Saturday, February 01, 2014

Stephen Siao Joins Heritage Action as Sentinel Coordinator. Congratulations Stephen!

Stephen Siao has joined Heritage Action as Sentinel Coordinator. An announcement from Elizabeth BeShears, who has been coordinating political activity for Heritage Action in the southeast United States, said she was leaving Heritage Action to take a position with the newly created Alabama Citizens for Media Accountability action group as their Executive Director. The announcement said that Heritage Action will continue it's presence in the area and to direct any communication to Stephen Siao at

Many of us know Stephen from when he was at Vanderbilt University, leading the Vandy College Republicans. He grew the chapter and made Vandy College Republicans an active component of the local Republican apparatus. Stephen could be seen doing everything from parking cars at Music City for Marsha Blackburn events, to working the polls for candidates, to working phone banks at the Davidson County Republican Party storefront headquarters. He created a local network of all of the College Republican organizations at the different colleges in the area. He often attended local Republican Party events and meetings of conservative organizations.

Heritage Action for America is the political action wing of the Heritage Foundation. Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973 and is conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense". The foundation took a leading role in the conservative movement during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, whose policies drew significantly from Heritage's policy study Mandate for Leadership. Heritage has since continued to have a significant influence in U.S. public policy making, and is considered to be one of the most influential conservative research organizations in the United States.

As a a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Heritage Foundation was prohibited from engaging in political activity. In 2010, Heritage Action was founded. It is a 501(c)(4) organization and has more leeway to engage in political activity. It works with citizen activists nationwide to generate support for legislation in the U.S. Congress.

I extend congratulation to Stephen Siao on new position and hope this brings him back to Nashville from time to time.

From his public profile on LinkedIn, other position held by Stephen, include the following: Fellow at The John Jay Institute, Communications Staff at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, State Chairman at Tennessee College Republican Committee, Residential Proctor at Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth, Intern at Family Research Council, Intern at Premiere Speakers Bureau, Server's Assistant at Wild Ginger Restaurant, and Intern at Marsha Blackburn for Congress.

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How TN Congressman voted on the $1 trillion central planning food stamp farm bill

Reposted from The Foundry:

Congress is very fond of two things: throwing a bunch of stuff into one bill and rushing bills through while Americans are focused on other news. While people were talking about the State of the Union, they’ve done it again with the $1 trillion farm bill.

The “farm bill” passed by the House yesterday has projected costs that are even greater than those of the Obama stimulus, and about 80 percent of the bill is just food stamps.
The bill is filled with special handouts to agriculture special interests and is a model of central planning. When it comes to food stamps, the bill is just as bad.
Food stamps should go to those truly in need. So it may surprise you to learn that you can qualify for food stamps even if you have millions in the bank. The new farm bill does nothing to address this absurd loophole.

A loophole like this undermines the legitimacy of the program and certainly does nothing to help people who really need help.

Food stamp recipients also aren’t required to work—a disservice to them and to the taxpayers who are assisting them. A work requirement empowers people, as we have seen with welfare reform.

So the food stamp program, with plenty of encouragement from the Obama Administration, has grown far beyond what it was supposed to be. Heritage expert Daren Bakst reports that “food stamp spending has quadrupled since [fiscal year] 2000 and doubled since 2008.”

The food stamp issue is not just about numbers. It’s about policy reform—developing policy that empowers Americans instead of creating a dependency that harms them.
Now this food stamp—er, farm—bill disaster goes to the Senate.
How they voted:

The bills passed the House 251 to 166 with 14 not voting. Republicans voted 162 in favor and 63 opposed. Democrats voted 89 in favor and 103 opposed. So, Republicans voted for the bill in greater number than Democrats. Democrats opposed the bill because of a modest decrease in food stamp funding. Below is how our Tennessee delegation voted. Tennessee Republican votes are in red text; Democrats in blue.
Here are the Tn Congressmen voting in favor: Phil Roe, Diane Black, Stephen Fincher,

Here are the Tn Congressmen who voted against the bill: Chuck Fleischmann, Jimmy Duncan,  Scott DesJarlais, Jim Cooper, Marsha  Blackburn, Steve Cohen.

One can assume Republicans voted against the bill because it is a terrible bill as explained above. I am proud of those Republicans who voted against the bill and if I were in Congress I would have voted against it. 

One of the things that always angered me about Republicans is their support of agriculture central planning and welfare for farmers. We should not pay rich Hollywood farmers and Wall Street farmers for not growing crops on their farms. We should embrace a free market in agriculture. Republicans who rail against government control of health care and advocate a market approach to health care turn around and support government central planning in agriculture and price-fixing. They rail against welfare queens and support welfare for farmers.

Because many farmers vote for Republicans, Republicans support the central planning status quo and welfare for farmers. Having said all of that however, sometimes voting in Congress is a strategic vote. One is not just voting on the merits of the bill, but voting between available options. Sometimes one may vote for a bad bill because if the bad bill does not pass, a more terrible bill will pass. I am sure some Republicans voted for this bad bill because the alternative was worse. At least, I hope that is why Republicans who voted in favor, did so.

I cannot find a searchable data base on this vote, but if one wants to see how a particular Congressman voted you can look them up at this link.

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Monday, Feb. 10th with Rand Paul is SOLD OUT. ....working on getting a larger space.

From 1st Tuesday:

Check the website for updates… we are working on getting a larger space.

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Who were the Pro-Obama protestors at the Presidents Nashville McGavock visit?

Darlene Shelton told Tennessee Watchdog that Organizing
 for Action, designed to promote  President Obama’s
agenda, is spreading throughout

By Chris Butler,  Tennessee Watchdog, NASHVILLE — Eager tea party protesters went toe-to-toe in Nashville Thursday against a progressive nonprofit, Organizing for Action, devoted solely to advancing President Barack Obama’s agenda — while both groups waited for Obama’s motorcade to pass them by.

This story, however, doesn’t quite play out the way you might expect. Both groups held signs either for or against Obama, although the OFA clearly had an advantage with professionally made signs, while tea partiers’ signs were mostly homemade.

Both organizations say they are grassroots.
And while both groups are nonprofits, Time magazine recently documented that one of them has very wealthy financial backers.

Obamacare supporter Edward Adam told Tennessee
 Watchdog that Obama’s intentions are good.
And no, tea partiers are not the recipients of this largess, and the Koch brothers are not the financial backers in question.

Actually, OFA received $21 million last year from 19 wealthy businessmen and women, all of whom donated or raised amounts ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 each, Time reported. Newsweb Corp. CEO Fred Eychaner, for instance, donated $500,000.

One of the OFA protesters in Nashville, Darlene Shelton, told Tennessee Watchdog that the nonprofit has established itself at chapters all over Tennessee, including  Knoxville, MurfreesboroFranklin and, recently, Nashville.
Tea Party members awaiting President Obama’s motorcade
 in Nashville Thursday said they were very careful about making
 sure the mainstream media didn’t portray them in an unflattering light
“We recruit people. We have phone banking. We call different people to get them involved and volunteer,” Shelton said.

“We then call representatives and try to get them to push for the issues that the president has set forth. We are the ones who voted for him.”

According to its website , OFA operates as a social welfare organization, as a 501(c)(4). The Huffington Post reports that OFA operates  Obama’s Twitter account. The organization’s Facebook page for Tennessee, which has more than 7,000 followers, seems to revolve around the personalities of Obama and his wife, Michelle, and their pet political platforms.

Obama came to Nashville Thursday to speak at that city’s McGavock High School about jobs.
Despite sharply differing political views, the pro-Obama supporters
 and the Tea Party protestors managed to have civil discourse with
 one another. In this photo a man who identified himself only as
 “Joe Citizen” speaks to an unidentified Obama supporter
Edward Adam, a 2003 graduate of the school who didn’t say if he belonged to OFA, held up a sign promoting Obamacare and said it has improved his life — even though he later said something that seemed to call that testimony into question.

“I’m getting better from a situation where I needed health care, and I didn’t have it before, but now I can take care of my medical issues. I don’t know why anybody would want to protest it,” Adam said, when asked about the new law.

But does he have health insurance only because of Obamacare?  “Well, I already had it through my work,” Adam said.

“Obama means well. He is well-intentioned and he is only trying to help people advance beyond where we were under Bush.”

Meanwhile, on the tea party side of the road, protesters, who were greater in number, said they had to exercise due diligence and warn others not to hold inflammatory signs. To do otherwise could invite trouble from the mainstream media, they said.
Tea Party member Mel London (front) said  the only 
offensive signs he saw while awaiting President Obama’s 
motorcade were the ones being held by the people behind him.
“It’s just a matter of not having signs that are crass and tasteless,” said Ben Cunningham, president of the Nashville-based Tennessee Tax Revolt.

“If somebody puts up something that’s over the top then that will be the media’s story. The message we want to get across is our opposition to the president’s agenda.”

Another tea partier, Scott Nicoll, of Manchester, told Tennessee Watchdog he has personally witnessed national mainstream media outlets distort the nature of tea party movement protests he participated in while visiting Washington, D.C.

Darlene Shelton told Tennessee Watchdog that Organizing
for Action, designed to promote President Obama’s agenda,
is spreading throughout Tennessee.
“With every protest I’ve been to the news has been that we are violent or ignorant. They claimed that racism was prevalent,” Nicoll said. “As a matter of fact I was right next to a black man protesting with me. If we don’t show up then the media will just say that we don’t care anymore. Either way, it’s going to be negative.”

Another tea partier, Mel London, who is black, said he saw only a few hateful signs.
“You see those signs over there that say ‘Go Forward with Obama’?” he asked, while pointing. Those are the only destructive signs here that I see.”

Contact Christopher Butler at or follow him and submit story ideas onhis official Facebook page.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Alexander Campaign Reports $3.18 Million Cash on Hand

Campaign Raises $4.66 Million in 2013

Press Release, NASHVILLE, TN – Senator Lamar Alexander’s re-election campaign today announced that the campaign began 2014 with $3.18 million cash on hand, bringing the total raised for 2013 to $4.66 million.

“As senator and governor, Lamar Alexander has been standing up for Tennessee and we are ready to stand up for him. We’ve raised money from thousands of donors across our state and are grateful for their support,” said Alexander for Senate Finance Chairman Steve Smith.

The campaign raised $768,353 in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan, with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell, as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher, and Fleischmann.

The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.

Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

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February political get-togethers!

From Stephen Clements

Hi everybody,
February is a stacked month for political get-togethers! To help you plan your month, here are some of them:

  • Saturday February 1st - Bellevue Breakfast Club, this month is focused on us talking and plotting how to take over the world in 2014!
Where: Shoney's 7745 HWY 70 SOUTH
When: Breakfast 8:00 am  Meeting (9:00 am - 10:00 am)
  • Saturday February 8th - Madison Breakfast Club, a brand new group helping to spread the opportunity for those on the Right to get together, and this month they have Rick Williams from the Stop AMP campaign, and trust me, he is a great speaker.
Where: Skyline Medical Center 3441 Dickerson Road (Dickerson Rd. & I-65) Lower level next to the cafeteria
When: Breakfast/Social (8:30 am - 9:00 am); Meeting (9:00 am - 10:00 am)
  • Tuesday February 18th - Tennessee Firearms Association monthly meeting, and I always have a good time at these.
Where: Golden Corral 315 Old Lebanon Dirt Rd, Hermitage
When: Eat at 6 pm; Meeting at 7 pm
  • Saturday February 22nd - Caffeinated Conservatives Double-Header!
1) Monthly Coffee Talk with returning Metro School Board Member and Budget Chairman Will Pinkston
Where: Bagel Face Bakery 700 Main Street, East Nashville
When: 12 pm - 2 pm

2) Phil Valentine presents his anti-global warming documentary "An Inconsistent Truth"! Meet one of talk radio's greats, ask questions, and watch an excellent movie.
Where: The Cave 600 9th Avenue South in Downtown Nashville
When: 5 pm - 8 pm
My Comment:  Thanks Stephen. Also don't forget First Tuesday and Liberty on the Rocks. Check back for notices of those events. Also, there is the Southeast Breakfast group and the Green Hills Breakfast Group. Also, Family Action Council is having a legislative briefing. There are lots of opportunities for conservatives to get informed and network and socialize.

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What prevents poor children from becoming middle class adults?

From Family Action Council of Tennessee:

What is the greatest obstacle in the U.S. to upward intergenerational social mobility, that is, what's the primary factor preventing poor children from moving up the economic ladder as adults?  Is it income inequality?  The quality of their schools?  Racial and economic segregation? Much to the dismay of liberals, the answer is ... none of the above.  It is family structure. Children living with married moms and dads have the greatest chance of moving up the economic ladder, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard and University of California at Berkeley.

The study of more than 40 million children and their parents found that "the fraction of children living in single-parent households is the strongest correlate of upward income mobility among all the variables we explored...."  While liberals believe the answer is throwing more money at supposedly underfunded government programs, we believe the solution is public policies and societal support for encouraging and strengthening marriages that provide children with both a mother and a father.  As we recently observed, 40% or more of births since 2008 in the U.S. have been by unmarried women, and the percentage of all babies born who are born to unmarried women has more than doubled since 1980.
My Comment: This truth is almost universality ignored by popular culture and the mainstream press. There can be big conferences and lengthy reports addressing the issue of poverty that never mention the fact that the primary factor contributing to poverty is unmarried women giving birth to children. We need to change the economic incentives that encourage single women to have children and we need policy changes that support families.  However, we need a cultural shift. Instead of single motherhood being something that is to be celebrated and single mothers being treated as noble heroes, they should be pitied and having a child out of wedlock should be condemned and be a shameful event. Public condemnation can influence behavior. Women are not having children out of wedlock because they don't know what causes pregnancy. Women are not having children out of wedlock because they don't have access to birth control. They do it primarily because it is the norm and not condemned. When something is socially condemned you will have less of it.

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Sen. Alexander and 4 TN Congressmen co-sign brief supporting Hobby Lobby

From Family Action Council of Tennessee:

Five members of Tennessee's Congressional delegation have co-signed a brief supporting Hobby Lobby in its legal battle, now in the U.S. Supreme Court, against the contraception mandate in ObamaCare.  The Christian company already offers 16 forms of birth control in its health insurance plan but is objecting to having to provide the morning-after pill and other abortion-inducing drugs.  The "friend of the court" brief primarily argues that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was enacted to protect a wide range of religious activity and beliefs; it applies to for-profit entities like Hobby Lobby; and the government's arguments do not satisfy the "high bar" set by the RFRA before a governmental regulation can overcome RFRA's protections.  Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are scheduled to take place on March 25.

Among the 86 bipartisan signatures on the brief were Tennessee's Senator Lamar Alexander and Representatives Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Scott DesJarlis and Stephen Fincher.  A total of 81 "friend of the court" briefs were filed in the case, of which almost 70% support Hobby Lobby's position.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Anti-Obama protesters turn out to greet the president.

I attended the anti-Obama protest today across the street from McGavock High School.  I arrived at about 1PM and had to leave to get back to work about 2PM, so I did not get to stay until President Obama arrived. I don't think I missed much however. The Presidents motorcade did not go past the protesters. Protesters were required to protest on McGavovk and the President entered the school grounds from Two Rivers Parkway and was protected from seeing the protesters.

Ben Cunningham talking to the press.
The announced start of the protest was 1PM, so I doubt the crowd grew after the time I left.  There was a brief program: Pray, pledge, brief remarks by organizer Ben Cunningham, remarks by State Rep Joe Carr who is running against Senator Lamar Alexander and someone else who I do not recall. I mingled and chatted with people and enjoyed the camaraderie. There were about, maybe 150 anti-Obama protesters, and about maybe 30 generally pro-Obama demonstrators, and about 30 or so Hispanics demonstrating for amnesty and chanting, "keep families together."   Here are some pictures I took and a YouTube video I found and chopped.
For news reports on the President's visit follow these links: here, here, and here.

For news reports on the Presidents visit follow these links: here, here, and here.

Here is Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey's Facebook comment on the Presidents visit:

I would like to welcome the President to Tennessee. Tennessee balances its budget, pays its debts, cuts taxes and saves for a rainy day. President Obama vehemently opposes these concepts. I hope the President doesn't just speak when he touches down in our great state, but looks, listens and absorbs the lessons of conservative government.

Obama's liberal vision forced conservative Democrats to flee their party and join the GOP. The contrast between Tennessee's conservative success and President Obama's liberal failure could not be more striking. I appreciate this opportunity for voters to see this comparison up close and personal.
Tennessee Watchdog U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, (in the car) had an up-close
 encounter with the Tea Party in Nashville today while stalled in traffic to see President Obama.

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Wine in Grocery Stores passes the Senate

After seven years of trying it looks like we are going to be able to buy wine in grocery stores. The State Senate today voted 23-8 to approve the bill.  It will allow wine in many convenience stores and in big-box stores and it will allow liquor stores to sell ice, beer, and some other items. The bill however bans Sunday sale of wine and will not take effect until 2016.  Small convenience stores of less than 1200 square foot will not be permitted to sell wine.  The bill must still pass the House and then must go to conference committee to work out the dependencies between the two versions of the bill.

Below is how our Senators voted: Republicans in red; Democrats in blue. 

Voted "yes":

  • Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R.
  • Sen. Mae Beavers, R.
  • Sen. Janice Bowling, R.
  • Sen. Stacey Campfield, R
  • Sen. Rusty Crowe, R.
  • Sen. Steven Dickerson, R
  • Sen. Mark Green, R.
  • Sen. Dolores Gresham, R
  • Sen. Ferrell Haile, R
  • Sen. Douglas Henry, D.
  • Sen. Jack Johnson, R
  • Sen. Brian Kelsey, R
  • Sen. Bill Ketron (Senate bill sponsor), R.
  • Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R
  • Sen. Randy McNally, R
  • Sen. Frank S. Nicely, R
  • Sen. Mark Norris, R
  • Sen. Doug Overbey, R
  • Sen. John Stevens, R
  • Sen. Jim Summerville, R
  • Sen. Reginald Tate, D
  • Sen. Jim Tracy, R
  • Sen. Bo Watson, D

  • Voted "no":

  • Sen. Mike Bell, R
  • Sen. Charlotte Burks, R.
  • Sen. Lowe Finney, D
  • Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R.
  • Sen. Thelma Harper, D
  • Sen. Joey Hensley, R
  • Sen. Steve Southerland, R
  • Sen. Ken Yager, R

  • Passed :Sen. Jim Kyle, D
    Not Present: Sen. Ophelia Ford, D.

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    Today! Jan. 30th 1PM, Rally to Protest President Obama's Policies during his Visit to Nashville

    Today! Please join the Nashville Tea Party and many other groups this Thursday, January 30th at 1:00PM on the public sidewalk in front of Donelson Fellowship Church:
    We will assemble on the public sidewalk in front of the Donelson Fellowship Church across from McGavock High School. The address of the Church is: 3210 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37214. Map Link:

    The protest will start at 1:00PM, of course if you would like to come earlier, that's fine too. The Nashville PD requests that we park on Knobdale Rd which is on the side of the church. Please be careful not to block any driveways and please note McGavock Pike will be busy with school traffic and guests arriving for the speech. The temp is forecast to be 40 degrees so bundle up.

    Please be respectful of those who must use the sidewalk. And PLEASE take care with signs. The more signs the better but please no profanity or tasteless images. Let's get our message across with class and a clear message focusing on the State of the Union Speech topics, Repeal Obamacare, run away spending and debt, Unconstitutional actions and abuse of power by the President, IRS and NSA abuse of power, thanks.

    Two Rivers Parkway may be closed. If so, the best way to get to our McGavock Pike location will be starting from the Opryland Hotel area or from Donelson Pike.
    See you there!!
    Google Street View showing the sidewalk in front of the Church

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    Latinos for Tennessee Welcome Back Legislators

    with Ron Ramsey
    On January 21st, Latinos for Tennessee hosted a wonderful dinner event to welcome back Tennessee's state
    legislators to the 2014 legislative session.  Over fifty legislators from across the state were present as our special guests, and both Governor Bill Haslam and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander were present for the event as well.  Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell were presented with awards to recognize their outstanding efforts as elected officials to protect and promote Faith, Family, Freedom and Fiscal 
    with Bill Haslam
    Responsibility.  Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales delivered a timely keynote address that challenged attendees to carefully consider the issues at hand as they ponder the direction in which to carry this great nation, both as legislators and as voters. 

    Guests also heard moving personal stories shared by Chairman of the Board Tommy Vallejos and Treasurer Diana Cuellar that inspired hope and patriotism as they spoke of the enormous pride they feel at being Americans of Latino heritage.  It was a wonderful evening of celebration of American values and the principles that are so dear to the hearts of Latino families.
    On the heels of such a motivating and powerful event, Latinos for Tennessee could not be more hopeful and optimistic about the prospect of educating and empowering the Latino community in Tennessee.  With the help of our committed supporters, we are eager to fulfill our goal of promoting Faith, Family, Freedom, and Fiscal Responsibility among the Latino community in our great state

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    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    The Black Alliance for Educational Options launching "Tennessee BAEO." To locate in Memphis.

    From BAEO:
    The Black Alliance for Educational Options is pleased to announce the launching of “Tennessee BAEO” in the great city of Memphis, TN.

    “We’re thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to bring the parental choice conversation to residents of Tennessee, in particular to Black families who are so often left out of the discussion” said BAEO President, Ken Campbell. “Tennessee, and the city of Memphis in particular, are growing hubs for the discussion about transformational education reform and parental choice.  We believe it is imperative that Black leaders and low-income and working class Black families in the state are represented in that conversation.” 

    Tennessee BAEO State Director, Jennifer Littlejohn and Family and Community Organizer, LaShundra Richmond will be leading the new BAEO office.

    Jennifer Littlejohn comes to BAEO with 15 years of experience in advocacy, communications and public affairs. LaShundra Richmond has made a significant impact working in community relations and policy analysis for several organizations in the city of Memphis.

    “We are very excited to launch an organization in Tennessee that empowers and equips parents, teachers, students, legislators and community members with information to participate in the broader education reform conversation,” said Littlejohn. “Our plan is to build capacity for this work in Tennessee by organizing parents and community members, informing legislators on parental choice policies and how they can help our children achieve, and by partnering with key education reform organizations to maximize success.

    “In the coming months, we plan to meet with key stakeholders in an effort to better understand how BAEO can contribute to the work of educating children in Tennessee and to continue making progress with Black children in low-income and working class families gaining access to high quality educational options.”

    The Tennessee BAEO staff may be reached at (800) 378-4065.

    My Comment:  The greatest victims of poor performing public schools are African American students.  Liberals who claim to represent the interest of the downtrodden and especially Black Americans almost always oppose education choice. The arguments against education choice is that it leads to resegregation in education. Liberals also seem to reject excellence, preferring mediocre equality. Some of the most astounding successes of charter schools are in the Black community where young boys are going to college rather than prison and young girls are going to college rather than dropping out of school pregnant at the age of 15. 

    In Memphis, 88 percent of Memphis charter school seniors have been accepted to post-secondary institutions, earning more than $19 million in scholarships and grants. (link)  Most of these students are Black. In Nashville, among the top performing Metro Schools, the majority are charter schools. At Soulsville Chater School in Memphis, which is an all Black inner city school, among the first graduating class of 50 students, every single one was headed to college.

    It is good to see a group made up of Black parents speaking for themselves about education and what is best for their children rather than letting white liberals speak for them. Liberalism keeps the poor, poor and dependent on government. It is encouraging to see that some African Americans are realizing that their best interest and the interest of the White liberal establishment are not the same.

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    Alexander on State of the Union: President Should “Liberate the Free Enterprise System” from His Own Regulations

    “I would have preferred to hear the president give a real answer to income inequality, and the first real answer is to liberate the free enterprise system from Obama regulations so it can create more good new jobs. The second real answer is to give parents more freedom to choose a better school for their child…” – Lamar Alexander 

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the president failed to “give a real answer to income inequality” in his State of the Union speech.

    Alexander cited his Scholarships for Kids Act – which he introduced in the Senate today (VIDEO Below) – as an example of a policy that would address income inequality by giving “parents more freedom to choose a better school for their child.” Alexander introduced his legislation at the American Enterprise Institute alongside Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who has introduced legislation that would create similar scholarships for children with disabilities.

    Alexander attended the State of the Union with Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey as his guest. The senator’s full remarks on the president’s speech are below:

    “I would have preferred to hear the president give a real answer to income inequality, and the first real answer is to liberate the free enterprise system from Obama regulations so it can create more good new jobs,” Alexander said. “The second real answer is to give parents more freedom to choose a better school for their child, and today I introduced legislation to do just that by allowing $2,100 federal scholarships to follow 11 million low-income children to the schools they attend.

    “Each state would make the decision about how much school choice to allow, but these scholarships for kids would redirect up to $24 billion in existing federal school funding that right now is often diverted to wealthier schools. 'Scholarships for Kids' would only benefit children from families that fit the federal definition of poverty, which is about one-fifth of all schoolchildren.

    “Allowing federal dollars to follow students has been a successful strategy in American higher education for 70 years, and my proposal would allow the same opportunity to attend a better K-12 school that we have allowed in higher education. ‘Scholarships for Kids’ is the most ambitious proposal ever to use federal dollars to expand school choice. If the president wants to address inequality in America, he should do so by helping all children have the same starting line.”

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    Wine in Grocery Stoes close to passing but anti-competition price-fixing bills leaves bitter taste.

     Dear Red White and Food Members,

    Yesterday was a great day for the wine in retail food stores campaign.

    Members of the House Local Government Committee voted to pass the bill. The bill was amended during the committee meeting to be solely about the referendum to give communities that already allow liquor-by-the-drink and/or retail package stores the right to vote on wine sales.

    The House State Government Committee also passed a bill, adding amendments during the meeting to include items that have been agreed on by retail food stores and liquor stores, such as liquor stores' ability to sell additional merchandise.

    These are huge wins for Tennesseans, and we hope the momentum continues tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Senate.

    The wine legislation will be put to a vote on the Senate floor tomorrow, Jan. 30. If you have not already done so, please take the time to email your senator and encourage him or her to vote YES on the wine in retail food stores bill. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is! Click the link below to easily draft and send an email to your senator.

    The Red White and Food Team

    Click the link below to log in and send your message:

    My Comment: I am extremely pleased to us get this close to having wine in grocery stores.  While I hope it passes, this is not a perfect bill. In some ways, it is a very distasteful bill. It still bans Sunday wine sales. Why? You can buy beer on Sunday. Why not wine. I know why. It is politics. It is a deal to put together to get enough votes to get the bill passed. 
    Another thing wrong with this bill is that it mandates a 20 percent markup over wholesale price.  What?  Yes, a retailer can not set his own price.  I am not sure how this will effect the big-box stores like Costco and Sam's Club that have their own supply chains rather than use local whole sellers.  Will they be required to use whole sellers? I don't know. If so, and they must have a 20% markup, then we will not get the benefit of lower prices.
    Mandating a minimum price or a minimum markup is to protect some providers of a product or service from competition. That is wrong. Whether it is requiring Black Sedans to charge a $45 minimum for a fare or requiring a store to mark their wine up by 20% it is price-fixing and it is not to benefit the consumer but it is to screw the consumer to benefit the politically connected. My celebration of wine in groceries will be tempered by the anti-free market component of the bill which leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

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    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    That pen he bragged about doesn't seem so mighty

    President Barack Obama will sign an executive order setting the minimum wage for workers under new federal contracts at $10.10 an hour, the White House said Tuesday. The president will announce the increase during his State of the Union address.

    The increase from a national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour will not affect existing federal contracts, only new ones. Moreover, contract renewals will not be affected unless other terms of the agreement change.

    The order would be one of the biggest examples in the State of the Union of Obama’s vow to use presidential authority to push for policies by circumventing Congress. (link)
    That pen he bragged about doesn't seem so mighty if that is all he is going to do. It looks like I got all worked up over nothing. From his macho bravado about having a pen and not afraid to use it, I was expecting rule by executive fiat. I was expecting a real constitutional crisis and a need for massive resistance.  Based on the way he has already violated the constitution by not following the Affordable Care Act, by failing to not enforce immigration laws, and by making recess appointments when congress was not in recess, I expected escalated constitutional violations.  If this is his first shot at using his mighty pen, then I am pleasantly relieved. 

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    A new deal is in the works for wine-in-grocery stores.7-11s and Wallmarts in; Sunday sales out.

    A new deal is in the works for wine-in-grocery stores. It is an improvement over the previous version but still disappointing. It would allow convenience stores and big-box stores to sell wine. That is an improvement. Great! However it would prohibit grocery stores from selling wine on Sunday and from selling high gravity beer. What? Why must this be so complicated?  Why not just treat wine like beer? I know that to get enough votes to pass something that the liquor lobby has to be placated. Something is better than nothing however, so maybe this is as good as we can get and it is deal that the pro-wine legislators should take. I am glad that the supporters of wine held out to get convince stores and big-box stores included. I wish wine in grocery stores could be purchased on Sunday, but if giving up Sunday purchase is the compromise we must accept to get wine in stores, then accept it. At this point it is purely a political calculation and I am not the one counting the votes. If they can get wine on Sunday, hold out and keep trying. However 90% of a loaf is better than nothing. I would not let wine in grocery stores get killed for another year holding out for Sunday sales.

    Here is the Tennesseean's report on the development: Lawmakers release new wine-in-grocery stores deal.

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    Gov. Bill Haslam Named Policy Chairman Of The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee

    “Governor Haslam has emerged as a true pioneer in the public policy sphere over the course of his first term in office,” said RGA Chairman Chris Christie. “Under his leadership, Tennessee is thriving. The state’s economy is strong, job creation is up, taxes are down, the workforce is growing, and more than ever, a great education is within reach for all Tennesseans. The results Governor Haslam has achieved are a striking example of what can be accomplished when states take the lead and his insight will be invaluable to the organization as many of our governors prepare for re-election this year.”

    “Just as we’ve done in Tennessee, Republican governors across the country are drawing on conservative principles and applying creative solutions in order to reform government and reinvent their states,” said Governor Haslam. “While the federal government balloons in size, gets in its own way and fails repeatedly to implement its policy priorities, states are flourishing. I am honored to serve as Policy Chairman at a time when Republican governors are widely recognized as standard bearers for truly meaningful reform, and I am eager to encourage and enable the kind of innovation and experimentation that yields state-level success.”

    The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee (RGPPC) is the policy arm of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and the official policy organization of the nation’s Republican governors. With a strong majority of 29 governors, the RGPPC is working to impact public policy on both the state and national levels.

    Since taking office in 2011, Governor Haslam has worked diligently to improve education in Tennessee. Accomplishments include eliminating enrollment restrictions for charter schools; overhauling teacher tenure; and implementing a leading edge evaluation system for teachers. These efforts and others resulted in Tennessee becoming the fastest improving state in math and reading in 2013 as measured by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

    Business Facilities magazine recently named Tennessee the State of the Year citing its creation of jobs and success in diversifying sector growth. Additionally, Governor Haslam has improved the overall business climate through significant tort reform and an overhaul of the state’s worker’s compensation system.

    Through comprehensive civil service reform, Haslam has created a more efficient and effective state government, and with conservative, business-principled management, has reduced the government footprint in Tennessee.

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    Republican Jim Tracy Raises over $1 Million in 2013 to Unseat Embattled Incumbent DesJarlais

    Murfreesboro, TN- The Jim Tracy for Congress campaign announced raising more than $150,000 in the 4th fundraising quarter, raising over $1 million in one year. With the primary election a little over 6 months away, Tracy’s war chest shows growing support across the 4th Congressional District.
    “The 4th quarter fundraising numbers clearly show Jim Tracy’s momentum in the 4th District,” said Tracy for Congress Finance Chairman Shane Reeves. “The Tracy for Congress Campaign is focused on the issues and the people of the 4th District. This is reflected in the large number of individual donors and the amount of support we have received.”
    Tracy ended the quarter and the year with more than $840,000 cash on hand.
    “My wife Trena and I could not be more appreciative of the amount of encouragement we are receiving,” said Tracy. “As I travel throughout the 4th District I have more and more people asking how they can help. I am excited about the opportunity to represent them in Washington.”
    To learn more about Jim Tracy visit

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    Monday, January 27, 2014

    Man Faces Federal Charges For Foreclosure Fraud. Don't be scammed. Let me help you.

    Politics and blogging is my hobby and what I do because I care about about my country and my community. It doesn't pay the bills; it cost me. What I do for a living is work for a HUD-approved, non-profit housing counseling agency as a housing counselor helping people avoid foreclosure and save their home.  I deal with a lot of people in crisis. Many people I can help. There are a variety of options for avoiding foreclosure.

    People facing a possible foreclosure should not try to navigate the crisis alone.  Thee are some options people don't even know about and some solutions are more complex than they first appear.
    If in default on your mortgage, seek help. Also, start early.  If you wait until you have a foreclosure sale date, it may be too late to help you. Don't be too prideful to seek help.

    Please, please do not pay anyone to help you avoid foreclosure. You see these advertisement for help avoiding foreclosure everywhere: on the back of buses, on cable TV, and print media.  Once you become late on your mortgage you will start getting enticements in the mail and by phone to engage the services of people who tell you they can save your home. Many of these are lawyers.  Tennessee is a "non-judicial" foreclosure state, meaning it does not require judicial action to foreclosure.  There is almost nothing an attorney can do for you.  The attorneys are seeking bankruptcy clients.

    Other solicitation are from real estate agents seeking to do a preforeclosure are short sale. Sometimes that is an option but should not be your first option. Most of the solicitation are out and out scams.

    One of the saddest thing I see is people who could have saved their home if they had not given money that could have went toward saving their home to a scam artist. Not only did they lose money but they also lost precious time thinking someone was doing something for them, when they were not.

    If you are facing foreclosure or falling behind on your mortgage, call me for a phone consultation. I am good at what I do and I have helped hundreds of people save their home. There is no charge for my services.  If after talking to you, I think I can possibly help you, I will schedule you an appointment. My work phone number is 615-850-3453. One of the most generous and helpful programs is ending soon, so don't delay.

    Below is story of how a local scam artist scammed people out of million of dollars.  It looks like he is being brought to justice. I hope they throw the book at him and he spends a long time in jail. | Nashville News, Weather
    News Channel 5, by Jennifer Kraus, Consumer Investigator
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A former Wilson County man who told struggling homeowners he would help save their homes from foreclosure now faces federal fraud charges.
    This comes nearly five years after NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed Charles Jones and his company during the height of the foreclosure crisis.(link)

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    An emotional plea for Medical Marijuana from a Grandmother seeking help for baby grandaughter.

    The following is reposted from the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women Facebook page.

    Mawmaw goes to Nashville!!
    I am here today for the Medical Marijuana Lobby.

    Date: January 27, 2014

    To: Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey
    Fellow TN Republican Legislators

    Re: TN Medical Marijuana Bill HB 1385
    Chloe Grauer
    Our Family’s Face for Medical Marijuana

    I am writing to ask for your support after seeing the touching interview this week about the personal story of Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey and his grandson, Briggs. I was so moved by the deep emotion in Ron’s voice about his personal experience as a grandparent in the face of the unthinkable.
    I saw Ron’s faith, his hope and his ability to accept God’s will while all the time knowing he would do everything in his power to save his grandson. However, as he admits, the situation was out of his hands. He could not personally fix or negotiate a fix, nor would money make it go away. Thankfully his story had a happy ending because his family was fortunate to have access to medical treatments that could heal his grandson.

    I am a grandparent that knows and feels those same deep emotions each and every day since October 2012. Ron and his family have found peace but my family fights everyday to find a medical therapy to keep our Chloe alive and to ease her suffering. Our struggle is not from a lack of faith, but one of politics. There is a therapy that might help Chloe but we cannot have access to it in the State of TN.

    Chloe has a rare neurological condition that causes her to have 100-200 seizures a day. When Chloe was born we had eight glorious days of joy but then the seizures began. She has only been alive 461 days and with a conservative estimate has had over 45,300 seizures. There are so few words to adequately express the helplessness we feel after watching her cluster seizures last more than an hour to just start up again as soon as they end. We have tried every medication cocktail available but it is not without a price, the toll of the side affects of these medicines steal almost any hope from us that Chloe will ever have a better quality of life.

    Sadly Chloe is not unique in the sense of being a rare medical anomaly, there are thousands of other special needs children that live in TN that are being denied access to the medical oil (Charlottes Web Oil) from the marijuana plant. The medical grade CBD oil is not intoxicating, does not produce a high and therefore has no street value. Unfortunately my grand daughter’s life is caught up in a debate over “pot”.

    I understand what a complex issue this is as it regards to medical marijuana but Republican Allen Peake in Macon, GA has written a bill that will focus only on the oil in an attempt to offer compassionate care for children like Chloe. When a parent sees a news story like the one Dr. Sanjay Gupta did on CNN this past August it is hard not to have hope that the Charlotte’s Web oil might help their child. With a 99.9% success rate in reducing or eliminating most seizures in the children featured in the documentary it makes you want to whisper ‘what if’….

    Lieutenant Governor Ramsey, won’t you please extend the blessing from the healing of Briggs to consider how your support might help your fellow Tennesseans that find themselves at a very similar cross road as your family? I never imagined that I would be an advocate for medical marijuana but if you spent just one day with our sweet Chloe you would understand why I would move Heaven and Earth to ease her pain and suffering if I could.

    Thank you for your consideration, I pray you will support the effort of our family and all those other children desperate for a chance to try this new medical therapy.

    Gail Grauer
    Gail Grauer , Memphis, TN
    C: 901-517-4664

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    President Obama to speak at McGavock High on Thursday

    The Tennessean - President Barack Obama will speak at McGavock High School when he visits Nashville on Thursday, the White House said Sunday night.

    The White House didn’t provide any other details about the speech or about the president’s visit to the city, which an Obama adviser announced in an email to supporters Saturday.

    McGavock, one of the largest high schools in the state, is among the Metro schools that began using the “career academies” model several years ago, grouping students by their career interests and partnering with private industry for donations of equipment, money and speakers. (link)

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    Tennessean reports, Nashville didn't fully explore an Amp route without dedicated bus lanes.

    This is an excellent article from the Tennessean. Most cities that developed a Bus Rapid Transit system did not dedicate a lane for a loading platform and a dedicated lane going both direction. Some did that for only part of the way and some not at all.  There are various options for a BRT that would not take two or more lanes of traffic and reduce remaining traffic lanes to a nine foot weight the way the Nashville AMP would do.  Nashville's design is only slightly faster and million and million of dollars more expensive than alternative designs. See this article for an explanation of alternative designs and examples from other cites using other design options. Nashville never did a study comparing other options.

    Could there have been middle ground on Amp's center-lane design? 

    By Josh Brown, The Tennessean, Jan. 25, 2014-  At the center of the controversy over Nashville’s proposed $174 million bus rapid transit line is the question of whether stretches of a busy road now used for cars should be converted into bus-only lanes.

    Opponents of the 7.1-mile line proposed for the West End/Broadway corridor connecting West and East Nashville say taking away space for cars on already congested streets will make traffic worse, not better. Metro officials contend the dedicated lanes let buses avoid traffic and are keyto the Amp’s success.

    But unlike other cities with such projects, Nashville never analyzed whether a bus line with the same mass-transit-style features — such as stations with level boarding platforms and pre-purchased tickets — would prove just as effective without the bus-only lanes.

    That question lingers as engineers move forward in the coming months on a $7.5 million engineering phase that could largely settle the design of the proposal. (link)

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    Pres Obama coming to Nashville on Thursday. Get those signs and flags ready

    Pres Obama coming to Nashville on Thursday. Get those signs and flags ready, there WILL be a protest...more details soon. Nashville Tea Party is planning a welcome.

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    Sunday, January 26, 2014

    Obama is the ultimate "imperial president," willfully violating the Constitution to further his goals. It is time for resistance to this abuse.

    From The Christian Science Monitor: 

    President Obama’s use of executive action to get around congressional gridlock is unparalleled in modern times, some scholars say. But to liberal activists, he’s not going far enough. 

    The president (or his administration) has unilaterally changed elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); declared an anti-gay-rights law unconstitutional; lifted the threat of deportation for an entire class of undocumented immigrants; bypassed Senate confirmation of controversial nominees; waived compliance requirements in education law; and altered the work requirements under welfare reform.

    This month, the Obama administration took the highly unusual step of announcing that it will recognize gay marriages performed in Utah – even though Utah itself says it will not recognize them while the issue is pending in court.
    Early in his presidency, Obama also expanded presidential warmaking powers, surveillance of the American public, and extrajudicial drone strikes on alleged terrorists outside the United States, including Americans – going beyond Mr. Bush's own global war on terror following 9/11. But more recently, he has flexed his executive muscle more on domestic policy.
    .... Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. "In my view, Obama has surpassed George W. Bush in the level of circumvention of Congress and the assertion of excessive presidential power. I don't think it's a close question."
    This presidents refusing to enforce the laws and his policymaking by executive fiat is unprecedented.  When George W. Bush issued controversial signing statements or acted by executive order, the main stream press let us know about it and decried the abuse of power.  Now, the main stream press are cheerleaders for the President. The only time we have seen anything close to such power unilaterally exercised by a President, is in war time by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Now, the President has promised we ain't seen noting yet. This is a recent statement from the President:
    .....the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for a legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone -- and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible and making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.(link)
    The first action we may see where the President doesn't wait for legislative action uses his pen to bypass congress may be by raising the minimum wage by executive order.  Another action may be to ignore the the debt limit cap, if congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. Also more unilateral action on gay rights and immigration may be in the works.

    There are three responses I think we should take in response to the Presidents current level of executive abuse and one to hold in reserve if the rule by executive fiat increases as the President implied it would:
    1. Impeach the President. I know the Senate would not convict, but the House could impeach.  This would give an airing to the many abuses of power and may cause the President to curtail new abuses.
    2. Elect a Republican Senate in 2014.  With the Senate in Republican hands the President would be less likely to continue his abuse of power.
    3. Executive action that is suspected of exceeding constitutional authority should be challenged in Court.  Courts can be slow to act however and while waiting on a court decision Congress and the American people should not stand by and do nothing.
    4. If the abuse of power continues and worsens then it is time for civil disobedience and an escalation of resistance.  I am not calling for secession or armed rebellion but massive demonstrations, strikes, occupying of federal building, disruption of the function of government, cyber activism by clogging of government websites and hacking, financial assistance to those who defy illegal executive orders and are fined or arrested, financial assistance to those arrested for civil disobedience, withholding of tax payments and other creative means to air grievances and engage in non-violent resistance. 
    I am a person of moderate temperament generally but desperate times call for desperate measures. We cannot stand by and tolerate this level of executive abuse and if the anticipated increased level of executive abuse occurs, it is time for serious resistance. If allowed to stand, the next president will have precedent and may push executive abuse of power to an even higher level.

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