Saturday, January 19, 2013

Report from the Second Amendment Rally

A crowd of about 1000 people gathered at noon today in Memorial Plaza across the street from the State Capitol building. I was surprised at the size of the crowd. I subscribe to lots of conservative websites and email list and groups and have conservative friends on my Facebook page, and yet I did not even learn of the event until today. I was expecting maybe a quarter that many.
Ken Marrero

While the temperature was in the low 50's at noon, the sun was shining bright and there was very little breeze on the Plaza and it was a pleasant day.  This was a sparse affair. There was no stage, or podium, and no elaborate PA system. I got there a little late, but with no elaborate set up, there must have not been an opening music act which is often normal for these public protest rallies. The small PA system they did have was either malfunctioning or simply inadequate and speakers used a bull horn to address the crowd.

I would assume there were opening remarks, a prayer and a pledge of allegiance to the flag as is common at these type of invents, but arriving late, I missed it.

Ken Marrero served as the emcee of the event and did a great job. Ken is a tea party leader and blogger at Blue Collar Muse. He quoted verses of the  Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and spoke about how our liberties have been preserved by the vigilance of the common people.

When I got there John Harris of the Tennessee Firearms Association was speaking. He ended up speaking longer than any other speaker, or maybe it only seemed like it.  He had not mastered the art of speaking into a bull horn and he spoke in a monotone that was hardly audible at the back of the crowd. He crowed about how the TFA had beat Debra Maggart in her primary, threatened other Republicans who did not tow the pro-gun lobby line and was critical of Governor Haslam, Ron Ramsey and Beth Harwell.

Hithcock 45
The next speaker was Representative Mike Sparks and I was proud of him. He politely and diplomatically took issue with John Harris and said as conservatives we must stand together and stay united. He praised Governor Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and had kind words to say about Speaker Beth  Harwell.

Senator Bill Ketron next spoke and explained SB0040 and urged the public to help get it passed. SB0040 is the bill know as HB0010 in the House sponsored by Representative Jeremy Fasion. In the Senate it is sponsored by Senator Nicely with Senators Ketron and Tracy as prime co-sponsors.
Following Ketron, the next speaker was "Hitchcock 45." I had never heard of him, but he was a crowd favorite. He was not inflammatory but had a down-home, county, likable manner. He apparently is a prolific poster of YouTube videos and is somewhat of a celebrity. After he left the stage of lot of people posed with him to have their picture made. Here is a sample of a video of his called Glock 30, that has garnered over 260,000 views.

Rep. Joe Carr
Representative Joe Carr was next, and if they had not already been standing he would have brought the crowd to their feet. He has a good firm delivery and was saying what the crowd wanted to here. He was urging defiance and asked the crowd to contact their state legislator and demand they support HB0042. This is the unconstitutional bill that ignores the supremacy clause of the constitution and calls for local deputies to arrest Federal agents enforcing any new gun laws in Tennessee. He read from the bill and it went like this:
" Any federal law, statute, rule, regulation, or executive order implemented or
executed on or after January 1, 2013 shall be unenforceable within the borders of this
state (cheers and applause) if the law, statute, rule, regulation, or executive order attempts to:
(1) Ban or restrict ownership of a semi automatic firearm, firearm
accessory, or ammunition; (wild cheers and applause) or
(2) Require any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition to be
registered in any manner.(cheers and applause)
(b) No public employee, public official, or dealer selling any firearm in this state shall enforce or attempt to enforce any federal law, statute, rule, regulation, or executive order as described in subsection (a). (applause)
Nikki Goeser
The last speaker was Nikki Goeser. In 2009, Nikki witnessed her husband Ben’s murder while in a bar where they were both working. She told her story. She is a licensed concealed carry permit holder but was unarmed because at that time state law in Tennessee prohibited her from bringing her firearm into the building. Since then she has been an advocated for guns rights and in demand as a speaker.

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Second Amendment rally today (1-19-2013)

There will be a 12 PM noon rally today in  Nashville to support the second amendment. It will be near the State Capitol Building in the War Memorial Plaza area.

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Pro-life rally in Nashville today (1-19-2013)

Supporters of the state's leading pro-life organization will gather in Nashville this Saturday, January 19th, for the annual Rally for Life.  The event takes on even greater significance this year considering the Obama administration's high profile support for abortion rights and Tuesday's 40th anniversary of the 1973 decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court which legalized abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy.

Speakers at Saturday's rally will include U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, Congresswoman Diane Black, and state Senator Mae Beavers, sponsor of the admitting privileges bill.   The rally begins at 2:00 p.m. (CST) on the steps of the state Capitol.

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Rep. Jeremy Faison's sensible anti-federal gun control bill

While Rep. Joe Carr has sponsored an anti-federal gun control bill that is clearly unconstitutional, violating the supremacy clause of the constitution and requiring  local deputies to arrest Federal marshals who are enforcing Federal law, Rep. Jeremy Faison has introduced a sensible anti-federal gun control bill that says that no state funds, property or  personnel can be used to enforce a federal gun law. 

There is a big difference between saying we will make it illegal to enforce federal law in Tennessee and saying we will not enforce federal law for the federal government. Actively obstructing a Federal agent from enforcing Federal law is much different than standing on the sidelines and not assisting Federal agents in enforcing Federal law.

It is worth noting that in the Senate, a co-sponsor of this sensible bill is Senator Jim Tracy. Senator Tracy and Representative Joe Carr are both candidates seeking to challenge Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the Republican primary for his seat in the US Congress. Based on this issue, I know who I would prefer in the US Congress.

This is a good bill and I support it. Below is the text of the bill.
 by Niceley
By Faison

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 38;
Title 39 and Title 40, relative to firearms.


SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 38, Chapter 3, Part 1, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section: 38-3-124.

(a) On or after the effective date of this act, no public funds of this state or any
political subdivision of this state shall be allocated to the implementation, regulation or enforcement of any federal law, executive order, rule or regulation that becomes effective on or after January 1, 2013, that adversely affects a United States citizen's ability to lawfully possess or carry firearms in this state.

(b) On or after the effective date of this act, no personnel or property of this state
or any political subdivision of this state shall be allocated to the implementation,
regulation or enforcement of any federal law, executive order, rule or regulation that becomes effective on or after January 1, 2013, that adversely affects a United States citizen's ability to lawfully possess or carry firearms in this state unless federal funding for such implementation, regulation or enforcement is provided to the state or political subdivision.

(c) For purposes of this section, "firearm" has the same meaning as defined in §39-11-106.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring

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Let’s just be sensible. Nobody is going to arrest a federal agent.

Bill Would Block Gun Laws, Allow Arrest of Federal Agents
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013, by Bridgit Bowden, WPLN News- .... Fellow Republicans are dubious Rep. Carr’s gun proposal could become law. Rep. Jeremy Faison of East Tennessee calls it a waste of time.
“Let’s just be sensible. Nobody is going to arrest a federal agent. I mean, come on. Let’s deal in the land of reality.”
Rep. Jeremy Faison is right. He is planning to introduce legislation that deals with the federal attempt to impose gun control.  Hopefully he can come up with a bill that does not blatantly violate the Constitution, as does Joe Carr's bill.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Rep. Joe Carr vs Rev. Al Sharpton debate nullification on MSNBC

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Rod Williams is right about the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution

by Daniel Horwitz

Daniel Horwitz

In response to Representative Joe Carr’s decision to introduce legislation criminalizing any attempts by Federal agents to enforce Federal bans on semiautomatic weapons or ammunition, Rod Williams offered a polite yet pointed criticism.  “I understand Joe Carr's fear that . . . the Second Amendment may be trampled upon, but I think his approach for dealing with this fear is the wrong [one].”  Williams wrote.  “I do not think we can ignore the ‘Supremacy Clause’ . . . and if I were in the State Legislature, I would not support Joe Carr’s legislation.” 

For this apparent transgression, Mr. Williams – an ardent conservative – has come under fire from some of the less-informed members of his party.  Said Glen Hughes, President of the Tennessee Republican Assembly: “He is being the happy democrat [sic] not letting facts and data stand in the way.”  Added Tami Kilmarx, former head of the Tennessee Tea Party: “That is what he does.  He works so hard keep everyone ‘informed’ with his dis-information campaign.”

To be clear, the fact that Mr. Williams was entirely correct in his critique of Representative Carr is not subject to debate.  As he properly noted in his post, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution plainly states that “the Laws of the United States . . . shall be the supreme law of the land . . .  laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”  In so many words, this provision of the Constitution (found in Article VI, Clause 2) means that whenever a state law conflicts with a Federal law, the Federal law takes precedence.  A provision of this kind, of course, is essential to a functioning Republic— if states had the power to decide whether or not Federal laws applied within their borders, there would be no reason to have Federal laws in the first place.  This would effectively render the Constitution “a solemn mockery,” Chief Justice Taney once wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court.  Moreover, as Stanford Law Professor and constitutional law scholar Jeffrey Fisher recently observed in response to asimilar bill that was introduced in Wyoming, the notion that Federal law trumps state law is one of the simplest principles in the entire Constitution.  “[T]hat a state cannot pass a statute that blocks enforcement of an otherwise enforceable Federal law,” notes Fisher, “is elementary.” 

Believing today that a state official can arrest a Federal agent for enforcing what the state’s legislators perceive to be an unconstitutional Federal law is every bit as dim as believing that a state court can overrule a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States.  This controversial theory – known in the literature as “nullification” – has a long and consistently unsuccessful history dating back to at least 1798, and has been rejected as a matter of constitutional law since 1809.  Crucially, attempting to nullify a Federal law is much different than simply refusing to assist Federal officials in its enforcement.  Pursuant to the “anti-commandeering” doctrine of state sovereignty, states have every right to stand on the sidelines and require that Federal officials do all the heavy lifting of enforcement themselves.  This is precisely the reason why states are permitted to legalize marijuana as a matter of state law, for example, and why this Oregon Sherriff’s refusal to enforce “[a]ny federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of my citizens” is constitutionally permissible.  Actively obstructing a Federal agent from enforcing Federal law, on the other hand, is an excellent way to earn 8-20 years in Federal prison.

For anyone interested in the history of nullification, states’ alleged power to nullify Federal laws that they deem to be unconstitutional was first suggested by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799— only to be formally repudiated by ten other states at the time (and then Madison himself shortly thereafter, both as President and in his scholarly writings).  Vermont, for example, resolved that “[i]t belongs not to the state legislature to decide on the constitutionality of laws made by the general government; this power being exclusively vested in the judiciary courts of the Union,” and this has remained the accepted view throughout all of constitutional history.  The theory of nullification was also rejected by Federalist Papers 33, 39, 44, 78, 80 and 82, which stand for the general proposition that Federal laws take precedence over state laws, and that the power to declare Federal laws unconstitutional is vested exclusively within Federal courts.  Additionally, viewed from the perspective of the Supreme Court, “judicial review” of Federal laws has officially been the law of the land since Marbury v. Madison was decided in 1803, states’ powerlessness to invalidate Federal decrees has been accepted doctrine since United States v. Peters was decided in 1809, and the fact that states cannot lawfully interfere with Federal agents while they are performing their official duties has been settled law since 1858, when in Ableman v. Booth a unanimous Supreme Court explained as follows:

>“If the authority of a State, in the form of judicial process or otherwise, should attempt to control [a] marshal or other authorized officer or agent of the United States, in any respect, in the [course of his duty], it would be his duty to resist it, and to call to his aid any force that might be necessary to maintain the authority of law against illegal interference.”  

Since these decisions, the only other genuine attempts at nullification that I can recall were southern states’ attempts to prevent school desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s (fail), and the Civil War.  No state’s attempt to nullify a Federal law has ever been successful, and in some instances – as in the Peters case, for example – the attempts have ended with the arrest of state officials.  Both today and throughout American history, it has consistently been understood that there is one and only one mechanism for invalidating a Federal law: appeal to the Federal judiciary for relief, and convince a Federal judge to strike the law down as unconstitutional.  As such, you can be sure that the only practical effect of Representative Carr’s proposal – if it ultimately passes –  will be the hefty litigation bill charged to Tennessee taxpayers when the constitutional validity of the law is successfully challenged in court by the Obama Administration.    

While Glen Hughes and Tami Kilmarx can be forgiven for their ignorance of the Supremacy Clause and of judicial review (they’re merely citizen-activists), Joe Carr cannot.  As an elected Representative, Carr took an oath to uphold the Constitution— and if I were one of his constituents, I would consider his refusal to comply with that oath to be every bit as disqualifying as his belief that women who have been violently raped can’t become pregnant.  Though I’m not unsympathetic to Carr’s zeal to protect the constitutional rights of Tennesseans, and though I'm something less than certain myself that all of the Obama Administration’s proposals will reduce gun violence (I’m not personally a gun owner, but I find concerns like these to be quite persuasive, for example), there is absolutely no excuse for disregarding the Constitution in order to score a few cheap political points.  As I have exclaimed repeatedly, constitutional governance is the essential foundation upon which our Republic is based, and at least to me, an elected Representative’s decision to disregard the force of the Constitution is unforgivable.  

Daniel Horwitz is a third year law student at Vanderbilt University Law School, where he is the Vice President of Law Students for Social Justice. He can be contacted at 

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Curry Todd pleads guilty to DUI, weapons charges

When Representative Todd was arrested near Hillsboro Village for drunk driving in October 2011, he had a loaded gun between the console and the drivers seat of his car. This event had drawn attention because Todd was the sponsor of the bill that allows gun permit holders to carry guns into establishments that sell alcohol. To read the story as reported by Channel 5, follow this link. Also at that link there is a video of an emotional Todd making a statement following the trial. I am not going to repost it and think he should have been allowed to leave the courthouse in peace, but if you want to see the video, it is there. 

If Representative Todd is a good legislator and this was the only time anything like this has happened, this one mistake should not disqualify him from office. I wish Representative Todd all this best. 

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If my doctor asks me about my guns, ....

If my doctor asks me about my gun ownership, I think I will just lie.

If your doctor ask you about your guns, and ammo, you could tell him to take a flying leap that it is none of his business, you could make an articulate right-wing rant and mention the fifth amendment and privacy and executive abuse of power, you could tell the truth, or you just could lie.  I suspect any data gathered by doctors about gun ownership will be useless and will waste a lot of a doctors' time.  Also, I suspect that many doctors will not relish the roll of federal snitch and simply not gather such information and if Executive Order 16 is not withdrawn, I suspect it will be overturned by the Courts since  it violates a law passed by Congress.

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Obamacare prohibits doctors from collecting gun information

One of President Obama's 23 executive orders regarding gun control,  Order 16, states federal agencies will “clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.”

Wait just a minute. An executive order cannot change a law passed by Congress. In haste to pass the unread 2800-page Obamacare bill, Senate amendment 3276, Sec. 2716, part c, was overlooked. This amendment says the government cannot use doctors to collect "any information relating to the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition."

Apparently this amendment was added by Harry Reid in order to keep the NRA from joining the fight aagainst Obamacare. 

For more on this see this CNN report..

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Bell Road @ Cane Ridge Road
Antioch  (I-24/Bell Road Exit)

Breakfast/Social Time 8:00 am*-9:00 am
Program will begin promptly at 9:00 am
* Anticipate a large crowd due to our special guest speaker, so we will begin breakfast/social at 8:00 a.m.    

***Special Guest Speaker***
Joe S. Carr
State Representative
District 48 (Rutherford County)

You don't want to miss this one!  Representative Carr, a possible candidate for 4th Congressional District in 2014,  is a "true conservative" and was a strong supporter of Councilman Duvall in last campaign.  We will hear the latest on the Obamacare health insurance exchange and the upcoming 2013 Legislative Session.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Council meeting of 1/15/2013 with summary, commentary and video notation

At only 36 minutes, this is an extremely short and boring council meeting. You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda and follow along at this link: Metro Council Agenda. Usually the Council agenda links to the Council staff analysis, but for some reason is does not do so this time.  To view the analysis go to this link: CouncilAnalysis.
Carter Todd, President pro tem of the Council conducts this council meeting in the absence of the Vice Mayor. The invocation is offered by Victoria Blalock, daughter of Council member Davette Blalock. This is so sweet. She looks like she is only about nine or ten years old. She does a great job.
Resolutions: The consent agenda passes. All of the agenda resolutions are on the consent agenda except 558 and 559.  Resolution 558  is the amendments to the capital improvements budget which adds the Bridgestone improvements, the relocation of the central police precinct and a water project. Resolution 559 authorizes issuing  $110,000,000 in general obligation bonds to provide funding for various projects in the mayor’s proposed mid-year 2013 capital spending plan which includes those projects listed in Bill 558.  Bill 558 and 559 are deferred one meeting. These bills will require 27 votes to pass, but I suspect it will get them.
All bills on first reading pass, as is normal.
Bills on Second reading:
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2012-283  passes on a voice vote. It is the new Metro Solicitation bill that would impose new regulations on commercial door-to-door solicitors. (Readmore about this issue.)

Bill NO. BL2012-291 by Councilman Stanley amends the Metro zoning code to provide that the conversion of material into a fuel product or asphalt is not a permitted as part of a recycling facility. Councilman Stanley explains his bill and defers it indefinitely. (see 12:51-16:43)

BILLNO. BL2012-292 is the bill would permit home recording studios in residential neighborhoods. It is deferred until April.

BILL NO. BL2013-338 by Tygard and Dominy says that no sole source contract for the purchase of goods or services in excess of $250,000 may be entered into unless the contract has been approved by a resolution adopted by the council by twenty-one affirmative votes. Unfortunately, this bill is amended to exempt contracts  for development services, which means the city's contract with the Chamber for Partnership 2020 will not have to have Council approval. This is too bad. This is still a good bill but does not address the serious issue of Partnership 2020. 

Partnership 2020 is a public-private partnership developed by the chamber whose purpose is to recruit new businesses to the Nashville area. Metro’s appropriation for this program in recent years has been $300,000 a year. While the program serves a ten county area, Metro funds a greater share of the program than the other nine counties combined. Many feel that Metro funds the program, yet the bulk of new relocations to the Nashville area go to surrounding counties. (see 18:02-20:38)

BILLNO. BL2013-339 and BILL NO. BL2013-340 are more incentives to private business to get them to stay or relocate to Nashville. They pass without discussion.  Councilman Stites has been an outspoken opponent on these types of bills having opposed the Dollywood-Gaylord water park deal and the HCA Palmer property deal. I expected him to take to the floor opposing this one, but he must have gotten tired of fighting a lonely battle. I have reservations about these types of deals. This will motivate other companies to threaten to leave Nashville unless bribed to not do so and make any company thinking about moving to Nashville to expect a handout to do so. See below to read The Tennessean's report on these bills. 

Council give Amsurg deal to stay in county

 The Tennessean, Jan 16, 2013 - A Nashville-based health care company is one step closer to landing $2.3 million in tax incentives from Metro government to accommodate an unusually short headquarters relocation: further down a hill within the same Green Hills office park.
Though the latest proposal generated no discussion Tuesday, council members pressed members of Dean’s economic development team for details Monday in committee.
Unlike past tax breaks, the AmSurg legislation contains no “performance milestones” that tie tax abatements to the ability of companies to produce jobs. (link)

There are no interesting Bills on Third Reading.  They all pass without discussion.  

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On Joe Carr's attempt to make enforcement of Federal Law a Crime

Representative Joe Carr
Press Release, Lascassas, TN. - State Representative Joe Carr, from Tennessee’s 48th District filed legislation Tuesday, House Bill 0042, that would charge any Federal agent with a Class A Misdemeanor for enforcing or attempting to enforce a federal law, statute, rule, regulation or executive order that bans, restricts or requires the registration of any semi automatic firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition.

“In light of recent comments and actions taken by President Obama and Vice President Biden, I believe it is necessary that Tennessee proactively promote, maintain and defend Tennessee’s sovereignty guaranteed to it in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Additionally this most blatant assault on the 2nd Amendment by the Obama Administration is a systematic effort to disarm the law biding citizens of the United States. The 2nd Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights which was intended to protect the individual and the states from the tyranny of government,” stated Representative Carr.

Carr also said, “The 2nd Amendment is not meant just for hunters, it specifically states that ‘A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’, therefore, the Federal government shall not through law or executive order infringe upon our Constitutional-given rights as citizens of the United States and the Great State of Tennessee.”

Recently, Carr announced the formation of the 10th Amendment Caucus, a group he co-founded with State Representative Judd Matheny from Tennessee’s 47th District. The Caucus will be focused on advancing the Constitutional requirement for states to maintain, promote and defend the 10th Amendment. Additionally, Carr is the architect and author of almost all Illegal Immigration laws in Tennessee. Due to his efforts, Tennessee has some of the strongest enforceable immigration laws in the United States.

My Comment: I understand Joe Carr's fear that given the current climate that the Second Amendment may be trampled upon, but I think his approach for dealing with this fear is the wrong approach. 

I am not a constitutional scholar or even a lawyer, but I have read the Constitution. Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Supremacy Clause and it says, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." 

While I think the 10th Amendment should be respected and protected, I do not think we can ignore the "supremacy clause" or the "due and proper clause" or the 14th Amendment. They are also part of the constitution.

What I take the supremacy clause to  mean is that if Congress passes a law that bans semi-automatic weapons that, that is the supreme law of the land, at least until the Supreme Court rules otherwise. The Second Amendment has been adjudicated on several occasions but is still murky as to what may be a legal weapon to be owned by civilians and what may not be. A ban on fully automatic weapons and other instruments of war such as tanks and flame throwers is presumed to be a legal ban. If one thinks a ban on semi-automatic weapons is unconstitutional and Congress should reimpose such a ban, then the proper course of action for making that argument is in the Courts.  I am still open to hearing other arguments but unless a compelling argument is made and if I were in the State Legislature, I would not support Joe Carr's legislation. I do not want Barney arresting federal marshals for enforcing laws passed by Congress. 

One thing that is curious about Joe Carr's legislation is that those enforcing the federal law in Tennessee would be guilty only of a Class A misdemeanor. The punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is "not greater than eleven (11) months twenty-nine (29) days in jail or a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute." If Carr really wants to deter Federal agents from enforcing the law in Tennessee, why does he not propose making doing so a Class A felony?  I may be missing something. I would welcome an explanation of the logic behind this proposed legislation.

For a concise explanation of the Courts ruling on the Second Amendment follow this link

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Obama's Gun control Excutive orders and $500 Million Gun Violence Package

WASHINGTON (AP) - Braced for a fight, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.(link)

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Hemlock's closing and government picking winners and losers | Nashville News, Weather 

In case you missed it, earlier this week Hemlock announced that it was laying off most of it's employees before it ever opened.  Hemlock was a company that was supposed to make Tennessee a leader in the emerging solar energy field. It was to be the first of many that would spring up to support the solar industry.  Hemlock would not have  happened had not the State pored money into the project. Hemlock is the State version of Solyndra, the federal boondoggle that also went bust after massive public investment. 

To encourage the development of Hemlock we gave tax dollars and tax exemptions and expanded Austin Peay University to provide a program specifically designed to produce trained workers for Hemlock. Now, that is money down the drain.

It is immoral to take money from one business to subsidize another business. That is what we do when do do deals like Hemlock.  Government has a roll in producing an infrastructure and a trained workforce that is attractive to businesses but picking certain businesses to subsidize is simply wrong.  Also, government does not do a very good job at picking winners and losers.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ken Jakes turns up the heat on NES

Ken Jakes has contacted the TVA board to inform them of the wrongful actions of NES and the misuse of Public Funds. Below is his communication to the Board. I have removed Ken's phone numbers from this communication in order to protect him from harassing phone calls. If you want to talk to Ken about this issue, email him. I am sure he would welcome hearing from you. I have highlighted and underlined portions of the below communications to call attention to particular wrongful action of NES contained in the press release from Justin Wilson, State Comptroller.  Rod

From: "Ken Jakes"
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 3:58:16 PM
Subject: Fwd: Comptroller Review Finds Improper Purchasing Practices, Credit Card Use and Other Questionable Activities at Nashville Electric Service

Hello, my name is Ken Jakes and I live in Joelton Tn. The Comptroller's Report I am forwarding below originated from wrongful actions that I discovered while researching thru Hundreds of thousands of public record. I want to report for the misuse of public funds. I want to get with our State and Federal Senators and Congress, however I want to report to TVA as well. Please contact me.

Office 615-xxx-xxxx
Cell 615-xxx-xxxx
Home 615-xxx-xxx
Fax 615-227-1863

Thank you,
 Ken Jakes

From: "Kevin Wisniewski" <>
To: "Ken Jakes ("
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:32:15 AM
Subject: FW: Comptroller Review Finds Improper Purchasing Practices, Credit Card Use and Other Questionable Activities at Nashville Electric Service

From: Blake Fontenay []
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:02 AM
To: Blake Fontenay
Subject: Comptroller Review Finds Improper Purchasing Practices, Credit Card Use and Other Questionable Activities at Nashville Electric Service
 State Seal

State of Tennessee

Justin P. Wilson, State Comptroller
For Immediate Release: Dec. 13, 2012
Comptroller Review Finds Improper Purchasing Practices, Credit Card Use and Other Questionable Activities at Nashville Electric Service

Nashville Electric Service (NES) has paid one manufacturer and its distributor more than $17 million over the last eight years for electric power cable that was not properly bid, a review by the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit has found.

NES, a governmental utility company that supplies electricity for Nashville and surrounding communities, has paid Kerite Company more than $13 million and its distributor, Utilicor, more than $4 million since 2005 for electric power cable.

The review found that NES has had an exclusive arrangement with Kerite and Utilicor since 1998, although NES could only provide records for cable purchases beginning in the 2005 fiscal year.

During interviews with representatives from NES and Kerite, Comptroller staff members learned that the utility company’s specifications for electric power cable were tailored to match the type of cable provided by Kerite. A field superintendent for NES, now retired, also promoted Kerite’s products while performing consulting work outside of NES, at seminars and in conversations with officials from other utility districts.  These activities were not disclosed on the employee’s NES conflict of interest disclosure statement.

The Comptroller’s review uncovered other serious issues, including improper use of an NES credit card by the utility company’s vice president/chief information officer. Reviewers found the vice president commingled personal and business accounts when making purchases on eBay and Amazon. Many of these accounts were established in the name of NES.  The vice president also established a PayPal Extras MasterCard in his name using an NES procurement card as collateral.  The same vice president admitted to selling surplus NES items on eBay without authorization or knowledge of his supervisor.

The vice president also admitted to interviewers that he had given an information systems contractor an NES credit card and allowed that individual to make purchases on behalf of the utility company for 12 years. And the vice president used an NES credit card to purchase items such as printer ink and computer supplies that were readily available in the utility’s storeroom.

Other issues identified in the review include:

·        A contractual arrangement with Gaylord Entertainment which allowed senior personnel and other employees from NES to attend events and play golf at Gaylord-owned properties free of charge in exchange for the lease of NES transformers. These ‘hospitality packages,’ which appeared to have no benefit to NES ratepayers, were valued at more than $70,000 over the last six years.
·        NES employees made personal purchases on NES credit cards.
·         A half dozen NES employees received reimbursement for education or training programs based on altered documents.
“The issues uncovered during our review are very serious and I applaud NES officials for the corrective measures they have adopted in response to our findings,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “As our report indicates, there are still additional steps that we believe could be taken to reduce the chances that similar problems will crop up in the future. I want to commend not only my staff in the Division of Local Government Audit, but also representatives from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who assisted us in our work.”

The findings of the review have been shared with the local district attorney’s office.

My comment:  While it is nice that NES has made corrective action, why is no one being charged with a criminal offense? This amounts to theft. If someone had stolen some NES copper wire and sold it for scrape they would be prosecuted. Some top level people at NES should go to prison and a lot of people ought to be fired!

On January the 24th at 10:30 am Ken Jakes will be making a presentation before the NES board. I will be attending to show my support.  Anyone wishing to attend will need to check in at the front desk of NES on Church Street by about 10:00 am. You will need to show photo ID and be escorted to the board room. Any and all that can attend, please do so. The NES board needs to know that the rate payers are outraged with the illegal and wrongful actions of NES.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Update: analysis and summary of the 1/15/2012 Metro Council agenda. What to watch for.

 It is Monday evening and there still is no staff analysis posted.

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: MetroCouncilAgenda. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis, they are just really boring.  At this time the staff analysis is not yet posted. If it is posted on Monday, I will update this post with more analysis.

There are fourteen resolutions,  all of which are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution is on the consent agenda if it passed the committees to which it was assigned unanimously.  Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single voice vote of the Council rather than being considered individually.  If one is present and does not ask to be recorded voting "no" then they are assumed to have voted "aye."  Any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. 

Below are resolutions that may prove controversial and I suspect will be pulled off of the consent agenda:

  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-558 is the amendment to the Capital Improvement Budget that adds the improvement to the rear of Bridgestone Arena, which will be across the street from the front of the new Music City center, and to establish a new central police precinct which will be moved from its present location in the Bridgestone arena.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-559  authorizes the city to issue general obligation bonds of $110,000,000 to fund  the construction of the new police precinct and the Bridgestone Arena improvements mentioned above and some other projects. I would expect someone to object to this  resolution and the one above and I would expect them to be pulled off of the consent agenda but I expect both to pass.  
  • ·     RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-560 accepts a grant to fund a new financial literacy program in Nashville designed to help  low-income residents reduce debt and build assets.  This seems like a good program. However, the Mayor is hiring Eric Cole to run the program.  (Read the Tennessean story on this.)
Eric Cole is a former two-term councilmember who has been an enthusiastic supporter of the mayor and who headed the Dean-funded "grass roots" organization Moving Nashville Forward, which advocated for the Mayor's increase in property tax hike. Eric Cole's wife is also on the Metro payroll as head of the Metro Arts Commission.
This does not smell right. Why was the position not advertised and filled by a non political person? There are numerous agencies in town with experience administering similar programs such as Individual Development Account programs and programs teaching financial literacy. This money could have been given to United Way with instructions to issue a RFP's and let agencies already experienced doing this compete for the money .  Why should a program like this be administered out of the Mayor's office? Why was the position of program  administrator  not advertised?  How much salary will Eric Cole's position be paid? This looks like using money intended to help poor people being used to hire a political operative for the Mayor.
The other  bills on the consent agenda appear routine and I would not expect any of them to be pulled or see any that I think need to be pulled.
Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that simply allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. There are only two bills on first reading, neither very important nor controversial.

Bills on Second Reading. It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place.  Below are bills of interest on second reading;
    SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2012-283 is the new Metro Solicitation bill that would impose new regulations on commercial door-to-door solicitors. It  passed unanimously on second reading when previously on second reading and I expected it to sail on through third reading. However, legal staff had determined that the bill had a flaw that would prohibit it from withstanding a First Amendment challenge.  Legal said it would violate the First Amendment to prohibit solicitation for the "expressive arts."  Councilmember Clairborn asked for unanimous consent to amend the bill to address that issue.  To amend a bill on third reading however requires unanimous consent and there were objections so he successfully moved to rescind action on second reading and move the bill back to second reading.  That is why this bill is again on second reading. (Read more about this issue.)
  • BILL NO. BL2012-292 is the bill would permit home recording studios in residential neighborhoods. It was on public hearing on 12/4/2012.  There were some in the music industry community who had problems with the bill and the sponsor said she would work with them to improve the bill. It will be interesting to see what they have come up with. Home recording studios are not uncommon in Nashville.
  • ·     BILL NO. BL2013-338 by Tygard and Dominy looks very similar to a bill which Councilman Dominy recently unsuccessfully tried to pass. This bill says that "no sole source contract for the purchase of goods or services, including contracts for economic development initiatives and services, with a total contract amount in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) may be entered into unless and until such contract has been approved by resolution duly adopted by the council by twenty-one affirmative votes.” 
I  don't know how this bill differs from the previous bill on the same subject, but I am glad to see Dominy is not giving up the fight. I am glad to see Councilman Tygard join as cosponsor. This is a good bill that needs to pass. One of the few sole source contracts that metro has is the city's contract with the Chamber of Commerce for the Partnership 2020 program. 

Partnership 2020 is a public-private partnership developed by the chamber whose purpose is to recruit new businesses to the Nashville area. Metro’s appropriation for this program in recent years has been $300,000 a year. While the program serves a ten county area, Metro funds a greater share of the program than the other nine counties combined. Many feel that Metro funds the program, yet the bulk of new relocations to the Nashville area go to surrounding counties. 
  • BILLNO. BL2013-339 and BILL NO. BL2013-340 are more bribes incentives to private business to get them to expand in or relocate to Nashville. I would hope the Council would consider the wisdom of this policy. If this continues, every business of any size that could relocate will have a reason do so unless paid not to so. Councilman Stites has been the lone voice in the Council opposing these incentive deal. I expect to hear him ague against this deal. For more on this, see here
Bills on Third Reading: Third Reading is the final reading. If a bill passes third reading it becomes law unless it is vetoed by the Mayor, which has only rarely happened.  There are several zoning bills on third reading and some may interest neighbors of the proposed rezoning, but none of them appear to be of general interest. None of the other bills on third reading appear to be controversial. 
Memorializing Resolutions: There are no memorializing resolution on the agenda.  

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Haslam says he will introduce his own proposal for a school voucher program in Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam says he will introduce his own proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee.

The Republican governor told reporters after an education discussion with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday that his voucher bill will be targeted at children from lower-income families who attend the state's worst schools.

"We will have a voucher bill. We are working out the specifics of that and talking with a lot of interested parties," Haslam said. (link)

My Comment: I'm pleased. While he is promising only a limited program that will only be available to low income families in the state's worst schools, this is a start. If it proves to be a success, then opposition to expansion should be minimal.

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Whoops—'Cash for Clunkers' Actually Hurt the Environment

Joining ethanol as an environmental initiative that actually harmed the environment is the Cash for Clunkers programs. With friends like this the environment doesn't need enemies. In addition to the environmental damage the program did, it hurt poor people by reducing the inventory of affordable used cars.  Also, environmentalist favor dirty coal burning fire plants over plants that burn clean natural gas obtained by fracking. Environmentalism can be bad for the environment.

Cash for Clunkers' Actually Hurt the Environment 

Though almost a million people poured into car dealerships eager to exchange their old jalopies for something shiny and new, recent reports indicate the entire program may have actually hurt the environment far more than it helped. (link)

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Show NES your outrage! Support Ken Jakes.

From : Ken Jakes

Originally I was to go before the NES power board on January 23rd at 8:30 a.m. to address the board on the issues in the Comptrollers report, many of which were discovered by me searching thru thousands of records. They have now changed the date to January the 24th at 10:30 am. Anyone wishing to attend will need to check in at the front desk of NES on Church Street by about 10:00 am. You will need to show photo ID and be escorted to the board room. Any and all that can attend, please do so. They need to know that the rate payers are outraged with the illegal and wrongful actions of NES
NES should not get away with criminal action. To read more about this issue follow see here, here, and here.  I plan to attend this NES board meeting. Please join me to support Ken and to let NES know we are outraged about the illegal and unethical activity the agency has engaged in. Rod

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Conservative Fusion this Tuesday: Is America's Founding secure?

If you have thought about getting involved in the Conservative Fusion group but have not done so because when it rolled around you had not yet read the book, well this time you don't have an excuse. There is no book to read this month.

We will be discussing ,"Is America's Founding Secure?"  Bring you ideas on the topic and join the conversation. I will be hosting the event at my house offering soft drinks, wine, beer, and snacks. The event starts at 7PM. Please RSVP at this link or just email me at

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Liberty on the Rocks January social- Numismatic Simulacrum Pandemonium Edition of Liberty on the Rocks

From LOR
Come join us next Thursday, 5:30pm at Mafiaoza's for the first meeting of 2013!

This has been an action packed Holiday season. You may have noticed that the world didn't end, so the Mayans were wrong. But you wouldn't be able to tell that from the news in D.C. and Tennessee. The U.S. is apparently going to be paying its bills with trillion dollar coins now, and police chiefs are fighting wine in grocery stores for fear of pandemic level butt-chugging.

See you there!

Please join me. This is always a lot of fun. While the group has a definite libertarian dominance, there is a broad range of right of center views represented. There is no program. Most events have about thirty people attend. Without any direction or organization, the big group breaks into small groups of five to ten people who engage in chit chat, discussion and debate. People may wander from one group to another and groups just naturally reform with new participants.  The event starts at 5:30 and last as long as people want to stay. I am usually there from about 6 to 9. This is a great opportunity to network with other like-minded people and enjoy pizza and beer. Join me. Rod

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Why did Ron Ramsey remove Mae Beavers from Judiciary

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, explains his decision to remove Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, from the Judiciary Committee chair slot.

"I was disappointed a time or two in some of her decisions on the committee, and trying to figure out where we're going with several issues, and everybody needs to be a team player, and sometime I wondered about that -- that's as far as I'll go with that."

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