Sen. Lamar Alexander, meanwhile, declined in a television interview to associate divisive politics with the shootings. Asked to comment on CNN on Sunday, Alexander said: “Of course, we want civility instead of incivility, and of course we don’t want violence. But I think in all the talk about this, we have to be very careful about impugning the motives or actions of a deranged individual to any particular group of Americans who have their own political beliefs. ...
“I think obviously, we’re much better off in our country if we peaceably assemble, treat each other with respect, show courtesy and condemn people who go over the line and particularly those who do it violently as this individual did yesterday.”
Alexander also said that from what he'd heard of Loughner, he didn't fit the profile of a Tea Party affiliate. But just in case that wasn't clear, Woods reports that Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips sent a memo urging supporters to swat back any blame that comes their way:
There's been a counterstrike in the War on Christmas, as Jeff Woods reports in the CP:
A state government anti-terrorism agency placed the Tennessee ACLU on a map of “terrorism events and other suspicious activity” for sending a letter warning public schools not to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.
The ACLU expressed outrage Tuesday over its appearance on the Tennessee Fusion Center’s map, saying it “raises the specter that the government is once again tracking innocent Americans.”
“It is deeply disturbing that Tennessee’s fusion center is tracking First Amendment-protected activity,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-Tennessee’s executive director. “Equating a group’s attempts to protect religious freedom in Tennessee with suspicious activity related to terrorism is outrageous. Religious freedom is a founding principle in our Constitution — not fodder for overzealous law enforcement.”
An honest mistake? Somebody's idea of a joke? Read the entire piece, which includes this curious exchange:
In today's Scene, Jeff Woods reports that some Democrats find the state party in such disarray that the only thing capable of speeding its recovery is a major housecleaning. One excerpt:
"It was just a Republican year," says Doug Horne, another former party chair, in an explanation that sounds like a Little Leaguer describing why the other team wanted it more. Yet his fatalism is a common refrain among the Tennessee Democrats who presided over November's iceberg-ramming. Shrugging their shoulders, they blame President Obama's unpopularity and those crazy, unpredictable political winds, and let it go at that.
"There's a lot of defensiveness," one disgusted Democrat says. "There were enough people there whose fingerprints are all over where we are, and they're still trying to defend themselves. They say this was all Obama. This is something we had no control over. That's bullshit.
"Of course, it's true to an extent. We could all go back to Harry Truman and say that's what started it. When he said he was for civil rights, that was the beginning of the end. But it's kind of hopeless to be saying that's what it's all about."
GIBBS: Before I take your questions, we're going to hear from our Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, to give you all an update on the flooding in Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as the storms that we all saw last evening in Oklahoma.
FUGATE: Thank you. Good afternoon, everybody. The last couple weeks we've seen a lot of severe weather moving through the southeast Atlantic states and Gulf Coast areas, including now central parts of the U.S. Yesterday, as many of you know, we had a rather significant tornado outbreak across Tennessee going into Arkansas — right now, reported five fatalities, numerous injuries. And we have been in contact with the state team there since last night.
We already had a presence in Oklahoma from previous disasters, so we're working with Albert Ashwood, the State Emergency Management director, and his team there requesting that we conduct joint damage assessments with state for both impact to survivors as well as government.
Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Division at the National Center on Atmospheric Research, explained the phenomenon this way: A warmer climate means warmer oceans and moister air, which in turn intensifies storms. "Global warming contributes to higher air and sea temperatures," he said, "as a result you get increased moisture in the atmosphere and more intense rainfall events." He pointed to governmental data showing a 20 percent increase in heavy precipitation in the past 50 years throughout the Southeastern region of America.
To Little, this makes Nashville more than just another heartbreaking scene of destruction. We're a disaster with a purpose.
The city of Nashville is not just a federal disaster area, it is a federal opportunity. As we pump floodwaters from our submerged streets, we must also devise sweeping strategies to reduce our climate impact and create green jobs. Nashville can do more than recover from this tragedy — we can become a stronghold of new, green innovation.
That will do more than prevent further disaster, it will create jobs, strengthen our economy — as a city, state and country — and build our national morale.
Remember those scenes in Batman where no one could wear make-up because Jack Nicholson had poisoned it? We’ll look like that for a few days.
The tent city homeless encampment (pop. 140) was wiped out by the rain-swollen Cumberland River. Police say they tried to evacuate the residents, but some officials are worried that not all managed to escape to higher ground.
“I am concerned,” says Mike Turner, a Nashville fire captain and state representative. “What happened to them? Where did they go? All their tents and their encampments are gone. We may see some bodies floating up. Who knows?”
It took a little coaxing to get Lynn going. "I don’t like being in the Scene. I really, really, really don't. Do we have to?" she asked, objecting to Pith's allusion to Mothra and Godzilla in one of our recent post's on this topic.
"Which one are you, Mothra or Godzilla?" we asked her.
"Do you have to ask? I’m Mothra. I mean, c’mon."
We guess that makes Beavers the giant reptile with the blow-torch breath. Anyway, once Lynn started talking, she went on almost nonstop for nearly an hour, detailing a long list of sins and slights committed against her by her nemesis. Some of the tawdrier stories were off the record, so we can’t share them with you. You don't want to know. Trust us. Even if we could, we couldn't. This may come as a surprise, but Pith enjoys no immunity from libel actions.
"I've had hell to pay," Lynn said. Read all about it.
The national media ventured into the wilds of West Tennessee for yet another article about Stephen Fincher, the godsend of Washington Republican flacks because he's a gospel singing farmer from a town named Frog Jump who has raised $1 million to run for Congress. No big-city political writer can resist a Frog Jump, Tenn., dateline.
Rather than producing the usual fawning over Fincher--oh what a fabulous thing it is to behold this backwoods Man of the People who is adored by all Republican flacks--the Washington Post's Amy Gardner actually did a decent job. Here's the CliffsNotes version of her story: Fincher can win if he unites the far-right loons. (Looking around, Gardner concludes there are many of them in West Tennessee.) But there's another freak in the race (somebody named Donn Janes) who might splinter the vote. Plus, Fincher's got this little problem--namely, he has taken $2.5 million in farm subsidies from the socialist federal government.
The Obama administration insists politics will play no part in the Race to the Top competition. But that's not stopping other states from making that claim after little, unimportant Tennessee and Delaware became the only winners in the contest's first round.
Some say Tennessee and Delaware won because the administration is trying to help Democrats in both states win statewide 2010 elections--Mike McWherter in the governor's race in our case.
But more interesting--and more likely--is the Education Week speculation that the administration is courting swing votes for its effort to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del . . . are the ranking minority members in the subcommittees in their respective chambers dealing with K-12 policy, and both are considered leading moderate voices on education who have worked well with Democrats in the past. In fact, in an interview with the Washington Post's David Broder, Secretary Duncan singled out Alexander and Castle as the two Republicans who had offered ideas that were incorporated into the administration's ESEA blueprint.
So if this is true, it wasn't Gov. Phil Bredesen and state lawmakers who won $500 million for Tennessee. It was Alexander. Who knew? According to Bredesen, Tennessee would have lost if politics were a consideration. Cue the video:
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