In Kentucky, they’re dissing Judd as a potential Senate candidate against Mitch McConnell. Why? Because she’s against blowing off the tops of Kentucky’s mountains. That’s right, Judd has the audacity to oppose mountaintop removal mining (plus she’s a fan of Barack Obama!) so conventional wisdom says she’s got zero chance against McConnell. (The Louisville Courier Journal is all over this, reporting here that possibly it’s not the end for Judd, politically speaking, to hate environmentally devastating methods of coal mining.)
You won’t find any such critiques of Judd at Pith in the Wind (unless somebody else decides to write it). That’s because (a) we’re against blowing up mountains too and (b) we don’t want to scare her away.
We’ve wasted so many years following absurdities like Mark Clayton and Mike McWherter and Bob Clement that we’re practically dumbfounded when a possible candidate of Judd’s caliber comes along. We’re starving for a lively campaign with actual issues and candidates who care about things, you know, like they have in states with real democracies. Think of the fun of watching Judd chase the ancient Lamar! all over Tennessee, making him hustle to keep his job.
Could a populist liberal, even one with real star power like Judd, actually win a statewide campaign in Tennessee or Kentucky? Maybe not. But wouldn’t you love to see her try?
Lest you doubt Judd’s charisma, watch this video of her speaking out against mountaintop removal mining:
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.
An ink-stained wretch with a seismographic bullshit detector — and a brilliant political reporter who's won national honors — Woods was put on earth to make scoundrels quake and scalawags tremble, and he assures us he’ll be back in the fall. We’ll hold the fort until the cavalry returns. In the meantime, we leave you with this excerpt from this fake proclamation and fond roasting presented to Woods last weekend by the Tennessee Capitol Hill Press Corps.
Undeterred by their warm welcome, the Republicans held their signs aloft and screamed, “Occupy the White House! Fire Obama!” But after only a few minutes, they were smiling, shaking hands and chatting amiably with their fellow demonstrators at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum. The GOP club president, Stephen Siao, even was invited to address the crowd through the People’s Microphone.
“The things you are demanding are unrealistic and will do absolutely nothing but add to the burgeoning debt that’s on each of our shoulders. You should be protesting at the White House, not Wall Street or the Tennessee Capitol,” Siao said as the occupiers expressed their disapproval by lowering their hands and wiggling their fingers.
Shown live on the state’s website, it’s a PR exercise mostly aimed not at uncovering any real new information but at polishing the governor’s image as a serious and thoughtful chief executive. Haslam wears little wire-rim spectacles, strokes his chin occasionally and looks earnest as his commissioners recite their various achievements of the past year and big plans for the coming one.
Today in the wonderland that is Haslam’s mind, it was as if nothing untoward was happening, and there was no deviation from the game plan—even when Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons sat down as this year’s first presenter.
But the legislators swore in affidavits that’s all they’ve got that might interest the plaintiffs, and Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy ruled this morning that was good enough for her.
“I guess we’ll take them at their word,” said Abby Rubenfeld, attorney for Metro Council members and others who brought the lawsuit.
“I do,” the judge said.
That meant the court never heard arguments on the lawmakers’ claim that they basically are above the law and don’t have to obey subpoenas. To say the least, it was an expansive view of legislative privilege contained in the state constitution. That privilege in the past has been interpreted only to shield legislators from liability in lawsuits for statements made during debates on the House or Senate floor. But Gotto, Casada and Beavers argued they enjoy immunity for their actions outside the legislature as well, even those that are strictly political in nature.
Jeff Woods' sit-down with Gov. Bill Haslam in the CP is a must-read. If I'm reading correctly, Haslam's position is this: He thinks businesses should adopt nondiscrimination policies that include gay people, but he's going to do jack nothing at the state level that would encourage that in any way. And by the way, gays shouldn't marry, based on — what? He doesn't say, but he's got reasons.
Read the entire interview for the full context, but here are some high points:
What about gay rights? You have said you think businesses should adopt nondiscrimination policies that include gay people.
I think this. I’ve said a hundred times, I think the people who hire the best team are going to win. If you take any part of the population and say I’m not going to hire those people willfully, I don’t think that’s a really smart business plan. I think businesses should have diverse hiring practices. That’s really different, though, than having city governments tell businesses what their HR practices should be. Businesses are going to go out and hire the best people they can. ...
OK, you’re against gay marriage. Would you be against the legislature passing an anti-discrimination law that protects gay people?
What you’re asking is, why wouldn’t I add gays as a protected class? I just feel like there’s enough regulation coming down.
So you would be against adding gay people to that state law?
Probably would. That issue hasn’t come to me. But sitting here today, I probably would be. ...
Let me ask you generally about social conservative issues. A trend is developing. You are saying one thing and doing another. You do what the social conservatives want you to do, but you say things that will please everyone else.
On this gay issue, you said, ‘I’m for businesses adopting nondiscrimination polices.’ But you signed the bill.
I don’t think that’s saying one thing and doing another. If I’m running a business, I’m going to go out and hire the best people I can, period. On the other hand, I don’t know that I necessarily want the local city council telling me my HR practices. I don’t think that’s saying one thing and doing another at all.
Bless Woods for this priceless exchange:
Location: Old Hickory Boulevard and Cane Ridge Road
Size of Park: Small
Approximate Age of Patrons: My age
Topics of Conversation: "This magnolia smells so good."
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: Mine and a huge pickup truck
Perceived Safety: High
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Fine
Number of pit bulls sighted: Just mine
Accessibility: I'd be nervous about the ramp, and you have to walk on the road to get from the parking lot to the swing set
Incorporation of Local History: Not great, but some
Recommended Patrons: Community club enthusiasts and churchgoers
Teach for America executive Kevin Huffman was named Gov. Bill Haslam’s education commissioner Thursday and declined at his introductory news conference to give his opinion about the most controversial issue facing teachers in the legislature.
Asked for his view on the Republican bill to strip public school teachers of collective bargaining rights, Huffman declined to answer.
That's because his new boss intends to do all the talking on the issue, right? Woods again:
As he has done for the past two weeks, since the issue pushed the front of the legislature’s education agenda, the governor also pointedly refused to give his opinion.
“There are still some twists and turns in terms of how all that develops,” Haslam said of the collective bargaining bill. “We’re in the middle of those discussions. At the appropriate time, I think we’ll weigh in. We’re not going to throw 100 things against the wall and see what sticks. We’re going to pick a few things that we think are really important.”
It's as if the campaign never ended.
Should judges in Tennessee's highest courts face contested elections, instead of the thumbs-up-or-down votes currently in place? As Jeff Woods reports in this week's Scene, a conservative faction says yes, hoping to clamp down on jurists whose rulings on death-penalty cases and abortion rights aren't sufficiently severe. Curiously, this puts them at odds with pro-business factions, who live in fear, Woods says, of a statewide bombardment of Bart Durham-style TV ads rousing the ambulance-chasing rabble.
If the contested-elections drumbeat leads to battle and victory, Woods offers a taste of what Tennesseans can expect:
Twenty-two states now force their Supreme Court justices to run in competitive elections. That has led to an explosion in spending on judicial elections — from $83 million in 1990-99 to $206 million in 2000-09, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law.
Judicial elections have become costly wars pitting plaintiffs' lawyers and unions against businesses and conservatives. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer was quoted as saying he felt "like a hooker down by the bus station" during his campaign.
Special-interest super-spenders are dominating many contests. In 29 elections, the top five spenders gave an average of $473,000. In a notorious West Virginia case, a coal executive spent $3 million to elect a justice who later ruled in favor of his benefactor's company in his appeal of a $50 million jury verdict.
zumba is like a bad gonorreah contracted from gast, it keeps coming, and coming, and…
is anyone in here taking gast and bobs guns seriously?
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"Let's give him a third term, because he's doing so well!"
It's Hillary's turn…