Friday, July 10, 2020

You can now make music at home in Music City

Justin Owen
BY JUSTIN OWEN, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Beacon Center of Tennessee - As one of our best one liners, for years we have said that “it is illegal to make music at home in Music City.” Nashville, a city most known for bootstrapping fledgling musicians, imposed the nation’s most stringent ban on home businesses. No one—including recording studios—could operate a home business that saw even a single client in the home. In late 2017, Beacon and our friends at the Institute of Justice teamed up with two home business owners to fight back against this egregious law.

Lij Shaw had operated a successful home studio, recording for the likes of Jack White, Wilco, Adele, and the Zac Brown Band. But when a neighbor was denied his own home business permit, he filed a complaint against Lij, shutting his business down despite no actual violations of traffic, noise (I mean, it is a sound-proof room we’re talking about), or any other laws.

Pat Raynor, a lifelong hairstylist, sought to work from home after her husband Harold passed away after a decade-long battle with a debilitating medical condition left Pat with extensive medical bills. She undertook an expensive renovation to her home to open up a hair salon that met all of Tennessee’s health and safety standards and would welcome just a few clients a day. Then one day, she too was threatened with fines unless she stowed away her scissors.

Unfortunately, we did not win in court. And while we are currently appealing the ruling, there has been an even quicker breakthrough. In an age when more Americans are working from home than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this became a pivotal moment for change. Why on earth did it make sense for the government to force some people to work from home while simultaneously banning others from doing so?

Finally rectifying this wrong, the Metro Nashville Council voted last night to allow home businesses, with some reasonable restrictions on the number of clients one can see each day, along with parking, noise, signage, and other limitations. This new law protects the residential character of our neighborhoods while allowing thousands of businesses to legally operate from home. After all, isn’t that the American Dream?

Kudos to the 26 Council members—led by Dave Rosenberg—for fighting to defend that dream in a time when having a source of income is both more difficult to come by and more important than it ever has been. And kudos to Lij and Pat (who is cutting my hair in her home salon next week) for their long and difficult journey to freedom, not just for themselves but also for thousands of their fellow Nashvillians.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Metro Council debates several police reform bills and related matters in a lengthy meeting

by Rod Williams- On Tuesday night July 7, the Council took up several bills relating to police use of force and other bills that relate to police procedures. Here they are:

Bill BL2020-329  which would prohibit the use of tear gas by law enforcement, passed on first reading. It passed by a vote of 19 yeses,  13 nos and 10 abstaining. That means it will fail if it makes it to third reading and no one changes their vote between now and then.  It takes 21 votes for something to pass on third reading.  Some of the "yes" votes may turn into abstentions or "nos."  Most bills pass first reading without discussion.  First reading is often viewed as simply allowing a bill to be considered.  Bills on first are not explained by council staff in the analysis and they have not been to committee.  Probably some of the "yes" votes were not votes on the merits but a vote to allow the bill to be considered. Many members of the Council probably feel it is simply bad manners to vote against a bill on first reading. If I were serving in the Council I would have voted "no" on this, but in general think of first reading as a formality.  I do not hold it against someone for voting "yes" on first reading. Tear gas is seldom used and without the tear gas option, police might have to use more lethel measues to combat mob violence. Council member Emily Bennett is the sponsor of this bill.

Bill BL2020-330 would give "residents the first right of question during a civic engagement with law enforcement." They could ask "a police officer if his/her body camera is recording, and require the officer to respond appropriately." This passed on first reading. This sounds reasonable to me. If I had a vote I would have voted in favor on first reading but would withold judgement on the merits of the bill until second reading.

Bill BL2020-331 on first reading would requre that "every Metropolitan police officer who has any engagement with the public shall receive implicit bias training at least once per year using curriculum developed by the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission.” If I had a vote, I would have voted for this on first reading but could not support this. I have a problem giving the Metro Human Relations Commission the authority to develop the curriculum.  Maybe there is a national curriculum that could be adopted from some respected national agency.  I just do not trust the Human Relations Commission.  This needs some study and discussion.

Bill BL2020-148 on second reading would "prohibit contracts with private operators of detention facilities." I am unsure what happened to this. CoreCivic has had enough of the city threatening to end their relationship with the company and just the day before this was on second reading said to the city that they were  tired of being "used as a punching bag by political opportunists," and put the city on notice they were going to phase out their provision of services to the city.  To progressives "for profit" is a dirty word but often government comes out ahead contracting for services rather than providing the services themselves. Government is reluctant to layoff people when the situation should recommend it and government workers with civil service protection are difficult to discipline. Also, by contracting, government can avoid the upfront cost of building new facilities. I oppose this bill and think we should be doing more contracting for services, not less, but "people not profits," and "no private prisons" has become a left-wing rallying cry.

Bill BL2020-321 on second reading requires members of the Metropolitan Council to receive disaster preparedness/response training and active shooter training.  I have never had the actice shooter training myself but know someone who has.  This persons is very progressive but has a sensitivity to the difficulty police have in making split second decisions as to shoot or not shoot.  I think it should be required for all member of the Council and wish it was required for members of the police oversight board. I hope this passed.

Bill BL2020-322 on second reading would "prohibit the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department from hiring police officers who were previously fired or under investigation by another law enforcement agency for malfeasance or use of force." This is a good bill. It was defered.

Bill BL2020-323 on second reading says, "The chief of police shall incorporate the following policies regarding use of force in any regulation concerning the conduct of officers: A. Officers shall use de-escalation tactics such as verbal warnings and advisements before resorting to force. B. Officers shall not use any form of chokehold nor stranglehold. C. Any officer who is present and observes another officer utilizing force when it is not reasonably necessary shall intervene to impede the use of unreasonable force. D. Officers shall report any use of force against civilians when any civilian is injured, complains of injury in the presence of officers, or complains of pain continuing beyond the use of physical force." My view is that this attempt to micromanage the officer's conduct in the field when confronting an immediate threat to his life, goes too far.
While trying to subdue a person who is trying to kill you, I don't think we should  be telling an officer which techniques are or are not permitted. If I had a vote, I might could be persuaded, but I would have to be persuaded that this is a good idea. My inclination is to oppose this. I think part A should be satisfied with, "Drop the gun!" However, parts C and D seem reasonable.  It was deferred.

Once the minutes are posted, I will check the status of those I am unsure about and report if they passed or did not pass. Check back. For more on this, see this link, link, and this link.

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Let's take a break. Let me show you my yard.

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Monday, July 06, 2020

Charlie Daniels dies at age 83, RIP

by Rod Williams - Charlie Daniels is dead at the age of 83. Rest in Peace.

Charlile Daniels holds a warm place in my heart. I am sorry to hear of his death. As I have gotten older, I have seen more and more people die off that I admired or respected. Some of them, I didn't know much more about them than that their music has spoken to my soul. Others, I knew their mind. Some, I admired for their impact on the world, others because, not even knowing me, they helped make it thorough the night. Ronald Reagan, I loved because, in my view, he was the person most responsible for ending Communism and throwing it onto the dust bin of history, liberating a third of the world from slavery, saving the rest of us from a destiny of living under totalitarian tyranny, and saving us from nuclear annihilation.

I know it is a mixed bag of chracters but in my Rest-in-Pease Hall of Fame is Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, George Jones, and now, Charlie Daniels. There may have been others that caused me a twinge of sadness and a moment of reflection, but for those I listed above, it was like I lost a good friend.

Those much younger than me may not know of Charlie Daniels other than that he was an aging country star. He was more. Charlie Daniels was pivotal. He let music out of its genre boxes and let people appreciate a range of musical styles. He introduced a generation to country music and they didn't know they liked country music.

I have always been a country music fan. I never related, except maybe for short periods hear and there, to the popular music of my era. Yea, the Beatles were OK, but I never loved The Beatles. I have always loved county music. However, I really do have an appreciation of almost all music. For a while I said I could appreciate all music except opera. Well, at one point about the mid 90's I was driving home and had pubic radio on because I always liked NPR news. Following the news, an opera performance came on and I did not change the station and when I got home, I realized I had been listening for maybe thirty minutes and I thought, I really enjoyed that. I then started listening to opera. I would go to the library and check out opera CDs and many of the CDs would have English translations of he lyrics. Country music and opera have a lot in common. Opera is often about ubrequited love, and unbelievable heartbreak and longing and maudlin pathos. I went through about a six months period where I explored and leaned about opera and learned to appreciate it.

I never did develop a love of the Ellla Fitzgerald-type improvisational scat signing or the instrumental progressive dissonant jazz, but I did develop an appreciation for lots of jazz. I really have developed an appreciation for almost all types of music, except for rap and I just can't get into it. So, I appreciate almost all kinds of music. Back to Charlie Daniels.

In the mid 70's I was attending college and loving it. I was late to go to college, I never had an adult to encourage me and somehow thought that college was for a different class of people. You might say I had an inferiority complex. I did enroll in college thanks to the GI bill and learned that I was a whole lot smarter than I had given myself credit for and loved learning. I was married at the time and then out of the blue, my wife left me and filed for divorce. I was devastated. I took it hard. I had to move out of my home and moved closer to college.

Money was tight and I got by on the GI bill and working odd jobs at day labor and working part-time as needed with a moving company. I had to live as cheaply as possible and rented an apartment between a red-neck couple and a bunch of guy whose hosehold composition was constantly changing but who were worthless red-neck hard rock fans and dope heads. Living in close quarters, I became friends with a class of people I had never known before. I had known poor people, but these were a subset of poor people that you might call "white trash." During this time living among degenerate poverty-stricken, hard-rock-loving, petty thieves and losers and dealing with heartbreak and lonliness  and somstimes experiencing bouts of depression, I was also growing intellecutrally, exhilarated by learning, meeting new friends in addition to my neighbors, exploring new ideas, and having new adventures. I studied harder than I had to.  It was rewarding to get A's.  It boosted by ego and if I was going to argue with my teachers, I had to know what I was talking about. Durning this tremultous period, which also included some excessive drinking and use of pot, Charlie Daniels provided the soundtrack to my life.

I was always conservative politically, but during this time I became somewhat of an  individualist, that some might classify as neo-hippy. I wore blue swede cowboys boots and had longish hair. I was active in College Republicans but was not the chamber-of-commerce-in-waiting type Republican. I started a chapter of Young American for Freedom on campus and wrote a regular editorial for the student newspaper. I was kind of a trouble maker and aruged with my professors. I never considered myself a libertarian but was at this time, maybe a "libertarian-Republican?" Someone once said a libertarian is a Republican who smokes dope. I was kind of that person.

 About this time in the mid-70's Southern Rock became a popular form of music. For those who may not be familiar, it was a mix of blues, country, and rock with a defiant attitude and an expresson of regional pride. I guess the heyday was about 1972 to about 1982 or so.  I loved the music. It spoke to me. The genre was kind of broad and ranged from ZZ Top and 38 special to Credence Clearwarter to Charlie Daniels. I still loved County music, but I was listening more and more to Southern Rock. I tended toward the country end of the spectrum and in addition to Charlie Daniels I loved Wet Willie and the Marshal Tucker band. I had albums by these artist and wore them out.

Charlie Daniels really spoke to me. My favorite albums for a long time was Fire on the Mountain. I still probably know the words to every song on the album. My favorite song on the album was "Long Haired County Boy." If you listen to it, it has kind of a defiant populist libertarianism to the lyrics. Here are the lyrics.:

People say I'm no good and crazy as a loon
'Cause I get stoned in the morning
And get drunk in the afternoon
Kinda like my old blue tick hound
I like to lay around in the shade
And I ain't got no money but I damn sure got it made

'Cause I ain't asking nobody for nothin'
If I cant get it on my own
If you don't like the way I'm livin'
You just leave this long-haired country boy alone

Preacher man talking on T.V.
Puttin' down the rock and roll
Wants me to send a donation
'Cause he's worried about my soul
He said Jesus walked on the water
And I know that it's true
But sometimes I think that preacherman
Would like to do a little walking too

But I ain't asking nobody for nothin'
If I cant get it on my own
If you don't like the way I'm livin'
You just leave this long-haired country boy alone

A poor girl wants to marry
And a rich girl wants to flirt
A rich man goes to college
And a poor man goes to work
A drunkard wants another drink of wine
And a politician wants a vote
I don't want much of nothin' at all
But I will take another toke

But I ain't asking nobody for nothin'
If I can't get it on my own
If you don't like the way I'm livin'
You just leave this long-haired country boy alone

After college, I moved to Nashville and for years attended the annual Charlie Daniel's Jams. These were events I looked forward to all year long. These were happenings; concerts that lasted from about six in the evening to the next morning. Daniels opened the shows to rousing applause by saying, "Ain't it great to be alive and be in Tennessee." It was exhilarating.

These were rowdy affairs. At this time, the authorities did not even try to stop people from smoking dope at concerts and pepple would sneak in booze and the occational fire cracker would explode.  While the majority of music was "southern rock," the guest included everyone form Roy Acuff to Izaak Pearlman to James Brown. James Brown was a treat. I know now that seeing a Confederate battle flag causes woke progressives to have a meltdown. Charlie Daniels Jam's were peppered with people waving Confederate flags. James Brown performed and didn't let it bother him. Brown came on stage wearing a big cape, and made a big production of his appearance- not a modest bone in his body. He preformed and preformed and sweated and was energetic. He refused to stop performing and faked having to be dragged off stage. The Charlie Daniels Confederate-battle-flag-waving-crowd loved James Brown!

After Southern Rock faded as a genre, some bands began being marketed as rock and some just faded away or hung on, on the strength of their former glory without a musical home. Charlie Daniels became part of country music again from which he originated and still toured and recorded up until his death. Daniels became a vocal proponent of the conservative and christian points of view in later years. His website contained an editorial page, called "soap box" where he pontificated on the issues of the day. He we a patriot and an avid proponent of veterans. I was pleased to see him become an outspoken conservative but it would have been fine with me if he would have left the lyrics alone that said he would, "take another toke."

I am saddened by the passing of Charlie Daniels. Rest in Peace.

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I Am A White Man And I'm Sorry

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Sunday, July 05, 2020

An Independence Day message from the Chairman

For me today is a day of reflection, thankfulness, and reverence. Reflection on life in these United States of American as viewed by me for over three-quarters of a century. Thankfulness for the friends I have now, have had in the past, and will have in the future.

And for the opportunities afforded me along that journey. Reverence for the founding fathers who helped create this country and those who made the ultimate sacrifice to make it what it is today. Today, I was with a group who read the entire Declaration of Independence penned on July 4, 1776. I would encourage each of you to take the time to read it for yourselves.

Four years ago, on July 4, 2016, I wrote the following:

"And for support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Devine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." With these words fifty-six men declared these States to be free and independent States. Would you have the same guts to be one of the 56 or 560 or 5600 or 56,000 or 56,000,000?"
I ask you the same question today! Today, I think it is safe to say I am a basket case of emotions; pride for what I feel this country is and has accomplished; patriotism for the greatness of the backbone people that make this country strong and resilient; fear for when I look at the youth of today for what our education system has not taught them about the history of this country and the direction I see the youth turning for the future; and anger for what I see as a group of people trying to destroy the moral fiber of our society and the history of what, I perceive, we are.

Several weeks ago, I quoted the words of Edward Everett Hale who is credited for saying, "I am one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

As I look around Davidson County, I feel that should be the creed of each and every one of us who call ourselves Republican. Join me in that effort? For each of you, I wish for you and your families an incredibly HAPPY and SAFE 4th of July Holiday.

James B. Garrett Chairman,
Davidson County Republican Party

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55 demonstrators taken into custody at State Capitol

by Rod Williams - I am pleased to see the State moving to restore law and order. If you missed the story, follow this link.

Troopers were able to take back the steps and replace the gates that had been moved.

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