Friday, January 16, 2015

Kelsey files bill to block state health exchange

The Tennessean, Jan. 15, 2015 - Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, and Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, have filed legislation that would block the creation of a state health exchange in the event a federal court rules that tax credits under the Affordable Care Act are available only on state exchanges.

Senate Bill 72 is designed to prevent “Tennessee from operating any ObamaCare exchanges in the future,” Kelsey said in a statement.

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in King vs. Burwell — a case thatchallengesthe use of tax subsidies on the federal exchange under the ACA — on March 4.

The central question in the case is whether health insurance on federal or state exchanges is eligible for tax incentives or whether tax incentives — which make insurance affordable for about 121,000 people in Tennessee — are only available on state exchanges. (link) (Subscription)

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Students to protest Carol Swain's op-Ed on Islam

Carol Swain
Vanderbilt Hustler, Jan. 16, 2015- Carol Swain, Vanderbilt professor of law and political science, published an op-ed in The Tennessean entitled “Charlie Hebdo attacks prove critics were right about Islam” on Jan. 15. The piece was a response to the Jan. 7 attack by two gunmen on the offices of a French satirical magazine in Paris. The magazine, Charlie Hebdo, had previously published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

In light of the attack, Swain wrote that “Islam is not like other religions in the United States, that it poses an absolute danger to us and our children unless it is monitored better than it has been under the Obama administration.”
......In response to Swain’s editorial, Yamin set up a an event on Facebook for a “Campus-Wide Protest Against Hate Speech Published in the Tennessean.” The protest is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. on Library Lawn. (link)
Comment: The way to end a debate and silence your opponents on an American college campus is to call comments with which you disagree, "hate speech."   

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Rand Paul on Immigration: 'The 11 Million Are Never Going Home'.

HERSHEY, Penn. — In New Hampshire yesterday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told a group of supportive Republican legislators that the country needed some immigration fixes. A few hours later, I asked whether, if elected president, Paul would move to overturn the Obama-era executive orders that have essentially legalized millions of immigrants.

"I’ve always been of the opinion that we should do things the proper way," Paul said. "I am in favor of doing immigration reform, but it should be done in the proper fashion." He cited the the need to tighten border security before attempting anything else, but added that "the 11 million, I think, are never going home, don’t need to be sent home, and I would incorporate them into our society by giving them work visas and making them taxpayers." (link)

Comment:  It is good to hear someone speak the truth. Rounding up and deporting ll million people is simply never going to happen. I agree they should not have came here illegally but they are here and we are not going to send them back. It would be a an almost impossible task and a human rights nightmare. It would be viewed as ethnic cleansing. We would have to build large concentration camps to hold them while awaiting deportation.  The reintroduction of 11 million Americanized immigrants back to their country of origin might destabilize the country to which they return. Mexico has sufficient problems already. Do we want a disestablished Mexico on our southern boarder?  Do we want to break up families? To forcibly deport 11 million people would be pure evil.

I adamantly oppose President Obama's executive action on immigration, but more so because it was an unconstitutional action rather than the actual merits of the action the President took. To those who rail against amnesty, what we have now is de facto amnesty. Doing nothing is as much "amnesty" as passing a law that recognizes they are here and registers them and allows them to work legally and pay taxes instead of being here and working illegally and not paying taxes.

What I think we should do is: (1) Secure the border- build a big fence and militarize the border.  We can never make it absolutely leak proof but we could cut the illegal flow to a trickle. I do not believe it cannot be done. (2) Fix our messed up immigration policy that does not involve illegal border crossings. People come to America for an education and want to stay and we send them back from where they came. Highly educated, motivated foreigners are an asset. Liberalize immigration policy for those who want to stay in America and are desirable. We could benefit from some other country's brain drain. (3) Fix the visa system. Many illegals came as tourist and never left. UPS almost never loses a package, credit cards work, other complicated things work.  Surely we can track visitors who come to this country and kick them out if they overstay their visa. (4) Pass the immigration bill that has already passed the Senate which requires illegals to pay a penalty and register.

Immigration reform does not have to be comprehensive. We can do it piecemeal. We can now fix the visa problem and immigration policy.  After we are convinced the border is secure, then we can deal with the 11 million who are already here.  In the meantime what we now have is as much "amnesty" as is President Obama's deferred deportation. Those who think we are going to deport 11 million people are living in a dream world.

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There will be a Stop Obamacare in Tennessee rally, Monday Jan. 26th, in Hendersonville, Hosted by Americans for Prosperity - Tennessee. For more information, follow this link

URGENT --- The TN legislature is about to VOTE YES or NO on Obamacare in TN. Join us, and STOP Obamacare in TN.
Insure Tennessee is an expansion of Medicaid and Obamacare in Tennessee. It's time to stand up and make it clear that Tennessee doesn't want further intrusion by the Federal government into our medical care. 
Meet the AFP team over food and drinks, and do your part STOP Obamacare in TN.

Comment: I am posting this announcement as a public service. Posting of an announcement of something I think may interest readers of this blog does not constitute an endorsement. While I usually agree with my friends at Americans for Prosperity and my friends at the Beacon Center who also are opposed to the Insure Tennessee plan, I am still undecided. I think the Haslam plan has merit and is certainly preferable to regular Medicare expansion. If charity clinics are going to close under Obamacare and rural hospitals will close due to loss of funds for uncompensated care, then I think the Insure Tennessee should be approved. If not, then I do not think it should be approved. I am not ready to join a rally to stop Insure Tennessee, but am withholding judgment and when I find time, I will become better informed. I hope our elected representatives hold serious and in-depth hearing and soberly deliberate before reaching a decision.

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Strong and Free fined $5000 but we still do not know the source of the money.

You may recall in the last election that a mystery group campaigned against certain Republicans seeking spots on the Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee. That group went by the name Strong and Free. It is alleged they campaigned against tea party leaning Republicans. One of those they campaigned against was Mark Winslow.

Marks Winslow is a current member of the State Executive Committee and a former employee of the  Tennessee Republican Party.  As a former employee of the party, he sued the State Party when he lost his job. Winslow in the last election worked to to elect Democrat Melissa Blackburn as a Davidson County judge. The Republican candidate in that race was Marian Fodyce.  Winslow served as campaign manager of the Blackburn campaign.  Blackburn won that campaign, defeating a better-qualified Republican and Winslow went on to work for the Democrat Judge. Winslow is still working to elect Democrats to public office.

I don't know if Strong and Free opposed Winslow's election to the State Executive Committee because he was considered a tea party leaning Republican or because he was a turncoat Republican who works to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans. (link) (link) (link)

Yesterday Strong and Free was fined $5000 by State election officials for failure to disclose contributions to the PAC and expenditures. Strong and Free PAC has now filed a report but we are still in the dark about the source of its money. It listed the source of its contributions of $39,000 as coming from a non-profit corporation of the same name.

Mark Winslow is not satisfied. He dismissed the $5,000 fine as too small to have an impact. “Any group that goes to such lengths to conceal its donors, activities and intent will consider a $5,000 fine to be nothing more than the cost of doing business,” he is quoted in The Tennessean as saying. “Average Tennesseans who wish to be involved in the political process and can’t financially compete with secretive PACs dumping thousands of dollars to buy influence are the losers in this ruling. The commission sided with wealthy interests over truthful politics.”

I agree with Winslow that PACs should not be allowed to play slight of hand to hide the source of campaign contributions. Maybe laws need to be changed so PACs really have to disclose the source of their funding. If one can create a non-profit entity to give money to the PAC, then the disclosure of the source of the PAC's contributions is meaningless. I don't know that $5,000 is an insignificant fine, however, for a first offense by a PAC. The amount of the fine may not be the problems but campaign finance laws that allow the source of contributions to remain hidden.

I would think that with someone with time to do it one could have dug deeper and  told us who the principals are of  Strong and Free, the non-profit corporation.  A good newspaper would have dug deeper and told us more about Strong and Free. Unfortunately, The Tennessean does very little in-depth reporting or we would know more. With limited time, I can't do it myself but if anyone can find out who is on the board of Strong and Free, the non-profit and send me the documentation, I will report on it and list the names.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Liberty on the Rocks Thursday, January 15th 2015

Who: A group of people, numbering anywhere between 8 and 25, who love liberty and who range in age from 18 to 80, and who vary in occupation from students to laborers to attorney's and businessmen, who are generally labeled "right of center" and may call themselves, libertarian, tea party, Republican, conservative, constitutionalists, Objectivist, and maybe an occasional anarcho-capitalist.

What: Liberty on the Rocks which is a get-together that involves eating and drinking and talking and respectfully disagreeing and exchanging of ideas usually about some political topic (but not always) which could be the news of the day, or foreign policy, or the monetary system, or the roll of the family and gay marriage, or legalization of drugs or prostitution, or privacy and the NSA, or the welfare state, or education reform, or criminal justice and prison reform, or the death penalty, or immigration policy, or morality, or just whatever topic one brings up. There is no program.

When: Thursday, Thursday, January 15, 2015 5:30 PM until everyone leaves which usually people start leaving about 9:30, but sometime later but you can come as late or leave as early as you please.  

Where: Mafiaoza's on the patio, 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN.

Why: For the enjoyment of good conversation with like-minded people.

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What happend at the School Board Meeting of 1/13/15? Board Ok's KIPP Conversion of Kirkpatrick. Suprise, surprise, Amy Fogge votes "no."

Due to work and other things that interfere with blogging, I have determined that I cannot continue doing a play-by-play of Metro School Board meeting. I hope someone is watching however. There is not much that the city of Nashville does that is as important as educating our children and the schools spend the bulk of our local tax dollars.

With The Tennessean shrinking their news hole and staff and focusing more on what their polls tell them people want to read about, the Tennessean is becoming more like a gossipy tabloid than a city newspaper.  I am not even sure they cover School Board meetings anymore. Fortunately, The Nashville Scene does cover school board meeting. They at lease tell you the most important thing that happened at a school board meeting. Below is a link to the Scene story of the school board meeting of 1/13/2015.

If you want to keep informed about what is happening at the school board you are almost on your own. To watch the school board meeting in less time, you can watch it in time-and-a-half or double time and not lose much content. If your computer does not automatically give you that option, follow this link and click "HTML5 player." If you find something worth watching, please post a comment and summarize it and give a timestamp video location.

The School Board produces great school board meeting agendas. You can get your copy of the 222- page agenda of this meeting at this location: Agenda.

The Nashville Scene, By Andrea Zelinski , Wed. Jul. 14, 2015 - After months of the district wringing its hands over which school it should hand over to an area charter, the Metro Nashville School Board easily handed over the keys for Kirkpatrick Elementary to KIPP schools on Tuesday.

The board voted 7-1 to approve the conversion, transitioning management of the kindergarten and first grades to the charter school beginning in the 2015-16 school year and adding a grade annually through fourth grade.

....The only board member to vote against the conversion plan was Amy Frogge....

School board members also hired a company to help the district assess what capacity it has to turn its own low-performing schools around, heard a proposal to expand community services to 16 more schools — including eight priority schools — and were put on notice that one board member wants to put a moratorium on all new schools until the district devises a way to close a projected $22 million budget hole.

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House votes to Defund Obama's amnesty. See how they voted.

Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the funding for The Department of Homeland Security by a vote of 236 to 191. Included in the bill was a prohibition against using any of the funding to fund amnesty. Specifically, the bill prohibited funds being used for the Obama Executive order called the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program (DAPA) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

Republicans supported the Homeland Security appropriations bill by a vote of 234 for and 10 opposed. Democrats opposed the bill two in favor, 181 opposed and five abstentions.

Of the two Democrats voting with Republicans not to fund Obama's amnesty, neither one of them were Jim Cooper. Of the five Democrats who abstained, none of them were Jim Cooper. Of the ten Republicans who voted with the Democrats, none of them were members of the Tennessee delegation.

Prior to the final vote, there were amendments to add to the appropriations bill the prohibitions on DAPA program and the the DACA program. Unfortunately, I cannot determine which amendment accomplished what or how they voted.  If anyone can give me guidance of how to determine that, please educate me. Rep. Marsha Blackburn was the sponsor of the  DACA program prohibition.  To see more about how members of Congress voted follow this link.

Now the bill goes to the Senate where it will likely pass. Surely enough Republican senators would not defect to amend out the prohibitions on funding of DAPA and DACA. President Obama can veto the appropriations bill but would be vetoing the entire Department of Homeland Security appropriations. It looks like Obama's amnesty can be stopped.

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Look who is running for Mayor and Council. (update #4)

This is my fourth update. Changes from the previous update are underlined.

"(T)" means the candidate has filed a treasurer's form. Candidates are not permitted to begin raising money until this form is filed.

These are the people running for Mayor or assumed to be running for Mayor:

  • Megan Barry, progressive Council-member-at-large. (T) link
  • Charles Robert Bone, an attorney (T) link
  • Linda Rebrovick, Consensus Point president and CEO. A Republican. (T) link
  • Kenneth Eaton, owner of Eaton's Used Cars and other business interest. He is a Republican. (T) link
  • Jeremy Kane, CEO and President of Lead Academy (T) link
  • David Fox, a former Tennessean business reporter, former Titan Advisor, former school board member. He is assumed to be a Republican and has a Republican campaign team. (T) link. link
  • David Freeman, local businessman and major fund raiser for the Democratic party.(T) 
 These are people who were once thought to be running for Mayor or who some people hoped would run, but who are not: 
Tim Garrett
  • Howard Gentry, former Vice Mayor, former candidate for Mayor who came close, African-American, husband of Sharon Gentry, chairman of the School Board. Howard Gentry was in the list above, but if by this time he has not takeen any action to indicate he is running, I think it is safe to assume he is not.
  • Daron Hall, the Sheriff
  • William F. Carpenter III, Chairman and CEO of LifePoint Hospitals. (link)
  • Jerry Maynard, currently a Councilman-at-large, Democrat, African-American. On 12/26/2014 on the Bob Muller program, Maynard announced he would not be running for Mayor.
  • Ronnie Stein, currently a Councilman-at-large, a Democrat. I never heard that Stein was running but assumed he had ambitions to advance a political career and expected him to run. At this point he has not said he was but has not said he is not running. If he has not declared by this time, we can assume he is not a candidate.
  • Lee Beaman, Owner of Beaman automotive companies and other business interest. Republican. 
  • Charlie Tygard, currently a term-limited Councilman-at-large. He knows Metro Government and he is fiscally conservative. He is a Republican.
  • Tim Garrett was mentioned as a candidate for Mayor but has said he had decided to pursue the office of Vice Mayor.
  • Emily Evans was mentioned as a mayoral candidate but has said "my final campaign will be dedicated not to me but to what I think is an important change to the Metro Charter." She is a term-limited district Councilman and is fiscally conservative.
This is who is running for Vice Mayor:
  • Tim Garrett, Councilman-at-large and former state representative. He is in the funeral home business. I know he is a Democrat, but he is a reasonable, fiscally conservative Democrat and a very nice guy with a depth of knowledge about Nashville. The job of Vice Mayor is to conduct Council meetings and to appoint the members of Council to committees. It is a fine balance between running efficient meetings and stifling debate. I think Garrett will strike the right balance. I think he will be fair and thoughtful in making committee assignments. I know at this point, not knowing who else is running it may be early to make an endorsement but I would discourage anyone else from entering the race. Tim Garrett would make a great Vice Mayor. (T) link
  • David Briley, grandson of former Mayor Beverly Briley, an attorney with Bone McAllester
    Ken Jakes
    Norton, former candidate for mayor. (T) link
These are people who have said they are running for Council-at-large or assumed to be running: 
  • Ken Jakes, he owns a produce company and is a citizen activist who has often exposed government waste and corruption.  He has previously sought the position, garnering the most votes other than the five incumbents. (T) link
  • Robert Duvall, currently a district councilman, term limited out, former unsuccessful candidate for the State House, and current Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party.
  • Duane Dominy, currently a district councilman, term limited out, former unsuccessful
    Robert Duvall
    candidate for the State House.  He is a good Republican and lead the fight to save the fairgrounds. 
  •  Karen Bennett, currently represents a Council District and is a member of the Republican Party State Executive Committee
  • Eugene Batsuk. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Davidson County Democrat Party. (T) (link)
  •  Don Majors, who has been working in constituent services for Rep. Jim Cooper, is leaving that position to run for council. He previously represented the Maplewood area in the 90s and early aughts. (T)
  •  Renard Francois. He is an attorney, he serves on Metropolitan Social Services Commission and he is a previous candidate for Council-at-large. He is African-American. I have heard that he has moved out of state and if that is true, then we can assume he is not running. (T) link
  • Walter Hunt. He is currently serving as the Councilman from District 3, he is a retired substitute teacher and served in a high level  capacity in the Boner administration and is a
    Duane Dominy
    member of the Davidson County Democratic Party executive committee. He is African-American. (T).
  •  John Lasiter. He previously served in the Council represented District 18 in 2007. He is openly gay. (T) link, linklink
  •  Lonnell Mathews, Jr., currently representing District 1 and termed out. He is African American (T)
  • Jim Shulman. (T)
These are the people who are running for a District council seats or are rumored to be running for District Council seats:
  • Ruby Baker, District 1, (T) 
  • Lioniel Green, District 1, (T) 
  • Carrie Searcy, District 2 (T) 
  • Bobby Stockard, District 2 (T) 
  • Melvin Black, (District 2 (T) 
  • Joseph Zerbee, District 5 (T) 
  • Stephen Clements, District 7, a Republican who heads the Caffeinated Conservatives group, works for the State of Tennessee, former Army officer, active in Madison Now and other civic affairs. (T)
  • Nancy VanReece, District 8, (T) 
  • William Cyril Guthoerl, District 11. The incumbent is attorney Larry Hagar who was elected to this seat in a special election in August 2014. In a three man race Hagar won 57% of vote and Guthoerl won 25% of the vote. It will be difficult to unseat an incumbent unless he does something to disappoint a lot of people. I supported Guthoerl in two previous races, however, I am going to wait to see how Hagar does before endorsing in the 11th. So far, on the few controversial votes Hager has voted the right way. Gutherl has not yet appointed a Treasure so he is probably not running. 
  • Kevin Rhoten, District 14, a former Tennessee state attorney and legislative liaison in Gov. Pill Bredesen's administration. (T) 
  • Jim Garrett in District 15. (not announced) He has not yet appointed a treasure. 
  • Jeff Syracuse in District 15. (T) (link
  • Larry Weakley, District 17 (T) 
  • Colby Sledge, District 17, a community activist, public relations professional with McNeely,
    Jim Roberts
    Piggott and Fox and former employee of the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus. (T) 
  • Paula Foster, District 17 (T) 
  • Freddie O'Connell, District 19, President of the Salemtown Neighborhood Association, board member of Walk Bike Nashville. (T) 
  • Brian Mason, District 19, He is, a Republican and an international business consultant. He recently ran for the State Legislature
  • Jim Roberts, District 23, former Republican candidate for Chancery Court Judge.(link
  • Allen Grant, District 24 (T) 
  • Kathleen Murphy, District 24. She is a government lobbyist and active in Democrat Party politics. (T)
  • Jan Stinston, District 25 (T) 
  • Russ Pulley, District 25 (T) 
  • Melissa Smithson, District 28 (link) (T) 
  • Williams Kissie, District 32 (T)
  • Angie Henderson, District 34 (T)
  • Lonnie Spivak, District 35, a Republican and a former Republican primary candidate for the 5th
    Lonnie Spivak
    Congressional district. Lonnie has appointed a treasurer. (T)
  • Dave Rosenberg, District 35, a supporter of State Rep. and Council member Bo Mitchel and a supporter of School Board member Amy Frogge. Those are two good reasons to vote against him. He has several Bellvue community involvements. (link) (T) 

Italics indicate termed limited.
Who is

Karl Dean
Vice-mayor and President

Megan Barry
Ronnie Stein
Tim Garrett
Charlie Tygard
Jerry Maynard

Lonnell Mathews, Jr.
Frank Harrison
Walter hunt
Brady Banks

Scott Davis

Peter Westerholm
Anthony Davis

Karen Bennett
Bill  Pridemore

Doug Pardue

Larry Hager

Steve Glover

Josh Stites

Bruce Stanley
Phil Claiborne
Tony Tenpenny

Sandra Moore
Burkley Allen
Erica Gilmore
Buddy Baker
Edith Lancaster
Shreri Weiner
Emily Evans
Jason Holleman
Sean McGuire
Chris Harmon

Davette Blalock
Duane A. Dominy
Karen Y. Johnson

Jason Potts

Fabian Bedne
Jacobia Dowell

Robert Duvall
Carter Todd
Bo Mitchell

This is a work in progress and I will be updating from time to time when new information becomes available. There are probably some candidates for Mayor or the Metro Council that I inadvertently left off of this list.  If there is an obvious candidate I failed to add to this list, please let me know. 

If you are a candidate, please be sure to send me your announcements and press releases. and website links. 

Readers of this blog should not assume that because I post news of a campaign event or a press release from a candidate, that that constitutes an endorsement of that candidate. If I endorse someone, I will make it clear. 

My endorsements are highlighted in red. I may not make an endorsement in every race, as I may not have enough information to make an informed decision in each race. For Mayor and Councilman-at-large races, I want to know who all is running before I make a decision of who I am supporting. Winnability is a factor in who I support as well as experience and philosophy of government. 

When it comes to recommendations for Councilmen-at-large, while one may vote for up to five candidates to fill five slots, I often vote for only one candidate rather than dilute my vote. I would find it difficult not to vote for Duvall or Dominy if they run however, so I am endorsing Jakes, Duvall and Dominy.  I am holding off on endorsing other candidates until I see the full list of who is running and look at some data to see who can mount a serious challenge and some other factors. Any candidate who gets 20% of the vote for a Council-at-large seat gets elected without a runoff and those top vote getters who get less than 20% will face a runoff.

Important Dates:
February 2nd is the filing deadline for those who have appointed a treasurer by January 15, 2015.
February 20th  is the date candidates may pick up qualifying petitions.
August 2015 is the election.   

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