Saturday, September 05, 2009

Nashville, my town!

A lot of people live where they live because that is where their family lives and they want to stay close to their family or that is where they met their spouse and the spouse wants to stay close to his or her family. I understand that. Family is important.

Many people live where they live because that is where their employer transferred them or they got a job there right out of college or that is where opportunity in their career field is. Career is important.

Nashville, Ryman AuditoriumNashville, Lower BroadNashville, Park, mural

A lot of people are where they are because it is all they have every known and have nothing with which to compare it so they are satisfied. Others would like to move away but moving is scary. A lot of people would want to live near the ocean or in the mountains or in a big exciting city but don’t feel they can just up and go, so they stay where they are but would rather be somewhere else. I feel fortunate in that I am living exactly where I want to live. I love Nashville. I would not want to live anywhere else.

As the State capital this is where state news is made. As Music City USA the city hums with excitement. On any night of the week there are three or four songwriter nights in town. The honkytonks have band members playing for tips who may travel and play with big stars but who are between gigs or are taking time off the road for a while. They also have bands which are every bid as good as the greats but they never got that career break. You can hear world-class musician and performers play for free in Nashville any day of the week.

Go to any restaurant in Nashville and ask your waiter or waitress if he (or she) is a songwriter and there is about a fifty percent chance that that waiter or waitress is. Thousands of young people live in Nashville at any one time, trying to make it big as a songwriter or performer. Some of them do. Dreams are made and dreams are dashed here.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop, NashvilleNashville, Lower Broad, Legends
Legends, Nashville, Lower Broad

With over 20, four-year colleges and universities in and around Nashville, Nashville has the energy of a college town. Nashville has a diverse economy so it is not a “company” town, which I think makes it more interesting. There is a lot of ethnic diversity here, which I think adds to the charm of the city and there are lots of people who are transplants to Nashville which I also think makes the city more interesting. There is a diversity of people, dining and music in Nashville.

Nashville has over eighty art galleries and many aspiring artist and art schools adding another special vibe to the city. While Nashville is a city of strong neighborhoods, Nashville is still not so big that the city as a whole lacks identity. Despite the Nashville Metropolitan area having a population that exceeds one million people, in many ways Nashville still feels like a small town. Nashville is adequately cosmopolitan and has a special energy but also has a laid back relaxed feel and Southern charm.

Nashville, Lower Broad, LegendsTootsies, Lower Broad, NashvilleThe Stage, Lower Broad, Nashville

Robert's, Nashville, Lower Broad Hard Rock Cafe, Nashville, muralDan's, Nashville

Nashville has low taxes, is centrally located, and has a mild climate. We have a modest crime rate, a great park and greenway system, generally good race relations, a generally competant and honest government, professional sports teams, and a world-class Symphony and Symphony hall, as well as a ballet, and an opera, and live theater. Almost every weekend there is some neighborhood or music festival. That is not to say that we do not have our problems. Unfortunately our public school system is classified as "failing." The city is dragging its feet on school refrom, but we are working on it. Even while the public school system as a whole is underperforming, their are some exceptionally good public schools and one great magnet school and many good private schools.

Nashville is not only a great place to live but also a great city for a week long or long weekend visit. (Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau) Come visit us.

Nashville, The Recording Angel,Schermerhorn SymphonyBirth of Apollo Fountain,Schermerhorn symphony Hall, NashvilleEpiscopal Church,Nashville

Today I rode my bicycle downtown and carried my camera and took some pictures. There is not a theme to these pictures. The pictures in this post are of the honkytonk area of lower Broadway, art, churches, murals and fountains and things that interested me on my bike ride today.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Taxes by Ray Stevens. If 10% was good enough for Jesus...

A great toe-tapping novelty song from Ray Stevens: Taxes.


Now, I'd just like to say a few words right here about taxes
I pay another man to do my taxes
On account of it's just one more deduction I can take
But the postman brought my W2 this mornin'
And this year they're claimin' a third of all I make
Now I'm just as patriotic as the next man
And you know I love that Red, White, and Blue
So, I'll help to pay this risin' "cost of freedom"
But I'll be danged if I'm gonna change my point of view

Because "every time the bureaucrats run out of money
Well Congress socks it to the workin' man
And I don't think it's one bit funny
When they take so much of my money
And do things with it I don't understand
I don't know why they feel they gotta squeeze us
But I'll tell you just exactly where I stand
I believe if ten percent is good enough for Jesus
Well, it ought to be enough for Uncle Sam"

Now, some of them folks that we've been sendin' off to Congress
Think that all they've got to do is spend and spend
But, you know, you can't run a family, much less a country,
with more money goin' out than comin' in
And that ole debt just keeps on gettin' bigger
And we're all gonna have to pay, so don't you laugh
'Cause one day soon you might just look down at your paycheck
And figure out that they done started takin' half

Repeat( Chorus) Above
And "every time the bureaucrats run out of money...

I said if ten percent is good enough for Jesus
Well, it ought to be enough for Uncle Sam

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Politicizing the Class Room: Hide the Children.

On Tuesday of next week, the President will address the children of American by video and will speak to them about persisting and succeeding in school. The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. I see nothing wrong with that. The leader of the Free World taking time to tell kids that doing your homework is important sends a special message.

A few on the right are taking offence at the President’s address to the school children of America and are urging parents to keep their children at home that day. I think they are overreacting. I suspect that most Americans, even if they do not like Barack Obama respect the office of the President and think that the President addressing school children and telling them to do their homework is a good thing. I don’t think most liberals would have objected if the same message would have been sent by George W. Bush during his tenure.

While I am not opposed to the President addressing the nations children on this non-political topic and while I would not urge parents to keep their children out of school that day, I nevertheless think we are wise to be vigilant. It appears to me that this president is attempting to grab power wherever and whenever he can. The banks, the auto industry, and health care are the obvious examples. The more sinister aspect of his power grab includes everything from the appointment of various “czars” not subject to congressional confirmation, maneuvering to impose a new version of the fairness doctrine that will silence his critics, establishing a snitch line and encouraging people to report those spreading “fishy” rumors about the health care reform proposals, attempting to gain authority to declare an emergency and seize the Internet, ending the secrete ballot in workplace referendums on unionizing, and moving the census bureau to the control of the White House.

We have not seen such attempts to concentrate power in the White House since FDR, if ever. With these kinds of power grabs and big brotherism, no wonder there is caution when the President wants to address the children of America.

The aspect of this issue that causes me concern is that U. S. Department of Education put out lesson plans to accompany the Presidents speech and Presidential aides have acknowledged the White House helped the U.S. Education Department craft the lesson plans. Those lesson plans originally contained suggested activities such as having the students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president." (link) This comes awfully close to indoctrination and manipulation. Since coming under criticism, the Department of Education has redrawn the lesson plans to be less objectionable.

While I don’t object to this address by the President we must watch him like a hawk. If he would have gotten by with this initial politicizing of the schools, the next effort at propagandizing would be more overt. I can imagine him telling the little darlings to go tell their parents how awful it is that some people don’t have health insurance and that they need to help President Obama help all of those poor people without it. The next month, he will tell them that he is trying to save the planet and they need to tell their parents to pressure their Congressman to support cap and trade.

We better be vigilant or we will see him turn the Department of Education into the Department of Reeducation and Propaganda.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Obsevations from 'The Third Rail of Helath Reform: Cost' Conference

On Saturday I was fortunate to get to attend a very important health care conference that occurred here in Nashville. I knew it was going on and just thought I would go downtown and see if by chance there were any demonstrations and counter demonstrations occurring. It so, I would have joined the opponents of ObamaCare in their protest. I am pleased to say that neither side was demonstrating.

I did not think I would be permitted to join the conference but I attempted to enter and was told I needed a ticket and was directed to the registration table. I have never been shy about crashing parties and simply walked up to the table and asked to get a ticket. I simply signed my name on a log and got a pass.

The event was sponsored by the Rand Corporation and was entitled “The Third Rail of Health Reform: Cost.” It took place at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville. I had ridden my bicycle down town and was the only sweaty guy there in shorts and a tie-dyed tee shirt carrying a bicycle helmet. Most of the attendees, I gathered, were health care industry executives, doctors, and academics. Most were smartly dressed in business suits.

I attended the opening panel discussion and, from a look at the agenda, it was the most important of the sessions. I also got a free box lunch out of the deal and met someone I knew and had lunch with her and some of her co-workers.

The panel discussion had an impressive list of panelist: Phil Bredesen, Governor of Tennessee; Congressman Jim Cooper; David M Walker, CEO of Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former Comptroller General of the United States; Julie Gerberding, MD, Director, Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Patrick Soon-Shaiong, M. D., Chairman and CEO of Abraxis BioScience, Inc.; and narrator Leonard D. Schaeffer, of the University of Southern California and founding Chairman and CEO of Wellspoint.

I was very impressed. Phil Bredesen, our Governor was CEO and founder of HealthAmerica Corp. prior to becoming Governor and as governor he had to oversee the dismantling of Tennessee’s disastrous healthcare experiment called Tenncare. Jim Cooper is not only our Congressman but is a professor at Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Management teaching health care policy. My friends in the Republican Party will probably excommunicate me for saying so, but I like Jim Cooper. I don’t always agree with the way he votes but I think he has an impressive grasp of the issues and I think he is a smart person. I especially appreciate his effort to require accurate reporting of the debt of the United States and his efforts to inform people of the consequences of the growing National debt. Unless he has a highly qualified Republican opponent, I will probably support Jim Cooper for reelection. I wish he were a Republican.

I did not know the other panelist but they were all highly credentialed. Patrick Soon-Shiong has a long string of degrees and awards and has published over 100 scientific papers and is co-inventor of over 50 patients.

This panel was not balanced. I wish there would have been some advocates for market-oriented reform on the panel. There was no one advocating obviously needed reforms such as tort reform or interstate insurance competition. However, the panel did not appear very enthusiastic about the proposals that are before us. They were not cheerleaders for the current reform proposals. I got the impression that all of these people are reasonable, sensible, rational, thoughtful, knowledgeable people. The moderator made some comments that indicated he supported single payer, but most of the panelist were not open advocate for single-payer or Obamacare. They addressed the nuances of the problem of health care cost and the complexity of the problem.

While I am an opponent of the current bills working their way through Congress, I nevertheless think that health care reform is necessary. The status quo is simply not sustainable. That was clear from the testimony of those on this panel. I want reform but I think we need different reforms than what is proposed. Those who find nothing worth preserving in the American system of health care and those who pretend everything is just find, both do us a disservice.

I am contributing money, writing letters, blogging, signing petitions, and attending demonstrations to do my part to help defeat ObamaCare, but regret that this issue has become so polarized. Politics is often a game of winner take all. I wish it were not so.

I think that a panel of smart people could be convened that could propose improvements to our health care system without destroying it. If I were appointing members to a healthcare study group to solve our health care problem, from what I observed on Saturday, I would want these people on that panel.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

America's Future Foundation: Perspectives on Gun Rights

I know it is kind of late to be promoting an event for Monday evening but America's Furture Foundation is another great opportunity to get connected to the conservative/libertarian movement in Nashville. If interested in attending, please hit the RSVP link below and see if you can still attend. Here is the announcement:

America's Future Foundatin gun control, 2nd Amendment
Come join AFF Nashville as we host a discussion about gun rights in Nashville on Monday, August 31, at 6:30 pm in the Belle Meade Room at the Hampton Inn in Green Hills (2324 Crestmoor Road)

Hear the experiences and perspectives of Brett Corrieri, a local restaurant/bar owner, and Nathan Moore, a defense lawyer, who deal with these issues on a daily basis. Plus, listen to the story of Pete Eyre of the Motorhome Diaries and his experiences with gun control laws nationwide.

Come away equipped with information to defend the Second Amendment and promote freedom. See you there!

Beer/wine & hors d’oeuvres will be served.


For more information on AFF: AFF.
If you did not make this one go to the AFF link and sign up. Go to "Room 101" and register and you will be notified of future events.

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1st Tuesday Meetup: Party Chairman Chris Devaney

On Tuesday, SEPT 1ST, First Tuesday will have our first extended opportunity to hear from our new State Party Chairman, Chris Devaney.
For those of you who do not know Chris, he is a long time participant in the political arena, including being a leading staff member for Sen Fred Thompson and Sen Bob Corker.

1st Tuesday is a always a great event. Hear interesting speakers in a room with a view, have a nice meal for a reasonable price and network with other Republican. Park for free or cheap in the public garage beneath the library, which is less than a block away. Anyone is welcome to attend. The meeting is exactly one hour long, so you can attend and not be gone from work that long. Lunch is from Alexander's Catering and is $20 for guests, $15 for members. Membership in 1st Tueday is only $20 a year. If you are a Republican or a conservative and in the Nashville area, you really owe it to yourself to start attending 1st Tueday. Click this link to register: First Tuesday.

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