Saturday, May 12, 2018

Reception to support Dr. Carol Swain for mayor, Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

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Liberty on the Rocks meets Thursday, May 17th

Thursday, May 17 at 6 PM

SmokinThighs, 611 Wedgewood Ave, Nashville, Tennessee 37203

No prayer, no pledge, no reading of the minutes, no speaker, no program; just a bunch of people who love liberty who get together to talk about whatever anyone wants to talk about. The group is predominantly libertarian but various strips of conservatives are in the mix. This is an occupationally and age mixed group with everyone from laborers to college students to business executives to lawyers in the mix.  Sometimes the conversation gets heated but I have never seen anyone resort to name-calling or get personal. With the average crowd numbering close to twenty people, the large group normally breaks into smaller groups with shifting members. One group may be arguing about the role of the American military and foreign policy or discussing the upcoming mayor's race, anther may be discussing bit coin and technology, and yet another group may not be talking about anything political but may be talking about their travel adventures.

I have been attending LOR almost since the first, about eight years ago, and really enjoy it. Join us for an evening of libation and interesting conversation.

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The Tennessean exhibits sexist and gender prejudice in news reporting.

by Rod Williams - In a story in today's Tennessean, it was reported, "Police look for thieves; vehicles had children inside." According to the report, a two year old girl was safe and sound after the incident. A "mother" went into a Citgo on Brick Church Pike to make a purchase and left the car running with her infant child in the car.  Suspects jumped in the car and drove off. By tracking the location of the vehicle, due to the mother also leaving  her cell phone in the car, the police were able to track the vehicle to a location in east Nashville, where the child was found crying standing on the front porch of a home. The thieves and vehicle were not located.

This is the second incident of this nature in a 48 hour period. The other happened at a Mapco on Stewards Ferry Pike the day before and three children were in the stolen car. The thieves later abandoned the car and the children were found unharmed. The thieves in the second vehicle were also identified as male.

The story did not mention the race of the thieves but in the first incident a picture captured from the stores video security camera shows the thieves to be African American.

The official city of Nashville press release did not identify the thieves as "men," but reported the story this way:

Detectives are continuing in their efforts to identify the persons responsible for two apparently unrelated car thefts in which children who had been left in the vehicles were briefly taken.       
At 6:20 p.m. Sunday, thieves jumped into a white Hyundai Elantra that had been left running with a 2-year-old child inside while her mother went into Terry’s Quick Stop at 3050 Brick Church Pike.  The persons who stole the Elantra got out of a blue Nissan Versa that was stolen on April 10th from the driveway of a home on Elmore Avenue.  It had also been left unattended and running.  Both the Elantra and the Versa fled the parking lot.  Officers were able to track the victim’s cell phone to East Nashville and located the 2-year-old crying and standing on the front porch of a home in the 1000 block of Pennock Avenue.  She was unharmed.  Officers located the abandoned stolen Versa in an alley between Meridian Street and Pennock Avenue.  The Elantra has not yet been recovered.  
Why did The Tennessean identify the thieves as "males?"  Why, like the Metro press release, did they not call the thieves "persons?" By identifying the thieves as men, The Tennessean is guilty of furthering the stereotype and prejudice that males are more likely to be criminals than are females. Society disproportionately incarcerates many more men than women. Of the prison population 91.7% are male. It would seem that an enlightened policy would strive to have no more men incarcerated than women. Surely there is not a gender difference that would result in more male incarceration than female. Perhaps there should be a moratorium on incarcerating any more men until the ratios reflect the approximate 50% that men and women each represent of the population. As long as our media continues to perpetuate prejudice against men such justice will not be achieved.

Not only are more men incarcerated than women, but police routinely treat men and women differently.  In a routine traffic stop police use more caution and display a firmer attitude when approaching a car with a male driver than a female driver. Police do not treat the sexes equally. Movies and TV crime programs routinely show men more violent and prone to crime than women.

In addition to furthering the societal prejudice that leads to more men being incarcerated than women, The Tennessean report also calls into question the appropriateness of even using the term "male" and "female."  After all, is not sex and gender a societal construct? Even if the thieves appeared to be "male," how do we know they think of themselves as male. Obviously, the reporter did not interview the "men" to ask them their gender preference or gender identity. They could have been male, female, transgender or gender fluid.

In addition to the prejudiced against men, the story also furthered the stereotyping of some women as bad mothers.  Was it necessary to report that the "mother" went into the story to make a purchase and left the child in the car with the engine running?  Why did the story not report that "the parent" or "adult guardian" went into the store.

Many years ago, The Tennessee and other mainstream news outlets began concealing the race of those committing crime. How long must we wait before the same enlighten attitude applies to sex and gender and that prejudicial sexist distinction is also concealed?

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Who voted for the transit referendum? The super cool people.

An examination of the transit referendum election returns shows that the only parts of the county to vote for the referendum were those progressive, gentrified, urban, "hip" areas of town such as east Nashville, downtown, 12th Ave. South, and Sylvan Park. The division was not between the "haves" and the "have nots" but more of a division between the cool and hip and everyone else. This did not hold everywhere however. I have thought I lived in one of the hotbeds of progressivism but I was pleasantly surprised to see my precinct, the Senior Citizens Center at the Fairgrounds, precinct 17-7, voted against it. The vote was 194 against and only 136 in favor.

In general, the areas that voted for the transit  tended to be areas of higher income than the county average, but areas of the county much more affluent, areas such as Belle Meade and Forest Hills, voted against it.

Republicans voted against it and turned out in high number and, surprising to many,  the Black community voted against it. Only five Council districts voted for the transit referendum. If one had the data to study who voted for the referendum beyond just identifying precincts, I would bet that California transplants and millennials overwhelmingly voted for it. Maybe there is hope for Nashville yet.

To see how each prescient in the county voted follow this, link to see Election Commission returns or this link to view The Tennessean's interactive map.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

SEIU Local 205 endorses David Briley and Erica Gilmore and Harold Love

by Rod Williams - The union that represents most Metro employees except for Police, Firemen and teachers has made their endorsements and I am very pleased. There was no chance the union would endorse anyone who wanted to increase government efficiency and cut government waste. A more efficient government is not in the interest of a public sector union. Since they were not going to endorse anyone interested in a more efficient government, they did the next best thing and endorsed three big-spending candidates. Endorsing three candidates is about as good as endorsing no candidate. They endorsed David Briley, Erica Gilmore and Harold love. Below is the SEIU press release.

Press release - The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 205 announces their recommended candidates for Nashville’s Mayoral special election, which is to be held on May 24th, 2018.

The candidates were chosen by a committee of union members who work for Metro Government or for Metro Nashville Public Schools – all of whom are residents of Davidson County.

Because there are multiple candidates who have been strong supporters of Metro employees and of working families, SEIU Local 205 recommends Mayor David Briley, Metro Council Member Erica Gilmore, and State Representative Harold Love
Mayor David Briley has been a strong supporter of Metro employees throughout his tenure on the Metro Council and as Vice Mayor, and he has always been an advocate for making sure Nashville’s prosperity is shared by everyone.

Erica Gilmore was one of the first Metro Council members to speak up to defend Nashville General Hospital and she has been an advocate for holding businesses accountable for public tax incentives they have received.

State Representative Harold Love has fought hard to protect Nashville from overreach by the state legislature and he has been a strong supporter of a living wage in the “Fight for $15” campaign.

All three have been strong defenders of Nashville General Hospital and of the Bordeaux long term care facility.

Election Day for the Mayor’s race will be on Thursday, May 24th. Early voting is from Friday, May 4th until Saturday, May 19th. Complete information on early voting dates and voting locations is available from the Davidson County Election Commission at 615-862-8800.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Tennessee small businesses are optimistic. Record Level of Small Businesses Seeing Profit Growth

Press release, NASHVILLE, May 8, 2018— The Small Business Optimism Index sustained record-high levels increasing to 104.8 in April, driven by reports of improved profits, the highest in the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey’s 45-year history. Additionally, the number of small businesses reporting poor sales fell to a near record low. April is the 17th consecutive month of historically high readings, according to the survey that was released today.

“Never in the history of this survey have we seen profit trends so high,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The optimism small businesses owners have about the economy is turning into new job creation, increased wages and benefits, and investment.”

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Jim Brown said, “Our members are telling us that they're investing in new equipment and hiring additional workers. They wouldn't do that if they weren't optimistic about the direction of the economy.”

The frequency of positive profit trends went up three points in April due to gains in operating productivity and stronger sales as well as the newly implemented tax law.

Reports of capital outlays rose three points this month to 61 percent, indicating that small businesses are confident and strong enough to make investments. Of those businesses making expenditures, 43 percent are spending on new equipment (up four points), while 27 percent are acquiring vehicles (up three points).

In addition, more small businesses are planning capital outlays in the next few months, increasing three points to 29 percent. As the difficulty of finding qualified workers continues to be a major obstacle for small businesses, with 22 percent citing it as their single most important business problem (up one point), more of this planned spending is expected to go toward training and labor-saving technology.

“There is no question that small business is booming,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Consumer spending, the new tax law, and lower regulatory barriers are all supporting the surge in optimism across all small business industry sectors.”

Small businesses are also confident in future sales growth, with a net 21 percent of owners expecting higher sales volumes (up one point). These numbers are particularly high in the construction and manufacturing industries.

As reported in Thursday’s NFIB jobs report, the share of small business owners who are hiring or trying to hire rose four points to 57 percent, and new job creation remains at historically strong levels, with a net 16 percent of owners planning to create new jobs. Significantly more new businesses are opening than closing, providing a major boost to new employment.

Worker compensation remains at the highest level since 2000, with net 33 percent reporting increasing compensation. The average family saw wages and salaries grow last year. Gains are likely to increase for many families this year due to tax cuts.

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Monday, May 07, 2018

Nashville's hotel rates will likely drop this year. Here's why.

Nashville's hotel rates will likely drop this year. Here's why.  The "why" is very, very simple. It is supply and demand. As demand for hotel rooms increases (or

demand for wheat or hookers or coal or labor or money or anything) prices are bid up, when prices rise, suppliers will see opportunity and increase supply. When excess supply is available, prices will drop. Demand and supply are never in perfect equilibrium but are always tending toward equilibrium. This applies to everything except when the government interferes and thinks it knows better than the market. This is basic Economics 101.

This law of supply and demand is as true as the law of gravity. If more liberals understood economics, we would have fewer liberals. It takes a while to bring a new hotel on line but some things, such as the cost of an Uber fare works almost in real time. If more people want to use Uber than there are Uber drivers working, the price of an Uber ride will increase. Some part-time Uber driver will see that fares have risen and decide to go to work.

This article reports that, "more than two dozen large hotels with 100 or more rooms are currently under construction downtown, near the airport, and in outlying areas like Goodlettsville and Green Hills. At least 41 more are in various stages of planning throughout Davidson County."

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Carol Swain, Candidate for Mayor, Calls for Immediate Resignation of Metro COO Rich!Riebeling

Carol Swain
By Rod Williams - Candidate for mayor Carol Swain yesterday called for the immediate resignation of Metro Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebleling. She issued the following statement:
The voters of Davidson County are tired of broken promises, underfunded schools, and cronyism that rewards those at the top. For too long Metro government has been squandering the taxpayer funds of hard working Nashvillians. Today’s revelation of the misappropriation of federal HUD flood relief funds is just another example of the corruption that is plaguing City Hall and the rest of the Metropolitan government. As finance director of the city Riebeling was either complicit in this act or ignorant of it. He can delegate authority, but he cannot delegate responsibility.

Today, I am calling for the immediate resignation and investigation into the dealings of Metro Chief Operations Officer Rich Riebeling. Under Riebeling’s management the city has awarded no bid bond contracts to his son, misappropriated funds at the fairgrounds and given away free office space to his developer friend Larry Atema. Riebeling has said he’s “committed to doing what’s right for the city,” but it is clear that this is not the case. When asked about Riebeling’s place in his administration, Mayor Briley has said he is “committed to continuity.” This statement is a damning indictment of his ability to lead the city forward.
Rich Riebeling
The most recent Riebeling scandal involved the use $7.4 million of federal Disaster Recovery Fund money going towards riverfront development instead of being used to assist homeowners who were flooded out of their homes. Following the 2010 flood, Nashville got $33 million for flood recovery. The $7.4 million diverted from flood recovery went to build the Ascend Amphitheater, a downtown concert venue at Riverfront Park.

At the time of the flood, I was working as a HUD-approved housing counselor with a non-profit housing counseling agency and encountered numerous people who lost their home or had to declare bankruptcy or spend their life savings or went deeply in debt because of the flood. It ruined peoples lives and to think that money was diverted to other purposes other than the purpose for which it was intended especially angers me.  In a Channel 2 news report, members of the Metro Council say they were unaware of the redirection of Disaster Recovery Funds.

It is time for Rich Riebeling to be fired or forced to resign. I appreciate Carol Swain for calling for his resignation. This type of using public funds as your own slush fund needs to stop. Cronyism and misuse of public funds needs to stop.  Rich Riebeling is probably no worse than many others in similar positions elsewhere. Actually, Nashville is probably less corrupt and mismanaged than cities like Chicago and New Orleans but because we are not the worst does not mean our level of mismanagement and corruption is tolerable. I just assume a very large chuck of all tax money is wasted or misspend, but it should not be that way. We should not just accept that a large portion of public money is misspent. I think there needs to be an investigation of the $60 millions spend to build 3.5 miles of sidewalks, but no one seems to care. That should generate outrage. It is time to drain the Nashville swamp and Rich Riebeling would be a good place to start!

Below is the News Channel 4 report of this story:

WSMV News 4

For more on the unauthorized spending of money for the soccer stadium, see this Channel 4 story: Metro official apologizes for spending $135K on stadium without permission.

For more on the $511,000 sweetheart deal with Larry Atema for consulting services, see this story: Fairgrounds consultant paid $511,000 in management fees.

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