Saturday, January 27, 2024

Tonight is the Davidson County Republican Party Reagan Day Dinner, and I will not be attending.

by Rod Williams, Jan. 25, 2024- Tonight is the annual Davidson County Republican Party Reagan Day Dinner.  I say "annual," but some years the party does not have the dinner, just like some years the party skips the "annual" Davidson County Republican Party Summer Picnic. Nashville is a Democrat town and Republicans hold no seats in County government. In the non-partisan elections such for mayor and Metro Council, the party attempts to help elect conservatives but with very little success. Also at the state level, we are overwhelmingly represented by Democrats. Only in the U. S. House of Representatives is Nashville represented by Republicans, except of course those seats which represent the whole state such as senator and governor. With the party being the perpetual party losing elections, it is hard to keep party members energized. Between election seasons, sometimes party participation shrinks to the point that a dinner or picnic would have a hard time finding attendees. 

I have been active in the local party for some years. I guess I got active about 2010 or so.  While I did not hold an office in the local party, I served on committees and did lots of volunteer work. For a couple years I was responsible for planting and coordination of local Republican breakfast groups. At one time there were as many at twelve or more groups meeting each month.  One year, maybe about 2012 or so, I was given the award by the local party for the most valuable party volunteer or some such designation. I don't actually remember the name of the award, but I was recognized at the annual picnic and presented with an autographed copy of Govenor Windfield Dunn's From a Standing Start

In addition to the volunteer work I did for the party, I always attended the party conventions. I also was a financial supporter and for a few years I was a member of the "Chairman's Circle," which was for those who contributed at least a thousand dollars to the local party. By anyone's standards I have been an active party member.

Anyway, tonight is the Reagan Day Dinner, and I will not be attending. I thought about it.  I assumed I was going to go, but as the event grew closer, I just did not have the desire to attend.  The truth is I feel estranged from the Republican Party. I am not speaking of the local party in particular, but I feel estranged from Republicans in general. The Republican Party is now the party of Trump. I don't want to attend an event where people are going to cheer the mention of Trump's name.  

Being part of a party, your candidate does not always win.  When my candidate did not win, I have always been willing to unite behind the Party's nominee and put aside the sting of defeat. I would stand and cheer for the eventual nominee and work the phone banks and give money despite the candidate selected by the Party not being my first choice. I can't do that with Trump. Trump is not a normal Republican.  Being in a room full of Trump Republicans I feel about as comfortable as a whore in church. I feel like I wondered into a meeting of a religious cult. I think Trump is a threat to democracy. While I like some of his policies, I think he is reckless, uninformed, delusional, and has authoritarian tendencies. I also think he is a habitual liar, a bully, and an all-around jerk.  

This process of breaking with the Party is not easy. Being a Republican has been part of my identity. Being an active Republican has been my social life also.  I feel much like I assume one feels when they are estranged from their family, or a marriage is falling apart. My tribe has moved off and left me.

This break has been building for quite a while. This past year while doing my end-of-year giving, I did not give to several Republican organization to which I normally give and two "conservative" organizations that have gone Trumpinista. I skipped this year's State Republican Party's Statesmen's Dinner. I have in the past always attended.  This purposefully skipping of the Reagan Day Dinner tonight is another step in my recognition that I am no longer at home in the contemporary Republican Party.  

I want to make it clear, that I am not angry at any local Republican.  I like Party Chairman Lonnie Spivak and think he is doing a good job as chairman. He is a good person. No one has made me feel unwelcome.  It is just that I no longer feel a connection with Trump cultist and that is how I see the Party. Now, it seems, being a Republican means nothing more than being an unthinking Donald Trump loyalist. Given the way I feel, I think it best if I step away. I am not ceasing to be a Republican but am suspending my financial and moral support of and active participation in the Party. I am hopeful that over time, the Republican Party will lose its appetite for demagogues and return to normalcy where thinking and sane people can feel comfortable. 

 I don't fault anyone else for not coming to the same conclusion as me. In fact, I am not so sure I shouldn't have just sucked it up and gone ahead and went to the Reagan Day Dinner.  There is an argument to be made for staying engaged and attempting to pull the Party toward sanity again. Also, I want to state that the Davidson County Republican Party is not an example of a really nutty local Party. There are much worst county parties.  Unlike the Wilson County Party, we have not changed the "Reagan Day Dinner" to the "Trump Day Dinner," and we have not had nut-job Congressman Marjorie Taylor Green as a keynote speaker. Still, I know that tonight's keynote speaker, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs who campaigned in Iowa for Trump, will say a lot of laudatory things about Trump and the room will stand and applaud. I can't do that.

As part of my recognition that I am no longer comfortable supporting the Republican Party or a lot of what are consider conservative organizations these days, I am going to be more judicious about which events I promote.  I have used this blog to inform readers about opportunities for political engagement. I have always had a disclaimer stating that simply posting an announcement did not constitute an endorsement of an event or a speaker, but I no longer want to even help make people aware of organizations that promote Trumpism and the more fringe elements that have obtained mainstream conservative status in the age of Trump. There is really a dark element that is part of the right-of-center spectrum, and I don't want to associate with it or promote it. 

I am not ready to make a complete break.  I still consider myself a Republican, just not part of the Trump cult. I am not going to be attending events that make me uncomfortable. I am not going to promote events that spread conspiracy theories and promote an authoritarian position.  I am not going to give money to organizations that promote election denialism and oppose the peaceful transfer of power or oppose civil discourse, or democracy. I am not going to help elect people who would subvert our democracy. I am not going to give money to organizations that do not align with my values.

I will continue to attend events that provide value and do not make me uncomfortable. I am not totally dropping out; I am just freeing myself of a self-imposed sense of obligation to support things that no longer align with my values.  I hope to be around long enough to see the Republican Party again be the party of Reagan where a normal Republican can be comfortable again. 

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Nashville school Leaders express frustration over Tennessee reading law, saying it disproportionately affects students of color.


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Sidewalk settlements top $655K

The Tennessean, Jan. 54, 2023- ... Seventeen individuals and builders received settlements after suing the city over a 2017 ordinance that required them to build sidewalks as part of their construction projects or pay fees into a citywide sidewalk fund. A federal appeals court effectively struck down the ordinance in May 2023.

Sidewalk settlements totaled $655,337.69 — about 13% of the overall amount. The majority of the approved settlement money will come from the Nashville Department of Transportation's sidewalk fund.

To receive a refund of money paid into the fund or the cost of sidewalk construction, property owners must submit a claim to Metro and the costs must have been incurred from May 10, 2022, onward (marking one year before the appeals court's ruling). It's not clear how many property owners are eligible to recover costs this way. (link)


Metro Settles Claim, pays Nashville Rescue Mission and others $214K reimbursement for forcing public sidewalk construction.

by Rod Williams, Dec. 21, 2023- At this past Tuesday's Council meeting, the Metro Council passed aresolution settling the claims of the Nashville Rescue Mission and several others in an amount totaling of $213,966.13. The claim arose out of Nashville's sidewalk ordinance which forced property owners to build public sidewalks in front of their property when they substantially remodeled or developed their property. That policy, thanks to a lawsuit brought by The Beacon Center of Nashville, was ruled unconstitutional.  Nashville Rescue Mission got the largest reimbursement in the amount of $80,134.06. Metro Legal recommended the city settle the claims. (link)

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Illegal Immigration is not an "Invasion," and Donald Trump did not engage in "Insurrection."

by Rod Williams, Jan. 27, 2024- I know people engage in hyperbole to make a point. The problem at our southern border is serious.  I am not minimizing it. However, Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution allowing a State to "engage in War" if "actually invaded," probably was not meant to cover unarmed people wading across the Rio Grande.  

What Dondald Trump did leading up to January 6th and on that day and sense is despicable. I am not minimizing it.  However, I suspect that 14th Amendment, Article 3 of the Constitution saying one who "engaged in insurrection" cannot hold certain elective offices applies to Trump's actions. Trump egged on a mob; I doubt that amounts to engaging in insurrection. He has not been charged or convicted of doing so.  

Words have meaning. When using the Constitution to justify certain action we need to determine what the constitution really meant by the words used. The words of the Constitution cannot be stretched to mean whatever one wants them to mean. 

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Why does Davidson County underpay its teachers?

 by Rod Williams, Jan. 27, 2023- When I have heard that Nashville's teachers are underpaid, I have been skeptical, but it is true. 

I found the following data from a The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) study that compares counties across the State in a numerous category. Actually, I was looking for a report on affordable housing but got sidetracked when I came across this data on education. Almost any data you want to know about a county you can find has been compiled by TACIR. This data is a couple years old, and I do not know how it might have changed for the 2021-2022 or the 2022-2023 school year. 

Looking at the below excerpt from the report, one will note that the state average teacher salary is $52,781 while Davidson County is only $51,753 making the Davidson County system rank 48th. That means that some very low-income counties are paying their teachers more. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that in some counties in the state, the cost of living is much lower, especially the cost of housing.  Also, in some counties a teacher is among the highest wage earners in the county and are honored professionals while in Davidson County teachers are not among the elite of society. In some places being a teacher offers prestige, but not so much in Davidson County. 

So why do pay our teachers so poorly?  We must underfund education, right? Not so. Look at this excerpt.

While the statewide per pupil expenditure is $10,703, in Davidson County it is $13,940. Davidson County ranks 4th in the state in per pupil expenditure.

We do not underpay our teachers because we underfund education. The numbers don't lie.

We need to spend less on management and get more money into the classroom. We need fewer administrators and need to pay teachers more. This will only happen if we elect fewer progressives to the school board and elect people with different priorities.

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Friday, January 26, 2024

Trump, Republican governors back Abbott's defense of the border

 By Kim Jarrett, The Center Square, Jan 25, 2024 - Twenty-five Republican governors said Thursday they back Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to defend the state's border with Mexico.

Abbott invoked the invasion clause of the U.S. Constitution on Wednesday and said the federal government broke its compact with the states.

The "Guarantee Clause" of the U.S. Constitution (Article IV, Section 4) "promises that the federal government 'shall protect each [State] against invasion." Fifty-one Texas counties have declared an invasion, citing an imminent threat created by transnational criminal organizations bringing in enough fentanyl to kill the entire state's population, and expressing support to defend Texas' sovereignty.

"Because the Biden administration has abdicated its constitutional compact duties to the states, Texas has every legal justification to protect the sovereignty of our states and our nation," the governors said.

The Biden administration sued Texas over the placement of wire barriers at the border in Eagle Pass. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday reversed a decision by a lower court that stopped the federal government from removing the wire.

Abbott has ordered the Texas National Guard to continue building the wire barriers.

"We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border," the governors said in a statement. "We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally."

Separately, former President Donald Trump also backed Abbott and the state of Texas' response.

"When I was President, we had the most secure Border in History. Joe Biden has surrendered our Border, and is aiding and abetting a massive Invasion of millions of Illegal Migrants into the United States," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "Instead of fighting to protect our Country from this onslaught, Biden is, unbelievably, fighting to tie the hands of Governor Abbott and the State of Texas, so that the Invasion continues unchecked. In the face of this National Security, Public Safety, and Public Health Catastrophe, Texas has rightly invoked the Invasion Clause of the Constitution, and must be given full support to repel the Invasion."

Trump and Biden appear to be headed for a rematch of the 2020 election in November.

The governors' statement is signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.

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Thursday, January 25, 2024

Breakfast Club presents Pamela Furr, Sat. Feb. 3rd

 Greetings Breakfast Club Members,

We have a fun meeting planned for Saturday, February 3rd, as we start gearing up for another presidential election cycle. This month we have long-time friend, radio personality and now the Grassroots Engagement Director for Americans for Prosperity, Pamela Furr.

We will meet at our usual location, Plantation Pub which is located at 8321 Sawyer Brown Rd., Nashville, TN 37221. We will begin our meeting around 8:30 and will be done by 10:00 am.

I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Lonnie Spivak
Chairman Davidson County Republican Party 

Pamela Furr
Pamela is a radio talk show host & broadcast journalist and most recently Grassroots Engagement Director for Americans for Prosperity Tennessee.  She's spent the last 10 years on Nashville's Supertalk 997 WTN.  Her reports can also be heard on Westwood One's America in the Morning.  Originally from NC, Pamela has been in the radio business for 35+ years working for various radio stations around the country including Huntsville, Greensboro and Atlanta. She's also worked as a news anchor for Glenn Beck's Blaze Radio Network, has freelanced for Fox News Radio, ABC News Radio, and Nancy Grace's Crime Stories Podcast, and has been an assignment editor for News 4 (WSMV-TV) in Nashville. 

Pamela's career also has a musical side.  She's a Dove Nominated Christian Songwriter and can be heard singing background vocals on several country albums.  And every once in a while, she sings the National Anthem at various political and sporting events...


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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Nashville's new Transit Director steps down after just one month on the job, putting in jeopardy O'Connell's planned transit referendum.

Tanisha Hall
 by Rod Williams, Jan. 24, 2023- After only five weeks on the job Tanisha Hall, Nashville's new transit director, is resigning her position. Wow, that is a short tenure. Hall is CEO and owner of Fairpointe Planning which is a woman-owned business with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification and somehow serving in the Metro position could jeopardize her firm's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification.

Hall's resignation comes at a time when Mayor O'Connell is considering holding a transit funding referendum in November of this year. Hall's resignation could very well pose a major setback to plans for that referendum. O'Connell had said earlier that by the end of January he would make a decision as to whether or not to move forward with a referendum.

A transit referendum would have to be sold to the public and it would likely be a hard sell. On several occasions voters have rejected transit referendums. The transit plan would likely call for new rapid bus lanes and possibly some light rail, but details of the plan would have to be developed. 

State law requires that in order for a transit referendum to get on a ballot, a detailed transit improvement program has to be developed and approved by an independent public accounting firm and the state comptroller, and the Metro Council must approve the plan before it can be put to the voters. Also, a coalition for the new plan would need to be created and money raised for a campaign to convince voter to support it. There is not much time to do what has to be done. 

November of this year is considered the election in which a referendum would have the best chance of passing. November will be a presidential election and a lot of casual voters will be voting then. People who normally ignore local elections will be voting and it is assumed that with a greater turn out, the referendum would stand a better chance of being approved. 

While it is too early to say that a transit referendum in dead for this year, it is certainly in doubt. 

For more on this story see this link, this one, and this one

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Tucker Carlson or Marjorie Taylor Green?

Tucker Carlson 
Marjorie Taylor Green
by Rod Williams, Jan. 24, 2024 - Now that Trump has effectively wrapped up the Republican nomination, he needs to pick a vice presidential nominee. This time he needs to pick someone who will be loyal. He does not need to make the mistake of picking someone like Mike Pense this time.  Trump needs a loyalist for VP, not a turncoat like Mike Pense. Too much is at stake to pick someone who would put loyalty to country above loyalty to the leader. After all, if Trump is the leader, loyalty to Trump is loyalty to the country.  He needs to pick someone not too hung-up on that constitution stuff too. Trump has said that he may have to suspend the constitution so you don't want someone who would let the constitution get in the way of getting stuff done.

Tucker Carlson or Marjorie Taylor Green? Either one would make a great VP. They both represent the mindset of the typical Republican voter these days. They are relatable to average people. They are both almost as smart as Trump, almost as well-grounded in reality, and almost as self-confident and sure of themselves and both have deep insight into what is really going on.  They are great at pointing out all the conspiracies afoot in the nation.  Carson knows when a grease fire at a potato chip factory portends the start of an attack on America's food processing infrastructure.  Marjorie Taylor Green is on top of those Jewish space lasers causing wildfire. Either one, would make a great match for Donald Trump. Neither will ever offer advice without first knowing what advice the President wants and neither will ever question his judgment.  Either will be fine with me. No matter who Trump picks for VP, it will not change my vote. I really don't have a preference. 

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

How Much Did President Trump Add to the Debt?

From Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, published Jan. 10, 2024- In the recent GOP primary presidential debate, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley claimed that President Trump added $8 trillion to the national debt while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that President Trump added $7.8 trillion to the debt. These statements are true, depending on how you measure additions to the debt. We estimate the ten-year cost of the legislation and executive actions President Trump signed into law was about $8.4 trillion, with interest.

It’s also the case that the government accumulated $7.8 trillion of gross federal debt while President Trump was in office, though much of this is unrelated to President Trump’s actions.

US Budget Watch 2024 is a project of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget designed to educate the public on the fiscal impact of presidential candidates’ proposals and platforms. Through the election, we will issue policy explainers, fact checks, budget scores, and other analyses. We do not support or oppose any candidate for public office.

There are at least two ways to measure how much President Trump added to the debt – though coincidentally they lead to similar conclusions of about $8 trillion.

One way to measure how much President Trump borrowed is by estimating the debt accumulated over his presidency. Over the course of President Trump’s four years in office, the gross national debt grew from $19.95 trillion to $27.75 trillion – a $7.8 trillion increase (debt held by the public – the more economically-meaningful measure of debt – grew by $7.2 trillion over this period). However, much of this borrowing was due to policies put in place before President Trump took office or due to unexpected changes in circumstance. Debt was already projected to grow by about $3 trillion for the four years of his term when President Trump took office, and some of the additional debt accrued was also the direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. It’s also important to note that the government was holding an unusually large $1.6 trillion in cash when President Trump left office, which inflated the growth in debt relative to the deficit run during his time in office.

A better way to measure how much President Trump added to the debt is to evaluate the ten-year debt impact of the laws and executive orders he signed. We estimate that those added a combined $8.4 trillion to the debt over a ten-year period – consistent with Haley’s claim.

On net, almost all of the $8.4 trillion in ten-year debt approved by Trump came in the form of legislation, with costly executive actions largely offset by a unilateral expansion of tariffs. It included $8.8 trillion of net increases in the debt and $445 billion of net reductions. $7.3 trillion represents an increase in primary deficits, and $1 trillion comes from interest costs.

Of the $8.4 trillion President Trump added to the debt, $3.6 trillion came from COVID relief laws and executive orders, $2.5 trillion from tax cut laws, and $2.3 trillion from spending increases, with the remaining executive orders having costs and savings that largely offset each other.

The largest bills include $1.9 trillion from the 2020 CARES Act, another $1.9 trillion of ten-year borrowing from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and a further $2.1 trillion of borrowing from the Bipartisan Budget Acts of 2018 and 2019, which mainly increased discretionary spending. The bipartisan Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 enabled an additional $500 billion of borrowing, mainly from the repeal of various Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes and other bipartisan tax cuts. Other significant legislation added a combined $350 billion to the deficit.

In terms of executive actions, President Trump’s unilateral expansion of various tariffs raised about $445 billion over ten years, largely offsetting the cost of other actions such as the termination of the ACA’s cost-sharing reductions funding and a prescription drug rebate rule (which was ultimately repealed).

To be sure, other Presidents have also added substantially to the debt. In a future analysis, we will estimate how much President Biden has added to the debt – we pegged this figure at $4.8 trillion before the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other recent actions.

Importantly, President Trump also proposed substantial deficit reduction in his various budgets. However, almost none of these savings were enacted into law.

As a result, both Ambassador Haley and Governor DeSantis are correct – President Trump added over $8 trillion to the national debt while the gross national debt rose $7.8 trillion during his term.

Ruling: True

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Tennessee Legislature will consider property tax increase cap

 By Jon Styf, The Center Square,  Jan 22, 2024 - A Tennessee bill would cap property tax increases in the state at 2% plus inflation each year and 6% plus inflation over a three-year span.

A higher percentage increase in property tax rates would require a referendum.

Beacon Center recently asked registered Tennessee voters about a property.

"It is clear that people are unhappy with the current property tax system in Tennessee, with just 11% of registered voters supporting the status quo of leaving the decision to increase property taxes solely to the local mayor and city council/county commission,” Beacon Center Vice President of Communication and Outreach Mark Cunningham said about those results. “A large majority of Tennesseans (67%) also support a state property tax cap so long as property tax increases have to be approved by voters via referendum."

Just 27% of those polled said they believe local governments are spending property taxes wisely, 31% believe they are not and 42% said they are unsure or neither.

House Bill 565 is sponsored by Rep. Chris Todd, R-Madison County, and is assigned to the Property and Planning Subcommittee of the Local Government Committee.

Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, is sponsoring companion bill SB 171 that is assigned to the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

The cap would apply to counties, municipalities, metropolitan governments and special school districts that can levy property taxes.

In 2022, there were six counties, 24 municipalities and one special school district that exceeded the cap. In 2021, it was three counties, 37 municipalities and six special school districts and in 2020 it was seven counties, 22 municipalities and one special school district.

A fiscal note on the bills says the impact is expected to be more than $1 million of funding for local governments each year that those entities cannot increase tax rates more than the cap.

“The proposed language may result in LGEs increasing their property tax rates in amounts lower than they would have otherwise to avoid having a referendum,” the note says.

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Things are still a mess at the Metro Arts Commission. Metro Arts launches initiative to 'return land, money, and resources' to 'Indigenous, African, and Asian peoples'

 By Rod Williams, Jan. 23, 2024- Things have been a mess at the Metro Arts Commission for years now. To say the Metro Arts Commission is dysfunctional is an understatement. Back in 2016 the agency underwent a change to promote equity and to engage in more "micro-funding opportunities, education programs and neighborhood-specific initiatives." Prior the agency had focused on funding a handful of high profile established organization such as Children's Theater, Frist, the symphony, ballet and a few others. These were too white for modern liberal sensibilities. Turmoil followed the change in focus.

While the agency has this public face as engaging in social justice work, there were internal divisions and lawsuits and allegations of racism and sexism. The agency established an Antiracism Transformation Team to hold “the agency accountable in becoming fully antiracist in its identity and working for equity in all policies and practices with the goal of dismantling all systems of oppression within the arts ecosystem.” The agency also hired an outside organization, "Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training group," to help them overcome their racist past and transition to an anti-racist future.  This September 2021 article in the Scene tells the background and status of the Commission as of that time. Of course, reading anything in the Scene one has to filter out the snarky, woke, elitist tone of the Scene to get to the meat of the story. 

Bringing things forward and they are still a mess, and the organization continues to hire consultants to tell them how to be anti-racist. Grants are not being distributed and about half the seats on the Commission are vacant. The Pamphleteer breaks it all down and explains what's going on.  Read the full article at this link
Decolonizing the Arts
The Pamphleteer, Jan. 23, 2024 - ..... Since Daniel Singh was appointed Executive Director of Metro Arts two summers ago, controversy and dysfunction have reigned supreme. Not only is the organization’s fifteen-member commission short seven members after a spate of resignations, but the city is also conducting an audit of its financial management after it failed to fully pay out the operating grants it was designed to administer. Much of the chaos has arisen from Singh’s efforts to introduce a “more equitable funding model.”

A presentation circulated internally to staff and members of the Metro Arts Commission reveals that a radical agenda has taken hold at the beleaguered office. Authored in collaboration with Justin Laing of Hillombo Consulting and titled “What Could An Anti Racist Cultural Planning Process Look Like,” the presentation outlines a vision advocating the organization’s adoption of “antiracist planning” to create “antiracist outcomes.” (continue reading)

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The Bastiat Society of Nashville present Allen Mendenhall on "Why are Business Schools becoming Anti-Business, Jan. 25th


For more information and to register, follow this link

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Monday, January 22, 2024

Tennessee should cap local property taxes like most American states do

 Limiting the growth in property taxes will benefit every single Tennessee family. And with prices of many goods and services at an all-time high, this relief couldn’t come a moment too soon.

by Arthur Laffer, Joe Scarlett and Justin Owen, Guest columnists, The Tennessean, Jan. 17, 2023- Property tax bills, tax rates, and assessed property values have been on a tear here in Tennessee. 

People who have lived in their homes throughout their careers are seeing eye-popping property tax hikes that are putting a strain on their pocketbooks.

Rental properties have been forced to increase rents because of higher property taxes.  And the costs of owning and buying a home have risen a lot in part due to property tax hikes. 

In recent years, cities and counties across Tennessee have raised property taxes by double-digit percentage points.  ... Forty-five other states have caps on property tax increases ... Tennessee is one of only five states that does not place a cap on property tax hikes, according to the Tax Foundation.  ... Unabated property tax increases burden taxpayers on fixed incomes and strain their ability to stay in their homes. (read more)

Dr. Arthur Laffer is founder of Laffer Associates, an economic research and consulting firm, and a former economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan.
Joe Scarlett is retired chairman of Tractor Supply Co. and vice chairman at the Beacon Center of Tennessee.
Justin Owen is president & CEO of the Beacon Center.

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Trump's Demand for 'Total' Presidential Immunity Reflects His Authoritarian Impulses

 The former president argues that accountability is the enemy of effectiveness, both for cops and for politicians.

by JACOB SULLUM, Reason, 1.22.2024 - Donald Trump's lawyers argue that he cannot be prosecuted for his "official acts" as president, which they say included his efforts to reverse Joe Biden's election. As one judge noted when a skeptical D.C. Circuit panel probed the implications of that position earlier this month, it could literally give presidents a license to kill by ordering the assassination of their political opponents. But even that alarmingly broad understanding of presidential immunity seems modest compared to the position that Trump recently laid out in an all-caps Truth Social post.


To some extent, Trump's rant echoes the argument his lawyers have made in trying to block the federal charges he faces as a result of his attempts to remain in power after he lost reelection in 2020. ... Trump, by contrast, says "ALL PRESIDENTS MUST HAVE COMPLETE & TOTAL PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY, OR THE AUTHORITY & DECISIVENESS OF A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WILL BE STRIPPED & GONE FOREVER." 

Trump's concerns about the consequences of holding public officials accountable for misconduct extend beyond the prosecution of former presidents. In his Truth Social post, he likened that situation to safeguards aimed at preventing police officers from violating people's constitutional rights. "YOU CAN'T STOP POLICE FROM DOING THE JOB OF STRONG & EFFECTIVE CRIME PREVENTION BECAUSE YOU WANT TO GUARD AGAINST THE OCCASIONAL 'ROGUE COP' OR 'BAD APPLE,'" he wrote. "SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LIVE WITH 'GREAT BUT SLIGHTLY IMPERFECT.'" (It is worth reading the full article at this link)

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Mr Trump, look at the pictures. This is Nikki Haley; this is Nancy Pelosi.

by Rod Williams, Jan. 22, 2023- Joe Biden's decline in mental acuity is on display all the time and is
Nancy Pelosi

hard to deny.  More and more however, it appears Trump is slipping. 

Nikki Haley

Recently at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire Trump said about Nikki Haley, “Nikki Haley, you know they, do you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it. All of it, because of lots of things like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that. These are very dishonest people.”  

This is strange. Nikki Haley was Trump's UN ambassador.  She was not in Washington during the events leading up to January 6th and has never served in the Senate. Trump, it appears, thinks Nikki Haley is Nancy Pelosi. 

Trump has leveled that charge against Nancy Pelosi in the past. There is no evidence that he ever offered 10,000 national guard troops to protect the Capitol on January 6th. That claim had been examined and debunked. 

The final report by the Jan. 6 committee said: “Some have suggested that President Trump gave an order to have 10,000 troops ready for January 6th. The Select Committee found no evidence of this. In fact, President Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller directly refuted this when he testified under oath.”

It is bad enough that Trump has authoritarian tendencies and is a liar. That he thinks he is running against Nancy Pelosi in the primary is pathetic and frighting. 


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Beacon Center January Young Professionals Happy Hour


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Sunday, January 21, 2024

It’s Time to Put Social Security, Medicare, and Taxes on the Table

Republicans can avert a debt crisis, but only once they’ve faced some harsh truths.

By Brian Riedl, The Dispatch, Jan 18, 2024 - Republicans have long branded themselves as deficit hawks. From the floor of Congress to the screens of Fox News to candidate town halls and rallies, they attack “Joe Biden’s spending and deficits” and pledge to cut spending, reduce waste, and balance the budget. Nearly all of this talk should be dismissed until the Republican Party, which I have advised for years, finally backs up this rhetoric with a serious yet plausible anti-deficit agenda.

... even when Republicans sweep elections, they tend to drastically expand budget deficits with tax cuts and new spending. ... 

Annual budget deficits have surpassed $2 trillion, and they’re on their way to $3 trillion within a decade. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts about $119 trillion in budget deficits over the next 30 years—$116 trillion of which is attributable to Social Security and Medicare shortfalls—and that’s under a rosy scenario of expiring tax cuts, no new spending initiatives, and low interest rates. ....

Republicans Drove Up Deficits, Too ... Even when Republicans last enjoyed a unified government (the House, Senate, and presidency) in 2017 and 2018, they did nothing to rein in soaring entitlement costs and instead busted the discretionary spending caps by 13 percent in one year.  ... Republicans Lack Serious Proposals to Rein in Deficits ...Social Security and Medicare shortfalls are responsible for 97 percent of projected budget deficits over the next 30 years. Without reforming those two entitlement programs, there is no package of remotely plausible alternative spending cuts or tax hikes that could cover this shortfall. ... Serious Republicans Must Put Taxes on the Table ... Delay Brings Even Larger Tax Hikes ... Time to Be Credible (read it all)

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Republicans consider Removing Joe Biden from Ballots in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Florida

Newsweek: Full List of States Wanting to Kick Biden Off the Ballot

BREITBART: Exclusive: Republicans Drafting Bills to Remove Joe Biden from Ballots in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania

USA Today: Illinois voters assert Biden 'ineligible' to run for office, move to strike him from ballot

New York Post: Republicans float booting Biden off state ballots after Trump ruling

Business Insider: Missouri's Secretary of State is threatening to remove Joe Biden from the 2024 presidential ballot after Colorado removed Donald Trump

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This man will be a dictator if you are unwise enough to restore him to power.


by Rod Williams, Jan. 21, 2023- I certainly agree with Mark's comment above. The Trump position further argues that a president or former president can only be charged with a crime after successfully being impeached.  If this were the standard, then a president could have members of the senate assassinated before they could rule on impeachment.  He would get away with it because those who would rule in favor of the impeachment would be dead. I will be very surprised if Trump's view on presidential immunity prevails, but it is instructive that this is the way Trump thinks. 

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