Saturday, May 24, 2014

Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation says Carr can win. He must be delusional.

Judson Phillips head of Tea Party Nation, writing in the Washington Times today says of the Alexander-Carr contest, "Lamar Alexander is very vulnerable, and he could be the one RINO the tea party knocks off in 2014." Say what? Are you serious?

Lamar Alexander
I don't see it that way at all.  I don't see it as even a close race. Phillips bases his optimism on a recent poll that shows Alexander leading Carr 44% to 20%. "The immediate reaction of a lot of people to the poll is that Alexander is beating Carr by more than 2-to-1," writes Phillips. Well, "duh." That is my reaction.

Phillips goes on to say, "He is a Republican institution and he is polling at less than 50 percent. For politicians, those kind of numbers are red alerts. Any time an incumbent is under 50 percent, they are in a lot of trouble. Alexander is not only below 50 percent, he is significantly below 50 percent. In the poll, 27 percent of likely Republican voters said they were undecided.

I guess that is looking at the class half full rather than half empty. (Or, should I say 20% full rather than 80% empty.) Certainly there are a lot of Republicans who think Lamar is insufficiently conservative. While he does have a more moderate voting record than I would like, on some issues such as taking on wind subsidy, education reform and minimum wage, he has shown tremendous leadership and conservative values. He is one of the few Republicans who says we should not only not raise the minimum wage, but should abolish it. I am not as critical of Lamar as some others on the right.

His demeanor of thoughtfulness, reasonableness and respectfulness may strike some as more moderate than he actually is.  He is certainly not a bomb thrower or fire brand. Admittedly, he is more moderate than many Tennessee activist Republicans but the degree of separation is not as great as some may think. Freedom Works gives Alexander a current score of 60%. As a means of comparison, liberal Republican Susan Collins scores a 20, Orrin Hatch a 40, and Ted Cruz scored a 75, and Marco Rubio scored an 80. So, on the Freedom Works scorecard Alexander closer to Ted Cruz than he is Orrin Hatch. Alexander is not a Susan Collins.

Heritage makes Alexander look more liberal than does Freedom Works. Heritage Action gives Alexander a low score of 46%, but as a means of comparison, Susan Collins gets a 26 and Orran Hatch a 58, and Curz a 98 and Rubio an 85.  The American Conservative Union gives Alexander a score of 60, compared to Susan Collins at 28, and Hatch at 75 and a perfect 100 for Rubio and Cruz.

Admittedly those are some low scores for Alexander but most voters don't care about scores and are not going to be swayed by the rankings of groups like Freedom Works or Heritage Action or ACU. Only the most activist of Republicans care about scores. Alexander has a perfect 100% score from pro-life and pro-Second Amendment groups and if attention is paid to scores at all, those would likely carry more weight.

Tennessee has had a history of electing more moderate Republicans ever since Tennessee began electing Republicans in 1960's. While the state's Republicans may have become more conservative in recent years and Republican primary voters are more conservative than general election voters, I do not agree that Alexander is too liberal for Tennessee voters. More moderate than the average Republican primary voter? Probably. Too moderate for Republican primary voters? I don't think so.

Joe Carr for Sentate
Judson Phillips, thinks that Alexander is so liberal that the undecided will break for Carr over Alexander if they learn more about Carr. Even it that were true, Carr would have to get almost every one of the "undecided" to beat Alexander. I don't think it could possibly happen.  Now, if Alexander's opponent was someone like Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey or maybe Senator Mark Green, Alexander might have a serious challenge, Republican primary voters might chose a more conservative contender, but Joe Carr? I think the more people learn about Joe Carr, the more likely they are to vote for Alexander. 

Carr is of the right wing fringe.  He is far outside the mainstream of conservative thought. He subscribes to the discredited theory of nullification, he believes the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims and the Second Amendment should allow one to carry a gun onto the private property of another regardless of the desires of the property owner.  Also Carr has flip flopped on several issue. Also Carr just does not strike me as that competent or smart. Even if one agrees with Carr's positions more than those of Alexander, they may still choose electability and competence over ideological purity.

A recent Vanderbilt University poll shows Lamar Alexander holds a commanding lead in the upcoming Republican primary election. According to the poll, Alexander has 64 percent favorability ratings among likely Republican primary voters, compared to 20 percent for his opponent Joe Carr. Fifty-five percent of those likely voters said they’d never heard of Carr. This poll was analyzed by The Nashville Scene and it reported:
The Senior Senator's approval ratings are 47 percent among tea party members. That's not a "throw him out of office" kind of number. ....
From the last poll in December until now, pollsters at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions discovered that Carr's favorable ratings among registered Republicans rose from 16 percent to 17 percent. Seventy-five percent of the group either didn't know or had never heard of Joe Carr.
Joe Carr Has Moved The Needle 1 Percent In Five Months.
I don't think Alexander has anything to worry about from Joe Carr. I think Jason Phillips is seriously delusional if he thinks Carr can knock off Lamar Alexander.

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Why is the school board's loudest rabble-rouser turning his back on Jesse Register?

by Andrea Zelinski, The Nashville Scene, May 22,2014-  Will Pinkston isn't known for his patience. But for months, the school board member says he has bitten his tongue while privately warning Metro Nashville's director of schools that his fuse is running short.

Pinkston says he would forward concerns from people in the community to Metro Schools' Central Office. And one by one, the queries would disappear into a "black hole" and take months to emerge, if they were resolved at all. (link)                                                                             

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What other are saying about the Repubican "establishment" win over the Tea Party in primaries this week.

After the primaries on Tuesday, I gave own analysis, noting that the tea party lost in all important contested races and the establishment won. To read my comment on what this meant for the Republican Party and the tea party movement, follow this link.  Below are what others have had to say about the issue.

Red State: Does The Tea Party Need More Experienced Candidates?

The larger number of Establishment victories this season has fueled the “Tea Party is dead” narrative. Certainly it illustrates the growing sophistication of the Establishment campaigns (especially incumbents) in spotting Tea Party challenges early and working to close them off. It also illustrates the number of races in which a low-quality, poorly-funded Tea Party primary challenge will be mounted against incumbents who in years past would simply have run unopposed.  Tea Partiers may occasionally find a diamond in the rough, but their desire to celebrate the citizen-politician shouldn’t obscure the fact that politics is a craft, and people who have practiced it for some time are more likely to have gotten good at it.
The above is a detailed analysis of the primaries on Tuesday and the fate of the tea party. The author says the tea party can win with good candidates and when they run good campaigns. 

Daily Beast: Tea Party Loses Key Battles, But Is Winning The War
Defeats handed to Tea Party candidates last night only tell half the story—the Tea Party’s real success has been to change the very DNA of the GOP. .... The Tea Party got shut out on Tuesday night. .... Despite not having any candidates who draped themselves in Gadsden flags win marquee races on Tuesday, the election results showed the ultimate success of the Tea Party’s effort to change the very DNA of the GOP, as the median voter in a Republican primary has become far more conservative in the past few years. The “establishment” candidates may have won—but they did so by becoming increasingly conservative. (link)
I said something very similar to the above in my analysis. Much of the establishment is tea party.

Hot Air: The GOP’s “civil war” is over, and the tea party has “swallowed the establishment” — according to Debbie Wasserman Schultz

From Daniel Horowitz:  Establishment Republicans Only Win With a Tea Party Message
 As the GOP primary season progresses, the media narrative of the grassroots vs. party establishment has vacillated wildly. Whenever a candidate backed by the party elite wins, readers are bombarded with headlines trumpeting the demise of the tea party. Whenever a candidate heavily backed by the grassroots and tea party groups wins, the narrative turns back against the establishment. In reality, neither storyline is correct because the policy positions supported by the party elites have never shown up on the campaign trail.  
Elections hinge upon several complex variables – factors that are often unique and isolated to a specific race. But one variable has been consistent: establishment candidates will not run on the positions taken by their supporters; they must run on the tea party message to win.
The tea party is not represented by any individual organization or candidate. It is a set of ethos advocating return to the constitutional principles of our Founding Fathers – principles that have gradually been eroded over the past century, and most precipitously in recent years. The civil war between “tea party” Republicans and the party elites has been manifest in specific policy disagreements stemming from these principles, such as bailouts, debt ceiling increases, funding for Obamacare, open borders, corporate welfare and federal control over local functions.
Yet in none of the election victories claimed by establishment candidates did they run on the position espoused by their side of the ideological divide. (link)
From Richard Vigueri of Conservative HQ: Don’t Be the GOP Establishment’s Cheap Date
Now that another round of Republican primaries have passed there will be a litany of pundits and party leaders coming forward to demand that conservatives line-up behind establishment primary winners like Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Monica Wehby in Oregon. However, many conservatives are going to be asking “What should I do now that Republicans have nominated an establishment candidate for Senator, Congress, etc. in my state?”
Our advice is, don’t be the Republican establishment’s cheap date......
The grassroots movement conservative voters who are powering this cycle’s outsider campaigns cannot be taken for granted.
Tea Partiers and grassroots conservative activists must redouble their efforts to takeover the Republican Party (link)
 Reporter for U.S. News & World Report (blog) quoting Joe Carr: Tea Party Candidate: Conservative Groups Hurt Bevin
The finger-pointing within the tea party has begun in the aftermath of a wave of Republican establishment victories in congressional primaries Tuesday night.
State Rep. Joe Carr, a tea party challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Wednesday outside conservative groups had a negative impact on the movement's chances in the Kentucky Senate race, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell throttled challenger Matt Bevin.
“I think it's equally argued that they had a negative impact with Mitch McConnell and here’s why: All the attention that Mitch McConnell drew through Matt Bevin and the conservative groups came from outside of Kentucky," Carr said on a Nashville radio station Wednesday morning. "It’s obvious that Kentuckians never latched on to the Matt Bevin campaign." (link)
That has got to be one of the lamest rationalization I have ever heard. Does Carr really believe that? I guess Carr is happy he is safe from getting any of that out of state tea party money to taint his campaign.
1. Establishment GOP has learned to play ball: Since its birth in 2009, the tea party has had successes in primaries but those have given the GOP plenty of headaches and hurt its chances of winning back the Senate, effectively costing Republicans five winnable elections over the last two cycles.
This year, the establishment has had the upper hand in most contests against tea party-backed challengers. Showdowns on Tuesday in Kentucky, Idaho, Georgia, and Oregon kept that winning streak going.
 "Every establishment candidate ran like a tea party candidate. It's hard to tell the difference this time around, because they had a uniting factor in opposing Obamacare but also united on issues like immigration and trade and climate change. The establishment Republican Party ran to the right this time," said CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. (link)

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Campaign Kick-off reception for Sterlina Brady May 27th

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Rod, come back to the Tea Party

by Gene Wisdom, May 23, 2014 -

Gene Wisdom
Rod Williams is not everyone’s idea of a conservative. The local 9-12 chapter decided a while back that he just wasn’t one of them—and they kicked him out. I know that Rod didn’t lose any sleep over that. Hell, I’ll bet good money that he went to sleep that night chuckling. And I know that I’m not everyone’s idea of a conservative. One libertarian friend jokingly (?) calls me a neo-conservative. For some that would be fighting words. Since there are some fine “neo-cons”, beginning with Charles Krauthammer, I’ll take that as a compliment. Even though I’m not one. I don’t really give a rat’s hindparts if I meet anyone’s definition of a conservative because I know what a conservative is and I know I are one. And I would put some more good money on the fact that Rod feels the same way.

Which is why I’m confused. I am perplexed over Rod’s recent decision  to disavow the Tea Party label. We know he is a “disgruntled Republican” but apparently now also a disgruntled Tea Partier. The difference is that while he still considers himself a Republican he has left the Tea Party.

As a conservative I know that words mean things. It’s what allows us to converse with one another and to exist with our fellow human beings in society. It is a core assumption of Western civilization that is just one more reason for its success. Hopefully that notion will survive the postmodern assault on truth. On justice. And on the American way. And even though the word “conservative” includes many strains of thought and conservatives will argue with blue faces over who is truer, we as conservatives all know what the Tea Party is.

Yes, of course we’re smart enough to ignore the Left’s smears and attacks on that term and on Tea Partiers. We can ignore that because they do that to everyone on the Right, everyone who doesn’t agree with them. Because the Left is dominated by bullies who preach tolerance. Oh, they see an alternative, all right. There’s their way. And there’s the highway.

But we know. Taxed Enough Already. Ben Cunningham’s Nashville Tea Party best summarizes the core principles: (1) Constitutionally limited government, (2) fiscal responsibility, and (3) free markets. Anything else is extraneous. Though most Tea Partiers are social conservatives—and I would guess, vice verse—not all are. And foreign policy is almost irrelevant to the Tea Party vision. If you believe in those three things you are a “member” of the Tea Party. By definition.

In his column Rod bemoans at length the involvement in the Tea Party of members of the John Birch Society. I’ll here offer a brief opening defense of the JBS by way of a disclaimer: I was a member a long time ago, for a year. What attracted me to the organization was the education I received through JBS books and publications on the nature and menace of Communism, both nationally and around the world. As I read more, though, I began to learn of “the conspiracy”, the diffuse cabal going back, as Rod explained, to the formation of the Illuminati in 1776 down through the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. I obtained from the CFR copies of some of their annual reports which included their membership list (not a very effective conspiracy, huh—they tell us who they are. But there wasn’t a picture of the secret handshake). A quick perusal of that list turned up some stalwart conservatives, including several who were in the Reagan Administration: Richard Allen, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Elliot Abrams and many others. It also included the godfather of the modern American conservative movement, William F. Buckley, Jr.

Thus ended my affiliation with the John Birch Society. I also began to learn, as I studied liberalism, that among its core elements is internationalism. They see things not through a prism of what is good for America or for the principles represented by America but they seek rather to advance international institutions, which is also rooted in their view of the “brotherhood of man” and a Rousseauian view of man’s nature as good. So I began to understand that what the JBS saw as a plot was often little more than liberals being liberals. That still makes them and their worldview dangerous but not the machinations of a secret society.

What Birchers have brought into the Tea Party is this misguided paradigm which skews the focus into chasing phantoms like, as Rod noted, Agenda 21. These issues distract the Tea Party from its identity of restoring fiscal sanity and limited government to the halls of power. While I suppose I remain a member of 9-12 despite my dampened enthusiastic two cheers, I disagree with them on such issues and perhaps with them, and others, on the nullificationist approach also detailed by Rod. There is a wide range of strong support for the Second Amendment short of arresting federal agents at the state line and stripping employers/property owners of the right to refuse to allow guns in the workplace and on their property.

One area where I tend to agree with them and greatly credit them for their efforts to educate the public is on the issue of radical Islam. While I believe that reasonable people can disagree on the issue of Governor Haslam’s hiring of a Muslim woman to his administration there can be no doubt of the dangers of a Muslim Brotherhood organized effort to ingratiate jihadism into American society. Including the building of a Wahhabist mosque in Murfreesboro. Though I respect Rod’s holding fast to First Amendment religious liberty, I disagree with my friend that this is a benign development in our community.

But again, I believe that Rod has allowed himself to be distracted by these agenda items of some local Tea Party organizations. Though I disagree with them on Agenda 21 and nullification and for the most part agree with them regarding radical Islam, neither is a part of what the Tea Party in general stands for.

And yes, the Tea Party has made some poor choices in politicians. On that I would just offer that (1) hey, nobody’s perfect. Some choices don’t pan out; and (2) hopefully the Tea Party will learn from these mistakes and perhaps do something that principle-based organizations and causes have a hard time doing, which is to learn to temper their enthusiasm with prudence. Don’t give up the principles but be wise. Sounds like something Rod Williams might say.

It is also true that such efforts, however misguided they might seem, especially in hindsight, are based in what I’m sure Rod knows is frustration that we all feel as conservatives. The liberal agenda has crammed some foul-tasting policies down America’s throat that have made our country sick and weak. We have truly become a nation of takers growing increasingly dependent on a welfare state that becomes bigger and gains political support—votes—from more people on the dole. Our culture is being pushed downward by a Hollywood hostile to traditional values and pulled by a culture already sunk into that pit. Personally, I wonder if America has reached a tipping point.

It is my hope, though, that Rod will decide not to leave the Tea party but will come to see that many there, including some fine organizations with some fine people, have allowed themselves to become disoriented. And maybe that’s not fair. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that some Tea Party organizations have other or additional objectives. Others, though, aren’t driven by JBS views, such as Americans for Prosperity. And some, like the Nashville Tea Party, are driven by the animating ideals of the Tea Party as originally conceived. Take your pick, Rod. Don’t let the disparate and even disagreeable agendas of a few groups push you out of what you know is your ideological home—commitment to sound government, fiscal responsibility and free enterprise. Proudly don your “Don’t Tread on Me” shirt and come back. You know it fits.

Gene Wisdom is an Alabama native but has lived in the Nashville area since 2007. He, his wife Vicki, and their dog Savannah live near Nolensville.  Gene is a conservative activist 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

McKnight for Senate District 21 campaign kickoff event.

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"Establishment" beat Tea Party in all primaries last night. What does it mean?

Last night the "establishment" won and the tea party lost, for the most part.  There were some primaries for house seats were tea party candidates won the nominations, but tea party candidates lost the big races. Mitch McConnell won handily in Kentucky beating Matt Bevin by 25 points. In Georgia, tea party favored candidate Karen Handel did not make it into the run-off. In Oregon, Monica Wehby took 51 percent of the vote to defeat tea party favored candidate Rep. Jason Conger. In Idaho, GOP Rep. Mike Simpson easily defeated primary challenger Bryan Smith who was backed by The Club for Growth and other tea party PAC's.

I don't know enough about these races to know how I would have voted in each of them. In Oregon, I would have had a difficult time voting for a pro-abortion candidate.  In Idaho, if Smith was a sensible conservative Republican, I would have probably supported him over Simpson who has a score of 46 from the American Conservative Union. However, without knowing more about each of the races, I don't know how I would have voted.  Pundits this morning are saying that the more electable Republicans won and the Party is poised to have a good shot at picking up the six seats they need to take the Senate. I assume that is true and that is good news.

One thing that is a factor in how I vote and would be a factor if I resided in one of the state with a primary last night, is "electability." I would vote for a moderate Republican over a more conservative Republican if I was convinced the more moderate Republican had a considerably greater chance of winning the general election.  I think there is nothing wrong with casting a strategic vote. Even a liberal Republican is a vote to replace Harry Reid, is a vote for all committees of the Senate to be controlled by Republicans, and even the most liberal Republican votes with the Party most of the time. Even a pro-abortion Republican puts Republicans in charge of the Senate and the Judiciary Committee, which advances the pro-life cause. It matter not only who serves, but which party governs.

Quite frankly, I think way to much is being made about a civil war in the Republican Party between "establishment" Republicans and "tea party Republican." When tea party favorite Rand Paul endorses Mitch McConnell, then it is time to bury the hatchet and end the civil war. The tea party has succeeding in electing some  Republicans who were more conservative and in pushing some incumbent Republicans into taking more conservative positions and showing more backbone.  Many of the "establishment Republicans" are now "tea party Republicans" and many tea party Republicans are now establishment Republicans.

I think there are some tea party organization who are in the battle to give themselves a job and stroke there own ego and would never be satisfied. There are some Republicans who so self righteous they think they are the only real Republicans and everyone else is a RINO. They are sort of like Christians counting angels on the head of a pin. Any deviation from their view of orthodoxy is heresy. They think all winners must be sell-outs. Their whole purpose for existence is to cast stones at the establishment and tout their purity. As the Party moves right, they move further right until they fall off the cliff. I think the more conservative the establishment Republicans become, the more fringe many of those who call themselves "tea party" become. 

Not all by any means, but some in the tea party are so far outside the mainstream that they are a footnote in the political spectrum. There are the libertarians who have attached themselves to the tea party.  Now, all conservative Republicans have some libertarian leanings. Libertarianism is a key component of the modern conservative movement, but there are those who are almost anarchist who believe in almost no government.  These extreme libertarians have found a home in the tea party.  Also, you have the conspiracy nuts and the tin foil hat crowd who believe that a cabal of "insiders" control everything and they worry excessively about FEMA concentration camps, and the NAFTA superhighway, and Agenda 21. The conspiracy of the month dominates their concern.

And, then you have a small faction that are the populist who hate big government, and big corporations, and big unions, and foreigners, and anything that smacks of being big, successful, or popular. They are the "anti's" and feel the world is passing them by and everyone else is getting a better deal than they.  They are swayed by the politics of resentment. I suspect some of these people would be on the far left if they were not on the far right. They want to be part of a movement to make things right. They are not well grounded in what they believe and are low information voters and a nudge this way or that and they could be "occupy" rather than "tea party."

So, what will happen to the tea party movement?  I don't think it will completely disappear anytime soon.  However, it will become less and less significant.  Here in Tennessee, the tea party challenger to Lamar Alexander believes in the discredited theory of nullification, believes the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims and believes the Second Amendment gives you the right to carry guns onto the private property of another who prefers a "no-guns" policy. Most conservatives do not believe those things. Sensible, intelligent conservatives will distance themselves from those who hold those views. Also, at some point those who believe in limited government and a strong national defense will distance themselves from those who believe in less than limited government and isolationism (or non-interventionist foreign policy, as the libertarian prefer to call it). Also, sensible conservatives will distance themselves from the John Birch Society and the nutty conspiracy theorist as happened once before in the conservative movement in the 60's.

Maybe some will still claim the name "tea party," but more and more, I suspect they will drop that label of identification. Those tea party organizations that were more mainstream conservative will survive but less and less will they attach the name "tea party" to their identity. There was a dynamic conservative movement before there was "tea party" and there will continue to be.  The American Conservative Union, Heritage Foundation and National Review and dozens of others were  active prior to the tea party.   Some of the "tea party" groups that have sprouted up, such as Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity and others, will continue to be a healthy force contributing to the marketplace of ideas.  They are not dependent upon their "tea party" label to stay viable. In essence, I think the "brand" tea party has been damaged and will slowly fade. Unless the label can be reclaimed, it will become something with which no responsible conservative wants to be associated.

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Get ready to pay back your Obamacare subsidy

We still don't know how many people got health insurance due to Obamacare. Seven million registered but how many paid their first months premium and continued to pay their monthly premium after that, we don't know.  Now, however, it looks like as many as one million of how ever many it was that got insurance under Obamacare, may have gotten the wrong subsidy. Subsidies are tied to income and it appears a lot of people reported the wrong income. Maybe some of them did not get all the subsidy to which the law entitled them, but a lot may have gotten too much subsidy.  To read all about it, follow this link.

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Metro Council Meeting of 5/20/2014

Charter amendments were deferred one meeting. However the amendment that would reduce the size of the Council from 40 members to 27 was defeated in the Charter Revision Committee of the Council.

Never in doubt of passage, the Council passed unanimously the bill that would let Google use city property to construct fiber huts to facilitate the new proposed Google high speed internet service.

Below is the Tennessean's report on last nights council meeting:

Metro Council approves Google Fiber 'huts'

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Six states will host Republican primaries tonight. Does the tea party still have any clout?

States holding Republican primaries tonight are Pennsylvania, Idaho, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oregon and Georgia. The primaries in Pennsylvania and Arkansas are gubernatorial primaries with no serious contest and are of little interest. Here is the status of the other races:

In Kentucky, tea party favored candidate Matt Bevin is challenging incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell. Libertarian Republican and tea party favorite Rand Paul has endorsed McConnell.  The Senate Conservatives fund, a tea party PAC has spend more than $1 million on behalf of Beven. Expect McConnell to win.

In Idaho,  Eight-term incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson with an ACU score of 46, is being challenged from the right by Bryan Smith. Mitt Romney has endorsed Simpson. CNN calls Smiths campaign a "serious primary challenge."

In Oregon, of all things, there is a rare pro-choice Republican candidate, Dr. Monica Wehby, seeking the nomination and appears to be leading over her tea party favored opponent Jason Conger. Wehby has been endorsed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Sen. Rick Santorum has endorsed Conger. The winner will face Democrat incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley. Dr. Wehby is favored to win the nomination.

In Georgia there is a seven-man race to win the nomination to  succeed Sen. Saxby Chambliss who is retiring. Since one candidate is unlikely to win a majority of the votes cast, there is likely to be run off. Karen Handel is the tea party favored candidate having been endorsed by Sarah Palin and Red State's Erick Erickson, however the tea party support was split and two other candidates got some tea party support. Handel is one of the top three candidates. The person ahead in the polls is David Pardue. Handel has been attacked by one of her opponents for "promoting teenage homosexuality," for a vote she took in favor of funding for an LGBT youth program when she served on the Fulton County Commission. Wow, if any member of the Metro Council ever runs for office, any one of them could be charged with the same thing as they all voted at some point for a budget that funded the Human Relations Commission.  A victory for the tea party would be Handel making the run-off.

For source material for the above see this link and this link.

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MAY 22nd! Liberty on the Rocks presents Tony Stiles

It promises to be a lively evening as Tony Stiles joins us. His upcoming media venture is titled Truth Be Told and will be a high production quality web series about government, corporate, and media coverups. .

Tony Stiles, host of the fastest growing radio show in America - nationally syndicated Tony Stiles Show. Stiles is a media commentator seen on Fox News, CNN, RT and heard on hundreds of radio programs nationwide.

Thursday, May 22nd, 5:30-9:30PM
Mafioso's on 12 Ave S. 

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How well are Metro Schools doing in preparing students for college? We don't know.

From TN Edu-Independent:

As we close out the school year, we've seen some great stories about the next step for many Nashville high school seniors. We've seen LEAD Academy's 100% college acceptance rate and also a story on Glencliff High School celebrating its inaugural college signing day. It's really a great thing to celebrate these important milestones, and we absolutely need to recognize and celebrate the hard work of students, teachers, and school leaders as they transition to postsecondary.

This season has also made me realize that we need much better data collection around college going efforts across MNPS in district, magnet or charter schools.

I recently emailed the district central office, and received an ambiguous and skeptical response.  I had asked if they could share data on the college acceptance rates for each MNPS high school, broken down by how many students had 2 year vs. 4 year college degree plans.  I was told the data was not available.

I was a bit shocked frankly, given the millions of dollars they have invested in the data warehouse system, their emphasis on data driven cultures, and purchases of different technology applications.  I went to high school in the 90s, and the school newspaper printed the name of every college bound senior and where they were planning to attend, 2 year or 4 year.  This info was available in the 90s at my public high school, but not with MNPS in 2014 with the supposed progress we've made in data systems and data driven policies and instruction?  Maybe the district does have the data and didn't want to be transparent, but I'm still very surprised it wasn't readily available.

It's important to have this data. If we say one of the primary goals of our K-12 public education systems is to prepare students for postsecondary, then we really need to do a better job with longitudinal "P-20" data systems and measuring postsecondary outcomes.

What is measured matters.

If we are going to more accurately measure "to and through college" success rates, I think we need to regularly track:
  • in middle school, how students are progressing to demonstrate readiness to attend college or graduate (PLAN or EXPLORE)
  • in high school, how many students have the skills and knowledge that is considered "college ready" (ACT test, scores by high schlooking at college ready benchmarks)
  • in high school, college acceptance rates of the senior class, by 2 year degree programs, 4 year degree programs, technical training programs or military service
  • graduation rates
  • in college, fall enrollment the immediate fall after high school graduation (also by 2 year, 4 year, tech program or military service)
  • in college, persistence rates (1 year, 2 year, etc, again for the same 2 year, 4 year, tech or military service)
  • in college, graduation rates
There is a whole continuum of "getting to" and "through" college (or postsecondary as the better word choice).  There are many important data points on that continuum that we need to be collecting and analyzing at the individual student level and at the school level.  I think every district, including MNPS, ought to publish a College Completion Report every year that analyzes how its K-12 students have done in postsecondary.

More consistent and accurate data in this area can help better inform education policy and practice.  For example, if we had baseline data from last year on every MNPS high school, and we could look at students who planned to attend 2 year degree programs vs. how many actually attended, and then compare that to this year, and next would help give some good data around the tnAchieves and TN Promise program, and how it is impacting students.

We could look at specific high schools and how well they are doing in preparing students or sub-groups of students for college, actually getting them there, and actually seeing if they graduate or not.  Better data around college indicators and outcomes can be used to better inform the culture and practices of high schools.

What is measured matters.

This article was reposted from TN Edu-Independent.

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5/19/2014 Metro Council Budget and Finance Committee

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Senator Mark Green profiled in U.S. News as one of "The Next Faces of the Republican Party."

There a great, insightful, flattering profile of Senator Mark Green appearing in current issue of U. S. News. He has "star potential" the article says.

Here are some excerpts:
State Sen. Mark Green’s resume reads like a casting call for politics. A former Army Ranger and special operations flight surgeon who interviewed Saddam Hussein on the night of his capture in Iraq, the U.S. Military Academy graduate also started his own emergency room management company where he remains CEO to this day.
GOP recruiters are convinced Green’s time will come. But in the meantime, he’s been thinking about how Republicans can more effectively speak to lower-income and working-class folks about their economic hardships.

“The problem is we’re not connecting with people on their level,” he says. “We’ve got to stop talking about cutting taxes, reducing the size of government. That’s the means to the end. We’ve got to talk about the end. These people who have been left behind, they don’t want to hear, cut taxes or cut the size of government. What they want to hear is, is, ‘I could own my own restaurant some day.’ And they can.”
To read the article, follow this link: The Next Faces of the Republican Party.

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What's on the Council Agenda for May 20th? Charter amendments and mass transit funding.

To get your own copy of the Council Agenda follow this link:Agenda. The analysis is at this link:  Analysis.

This is an abbreviated version of my usual analysis. I am only listing the item that I think are most important and am skipping on the commentary.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1052 is proposed charter amendments as are the next two resolution. The council can only pass one resolution to amend the charter, since they are only permitted two a year and have already previously passed one. So, all proposed charter amendments will be incorporated into one resolution. Each proposed charter amendment would have to get 27 votes of the Council and then the resolution itself would have to get 27 votes to be approved. If approved by the Council, the proposed amendments would then go to a referendum of the voters.

  • The first proposed amendment would prohibit Metro Council members from serving any other elective office while serving in the Metro Council. I support this. The interest of the State and the City are not always the same. I do not think one person should be allowed to be a Councilman and a State Representative.
  • The second proposed amendment would allow metro to enact an “opportunity interviewing policy” which means they could not ask a potential employee about his criminal history unless the position for which the person was applying required a criminal background check.  I do think that we ought to give people a chance at reentering society and making a living once they have paid their debt to society, however, I tend to think this should be addressed as policy, not as a matter of law. I would probably not support this proposed amendment.
  • Proposed amendment three would change the maximum number of terms of office of the Metro Council members to three terms from the current two and it would reduce the size of the council to 27 members. I support this. I have not always done so, but I do not see that our lager Council has given us better government. I think it is time to cut the size of the Council. Also, I think term limits was a mistake. Always having half of the Council who are brand new simply gives more power to the bureaucrats. Council members and Mayors come and go but Metro employees are there for a lifetime. We need some people in the Council who know where the bodies are buried (institutional knowledge). If people do not like there council member they can always vote them out.
  •  Proposed amendment four would reduce the size of the council to 27 members but does not address term limits. 
  • Proposed amendment five would remove the protections for the fair grounds that stipulate all uses of and activities at the fairground will continue. With 27 votes, the council could redevelop or demolish the Fairground premises. I oppose this amendment. We have fought too hard to keep the fair grounds to give it away.  It seems the Mayor is trying to kill it by neglect rather than make it a success. Maybe if he and the next mayor realize there will be a fairground where it is now, they will promote it and improve it and make it a greater asset to the city rather then be looking for ways to destroy it.  
RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1087 is also a charter amendment almost the same as the second proposed amendment in the above resolution.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-1088 is also a proposed charter amendments. It expand term limits for the Council from two terms to three terms stating in 2019, and would restrict the Mayor to two terms.

Watch the following two bills and the memorializing resolution 984, which request the Davidson county Delegation to the General Assembly to support legislation to provide a dedicated source of funding for mass transit. Everyone seems to want mass transit but few want to pay for it. Mass transit cannot be self-supporting. It is subsidized everywhere in America as far as I know. Of course it could be funded our of general revenue like schools, police, fire and almost everything but it would then be competing for those same dollars. If more goes to mass transit, less goes to something else unless we raise taxes. We do not want to build a big new system and then not have funds to operate it. No one has said where the operating cost would come from for the new proposed AMP. I don't think anyone should unfairly charge Councilman Tygard with advocating raising the wheel tax or increasing the sales tax.  I think he is attempting to show the hypocrisy of those who want to advocate a massive increase in mass transit but pretend it will not be costly. I doubt any of these will pass, but the discussion should be interesting.

BILL NO. BL2014-665 on second reading proposes to raise the local option sales tax to 2.75 percent from the current 2.5% with half of the increased revenue dedicated to mass transit and half to public education, subject to a public referendum.

SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2014-666 would increase the wheel tax by $20 raising it to $75 with the increase dedicated to funding mass transit.

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John Wang at the Bellevue Picnic

Bellevue Picnic - May 17th, 2014

John Wang's photo.
John Wang's photo.John Wang's photo.
John Wang's photo.

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Headquarter Grand Opening for John Wang

From John Wang's facebook post:
Headquarter Grand Opening for John Wang, Candidate for State Rep District 53rd
Thank you all friends and supporters!

John Wang's photo.John Wang's photo.
John Wang's photo.
John Wang's photo. John Wang's photo.

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Corker, a GOP “rising star,” a “serious force” in the Senate

Bob Corker’s star on the ascent  
Times Free Press, by Andy Sher, May 18, 2014 - When Bob Corker was Chattanooga’s mayor a decade ago, his encounters with “foreign powers” mostly were limited to dealings with neighboring towns in Hamilton County.

These days, as the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he’s more likely to be found in far-flung corners of the Earth.

The blunt-spoken Chattanoogan has become a globe-trotter since he assumed his role on the Democratic-run committee some 16 months ago. He’s racked up visits to 55 countries, including hot spots such as the Syrian border and Ukraine.

And with his occasional razor-tongued criticisms of President Barack Obama’s foreign policies, Corker’s become the go-to guy for journalists seeking the GOP viewpoint, giving him a national presence in newspapers and on TV news shows. (link)

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gowdy: Why Does the Media Not Care About Benghazi?

REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): "We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act in Benghazi, and make no mistake, justice will be done." That was the president of the United States over a year ago. >

"We're investigating exactly what happened, but my biggest priority now is bringing those folks to justice." That was the president of the United States over a year ago. No one has been arrested. No one has been prosecuted. No one has been brought to justice. We don't even have access to the witnesses.

You in the media were good enough for my 16 years as a prosecutor not to tell me how to do my job, and so far in Congress, y'all have been good enough not to tell me how to do my job. I'm not telling you how to do your job. But I'm going to ask you some questions, and if you can't answer these questions, then I'll leave you to draw whatever conclusion you want to draw about whether or not the media has provided sufficient oversight.>

Can you tell me why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi the night that he was killed? Do you know? Does it bother you whether or not you know why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi? Do you know why we were the last flag flying in Benghazi after the British had left and the Red Cross had been bombed? Do you know why requests for additional security were denied? Do you know why an ambassador asking for more security days and weeks before he was murdered and those requests went unheeded? Do you know the answer to why those requests went unheeded?

Do you know why no assets were deployed during the siege? And I've heard the explanation -- which defies logic, frankly -- that we couldn't have gotten there in time, but you know, they didn't know when it was going to end. So how can you possibly cite that as an excuse? Do you know whether the president called any of our allies and said, "Can you help? We have men under attack." Can you answer that?

Do any of you know why Susan Rice was picked? The secretary of state did not go. She says she doesn't like Sunday talk shows. That's the only media venue she does not like, if that's true. Why was Susan Rice on the five Sunday talk shows? Do you know the origin of this mythology that it was spawned as a spontaneous reaction to a video? Do you know where that started? Do you know how we got from no evidence of that to that being the official position of the administration?>

In conclusion, Congress is supposed to provide oversight, the voters are supposed to provide oversight, and you are supposed to provide oversight. That's why you have special liberties, and that's why you have special protections. I am not surprised that the president of the United States called this a phony scandal. I'm not surprised Secretary Clinton asked, "What difference does it make?" I'm not even surprised that Jay Carney said Benghazi happened a long time ago. I'm just surprised at how many people bought it.>

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