Friday, July 09, 2021

Antiquated Zoning Laws Are Worsening the Housing Crisis

by STEVEN GREENHUT, Reason - We've all seen the news stories about the nation's insanely overheated housing market, as bidding wars have become the new normal. Prices have hit record levels and in some markets they have increased 20 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. ...  Unlike markets for consumer goods, government permitting and land-use regulations depress housing supply. ....  If a proposal reduces government regulations and allows more housing construction, I'm for it. If it does the reverse, I'm against it. That's why I support efforts to allow the construction of multi-family housing in areas that are now zoned only for single-family homes. Despite the misconception, that change doesn't ban single-family homes, but also allows duplexes and condos. 

 Unfortunately, the housing debate is tied up in the nation's cultural grudge match. To some commentators, efforts to reduce government regulation in the housing area amount to a liberal plot to destroy our God-given right to a lawn and picket fence. ...  Tucker Carlson portrayed efforts to loosen up zoning laws as an attempt to "eliminate suburbs" and "destroy the lives of people who live in nice places." .... Southern cities used zoning and freeway construction precisely to segregate African Americans. Instead of stirring up resentment, conservatives could note that the era's progressives devised many of these rules. ....  They think that building $700,000-per-unit subsidized "affordable" housing projects is the best way to help lower-income people find better housing—rather than allowing the market to work its magic. 

... Voters shouldn't decide what others do on their property. ... The goal should be to reduce regulations across the board, so builders can more easily respond to market demand by building whatever consumers want to buy. Defending antiquated zoning laws will not accomplish that objective, for the same reason government control of any product or service only distorts the supply and demand process. (Read the full article at this link

Rod's Comment: I agree with the arguments of this article. For more of my views regarding the issue of affordable housing, see the following:
The dream of homeownership is becoming more elusive by the day

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Federal judge temporarily blocks Tennessee’s anti-transgender restroom law

by Natalie Neysa Alund, The Tennessean -  A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked Tennessee’s anti-transgender restroom law.  The first-of-its-kind law requires businesses to post signs about trans-friendly bathrooms and took effect July 1. It was signed by Gov. Bill Lee in May. 

Middle District of Tennessee Judge Aleta A. Trauger issued the ruling Friday granting a temporary injunction against enforcing the law. The American Civil Liberties Union and its Tennessee chapter filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two business owners late last month. The new law, the complaint argued, is "unconstitutional" and violates businesses' First Amendment right "against compelled speech." 

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein," Trauger wrote in her 31-page order. "That rule is not founded simply on an abstract love of unfettered and uncompelled speech," Trauger wrote. "The First Amendment holds its privileged place in our constitutional system because, 'whenever the Federal Government or a State prevents individuals from saying what they think on important matters or compels them to voice ideas with which they disagree, it undermines' both 'our democratic form of government' and the very 'search for truth' necessary for a thriving society to persist." (read more)

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Another day, another person killed in a shooting. Business as usual.

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The U.S has the seventh highest firearms-related death rate in the world. (Gun talk #1)

To view the above chart and use the interactive tool, follow this link.

by Rod Williams, July 9, 2021- There has been a spike in crime in Nashville and all across America in the last year, especially murders. Most of these murders are committed by people with guns.  This follows a decades-long decrease in violent crime.  While we lament the spike in murders and it gets reported in the news, in any other advanced county this would be seen as a major crisis.  For us, we are so accustomed to murder that it has become like background noise.  We are no more concerned about someone being shot than we are someone dying in a car accident.  It is just what happens. 

The U. S. has the seventh highest firearms-related death rate in the world. Just look at who has a more deaths from guns, than we do:  Columbia, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Honduras. 

We are in a poor neighborhood.  These are for the most part what President Trump indelicately referred to as "shithole countries."  They are third-world counties, to say the least.  Columbia is a battleground between different drug cartels. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are lawless nations where violent gangs prey on people and fight each other for turf, and the governments are corrupt or ineffective. Venezuela used to be a more desirable place but since a socialist government came to power the country has experienced massive inflation and violation of human rights and the people have had to resort to eating pets and zoo animals to survive.  Venezuela is a failed state. Think about that. These are the countries that have a higher death rate by guns per 100,000 people than we do.

In most comparisons between nations, we are judged against the other G7 nations.  The G7 are the richest and most powerful, "first world" counties. G-7 countries consist of the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan. How do we compare in death by gun violence per 100,000?
U.S. -  12.21
U.K. -  .23
France - 2.83
Germany - .99
Italy -  1.31
Canada - 2.05
Japan - .06

Does anyone see our gun-related death rate as a problem?  Do we just accept that that is the way it is? Can anything be done? In many ways, Canada and the US are comparable. Why do we have a gun-related death rate 6 times that of Canada?  We have death by gun violence 53 times that of the UK.  Why?  Why is America so much more violent than most of the rest of the world?  

I will continue to think about this issue and share my thoughts.  Stay tuned for part 2. Comments are welcome. 

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Wednesday, July 07, 2021

How Republicans suppress voter turnout.


The Voter-Suppression Myth
Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Election RulesJustices, - in 6-3 vote, overturn appeals-court decision that Arizona’s rules discriminated against minority voters, leaving states more room to tighten voting laws

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Nashville DUI lawyer charged with DUI. He was not a graduate of the Rod Williams school of drunk driving.

Richard Dumas, Jr.
by Rod Williams - In the news this morning it was reported that Richard Dumas Jr. was arrested for driving under the influence last Friday.  Dumas is a prominent lawyer in town whose specialty is representing people charged with DWI. If Richard Dumas, who ought to know better gets arrested for DWI, don't think it can't happen to you. 

This  guide from the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving is provided  to help you improve your drunk driving skills or think about alternatives to drinking and driving.

(1) Don't Drive drunk. That is the number one rule: don't do it. Getting arrested for drunk driving is only one reason not to drive drunk.  The most important reason is you could kill yourself or someone else.  If you are lucky and don't kill someone else or yourself, getting arrested for drunk driving could cost you your job, your election, your social standing, custody of your children or visitation rights, a lot of money, and maybe your marriage.

If you overindulge, there are alternatives to driving drunk. Take a taxi, get a hotel room, call a friend or family member and ask them to come get you. If at a friend's house and you have had too much to drink, stay the night.  Use the ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber. These services are cheap, fast, and convenient.  By now most people who live an active life has probably used one of these services. To use these services you page a ride using your phone. To do that you must first download an app. Don't wait until you're drunk to try to download the app. Here is a link to the Uber app.

(2) Pick the designated driver before you start drinking.  If you are not going to rely on a commercial service such as a cab or Uber, and you know you are going to be drinking and you are going with other people, then have a designated driver. I prefer being the designated drinker, but someone needs to be the designated driver.
Despite the above advice I know there will be times when a person will have had too much to drink and not think they are too drunk to drive but will have had a sufficient amount of adult beverage that they could register drunk even though they don’t think they are drunk. I myself have probably driven many times when I would have registered drunk had I been stopped. I am not by any means advocating driving drunk, but if you are possibly driving impaired I am providing these below tips to help you increase your chances of getting home safely without getting arrested.

(3) Know that you don’t have to be “drunk” to register DUI. You do not have to be sloppy, falling down drunk to register as DUI. If you think you should not drive then by all means don’t. See the above tips. Often you will not know if you are drunk or not, so unless you know exactly how much you have had to drink and whether or not that would constitute drunk driving, then assume you are technically drunk. You do not have to appear intoxicated or have any of the symptoms that we think of as “drunk” to have a Blood Alcohol Content that legally makes you guilty of Driving Under the Influence. If you drink and you drive you have probably driven “drunk.”

(4) Track your consumption and don’t have “one for the road.” That is what often happens. If during the evening you are having dinner with friends and you have a pre-dinner cocktail and wine with dinner and an after dinner liquore with coffee, and a champagne toast, you might register drunk. Try to keep your alcohol consumption to a level that falls below the BAC limit.

On occasion, but not as often as I would like, I like to go to Lower Broadway to listen to live music and party. If I have 8, 12-ounce beers in a four-hour period I should have a BAC of about .068, however if I have 9 beers in four hours that means I have a BAC of .085 and am legally drunk. “One for the road” could put me over the limit. Actually, I seldom have eight in a four hour period, but it has happened.

A female can drink less than a male and a slender person can drink less than a heavy person. For a 115 pound female, three glasses of wine in two hours is drunk. Don’t try to keep up with the other people in your party. Know your limit. Skip a round. Drink slower. Some people assume that wine is less inebriating than tequila shots. That is not so. A 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of 100 proof distilled spirits have the same impact on an individual's BAC level.

Here is a calculator that will give you guidance on how much alcohol you can consume and an estimate of BAC. Please be aware that this is only a guide. If you are drinking on an empty stomach, your BAC may be higher than indicated in the calculator.

(5)  Point your car in the direction of home.  Plan your trip. A good car should be able to find its way home, with a little help.  Avoid places where the police might see you. In the days before Uber and when you could still park on Broadway, I would visit the honkytonk strip of Lower Broad. I never would  park on Broadway, however. I live on the south side of town, so I would park a block or two south of Broadway on one of the one-way streets heading south. That meant I did not have to circle a block and be concerned about traffic lights and stop signs. The less exposed one is to the police the less chance one has of getting caught. It is worth parking four or five blocks away to reduce your exposure.

(6) Be aware that you are impaired. If you didn’t keep track of how much you drank then assume you are may have had enough to register drunk and use your best drunk-driving skills. "Thinking" skills, like perceiving and evaluating risks, or processing information are not easily visible to outside observers, but they are the first skills to be adversely affected by alcohol. Be aware of this.

(7) Stop the Party. You are having a good time. You are joking and singing and laughing. You hate to end the party, but if there is any chance that you are driving with an elevated BAC, then stop the party. Say, “OK folks, we need to straighten up. I need your help in getting us home.” Don’t sing or engage in distracting conversation. Turn off the radio. Don’t talk on the cell phone. Give driving your undivided attention. Don’t let anyone in the car have an open container. You may be perfectly capable of driving, but if a drunk passenger is yelling out the window, the police may stop the car and give you a drunk driving test. The moment you get in the car the party is over.

(8) Check the checklist. Have a mental checklist. You don’t want to get stopped because you failed to use your turn signal. I was once stopped by the police on lower Broadway and forced to take a Breathalyzer. I knew I had only had two beers in a two-hour period so I was not concerned. The reason they stopped me is that I had not tuned on my headlights as I pulled out into the street. This was in a previous car, years ago when headlights did not turn on automatically. The downtown area is well lit and this was just an oversight. The police are looking for excuses to stop you; don’t give them one. Seat belts? Check. Adjust the mirror? Check. Turn off the radio? Check. Turn on the headlights? Check.

(9) Do not commit other crimes while driving drunk. If stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, don't compound your problems by being arrested for drunk driving and somethings else.  Don't smoke dope while driving drunk. Don't get arrested for drunk driving and for speeding, or possession of a controlled substance, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor, or soliciting prostitution. One crime at a time!

(10) Concentrate; pay attention. Be aware of your driving. Don’t relax. Keep both hands on the wheel. Don’t be distracted. Don't answer the phone. If you feel you must answer the phone, safely pull off the road. Don't even engage in conversation.  Make sure you do not weave. Are you staying within the lines? Drive just below the speed limit. Don’t tailgate. Pay attention to the car in front of you. If they put on their brakes, notice it. If you are approaching an intersection with a traffic light, pay close attention. Plan that traffic light stop. Don’t run a yellow light.

(11) Use your co-pilot. Ask the person in the passengers seat to help you drive. Ask them to tell you if you weave or tailgate or go too fast. Make them pay attention to your driving.

(12) If you get stopped. Unless you are certain that you have had less than the number of drinks it would take to raise your BAC level to the .08 level, then common wisdom holds that it is a good idea to refuse the breathalyzer test. It generally is more difficult to convict a driver of drunk driving if no chemical tests are taken.

(13) Don't sleep it off in the car.  Should you find yourself drunk and think a nap will revive you or that you may just spend the night in your car, don't do it. Even if you are not driving, if you are in your car drunk, you can be charged with DUI.  See the guidelines above about alternatives to driving drunk. If you can't take a ride-share or call a friend, and you do end up drunk, it would be better to sleep it off in a doorway or park bench than in your car. 

Rep. Bill Beck
(14) Use your influence to get the charge thrown out. Be a State Representative or other person (link) with important friends who can get a judge to throw out the charge based on lack of probable cause for making the stop. Despite the police seeing you drive with wheels over the lane line and observing the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, and inability to walk straight and a despite the arresting officer saying you were "absolutely hammered," the judge may rule the arresting officer did not have probable cause for making the stop.

(15) Pray.

This is an additional tip suggested by a student of the Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving.

(16) If you are seeing double, close one eye. 

I have never been arrested for drunk driving but I admit I have been guilty of it. I guess I have been lucky. As a young adult I was more often guilty of it than I have been as an older adult. Nevertheless, from time to time, I still have probably technically met the blood alcohol level for being drunk.

Stay safe. Don't drive drunk. Drive careful. 

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Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Tennessee Freedom Summit, July 10

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Tennessee tourism tab: $2.5M for airline vouchers 

By Jon Styf  (The Center Square) – On the day Brad Paisley performed before a huge crowd in downtown Nashville to celebrate the Fourth of July, he also joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to launch a new tourism campaign, “Tennessee on Me.” The promotion, which the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development said was paid for with $2.5 million set aside for tourism in the state’s new budget, gives a $250 airline voucher to anyone who books a two-night stay in one of four Tennessee cities, with some stipulations. 

“The state’s buying all these airline tickets and giving them away to anybody that books two nights in a hotel room to come to Tennessee,” Gov. Bill Lee said to Paisley in the ad for the new program, posted Sunday to YouTube and social media channels. “So maybe it should be Tennessee on Governor Lee.”

The deal requires a visitor to book at least a two-night stay, including a Sunday through Wednesday night, at a designated hotel in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville or Chattanooga. Forty-eight hours after the stay is paid for, participants will receive a $250 airline voucher for American Airlines, Delta Airlines or Southwest Airlines to fly into an airport in one of those four cities. 

Not everyone was pleased with the state spending taxpayer money on the promotion. “Lee denies fed assistance – denies teachers pay raises – DCS workers drowning in cases, opioid deaths skyrocketing, gun violence higher than ever – TANF funds banked [and] not distributed – and he has the audacity to use our funds to buy plane tickets 4woo-girls WOW! – tone deaf is kind,” tweeted state Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville. 

 The deal began Monday and must be booked by Sept. 15, with the total airline vouchers capped at 10,000. Travel must take place between July 11 and Dec. 31 of this year. 

“Tennessee is known around the world for its music, scenic beauty and iconic attractions,” Lee said in a news release. “We’re ready for people to come back to Tennessee ‘on me,’ to enjoy live music all over the state created by our talented musicians and songwriters like Brad Paisley.” 

The department said tourism is the state’s second-largest industry, generating $23 billion in domestic and international travel spending in 2019 that led to $1.92 billion in state and local tax revenue.

“Tourism is vital to restoring the state’s economic health and recovery and this campaign will help fuel travel and visitor spending to the state,” a news release from the department said.

Rod's Comment:  I am not bothered by this at all.  It sounds like a wise investment and a smart promotion that will boost tourism. 

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Monday, July 05, 2021

1ST TUESDAY welcomes TN Congressman JOHN ROSE and Special Guest, Elizabeth Pistole, Ms Tennessee USA

Event by Tim Skow 

Ludlow & Prime
On TUESDAY, July 6th 1ST TUESDAY will host 2 remarkable guests for you to meet! Our featured speaker will be Congressman John Rose whose district includes Hendersonville, Mt. Juliet and stretches to Cookeville and beyond. With what is flying around in Washington DC, redistricting and more, expect an AWESOME hour you won’t want to miss!! 

Our special visitor is Elizabeth Graham Pistole, now Ms. Tennessee USA! Elizabeth is clearly a lady to know! She hails from Williamson County, thinks “right” and her parents have visited us at 1ST TUESDAY! 

As usual, doors at Ludlow & Prime open at 11am with lunch served, starting at 11:25. Expect to meet Elizabeth when you arrive! As usual, lunch is $25 for Members and $30 for Guests. The program begins at NOON followed by what will surely be an enlightening Q&A session with Congressman Rose till 1:00PM. 

Secures seating for yourself and guests via our website at Click on EVENTS, then ... scroll down to the ticket window Look forward to seeing you, Congressman Rose and Elizabeth on TUESDAY, July 6th … [ yes, 1st Tuesday on 1st Tuesday in July !! ] 

See you there! 
Tim Skow Host of 1ST TUESDAY

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Sunday, July 04, 2021

No surprise, Williamson County is highest-earning county in TN; Davidson County #9.

by Rod Williams - With the updated census data published we can confirm what we know and that is that Williamson County is a county of high-earning people. Also, data confirms that the counties surrounding Nashville are the highest-earning counties in the state. Here are some numbers on the income ranking of Tennesee counties: 

 #1. Williamson County - Median household income: $112,962
111.9% above state median, 
79.8% above national median
Households earning over $100k: 57.0% 
#12 highest rate among all counties nationwide 

 #2 is Wison County, #3 is Rutherford, #4 is Sumner, #5 is Robertson, #6 is Cheatham, 

 #9. Davidson County - Median household income: $60,388
13.3% above state median, 
3.9% below national median
Households earning over $100k: 26.5%
#623 highest rate among all counties nationwide

#13 Knox, #18 Hamilton, #23 Shelby 

For more, follow this link.

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President Reagan's Address to the Nation on Independence Day - 7/4/86

This is a simple and short but moving speech.  Ronald Reagan loved America and believed in our founding principles.  He believed we were the beacon of freedom to the world and he understood American Exceptionalism.  He revered our founders and the ideas they stood for and for which they risked their lives.  Unlike many contemporary political leaders who believe our nation is essentially evil and founded on racism, Reagan understood the meaning of America and what a break with the past and what an extraordinary event in world history was our founding. 

God Bless America!  Happy Independence Day!

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