philip Nannie reported yesterday at Nashville Post, the two U.S. government agencies are the targets of a lawsuit filed by Gaylord Entertainment and manufacturer A.O. Smith:

“It is a simple fact that we incurred millions of dollars in damages because the Corps released so much water into the Cumberland River that it rose above the 100-year flood plain,” said Brian Abrahamson, Gaylord’s vice president of corporate communications, in a statement.

Abrahamson reiterated statements Gaylord officials had made in prior days to local media and said the hotel conglomerate had a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders to try to recover the losses sustained by the alleged negligence. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service — as agencies of the U.S. Government — are named as accused in Monday's complaint. The nearly 60-page delineation of the many facets of this case makes the argument that the actions of the Corps and the Weather Service made matters worse than the rains alone.

Read the full story here.

Meanwhile, at the City Paper, Pierce Greenberg looks at the lingering effects of the flood two years later.

And speaking of the flood, Hands On Nashville is continuing programs for post-flood recovery. The contents of the press release, after the jump:

Continue reading »

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

No, It's Not an Acid Flashback — It's PETA Protesting the Ringling Bros. Circus

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 5:15 AM

The Pink Floyd Animals Tour
  • The Pink Floyd Animals Tour
If you're walking down Lower Broad today at noon and you think you're having an acid flashback to the 1977 Pink Floyd Animals Tour, fear not — it's just PETA protesting the arrival of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which pulls into Nashville for a four-day stand starting today.

Last time I blogged on this subject, I was practically run out of town on a rail. (To the guy who said he knew grade-school kids who write better than me: Please have them send their résumés to

Anyway, the PETA protest starts at noon today on the corner of Fifth and Broadway.

Here's more info from the press release:

An inflatable elephant. Note the difference.
  • An inflatable elephant. Note the difference.

Protesters Draw Attention to Ringling's Violent Treatment of Baby Elephants

What: A giant inflatable elephant will lead PETA members in a protest against the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Thursday. The protesters will display signs that read, "This Is Ringling Baby-Elephant Training," alongside banners emblazoned with compelling photos taken inside Ringling's training center. The photos expose how baby elephants used by Ringling are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods. These abusive sessions go on for several hours a day in order to force the baby elephants to learn to perform circus tricks out of fear of punishment.

"Nashville residents would run screaming from the big top if they knew how baby elephants are violently forced to perform difficult, confusing, and sometimes painful tricks," says PETA Director Delcianna Winders. "We're telling parents that if their kids love animals, the last place they should take them is the circus."

Where: Bridgestone Arena, southeast corner of Fifth Avenue S. and Broadway, Nashville

When: Thursday, January 26, 12 noon

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Monday, January 16, 2012

'Two Kings': A Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 at 4:45 AM

Martin Luther King Jr. Day seems a fitting time to post the new video for "Two Kings," a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley, sung by country star Pam Tillis and rising R&B singer Kris Thomas. The video was shot in Memphis by Nashville's own Molly Secours.

Read the story behind the song at The Boot.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

WWJD, Hanukkah Edition

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM

The Tennessean ran an interesting opinion piece today by Rabbi Mark Schiftan, from The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom, pondering what Jesus would be doing during Hanukkah. Of course, being that he was Jewish, he was likely celebrating Hanukkah.

But Schiftan's larger point is the celebration of religious diversity and tolerance:

Ours is a city, and a state, and a nation, composed of Christians and Jews, of Buddhists and Hindus, of Muslims and Bahai, and even of those of no faith tradition or belief.

What would Jesus, the Jew, do? He would treasure the Divine image he believed was contained in every human soul, and value the freedom of religious expression, which he fought for in his day, as well.

And that is perhaps the greatest gift of the holiday season, whether that gift is to be found under the tree, or under the menorah, or anywhere under the heavens. At this season, it is that gift that matters most.

Commenter Shelby Vaughn, obviously feeling the holiday spirit and in the mood to celebrate Jesus' message of love and tolerance, offered this observation:

Well we'll never know what Jesus the Jew would do because he was betrayed and crucified by his own.

With all the different news outlets and their varying agendas, it's a challenge to get to the bottom of the events of the last week. So I am quite moved by Vaughn's undying certainty in the veracity of a history written by people who weren't even there, and had their own agendas.

Since so many folks have a dog in this fight, I thought I'd look to the ultimate source for truth: The Straight Dope — "Fighting ignorance since 1973 (it's taking longer than we thought)." After all, if it's on the the Internet, it must be true. But seriously, the site has a very thoughtful, thorough piece on the topic (so thorough that I haven't had time to read it all, being deadline day and all). But here's an excerpt that eloquently states the case:

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gretchen Peters Writes About Her Transgender Child on HuffPo

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Gretchen Peters
  • Gretchen Peters
Gretchen Peters is no stranger to Nashville music fans — her song "Independence Day" was recorded by Martina McBride in 1995, earned a Grammy nomination and won the Country Music Association Song of the Year award. Since then, her songs have been recorded by Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Neil Diamond, George Strait and Etta James, to name a few. Besides that, she's a talented performer in her own right, and has released several well-received solo albums.

She's also got a great gift for the written word, as evidenced by this very frank, touching and heartfelt story she wrote for Huffington Post about what it's like to learn that your child is transgendered.

Here's an excerpt:

I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I thought about my struggle to own my identity as an artist in the world. I thought about my son's struggle to stand up and be seen for who he is. So many people prefer you to assume a role that makes them comfortable. But life is not about making other people comfortable. This idea seeped into the songs that were coming out of me — the old adage, "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." I wanted to say what seemed unsayable. That life is tough, heartbreaking, unfair — and short. And that there is unspeakable beauty to be found. My son unknowingly gave me a tremendous gift last year when he bravely shared his truth with me. He gave me the courage to share mine.

Read the whole thing here.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Help Filmmakers Molly Secours and Michael Lacy Finish House of Alchemy

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 8:18 AM

If you're a longtime Pith reader, you're probably familiar with local filmmaker/writer/activist Molly Secours, whose bout with uterine cancer nearly led to foreclosure on her home.

Secours, who could find a silver lining in pretty much any dark cloud you could throw at her, has found that her great misfortunes have been the seed for even greater strength and inspiration. And now, along with filmmaker Michael Lacy, Secours is working on a movie, House of Alchemy, to demonstrate — as she put it in a 2010 TedxNashville talk — "how the worst thing that has ever happened to you can turn out to be gold." In the film, she interviews several people who've been through unimaginable horrors, and who have managed to turn their suffering into gold.

Secours and Lacy have started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds, and they've still got a ways to go to reach their $25,000 goal with just six days left.

For those of you who've always thought, "I want to get into the movies," well now's your chance!

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

SlutWalk Slide Show — And Proof Why Events Like a SlutWalk Are Necessary

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Last week's Scene featured Jo-Jo Jackson's story about the Oct. 2 SlutWalk in Centennial Park, part of a nationwide movement in reaction to a Toronto police officer's comment that if women stopped dressing like sluts, they wouldn't get victimized.

The Nashville event had a great turnout, several hundred strong, and photographer Jim DeMain took some fabulous photos, which you can see here.

Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "Why did we even need a SlutWalk event? Isn't it obvious that in cases of sexual assault, the problem is with the perpetrator and not the victim?"

Well, you would think so, right? But as some of the comments on Jackson's story revealed, there are more than a few Scene readers who on some level agree with the Toronto cop. Frankly, we were a little mortified. I'm starting to think the SlutWalk might need to be an annual event. Read a few of these comments and see if you agree:

"Stupid argument. Suggestive clothing does invite sexual advances. Everyone knows that, and it is not a new concept."

"If women dressed in Mother Hubbards I would think the number of rape would go down. It's evident there are a certain number of men with few constraints when it comes to the opposite sex and women in slutty clothes, to these men, would have the same effect as holding a taco under the nose of a starving man. A starving man is going to take a bite."

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Divine Revelation? A UFO? — The Latest Installment of 'Adventures on I-40'

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Visitors from another planet? Divine revelation that can be photographed with an iPhone?
  • Visitors from another planet? Divine revelation that can be photographed with an iPhone?
As I drove to work today, bleary-eyed, forlorn ... heck, fivelorn ... I had a vision. The sky parted, and a spacecraft appeared. Intelligent life from another planet? The hand of our creator reaching out to me? Did anyone else see it? Or am I some sort of chosen one?

I'm not sure what it was, brothers and sisters, but on the side of this craft were these letters: PROPHECIESDECODED.COM. Is it same ancient language? Aramaic? Some sort cryptic code from another planet?

Hmmm ... PR ... OPH ... ECIES ... DECO ... naw that's not getting anywhere.

Let's see ... PRO ... PHECIES ... aww, let's not even head in that direction.

Hmmm. I know I've seen this .COM thing somewhere.

If I figure it out I'll get back to you.

If they are from another galaxy, I feel I must warn you — these alien life forms have infiltrated the Internet.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

USMC Sgt. Winston Fiore Brings Smile Trek Through Middle Tennessee

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM

  • Photo: Rotary Club of Malibu
USMC Sgt. Winston Fiore will be trekking 5,000 miles across Asia starting later this month, a personal walkathon (perhaps hike-a-thon would be more appropriate) to raise money for facial reconstruction surgery for children in developing countries.

Currently, he's traveling across the states on his motorcycle, speaking at Rotary Clubs and civic organizations, and he's in the Nashville area today. We got the details a little late in the game — he spoke to the Dickson Rotary Club this morning, and he'll be addressing the Madison-Goodlettsville Rotary at noon today, at Ryan's (formerly Hometown Buffet), 2151 Gallatin Pike.

But even if you can't make it to the luncheon today, you can learn about the cause (and donate!) at his Smile Trek website. And you can learn more about the charity he's raising money for, International Children's Surgical Foundation, here.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tonight at The Temple: 'Keeping Israel Safe, Jewish and a Democracy: The Two-State Answer'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Contrary to popular belief, not all Zionists oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. In fact, many ardent supporters of Israel believe that a two-state solution is the only way to secure Israel's future.

Tonight at 7 p.m., Congregation Ohabai Shalom (aka "The Temple"), hosts Martin I. Bresler, chair of Americans for Peace Now, a Zionist organization that advocates for a two-state solution. The Temple is at 5015 Harding Road. The event is free and open to the public.

From the press release:

Martin I. Bresler is currently the Chair of Americans for Peace Now, a Zionist organization that has for three decades been dedicated to the proposition that the long term best interests of the State of Israel are achievable only through the creation of two states living side by side in peace and security.

Martin has lived in New York City all his life. He earned a business degree from City College of New York (Baruch School) and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He was a corporate lawyer for almost forty years, the last sixteen as a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

He has been active on the American Jewish Committee, serving as President of the New York Chapter (1990-1994); as a member of the National Board of Governors (1990-date), as a National Vice President (2001-2002) and on many committees and boards. He has traveled to Israel perhaps twenty times since his first visit there in 1957, both on organizational business and to visit with his many family members living there.

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