Thursday, December 10, 2020

Nashville health director Michael Caldwell resigns after sexism investigation and 21 Council members call for his ouster.

Dr. Michael Caldwell
by Rod Williams, 12/10/2020 - Under threat of being fired if he did not resign, Nashville's Health Director Michael Caldwell resigned today after a city investigation substantiated some allegations of discrimination against women in his agency. Among the allegation against the doctor was that he attempted to fire a pregnant employee and questioned her “emotional stability.” 

At first he resisted resigning. He groveled and said if he exhibited bias it was “unconscious,”  "I ask that you focus on the actual findings in the report and know that they have shaken me to my core, fundamentally, and changed my point of view," Caldwell said.  "This is a wake-up call for me, both personally and professionally." He insisted he was still “redeemable.” With the writing on the wall, he resigned and agreed to serve in an advisory role, with pay, until the end of the year. The board accepted his resignation 6-0.

Before the board met today, 21 Nashville council members signed a letter urging the board to remove Caldwell. In addition to citing the alleged discrimination, the letter criticized the director for his handling of the city's Covid-19 response. The letter states Caldwell's leadership as the city combats the coronavirus has fallen short as the city has received "confusing and inadequate information regarding COVID-19 safety measures." 

The most vocal member in calling for Caldwell's resignation was Council member Ginny Welsh.  This is a list of those who signed the letter: Colby Sledge, Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda, Kathleen Murphy, Ginny Welsch, Joy Styles, Sharon Hurt, Antoinette Lee, Emily Benedict, Zulfat Suara, Jennifer Gamble, Kyonzté Toombs, Tanaka Vercher, Angie Henderson, Dave Rosenberg, Russ Bradford, Zach Young, Freddie O'Connell, John Rutherford, Brandon Taylor and Sean Parker. 

 If you look at who signed the letter, it is the most liberal of our liberal Council except for one or maybe two names. None of the "good" councilmen signed the letter. Robert Swope, Stove Glover, Larry Hager, Thom Druffel, nor Cortney Johnson signed it. 

Given the absence of any of the reasonable councilmembers signing the letter, and given that Ginny Welsh was the apparent leader of this attempt to oust Caldwell and given the era of extreme political correctness in which we live and the craziness of of the "me-too," movement, I give the benefit of the doubt to the accused in a case like this unless I have more information than that provided in the news accounts. 

News reports do not report what the employee did that caused the director to think she needed to be fired. Maybe the investigation found evidence to support the finding but if it does, it is not reported by news sources. 

I would fault the Director, however, for not being savvy enough to the perils of the age in which we live to know that one does not bluntly state that a women may be "emotionally unstable," pregnant or not. I would never do that. I might think it, but some things you just don't say. If he wanted her fired, he should have developed a case for her dismissal. 

If more information comes to light on this matter, I will post it.  To read more on this and see the source of the quotes see link, link, link.

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The Beacon Center's 12 days of pork, #4: "Caught Stealing," Jackson, Tn tosses money to the team.

The Beacon Center- The Jackson Generals are a Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Arizona
Diamondbacks. And the West Tennessee city’s taxpayers have been getting played. Intrepid reporting by the Jackson Sun earlier this year revealed that for every $50 collected by the city in taxes, $1 went to the team. The city tossed money to the team in four different ways: 
  • Utility and maintenance payments for the Generals’ stadium, totaling over $700,000 last year alone.
  • Capital improvements at the ballpark, which have ranged from a low of $12,000 last year all the way up to $365,000 in 2011. 
  • Almost $400,000 last year on marketing and advertising for the team, which was actually hidden in the city’s budget and not reported to taxpayers. 
  • Servicing on the $6.5 million loan the city took out to build the stadium, which the Sun estimates to cost about $213,500 a year. 
Talk about getting caught stealing. 

Solution: Sports teams and their millionaire and billionaire owners should build and pay for their own stadiums. 

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The Beacon Center's 12 Days of Pork, #3: "Can't mask the pain," no-bid mask contract for mask that don't work.

The Beacon Center- We have all heard of—or had—buyer’s remorse: when you purchase something, get home, and realize you made a mistake. But the term “buyer’s remorse” doesn’t seem to do justice to an $8 million expenditure that left taxpayers and mask-wearers scratching their heads.

That’s exactly what happened earlier this year when the state entered into a no-bid contract with a sock manufacturer for five million masks for Tennesseans. The controversy about the material of the masks being able to adequately protect wearers from COVID-19 might not exist if the state had taken proposals from more than one manufacturer before deciding who would make the official face mask of Tennessee.  While contrary to popular belief, the masks aren’t actually poisonous, but the no-bid process was harmful to taxpayers. 

 If the government is mandating, or even suggesting, that we should all be wearing face masks, they should certainly be made available at no cost. But when the cost falls on taxpayers, and no bids were secured to get the best deal, that’s a blunder too big to cover up. 

Solution: End no-bid contracts when taxpayer dollars are on the line.

on the third day of Christmas, the government gave to me… a mask contract given too quickly

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The Beacon Center's 12 Days of Pork, #2: "Once you pop, you don't stop," Giving tax dollars to private companies.

The Beacon Center - Every year, Tennessee taxpayers are asked to give up millions of dollars to private companies through the state’s main corporate welfare program: FastTrack. 

This year’s edition of the Pork Report includes recipients like AutoZone, Accenture, and Pringles. Since last year’s edition, the state has given companies like these over $39.6 million in taxpayer dollars while in the midst of a major budget crunch due to COVID-19. The overwhelming evidence shows that these types of programs make little difference in company relocation and expansion decisions. Estimates indicate these handouts sway companies as little as two percent of the time. 

Do we really think when Pringles is investing over $200 million to expand its factory that giving it $400,000 is really necessary? Additionally, once the government gives companies these types of deals, they demand more money to keep them here in the future; other companies then expect to receive deals as well. So once it starts, it’s hard for the government to stop. 

Solution: Repeal the FastTrack program and focus taxpayer funds on economic development that works for all, like education, workforce development, and infrastructure. 

 on the second day of Christmas, the government gave to me… more taxpayer dollars to companies

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Tennessee joins in legal brief supporting Texas voting lawsuit against swing states. Understanding what all of this means.

Tennessee joins other red states in legal brief supporting Texas voting lawsuit against swing states

by Natalie Allison, Nashville Tennessean -

There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about the law suite before the Supreme Court. The below was posted to Facebook by Judson Phillips, a highly respected local attorney whose expertise I respect.

By Judson Phillips. 
There is a lot of misinformation floating around about the Texas case in the Supreme Court. 
1. Texas has NOT filed suit against the defendant states. 
2. What Texas has done is ask the Supreme Court for permission to file the lawsuit. 
3. The case is on the docket now, but that does not mean the Supreme Court will necessarily hear the case. 
4. The Supreme Court has ordered (6-3) that the respondent states file their answers by 3PM Thursday.
5. Presumably late Thursday or early Friday, the Justices will have a conference. There are several possible outcomes. 
6. The first outcome is the Supreme Court denies Texas' request to file suit. If that happens, Biden has pretty much won. 
7. They could grant the request to file the suit in the Supreme Court. That is important ( given the 6-3 vote). Ordinarily for the Supreme Court to grant certiorari (agreeing the hear an appeal), it takes 4 justices to vote for the petition. Because the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in a lawsuit between the states, I am not sure if they will need 4 or 5 votes. 
8. The really important issue here is that Texas is asking for an injunction to prevent those states from submitting the disputed electors to the electoral college. If the Justices do not agree to an injunction, the Electoral College will meet on Monday and Joe Biden will officially be the President elect. 
9. If they enjoin the states from submitting the disputed electors, either the state legislatures will have to submit electors or neither candidate will have 270 votes and the matter will go to the House of Representatives for contingent election. 
10. The Electoral College is a creation of the Constitution. The Supreme Court cannot change that. But the date the Electoral College meets is set by statute, and the Supreme Court can enjoin that. 
11. The injunction issue is the big issue to watch here. Because the Electoral College is set to meet on December 14 (Monday), the Supreme Court will have to issue some ruling, most likely on Friday. 
Again, if the injunction is granted, that is a pretty good signal that Texas (and Trump) will prevail. If not, it will be Biden Harris on January 20.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Survey: Majority of Metro Nashville public school families want in-person learning in spring

Survey: Majority of Metro Nashville public school families want in-person learning in spring

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The Beacon Center's 12 Days of pork, #7: "Covering a bullet hole with a band-aid," Nashville's 34% property tax earns the “Pork of the Year” award for 2020.

Reposted from The Beacon Center - COVID-19 aside, the city of Nashville is having a moment with a booming economy fueled by tourism and hundreds of people moving to the city every week, fleeing from high tax cities like New York City or Los Angeles. And somehow, despite skyrocketing tax revenue, the city is effectively broke. 

Of course, instead of evaluating how the city could possibly be in debt when bringing in so much money (see: hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate handouts, excessive spending, and a bloated and oversized city government), the mayor and City Council decided to raise the property taxes of hard-working Nashvillians by a whopping 34% while making very few sacrifices themselves. 

No changes to the unbelievably generous pension system, no spending cap, and of course no repeal of the uniquely egregious lifetime health insurance benefits for City Council members. At a time when many people are coming to Nashville because of its low taxes, Mayor Cooper and the city council seem hell-bent on making sure the growth comes to a screeching halt so that we end up like another Chicago. 

For that reason, the pending 34% property tax increase in red-hot Nashville earns the “Pork of the Year” award for 2020. 

Solution: Instead of raising property taxes, Nashville should reform its pension system, reform healthcare and post-employment benefits, rightsize the government workforce, renegotiate and reign in corporate welfare deals, and enact a spending cap. 

 on the seventh day of Christmas, the government gave to me… an unfair tax hike with which we disagree 

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Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Why Republican state legislative leaders and governors not supporting President Trump's fight against election fraud

Rebecca Anne Burke
By Rebecca Anne Burke- Why are Republican state legislative leaders and governors not giving much support to President Trump's team fighting election fraud?  I think there are many reasons and few have to do with the President himself. 

One, I think governors and secretaries of state are, frankly, afraid of the outcome of finding for the President or taking measures that throw the election into uncertainty. They are cowards. They don't want the riots in the street that would likely erupt. Not on their watch do they want to hurt their own political futures. 

That brings me to point two, their lack of moral courage to do what is right. Everyone in politics knows that fraud goes along with voting. Fraud goes with politics like jelly on the peanut butter. Not saying I like it or can even tolerate it. I even thought about writing a book about my small potatoes election bid, and all of the unethical and borderline illegal things that went on. Politicians assume that this will happen, you just work harder to improve your margin of victory to counter it.  Those days have to stop. In this election, the fraud, not errors, fraud was very likely so massive that it overturned an election in which the President earned a historic number of votes, far in excess of his landslide victory of 2016. Politicians are cowards. They will fight tooth and nail to ensure self-preservation even if it bankrupts the integrity of a federal election. That's a very harsh statement from me, but one that I believe. 

Three, too many of the states' governors and Republican elected officials, such as Secretaries of State were of the "Never Trumper" breed. President Trump was fine as long as he stayed out of their wheel house and kept the federal money coming. I think they feared him, he was not one to be bluffed. They did not like supporting someone who could turn against them and "counter punch" with the best of them. Intimidation typically does not cultivate support that can be counted on later in a crisis. 

Four, to admit that they opened the door to a corrupt voting system, for which they paid millions, would be to ensure the erosion of trust in them! I am sure there are plenty shaking in their boots when they have to admit they invited Dominion in the front door, including Tennessee, when there was already an abundance of literature about their software and flaws that made it easy for foreign players to hack and change votes. We have to hold them accountable. Now, this presumes that their selection of Dominion was not because they were "paid off" or offered the ability to have fraudulent protection for their own election. I believe there is some of that going around. To admit that their state's election was rife with fraud because of a voting system they selected, is like showing your mother, your filthy hands when you claim you just took a bath. They took a bath alright, in bribes and perks. They are so good at it, they likely skirted weak legislation that they wrote to get away with it. 

Five, they just want to get on with it. They are not locked into any candidate. As long as it is hands off in their states, they believe they can tolerate any regime change. They don't want to hear that they failed to protect the vote. They don't want any legal teams probing around in the mess they allow, equating that to third world countries. They would just assume that the digging stopped before it ended at their doorstep. 

Six, politicians don't like to be held accountable, for anything. Sorry, again, I do feel that way. I have latched onto supporting some extraordinary individuals because I found out they were one of the few that breaks that mold. The coast to coast outrage IS seeking to hold them accountable and they hate it. They want it to go away. 

Those, my friends, are the major reasons why, in my eyes, we are not getting the support we should have earned from Republican governors, Constitutional officers and legislatures.

Rebecca Ann Burke is an astute political observer and one whose opinion I respect. She served as a member to the Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee for District 23 from 2014-2018. She is the past president of America First Federation. The above essay first appeared in Facebook.

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The Beacon Center's 12 Days of Pork: # 1, "No, I won't back down." Welfare for Dave Ramsey

The Beacon Center, Dec. 8, 2020 - Finance guru Dave Ramsey once said, “For your own good, for the good of your family and your future, grow a backbone. When something is wrong, stand up and say it is wrong, and don’t back down.” 

Fine then. It’s wrong for taxpayers to fork over another $2 million—possibly more—for Ramsey’s company to expand its Franklin headquarters. This new handout is on top of the $3.5 million state and local governments gave the company for a previous expansion in 2015. 

Ramsey has long taught fiscal responsibility and pulled untold numbers of Americans from the brink of bankruptcy into financial freedom. It’s ironic, then, that some of those same families’ hard-earned money is headed to Ramsey Solutions. 

Beacon has long fought corporate welfare, where governments lavish some big businesses with massive handouts that other small businesses aren’t fortunate enough to receive, all at the expense of taxpayers. And we’ll continue that quest until the government stops picking winners and losers. 

Solution: End corporate welfare deals and reduce overall tax burdens for businesses of all sizes. 

on the first day of Christmas, the government gave to me… a bigger building for Dave Ramsey

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Monday, December 07, 2020

Parent rally to reopen schools.

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - A large group of Nashville parents, students and teachers rallied on Sunday afternoon to protest Metro Nashville Public School’s decision to go back to virtual learning amidst rising COVID-19 case numbers in the city. (To continue reading and watch the video, follow this link.)

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Mortgage and rent relief program accepting applications today. Apply if you need it but don't assume that solves your problem.

Program provides up to 3 or 6 months assistance to residents in danger of eviction/foreclosure 
Metro Action taking applications starting today

Metro press release,12/3/2020 -  Beginning Monday, the Metropolitan Action Commission will begin accepting applications for a program designed to help homeowners and renters catch up on monthly payments. This program provides up to 3 or 6 months of Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance to residents in danger of eviction or foreclosure because they have or or will fall behind in rent or mortgage payments due to loss of income due to COVID-19. 

“This is an amazing opportunity for Metro Action to meet the needs of many Davidson County residents who are now facing eviction and foreclosure because they are behind multiple months in housing payments,” said Marvin D. Cox, Director of Family and Community Services. 

There are specific criteria to qualify for the program, such as the applicant is a resident of Davidson County, in good standing prior to March and not accepted into any other repayment program. The applicant’s household income must not exceed 80% Area Median Income which is: 

To apply for the recovery program, visit the Metro Action Commission located at 800 2nd Avenue North or to access the application online visit 

 For more information about the program call Metro Action at 615-862-8860 or e-mail Metro Action’s Rent and Mortgage Recovery Program is funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated funding to the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG-CV).

Rod's Comment:  I am pleased to see this program.  I would be more pleased if the mortgage assistance portion was being handled by an agency rather than Metro Action Commission.  I hope that MAC has improved their performance from the time when I worked as a housing counselor and hope the program works as intended.

I worked as a housing counselor for many years with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.  I worked mostly in the area of mortgage default counseling from the start of the housing crisis about  2007 up until my retirement about a year ago. During this time, especially the period of the start of the housing crisis until about 2012 or so there were several programs designed to help people avoid foreclosure. 

The worst of these programs was the assistance provided by the Metro Action Commission. People need more than just a check to catch up their house payment. They need education and advocacy.  They need an "action plan,' so once they get the one-time assistance they understand what to do to avoid getting in the same situation again. Sometimes people do things that make their situation worse. They need to know what to do and what not to do. 

Not only did MAC not provide the education clients needed, worse than that, they did not provide a check.  They provided a voucher. Often mortgage companies would get the voucher and not know what to do with it, or by the time they got the voucher the mortgage would even be further behind and the amount of the voucher would not cure the default and the mortgage would have already moved from default to active foreclosure. I knew people got the MAC assistance and yet still lost their home.

Maybe MAC has learned what they are doing and are now doing a better job, but it would kind of surprise me.  I would be much more comfortable that this program would work if if was being handled by Nashville's HUD-approved housing counseling agencies or an agency such as The Nashville Housing Fund. MAC can do a good job helping people catch up their utility bills and in helping renters.  Unless they have greatly improved, they are ill-equipped to help people avoid foreclosure. 

If you are an elected official reading this, please get involved to make sure that this mortgage assistance program is really working. If you want to talk, call me. 

If you are behind on your mortgage, by all means apply for the assistance from MAC, but be pro-active in dealing with your mortgage company.  Don't assume that being approved for assistance from MAC solves your problem.  I would also suggest you contact a local HUD-approved housing Counseling agency. 

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Sunday, December 06, 2020


Ralph Bristol
by Ralph Bristol, posted from Facebook 12/6/2020 - With every loss, there is grief, and every period of grief includes a period of denial.  But, when the denial begins to interfere with protecting the future of the country, it’s time to get past the denial, for the good of the country. 

So far, there has been no evidence presented by President Trump or his legal team that has convinced any court or any Republican election official in the disputed states that Joe Biden and his supporters stole the presidential election by fraudulent means. 

President Trump’s legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, who is billing the Trump campaign $20,000 a day for his services, has lost in every court in every state. Trump’s repeated accusations have been denied by every Republican in charge of elections in the contested states. 

Now, the two Republican Senate candidates in runoff elections in Georgia are being forced to choose between endorsing Trump’s accusations or losing support from many of Trump’s supporters. There has never been a more consequential “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario for the future of the country, resting on the shoulders of two Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. 

If they both lose, which they surely will if many of President Trump’s Georgia loyalists refuse to vote in the runoff, Democrats will be in complete control of the federal government for at least the next four years and will permanently install as many new socialist programs as they can, which is likely to be more than any previous President, Democrat or Republican. The U.S. has never rescinded any of our many socialist programs, installed by mostly Democrat, but some Republican, administrations beginning with FDR. 

The Biden Administration will try to collect taxes from the rich to fund the next, and biggest, round of socialism, but he will largely fail. There will be new taxes on the rich, as a token gesture, but not nearly enough to fund the new round of socialist programs. 

Trillion dollar deficits, which became the norm under Presidents Obama and Trump, will grow to $2-3 trillion dollar deficits. The Treasury and the Fed, soon to be headed by the two biggest stimulus cheerleaders in the U.S., and will harvest the Magic Money Tree for all the fruit it can bear - and more. 

The game is over. Trump lost. If he cares about anything or anyone other than himself, he will soon find a way to concede defeat in a statesman-like fashion, accept the will of the people, but also urge Georgia voters to temper the will of the popular majority by voting to keep a Republican Senate.

Ralph Bristol is a former popular local conservative radio talk show host with Super Talk 99.7 (WTN 99.7) where he worked for 11 years.  He is now semi-retired. 

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Sidewalk Wisdom: A reason to support small business.


On a sidewalk on 12th Ave. South.

We just experienced Small Business Saturday, which is a national campaign designating  the first Saturday after Thanksgiving as a day to shop local and support small businesses. Most of the economic arguments for supporting small business are bogus.  They just don't hold up to examination.  However, life is more than economics.  There are humanistic, aesthetic, and sociological reasons to support small business. I like the sentiment this expresses. 

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Sidewalk Wisdom: All Hair Matters

Sign on the door of a hair salon at Dallas and Belmont.  

Don't ask me why I am posting this.  I am sure it is not intended as a parody, yet, it strikes me as funny.  Maybe because it works in the woke buzz word of "sustainable." Maybe because it takes itself too seriously?  Maybe because it is pretentious?  Hey, it is a beauty salon and people go there to get a hairdo. 

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