Thursday, January 01, 2015

Nashville New Year's Eve party draws 130K

I wasn't there. For about the last 35 years I have celebrated New Year's at my sister and brother-in-law's, Becky and Dale. It is hard to believe have been doing this for 35 years! We had a great time! The group varies from year to year. My brother who lives in Sevierville who usually attends and my mom did not attend this year. And, some people that use to attend have gotten old and don't come anymore, but I have spend New Year's with some of these same people for 35 years.  I always look forward to this party and would rather be there than anywhere else for New Year's eve. And, my sweet wife Louella who has advanced Alzheimer's and is mostly confined to a wheelchair enjoyed herself. She did not do her non-sense chanting, she smiled, she was happy, and she didn't go to sleep. She was a trooper and happy. I even got her out of her wheelchair and we danced one song.

I was where I wanted to be on New Year's eve. I did not want to be in a crowd of 130,000 people on Broadway. I would not want to be in Times Square either. Maybe it is just a function of getting older. There were times when I have attended Nashville big 4th of July party, but not in the last ten years or so. It just does not have the same appeal it once did even if my wife was well and I could do it.

So while I did not want to be there, I nevertheless take pride in Nashville being one of the big New Year's Eve celebration cities. Read about it below and watch a video: Nashville's Bash on Broadway draws record 130K.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tips from the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving

Happy New Year!

It is that time of the year again will more people will be driving drunk than any other night of the year.   Unfortunately a lot of inexperienced drunk drivers will on the road. A lot of people will have their judgment impaired and think they are perfectly capable of driving  but they will be drunk. This year in addition to the local police, the Tennessee Highway Patrol plan a “No Refusal” enforcement campaign during the New Year’s Eve holiday period. The campaign begins at 12:01am, Wednesday, December 31st and concludes at 11:59pm, Sunday, January 4th.

The “No Refusal” enforcement will be conducted in one county in each of the eight THP Districts across the state, and is aimed at deterring impaired driving and reducing fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways.  The “No Refusal” legislation allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.

The participating “No Refusal” counties include Roane (Knoxville District); McMinn (Chattanooga District); Rutherford (Nashville District); Shelby (Memphis District); Washington (Fall Branch District); Cumberland (Cookeville District); Maury (Lawrenceburg District); and Hardin (Jackson District).
Getting arrested for drunk driving is only one reason not to drive drunk.  The most important reason is you could kill yourself or someone else. Don't drive drunk. Don’t do it. Drunk driving kills people. Getting arrested can be costly and humiliating. It can ruin your life. You can go to jail and loose your license.

Since this time last year the opportunities for alternative transportation has greatly increased in the Nashville area. I have not used Lyft but have used Uber several times and it is a great service.  I don't know if there will be enough livery service vehicles on the road to meet demand on New Years Eve, but a great thing about services like Uber and Lyft is that the supply expands with demand on a moments notice. When a lot of people want the service, the price goes up and people who may not have wanted to work to earn $20 an hour might want to work if they can earn $50 in an hour so more drivers will get on the road as demand and price increases. When peak demand periods pass, prices drop. So, if you are using Uber and want to leave the party immediately after the "ball drops" and the price is outrageous, wait an hour and the price will drop.

It would probably be impossible to have enough taxis, black cars, Ubers, Lyfts, Sidecars or limousines to transport all of the people who should not be driving on New Years eve, but the opportunity for an alternative to driving yourself is greater than it has ever been.

If you are not going to rely on a commercial service such as a cab or Uber, have a designated driver. Pick the designated driver before you start drinking. I prefer being the designated drinker, but someone needs to be the designated driver. If at a friends house and you have had too much to drink, stay the night.

Another alternative is Sober Ride. Sober ride is a service of the Sheriff's office. They will drive you home and there is no reporting or penalty for using the service. Sober ride pick up points are Second Avenue and Church Street, Demonbreun Street at the Roundabout, and Five Points in East Nashville.  Sober ride operates from 10PM to 2AM.

Having said all of this however, I know that there are going to be thousands of people who will be driving in the early hours of New Year's day  that will not think they are not too drunk to drive but will have had a sufficient amount of adult beverage that they could register drunk even though they don’t think you are drunk.

I myself have probably driven many times when I would have registered drunk had I been stopped. I am not by any means advocating driving drunk, but if you are driving impaired I am providing these tips to help you increase your chances of getting home safely without getting arrested.

This  guide from the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving is provided  to help you improve your drunk driving skills.

(1) Know that you don’t have to be “drunk” to register DUI. You do not have to be sloppy, falling down drunk to register as DUI. If you think you should not drive then by all means don’t. See the above. Often you will not know if you are drunk or not, so unless you know exactly how much you have had to drink and whether or not that would constitute drunk driving, then assume you are technically drunk. You do not have to appear intoxicated or have any of the symptoms that we think of as “drunk” to have a Blood Alcohol Content that legally makes you guilty of Driving Under the Influence. If you drink and you drive you have probably driven “drunk.”

(2) Track your consumption and don’t have “one for the road.” That is what often happens. If  for New Years you are having dinner with friends and you have a pre-dinner cocktail and wine with dinner and after dinner liquore with coffee, and a champagne toast at midnight, you might register drunk. Try to keep your alcohol consumption to a level that falls below the BAC limit.

On occasion I like to go to Lower Broadway to listen to live music and party. If I have 8, 12-ounce beers in a four-hour period I should have a BAC of about .068, however if I have 9 beers in four hours that means I have a BAC of .085 and am legally drunk. “One for the road” could put me over the limit. Actually, I seldom have eight in a four hour period, but it has happened.

A female can drink less than a male and a slender person can drink less than a heavy person. For a 115 pound female, three glasses of wine in two hours is drunk. Don’t try to keep up with the other people in your party. Know your limit. Skip a round. Drink slower. Some people assume that wine is less inebriating than tequila shots. That is not so. A 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of 100 proof distilled spirits have the same impact on an individual's BAC level.

Here is a calculator that will give you guidance on how much alcohol you can consume and an estimate of BAC. Please be aware that this is only a guide. If you are drinking on an empty stomach, your BAC may be higher than indicated in the calculator.

(3) Plan your trip. Point your car in the direction of home.  Avoid places where the police might see you. When I go to the honkytonk strip on lower Broadway to party, I never park on Broadway. I live on the south side of town, so I park a block or two south of Broadway on one of the one-way streets heading south. This means I do not have to circle a block and be concerned about traffic lights and stop signs. The less exposed you are to the police the less chance you have of getting caught. It is worth parking four or five blocks away to reduce your exposure.

(4) Be aware that you are impaired. If you didn’t keep track of how much you drank then assume you are may have had enough to register drunk and use your best drunk-driving skills. "Thinking" skills, like perceiving and evaluating risks, or processing information are not easily visible to outside observers, but they are the first skills to be adversely affected by alcohol. Be aware of this.

(5) Stop the Party. You are having a good time. You are joking and singing and laughing. You hate
to end the party, but if there is any chance that you are driving with an elevated BAC, then stop the party. Say, “OK folks, we need to straighten up. I need your help in getting us home.” Don’t sing or engage in distracting conversation. Turn off the radio. Don’t talk on the cell phone. Give driving your undivided attention. Don’t let anyone in the car have an open container. You may be perfectly capable of driving, but if a drunk passenger is yelling "Happy New Year" out the window, the police may stop the car and give you a drunk driving test. The moment you get in the car the party is over.

(6) Check the checklist. Have a mental checklist. You don’t want to get stopped because you failed to use your turn signal. I was once stopped by the police on lower Broadway and forced to take a Breathalyzer. I knew I had only had two beers in a two-hour period so I was not concerned. The reason they stopped me is that I had not tuned on my headlights as I pulled out into the street. The downtown area is well lit and this was just an oversight. The police are looking for excuses to stop you; don’t give them one. Seat belts? Check. Adjust the mirror? Check. Turn off the radio? Check. Turn on the headlights? Check.

(7) Concentrate; pay attention. Be aware of your driving. Don’t relax. Keep both hands on the wheel. Don’t be distracted. Don't answer the phone. If you feel you must answer the phone, safely pull off the road. Don't even engage in conversation.  Make sure you do not weave. Are you staying within the lines? Drive just below the speed limit. Don’t tailgate. Pay attention to the car in front of you. If they put on their brakes, notice it. If you are approaching an intersection with a traffic light, pay close attention. Plan that traffic light stop. Don’t run a yellow light.

(8) Use your co-pilot. Ask the person in the passengers seat to help you drive. Ask them to tell you if you weave or tailgate or go too fast. Make them pay attention to your driving.

(9) If you get stopped. Unless you are certain that you have had less than the number of drinks it would take to raise your BAC level to the .08 level, then common wisdom holds that it is a good idea to refuse the breathalyzer test. It generally is more difficult to convict a driver of drunk driving if no chemical tests are taken. Of course if you  are stopped by the THP in one of the counties listed above, you might as well do the Breathalyzer because of the "no refusal" policy in those counties this year.

I have never been arrested for drunk driving but I admit I have been guilty of it. I guess I have been lucky. As a young adult I was more often guilty of it than I have been as an older adult. Nevertheless, from time to time, I still have probably technically met the blood alcohol level for being drunk. Stay safe. Drive careful. Happy New Year.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tennessean Letter to Editor all critical of Bill Freeman and the trash truck sign deal

The Tennessean printed four letters to the  editor today (12-31-2014) and all four were critical of Bill Freeman and the trash truck sign deal.

Would Bill Freeman's sign on this truck make you
want to vote for him?  Does the Freeman garbage
truck deal stink?
Mayoral candidate Charles Robert Bone had contracted and paid for Gray's Disposal to carry his signs on their garbage trucks during the mayoral campaign.  Bill Freeman contacted Gray and offered three time what Gray had already accepted from Bone and Freeman agreed to cover any legal cost if Bone sued Gray. Gray returned Bone's money and contracted with Freeman.

Letter writer Donald Griffin says, "In the business world this is known as breach of contract, and it reflects very much on the integrity of the individuals involved.  The citizens of Nashville should keep this in mind when they cast their votes in the election for Mayor."

Rebecca Weikert writes that Gray's Disposal is a corrupt business and provides poor service and, "Any candidate that thinks the public will think highly him/her by appearing to be endorsed by Gray's Disposal must have just fallen of the turnip truck."

Gene TeSelle, a regular letter writer, neighborhood leader and political activist, writes that Nashville does not need a billionaire mayor and that the conventional wisdom is that Freeman can pay any amount of money needed to get elected and, "his outbidding of Charles Robert Bone for campaign signs on trash trucks is and early, if bizarre, proof of it." He goes on to say that with Freeman's vast interest in development that Freeman's candidacy looks like a conflict of interest. "We need a mayor who thinks in terms of the people and their neighborhood," says TeSelle, "not just money and power."

Evan Davis writes that he thinks all politicians should be required to advertise exclusively on garbage trucks  as it would be first step toward political truth in advertising. They should also be allowed to advertise on septic tank pump-out trucks, he says.

One never knows if letters to the editor reflect what the public is thinking are what the newspaper wants to highlight.  Also, it is worth noting that two of the letters were from people who do not even life in Nashville and cannot vote in our mayor elections. Still, I suspect that a lot of people feel the way these letter writers do. I think Freeman has already gotten more bad publicity from the trash truck deal than the benefit of the name recognition he will get from having his signs on Gray's trucks. The Freeman garbage truck deal does stink.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Carol Swain: Political correctness trumped safety in police shooting

Excerpts from an editorial by Carol Swain appearing in  The Tennessean 12-31-2014, Political correctness trumped safety in police shooting:

Carol Swain
Why don't police officers use Tasers rather than guns to subdue suspects? .....On Sunday, Dec. 13, Nashvillians learned that Tasers are not a reliable means of stopping a determined suspect, and their failure can place police and civilians at risk.

There is a stench of politics in how the entire situation was handled.  The officers knew they were dealing with a suspect who reportedly had a gun and a criminal background. Yet, they departed from their training and protocol apparently to avoid the repercussions that would likely follow a police shooting of a young black male, even an armed one.

Clearly, we don't want police officers abusing citizens. However, they do have a dangerous job to perform, and that job is hampered if political correctness and fear of the community overrides good judgment.

Dr. Swain is a professor of political science and Law at Vanderbilt University.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Obamacare employer mandate kicks in Jan. 1. Start reporting.

Reposted from Medibid - The President’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate is about over, and businesses with 50 or more full-time employees will have to start filing detailed reports with the IRS in January 2015, notes the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). “Full time” means 30 hours or more.

Congressman Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) called attention to this during a conference call co-sponsored by the Galen Institute.

Penalties don’t kick in until next year, but the data collection requirements are huge and complex. Burgess said that professional assistance is likely needed.

For each worker, the employer must report the number of hours worked, as well as health insurance coverage.

“The pain from the Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) has only just begun,” states AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. “Higher insurance premiums, penalties for not satisfying ObamaCare mandates, and data collection expenses are unaffordable for many businesses.”

Costs are passed along to workers, who may lose their job altogether or be forced to work at two part-time jobs, as well as to customers. Many businesses will decide not to expand, or could fold, she noted.

“The Congressional Budget Office doesn’t count such costs to Americans.”

The pending King v. Burwell case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court could rule that ACA means what it says about subsidies flowing only through State-established Exchanges, is the source of much uncertainty, Orient reports. If that is the decision, States that declined to set up an Exchange could be under a lot of pressure.

“People need to remember that those subsidies are the trigger for the employer mandate’s penalties,” Orient said. “There is no free money. Some get other taxpayers to help pay their premiums; others may lose their job.”

AAPS opposed the enactment of ACA upon reading what is in it, and favors its repeal.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to preserve private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, December 29, 2014

Can banks individually create money out of nothing? — The theories and the empirical evidence.

This is will not interest most people so ignore this post if it does not interest you.  From time to time, I have had conversations with some people, usually Ron Paul supporters or other libertarians, who assert that the money supply only grows when the government "prints" new money which in reality is the Federal Reserve purchasing government bonds. I have had this same discussion several time at Liberty on the Rocks.

I argue that fractional reserve banking creates money out of thin air and we would have a growth in the money supply without the Federal Reserve.  While the Federal Reserve purchasing government bonds does created money and is a problem, the Federal Reserve serves a good function by setting reserve requirements for banks and somewhat regulates the amount of money created by the private sector. I contend more money is created by the private sector than the public sector and that fractional reserve banking is as old as is the practice of people depositing their money with a trusted someone for safe keeping.  The only way to keep the money supply from growing is to forbid fractional reserve banking which does not seem like a very libertarian thing to do.

In any event, I contend that a growth in the money supply is not a bad things as long as it does not grow faster than the supply of goods and services and without growth in the money supply there would not be growth in the economy. Of course, growth in the money supply does hurt savers but most savers are investors and if one's saving is also growing at the rate of the increase in the money supply then one is not harmed by an increase in the money supply.

Most people will find this a pretty boring but if you are still in denial that fractional reserve banking is the way most money is created, please read this report: Can banks individually create money out of nothing? — The theories and the empirical evidence

Neither I nor the people I argue with are economist so if there is an economist reading this who would like to weigh in, I would welcome your input. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Vocal gun control advocate confirmed as Surgeon General. Alexander and Corker voted "no."

Vivek Hallegere Murthy, a British born Indian-American from Massachusetts, was confirmed by the Senate to be Surgeon General of the United States for a term of four years. After the vote being delayed for a year, the vote occurred on Monday December 15th.  Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid had delayed  the confirmation vote for fear that a vote in favor of Mr. Murthy would hurt Democrats seeking reelection in November.  Apparently, Sen. Ted Cruz's move to force members to work all day Saturday December 13th allowed Senator Reid to expedite Murthy's nomination and 23 others before recessing for the rest of the year.  Had the Senate recessed without considering this nomination, he would not have been confirmed in the new Republican controlled Senate.

Only one Republican, Mark Kirk of Illinois, voted for the confirmation. Three Democrats, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, opposed the confirmation.

Dr. Murthy has limited medical experience and that was sited by some who opposed his nomination. Lamar Alexander said, “Unfortunately, Dr. Murthy’s experience does not demonstrate the leadership and knowledge of public health that we expect from our surgeons general.”

Murthy is only 36 years old and has not distinguished himself as a doctor.  However, he has been a stanch supporter of President Obama and is pro-abortion rights and a vocal opponent of gun rights. In 2008 he founded the group “Doctors for Obama” to help elect the president and after Obama’s election, he renamed the group to “Doctors for America.”  The group has a membership of 16,000 with members in all 50 states. This group supported Obamacare. Murthy has taken the view that gun violence is a public health issue and he has advocated various gun control measures. The NRA opposed his confirmation.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Jerry Maynard is not running for Mayor

Last night on This Week with Bob Mueller, Councilman Jerry Maynard announced he would not be running for Mayor of Nashville.  Maynard is a term-limited Councilman-at-large, a pastor, an author, an attorney, and a self-employed government relations consultant.

In announcing his decision not to run, he sited as his reason the health of his mother who is 70 years old and battling cancer.  For a long time it was assumed Maynard would be a candidate.  With several candidates in the race with deep pockets who can self-fund their own race or the ability to raise large sums of money, it is doubtful Maynard could have been elected Mayor. However, it is assumed he would have overwhelmingly carried the Black vote. With five viable white candidates splitting the non-Black vote, Maynard could have possibly made the runoff.   At this time there is not another Black candidate for Mayor. It is unsure which candidate will benefit most from Maynard's withdrawal.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories