Friday, June 26, 2015

What people are saying about the Supreme Court same-sex Marriage ruling. (update 4, Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black)

Rep. Diane Black
Representative Diane Black:
With the drop of a gavel, five Supreme Court justices have silenced the voices of thousands of Tennesseans. I have always believed that marriage is a sacred promise between man, woman, and God. I respect that others may disagree and I believe that we should encourage a thoughtful, open dialogue about this issue in the individual states – not attempt to cut off debate by imposing a sweeping, fixed interpretation of marriage nationwide. Sadly, that is exactly what the court has done.

Tennesseans are a compassionate people, and we should be able to make laws that match our values on issues of marriage and family, while respecting the dignity of those with whom we may disagree. As we look ahead to implementation of this ruling, we must now ensure that religious freedom is not further eroded and that the conscience rights of our clergy and faith-based wedding officiants are protected.

Marsha Blackburn:
Today's Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is -- a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Gov. Bill Haslam: 
The people of Tennessee have recently voted clearly on this issue. The Supreme Court has overturned that vote. We will comply with the decision and will ensure that our departments are able to do so as quickly as possible.

David Fowler, former State senator and President of The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT):
Today a handful of Americans on the Court have stripped the people of the freedom to democratically address the meaning and role of society’s most fundamental institution, marriage. The majority have arrogantly said they are not only smarter than the 50 million Americans who have voted to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but also millions of human beings over thousands of years across the entire globe.

As with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the Court has taken sides on a domestic policy not addressed in our Constitution and told believers in natural marriage that their voice is not allowed. But when people begin to experience the effects of this ruling in ways they never envisioned, the Court may find that it has only awakened a slumbering giant.

Bill Freeman
Bill Freeman, Nashville Mayoral candidate:
Today is a historic day in our country and I am very pleased the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in every state, including Tennessee. Nashville is a vibrant city of inclusion that supports equality and dignity for ALL its residents. Now the law reflects that sentiment and I am proud of our country.

Jeremy Kane, Nashville Mayoral Candidate:
This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that all loving couples deserve marriage equality. I look
forward to celebrating our progress with everyone at the Nashville Pride festival this weekend. Love conquers all.
Jeremy Kane's tweet: Children like my three-year-old daughter Wells won’t remember a time without marriage equality and that’s beautiful. #SCOTUSmarriage.

Ryan Haynes, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman: 
Tennesseans overwhelmingly voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman. If a change was to be made, it should have been allowed to play out through the democratic process but, unfortunately, today’s judicial activism short-circuits that ability. While this has long been pushed by the Democrats' agenda, the issue is far from settled.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey:
The Supreme Court today issued an unfortunate and fundamentally wrong opinion. In 2006, not even a decade ago, over 80% of Tennessee voters issued a strong mandate in favor of traditional marriage. Today, the Supreme Court declared that mandate null and void.

While the Supreme Court did not stand up for traditional marriage, this decision does not end the institution. The federal government may have the ability to force Tennessee to recognize same-sex unions but it cannot and will not change the hearts and minds of conservatives and traditionalists in Tennessee and elsewhere.

In the communities and churches across this state, the true definition of marriage, a union of one man and one woman, still lives and breathes. It is an eternal truth that no law or government can truly alter.

Congressman Jim Cooper:
Love and equality win.  I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history.

Mayor Karl Dean:
I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in Tennessee. I joined Mayors for the Freedom to Marry last year because I believe all people should be treated fairly and equally and that everyone’s individual dignity should be respected. Welcoming and supporting people of all backgrounds and beliefs make our city stronger.

When asked if he would be preforming a same-sex marriage at the Courthouse. Dean said, "As sort of a matter of policy, I have not presided over any marriages since I’ve been mayor.  I think I’ve been busy enough without getting involved in that."

Megan Barry
Megan Barry, Candidate for Mayor and currently an at-large member of Metro Council: 
Words cannot express the joy I have for so many of my gay and lesbian friends and family who now have the freedom to marry whomever they love. I am confident that Obergefell v. Hodges will stand the test of time as a Supreme Court decision which fundamentally strengthened the United States of America – bringing us ever closer to the dream of all men and women being created equal under the eyes of the law. I want to thank Abby Rubenfeld and Bill Harbison for fighting on behalf of marriage equality and helping to make marriage equality a reality in Tennessee.”

The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has effectively overturned laws across the country designed to block same-sex couples from enjoying the freedom to marry. Barry is committed to seeing Davidson County implement the court’s decision as quickly as possible, and has already agreed to officiate the ceremony of same-sex couples wishing to exercise their rights.

We have worked hard to make Nashville a warm and welcoming place to all who enter – no matter where you were born, no matter how you got here, and certainly no matter whom you love,” said Barry. “Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, I hope that the State of Tennessee will fully join the City of Nashville in embracing equality by removing any last vestiges of discrimination that still exist in our laws.

Linda Rebrovick
Linda Rebrovick, candidate for Mayor Tweets: 
Overjoyed @ today's ruling. Couldn’t be happier to see that marriage equality is a reality. Look forward to friends' and families' weddings!

My Statement (Rod Williams):
From the dawn of time until now, marriage has been a union of male and female. The family is the essential building block of society.  This ruling will further undermine an institution that has already been severely weakened.  This ruling will have far reaching implications beyond the damage it does to the institution of marriage and family.  This ruling will lead to challenges to the tax exempt status of churches and colleges and will change what is taught in public schools. It is a blow to religious liberty. As Merle Haggard sang in a song, "We are rolling down hill, like snowball heading for hell."

My additional thoughts (Rod Williams): Instead of meekly complying, maybe the State of  Tennessee should simply suspend the function of registering marriages. Or, maybe we should register any two or more people and let them pay a marriage registration fee and submit a signed affidavit they they are married, but we simply do not verify any facts. If Micky Mouse and Donald Duck get married, and pay the license fee then their marriage is registered in the state of Tennessee. If three people want to register a marriage; register it.  If a man wants to marry is mother; register it.  If a women wants to marry her dog; register it.

Check back for updates. 

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What people are saying about the Supreme Court Obamacare King v. Burwell ruling.(update)

Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Antonin Scalia (reposted from Heritage Foundation):

Justice Antonin Scalia is known for his sharp wit and even sharper pen. He pulled no punches in his dissent today from the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell allowing the Obama administration to allow Obamacare subsidies to flow through the federal exchange.
Here are nine highlights:

1. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare … [T]his Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years … And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

2. “This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it.”

3. “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’”

4. “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”

5. “The Court interprets §36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the ‘most natural sense’ of the phrase ‘Exchange established by the State’ is an Exchange established by a State. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that ‘it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)’”

6. “Perhaps sensing the dismal failure of its efforts to show that ‘established by the State’ means ‘established by the State or the Federal Government,’ the Court tries to palm off the pertinent statutory phrase as “inartful drafting.’ This Court, however, has no free-floating power ‘to rescue Congress from its drafting errors.’”

7. “The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress ‘[a]ll legislative Powers’ enumerated in the Constitution. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them.”

8. “More importantly, the Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men. That means we are governed by the terms of our laws, not by the unenacted will of our lawmakers. ‘If Congress enacted into law something different from what it intended, then it should amend the statute to conform to its intent.’ In the meantime, this Court ‘has no roving license … to disregard clear language simply on the view that … Congress ‘must have intended’ something broader.”

9. “Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it, the Court should have left it to Congress to decide what to do about the Act’s limitation of tax credits to state Exchanges.”

Representative John Ray Clemmons (State rep, District 55):
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on King v. Burwell, and budget deficit arguments, as well as other reasons for opposition, have proven baseless. No more excuses - we must act now on Insure Tennessee. Further delay is harmful and inexcusable. While the Governor and the majority in the state legislature sit on their hands quixotically awaiting political winds to change, hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans continue to needlessly suffer without access to affordable healthcare.

Thousands of Tennessee families sit around their dinner tables praying this week's paycheck will not be their last. Dozens of hospitals across the state remain in budgetary limbo doing whatever it takes to keep their doors open. As elected officials, we have a duty to serve all the people of Tennessee. Let us not forget that this is a duty each of us voluntarily placed upon our own shoulders. The inexcusable failure to act immediately and effectively on this issue constitutes a breach of our public duty, and those responsible for this failure should be held accountable.
Rep. Diane Black

Representative Diane Black
Today’s irresponsible Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is a fundamentally broken law that has failed to deliver on its most basic promises.  I am deeply disappointed that the court shirked its duty as a coequal branch of government by not acting to hold this President accountable for following his own laws, but my resolve to erase Obamacare remains stronger than ever. After today, one thing is certain: if this disastrous law is to be stopped, it will require strong leadership from Congress. We as conservatives must redouble our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is what voted for at the ballot box last November and that is what they expect from us today.

Representative Marsha Blackman:
While today's Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell is extremely disappointing, it does not change the fact that Obamacare is broken and was passed based on a series of deliberately misleading promises. The president’s health care law has led to higher costs with even higher costs coming. The law has failed to provide affordable healthcare to Americans. It is nothing more than a broken promise - an insurance card but not actual health care. The law is fundamentally flawed, and the court’s decision does not change our resolve to repeal it and replace it with patient-centered solutions that will increase access to affordable healthcare for all Americans. Much like TennCare, Obamacare will have to be fixed by the next Administration.

Sen. Lamar Alexander
Senator Lamar Alexander: 
It’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court didn’t read the law the way that Congress wrote it. The 36 percent increase in some individual health care rates announced recently should remind Tennesseans that Obamacare was an historic mistake. It gave Americans higher health care costs while reducing our choices of health plans, doctors and hospitals. Republicans are ready to reduce the cost of health care so more people can afford it, put patients back in charge, and restore freedom and choice to the health care market.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey
The Supreme Court today provided mere short-term relief to a long-term problem. While the Supreme Court decision will not result in millions losing their health coverage immediately, it is clear to everyone that deep and fundamental flaws in the law remain. I look forward to 2016 and electing a president who can appropriately assess the damage and chart a course away from Obamacare.

Senator Bob Corker
Senator Bob Corker:
Today’s ruling affirms that it is up to Congress to come together around a responsible solution that provides relief from the damaging effects of the president’s health care law, including policies to provide far greater choice in the marketplace so affordable plans that meet the actual needs of Tennesseans can openly and effectively compete for their business.

Congressman Jim Cooper:
Press release- U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today praised the Supreme Court for preserving federal subsidies that help an estimated 6.4 million Americans – including nearly 200,000 Tennesseans – pay for health insurance. Cooper celebrated the ruling’s implications not only for those with federal subsidies, but also the insurance market and the preservation of benefits in the Affordable Care Act. For instance, health care insurers can no longer deny people for pre-existing conditions, and young adults can stay on a parent’s insurance plan until they turn 26.

Cooper also noted that the ruling removes a stated obstacle for passing Insure Tennessee. “Tennessee legislators said they were waiting for the ruling,” Cooper said. “We now have it. They should finish the job and provide protection for all Tennesseans by passing Insure Tennessee.” On Monday, Cooper will join a coalition of state and community leaders for a press conference on what’s next after today’s positive ruling.

Check back for more.

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The Confederate Flag and "I sang Dixie."

It looks like it belongs in the Dixie Putt-Putt golf course.
I  think the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina should come down, but I don't live there and it is not for me to decide but I can still have an opinion, like everyone else who has weighed in on the topic. I think it is unnecessary to offend other people unless there is goods reason to do so, and many people find the Confederate flag offensive.

Following the tragedy of the senseless shooting in Charleston South Carolina it seems the focus has shifted to the appropriateness of having a Confederate battle flag fly on the grounds of the state capital, as if there was a connection between the two. From the issue of the appropriateness of the confederate battle flag flying on the grounds of the state capital in South Carolina the discussion has expanded to other displays anywhere that memorialize the civil war in the South and pay homage to our ancestors and heroes.

As it relates to the fiberglass stature of Nathan Bedford Forrest on I-64, I really dislike it.  I doubt most tourist driving through know it is Nathan Bedford Forrest, however.  At 70 miles an hour you probably have no idea what it commemorates.  My dislike for the stature has to do primarily with aesthetics. It looks cartoonist. It is ugly. It looks like the kind of "art" one finds on a putt-putt golf course. Maybe travelers going up I-65 at 75 miles an hour think they have just missed a putt-putt golf course.

Also, I have to ask: the horse has a saddle, but no bridle.Why is that?  Should it not have a bridle? Surely General Forrest did not ride a horse without a bridle? Despite my dislike of the statue, I think it is a waste of effort to try to build a foliage barricade to hide it from sight.

In response to controversy over the Confederate battle flag near the South Carolina state house, Walmart, Amazon, Sears, and eBay have all stopped selling items featuring the Confederate flag and the parent company that owns the rights to the Dukes of Hazard merchandise has announced they will no longer license the General Lee car featured in that show. Other states and locals have began looking at the appropriateness of statues and bust of Confederate heroes and images on state and county seals that recall historical Confederate associations and names of streets, bridges, and buildings named to honor Confederate dead.

I understand the desire to ban the Confederate flag.  I guess if I were African-American I would find it offensive and want it banned.  I think I know how they feel because I feel much the same way about that hate symbol known as the "peace" sign.  That is the symbol that those who betrayed out troops in the field, marched under during the Vietnam war.  That is the sign carried by the American fifth column on campuses and in the streets of America that encouraged the enemy not to give up because they had massive numbers of supporters in America who were daily trying to persuade their own government to give up, pull out of the war and give the North Vietnamese an easy victory.  Now, that symbol of betrayal is sold on eBay, Walmart, Amazon and Sears and elsewhere as a fashion accessory. You can find it on backpacks and clothing and pocketbooks and any number of items. Personally, I would prefer to ban the peace sign over banning the confederate flag. I personally find the peace sign offensive. No one grantees me the right to not be offended however.

The flag we cal the "Confederate flag" was not a national flag of the Confederacy but was the
battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.  It only came to be considered the Confederate flag, later. I don't think most people who display it or celebrate seeing it being displayed think of it as a racist symbol. During the civil rights era, some southern segregationist appropriated the flag as their own symbol to show defiance to federal authority but time has passed since then and I think that to most people the Confederate flag is simply a symbol of southerness.

I myself am from East Tennessee, which during the Civil War was pro-Union. That is why East Tennessee was a Republican stronghold in a Democrat Tennessee from then on.  Areas of the South that were too hilly to grow cotton were generally pro-Union in the Civil War and became isolated Republicans strong holds for the next 125 years in an otherwise solid Democrat South.  So, I did not come from a pro-confederate part of the South, but I still had an identity that was represented by the Confederate flag. I never wore a confederate belt buckle or had a confederate license plate on my pick up truck (I never owned a pick up truck). I did however, own a Lynard Skynyrd album that featured a Confederate flag.

My favorite music has always been Country music but during the 70's I became a big fan of Southern Rock. My preference in Southern Rock never went as far toward the hard rock end as the spectrum as Molly Hatchet, tending more toward the country rock of The Charlie Daniels Band and Marshal Tucker Band.  For several years I attended the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jams held at Municipal Auditorium. These shows were a blast of great music and hard partying that easily ran ten hours long and while I saw everyone from Roy Acuff to James Brown and even an occasional classical musician or gospel choir, the foundation of the shows was Southern Rock. Many participants brought Confederate battle flags and waved them during the show.

Charlie Daniels would start the show by saying, "Ain't it Great to be alive and be in Tennessee!"  And, the crowd would go wild.  I think that like celebrating a shout out to being in Tennessee, the Confederate battle flag was symbolic of a shout out to being proud of one's southerness. A lot of Southern Rock bands not only celebrated being Southern but celebrated their State identity.  Charlie Daniels' albums often featured representations of the tri-star symbol from the Tennessee flag and at the start of his performance would say, "I'm Charlie Daniels from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee."  Marshal Tucker's shows would start with an announcement: "From Spartanburg South Carolina, it's the Marshall Tucker Band!" And, The Alman Brothers let it be known they were from Georgia and several of their album covers featured some representation of the peach, which represents Georgia. Southern Rock, like Country music often celebrated the South and a sense of place.  I still love the CDB song "The South's Gonna do it Again."

I know that now America is becoming so homogenized that there is not much sense of place any
Southern Motel
more. Almost any where you go, you see the same chain restaurants and people listen to the same music and you rarely hear a heavy accent. There may be more people living in Nashville born elsewhere than there are native Nashvillians. I don't know if that is really a good thing or not.  I certainly want foreign immigrants to become Americanized, and would not want so much regionalism that it was a source of conflict. By the same token, I think something valuable is lost when we lose the way we speak, the way we interact and when we all become antonymous individuals rather than people with a sense of place and history and a sense of belonging.

I think this search to take down symbols of southerness had gotten out of hand. Recently, mayoral candidate Charles Bone who is an investor in the lower Broadway venue Acme Feed and Seeds, responded to a complaint about a piece of artwork that hung in that establishment and he had it removed. The artwork features a women wearing a Confederate flag bikini in front of a sign that says "Southern Motel."  Wearing the Confederate flag on your butt is not honoring the flag. Any idiot who is offended by this piece of art should be told to "get over it."  As Tom Morales owner of the establishment said about the piece, it is "satirical commentary on Southern culture."

This is nuts! What next? Ban the songs of Stephen Foster? Ban the playing of "Dixie?" Burn down the surviving antebellum plantation
mansions? Remove the Confederate memorial statue in the square in Franklin?

Political correctness has already stifled speech in America to where conservative commencement speakers are disinvited from speaking if students object. People shout down views they do not agree with. Are we to become the American Taliban and destroy icons of the past because they don't fit our current ideology?

I'll close with this:

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

A July 4th message from Marsha Blackburn: In Celebration of Freedom, Free People, and Free Markets


Marsha Blackburn
At church on Sunday, a friend grabbed me by the shoulders and declared, “This Fourth of July, I'm going to wave my flag, sing every stanza of the National Anthem, belt out ‘Proud to Be an American,’ and read the Constitution out loud.  I'm doing it because I'm afraid of losing our freedom.  Every day I listen to the news and can't believe all that's happening". 

These comments are not that dissimilar to what I hear from people every day; the message of fear, defeat, discouragement, and loss of the American Dream. These are emotions so often embodied in what we hear on the news. Maybe it's why so many of you tell me you have stopped listening to the nightly news reports altogether. You just don't want to hear it. I don't blame you, I agree with you.
Ronald Reagan would remind us that, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Freedom is always a hard fought battle, but a worthy fight indeed. And while many might be fearful, I am more resolved than ever to push back against encroaching liberalism.  Every rule and regulation and every dollar of additional taxes and fees causes each of us to lose a little more of our freedom. It seems the government is here for its own preservation, not for the people. The People's House seems to lose more power to the bureaucracy every year. 

I believe in the American Dream and opportunity for all Americans. I so love hearing stories from constituents who worked to make their dream come true. I find those stories exhilarating. They found an opportunity, an opening, and a way to achieve their version of the American Dream. They reached their goal. Why? Because they are free people living in a free land and have the right to dream big dreams and find a way to make those dreams become a reality. Many have fought back against those agency rules and regulations. They persisted and prevailed. Prevailing, winning, and achieving are what we want for all our citizens. 

The frustrations with Washington, D.C., politics, and the bureaucracy are well documented and we live with them in daily reminders. It is why, on your behalf, I write and sponsor legislation to remove the overreach of bureaucrats. Allowing across state line purchase of health insurance so you can have health care freedom, the SOFTWARE Act to give innovators some additional assurances and put government back in their right lanes, the Internet Freedom Act to rein in the FCC, and the CHOP Act to rein in the EPA. We can do this. America has regularly had assaults on our freedom. Always. And assaults will persist. Preserving freedom is our challenge; we should make it our cause.  

So, take this week to celebrate. Thank a member of the military and our veterans for choosing to fight to defend that freedom. Visit our Pinterest page for history and how-to ideas for children. Read the preamble to the Constitution. Teach a child the pledge. Dress up as Uncle Sam and walk in a parade. Above all, celebrate. Celebrate the freedom we enjoy and finish your day by recommitting to help fight to protect, defend, and pass along to the next generation an America that remains the land of the free and home of the brave.

Ben Franklin was asked after the signing of the Constitution as to the type government they had formed.  His answer: “A republic, madam – if you can keep it.”

Let's resolve to keep it.
Happy Independence Day.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Clements for Council, A little about me.

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Letting no tragedy go to waste, Many Mancini uses Charleston to Fund Raise for TN Demo Party

Following the senseless  tragedy in Charleston S. C., I received this tasteless appeal for a contribution from Mary Mancini, Chair of the Tennessee Democrat Party.
Dear Rod,
On Saturday morning I attended an event that had been on my calendar for many months but that took on additional significance in light of the horrific murders in Charleston, S.C.
The event was the commemoration of a little known piece of Tennessee history - the murder of Elbert Williams, a founding member of the first NAACP Chapter established in 1939, in Brownsville, Haywood County, TN. One year later, Mr. Williams was overheard organizing a voter registration drive in his community, was taken from his home by members of the Brownsville Police Department, shot dead, and thrown in the Hatchie River.
Elbert Williams"Elbert Williams was a founding member of the first NAACP Chapter established in 1939, in Brownsville, Haywood County, Tennessee. On the night of June 20, 1940, while still in his pajamas, he was taken from his home by members of the Brownsville Police Department. He was never seen alive again. Three days later, his disfigured remains were found in the Hatchie River, six miles south of Brownsville. His wife was summoned to the riverbank to identify his remains. Without benefit of investigation, the authorities ordered his immediate burial in Taylor Cemetery. No funeral was held, and his grave was unmarked. Plans to memorialize his contribution and heroic acts on the first anniversary of his death in 1941 never materialized. In December of 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II. The memory and courageous contribution of Elbert Williams, was lost to time." Read more....
Last Saturday morning, while sitting in the gym of the Haywood County High School in Brownsville, TN, it was impossible not to draw a straight line from the murder of Mr. Williams to the shootings in Charleston.
And yet, we refuse to do so. Some are already treating this as an isolated incident, much the same way in which we treat every mass shooting in this country - as an isolated incident. We forget history so quickly.
We’re seeing the pattern play out again now - outrage, 24/7 news coverage, push back by the Right on the murderer’s motives, and then nothing – no changes to public policy and no shift “in how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively” – a shift that could keep us safe from these kinds of mass killings; that could  keep us safe at school, or church, or in Bible study.
75 years after the racially motivated murder of Elbert Williams in Brownsville, TN, we witness the racially-motivated mass murder in Charleston. 75 years after a murder motivated by the “collective evil of Jim Crow," we witness multiple murders motivated by the collective evil of 21st-Century Racism. This time, there is no way we can blame mental illness.
The murders in Charleston have uncovered a “gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist.”
If we continue to pretend the “gaping racial wound” doesn’t exist, if we continue to be afraid to bring it out in the open and talk about it, if we continue to remain silent, then we will be complicit in perpetuating "the collective evil of 21st-Century Racism."
Mary Mancini
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party
Invest in the TNDP

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Monday, June 22, 2015

David Fox for Mayor fund raiser, Tueday, June 30th.

I am co-hosting this event and urge you to join me in supporting David Fox.  I think David Fox is by far the best candidate for mayor and there is not a close second. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night. Rod

Follow this link for map.

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NashvilleNext is a done deal. Now, we will find out what it means.

Press Release from Craig Owensby of the Planning Commission - The plan is the result of three years of planning and community engagement, including guidance from issue-specific committees of local leaders and experts. The public engagement process has included more than 420 meetings and presentations and more than 18,500 participants. All of the input has been directed toward anticipating future growth, creating stronger communities and maintaining our quality of life by deciding where and how we grow. 

Community engagement in NashvilleNext involved a multistep process that asked Nashvillians about their hopes for the future and asked Nashvillians what land to preserve and develop to achieve their vision. A draft plan was made available to the public in late March, and comments and amendments were accepted through June 15. At a public hearing last week, the Commission heard amendments and comments from more than 60 Nashvillians. The general direction of the plan includes: 

  •  Protecting and restoring Davidson County’s natural and rural areas 
  • Creating a more robust transit network 
  • Encouraging housing affordability and the de-concentration of poverty 
  • Encouraging new development in walkable centers and along corridors while preserving the character of existing neighborhoods 
  • Guiding growth to make Nashville welcoming for new residents and improving quality of life for existing Nashvillians 
The plan also provides guidance in the areas of Education and Youth, Arts and Culture, and Economic and Workforce Development. FOR MORE INFORMATION on NashvilleNext, call (615) 862-NEXT (6398) or email You can also keep up with NashvilleNext on Facebook and Twitter.

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Support Ken Jakes- Fund raiser this Thursday, June 25th.

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Police (Faternal Order of Police, Andrew Jackson Lodge #5) announces 2015 Mayor and Council endorsements

The police union have made their enforcements and it is somewhat mystifying the criteria they could have used to make their selections. Where there was an incumbent they usually endorsed the incumbent, but not in all cases. In District 6 they selected the challenger rather than the incumbent. The FOP is a union and one would think  job security, benefits and increased pay would be their prime concern and one would think the police would vote for the candidates most likely to increase taxes, but that is not the case.  They endorsed some of the most conservative candidates for council in endorsing people like Robert Duvall, Ken Jakes, and Tony Tenpenny. They also endorsed some very liberal candidate likely to raise taxes, people like Lonnell Matthews, Jr, and Kathleen Murphy.

Since there is no logic or consistency to their endorsements, I would not vote for someone just because they got the FOP endorsement, nor would I vote against someone just because they got the FOP endorsement. I know some of the people who got the endorsement, and they are people of integrity who would not promise the FOP something just to get an endorsement. This list of endorsements is best ignored.

Bill Freeman      Mayor
David Briley      Vice Mayor

Buddy Baker         Council At Large
Robert Duvall       Council At Large
Ken Jakes              Council At Large
Don Majors           Council At Large
Lonnell Matthews Jr. Council At Large

Nick Leonardo      Council District 1
DeCosta Hastings Council District 2
Tim Coleman        Council District 3
Robert Swope       Council District 4
Scott Davis           Council District 5
Brett Withers        Council District 6
Anthony Davis     Council District 7
Nancy VanReece  Council District 8
Bill Pridemore      Council District 9
Douglas Pardue    Council District 10
Larry Hagar          Council District 11
Steve Glover         Council District 12
Holly Huezo         Council District 13
Kevin Rhoten       Council District 14
Jeffrey Syracuse   Council District 15
Tony Tenpenny     Council District 16
Tony Watson         Council District 17
Burkley M. Allen  Council District 18
Amanda Harrison  Council District 19
Mary Carolyn Roberts Council District 20
Edward T. Kindall  Council District 21
Sheri Weiner          Council District 22
Jim Roberts            Council District 23
Kathleen Murphy   Council District 24
Russ Pulley            Council District 25
Jeremy Elrod          Council District 26
Davette Blalock     Council District 27
Melissa Smithson  Council District 28
Karen Y. Johnson  Council District 29
Jason Potts             Council District 30
Fabian Bedne        Council District 31
Jacobia C. Dowell Council District 32
Jimmy Gafford      Council District 33
Angie Henderson  Council District 34
Dave Rosenberg    Council District 35

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

The June 19th NashForward Millennial Mayoral Debate at Belmont University

If you missed this debate last Thursday at the Belmont University's McAfee Concert Hall you didn't miss much. However, if you want to watch the debate, here it is:

The Tennesseean has written something about the debate every day since Thursday, sometimes two or three things a day, but they have essentially wasted a lot of ink. There is just not that much to say about the debate. It was pretty boring and did not provide much insight as to who would be the best person to be Nashville's next mayor.

In one piece, The Tennessean said the seven candidates played, "to what they believe are their strengths." I would agree with that.  In an "unscientific poll" of 7,000 people who voted in an online poll, this is who that 7,000 people said won: Freeman  27%, Charles Robert Bone 25 %, Megan Barry 17 %, Jeremy Kane 13 %, Linda Eskind Rebrovick 8 %, David Fox 6 %, and Howard Gentry 4 %.  This tells you more about who chose to spend resources getting their supporters to vote in the poll rather what a cross section of what people really think.

In another piece in the Tennessean, Five takeaways from Thursday's Debate, The Tennesseean offered these points; (1) After more than 40 forums, the candidates have answered your questions, (2) Candidates are playing it safe, (3) Freeman is still the target, (4) Freeman might be his own worst enemy, and (5) No one won Thursday. That about sums it up.

My takeaway from this is that Bill Freeman may be replacing Megan Barry as my least favorite candidate. I am especially tuned off by Freeman's position that our schools are doing just great and we need to simply accentuate the positive. Howard Gentry dropped a point in my favorability rating, when asked what he would do to ensure that economic growth does not hurt current residents by  saying he would create an Office of Equity to ensure all that development helps the current community. In my view we do not need to be stiffing growth and we do not need another bureaucracy. Fox answered the same question by saying he would look at freezing taxes of current residents so growth does not force people out of their homes. I like that answer.

In response to the question about affordable housing, David Fox again distinguished himself by indirectly saying he did not support housing price control by saying, "I'm a 'carrot' guy; not a 'stick' guy," and saying he would support incentives for those who build affordable housing. I liked that answer better than any of the others.

In response to the question, who would you vote for among the candidates if you were not running, other of the candidates did not answer the question but David Fox said Jeremy Kane, Jeremy Kane said Howard Gentry, Howard Gentry said David Fox, and Bill Freeman said Linda Reborvik.

Some weeks ago, I reached a conclusion that David Fox was my preferred candidate. There is not a close second choice. This debate reinforced that decision that Fox is my number one choice. In this debate, however, if I had to rank the candidates, a second place choice would be either Rebrovic, Kane, or Gentry followed by Bone and my least favorite would probably be a tie between Barry and Freeman.

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