Sunday, May 26, 2024

Marsha Blackburn scores as 7th most conservative Senator by CPAC, for what it's worth.

by Rod Williams, May 26, 2004- CPAC has issued their ratings of members of Congress and Tennessee's Senator Marsha Blacburn has garnered a score of 93, making her the 7th most conservative member of Congress according to the organization. That means she got the Award of Excellence, reserved for those scoring 90% or betting from CPAC. Senator Hagerty barely missed that award, scoring only an 89%.

CPAC is the Conservative Political Action Committee which was the name of the conference of the American Conservative Union, but in recent years the organization has started referring to itself as CPAC instead of ACU.  ACU/CPAC has produced a ranking of members of Congress 53 years. 

It used to be that I depended on the ACU as a guide in telling me which were the members of congress who were the most aligned with my values. Not so much, anymore. Since CPAC has gone fully Trumpinista I no longer assume that a high ranking from the organization indicates someone aligns with my values. 

I could do a deep dive and look at the list of bills included in the CPAC package of bills that determine a Senators score, however, I don't care enough to do so.  When an organization thinks attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power is a positive thing, I don't much care what else the organization has to say. 

When an organization thinks that voting against giving Ukraine the means to defend themselves against Russian aggression, is a good vote, I don't much care what else they have to say.

In the House, Tennessee's Tim Burchett, Scott Desjarlais, Mark Green, Andy Ogles, and Diana Harshbarger where recipients of the Award of Excellent for being among those with the highest CPAC ranking.  I am not impressed. 





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To Win the War against Climate Change we Need Nuclear Energy

by Rod Williams, May 26, 2024- I am firmly convinced that if activist environmentalist had less political power, we would be further along toward reducing carbon emissions. In my view, our primary approach to combating climate change has been based on fairy dust and wishful thinking. It is not that we do not need environmentalist, but we need more rational environmentalist who accept cost-benefit analysis and are more accepting of calm consideration of alternative policy positions rather those environmentalists on a spiritual quest to somehow remake man and dream of us all living in harmony with nature. Climate change deniers and radical environmentalist have been allies in defeating advances in combating climate change. 

It’s been more than 30 years since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change first warned the world that greenhouse gases were warming the planet. Decades of climate negotiations followed, culminating in the 2015 Paris Accords. Since then, we have pumped more carbon dioxide into the air than in the previous 240 years. The approach of the Paris Accords is to extract promises of future reductions. That is so easy to do. A county (or an industry) can easily promise that by 2050 they will be producing 50% less carbon emissions or be carbon free. The person making the promise knows that by that time he may be dead or retired or not in charge by 2050. That is almost the whole extent of the Paris Accords. This approach has been worthless. Yet, environmentalist remain wed to the Paris Accords. 

Another failed approach is the scam of carbon off-sets. While in theory this should make sense, it is primarily a scam and environmentalist play along. Thankfully, there are some environmentalists such as Greenpeace USA that are waking up and pushing back against the scam, but for years we have accepted the smoke and mirrors of carbon offsets as meaningful progress in combatting climate change. 

Much of environmentalist approaches have been counterproductive and actually led to greater carbon emissions. They have opposed actions generating carbon emission in America, the result of which is often that the products that could be produced here are produced in other countries where production methods and energy sources generate greater carbon emissions.

Environmentalist have opposed natural gas fracking, thus preventing natural gas availability which generates lees CO2 than the oil and coal it would have replaced. They have stopped oil refineries and pipelines which have often had the result of keeping sweet crude oil off the market in favor of dirtier oil.

Worst of all, environmentalists have been successful in stopping nuclear energy.  Renewables are simply not going to meet our energy needs. If we are going to stop the planet from warming, we need nuclear energy. 

Writing in The Atlantic, Roge' Karma says we need to again start producing nuclear energy. He examines what causes nuclear to be so expensive and how to fix it. You can read the full article at this link. Below are excerpts:

Nuclear Energy’s Bottom Line. by RogĂ© Karma, The Atlantic, May 26, 2024- ... For all the recent progress in wind and solar energy, renewables on their own almost certainly won’t be enough. Arguably, then, we have no choice but to figure out how to build nuclear plants affordably again. ... The safety risk of nuclear energy is often wildly overblown. No one died at Three Mile Island, and later studies found that it didn’t have any adverse health effects on the local community. Even including the deadly meltdowns at Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear power has most likely caused only a few hundred deaths, putting its safety record on par with wind turbines and solar panels, which occasionally catch fire or cause workers to fall. ... The claim that excessive regulation single-handedly ruined the American nuclear industry, however, doesn’t hold up.... 

Given the impracticality of nuclear energy, some environmentalists argue that we should focus on wind and solar. These technologies can’t power the entire grid today, because the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. ... The case for nuclear, then, is less about technological possibilities than it is about political realities. Nuclear can generate the same amount of power while using 1/30th as much land as solar and about 1/200th as much as wind. Reactors can be built anywhere, not just in areas with lots of natural wind and sunshine, eliminating the need for huge transmission lines and making it easier to select sites without as much local opposition.

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As housing values soar in Tenn., property tax burden starts to fall more on homeowners

 Residential property values have grown almost 50% faster than commercial or farm properties, meaning even as counties lower tax rates, homeowners pay a higher share of them ... On average, residential property owners paid 22% more in real property tax dollars last year compared with 2019, while businesses paid 5.1% more. link

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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Metro Arts director Daniel Singh agrees to Resign. Gets Paid $200,000.

by CHAR DASTON, WPLN News,  MAY 24, 2024 - Metro Arts director Daniel Singh has agreed to resign after less than two years on the job. Singh presided over a chaotic grant funding cycle where artists and arts nonprofits waited months to receive the money they were promised.

Singh’s resignation was approved by the Metro Arts Commission at a specially-called meeting on Friday. In return, he’ll receive a $200,000 settlement payment from the city government.

That settlement will prevent Singh from suing Nashville, Metro Legal Director Wally Dietz said during the meeting. link

#

The Tennessean: Metro Arts board votes to approve director's resignation settlement; new lawsuit filed link

Rod's Comment: This is good news, but it is a shame that we had to pay someone $200,00 to resign when he deserves to be fired. I am betting that this will not end the drama. For more on the drama, death threats, lawsuits, ethics complaints, resignations, controversies, disfunction, and chaos occurring at the Metro Arts Commission, follow this link

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Did Metro's denial of the Morgan Wallen sign violate the First Amendment?

 by Rod Williams, May 24, 2024- At this week's Council meeting, the Council voted to deny a sign to a new downtown bar for no other reason than they do not approve of the name of the person on the sign.

There are a whole host of bars downtown carrying the names of County artist. This bar would have been an addition to those carrying the name of Garth Brooks, John Rich, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Blake Sheldon, Alan Jackson, Kid Rock and others.

Every time a sign overhangs a public right of way, the sign has to be approved by the Metro Council by resolution. This is such a routine action that I have viewed these resolutions as a waste of time and have thought that instead of requiring legislative action, that approvals of signs overhanging the right of way should be done by an agency of Metro, as a matter of course, just like getting many other kinds of government permissions. 

The sign in question had been approved by the appropriate government agencies such as codes and the sign carried the necessary insurance. The sign resolution had the approval of the Planning Commission, the Planning and Zoning Committee, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This should have been routine. The only problem with this sign is that it carried the name of Morgan Wallen.

Morgan Wallen, a few weeks earlier, had been drunk in a downtown bar and threw a chair off of a balcony. This bad behavior should be punished and likely will be. He could have injured or possibly killed someone. He was arrested on three felony charges of reckless endangerment and is awaiting trial. However, that incident has nothing to do with approval of a sign bearing his name but that was cited as one of the reasons for not approving.

Another reason for denial was that back in 2021, he was caught using the word "nigger." Again, he was drunk, and he says he used it playfully when with friends who were all drunk and rowdy. He apologized, appeared on various news shows saying how sorry he was, and said that he had an epiphany that to use that term was harmful. He went to 72 hours of rehab and gave money to a Black music organization.  I don't know if his mea clupa was sincere or not but he did all he could do to make amends. 

I get it. Morgan Wallen has a drinking problem and may not be a very nice person. He may be a bigot. He certainly is not a role model. Then again, many Rock and County artist and certainly Rap artist are not role models. When Metro Council approves a sign, I never thought of it as an approval of the character of the person whose name is on the sign. I assumed it was to ensure that the sign was safe. 

If we start making the approval of a sign to signify approval of the organization or person whose name is one the sign, where does this end? Will the Council approve the sign of churches that perform gay marriage but disapprove the signs of churches that condemn homosexuality as a sin? What if rapper Carti B who sang about "wet ass pussy," wanted to open a bar with a sign overhanging the sidewalk. Would the Council approve the sign? If so, it that an endorsement of the lewd lyrics of her song? Or what if any number of Rap artist who have criminal records and who use the word "nigga" in their lyrics wanted to open a bar? Would approval of a sign bearing their name, imply approval of this variation of the word "nigger?" What if a gun store wanted a sign overhanging a sidewalk? Could we disapprove the sign because many in Nashville do not like guns? What if former president Trump wanted to open a hotel in Nashville? Could Nashville deny the hotel a permit because most Nashvillians do not approve of Trump?

I am not an attorney, but it sure seems to me that basing government permission to engage in advertising based on approval of the message or the messenger or the legal product is a violation of the first amendment. I wish a civil liberties organization would sue Nashville over this. I would contribute to the organization. 


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Friday, May 24, 2024

The phony outrage generated by the upside-down American flag and the Appeal to Heaven flag flown at Justice Alito's home.

by Rod Williams, May 24, 2024- Danielle Pletka, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, appeared on Meet the Press yesterday as part of the panel and passionately disputed the argument that an American flag briefly flown upside down at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's home and the Appeal to Heaven Revolutionary War era flag flown at his beach house should require him to recuse himself from any ruling on cases involving Donald Trump. Apparently, the upside-down flag was briefly flown by Alito's wife as part of a dispute with a neighbor who called Ms Alito the obscene "C-word." 

The flag incident has been seized by libs to denigrate and diminish the court and sow distrust of the institution. They have described both the upside-down flag and the Appeal to Heaven flag as symbols of the "stop the steal" movement. I consume a lot of news including conservative and Trumpist media outlets and know a lot of Trumpinistas and if the upside-down flag or the Appeal to Heaven flag were well-known symbol of the "stop the steal" movement, I somehow missed it. 

AEI is a scholarly organization and a pre-Trump mainstream conservative organization. I have watched Pletka appear on Meet the Press and other news shows many times. She is not prone to displays of disgust and emotion. She unloads, and rightly so, at the phony outrage generated by the flags controversy. Among other points she makes is that husbands are no longer responsible for the actions of their wife and that these flags are not well-known "stop the steal" symbols. 

Here is the clip. Worth watching. 

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Andy Ogles only has $100,000 Campaign Cash on hand, not the $400,000 he claimed to have.

by Rod Williams, May 24, 2024- In addition to correcting his campaign financial report to show that he only loaned his campaign $20,000, and not the $320,000 he had previously claimed, 5th District Congressman Andy Ogles' most recent financial report shows he has less than $100,000 in his campaign coffers and not $450,000 has he had previously claimed. (1)

With much less cash on hand, this should make Ogles much more vulnerable to the challenge he faces from conservative Republican Metro Council member Courtney Johnston in the Aug. 1 GOP primary. Now, would be a good time to contribute to Johnston's campaign, follow this link

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Congressman Andy Ogles admits his claims to have loaned $320,000 to his campaign was a lie.

by Rod Williams, May 24, 2024- As reported by News Channel 5, Congressman Andy Ogles admitted to falsifying claims about loaning $320,000 to his campaign, correcting the amount to only $20,000. Ogles filed 11 amendments to his campaign finance reports correcting the amount of loan to his campaign to $20,000. 

This should be a big deal. This is not misremembering or faulty record keeping or a rounding error. This is a bald face lie. Ogles excuse is that he reported $300,000 which he intended to loan to his campaign as actually loaned. 

The reason a candidate would do this is to show that he has the resources to win and a election and scare off potential competitors from entering the race.

This is not the first time Ogles has had trouble telling the truth. He inflated his resume, and he had the children's burial garden scandal. For more on the campaign finance story, follow this link

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