Saturday, December 21, 2013

If Obama didn't ruin your Thanksgivng, he is planning to ruin your Christmas

I got this from the official Obamanista organization:

Friend --

As you get ready to celebrate with your loved ones, I wanted to pass along a few final tips to help in those conversations about health care you know are coming up.

Here's a little cheat sheet of facts:
1. Because of Obamacare, you can't be dropped from your plan just because you get sick.
2. You can't be denied coverage just because of your health.
3. You might qualify for financial assistance to help you pay for your plan. (Seriously. Use this calculator to check out how much folks might save.)
4. Your insurance policy can no longer limit the amount of care your provider covers over your lifetime.
5. You can't be charged more just because you're a woman. No more out-of-pocket expenses for mammograms and contraception.
Then go back to your previously scheduled holiday plans. If you want more facts to share with friends and family over dinner, head here:

Thanks -- and happy holidays,
Beth Kelly
Deputy Health Care Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action
I suspect that after Christmas, the Obamanistas will be reporting back to OFA on what was said at the Christmas dinner table, the way they did after Thanksgiving.  Does that mean if you are outspoken in disagreement, you may get a tax audit?

If my liberal relatives want to discuss Obamacare at Christmas I am going to try to salvage Christmas by not having the discussion. It will take a lot of self control to not take the bait however. If you anticipate being forced into a debate of Obamacare this Christmas, you may want to brush up on your talking points. Here is a good source of information.

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Tennessee Firearms Association Demands the Legislature address Gun Rights

It seems the Tennessee Firearms Association is not at all happy that our state legislature is getting distracted by things like education reform and tax reform and making government more efficient rather than focusing on gun rights. They are disappointing that gun rights are not going to be a priority in the upcoming legislative session. TFA's Executive Director John Harris said, "The lack of attention to firearms-related issues on the 2014 Republican-controlled legislative agenda did not go unnoticed."

The TFA is the pro-gun lobby in Tennessee. They want to go beyond the rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment, as everyone knows, is a restriction on government that guarantees our right to bare arms. The TFA wants to expand your "right" to bear arms beyond the rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment. They want to prohibit others from saying you cannot carry your gun onto their property. If TRA got their way on this, who knows what they would want next.

Because the TFA did not deem Republican Debra Maggart sufficiently pro-gun, they engineered her defeat in the 2012 GOP primary, spending an unprecedented $155,000 plus dollars in negative campaigning and disparaging her A+ rated,  pro-Second Amendment voting record.  They said she was for gun control, for shredding the Constitution, and compared her to President Barack Obama. 

In 2013 the State legislature passed the  'safe commute' bill which essentially would "allow" a person with a valid handgun carry permit to keep a gun in their car in a public or private parking lot. Despite the hysteria about the bill, it is worth noting that it really didn't do much. At the time, supporters stressed that the measure would not stop employers from banning weapons on their property but would simply remove their ability to call for criminal charges against violators.  Also, it was clear the bill did not apply to areas like airports, railroads or secure facilities governed by federal law.

It is true that the bill did not give the TFA all they wanted, but they got something. I do not think our state legislature was prepared to go further and trample private property rights in the name of expanding gun rights. If they would have done so, I doubt Governor Haslam would have signed the bill.

The TFA showed they can take out a powerful State legislator, but there is no making them happy. I don't think the TFA can take out Ron Ramsey or Beth Harwell or Governor Haslam. The legislative leadership should take the position that, we have dealt with "guns-in-trunks-in-parking-lots" and we are not going to revisit the issue. Haslam should take the position, I signed the "safe commute" bill and I will not go further than that bill and I will veto any gun bill that tramples property rights. 

We have spend enough time on guns. Our right to bear arms is well protected in Tennessee.  Move on to other things. 

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Congressman Phil Roe: 100 Reasons to Cut Spending

by Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. 1st District Tennessee,

Each year, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) releases a Wastebook. This document lists 100 projects that are questionable uses of taxpayer dollars. Now that the House and Senate have agreed on a plan to avoid future government shutdowns and reduce the deficit by $23 billion, it’s time we go a step further and look at each line item in the federal budget to identify waste, fraud and abuse. Senator Coburn’s report identifies nearly $30 billion in savings—a useful first step toward lowering our $17 trillion debt. While you might be able to debate the merits of certain projects listed in the senator’s report, there are projects listed that are undoubtedly a waste of tax dollars.  

Just a few of these projects include:
  • A home loan program backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that helped more than 100 individuals purchase a residence in Hawaii.
  •  A $100 million endeavor at the National Endowment of the Humanities intended to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, song and internet fan fiction”.
  • A tax deduction for brothels in Nevada totaling roughly $17.5 million.
  • At least $379 million spent to promote Obamacare and fix
  • Salary and benefits for the Fort Hood shooter.
  • $3.5 million on solar panels at Manchester-Boston airport that were eventually covered because the glare was dangerous to pilots and controllers.
  • $630,000 to increase Facebook likes for the State Department
There is no question that tax dollars should be not used to research romance novels, provide tax relief to brothels or increase likes on social media sites. And before the government invests in things like solar panels, which can help lower costs in some cases, we should be researching all possible outcomes to ensure that 3.5 million tax dollars aren’t wasted on an investment that will not work because of safety concerns.

Still, many liberals argue that the only way to cut our debt is to raise taxes on the “wealthy” to make sure everyone is paying their “fair share”. A new report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, found that the top 40 percent of earners pay 106 percent of individual income taxes. How is that possible?  It’s because there are so many so-called “refundable” tax benefits that are guaranteed in full to the beneficiary, regardless of whether they have any income tax liability.

The truth is: we don’t have a revenue problem in this country, we have a spending problem, and the only way to get our country’s fiscal house back in order is to stop spending money we don’t have. Senator Coburn’s report identifies billions of dollars in savings potential, and now that we’ve returned to regular order in the budgeting process, I look forward to taking a hard look at the budget and fighting to eliminate frivolous government spending.  

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. Our contact information can be found on our website,

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Friday, December 20, 2013

TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney Releases Statement Ahead of President Obama’s Press Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—As President Barack Obama prepares to take a two-week Christmas vacation, the White House today scheduled a final press availability for the President before he departs.

The President leaves Washington with a number of matters unsettled. Just yesterday, the White House announced it will circumvent its own health care law once again by granting “hardship exemptions” from ObamaCare’s individual mandate. Earlier in the week, the administration was given a 300-page set of recommendations to overhaul the NSA’s spying program, and the dodgy application of American foreign policy under Obama has lessened our credibility across the globe.

Ahead of the news conference, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney commented:

With his record of failure in 2013, I understand why President Obama wants to get out of town as quickly as possible. Over five million Americans received an insurance cancellation notice for Christmas this year thanks to ObamaCare and now the President is trying to win back support by strong-arming insurance companies and circumventing the law itself. He continues to preside over a sluggish recovery and his inconsistent foreign policy stances have caused our allies to question our leadership.

Thankfully, in 2014 Americans have a chance to give President Obama the lame duck presidency he deserves by electing Republicans to the US Senate, enlarging our House majority, and electing dedicated conservative Republicans all across Tennessee who will push an agenda of economic growth and individual opportunity--in stark contrast to Obama's big government track record. 

In light of the press conference, it’s worth reviewing President Obama’s whoppers:

Revisiting Obama’s 2013 Whoppers
“President Obama Ended Up With Three Of The Most Misleading Claims Of The Year.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Biggest Pinocchios Of 2013,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 12/16/13)

Obama’s Broken “Keep Your Plan” Promise 
Obama’s Promise That Americans Could Keep Their Plan “Backfired On Him” Once “Millions Of Americans Started Receiving Cancellation Notices.” “This memorable promise by President Obama backfired on him when the Affordable Care Act went into effect and millions of Americans started receiving cancellation notices. As we explained, part of the reason for so many cancellations is because of an unusually early (March 23, 2o10) cut-off date for grandfathering plans—and also because of tight regulations written by the administration.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Biggest Pinocchios Of 2013,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 12/16/13)

See a helpful list of all the 2013 whoppers by clicking here.

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A Merry Christmas Cartoon Book

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Senate passes budget deal: Alexander and Corker vote "no."

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on his vote against the Ryan-Murray budget agreement:

I voted against the budget agreement because it avoids the federal government’s most urgent need: reducing the growth of runaway entitlement spending. Instead, it spends savings that should be used to strengthen Medicare, pensions, and the air transportation system. It is particularly troubling that the budget agreement takes money from pensions in a way that treats military retirees worse than the civilian federal employees.
It would have been better to pay for this agreement with a small part of the $1 trillion in entitlement savings that Sen. Corker and I have identified in our ‘Fiscal Sustainability Act,’ or with entitlement savings suggested in the president’s budget.

Although I can’t support it, I appreciate the efforts of Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray to bring certainty to the budget process, which is why I voted Tuesday to allow a Senate vote on their agreement, which had passed the House with two-to-one Republican support. In addition to its failure to address growth of mandatory entitlement spending – such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – Alexander cited four major objections to the budget agreement. Alexander objected to the agreement because it:
  • Cuts $22 billion in 2022 and 2023 in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and other health care providers, for savings that may never materialize.
  • Increases pension premiums paid by employers to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. by $7.9 billion, to pay for unrelated spending.
  • Cuts the annual cost-of-living benefits for military retirees under the age of 62 by 1 percent, to pay for unrelated spending. This would impact current retirees, as opposed to new hires as in the case of changes to civilian federal employee pensions.
  • Increases by $12.6 billion airport security fees – which generally get passed on to airline passengers – to pay for unrelated spending. Such fees should be used to improve airport security.
In February, Senators Alexander and Corker introduced the “Fiscal Sustainability Act,” S. 11, to reduce the growth of entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) by nearly $1 trillion in the next decade in order to improve the programs’ solvency. The bill incorporates many of the recommendations made by President Obama’s Debt Commission (Simpson-Bowles) as well as by former Republican Senator Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, budget director for former President Clinton.

Also voting against the budget deal was Senator Bob Corker. Corker issued this statement:

Because of the Budget Control Act, for three years in a row, Congress has spent less on discretionary programs than the year before.  While I appreciate the dilemma Paul Ryan was in, it's disappointing the misguided strategy of the House this fall weakened our hand on fiscal issues and that House appropriators indicated they were unwilling to live within the budget discipline laid out in the sequester.   So with the afterglow of the ‘bipartisan’ deal fading, I think everyone can see this budget deal busts the budget caps by $45,000,000,000 in the first year alone without making meaningful changes to mandatory programs, violating the only real progress we have made in getting our fiscal house in order and demonstrating that Congress continues to lack the discipline to control spending even in this small way.  Spending now and paying later is the cause of our deficit problems, not the solution.

Senator Corker also voted against cloture, which was the vote to end debate on the budget deal. Majority Leader Harry Reid filled the amendment tree on the bill on Sunday, allowing no amendments and no debate.  Since there was no debate and there were no amendments, Corker did not feel it was appropriate to support cloture. Senator Alexander, on the other hand, did support the cloture motion.

The Senate vote on the budget deal was 64-36.  Among Republicans, 36 voted "no" and only 9 voted in favor.

In the House, the vote was 332 to 94 with Republicans voting in favor 169 to  62. Tennessee's delegation supported it 7-2 . The "no" votes were DesJarlais and John Ducan. Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black and the rest of the Tennessee Republicans voted for the deal.

This is very interesting. Many tea party Republicans praise Marsha Blackburn and view Alexander and Corker as "RINO."  In this instance, the more conservative vote, the position advocated by Heritage Action and other conservative activist groups, was a vote against the budget deal.

I do not think one can say with certainty which was the correct way to vote. My heart is with those who voted "no," but my head is with those who voted "yes."  I understand those who cast a principled "no" for the reasons expressed by Corker and Alexander above.  On the other hand, the logic of voting "yes" was strategic. If we had not approved a budget compromise, the reasoning goes, we would have faced another government shutdown. Republicans would have gotten the blame and Republicans would have suffered in the 2014 election. It is better to keep the 2014 election focused on the failures of the Obama administration, Obamacare and issues that divide the parties, rather than defend and explain a government shut down. To eventually prevail on cutting the size of government and reducing the debt, Republicans must retake the Congress.  A "yes" vote was thought of as strategically, the wise thing to do, in order to win in the long run.

I just wish their had been a more unity among Republicans and more of them would have voted the same way. Either vote, I think was defensible, I just wish they would have gotten on the same page. One good think to come out of this vote however, is that the ultra conservative pressure groups cannot criticize Alexander and and Corker for this vote. When some who they do not like voted the way they wanted them to, and when some who they really like voted the way they did not want them to, I think that weakens the power of the ultra conservative pressure groups and I am beginning to think that is a good thing.

To view the roll call of the Senate vote, follow this link.  To view the complete roll call of the House follow this link: Final Vote Results for Roll Call .

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Democrats see Lamar as vulnerable. Plan to mount serious challenge with unknown candidate.

I just got this email. Notice that it is signed by all the Tennessee Democrat big wigs.  The Democrats think they can beat Lamar Alexander.  I seriously doubt it. Alexander is not vulnerable because he is too conservative, but because he is perceived as too liberal.  I doubt tea party Republican will vote for a Democrat.  What could happen however is, if Carr should somehow pull an upset and take the nomination away from Alexander, we had all better get used to the sound of "Senator Terry Adams."

Tennessee Democrats for A New U.S. Senator
Today at 3:18 PM
Dear friends,

The world has changed!
We are writing because last week two separate polls revealed how vulnerable Lamar Alexander has become. Tennesseans are disgusted with Washington politicians and instinctively realize that you can’t fix the disaster in Washington by sending the same people back there that made the mess to begin with.  As a long-time Washington politician, Alexander’s favorable rating statewide was a horrendous 37%.

43% of all voters dislike him. Even half the Republicans in Tennessee rate him as unfavorable. That’s amazing – but that explains why he has a very slim 6-point lead over a Tea Party challenger with very low name I.D. In fact it looks like there is a strong “anybody but Alexander” movement among Tennessee Republicans.

If this sounds familiar, remember that the “Tea Party” upset no fewer than eight establishment Republicans in the last two election cycles. They won surprising victories in Texas, Florida, Delaware, Indiana, Utah, Missouri, Nevada and Colorado.

That seems promising, but the polling is even more encouraging. If Alexander survives the coming Tea Party onslaught, he is extremely vulnerable to a candidate like Terry Adams who is a veteran, a small businessman and not a politician. That profile wins 67 – 13%!

After giving voters only a short description, Terry beats Alexander 41% - 37%. We have never seen poll numbers this encouraging against an “icon” like Lamar Alexander. Clearly, opportunity is knocking. We absolutely must answer the door and usher in a new day in Tennessee.

That’s why we’re supporting Terry Adams for the U.S. Senate. We invite you to talk with Terry or ask any one of us about the race.

We have all made contributions to Terry’s campaign and we are asking you to do the same. The federal maximum for this election cycle is $5,200.  The time is now – if Terry comes out of the gate with a strong FEC report, his campaign could transform into an unstoppable steamroller.
Just click here  to give.

Please give generously - then forward this email to your friends and associates. You might also post to Facebook and send a Tweet.    
Thanks for your friendship and your support.
Chris Anderson, Chattanooga City Council   Roy Herron, Democratic Party Chair
Justin Bailey Doug Horne, Former Dem. Party Chair
D'Army Bailey Gloria Johnson, TN State Representative
Charles Bone Clark Jones
Charles Robert Bone J. W. Luna
David Briley Olan Mills
Brian Capps, Past Pres., TAJ Sally Sparks, KBR President-Elect
Will Cheek, Former Dem. Party Chair Mike Stevens, Past President, TN Homebuilders   
Chip Forrester, Former Dem. Party Chair Mike Turner, TN House Dem. Caucus Chair
  Bob Tuke, Former Dem. Party Chair

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Beth Harwell: Pre-K likely won't expand across Tennessee

Beth Harwell: Pre-K likely won't expand across TennesseeThe Tennessean

House Republicans won't be looking to expand access to prekindergarten across the state in the upcoming legislative session, Speaker Beth Harwell ...

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Council meeting of Dec. 17th with commentary, analysis, and time stamp notation.

Council partially legalizes transportation competition!

This Council meeting is chaired by Councilman Chris Harmon, President pro tem of the Council.

To follow along with the agenda, the staff analysis and my analysis and commentary follow this link.

The proposed rule change which would have changed rule 47 of the council's rules of procedure and was sponsored by Councilman Robert Duvall is withdrawn without explanation. Rule 47 concerns use of the Council chamber and the placing of items on Council member's desk. The staff analysis did not explain this proposed rule change, so I don't know what that was all about. It was withdrawn without explanation.

All of those bills on the consent agenda pass without any being pulled.

The following bills were not on the consent agenda:
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-904 provides compensation for special judges presiding in Davidson County General Sessions Court. Ronnie Stein is the sponsor and explains the bill. Council member Duvall takes to the floor and expresses a concern. (See time stamp 0:16:04) The bill passes 34-0 with no abstentions. Six members are absent. 
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-931 appropriates over $9 million to various departments. Charlie Tygard takes to the floor with a concern. Good for Charlie! He is one of the few financial watchdogs in the Council. (see time stamp 0:20:22)
All bills on first reading pass without objection, as is customary.

Bills on Second Reading:
  • BILL NO. BL2013-580 sponsored by Charlie Tygard, which would establish the policy that storm water fee bills showing a zero balance or a credit would not have to be billed, which would save the city a lot of money, is deferred indefinitely. To see the explanation go to 0:23:34. 
  •   BILL NO. BL2013-603 by Councilman Mitchell which would regulate small outdoor music events on commercial property is deferred one meeting. To see the explanation of the bill see 0:25:00. 
  • BILL NO. BL2013-605 which would change the minimum fee that vehicles for hire are allowed to charge passes. To see the discussion go to 0:28:30. (This bill was also discussed at length in Budget and Finance Committee. To see that discussion follow this link and go to time stamp 0:43:54.)

    This is a great development! Hopefully it ends an embarrassing chapter in Nashville's history. I would be more pleased it this bill established no minimum. A minimum is designed to not help consumers, but to protect providers of a service. I also would be more pleased if this bill removed the other onerous regulation of black sedans. This is however, a big step in the right direction. To learn a lot more about this issue, see my previous post on this issue by following this link.

    It is unbelievable that this bills passed all committees of the council unanimously. It is surprising that a bill which imposed a minimum fees in 2010 passed unanimously and now a bill to lower the minimum so low that it will essentially have no effect also passes unanimously. Our Council apparently has no one with core values and they all bend with whichever way the wind blows. I am disappointed that no one took to the floor and made a principled argument in favor of free enterprise. The bill passes on a voice vote.
On Third Reading a couple bills concerning LED signs are discussed. I am not terrible interested in this topic so if it interest you, see 0:57:07 for the discussion. There is a particular concern as to whether or not the bill would apply to churches in certain zoned districts.

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Jim Tracy gets big endorsement over Scott DesJarlais ...

Jim Tracy gets big endorsement over Scott DesJarlais ...

NASHVILLE _ Citizens United Political Victory Fund endorsed state Sen. Jim Tracy in his GOP primary challenge to 4th Congressional District ...

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Wind turbines chop up bald and golden eagles, and other endangered species, like a Cuisinart

TVA's wind power site on Buffalo Mountain near Oak Ridge
If the Department of Energy were to meet its 2030 goal of having 20 percent of the nation’s electricity generated from wind, they project: “a mean annual mortality estimate of roughly 1.4 million birds.”

.... the Obama Administration announced an extension of the existing five-year eagle take permit. Effective immediately, the new rule issued by the Department of Interior (DOI) will grant 30-year permits allowing wind farms to “accidently kill federally protected eagles.” The “rule” is in direct violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act passed by Congress in 1940. Once again, executive action trumps the law.(link)

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Senator Alexander calls for end to Wind Tax Credits: They waste money and distort energy markets.

Washington, Dec. 17 - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and a bipartisan group of senators today sent a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), calling on them to let wind power “stand on its own” in the marketplace by allowing the wind production tax credit to expire as required under current law.

The bipartisan letter, led by Alexander and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), states that after more than 20 years and eight extensions, a 1992 tax credit originally intended to boost a fledgling technology is now subsidizing a “mature technology,” wasting taxpayer money and distorting energy markets by “picking winners and losers.” It requests that the Finance Committee exclude the wind production tax credit – which under current law will have provided $22 billion to wind producers between 1992 and 2022 – from any legislation the committee may consider.

The letter was signed by several members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Signatories include Senators Alexander, Manchin, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Jim Risch (R-Ida.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)

“Congress is struggling to find $63 billion to spend in the budget agreement, when all we have to do is get rid of the wasteful wind production tax credit,” Alexander said. “For the next 10 years, extending the tax credit one year at a time could cost $60 billion or more. Using the wind production tax credit to pay for all or part of the budget agreement would do this country more good than extending this subsidy for expensive, low-quality wind electricity ever could.”

The senators write, “Our nation’s energy policy must make economic sense for taxpayers and not manipulate markets. Continuation of the wind PTC not only picks winners and losers, it is distorting our energy markets and it's past time to end a temporary tax credit that was put into law in 1992. After more than 20 years, and tens of billions of tax-payer dollars, it’s time to let the wind PTC expire and continue to invest in new technologies.”

In the letter, the senators call for the Finance Committee to let the wind production tax credit expire as scheduled at the end of 2013 and not consider any kind of extension, pointing out that wind producers will continue to qualify for subsidies if the wind facility is placed in service before Jan. 1, 2016. As it stands now, the wind production tax credit will have given $22 billion to wind producers by 2022, according to the most recent estimate from the Congressional Research Service. That doesn’t include additional subsidies to wind as part of President Obama’s federal stimulus bill, which total another $12.9 billion, according to the U.S. Treasury.

The letter also describes how the wind production tax credit is wasting taxpayer money on what the Obama administration has called a “mature technology” while distorting energy markets, putting cheaper and more reliable forms of energy, such as coal and nuclear, at a competitive disadvantage.

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Bill to reduce limo fees moves ahead! Passes second reading

Last night the council passed a bill that cut the minimum fee for limo's or black cars from $45 to $9. 75. This will make it possible for app-based services like Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft to enter the Nashville market. It also means that the long-term effort to stamp out "black sedans" is over.

 In 2010, Nashville passed the $45 minimum to protect luxury limousine companies from the new competition of "Black Sedans."  Black sedans is a service that is something between a taxi and a limousine.  Black Sedans are much cleaner and nicer than the average taxi but they are not as ostentatious as a limo.  When this new type service entered the Nashville market, the city went all out to put them out of business, forcing them to operate like a limo company. Not only did the city impose a $45 minimum fare when black sedans had been charging only $25, they restricted there fares to only one an hour, required central dispatching, restricted the age of vehicles in service and engaged in a policy of harassment and intimidation of black sedan operators. Our shameful effort to protect the limo companies from competition became a national scandal.

With the new convention center, Nashville now needs more transportation and transportation options. Those in the tourist industry realize this and advocated a change in course to remove barriers to entry in the Nashville market. I would prefer that there be no minimum fee. However, a $10 fee is so low, that it will have little effect. I doubt a service like Lyft or a black sedan would provide a fare of less than $10 in any event. I don't think those in the Council who previously supported price-fixing have had a philosophical change of heart, but they are bowing to the practical reality that crony capitalism and price-fixing protectionism can not meet the needs of our booming tourist industry. Whatever their motivation for doing so, they are doing the right thing.

Below is the Tennessean's report on this story:

A proposal to dramatically reduce the minimum fee to hire limousines and black-car services in Nashville moved closer to approval Tuesday, meaning a national company that uses a smartphone application to connect riders with vehicles could enter the market soon. 

The Metro Council supported the legislation on the second of three required readings. It could win final approval as early as Jan. 7.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Law enforcement agencies receive a lump of coal for abusive practices

“Policing for profit” draws Tennesseans’ ire in Beacon Center’s annual poll 

NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee today announced that Tennesseans have overwhelmingly chosen the 23rd Judicial District, and Cheatham, Dickson, and Humphreys Counties as the recipients of the 2013 Lump of Coal Award.

The Beacon Center awards this dubious distinction annually to the person or group in Tennessee who, more than any other during the past year, acted as a Grinch to Tennesseans by bah-humbugging the principles of liberty and limited government.

The judicial district and three counties have become infamous for their use of a controversial tactic known as “policing for profit.” Abusing the state’s civil forfeiture laws, the agencies have begun seizing cash, vehicles, and other personal items in traffic stops, forcing the property owner to prove that the cash or property was not related to criminal activity. Innocent victims often spend months attempting to recoup seized property, sometimes to no avail.

An in-depth documentary by Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 revealed troubling facts about the practice, such as substantially more traffic stops on westbound Interstate lanes—where cash proceeds from drug sales frequently flow—while drugs traveling in the eastbound lanes were reportedly allowed to pass unfettered. Officers were also caught on camera admitting that they had little evidence that property was associated with a crime before seizing it anyway.

After the Beacon Center narrowed the list of offenders down to four finalists, the recipient of the Lump of Coal Award was chosen directly by Tennesseans in an online poll. The four law enforcement agencies received the most votes for the not-so-coveted prize, beating out Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, and Hemlock Semiconductor with 40 percent of the vote.

"Tennesseans have sent a clear message that ‘policing for profit’ will not be tolerated," said Beacon CEO Justin Owen. "This practice turns the Constitution on its head, and it’s time for lawmakers to heed the outcry of law-abiding citizens who want their property rights protected from this abuse, while still preserving the authority of law enforcement to target criminals."

State legislators have indicated that they will study this issue and offer possible reforms to the state’s civil forfeiture laws when they reconvene next month. Earlier this year, the Beacon Center published a policy brief on the practice, which can be found at

The Beacon Center of Tennessee’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.

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The Metro Council Budget and Finance Committee meeting of Dec. 16th

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Jim Gotto Fund Raiser tonight.

Jim Gotto
Fund raiser for Jim Gotto on Tuesday December 17th, 2013.
Sponsors: Speaker of the House of Representatives Beth Harwell, Senator Steve Dickerson, Senator Ferrel Haile, Representative Gerald McCormick, and Representative Glen Casada.
When: Tuesday December 17th, 4PM to 6PM
Where: The Cumberland, 555 Chruch St., Nashville
Minimum Contribution: $500

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Alexander, Corker to vote against bipartisan budget deal

Alexander, Corker to vote against bipartisan budget deal Nashville Business Journal (blog)

Lamar Alexander today said he will vote against the bipartisan budget deal that was recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam and other dignitaries dedicate Virgin Falls.

To get an idea of the size of this natural wonder, look in the upper left corner of
this picture. There is a person standing there.

I hate I missed it, but last Wednesday Governor Bill Haslam and other dignitaries gathered and endured chilly temperatures to dedicate Virgin Falls.

I have hiked a lot of beautiful places in Tennessee but have never hiked to Virgin Falls.  My sister is planning to lead a hike to Virgin Falls and some other nearby sites some warm day in January. I look forward to the hike. My sister, Kathleen Williams, is Executive Director of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and her organization was instrumental in saving this site.

My family has  a deep connection to this area. Both sets of  grandparents on my mothers side, the Carters and the Welches, have ties to this part of the country. The nearby area called "Big Bottom" was once farmed by an ancestor of mine and I have a relative who is buried in a cemetery in the area.

The stream that makes Virgin Falls, runs out of cave then falls 110 feet into the mouth of another cave. The area is also home to several endangered and rare plant species.

Below is a link to news coverage of the Dedication.
Geologic wonder dedicated as Virgin Falls State Natural 
Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau, Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Conservation Brock Hill and representatives from the community endured chilly temperatures Wednesday to celebrate the protection of 1,157 acres through the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, which is adjacent to the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness.
Community celebrates preservation of Virgin Falls  
SPARTA — Bundled up nature-lovers gathered at Welch’s Point in Sparta yesterday morning to celebrate the formal dedication of the Virgin Falls State Natural Area.
“We are celebrating getting Virgin Falls into public land, which many of us thought it was already,” said Mary Lynn Dobson, vice president of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation.

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Rest in Peace Ray Price

Ray Price was one of my favorite singers of all time. I have had several of his albums and have enjoyed him all of my adult life. I got to see him in performance several times. Once, was about 25 to 30 years ago when I was in the Metro Council and attended a League of Cites convention in Houston (or was it Dallas). He was the entertainment for the final night's banquet. Being the entertainer for the League of Cities convention must be a tough gig for anyone. You have such a diverse group of people that half of the audience may never have heard of you no matter how big you are. The audience is not there to see you.  He did one set in the more traditional style of honky tonk and Western Swing with just a small band. He then took a break and came back and did a set backed up by the Houston Symphony that featured all of the lush string arrangements. I got right down front and was thrilled by the show. It was one the most memorable concerts I ever attended.

I saw Ray Price most recently about five years ago when he played a show at the Ryman for a WSM appreciation concert. He was great! Some great singers can't hit the notes anymore as they age. I like Willie Nelson, but if you listen to Willie Nelson now, compared to thirty years ago, he has lost a lot of his vocal range. Not with Ray Price. When I saw him at that Ryman show, his rich baritone voice was as smooth and as strong as every. Ray Price helped me deal with a lot of tough times in my life and brought me a lot of pleasure. He was one of the all time greats.

Goodbye Mr. Price. Thank you for all the good music.

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Jim Tracy for Congress Christmas Breakfast, Dec. 21st

Christmas is about family, friends and the traditions that bring us all together. This year, I want to celebrate the Christmas season with you.
Please join me for a Christmas family breakfast this Saturday, December 21st at The Doubletree Hotel Murfreesboro. (1850 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro, TN 37129)

 RSVP by joining our event page on Facebook.

We will be collecting toys for the local Toys for Tots program, please consider bringing a toy to donate. Your gift will help to bring joy to a less fortunate child this Christmas.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

US Senator Rand Paul is coming to First Tuesday!

From Tim Skow of First Tuesday: 
Dear 1ST TUESDAY members and friends,

First, let me start by saying " MERRY CHRISTMAS " to each of you & your family. 

I come to you with many reasons to be in the spirit of the Season ... and ... as you will see ... to be especially excited about 2014 !! 

More details will come in the days and weeks to follow, but I wanted to get the following news, notices & invites on your radar screen.

1] My sincere thanks to each of you who took our 1ST TUESDAY offer of contributing to the Nashville Republican Women's annual toy drive in exchange for waiving 2014 dues. [it could improve VERY important for some of you shortly]   At last week's NRW lunch, Susan Wall advised her members over $2,100 came from 1ST TUESDAY members.

2] Jim Gotto's first campaign fundraiser is Tuesday, Dec 17th. Jim is already bringing together support from all facets of the Republican Party and those involved in TN politics. Event details are attached, please join us if your schedule allows. If you cannot join us, let me know if you too would like to help Jim. I certainly am going to help Jim and will be delighted to make sure he can count on you too !

3] Our next 1ST TUESDAY lunch event will be JAN 7th and will focus on Mayor Dean's controversial $174,000,000 public transportation proposal known as AMP. Prior 1ST TUESDAY guest speaker, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Schulz will join us to tout why the NACC is supporting AMP. A leader from those opposing AMP will be there to tout their concerns and reasons.

Sen. Rand Paul
4] For our FEB meeting .... 1ST TUESDAY welcomes US Senator RAND PAUL - [R-KY]
Needless to say, this 1ST TUESDAY event will be every bit as "in demand" as our prior events featuring former Speaker of House, Newt Gingrich and TN Gov. Bill Haslam.  

Given our limited seating.... those who have paid 2014 dues will be given 1ST opportunity to secure a seat and  join us for the special 1ST TUESDAY event !           

IF you HAVE already paid  2014 dues for 1ST TUESDAY.... then let me encourage you to visit the 1ST TUESDAY site [ ] and secure your seating for our JAN 7th event and/or our [Monday] FEB 10th event with Senator Rand Paul. 

IF you HAVE NOT already paid 2014 dues for 1ST TUESDAY, the let me encourage you to visit the 1ST TUESDAY website [ ] -- click on Shopping Cart. Then you can not only pay 2014 dues, but you can also secure you seat for our JAN 7th event and/or our [Monday] FEB 10the event featuring US Senator Rand Paul.

If you prefer to pay by check rather than the website, reply to this invite ASAP. 
Then make your check payable to 1ST TUESDAY and send it to my PO Box at
Tim Skow
Box 1233
Brentwood, TN 37024

In closing, let me say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you!
Please join us for Jim Gotto's Tuesday event if you can. If you cannot make it, let me know if you'd like to help in the days to come !

See you soon !
Tim Skow

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