Saturday, December 30, 2017

Art Break: Discovering a hidden gem in a downtown alley

Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson
performed together as The Highwaymen

Boy Dylan, Dolly Parton and Leon Russell
Lorretta Lynn and Patsy Cline
Yesterday with the temperatures getting above freezing and the sun shinning, I decided to take a walk downtown from my home near 8th Ave and Wedgwood. When I reached Division I took the new extension which I had not been on before. From the elevated roadway, I spotted this mural. It is painted on the back of a building housing Ed's Supply which faces 6th Ave South and lies between Ewing Ave and 6h Ave South. Why it is in such on out of the way place and why it was painted, I have no idea. I don't know how old it is. I don't know who the artist is.  This was a big undertaking to be hidden away in an ugly alley. If not for the Division extension one would not even know it existed.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Tennessean reports on the evils of "gentrification."

Bill Hobbs's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person
Bill Hobbs
By Bill Hobbs - Today's Nashville newspaper has a big story with the following headline: "Black share of population plummets in some Nashville neighborhoods." The story then goes on the detail what it clearly considers the evils of "gentrification," which it defines as white people moving into neighborhoods that used to be mostly black, a trend it warns "upended the social and cultural landscape" of those neighborhoods. Those awful white people, according to the newspaper, brought "tiny fluffy white dogs" and "rode bikes" instead of cars.

The first victim in the story is an African American woman the newspaper tries to portray as having been "pressured" and pushed out of the neighborhood by those white people with their tiny white dogs.

Her story: She bought a house in Edgehill in 1992 for $48,000. She lived in it for a quarter century. Then, her health becoming an issue and construction all around, she sold that house for $640,000 to a developer who tore it down to build a new, larger house. With her equity and $592,000 profit she has been able to help her family and church.

She wasn't a victim, of course. She was a beneficiary. She made a $592,000 profit. How good is that?
If she'd put that $48,000 in some sort of financial investment in 1992 and never added another cent and that investment had earned 10 percent a year over 25 years, compounded daily, it would have grown to $584,559, or about $55,000 less than it did invested in real estate. (And she would still have had to spend other money on a place to live for 25 years.)

She's not a victim. She's a winner. And she didn't have to sell and leave Edgehill - she chose to.
The whole newspaper story is laughable.

There was a time when liberal newspapers like The Tennessean stood against those who wanted to keep neighborhoods segregated by race by keeping people of a certain skin color out of those neighborhoods. Now, though, when the skin colors are reversed, the newspaper portrays the increasing racial diversity of a neighborhood as a bad thing. In it's eyes, gentrification is bad and the white people are the perps and the minorities are the victims.

Gentrification isn't evil. Gentrification isn't racial. Gentrification is when people who own property in a run-down neighborhood either fix it up, or sell it to someone who fixes it up. That's it. If Hispanic and other minority buyers purchase property in a run-down majority-white neighborhood and proceed to renovate the properties, that, too, is gentrification. But instead of casting it as a bad thing, the newspaper would be celebrating it. You don't think so? Consider all the stories the paper has done in recent years about the resurgence of Nashville's Antioch area and how, along the way, it is becoming a much more "diverse" area. The paper doesn't write about how "gentrification" is destroying "the social and cultural landscape" of Antioch. It writes about how "diversity" is reviving Antioch. Well, the neighborhoods in today's articles are becoming more diverse, too. Nobody lives in a neighborhood forever because - it turns out - nobody lives forever. Ask anyone today buying a house if when it came time to sell it in 25 years or so would they be happy if they got a 1,333 percent return on their investment.

This was reposted from a pubic Facebook post by Bill Hobbs. Bill Hobbs is a  fine art photographer and photojournalist  living in Nashville. 

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Diane Black: “I'm stepping down as chairman of the House Budget Committee after a successful year with Trump”

Press release - This morning, Diane Black announced in a Fox News Op-Ed that she will officially step down as Chairman of the House Budget Committee to focus on her campaign for governor.

During Diane’s year as Budget Chairman, she has worked with President Trump on a series of strong, conservative reforms and will bring that same bold leadership to the state of Tennessee.  
I became chairman of the House Budget Committee one year ago and have been proud to serve in that role along with our new president. He has pushed an agenda of action – responsible budgeting, repealing ObamaCare’s worst mandates, and aggressive tax-cutting to get our economy going. This has been exactly the kind of work I came to Congress to do and we have done it. But my heart has always been at home. This why today I’m announcing that I will now step down as chairman of the House Budget Committee, while continuing to serve in Congress, to devote more attention to my next challenge: seeking the governorship of Tennessee.

  You can read the full op-ed here or below.

Rep. Diane Black: I'm stepping down as chairman of the House Budget Committee after a successful year with Trump

What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, the country was ending one of the most fiscally irresponsible presidencies of the modern age. Now we’re wrapping up a year of bold fiscal leadership from President Trump and conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I became chairman of the House Budget Committee one year ago and have been proud to serve in that role along with our new president. He has pushed an agenda of action – responsible budgeting, repealing ObamaCare’s worst mandates, and aggressive tax-cutting to get our economy going. This has been exactly the kind of work I came to Congress to do and we have done it.

But my heart has always been at home. This why today I’m announcing that I will now step down as chairman of the House Budget Committee, while continuing to serve in Congress, to devote more attention to my next challenge: seeking the governorship of Tennessee.

When I was elected to Congress in 2010, I had three main goals: repeal ObamaCare, reform the tax code and start attacking the growing federal debt and deficits. In just one year, the Budget Committee has taken significant steps to achieve all of these goals.

Last spring, I sponsored the American Health Care Act (ACHA), to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Our bill would have brought down health-care costs by putting patients and doctors – not the federal government – in charge of health-care decisions.

While the House of Representatives passed the AHCA, the Senate let us all down.

Since the Senate’s initial failure, we successfully repealed ObamaCare’s individual mandate in our tax reform bill, to reduce this burden on middle-class Americans. This provision is the foundation of ObamaCare’s entire flawed scheme. With its repeal, the rest of the law will now be much simpler to dismantle. The House is ready to do just that, so let’s hope Republicans in the Senate muster the nerve to join us.

Following passage of the American Health Care Act, my committee went about doing the hard work of writing the 2018 federal budget. We recognized that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House and we were determined to use this trust from the voters to put our beliefs into law.

Some in my own party counseled that we skip the hard work of budgeting and merely pass a meaningless legislative placeholder, but I refused and insisted that our Budget Committee show real leadership.

Our budget was the most conservative budget in the last 20 years. Our resolution balanced the budget in 10 years, by cutting more than $6 trillion in federal spending. We committed to rebuilding our military, decimated under President Obama, by increasing defense spending by $70 billion to get our mission done and our military men and women back home safely.

We paved the way for historic tax cuts for the American people. And we led the House to endorse the largest cut to mandatory spending programs, which make up about two-thirds of all federal spending, in the last 20 years.

It is now up to the U.S. Senate and future Congresses to follow our lead on mandatory spending. If we don’t address mandatory spending programs, our country is headed for a sovereign debt crisis – and believe me, this crisis is closer than most will admit.

The budget produced by my committee launched us toward tax relief. When we began writing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we focused our attention on the middle class. This focus was particularly important to me – I was once a single mom with three children. I worked the night shift as a nurse so I could be home during the day and take care of my kids, and every dollar was important.

I always felt the pressure of stretching my paycheck to the end of the month. A little bit more money in my paycheck every month would have gone a long way. People whose lives are stretched like that drove my actions in this tax cut debate.

Our law cuts taxes for the middle class, giving an average family about $1,400 back. On top of that, we cut taxes for job creators, which will help them hire more workers, raise wages, and invest in research and technology. We’re already seeing results, with companies like AT&T, Boeing and Comcast announcing that they will raise wages, give employee bonuses and invest in job creation.

None of these achievements would have been possible this year without the hard work of the Budget Committee, particularly the 21 Republican members I have led.

Great challenges compel bold choices. I have pushed Congress to make those choices and now I hope to lead my state in the same manner. There is no time to waste.

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Sen. Jack Johnson Endorses Dr. Mark Green for Congress

Press release - Today, State Senator Jack Johnson announced his endorsement of Dr. Mark Green for Congress. The Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Johnson has represented Williamson County since 2007.

“Having worked side by side with Mark Green, I have witnessed his principled and effective conservative leadership firsthand,” noted Johnson. “With all the dysfunction going on in Congress today, we need to send someone to Washington who will represent us as well as Congressman Marsha Blackburn has. Mark is the perfect man for the job.”

Green has coalesced the support of Republicans across the spectrum. Nationally, he has received the endorsements of the Club for Growth, Family Research Council, and House Freedom Caucus, GOPAC, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rick Santorum, and Dr. Arthur B. Laffer. In Tennessee, Green recently announced the endorsements of 100 conservative leaders across Tennessee, and a 147-member finance committee, including 14 legislators who represent all 19 counties in the 7th district.
“I’ve been proud to serve alongside Jack Johnson in the State Senate. Jack is one of our finest leaders, and both Williamson County and Tennessee have benefited tremendously from his leadership,” remarked Green.

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Nashville Democratic state Sen. Thelma Harper rated more conservative than Republican Steve Dickerson

by Dave Boucher, USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee - A Nashville Democrat in the Tennessee state senate recently earned a higher rating from a national conservative organization than one of her Republican colleagues. 

Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville, earned a 79 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, a national advocacy organization that typically helps elect Republicans. The ACU gave state Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, a 78 percent rating. (link)

My Comment: Congratulations Thelma Harper for being a common sense Democrat, maybe the last of a breed, who puts her constituents and her country ahead of her party.  I have not looked at the details of the ACU scoring and don't know where Dickerson may have fallen short of the ACU's standards but I am not concerned.  I know Steve Dickerson to be a thoughtful conservative who reflects the views and values of his constituents. 

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

AirB&B says, "Stand up for home sharing in Nashville by attending the City Council meeting."

From AirBnB - On Tuesday, January 2 at 6pm, the Nashville Metro Council will be voting on Bill 937, which allows existing permitted hosts to continue sharing their homes, while supporting a fair number of non-owner occupied listings. 

Your attendance will show the Metro Council that Nashville residents want to protect their right to share their homes responsibly and make important extra income, while enabling guests from around the world to travel affordably and spread tourism dollars across the city. Please wear blue in support of home sharing. 

When: Tuesday, January 2
Time: 6pm
Where: Historic Courthouse One Public Square, Suite 204
Nashville, TN 37210

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Metro Nashville "Christmas Tree" recycling Available Again For 2017

Metro Nashville Press Release - No matter where you live in Davidson County, recycling your Christmas tree is easy. Last year, Nashvillians dropped off over 17,000 trees for recycling through Metro Nashville’s Christmas Tree Recycling Drop-off Program!

This year, Metro Public Works has teamed up with Metro Parks and Recreation as well as Metro contractor, Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee to offer Davidson County residents an environmentally friendly and convenient way to dispose of their Christmas Trees again this year.
The Christmas Tree Recycling Drop-off program will run from December 27, 2017 to February 16, 2018 at the following locations:

  • Cane Ridge Park
  • Una Recreation Center
  • Whitfield Park
  • Cedar Hill Park
  • Two Rivers Park
  • Joelton Community Center
  • Sevier Park, Richland Park
  • Elmington Park
  • Edwin Warner Park
  • Frederick Douglas Park
  • Both of Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee locations at 1511 Elm Hill Pike and 6401 Centennial Blvd.
    Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee’s operating hours are Monday thru Friday 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m..
Trees must be cleaned of all ornaments, lights, wire, string and other decor before bringing them to be tree-cycled. No artificial trees can be accepted. Please do not dump any other items at these drop-off locations.

Public Works will take the trees to our contractor, Nature’s Best Organics of Tennessee to be chipped and composted into mulch.

Recycling Christmas trees into mulch, rather than putting them in the trash, keeps them out of landfills and helps save Metro the cost of disposal fees.

My Comment: Even Metro government in this press release calls them "Christmas trees;" not "holiday trees!"  They didn't call them "family trees," but "Christmas trees!" I'm not sure what they call them at the University of Tennessee, but Nashville calls Christmas trees, "Christmas trees." Have we beat the evil forces of political correctness and those that make war on Christmas?  Are we seeing a glimmer of sanity?

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President Donald Trump Returning To Nashville In January

President Donald Trump Returning To Nashville In January. The president will visit Nashville once again to address the Farm Bureau convention in January. The Farm Bureau's 99th annual convention is scheduled for January 5 through 10 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center. Trump's appearance is planned for Monday, Jan. 8 during the late morning hours.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

How members of the Council voted on Civil Forfeiture (policing for profit)
Dave Rosenberg
Civil forfeiture is a process that allows the police to seize a person's property without the person having been convicted or even charged with a crime. To get the property back one must go to court and prove that they were not in procession of your property for the purpose of committing a crime.  Often it will come about that the police stop a car for a traffic violation and the owner gives the police permission to search the car or the police search the vehicle under probable cause. 

Upon searching the vehicle, the police discover the driver has $5,000 in cash.  They can confiscate the vehicle and the car.  It may be that the person was on his way to Florida to buy cocaine, but he may have been on his way to Florida to rent a truck and buy a truck load of landscape plants for a work project.  In any case, the person who had his property confiscated, in order to get it back must go to court and prove he was not in procession of the cash and the vehicle to commit a crime.  This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Often people do not have the means to wage the legal battle and just lose their property.

The confiscated money often flows to the police department rather than the treasury of the jurisdiction and this process has earned the name of  "policing for profit." Normal jurisprudence in America assumes one is innocent until proven guilty; this is the one circumstance where that does not apply.  Instead of the police proving one committed a crime, the person suspected of illegal activity has to prove he is innocent.  He may never even be charged with a crime and never regain ownership of his property. Both liberal and conservative civil liberty advocates included the ACLU and organization such as The Institute for Justice are fighting against civil forfeiture.

On November 7, 2017 the council had before it RESOLUTION RS2017-920  which would approve two agreements between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Metro Nashville Police Department. These agreements would govern the participation of DEA Nashville District Office Task force participants in the United States Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program. Councilman Dave Rosenberg spoke against the resolution and argued Metro should not participate in this program.  To view the discussion see timestamp 2:35:10 in the video at this link

Unfortunately the bill was approved by a vote of 16 to 15 with four abstentions.  Below is the result of the roll call vote.

Voting YES to approve Resolution RS2017-920. Voting in favor of Civil Forfeiture

Nick Leonardo, District 1                 Brenda Haywood, District 3         Bill Pridemore, District 9
Doug Pardue, District 10                  Larry Hagar, District 11                Steve Glover, District  12
Holly Huezo, District 13                  Jeff Syracuse, District 15              Mike Freeman, District 16
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20   Russ Pulley, District 25                Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District  29              Jason Potts, District  30                Jacobia Dowell, District 32
Antionette Lee, District  22

Voting NO, a vote against Resolution RS2017-920. Voting against Civil Forfeiture
John Cooper, At-large                     Jim Shulman, At-large                Scott Davis, District 5
Bret Withers, District 6                   Anthony Davis, District 7           Nancy VanReece, District 8
Burkeley Allen, District                  Freddie O'Connell, District 19    Ed Kindall, District 21
Mina Johnson, District  23              Kathleen Murphy, District 24      Jeremy Elrod, District 26
Davette Blalock, District  27           Fabian Bedne, District 31            Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Voting "ABSTAIN"  
Erica Gilmore, At-large                  Bob Mendes, At-large                  Sharon Hurt, A-large
Angie Henderson, District 34 
DeCosta Hastings, District 2        Robert Swope, District 4                 Keven Rhoten, District 14
Colby Sledge, District 17             Sheri Weiner, District  22                                      

Please note that Minutes show the only one absent from this meeting was Robert Swope. The others may have been there at one time and stepped out of the room, not paying attention, or simply chose not to vote.

If any member of the Council would like to explain their vote, they may leave a comment.
If you are unsure who your councilman is follow this link to find out and look for "Council District Look Up" at the top right hand side of the page.  You may also contact your council from this page. 

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How members of the Council voted on the 'Grinch kills Christmas bill' to ban Christmas lighting

On December 5th 2017 the council passed BILL BL2017-903 to ban  decorative "rope lighting" on any building, sign, or property with non-residential zoning located adjacent to an arterial or collector street except those in the downtown area. A previous version of this would have banned it everywhere on all property. Rope lighting is that lighting that you have probably seen that outlines a tree or structure. It is often used as Christmas decorations but sometimes is used year-round. Why one would want to ban this I have no idea.. The sponsor said it is for the safety of the motoring public and to protect people with epilepsy. I do not buy that explanation for a minute. This is an overreach of government. There was no discussion on third and final reading and it passed by a machine vote of YES:24. NO:12, ABSTAIN:1, and NOT VOTING:3.  Below is how the members of the Council voted.

                                   Voting "YES" to approve the ban
John Cooper, At-large                                                 Sharon Hurt, A-large
Jim Shulman, At-large                                                Nick Leonardo, District 1
DeCosta Hastings, District 2                                       Brenda Haywood, District 3
Robert Swope, District 4                                             Scott Davis, District 5
Bret Withers, District 6                                               Anthony Davis, District 7
Nancy VanReece, District 8                                        Bill Pridemore, District 9
Larry Hagar, District 11                                              Holly Huezo, District 13
Jeff Syracuse, District 15                                            Burkeley Allen, District 18
Ed Kindall, District 21                                                Russ Pulley, District 25
Davette Blalock, District  27                                      Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District  29                                        Jason Potts, District  30
Jacobia Dowell, District 32                                        Antionette Lee, District  22

                                   Voting "NO," opposing the ban
Keven Rhoten, District 14                                       Mike Freeman, District  16
Colby Sledge, District 17                                        Freddie O'Connell, District 19
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20                          Sheri Weiner, District  22
Mina Johnson, District  23                                       Kathleen Murphy, District 24 
Jeremy Elrod, District 26                                         Fabian Bedne, District 31
Angie Henderson, District  34                                 Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Voting "ABSTAIN:"  Bob Mendes, At-large

NOT VOTING:  Erica Gilmore, At-large    Doug Pardue, District 10     Steve Glover, District  12
Please note that those not voting may have been absent, out of the room, not paying attention or simply not voting.

If any member of the Council would like to explain their vote, they may leave a comment.
If you are unsure who your councilman is follow this link to find out and look for "Council District Look Up" at the top right hand side of the page.  You may also contact your council from this page.

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Trump Administration Has Issued 22 Deregulatory Actions For Every One New Regulatory Action.

As Of December 2017, The Trump Administration Has Withdrawn Or Delayed 1,579 Planned Regulatory Actions And Achieved $8.1 Billion In Lifetime Net Regulatory Cost Savings 

GOP press release - On January 30, 2017, President Trump Issued Executive Order 13771, Which Required That For Every New Regulation Promulgated, Two Prior Regulations Be Eliminated. "In his first week in office, President Trump issued Executive Order 13771, which aims to 'manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations.' It requires that 'for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.'" (Ted Gayer, Robert E. Litan, and Philip A. Wallach, "Evaluating The Trump Administration's Regulatory Reform Program," The Brookings Institute , 10/20/17)

Under The "2-For-1 Rule," Agencies Were Required To Offset The Cost Of Any New Regulation By Eliminating Two Existing Regulations. "Under the so-called '2-for-1 Rule,' the incremental costs of all new regulations for Fiscal Year 2017 must be no greater than zero, unless the regulation is required by law, or, consistent with advice provided in writing by the Director of the OMB. Agencies are expected to meet this new requirement by offsetting any incremental costs from new regulations with the supposed savings gained from eliminating two existing regulations." (Roncevert Almond, Marina O'Brien, and Andy Orr, "Regulatory Reform In The Trump Era - The First 100 Days," Yale Journal On Regulation )

As Of December 14, The Trump Administration Has Issued 22 Deregulatory Actions For Every One New Regulatory Action. "Agencies have issued 22 deregulatory actions for every one new regulatory action. This 22:1 ratio far exceeds President Trump's promise to eliminate two rules for every one new rule. In total, agencies issued 67 deregulatory actions while imposing only three new regulatory actions." ("President Donald J. Trump Is Delivering On Deregulation," The White House , 12/14/17)

In 2017, Federal Agencies Withdrew Or Delayed 1,579 Planned Regulatory Actions. "In this Administration, agencies have withdrawn or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions. 635 regulations were withdrawn. 244 regulations were made inactive. 700 regulations were delayed." ("President Donald J. Trump Is Delivering On Deregulation," The White House , 12/14/17)

Federal Agencies Have Achieved $8.1 Billion In Lifetime Net Regulatory Cost Savings In FY 2017, The Equivalent Of $570 Million Per Year. "Federal agencies achieved $8.1 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings, the equivalent of $570 million per year. These savings go beyond the Administration's goal of imposing no lifetime net regulatory costs in FY 2017." ("President Donald J. Trump Is Delivering On Deregulation," The White House , 12/14/17)

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Lamar Alexander: Why tax reform will benefit Tennesseans

Lamar Alexander: Why tax reform will benefit Tennesseans

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

What happened at the 12-19-2017 Council meeting: Bill to trample property rights and kill an affordable housing project deferred, more transparency for corporate welfare approved, $2.9 million in incentives to Philips company approved.

The most important news of the December 19the Council meeting is that BILL NO. BL2016-219  which would trample a persons property rights and kill an affordable housing project was deferred "by rule."   It will be back on the Council agenda next meeting.

Another important action was the approval of  RESOLUTION RS2017-986 which awarded $2.9 million in incentives to Philips company. The company plans to hire 815 employees over the next two years and the company will receive a grant of $500 per employee.  The average wage of the employees will be $60,000.  The incentive package was approved by a vote of 28 to 1 with three abstentions.  The "no" vote was by Councilman John Cooper and the three abstentions were Kathleen Murphy, Dave Rosenberg and Jacobia Dowell. There was no floor discussion.

BILL BL2017-983 which would bring greater transparency to corporate welfare packages was approved on second reading. This bill would require companies getting an incentive to provide such information as to the type and number of jobs that will be created,  both during and after construction, and whether those jobs will be temporary or permanent, and the number of jobs that will be filled by Davidson County residents. This bill was opposed by the Chamber of Commerce and supported by a liberal organization by the name of NOAH and supported by the Central Labor Council. Some of the most liberal members of the Council supported it and some of the more conservative council members opposed it. While on most issues I would find myself not on the same side of an issue as organized labor and liberal activist, and I would find myself on the same side of an issue as council members like Robert Swope and Stenve Glover, I support this bill.  I support greater transparency in the awarding of corporate welfare. This bill established no policy guidelines, it simply required companies seeking incentive grants to provide more information. To see the discussion see timestamp 31:35 - 51:03 in the video.

On a Motion to Reconsider  RESOLUTION RS2017-966, the motion failed by a vote on only one in favor, 33 opposed, and one abstention The motion was not debatable. Having failed, the action taken at the last council meeting to approve RS2017-966 was unchanged. That resolution was the resolution to approved the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, as special counsel to pursue claims against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids that have "wrongfully caused drug addiction in Davidson County." The opposition to selection of this law firm came mostly from Black members of the Council, concerned that the firm did not have a sufficient number of Black attorneys working for the firm. 

If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis or you really will not know what is going on. To access the agenda, staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

In other council action, Roy Dale and Anna Maddox were reappointed to the Stormwarter Management Board after previously having had their confirmation delayed.  There was no discussion and no negative votes.

The Nashville Songwriters Association was honored with the presentation of a resolution. (see video timestamp 8:30- 13:24,)

RESOLUTION RS2017-779 , RESOLUTION RS2017-780, and RESOLUTION RS2017-781 all of which deal with right-of-way closures are deferred indefinitely.

All bills on Introduction and First Reading are considered together and pass by a single vote, as is the norm, including BILL BL2017-1031 which is the bill "adopting a transit improvement program for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, approving a surcharge for the program, and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018." 

BILL BL2017-865  on Second Reading which creates new public works reporting requirements is deferred to the second meeting in March.

BILL BL2017-941 on Second Reading which would establish a a Commercial Permit Parking Program is deferred two meetings.

SUBSTITUTE BILL BL2017-953 as amended imposes various regulations regarding commercial solicitation  including restricting door-to-door commercial solicitation to daylight hours or no later than 7PM whichever is later.  It passes on Second Reading.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

A Season of Giving

This is the time of the year when I look at my giving for the year and make end of year gifts to organizations and causes I support.  I do not belong to a church so I do not tithe or regularly support a church like many people do.  Throughout the year I give to various causes but at the end of the year I take stock of my giving and make most of my donations.

My giving includes support for political causes in which I believe and to good candidates running for office.  Some may think that political contribution are a separate category of giving than charitable causes but I do not agree.  I fear for our country and want to preserve liberty, promote limited government, promote good government, promote justice, protect private property and promote a free market economy.  I want America to remain a unique country.  I do not want our nation to become a "normal" European-type social welfare state. America has been the arsenal of Democracy and the leader of the free world. We are the essential country both in power to do good and as an example of what can be.

There are evil forces in the world.  It is easy to forget how the whole world was on the bring of a nuclear Armageddon at the end of the cold war and how half of the world's population was under communist domination and it is easy to forget the 100 million victims of communism.  While Communism is no longer the primary threat freedom faces at this time, the views that made communism so seductive are alive and well.  People are often ready to follow an ideology that promises to fix everything and they are willing to sacrifice their freedom for an idealistic utopian promise of a better tomorrow.

In my view, resisting tyranny and promoting freedom are every bit as important as finding a cure for a disease or feeding the hungry. We also, however, have a moral obligation, I believe, to help those in need.  I do not think this is a collective obligation. I don't think one gains any merits when the government robs you of your earnings and gives it to someone else. The fact that you are taxed does not satisfy the obligation to be charitable.

If you examine your life and have been blessed and do not give, please consider doing so.  It is so easy to simply not care and not share.  I find that I am blessed when I give. Also, giving makes one more sensitive to the cause to which they give and more vested in results. One has to follow their own heart and where I choose to give, may not be the same place you choose to give but below are some of the organizations I find to be worthy of my support. If you are looking for a place to give where your money will be put to good use, I urge you to consider contributing to the following organizations.

Nashville Rescue Mission is an organization with which we are all familiar.  They are the primary
agency serving Nashville's homeless. They feed them, provide shelter, and provide case management attempting to get people employed and off the street.  They are a faith-based organization and do not receive government funding. The Nashville Rescue Mission saves lives and helps the most unfortunate of our city.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. They have fought for elimination of barriers to the right to earn a living. In the days before Uber and Lyft, when Nashville tried to harass and regulate out of existence a ride-sharing company, Beacon came to the defense of the company. Beacon has successfully pushed for bold reforms in education, healthcare, economic regulation, and tax policy, among many others. They also investigate and expose government waste.

Institute for Justice fights for economic liberty including opposing unreasonable licensing laws that serve to protect certain service industries from competition. They were active in Nashville in the past when they opposed the city's efforts to shut down an early pioneer in alternative transportation.  The city tried to force all providers of ride-sharing services similar to Uber or Lyft to charge a minimum fee of $40 per trip among other measure designed to stamp out alternative transportation and to protect the taxi interest. IJ also was active in Nashville in protecting the rights of a small business owner by the name of Joy Ford when the city wanted to take her music business office and sell the property to a big developer. Currently, IJ is working with The Beacon Center to challenge the city's prohibition against home-based businesses.  Metro's ban makes illegal home recording studios and music teachers giving piano lessens in their home and even a one-chair hair salon. The enforcement of the ban is arbitrary. IJ has also been active in fighting civil forfeiture in which the government may seize one's property and to regain the property the owner must prove he is not engaged in criminal activity.

Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigates to hold politicians and public officials accountable who engage in corrupt activities. They also fight for fair and honest elections and defend voter ID laws and fight illegal sanctuary policies.

Tennessee Parks & Greenways Foundation  is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting
and conserving Tennessee’s natural treasures. It is the oldest accredited, statewide land trust in Tennessee. Through collaboration with members, private landowners, local municipalities, and state and federal agencies, they work to create parks, establish wildlife corridors, expand existing protected public lands, and enhance public recreation opportunities.  Some of the most endangered and beautiful spots in Tennessee have been saved and made publicly accessible due to the work of this organization. 

 Tennessee Eagle Forum. The mission of TEF is "to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public-policy making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise."  The organization is highly effective and has a tireless leader in Bobbie Patray.

Victim of Communism Memorial Foundation.  The Berlin Wall fell, but communism didn’t. One
hundred years after the Bolshevik Revolution, one fifth of the world’s population still lives under single-party communist regimes in China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. Communist regimes commit the worst and widest-scale human rights abuses on the planet. Communism promises to make everyone equal, but delivers radical inequality. Every time it’s tried, it ends in economic collapse or a police state. From the famines, purges, and gulags of Soviet Russia to Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge—from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre to the Castro regime’s 2012 murder of Oswaldo Payá—communists have killed more than 100 million people. Countless more suffered and suffer still. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the record of communism and an entire generation of Americans is open to collectivist ideas because they don’t know the truth. This foundations tries to keep the memory of the evils of communism alive.

The Alzheimer Association  advances research to end Alzheimer's and dementia while enhancing
care for those living with the disease. I support this organization because my wife has been living with dementia for at least 16 years. Misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer's in 2003 it was not until sometime in 2015 that she was correctly diagnosed as having a different condition. By the time the she was properly diagnosed and treated, the brain damage was advanced and not reversible. Advances in diagnosing and treating dementia would have made a big difference in Louella's life and in my life as her caregiver.


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Mayor Barry's bold and courageous proposal to close General Hospital. I hope she will stay the course.

I am normally pretty stingy with my praise for Mayor Megan Barry and I often disagree with her policy proposals, but I applaud her bold and courageous move to close General Hospital.  She is not completely doing away with the facility  but is proposing to convert it to an outpatient care facility.

During the 2014 mayoral campaign all of the candidates for mayor pledged their support for General Hospital (link). Of all of the candidates, I perceived Barry as the most liberal and the one lease likely to make any changes to General.  With Barry's election I just assumed Nashville General would have a blank check to continue losing money.  Barry has pleasantly surprised me. As General continued to need more and more subsidy, Barry's frustration with General became more and more pronounced.

In the last two years the Hospital has sought $26 million in emergency funding  in addition to a $35 million annual subsidy from the Metro Council.  As reported in The Tennessean recently, a recent audit found that the hospital, "failed at basic bookkeeping, unable to keep track of patient payments and major expenses."

While poor management is obviously a problem, the real problem with Nashville General is that  no one wants to go there.  Metro jail inmates without insurance have no choice and are sent to General and there is a financial incentive for Metro employees to use General but it still cannot fill its beds. The facility is  licensed for 150 beds, staffed for 114 and has an average of 44 beds filled a day. Metro General should have been closed fifty years ago.  Ever since the advent of Medicaid there has been no need for a city charity hospital and the reason it has been kept open is purely political.  Nashville General is the teaching hospital of Meharry Medical College. Meharry is the second largest educator of African-American medical doctors and dentists in the United States and has the highest percentage of African Americans graduating with Ph.Ds in the biomedical sciences in the country. It is a symbol of pride for the Black Community and no previous mayor has dared to antagonize the leadership of the Black community.

Mayor Barry is getting push back for her decision to close General.  I hope she has the backbone to follow through with her correct decision.  While members of the Council have also expressed frustration with General, I would not count on them to stand with her when the going gets tough, I would not be totally surprised if there is not a concerted effort with civil rights marches and grandstanding to "save" General.  Pandering to the Black community is always a wise political move in Nashville. The current director could be thrown under the bus and accused of poor management, some superficial changes could occur, and Metro General's future could be secure for another fifty years.

If you have the opportunity to encourage Mayor Barry to stay strong and not back down or to encourage your councilman to support Barry's decision, please do so.

The Tennessean, December 17, 2017: Future uncertain for Nashville General CEO amid mayor's plans to end inpatient care.
The Tennessean, December 15, 2017:  Hospital landscape in limbo as questions swirl over Nashville General's fate
The Tennessean, December 14, 2017: Audit: Nashville General plagued by financial mismanagement despite progress.

For previous reporting on Metro Nashville General issues covered in this blog, follow this link

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

What's on the Council agenda for Dec. 19, 2017: Trampling private property rights and killing an affordable housing development, $2.85 million in corporate welfare, selection of a law firm being reconsidered.

The most important item on the Council agenda for this meeting is BILL NO. BL2016-219 on Third

proposed The Ridge at Antioch
and Final Reading. This bill is the attempt to kill an affordable housing project and trample a person's private property rights by cancelling an approved Planned Unit Development and down zoning a person's property without their consent.  To take away a permitted use is a "taking."  Property rights are more than just holding legal title.  When property is taken it should only be for a public purpose and owners should be compensated for their loss.  I know we now have a very liberal Metro Council, but I suspect even many liberals are not comfortable trampling property rights.  If they are unconcerned about trampling property rights, they are probably concerned about exposing the city to a law suit the city is most likely going to lose and the loss of future State assistance in the form of tax credits the state has threatened to withhold  should this bill pass.

The opposition to the development of this property is that it will concentrate poverty and that Antioch does not need more affordable housing. Some of the council members supporting this bill and opposing the affordable housing project are the leading advocates of affordable housing. Hypocrites! They want affordable housing but not where the market says it is affordable.  This proposed affordable housing project should not be thought of as "the projects" or something similar. Unless someone told you, you would not even know this type housing had a subsidy. This planned development is a "tax credit" property. The people who will live there are people who work. The rent will not be based on an individuals ability to pay, but the rent will be "affordable" for a person of modest income. This is what is often called "workforce" housing.

This bill has been disapproved by the Planning Commission.  If this  passes the State of Tennessee has threatened to withhold future tax credits used to help finance affordable housing developments. For more on this story see this link and this and this.

This bill has been in the works for a very long time.  To view the July 6, 2016 Public Hearing on the bill follow this link. It was deferred indefinitely following that public hearing. It was on the agenda on third reading on April18, 2017  and at that time it was deferred to this meeting, the second meeting in December.  Being a dissapproved bill, this will take 28 votes to pass and there will be a roll call vote. I will record in this blog, how members of the Council voted.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the staff analysis  or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links.

Appointment of Roy Dale and Anna Maddox to the Stormwater Management Board.
There are two mayoral appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda for confirmation. These are the same two that were on the agenda last meeting and deferred to this meeting.  They are the appointments of Roy Dale and  Anna Maddox to the Stormwater Water Management Board. It is very unusual that a  mayoral appointment is just not automatically rubber stamped by the Rules and Confirmation Committee of the Council and the full Council. Last meeting both candidates received a recommendation of a deferral by the rules committee by a vote of 5 to 3 and the Council voted to defer the confirmation of appointments. The Committee chairman said the recommendation was due to unanswered questions from constituents.  I do not know what those questions were and do not know if questions have been answered.  Roy Dale is a former member of the Council and a major developer in town.  This is just a guess but I would bet some members of the public saw his roll on the Sormwater Management Committee as a conflict with his roll as a developer. However that does not explain the opposition to Anna Maddox.  I monitor some neighborhood activist sites but have not seen opposition to these candidates. I have no insight as to what is behind the deferral and have heard nothing. Watch to see what happens. If someone knows what is going on, please contact me or post a comment.

Resolution on Motion to Reconsider
RESOLUTION RS2017-966  is the resolution which authorizes the Mayor to employ the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, as special counsel to pursue claims against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids that have "wrongfully caused drug addiction in Davidson County." This resolution was on the agenda meeting before last and deferred to last meeting and at the last meeting it was approved by a machine vote of 30 in favor, 6 opposed and 4 abstentions. Now it is back on the agenda, placed on the agenda under a "motion to reconsider." A motion to reconsider is authorized under Rule 35 of the rules of the Council . This is what rule 35 says:
 A motion to reconsider a vote of the Council on any ordinance or resolution can be entertained only on a final reading and an affirmative vote and then only when the following have been complied with:
(a) The maker of the motion to reconsider must have voted with the prevailing side.
(b) The motion to reconsider must be made before the next order of business.
(c) Not less than four (4) members of the Council must second the motion, and these four members need not have voted with the prevailing side.
Such motion, properly made and seconded, must be considered and finally acted on at the next regular meeting of the Council or at a special meeting called for that purpose. Such motion shall not be debatable prior to its consideration and final action.
No statement that a member is proposing to offer a motion to reconsider at a later meeting is to be entertained by the Council.
I did not know the motion to reconsider had been made and passed last council meeting but rewatching the council meeting I see that it was.  The maker of the motion and the discussion of the motion between the vice mayor and the attorney for the council is  low volume and barely audible. To see this action at the last council meeting see timestamp 1:14 in the video at this link. It appears this is properly back on the agenda.

The primary opposition to this resolution is that of the Black council members who are concerned that the chosen law firm does not have a sufficient number of Black lawyers. This is complicated legal work and only a few firms have the expertise to litigate this matter. Also, the firm must have deep pockets to front the expenses, Sometimes cases like this can take years to be settled. There is an urgency to proceed or Nashville could miss the boat.

Under the contract with the selected legal firm, in some cases the law firm could get up to 20% of any money awarded the city. However, if the law firm won no award, the city would pay them nothing. To see the discussion on the resolution that occurred at the last Council meeting, see timestamp 43 to 1:14:06 in the video.

There are no bills on Public hearing on this agenda.

There are 16 resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which has been assigned. Since the committees have not met yet, some resolutions which are listed as on the consent agenda may not be on the consent agenda when the council meets. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging public sidewalk. Resolutions on the consent agenda are lumped together and passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. Any member of the body however, may have a resolution pulled off of the consent agenda or have their "no" vote or abstention recorded. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Below are the resolution I find of interest. 
RESOLUTION RS2017-779 , RESOLUTION RS2017-780, and RESOLUTION RS2017-781 all  deal with right-of-way closures. These resolutions would increase the fee for closing a right-of-way would specify requirements for a right-of-way site management plan permit, and request that all fee revenue from right-of-way temporary closure permits be used for staffing, expenses, and other direct costs of administering such permits. I do not expect this to be controversial. With Nashville's rapid growth and downtown construction right-of-way closures have been a problem.  Sometimes, streets are narrowed or closed for months while downtown construction takes place causing traffic problems and interfering with the functioning of businesses in the area of the right-of-way closure.

RESOLUTION RS2017-986 awards an economic and community development incentive grant to  Philips Holding. Phillips Holding is a Netherlands-based health technology firm. This would award them  $2.85 million in city incentives and the firm would bring 815 new jobs with an average annual salary of $60,000. To read The Tennessean's coverage of this issue see Barry proposes $2.9M incentive package for Philips' Nashville expansion. While I wish this was not the way business was done, unfortunately it is.  If we do not offer this type of bribe or corporate welfare, some other city will and the company will locate elsewhere. I have a concern that sometimes we award these grants unnecessarily. Some of the firms we give the money to would have probably located in Nashville anyway without the incentive. Sometimes the jobs do not materialize.  A positive feature of this deal is that the jobs are good paying jobs.  The money is awarded as the jobs are created. It makes more sense to lure companies to Nashville that provide good paying jobs rather than companies that pay low wages. I hope the budget and finance company carefully reviews this resolution to determine if it is a good deal for the city.

RESOLUTION RS2017-998  is a memorializing resolution "recognizing the Ryman Auditorium - “The Mother Church of Country Music” - and its 125 years in Nashville as Music City’s most famous and respected music venue attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to Nashville each year."
Bills on First reading: There are 10 bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading. I do not usually read them until they get to second reading. Bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote except in extremely rare cases. One bill of note on First Reading is BILL BL2017-1031 , "an ordinance adopting a transit improvement program for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, approving a surcharge for the program, and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018, regarding the levying of the surcharge on certain taxes to fund the program." While I generally think everything should pass on First Reading, if I were serving in the Council, I would vote "no" on this bill on First Reading.

Bills on Second Reading. There are 22 bills on Second Reading. These are the ones of interest.
BILL BL2017-865  creates new public works reporting requirements.  This bill creates more transparency regarding Metro public works projects. The council would get regular reports on the cost and status of projects and Public Works would be required to maintain on-line map of the projects providing various data, such as cost and status of the project. This is a good bill.
BILL BL2017-941 would establish a a Commercial Permit Parking Program. The council would have to approve the geographic areas in which this applied. In those areas commercial vehicles could only park on the street if they had a permit to do so.  As we grow, parking become more of a problem with people parking on streets taking parking places that deny those spaces to those who have businesses or residence on the street a place to park. These seems reasonable. This would not impose such a system all at once. Area businesses and residences would have to petition to have such a system in place in their neighborhood. This is a good bill. This bill was on the agenda of 11-7-2017 on Second Reading and deferred to this meeting.

SUBSTITUTE BILL BL2017-953  imposes various regulations regarding commercial solicitation  including restricting door-to-door commercial solicitation to daylight hours. As one who once sold cable TV door-to-door when Viacom was new to Nashville, this seems overly restrictive, especially in the winter when it is dark at 5:00PM. When I was selling cable, I often worked till 8PM. I am pleased to see that a second substitute is anticipated that would  alter the proposed time restrictions by prohibiting door-to-door solicitation after sunset or 7:00 pm, whichever occurs later. With that change, I would support this bill if I had a vote. This was on the agenda on Second Reading last meeting and deferred to this meeting. 

BILL BL2017-983 would require certain information for the assessment of economic and community development incentives offered in the form of PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreements and Council approval. PILOTS are a form of corporate welfare used most often to entice businesses to locate or expand in Nashville. It is often offered by the Industrial Development Board but has recently been offered by the Metro Development and Housing Agency in order to encourage the development of affordable housing. Under a PILOT agreement, the business is exempt from paying property taxes but instead pays a fee in lieu of those taxes which is considerably less than the company would pay in taxes. Currently companies getting incentive grants have to provide Metro with certain information such as how many jobs they will create and other things and then the Council has to approve the incentive grant.  This bill would apply those same standards to those getting PILOT deals.  This is a good bill.  Currently the PILOTs are awarded without Council oversight.  This was on the agenda on Second Reading last meeting and deferred to this meeting.
Bills on Third Reading. There are 40 bills on third reading. Most are zoning bills that have been approved by the Planning Commission or are approved subject to modification as recommended by the Planning Commission. BILL NO. BL2016-219 is addressed at the top of this page and none of the others are of much interest.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Thoughts on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama

I was conflicted over Roy Moor's candidacy. The rational part of myself said a win for Roy Moore would be an albatross around the neck of the Republican Party and lead to future losses in 2020 and beyond. He would be a distraction.  He would be a fund raising gold mine for Democrats. He would be the poster boy for why people should not vote Republican.  Republicans are holding on to a small sliver of the electorate but demographics are not in our favor.  Republicans must make inroads in to millennials and Hispanics and African-Americans. Roy Moore would alienate those people. Also, Republicans are losing white college-educated women. Roy Moore's victory would likely cause further loss of this group.

Roy Moore
I also reasoned that we should do the right thing and not elect a person with credible collaborated charges of hitting on 14 year-old girls when he was a 32 year-old man.  I know Democrats a few years ago elected as president a man who had collaborated credible charges of rape alleged against him.  In addition to the charges of rape, Bill Clinton settled several law suites alleging sexual harassment. Still, I reasoned, we should do the right thing.  Just because Democrats put party above principle is no reason for Republicans to do the same thing. We are better people than Democrats.

On the other hand, while I concluded I thought it best if Roy Moore lose the election, I could not help but be pleased when it looked like he was ahead in the polls. There is something satisfying about poking self-righteous pompous liberals in the eye. Also, tribalism is a hard thing to overcome. I want to cheer for my team.  With Republicans only having a two seat majority, shrinking that margin to one seat could endanger the Republican agenda. Some of my feelings of only moderate revulsion at Moore's creepy behavior toward young girls is that my mother married when she was only 15 and my grandmother married when she was 13.  While a thirty year-old man cruising teen girls in the mall is creepy, it is not quite pedophilia. And, it was only allegations and it was forty years ago and the timing of the revelation was suspect.  Maybe he had an attraction to young girls a long time ago but is now cured of that.  Maybe he changed.  Many good men may have feet of Clay. The allegations against Moore are not nearly as serious as the numerous allegations against Bill Clinton, I would say to myself,  and maybe Democrats are right and scoring for our team is preferable to standing for morality and losing an election.  It was not always easy to maintain my preference that Roy Moore lose the election.

One thing that made me come down on the side of wanting Moore to lose is that Moore represents the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party.  He has twice defied the Supreme Court. The first time was in 2003 when he defied a federal court order requiring him to remove a large granite Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building. This is a monument that he himself had caused to be placed there. The second time was when he issued an order to lower courts in Alabama that they were not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. This was after the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the Constitution guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage.  I am sympathetic with Roy Moore in both of these cases, but one cannot just disobey a federal court order.  We are a nation of laws.  Every State Supreme Court judge cannot decide the law for his state.  There are means to legally resist and attempt to overturn a Supreme Court ruling; simply defying it is not one of them.

Another black mark against Roy Moore is that he seems ignorant of basic constitutional provisions. He has said he thinks Muslims should be prohibited from serving in the U. S.Congress.  I don't know if he is aware that the constitution prohibits a religious test for public office. He also seems really uninformed about current events. I saw him being interviewed on TV and he did not even know the meaning of the term "DACA" or "dreamers."  Anyone who is that uninformed to not know these common terms is not informed enough to serve n the U. S. Senate.

Judge Roy Moore joins the ranks of those embarrassing Republican candidates like Todd Akin, Sharron Angle, and Christine O’Donnell who were nominated but lost the general election.  While I am pleased the lunatic fringe looses general elections, if Republicans did not nominate nut-jobs and seriously flawed candidates then we could win some of the seats the nut-jobs are losing. We as Republicans need to nominate people with integrity, and who are well grounded in core believes, and in touch with reality.  There are too many Republicans caught up in conspiracy stuff like the birther movement or Agenda 21 or a belief that there is a conspiracy to impose Sharia law on America or other nutty things.  These are not the people who should be selecting our nominees.

Often Republican primary voters undervalue nominating people who can get things done in favor of someone who can push their emotional buttons.  I am pro-life and pro-Second Amendment but to have a single issue focus on these issues and vote for the one who exhibits the most pro-life or pro-Second Amendment passion, at the expense of someone who would be a good manager and govern a state and improve education and solve problems is not wise. Nominating someone who can push the right emotional buttons over someone who would make a good legislator, who understands the issues, and is wise and informed is short-sighted. 

Unfortunately, primaries are decided by only a handful of Republicans. The Republicans who only vote in general elections must start voting in order to ensure the party nominates people who are not an embarrassment and who hand the election to the Democrats. If more Republicans would have voted in the Alabama primary, Roy Moore would not have been the nominee and Republicans would have kept that safe seat. 

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