Saturday, March 27, 2021

Many schools are failing to even educate children to a minimally acceptable level. No child should be trapped in a failing school.

by Rod Williams - I am the proud grandfather of a grandson that just amazes me with how fast he is learning and all he knows.  I get to see him about once a week now that my daughter and her husband have moved back to the Nashville area from living in New Orleans.  He is only two years old and knows colors; body parts; can name all the animals; knows the alphabet and not by just by rote in order - he knows all the letters and can name them as you point to them; knows seasons; can name the emotion expressed by pictures of children showing emotions of sad, happy, excited, or angry; fruits and vegetables; and so much more.  Maybe I am prejudice because he is my grandson but he is super smart.  It is not all my proud granddaddy prejudice, however; he is performing many task ahead of established benchmarks for his age group.

The most recent impressive thing he has done is he showed me he knows the month of the birthday of all of the important people in his life. He has a  book with the each month of the year named and represented on the front cover.  My daughter asked him, what months is momma's birthday?  He pointed to the month and named it.  What month is daddy's birthday?  Again, he did it.  She asked him his birthday month and my birthday and his other grandparents birthday months.  He could name most of the months but for those he could not name, he still knew which person's birthday was in which month. I am sure he does not yet grasp the meaning of months and maybe not birthdays,  nevertheless, that is impressive. My daughter said she had only done that exercise with him one time.

As much as I am impressed by what he knows, I am impressed by how excited he is to show you what he knows and how proud of himself he is for knowing.  He is excited by learning!  He delights in it. When I go visit I ask him if he wants me to read to him and he will go get a book and snuggle or get in my lap and as we read, I will ask him questions about the pictures and he delights in knowing the color or animal or thing or action represented.

I hope that he is not robbed of this joy of learning.  So often that happens. I can help with financial resources so his parents have alternatives to the standard public school.  So, many people, unfortunately,  don't have that choice. 

There are lots of reasons why public schools fail. I don't think it is due to lack of funding. My view is that they fail the exceptionally advanced child because of a concern with equity.  So much attention is paid to advancing the underprivileged child that less attention is paid to the the advanced child. There is a concern with leveling. 

The child like my grandson who had two parents who engage him all of the time, who do not let him watch TV, who is let to watch and help his mom cook, who has lots of books and is read to and constantly has things explained and named has an advantaged over the child with a single-mother who herself may be an uneducated high school dropout who may be on welfare and who may have time at home with her child but does not herself value books and just raises her child the way others in her social network raise their child.  Or, the mother may work but the child is in daycare where he gets little attention and stimulation.  Call this "white privilege" or  "class privilege" or something else but the child of smart parents have an advantage. Life is not fair and you don't get to choose your parents.  The solutions however is not to bring down the smart child so the underprivileged child can catch up. 

In an ideal world, every child would have a chance to reach his full potential.  Unlike the children in Lake Wobegon, all children cannot be above average, however.  It is difficult to change the home environment, but society should not be content with only raising as many children as we can to only a minimum level of learning. Children need the right to excel and not only the children of the better off.  Also, and maybe more disturbing, we should not be content that a child who was excelling and was above average and had an excitement of leaning gets that joy of learning squashed. 

Unfortunately, we are not even educating children to an acceptable minimal level. Only one-third of children in Tennessee Schools can read at grade level. During the pandemic, that number got even worse.  That is unacceptable.  No child should be trapped in a failing school. 

In this interview, Shaka Mitchell of the American Federation for Children discusses school choice in Tennessee. He also reveals who is trying to stop educational choice in our state and what you can do to take action. If you care about your children, grandchildren or Tennessee's future, you need to watch this.

Shaka Mitchell leads AFC's campaign to increase educational choice across Tennessee, most recently as a Rocket Ship Education Regional Director. He was responsible for the planning, growth and success of Rocket Ship's network of high-quality elementary charter schools in Nashville and Memphis. Rocket Ship currently serves 1,200 students in Nashville. 

Mitchell began his career in education as the Associate Director of Policy and Planning at the Washington D.C. based Center for Education Reform. He then led outreach efforts at the Institute for Justice, a Constitutional law firm based in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to joining Rocket Ship, Mitchell was the Director of External Affairs for Lead Public Schools, a network of Public Charter Schools founded in Nashville, Tennessee. 

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Attorney Jim Roberts turns in more than 14,000 signatures to get tax roll-back on the ballot.

Jim Roberts spoke Thursday afternoon to the media before presenting more than 14,000 signatures Metropolitan Nashville Clerk's Office. (link)

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Americans for Prosperity Director Tim Phillips and Tennessee Americans for Prosperity Executive Director Tori Venable interview Senator Marsha Blacburn.

Americans for Prosperity Director Tim Phillips and  Tennessee Americans for Prosperity  Executive Director Tori Venable  interview Senator Marsha Blacburn.  Blackburn discusses the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress which was in reality a Blue State and City Bail-out bill, a pay off to teachers unions, an expansion of Obamacare, and other wasteful and unnecessary Democrat wish list spending disguised as Corvid relief. She also talks about the next proposed spending bill which includes funding portions of The Green New Deal, student loan forgiveness, and universal pre-K disguised as an "infrastructure" bill. She discusses the importance of keeping the filibuster, H.R.1. the economy, and more.

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How do public servants get rich? Look at Tennessee's Penny Schwinn and California's Dianne Feinstein.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn interned
for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (link)
by Rod Williams - This is not a news flash or a recent discovery, but government is corrupt from top to bottom.  Corruption is rampant.  Corruption is a way of life.  It is the norm.  People routinely benefit from political connections.  Congressman and senator come into office middle class or merely wealthy and leave super wealthy? How does this happen?

The US postal service is downsizing, long overdue in my view.  With social media, email, text, messenger, phone, fax, zoom, Facetime, What's App, direct deposit, Fed Ex, UPS and many other ways to conduct business and communicate, a downgrade of the money losing inefficient U.S. Postal Service seems way overdue.  I get few pieces of mail I really care about.  I mostly get solicitations for contributions and other junk mail.  I would not miss the post office and think it should be phased out entirely.  That is not the point of this post however.

The post office is closing some branches and  US has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell some 56 buildings that currently house these Post Offices. Many of these Post Offices are prime real estate in towns and cities across the country. It is estimated the sale will bring in about $19 billion. A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the  listing for handling the sales. That company is CBRE.

CBRE's Chairman is Richard Blum and he is also the founder and owner of Blum Capital, a private equity firm and one of CBRE’s largest institutional stockholders. Richard Blum is the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein. Now, is that just a coincidence?  Senator Feinstein and her husband stand to make about $1 Trillion  from the sale of these properties.  
To make what looks like a sleazy sweetheart deal even more sleazy, CBRE is not only making money off of the sale of the property by earning a real estate commission but has negotiated the sale of postal properties all around the country to its own clients and business partners, including to one of its corporate owners, Goldman Sachs Group.

Of course, Senator Feinstein says she had no influence over the process of picking the firm to dispose of Post Office real estate.  And, maybe there is no "smoking gun" to prove that she did, maybe she didn't, maybe there was no real quid pro quo or bribe or threat.  I think it kind of works on an informal basis.  I think it is a more of a "we look out for our own," mentality.  It is more of an understanding, than cash under the table. It is a you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours environment.

I think Democrats are more prone to be involved in this type corruption than Republicans, because more Democrats see government "service" as a lifelong career and are more favorably inclined to support big government.  Big government facilitates more opportunity for graft than limited government.  If one votes for massive spending bills then that opens the door for returned favors more so than if one votes against big spending bills.  However, Republicans are guilty too.  Also, this kind of friendly informal favor swamping and helping each other out courtesy of the tax payers is not restricted to Washington.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn has signed a contract for $8 million with a company for help with the state's reading initiative. Well, what do you know? Schwinn's husband works for that company.  Maybe it is all legal and proper but it sure seems wrong. 

For more on these stories see these links: linklink, link, and link

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Monday, March 22, 2021

Cooper, Cohen sign resolution with dozens of House Democrats to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene

by Daniel Newhauser, Tennessee Lookout, March 21, 2021, WASHINGTON — Dozens of U.S. House Democrats backed a resolution filed Friday to expel controversial U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress, an extraordinary measure that’s only been successfully employed twice since the Civil War.

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Dr. Carol M. Swain silenced by Facebook for 30 days.


by Rod Williams - Dr. Carol Swain, the eminent scholar, author, and political commentator, has been banned from Facebook for thirty days.  Not for some recent something she said that upset the Facebook censors but for something that upset the Facebook censors that she said back in 2019!

The trampling of free speech and silencing of dissenting voices is worse than I have ever seen it in America.  It is almost hard to believe what is happening.  It is not coming directly or maybe not even indirectly from government, where I always feared the threat to free expression would come.  The threat to our democracy is coming from illiberal liberals who want to silence any voice that is not theirs.  

It is demonstrated by the forcing of uniformity of thought on college campuses where free inquiry is a joke and only one point of view is tolerated. It is evident by visiting conservative speakers to colleges having their invitation to speak withdrawn because their presence might lead to campus unrest or if their speaking engagement is not withdrawn, them being shouted down when they do appear.  It is prevalent on social media where biased "fact checkers" ban or place warning on post that do not conform to the prevailing liberal interpretation of facts.  

It is demonstrated by a corporate world that is all in for Black Lives Matter and urges the consumer of their product to be less White.  And it is demonstrated by award shows that cannot avoid propagandist sermonizing and late night "comics" who are only funny if you are a liberal and whose guest all share the same political point of view. 

It is a revealed in a legacy media that is not much more than a mouthpiece for the Democrat Party.  It is revealed as much by what they chose to not report or highlight as what they distort.  If Donald Trump or any elderly Republican president had stumbled three times while boarding Air Force One would the mainstream press pretend it didn't happen? 

If we had a Republican president and a record number of over 4,500 unaccompanied minors were currently being held in Border Patrol detention facilities and over 9,500 migrant children were being held in shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services, would that not be the leading story on CNN and headlines in the legacy press?

We are in an era where if you think there is a reason more Black men are in prison than White men and that reason is something other than critical race theory, then you are denounced as a White supremacist and maybe even guilty of "hate speech." 

Cancel culture, political correctness, group think, and liberal bullying may successfully silence conservatives. And, it won't stop there. New apostates will be found to silence.  While the tools to do it are not the same, we are witnessing the same mass phycology at play as during the Stalin purges, the Moa cultural revolution, the French revolution or the Salem witch hunts.

Not only are we witnessing the silencing of all but an approved point of view but we may also be witnessing what may lead to the radicalization of conservatives and a wave of right-wing populism that will make the Tea Party and the rise to Trumpism look like a Sunday afternoon tea party. At some point there will be pushback. 

I have had concern that the liberal thought police may silence my voice on Facebook and kill my blog, but dismissed that concern because I reasoned that I am too minor of an influencer to fool with.  I am small fry.  I am not so sure anymore. It appears they are digging deeper and deeper to squash any dissenting voice.  

Carol Swain, for now, can still be found on Twitter at this link.

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Why is Tennessee one of the five states with the lowest percentage of the adult population getting vaccinated for Covid-19?

National Review, Morning Jolt newsletter, March 22, 2021

On most list ranking states in things that matters, the state of Tennessee either excels or is near the middle of the pack. It was not always that way. Up until about thirty or forty years ago, we had to say, 'thank God for Mississippi." We were next to the last or third from the bottom on education attainment, poverty, and all kinds of rankings. Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi could be counted on to bring up the rear. We slowly started moving up in rankings, then accelerated our assent and now we have very little of which to be ashamed and some reasons to be proud. 

For years, when we did score low, if one could discount Memphis, our ranking on all sorts of list would have been much higher. Since Memphis borders Mississippi anyway, I have wondered if we could not just give Memphis to Mississippi.

On some measures, Nashville does well, much better than Memphis.  However, on measures of responsible financial governance Nashville scores very low, even lower than Memphis.

I know someone in the age group below my age group who lives in Carroll County Tennessee and I know she got her vaccine months before that age group got the vaccine here in Nashville.  I have family in Sevier County and they got their vaccine earlier than the same age group in Nashville.   

I know Memphis and Shelby County have had problems administering the vaccine program.  Thousands of does in Shelby County had to be thrown out because they were allowed to expire and at one time Shelby County was sitting on a stockpile of 30,000 more doses than they needed in stockpile (link). Recently the State took away from Shelby County the function of administering the vaccine program in Memphis and gave Memphis that responsibility.  For some reason that is not reassuring.

Most county health departments operate under the direct supervision of the Tennessee Department of Health,  The six larger, urban counties, Madison, Shelby, Knox, Davidson, Hamilton and Sullivan, have health departments that operate under local governance.  I don't know, but am betting that the health departments ran by the State did a better job than those ran by local governments.  Especially, I would speculate that Shelby and Davidson County performed poorly.

Once things have settled down, I think the State should hold hearings and investigate the reason Tennessee is one of the five worst states for immunizing its citizens. Also, we should look at the policies used in Tennessee to see if they were administered fairly and uniformly.  Why, for instance, were small stores that sold greeting cards forced to close but one could still go to Kroger and buy greeting cards?  Why were Black Lives Matter/Antifa protestors allowed to mingle in large numbers without social distancing yet sporting events were banned?  Were religious liberties trampled contrary to constitutional provisions?

Unfortunately, we no longer have a press with the manpower or the curiosity to ask these questions. If I ran a news organization with the capacity to do so, I would be asking.

Depending on what a State investigation reveals, it may be time to bring all county health departments under the direct supervision of the State. 

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Hannah Cox
Press release, 3/22/2021 - Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, a national network of conservatives questioning the alignment of capital punishment with conservative principles, will be taking part in this year’s virtual Justice Day on the Hill, a forum co-hosted by Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and Tennessee Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 24. Hannah Cox, the organization’s Senior National Manager, will speak at 7:30 a.m. (CT) via Zoom.

“My message at Justice Day on the Hill will essentially be that anyone who values limited government and upholds individual liberty should be taking a hard look at ending the death penalty because it is so riddled with flaws that are anti-American,” Cox said. 

Cox has deep roots in the Volunteer State as the former Director of Outreach for the Beacon Center of Tennessee and Director of Development for the Tennessee Firearms Association. She is also a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville. 

“Tennessee needs to re-examine capital punishment from a conservative perspective, to take a look at the excessive costs, the waste of tax dollars, and the risk of executing innocent people,” Cox said. “The death penalty is not fiscally responsible, it does not improve public safety, and it does not value life.” 

To register for the event, go to the following link: 

For more information, contact Jon Crane at 203-982-4575 or email

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty is a nationwide group of conservatives questioning whether capital punishment is consistent with conservative principles and values due to the system’s inefficiency, inequity, and inaccuracy. Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty is a project of Equal Justice USA, a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization working to transform the justice system by promoting responses to violence that break cycles of trauma. To learn more, go to

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

Bill Protecting Children from mutilating surgery advances in the State legislature.

SB 0657 by Bowling and HB 0578 by Ragan is working it's way through the state legislature. This bill deserves to be passed.

As introduced, this bill prohibits the provision of sexual identity change therapy to prepubescent minors; prohibits the provision of sexual identity change therapy to minors who have entered puberty unless a parent or guardian has written recommendations for the therapy from at least three physicians; punishes violations as child abuse; and designates violations by healthcare professionals as professional misconduct. 

STATUS: HB578 was passed out of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and will be on the full Criminal Justice Committee calendar on Wednesday. 

ACTION: Please contact these legislators and urge them to support HB578: Rep. Scotty Campbell, Rep. David Hawk, Rep. Bud Hulsey, Rep. Jerry Sexton

For more on this topic, see these links:

The above summary was provided by Eagle Forum.  I suggest subscribing to the Eagle Forum newsletter and financially supporting this organization. 

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Turning Point USA to host Nashville event with Candice Owens, March 31st.

From Davidson County Republican Party:

Our friends at Turning Point USA Nashville are hosting an event at the end of the month with Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens! 

The event will be March 31st at 7pm. Right now the event is at Rocketown (601 4th Avenue South) right in downtown Nashville but the venue could change within the week due to the high number of tickets they are selling. We thought this would be something everyone would be interested in.

Below is a graphic to the event as well as the link to sign up for tickets. They sold out of free tickets and only have a limited number of $10 tickets left so sign up fast. Feel free to share this email with any/all your friends and invite them to come out! We look forward to seeing everyone there. Eventbrite link:

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Nashville needs to know this: Portland cut police funding and got a 2,000% surge in murders. Mayor now request $2 million in emergency funding for the police

by Rod Williams, March 21, 2021 - While there are a lot of Nashvillians who would be happy if Nashville was "the San Francisco of the South," or maybe the Seattle or Portland of the South, thankfully we are not there yet. 

Last year when the insanity of "Defund the Police," was a rallying cry of progressives across America, there was a leftist contingent here in Nashville who also wanted to defund the police. That move did not get very far.  Despite having a progressive electorate and Metro Council that is inclined to waste money on frivolous spending, has no interest is good management, money management, or financial accounting, will waste money on feel-good spending proposals that actually accomplish little, and will waste a lot of time on feel-good meaningless memorializing resolutions, our Council is not totally nuts. Not when compared to some West coast cities.   When the leftist nut-jobs tried to defund the police last year here in Nashville, this is what happened:

To his credit, Mayor Cooper in his budget at least recognized the importance of funding the police. His budget proposal included a $2.6 million increase for police. That increase in funding would fund 46 new position. As the budget process advanced, what emerged as the most likely budget to pass was the Mendes substitute budget. His budget proposal cut the $2.6 million for police and put that money into funding step increases for Metro employees. His proposal kept the police funding flat at $209 million.

Meanwhile the radial left composed of Black Lives Matter, Our Revolution, Gideon's Army and a bunch of other organizations united behind this idea of defunding the police. Now, defunding the police does not mean exactly the same thing everywhere it is proposed across the country. Some want to simply reduce police funding and put the money into social services while some want to completely abolish police departments. Nashville's radical community operating under an umbrella group called Nashville People's Budget Coalition proposed slashing the police budget by 42%. Ginny Welch carried the water for the radicals. 

Ginny Welch is probably the most radical member of the Council. She is an activist who has supported all kinds of leftist causes over the years. Contributors to her Council campaign included LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) among other
radical groups. She received the endorsement of The Nashville Justice League and Our Revolution. Welch was a founder of the low-power, left-wing radio station, Radio Free Nashville. 

Tuesday night, Welch sponsored Amendment 26 to the Mendes budget. It cut the Police by $107,670,143 and the Sheriff by $3,473,855. It got only three votes in favor, a couple abstentions and everyone else voted in opposition. 

Nashville has a very progressive Council, but they are not totally, completely nuts. We are not yet Seattle or San Francisco. Thank God. 

The council then came to Amendment D by Councilman Russ Pulley. Pulley is Chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee, has worked as a firefighter, paramedic, police officer and state trooper, as well as an FBI agent. He moved to amend the Mendes budget to add back the $2.6 million that had been in the mayor's budget. A lot of people abstained and the amendment got 21 votes, the minimum necessary to pass. 

While I am disappointed the Council approved a huge tax increase, I am glad that we did not slash funding for public safety and that we recognized the need to increase funding for our undermanned police department. I commend Councilman Pulley for his leadership. (link)
Unlike Nashville, Portland actually did cut the police last year.  In June of last year, they cut $15 million from the police budget. This had the support of the mayor.  The cut to the budget included disbanding police units that investigate gun violence. 

Well, what do you know? Surprise, Surprise! There was a crime surge, including murders. By the end of February 2020, Portland had seen just one homicide. This year, that number was up to 20, with 208 shootings in the city so far.  Now, the mayor is proposing to refund the police.

Thankfully, Nashville did not make the same mistake and have to prove what common sense will tell you.  We need police.  Unless you are way over-policed to begin with, if you cut police, there will be an increase in crime. 

Read more about the Portland experience with defunding the police at this link


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