Saturday, November 18, 2023

Where did all of that COVID-19 aid money go?


Sweetheart Island, off the coast of Yankeetown, Fla., is seen on Aug. 5, 2023. While Patrick Parker Walsh’s private island ranks among the most unusual purchases by pandemic fraudsters, his crime was not unique. He is one of thousands of thieves who perpetrated the greatest grift in U.S. history. They potentially plundered more than $280 billion in federal COVID-19 aid; another $123 billion was wasted or misspent. (AP Photo/Julio Aguilar)

An AP review of hundreds of pandemic fraud cases presents a picture of thieves and scam artists who spent lavishly on houses, luxury watches and diamond jewelry, Lamborghinis and other expensive cars. The stolen aid also paid for long nights at strip clubs, gambling sprees in Las Vegas and bucket-list vacations. (Read More)

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Friday, November 17, 2023

Letter writer objects to Metro's "Transgender Day of Awareness."

by Rod Willliams, Nov. 17, 2023- Below is the text of an email from Rae Keohane, a local active Republican who heads the Nashville Conservatives. Nashville Conservatives is a breakfast group that meets monthly in Donelson and features interesting speakers and political discussion.  In addition to facilitating the breakfast group, Rae studies each Metro Council agenda and distributes her analysis to subscribers.  It is a great way to keep up with what the Council is doing. To be included in Rae's Council agenda analysis distribution list, email her at

Hello Fellow Conservatives

Please see below a letter sent to the Council from one of our members.  This is exactly the kind of respectful and fact-based letters we should be writing and sending to all council members.  We are 179  members strong and we have been SILENT too long, and as Councilmember Eslich pointed out at the last meeting we have to get active and get out to vote for local races. 

I hope to see you all tomorrow morning for some good discussion.



I thought I'd share with you the letter I just sent to the Council (as well as to my councilperson specifically) re the Trans Day of Remembrance.


Here 'tis:

 Dear honorable members of the Council:

I am in profound disagreement with Metro Council’s recognition of “Trans Awareness Day” this coming Monday, November 20.

I am aware that the purpose of this remembrance is to “honor the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in an act of anti-transgender violence.”  So let me state the obvious: any life that is lost as a result of explicit and violent hate against anyone due to their ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or ANY OUTWARD CHARACTERISTIC is beyond abominable.

This includes any and every LGBTQ life that is taken due to violent hate.  But of course, let’s not limit our remembrance to lives actually lost.  Let’s remember all lives affected by violent messages of hate.

Let’s remember the Jewish community, which right now is very much on edge.  I think we all know how antisemitism has spiked in the last month—388% according to this report

Let’s remember the Islamic community which has seen a similar spike since October 7.

Let’s remember the Indian community (a large community in my neighborhood of Bellevue)…the black community…the African community…etc.

No one—regardless of who they are--should be the victim of violence, threat of violence, loss of job, or loss of free speech due to any exterior characteristic. 

And if I may turn the table a bit, this also includes…

Please forgive my cynicism about setting this day aside while ignoring victims of violence and discrimination who happen to oppose transgenderism.  I am one of a growing multitude of citizens is fed up with this.

And by the way, I say this in very sober awareness of Councilperson Hill’s statement about having received hundreds of thousands of hateful comments on Twitter. 

I would definitely be in favor of a Nashville Day of Remembrance of all victims of violent hate crimes related to ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any other outward category.  

If such a Day exists, please fill me in so I can get behind it.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!

This is an excellent letter and I agree with its content. As Rae said, this is kind of respectful and fact-based letters conservatives should be writing to the Metro Council. We would not allow woke ideology to hold sway without dissenting voices being raised. 

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Thursday, November 16, 2023

More on the Kevin McCarthy-Tim Burchett Capitol Hill food fight.

by Rod Williams, Nov. 16- Yesterday I posted, Rep. Tim Burchett alleges Kevin McCarthy punched him in the kidneys and Burchett insults McCarthy.  I said I found it hard to believe that McCarthy intentionally punched Burchett in the kidneys. There is more to the story.  This is insane. This in embarrassing. Do they still think they are still in middle school?

They could challenge each other to a dule, but that would be too dignified. They would prefer to throw spit balls. They better stop before someone gets hurt. They need time-out.

The following is from Claudia Grisales, an NPR reporter. 

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A Thanksgiving Lesson

As we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s not only remember the lessons of Plymouth — let’s commit to proclaiming the virtues of self-reliance, property rights and free markets more boldly than ever.  Otherwise we’ll have even less to be thankful about next year.

By Howard Rich — The Separatist Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in November 1620 began their new settlement utilizing overtly communist economic principles.  In addition to common ownership of the land, the Pilgrims farmed corn on a communal plot and divided their harvest evenly amongst themselves.

This is the theoretical Marxist utopia — minus indoor plumbing, NPR, MSNBC and portable electronic devices powered by Solyndra solar panels, naturally.  But did this early communist experiment work?  Did it succeed at putting food on the table?

Not according to William Bradford, an early Pilgrim governor of the colony best known today as the “Father of Thanksgiving.”

The communal arrangement initially employed by the Pilgrims was “found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort,” Bradford wrote in his journal, which was later compiled into Of Plymouth Plantation.

Why did this arrangement fail?  Because as has been the case from time immemorial, the equitable division of inequitably produced assets did not sit well with those whose labors yielded the harvest.
“For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense,” Bradford wrote.

But enmity amongst settlers wasn’t the real problem encountered at Plymouth — it was a shortage of food.  In his book Mayflower: A Story of Courage Community and War historian Nathaniel Philbrick discusses how communal farming and common ownership produced a “disastrous harvest.”

Faced with the prospect of starvation, Bradford “decided that each household should be assigned its own plot to cultivate, with the understanding that each family kept whatever it grew,” according to Philbrick.  Not surprisingly this approach replaced infighting and starvation with harmony and industry — not to mention an abundance of food.

“This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content,” Bradford wrote.

In other words where top-down planning based on communist ideology failed — the enforcement of private property rights based on free market ideology succeeded.

“The change in attitude was stunning,” Philbrick writes. “Families were now willing to work much harder than they had ever worked before.”

“The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism,” Philbrick added, noting that “although the fortunes of the colony still teetered precariously in the years ahead, the inhabitants never again starved.”

As the United States moves further away from its free market foundation this Thanksgiving, the example of Plymouth is worth considering.  It is a cautionary tale — a grim reminder of where the federal government’s present trajectory is going to take our nation.

Already the “fair share” policies of Barack Obama — who is making good on his stated desire to “spread the wealth” around — have failed to produce the promised economic recovery.  In fact America’s central bank is now printing money indefinitely as government’s debt and unfunded liabilities race past the threshold of sustainability.

The result of this “stimulus?”  Income levels are shrinking, joblessness remains chronically high and economic growth is anemic.  And lurking around the corner are massive tax hikes and the full implementation of Obama’s socialized medicine law — both of which will result in additional large-scale shifts from the “makers” to the “takers” in our society.

Incentivizing dependency has clearly failed to stimulate our economy.  From 2000-10, government’s cash assistance to the poor increased by 68 percent — after adjusting for inflation.  Health care assistance increased by 87 percent, housing assistance by 108 percent and food assistance by 139 percent — again, all after adjusting for inflation.  Still, poverty in America climbed from 11.3 to 15.1 percent during that time period.

Government efforts to combat poverty have produced more poverty, in other words — and based on the ongoing entitlement expansion, the worst is likely yet to come.

As we gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s not only remember the lessons of Plymouth — let’s commit to proclaiming the virtues of self-reliance, property rights and free markets more boldly than ever.  Otherwise we’ll have even less to be thankful about next year.

The mention of Barack Obama and the data brackets somewhat date this article, but the lesson is as true as ever.  The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

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A Conservative Guide and a Liberal Guide to the Perfect Thanksgiving.

A Conservative's Guide to the Perfect Thanksgiving

Pause and reflect on the first Thanksgiving, way back in 1621. The savage Indians, tragically unacquainted with God, were so grateful to the Pilgrims for bringing them the light that they prepared a feast for them. In return, the Pilgrims taught the Indians to abandon their primitive ways and embrace Christianity. And thanks to those early settlers converting or killing everyone who opposed them, America has been a Christian nation ever since! 

You should also take a moment to pray for the less fortunate — pray they’ll get off their lazy butts and work a little harder so they can stop being so poor, that is. (continue reading)

A Liberal's Guide to the Perfect Thanksgiving

Be sure to pause for a moment and reflect on the first Thanksgiving, when America's legacy of arrogance and aggression was just beginning. Unbidden and unwelcome, our forefathers took food from passive Native Americans whose tribes had existed in complete peace and harmony for hundreds of years without a single inter-tribal conflict. In return, we introduced them to guns, deprivation, and death. 

As everyone gathers at the table, remember to look outside to see if any passing homeless people want to join you. After all, it’s not their fault that America’s economic, educational, and healthcare situations are so bad, or even that they were born in this miserable country to begin with. (continue reading)

I wish I had written this. Click the above link for the complete article. It is very clever.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Please remember to feel White guilt and shame for being an American this Thanksgiving season.

From the email newsletter of Council member Nancy VanReese:  

Acknowledgment for Thanksgiving

Please consider adding this statement to your Thanksgiving moment of gratitude and acknowledgments.

The land we call home is the ancestral territory and vibrant hunting ground of the Cherokee and Shawnee tribal nations. We recognize and respect Indigenous People as the traditional stewards of this land and continue today to contribute to the life of this city. We honor their stories – told and untold - and the people of the past, present, and future who have greatly contributed to this land's sacredness. We also must take a moment to recognize the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory.

We also acknowledge the painful history experienced by Black people in our community and their significant contributions on and around this land. In particular, we recognize the humanity of enslaved Black people who built our city’s economy. 

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Report: Tennessee's Lee and group spent $117K in Paris, Italy for TNECD trip

Gov. Bill Lee
By Jon Styf, The Center Square, Nov 13, 2023 - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee spent more than $117,000
of taxpayer funds over a six-day economic development trip earlier this year, The Tennessean reported.

The group went to Paris and Bologna, Italy while promoting the Paris Air Show with a group that included six state employees, two of their wives and two members of the governor's security detail, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper reported that Lee and first lady Maria Lee spent $26,229, McWhorter spent $16,228.65, TNECD Deputy Commissioner Allen Borden spent $20,718.23, Senior Director of Business Development Chassen Hayes spent $19,888.02, Lee's Deputy Chief of Staff Alec Richardson spent $17,001.05 and Lee's Chief of Staff Joseph Williams spent $16,752.

Lee was one of 10 U.S. governors at the event. Lee's group stayed at a five-star hotel next to the Eiffel Tower while scheduling two days of free time in Paris, the newspaper reported.

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter was also on the trip while Virginia's Glenn Youngkin, Arkansas' Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Georgia's Brian Kemp were all in Paris as well.

"These European companies face the realities of high taxes and heavy regulations every day, and when they want to expand or relocate, our unmatched business climate and skilled workforce strategy place Tennessee at the top of their list," Lee said in a statement after the trip. "Economic development brings more good jobs and greater opportunity for Tennesseans, and I look forward to welcoming continued investment to our state from leading companies around the world."

The department said previously that more than 100 French and Italian companies operate in Tennessee and the pair visited Schneider Electric, Babynov, Puy du Fou and Valeo in France and Iris Ceramica Group and Gruppo Concorde in Italy.

The Tennessean requested documents and received 184 pages of fully redacted documents with the EDC's assistant general counsel telling the newspaper that the documents "reference confidential projects that are not yet subject to public records requests."

Talking points related to the trip were also redacted, the newspaper reported.

Rod's Comment: All I can say is that I hope we got our money's worth.

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Questions remain if Tennessee rejects federal K-12 education funding

 By Jon Styf, The Center Square, Nov. 15, 2023- Tennessee can first ask for a waiver of specific federal requirements before having to go down the path of rejecting federal K-12 education funding, a working group on the topic was told Wednesday morning.

Russell Moore, Director of Tennessee’s Office of Research and Education Accountability, presented information and options to the state’s Joint Working Group on Federal Education Funding on the final day of meetings before the group begins work on a report on the topic due to the Tennessee General Assembly by Jan. 9.

Moore said many of the questions surrounding federal funding requirements and not following those requirements are unanswered because no state has ever done it.

An example was $349.7 million of Title IA funding for low-income families that came to Tennessee in 2023, along with requirements the state produce a comprehensive plan for the funds, follow rigorous academic standards and have an annual state assessments accountability system for school performance that identifies the lowest performing 5% of schools.

Moore said replacing the funding with state dollars isn’t as clear because some parts of education funding come 100% from the state but replacing funding in the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement funding formula requires 70% from the state and a 30% local government funding match.

Moore said which requirements are written into either federal or state law, which are rules approved based upon those laws and which are policy decisions also needs studied. He said a study of the rules and regulations regarding federal funding would be a large endeavor.

Moore said that $109 million in federal grants went directly to local school districts in 2021-22 without going to the state first.

The largest three federal grants in 2023 were $359 million for Title I funding for disadvantaged students, $284 million for child nutrition and $292 million for students with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Education was on the agenda for a meeting of the committee last week but committee co-chair Jon Lundberg said the department could not attend the meeting but said that they would attempt to answer any submitted questions from the group.

The Department of Education, however, had a different story.

“The U.S. Department of Education was not invited by the working group co-chairs to testify,” the department said in a statement. “However, the department has offered to provide technical assistance to members of the legislature.”

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Rep. Tim Burchett alleges Kevin McCarthy punched him in the kidneys and Burchett insults McCarthy.

by Rod Williams, Nov. 15, 2023- I don't what to believe about this exactly, but I find it hard to believe
that Kevin McCarthy actually punched Rep. Tim Burchett in the kidneys. Did it happen at all? Was Burchett accidently bumped into and thought it was McCarthy and magnified an accidental bump into a blow to the kidneys? I have no way of knowing but am not buying it as alleged by Burchett. 

Not only did Burchett make the allegation but then insulted McCarty, saying, "He's the type of guy that when you're a kid would throw a rock over the fence and run home and hide behind his momma's skirt."

This is embarrassing. This makes Republicans look like clowns, and unfortunately the perception is often justified. Tim Burchett is becoming one of my least favorite Tennessee Republican representatives. 

To watch the CNN video, click on the picture. 

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The Transition Committee to present briefs to Mayor O’Connell on how Nashville Moves, Works, and Grows

Mayor's Office press release, November 15, 2023 - Mayor Freddie O’Connell’s three transition committees have completed their work examining how Nashville moves, works, and grows.

On Tuesday, November 21, the sub-committees will share their policy briefs with the mayor, department heads and the public at an open event at the Downtown Public Library Auditorium.

Both media and the public are invited to the presentation which will present a series of guiding principles for short-term, medium, and long-term policies that will build on Mayor O’Connell’s vision for Nashville.

“I am so grateful for the work of the Transition Committee, and I look forward to using their findings as guiding principles in the months ahead,” Mayor Freddie O’Connell said. “Their work helps us identify short-term fixes and long-term initiatives that will make Nashville easier to move around, more customer-service minded, and a better place to call home.”

What: Presentation of policy briefs from The Transition Committee
When: Tuesday, November 21, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Public Library, Auditorium (615 Church Street)

Alex Jahangir, Christy Pruitt-Haynes, and David Esquivel have chaired the three transition sub-committees which are made up of Nashvillians representative of the city’s diversity.

After the presentation of their policy briefs, Mayor O’Connell will collaborate in the weeks and months ahead with department heads to bring the recommendations to reality.

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Sunday, November 12, 2023

Just how bad is the problem of Illegal immigration?

by Rod Williams, Nov. 12, 2023- Like anyone else who pays attention and watches the news, I knew things were bad at out southern border. I knew illegal border crossing were up and cities across America was feeling the strain. It is getting so bad that some major sanctuary cities are considering repealing their sanctuary city status. Other cities are declaring a state of emergency.  New York City is moving to repeal it's decades old 'right to shelter' law which requires the city to provide shelter to homeless people. Cities are buckling under the weight of illegal immigration. 

We in Nashville are not feeling the impact of illegal immigration as severely as many other cities. We can be thankful that Metro Nashville is not among those cities that are sanctuary cities. It is not for lack of trying that Nashville is not. We can thank the State for not allowing Nashville to adopt policies that would have made Nashville a magnet for illegal immigrants. 

I knew the problem of illegal immigration was bad, and knew it was much worse since Biden took office. With these liberal cities backing away from their support for open borders, I knew it had to be really bad. However, an article I read this morning in The New York Times, did more to help me comprehend the enormity of the crisis than anything else I have encountered. I recommend reading, Several Factors Add up to Illegal Border Crossings Being at Sustained Highs

I like charts and grafts. I like numbers and data. I find a chart can convey more information than paragraphs of text. Along with the text of the article, these charts tell the story.

Notice the drastic increase in illegal crossings since Biden took office. This is not an incremental increase, but multiple times increase. The last two years were the first time ever that illegal crossings were over two million a year. 

This is the recent monthly view of apprehensions. 


The above chart is one of the most frightening things about the recent surge in border crossings.  For a long time, illegal crossings were Mexicans and then starting about 2013 more than half were from the countries of the Northern Triangle.  Now, half are from other countries. Who are these people? We don't really know. US intelligence officials have found that smuggler with ties to ISIS have been smuggling in people from various mid-Eastern countries.  Maybe they are fleeing persecution or just trying to come to America for economic opportunities, but maybe not.  Maybe ISIS is smuggling in terrorist. I do not see how anyone could be unconcerned about this. 

Most people don't start paying close attention to issues until closer to the election.  Illegal immigration is a winning issue for Donald Trump.  If he is the Republican nominee, he will drive this message home.  He closed the border; Biden opened it.  Let a terrorist sleeper cell composed of members who slipped across the southern border get captured and the danger of an open border will hit home. God forbid an ISIS terrorist attack should occur composed of people who walked across our southern border. 

Even without something as drastic as a terrorist attack, the illegal immigration issue will be a big issue by November 2024.  Fentanyl deaths, crime, cities financial struggles, and other ill effects of massive illegal immigration will have an impact on how people view our open borders. Already, many do not care that Donald Trump continues to claim the 2020 election was stolen. They do not care that Donald Trump tried to engineer a coup to stay in office.  Donald Trump will fix the border; Biden can't.  That is not a persuasive argument for me, but it will be for many people.  If Joe Biden is smart, and I am not persuaded he is, he will start now changing his border policy.  Pretending it is not a serious problem, just plays into Donald Trump's hands. 

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