Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rachel made the News and what I did on my summer vacation

This is not a political post, I just wanted to show off my lovely daughter, Rachel, and share "what I did on my summer vacation." In this news story about the reopening after the government shutdown of Jean Lafitte National Park in New Orleans, she is the slender pretty girl with long hair shown several times in the video.

Last month, Louella and Louella's caregiver Sue, and I spend three weeks in New Orleans. We house sit and dog sit in a lovely home on the same street where my daughter and her husband Joshua live,  just a block down the street. We could walk to each others house and walk the dogs together. It was nice to have the comforts of home rather than staying in a hotel. The dogs were no trouble and in fact I enjoyed them.

Louella has Alzheimer's and has reached a point to where her behavior can be unpredictable and she can have periods of discontent. Some times she can be very difficult. I was concerned about trying to take a trip with her, but she did great. She was happy and sweet and pleasant almost the whole time and she enjoyed the sights and did not complain and want to leave. Little dogs and children are things that always make her happy. The dogs were therapeutic for her. She just loved them, especially a little Terrier named Tia.  She fell in love with her.

The neighborhood my daughter lives in is called, The Irish Channel.  It borders the Garden District. It is a charming area of homes built in the early 19th Century. Almost all of the homes are shotgun duplexes build either right up to the sidewalk or with a front yard no deeper than ten feet and the homes have front porces. All parking is on the street and the houses are only about six feet apart. Lots of people in the community have dogs. With people competing for parking spaces, living in such close proximity, and walking dogs, people are bound to know each other. There is a definite sense of community. Everybody on the street knows everyone else it seems. In the neighborhood there was a neighborhood bar called Parasols, which had the most fantastic Po Boys. I loved the neighborhood.

I took my bicycle and bicycled almost every day, usually about an hours but some days for several hours.  Bicycling is a great way to explore a city and the great thing about bicycling in New Orleans is that there are no hills. Also, adults to not have to wear helmets. I know one should, but they are a hassle to deal with and casual biking is more fun without the bike helmet.

With three weeks to do tourist, we did not have to be rushed. We did everything we wanted to do. We went out of town one day and visited a sugar cane plantation and learned about that aspect of history. We went to the fine art museum, which has a great and varied permanent collection. We saw the sculpture garden, the botanical garden, toured beautiful old churches with frescoed ceiling and stained glass windows and statuary. In addition to St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson square we visited two other churches that look like the cathedrals of Europe.  We rode the street cars, partied on Bourbon street and we ate.

Other than getting to spend time with my daughter, the highlight of the trip was eating.  We did not have a bad meal. We had gumbo, jambalaya, Po Boys, Vietnamese food, Italian food, French pastries, gelato, fried chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House which the Food Channel says is the best fried chicken in America, pork barbecue and lots of other great foods. We had a couple of very expensive meals in very nice restaurants but some of the best food was in out of the way places tucked in neighborhoods but that  had been recognized by the locals as the best place for that food item for maybe the last ten years.

My daughter in her capacity as a park ranger gives a two-hour walking tour and lecture, which she developed. She talks about the rich history of New Orleans cuisine and the various influences that created it. I got to go on her tour and was very impressed and found it very interesting. New Orleans has a rich tradition of blending and incorporating cuisines and they take their food very seriously. If you visit New Orleans eat a roast beef  Po Boy at Parasols, and if you can go twice have the firecracker shrimp Po Boy. Go to New Orleans just for the food.

I had a great time in New Orleans. In many ways, for good and ill, New Orleans is like a foreign country. If you are looking for a different experience go to New Orleans. Get off Bourbon Street and experience the city. I love Nashville and don't want to live anywhere else, but if I did live somewhere else, I think I could enjoy living in New Orleans.  

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Tommorrow, a critical meeting related to textbooks for Tennessee's public schools.

From Tennessee Freedom Coalition 
Rod -
We need your help. Please help us make an impact! Please share this email with like-minded people willing to take a stand for our children.
Join ACT for America's Rutherford County chapter tomorrow for a critical meeting related to textbooks for Tennessee's public schools.

Tennessee textbook commission meeting
Wednesday, October 23, at 10:00 A.M.
Davy Crockett Tower
500 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN
Conference Room 1-A

On 10/8/13 the State Textbook Commission declined to accept any of the proposed Social Studies books. That decision was huge, and it was unprecedented and we are so pleased with that outcome… However, the Commission is holding an emergency meeting on 10/23/13 and we need to be prepared for a possible reversal or compromise that will not be satisfactory to us. They are also not allowing any public comments at this meeting, so we MUST show our strength in numbers!

Help support this group by attending this meeting and holding our leadership accountable to the people of Tennessee.
The Board of Directors
Tennessee Freedom Coalition

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Mitch McConnell's $3 billion Kentucky Kickback

If not for the Louisianan Purchase, the Nebraska Cornhusker Kickback, and Gatorade, Obmacare would have never gotten the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate. We have Obamacare because some Senators were willing to exchange their vote for a sweetheart deal for their state.

In the bill to end the government shutdown and avoid default, Mitch McConnell got a nearly $3 billion earmark for a Kentucky project to increase funding for the Olmsted Dam Lock in Paducah, Kentucky. I don't criticize McConnell for supporting the deal that ended the shutdown and extended for three months the debt limit. We went to the brink of a economic disaster and while Republicans didn't get much, what they got was the best deal they were going to get. It was time to vote to end the crisis. So while I do not criticize Republicans who voted to end the crisis and avoid a disaster, McConnell accepting a $3 billion earmark for Kentucky sure look like a deal. It smells. It is things like this that breed cynicism and contempt for government and make people wonder if everyone is not for sale.

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8:30 am – Coffee & Pastries, 9:00 am – Program







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Rand Paul: Why I Plan to Grill Janet Yellen, Obama's Noninee for Fed Chair

by Senator Rand Paul

President Obama’s announcement of Janet Yellen as his choice as the new Federal Reserve chairman has prompted speculation about what this might mean for our central bank. Perhaps this can best be judged by reviewing its recent history and Yellen’s place in it.

It is also important to focus on the fact that the Federal Reserve is structurally flawed.  The institution needs to be reformed to prevent Yellen, or any other future nominee, from using the enormous power of the Fed to aid and abet the allies of big government.  I intend on using the Senate’s constitutional power of consent to nominations as a means to educate the American people on the structural flaws and policies of the Fed that are bankrupting our nation.

The Fed’s favored practice of “quantitative easing” has been questionable at best. One need not be an economist or mathematician to wonder whether printing money out of thin air is a sound way to help the economy. Still, as The Washington Post’s Neil Irwin notes, “Yellen has been not merely an engineer of the Fed’s policies of ‘quantitative easing’ and ‘forward guidance,’ but a consistent voice within the central bank to go further.”

Will it now go further? Matt Nesto at Yahoo Finance added, “Yellen, who is the current vice chair of the Fed, is known for her staunch support of the controversial easy money policies that have dominated Bernanke’s two terms as Fed chief.”

“Controversial,” to say the least.

The Federal Reserve might be the most secretive institution in our history. For decades, Fed officials, politicians and various “experts” have insisted that such secrecy was integral to its independence, and therefore effectiveness. But during Bernanke’s two terms we have seen QE1 (quantitative easing), QE2 and QE3, and all were ineffective, if not destructive. An unprecedented amount of new dollars has been injected into the economy. In 2009, it was even reported that the Fed could not account for $9 trillion in off-sheet balance transactions. That amount is more than half our national debt.

When the economy doesn’t improve, what is the Fed’s eternal answer? Print even more money. In 2013, the Fed has been purchasing – and monetizing the government’s debt – at a rate of $85 billion a month.  Just this year, they have added over $800 billion in government debt to their balance sheets.

Apparently President Obama’s choice for Fed chairman is just as much an advocate of this policy as her predecessor. This is madness.

The American people have a right to know what this institution is doing with the nation’s money supply. The Federal Reserve does not need prolonged secrecy—it needs to be audited.

I have introduced the bipartisan Federal Reserve Transparency Act, more commonly known as “Audit the Fed.” My bill calls to eliminate restrictions on Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits of the Federal Reserve and mandating the Fed’s credit facilities, securities purchases, and quantitative easing activities would be subject to Congressional oversight.

This bill currently has 19 co-sponsors in the Senate, including members from both parties, and companion legislation introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year currently has over 100 co-sponsors. It passed in the House with a vote of 327 to 98 on July 25, 2012.

The complicity of the Federal Reserve in contributing to our economic woes is something many used to ignore, but perhaps one of my father’s greatest achievements as a Congressman was to bring this issue to the forefront. As we try to get through a partial government shutdown in which the President refuses to compromise or negotiate monetary policy remains at the heart of our economic crisis. A Federal Reserve completely dedicated to exorbitant printing and spending is a serious problem, and the fact that such policies don’t change from one chairman to the next indicates that it is a systemic one.

The system needs to change. The status quo is unsustainable and quite frankly, unforgivable. Whether it’s Congress, this President and especially the Fed—wanton fiscal recklessness seems to be the permanent economic policy of the United States.

I would like to hope that Yellen might be able to bring some sobriety to the Fed, but her performance to date mostly suggests that we will see more of the same policies. I look forward to an in-depth discussion in debating her nomination, but my ultimate decision will rest on her potential effectiveness in reforming that historically irresponsible institution.

More of the same simply will not do. It cannot do. I encourage every member of Congress to join me in supporting a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve. It is time for more transparency in virtually every part of our government—and the Fed is the most logical place to start.

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Last Saturday of each month
SATURDAY, October 26, 2013
8:30 am – Breakfast & Social (Dutch Treat)
9:00 am – Meeting
546 Donelson Pike  37214
Guest Speaker
Stacy Ries Snyder
First Vice Chairman for the  Davidson County Republican Party
Presented by:  Alex and Kathyrn Stillwell Chairmen of the Donelson-Hermitage Conservative Group or 773-2775

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$52,000 is a little less than $100,000

Recently on the Ralph Bristol radio program, Joe Carr said that he had raised a little less than $100,000 in the third quarter in his primary campaign to unseat Lamar Alexander. He had actually raised only $52,000. I would say $52,000 is "just a little over $50,000," not "a little less" than $100,000. Why would he say that when the truth was bound to come out. What was he thinking? I know they may be little things but from his first announcement when he had a sign that said he was running for the "Sentate," to his answering a questionnaire with answer's lifted word for word from a Heritage Foundation brochure, to his saying $52,000 is a  "little less" than $100,000, Joe Carr is just not ready for prime time.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Post Mortem on the CR and Debt ceiling fight

I know some Republicans are trying to put a good face on the government shut down and debt limit fight but face it, we lost. Obamacare did not get defunded which was the first objective of the refusal of house Republicans to pass a continuing resolution. Neither did Republicans win a one-year delay which was the fall-back position of House Republicans. What we did gain is that the government is only funded through Jan. 17th and the debt limit will be reached on Feb 7th and the sequester cuts were kept in place. Between now and then, Republicans, Democrats and the Obama administration can work on a budget deal that will address the national debt. If no deal is reached then we may be facing the same situation again. The government can shut down on Jan. 18th and on Feb 6th it can reopen with another last minute deal that extends the debt limit. Is that a great accomplishment? I don't think so.

I never did see how the tactic of trying to use the CR to force a change in Obamacare was going to work. This is not 20/20 hind site or Monday morning quarterbacking. Prior to the shut down I wrote, "As much as I admire Senator Ted Cruz’s tenacity and as much as I would like to see ObamaCare defunded, I am afraid the current effort to do so is a quixotic attempt that is doomed to failure." We simply did not have the votes to prevail.

After the shutdown occurred, I do think Republicans should have done more to put the blame on Obama.  We should have been prepared with billboards and TV spots urging Obama to reopen the government. The one gift we can be thankful for is Obama's petty effort to make the shut down hurt as much as possible. His blockaiding of veterans from visiting memorials reflected more badly on Obama than it did Republicans. Still, Republicans got most of the blame for the shutdown and for risking a world-wide economic disaster should we have defaulted on our debt.

I absolutely think we should get rid of Obamacare and we must do something to reverse the runaway national debt. It is not because of the goal, that I disagree with some of the more dogmatic tea party Republicans, but it is the strategy.  The strategy should have been to let the CR pass after passing a House amendment to defund Obama Care, and when that was defeated, then an amendment to delay Obamacare. Both would have been defeated in the Senate but all Democrats would have been on record. The CR would have passed without a shut down. We should have concentrated on the debt limit and pretty much ended up with what we got: the sequester and a short-term debt ceiling raise.

Our primary goal should have been to keep control of the house next election and pick up some seats in the Senate so we could then defund, repeal and replace Obamacare and address the national debt. We could have done it. We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Now, we will be lucky if we can hold the House.

By engaging in this tactic we lost a couple things that were going our way: (1) The Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal and the domestic spying scandal were knocked off the front page by the shut down. People have by now pretty much forgotten them. (2) The failure of the roll out of Obamacare got a lot less attention than it would have, had we not been focusing on the CR and debt limit deadline.

Now that the debt limit and CR fight is behind us, people like Glenn Beck and other tea party pundits are either calling for forming a new political party or taking revenge on all Republicans who were not supportive of the recent kamikaze mission.  This is a sure recipe for a Democrat victory. A third party will fail miserably and a divided Republican Party with bitter primary campaigns will only benefit Democrats.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Video of the October 15th Council meeting with commentary.

This meeting is 56 minutes long. To make what you are watching make sense follow along with the agenda and agenda analysis. You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. And, you can download the Council staff analysis at this link: Metro Council Staff Analysis.

Resolutions: Several Resolution are pulled off of the consent agenda leaving only four on Consent.

  • RESOLUTIONs NO. RS2013-871 and RS2013-872 are withdrawn. They are the resolutions that would have approved the purchase of $200 Million in Pension Obligation Bonds. The plan was to purchase these bond at 4.1% interest rate and invest the money and hope to turn a profit. As soon as this plan was announced it ran into opposition and the Mayor's office announced they were withdrawing the proposal.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-873 passed. It imposes an additional 1/4 percent sales tax on most items purchased in the Downtown Central Business Improvement District. Money raised from this tax will go into a fund that can be used to subsidize big conventions coming to Nashville. ( See time stamp 8:53 for the discussion.) If I were in the Council, I think I could have supported this bill. The merchants in the CBID advocated for this tax. The fee would not pay for the Music City Center but would be used to recruit entities to bring their conventions to Nashville. Duane Dominy unsuccessfully asks for a deferral. Since the tax does not go into effect until next year anyway, I would have supported a one meeting deferral to allow Councilman Dominy to get his questions answered. Those voting against the tax were Duane Dominy, Emily Evans, Robert Duvall and Tony Tenpenny. These are some of my favorite councilmembers, but I don't know that I could have voted with them on this issue. Now that we have the convention center we need to do what we can to make it a success.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-878 which settles the claim of Juana Villegas against the city passes without dissent. Villegas is the illegal Mexican immigrant who had previously been deported, who was arrested and was pregnant and while in the custody of the Sheriff's Department was shackled to a hospital bed while in labor. This happened five years ago. She won a lawsuit against the city and was awarded $200,000 in damages and another $1.2 Million in attorney's fees. Metro appealed and won. However, she was awarded a new trial. This resolution settles the case giving Ms. Villegas $100,000 and her attorneys $390,000. Voting to settle a law suit does not imply one agrees with the the action of the sheriff's office in shackling a pregnant women to a hospital bed or that one supports giving a nice sum of money to previously deported illegal alien. A settlement is in the financial best interest of the city. 
All bills on first reading pass without disscussion as is the norm.

Bills on Second reading: The only bills of any significant on second reading concern the creation of the Metro Injury-on-duty clinic. Those bills pass. Bo Mitchell questions if the contract should be a sole-source contract. No contract for professional services have to be bid. (See time stamp 18:38-31:48 for the discussion.)

All bills on third reading pass including the massive rezoning of Gallatin Pk from the river to Briley Parkway. This bill is considerable different from an earlier version of this rezoning and the controversy had been resolved. 

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Latinos for Tennessee, Thursday, October 24, 2013, 6:30pm

Latinos for Tennessee
Thursday, October 24, 2013
6:30 p.m.    Networking and Fun
7:00 p.m.   Latin Music, Food, Drinks and Salsa Dancing
*Note: This is a 21+ event with a cash bar.
 Ibiza Nightclub
 15128 Old Hickory Blvd.   Nashville, TN. 37211

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Joe Carr raised less than $100,000 this quarter

Joe Carr who is running in the Republican primary against Lamar Alexander told radio talk show host Ralph Bristol yesterday that in the just concluded third quarter he had raised less than $100,000. Lamar Alexander raised close to $900,000 in the third quarter to add to his already substantial war chest. At this point, it does not appear Joe Carr will be a serious challenge to Alexander.

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Metro Council passed the 1/4 cent Music City Center tax

Last night the Metro Council passed the 1/4 cent Music City Center tax. The new sales tax would only apply in a portion of  downtown frequented by tourist and would not apply to lodging which already is heavily taxed. The revenue will be used to subsidize large convention in order to lure them to Nashville. Four Council members voting against the new tax were Robert Duvall, Dyane Dominy, Emily Evans, and Tony Tenpenny.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tennessee citizens are taking an active roll in the selection of textbooks.

The process of approving text books for use in Tennessee's public schools has in the past been a pretty lame and superficial process. For one thing, the number of people appointed to the commission could not possibly read all of the text books they are charged with approving in the allotted time and there has not been a citizen watchdog group that exerted influence on the commission. Usually no one showed up at the public hearings on textbooks.

Since most textbooks in use are the same book from one state to another, we can be thankful for the activism of Texas parents who have kept the worst of text books from being approved. For about 50 years or more, Texas has been the filter that kept the worst in liberal indoctrination from making it into the text books of the nation. Since Texas has such a huge share of the market, if Texas rejected a textbook the publisher would go back and revise it in order to get it approved. Texas however could not keep all bad textbooks off the market. Some books are not even considered for use in Texas, so those were never reviewed by the Texas textbook commission. And, Texas could not catch everything.

For the first time that I know of, Tennessee is taking seriously the process of reviewing text books.This year dozens of parents across the state devoted their summer to actually reading the Social Studies textbooks that were up for adoption and they expressed their concern to the text book commission.

Below is a report from Thomas Bunetta posted on the Tennessee Eagle Forum Facebook page:

The Tennessee Department of Education’s Textbook Commission is meeting to consider approval of recommended social studies textbooks for the state’s public schools. Normally, nobody from the public shows up at these meetings. But this time, ACT! for America chapter leaders and members are out in force. They’ve done their homework, using our “Education or Indoctrination: The Treatment of Islam in 6th through 12th grade American Textbooks” report. They’ve done the legwork, educating public officials and the members of this textbook commission, showing them the many flawed and biased ways Islam is presented in the textbooks they are considering.

And then the time comes for the commissioners to vote on whether or not to approve the textbooks. And not one of them makes a motion to do so. So a second call was made for a motion. And not one of them offers the motion. The state’s Director of Curriculum stands up and sternly warns the commissioners there’s a deadline looming and they need to approve these books. And the commissioners hold fast and refuse to approve the textbooks.


To our knowledge this is the first time a state textbook selection committee has refused to approve textbooks due to concerns about how Islam is presented! Yes, folks, you can fight city hall. It’s not easy, but it can be done. You have to be informed, organized and strategic. Which is what we do at ACT! for America and what our Tennessee chapter leaders and members did. They did it smart. They did it right. And they’re just the latest example of what ACT! for America is accomplishing and how our strategic and grassroots approach WORKS!

The final chapter still has to be written. There’s another commission meeting on October 23rd. We need the commissioners to stand their ground and refuse to approve these social studies textbooks. If you live in Tennessee, you can help push this across the finish line by contacting the Rutherford County chapter of ACT! for America at

Thank you, ACT! for America chapter leaders and members in Tennessee for your awesome work on our behalf. Keep fighting the good fight!
This fight over text books used in public schools started in Williamson County over a textbook that activist claimed was biased against Israel and equated Israeli self defense with Palestinian terrorism. The textbook in question was A Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography, used in a human geography class, an elective in an Advanced Placement course. The specific complaint was a passage that asked students this question: “If a Palestinian suicide bomber kills several dozen Israeli teenagers in a Jerusalem restaurant, is that an act of terrorism or wartime retaliation against Israeli government policies and army actions?” 

My feeling at the time was that smart high school seniors who next year will be in college did not need to be protected from that kind of thought-provoking question. Also, the protest opposing this textbook was led by Laurie Cardoza-Moore, who heads a Christian Zionist group called Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. She is best know for leading the opposition to the building of a Mosque in Murfreesboro. I certainly would not have joined her in that fight. I believe the First Amendment also applies to Muslim and that they have as much right to build a mosque as do Mormons or Jews to build a temple, or as do Hindus or Buddhist or any Christian sect to build a house of worship. 
Because of her anti First Amendment position on that issue, I was not likely to support her fight over textbook selection. Also, I am leery of  ACT! I have attended some of their meetings and saw a film they produced, but have  tended to think they painted all Muslims with the same brush and their position was on occasion more based on bigotry than logic. 

Not being a fan of ACT or Laurie Cardoza-Moore I am, nevertheless, pleased with the developments taking place in the Tennessee Textbook Commission. I am glad that citizens are taking an active roll in the selection of textbooks. In countering the bias in textbooks as it relates to the presentation of Islam and history concerning Muslims, ACT has done their homework. They have meticulously examined numerous textbooks and countered claims that white washed or distorted Islam history or doctrine or contemporary Islamic culture. They have footnoted and documented with other superior sources those claims and generalizations that presented Islam is a favorable light or misrepresented historical fact. To view their report go to this link: Education or Indoctrination, The treatment of Islam in 6th thought 12th grade American textbooks. 

While ACT is concerned with the presentation of Islam, I am much more concerned with a liberal bias presented in books on American and World history and economic matters. I wish someone was taking the same meticulous approach to how history books portray the cold war, Communism, the arms race, the settlement of America and the conflict between Europeans and Native Americans, the sixties, environmentalism, social movements, and government economic intervention and the roll of free markets. 

What is taught is our schools is too important to be left to academics who have a liberal bias. It is an undeniable fact that liberalism is the dominant point of view in academia. While academics may claim they adhere to the highest academic standards of objectivity, it is unavoidable that their own prejudice finds its way into the textbooks they write. All textbooks should be examined carefully and we should have confidence that controversial topics are presented with balance, that sensitive matters are age-appropriate, and that text books are accurate and that they educate rather than indoctrinate. 


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Is America 'Coming Apart' at the seams? Join the discussion

Charles Murray is a political scientist and a self-described libertarian. In Coming Apart he argues that current American social classes are fundamentally different from anything we have know before in America, arguing that at one time, rich and poor shared basic standards of  behavior and values but that that is no longer true. He draws on five decades of statistics and research to support his argument. To remove the variable of race and ethnicity from the discussion, he focuses on White America.

Coming Apart is the selection of the next meeting of the Conservative Fusion Book Club. You can get a copy of the book for less than $5 at Amazon. The meeting will be Wednesday, November 13th at the home of Gene Wisdom at 7PM. For directions email Gene at

Charles Murray first became well known for his Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950–1980 in 1984, which discussed the American welfare system. Murray has also written In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government (1988), What It Means to be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation (1996), Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 (2003), and In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State (2006). He published Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality in 2008. He has also been widely published in conservative, libertarian and mainstream media. He is a scholar at American Enterprise Institute.

Please join us for this lively discussion of an important work.

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Meeting of the Metro Council's Budget & Finance Committee on October 14, 2013

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Corker: Attempts to Bust Budget Caps a "Major Distraction" and "Not Helpful to the Process"

It is clear Democrats want absolutely no controls on spending. As the Republicans and Democrats edge closer to a solution that would avoid the debt limit crisis, Democrats up the ante by attempting to bust the budget caps previously agreed to in sequestration.  Bob Corker explains:

In an interview Monday about ongoing budget and debt discussions on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Senator Corker said Democrat efforts to increase spending levels beyond the budget caps put in place as a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act were a “major distraction” and “not helpful to the process.”
“It was really a major distraction that Democrats would want to try to bust the budget caps… The reason you have these forcing moments is to reduce spending, to put in place spending reforms that make our nation stronger. For them to … move in the other direction was not helpful to this process,” said Corker. 

For the first time since the 1950s, the Budget Control Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in 2011, helped reduce total government spending for two consecutive years. It will cause non-emergency discretionary spending to be decreased from $1.090 trillion in 2011 to $967 billion this year. Corker has strongly urged his colleagues to “hang tough on the sequester” and not allow any deal to raise spending levels.

Corker remains hopeful that leaders in Washington will strike a deal to avoid default before the end of the week, stating, “I think finally, we may be on the right page today. I think [we were] moving there late last night and early this morning. And maybe –maybe – we’ll move beyond this. We do need to move beyond this.”

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What's on the Council Agenda for October 15 with summary and commentary

This should be a relatively short meeting. The only hot issue, the $200 million bond issue, has already been resolved.

To follow along, you can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. And, you download the Council staff analysis at this link: Metro Council Staff Analysis.

Confirmation of Appointment: There is only one and it is to the Community Education Commission.

Bill on public hearing: There is only one and it is a hearing to exempt an establishment that already has a liquor-by-the-drink permit and is seeking a beer permit, from the minimum distance requirements of the beer permit. These type items have been passing with no one showing up to speak in opposition. I think the law should be changed so that if one has a liquor-by-the-drink permit they are automatically exempt from the distance requirements of the beer permit.

Consent Agenda: There are eight resolutions, all of which are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda but it doesn't happen often. Below are resolutions worth noting:

  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-871 and RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-872 are the resolution that would have approved the purchase of $200 Million in Pension Obligation Bonds. The plan was to purchase these bond at 4.1% interest rate and invest the money and hope to turn a profit. As soon as this was announced it ran into opposition and the Mayor's office has already announced they are withdrawing the proposal. 
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-873 imposes an additional 1/4 percent sales tax on most items purchased in the downtown central business district. Money raised from this tax will go into a fund that can be used to subsidize big conventions coming to Nashville. 
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-878 settles the claim of Juana Villegas against the city. Villegas is the illegal Mexican immigrant who had previously been deported, who was arrested and was pregnant and while in the custody of the Sheriff's Department was shackled to a hospital bed while in labor. This happened five years ago. She won a lawsuit against the city and was awarded $200,000 in damages and another $1.2 Million in attorney's fees. Metro appealed and won. However, she was awarded a new trial. This resolution would settle the case giving Ms. Villegas $100,000 and her attorneys $390,000. While some Council members may not like settling this suit, my view is that if the legal department recommends settling, we should settle. Voting to settle a law suit does not imply one agrees with the outcome, only that a settlement is in the financial best interest of the city.

Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are six bills on first reading.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are fifteen bills on second reading.

  • BILL NO. BL2013-526 and Bill NO. BL2013-527 establish a Metro Injury-on-duty clinic and approve an entity to operate it. It looks like it has been a deliberative process to reach this point and it appears this will save the city money. Apparently this mode of operation is successfully used by major corporations. These are good bills.
  • Bill No. Bl2013-546 is an approval of a lease for the location of the Metro Injury-on-duty clinic.
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 ten bills on third reading. None of them appear controversial.

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Your child does not have to be trapped in a failing school. Optional Schools Application

Your child does not have to be trapped in a failing school.
 Optional Schools Application
October 31 - Dec 3, 2013
Every student has options, and they are expanding!

Metro Nashville Public Schools embraces its diversity – in ethnicity, interests, socioeconomics and learning styles – allowing YOU to choose when, where, and how your child learns. Metro Schools will help you select the right school for your child, and your family, so he or she has a great educational experience and graduates prepared for college, career and life.
Explore all your school options such as your zoned school, optional schools and charter schools.
Make plans to visit a school. Enter to win an iPad at each school you visit.
Apply to a school through Optional Schools Application.
Need help? Call Metro Schools Customer Service Center at 615.259.4636 to speak with an Academic Counselor or visit pages in this section  to find entrance requirements, explore school options, search for transportation options, and apply online.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Karl Dean's Metro Pension bond request withdrawn

Metro Mayor Karl Dean's risky proposal to borrow $200 million in bonds and invest the money, in hopes of turning a profit, will be withdrawn. Metro's unfunded pension liability is currently $395.6 Million.

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