Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moneyball

Today is Florida Primary Day, Huzzah! As expected, Mittens Romney, INC. has prevailed over his rotund and rosy-cheeked opponent.  Partly contributing to this victory were the corporations listed below, who gave to Romney's Super PAC in the last half of 2011 and were required to be disclosed today.  Take special notice to the companies that end in "of Asia," "of Japan," and "of Southeast Asia".

Oh, yes MR Inc., America the Beautiful indeed.



Company  Total Donated 
Acton Industrial Park  $ 5,000.00
Ballard Exploration Company, Inc.  $ 25,000.00
Blue Ridge Capital LLC  $100,000.00
Building and Land Technology, Inc.  $10,000.00
Consol Energy, Inc.  $150,000.00
Crow Holdings, LLC  $150,000.00
EAM Services LLC  $50,000.00
G. H. Palmer Associates  $100,000.00
Glenbrook LLC  $250,000.00
Jenzabar, Inc.  $250,000.00
Jet Set Sports Holdings, LP  $100,000.00
Klehr/Harrison/Harvey/Branzburg LLP  $25,000.00
M.C. Dean, Inc.  $5,000.00
MBF Family Investments  $500,000.00
Melaleuca, Inc.  $250,000.00
Melaleuca of Asia Ltd. Co.  $250,000.00
Melaleuca of Japan, Inc.  $250,000.00
Melaleuca of Southeast Asia, Inc.  $250,000.00
Monterey Peninsula Surgery Center, LLC  $20,000.00
Neal Communities Land Development, LLC  $25,000.00
Northwest Business Park LLC  $5,000.00
Oxbow Carbon, LLC  $250,000.00
Oxbow Carbon, LLC  $750,000.00
Pacific Capital Group, Inc.  $7,500.00
Paumanok Partners LLC  $250,000.00
Pita Raleigh LLC  $50,000.00
Rooney Holdings, Inc.  $500,000.00
Rooney Holdings, Inc.  $1,000,000.00
Sareli Investments, LLC  $50,000.00
Sierra Advisors  $50,000.00
Slocum and Associates  $100,000.00
Spectrum Laboratory Products, Inc.  $25,000.00
Suffolk Construction Company, Inc.  $10,000.00
Suffolk Construction Company, Inc.  $35,000.00
Tamathli, McGriff Farm, Inc.  $10,000.00
The Rod and Leslie Aycox Foundation, Inc.  $100,000.00
Trott and Trott PC  $200,000.00
W/F Investment Corp.  $275,000.00
Wendt Family Trust  $100,000.00
Young & Susser  $7,500.00
Total  $6,540,000.00

Just noticed something. The Rod and Leslie Aycox Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of a Title Loan Shark, is listed as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. I know corporations are people and all, but are tax-exempt non-profits able to donate to slash and burn political funds?

Colbert Super PAC

Just thought this was too funny to pass up. Colbert's Super PAC reported his haul to the FEC, a little over a million bucks, not bad for a sarcastic PAC. The actual letter filed with the FEC is probably the best part though:

Re: Supplemental Memo To Disclosure Report

Dear Sirs and Sirettes,

Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow (ABTT) would like it entered into the record that as of January 30th, 2012, the sum total of our donations was $1,023,121.24.

Stephen Colbert, President of ABTT, has asked that I quote him as saying, ''Yeah! How you like me now, F.E.C? I'm rolling seven digits deep! I got 99 problems but a non-connected independent-expenditure only committee ain't one!''

I would like it noted for the record that I advised Mr. Colbert against including that quote.

Sincerely,

Shauna Polk
Treasurer
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Inc.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The State of the State is Meh...

Live blogging, Citizen Action style:

Occupy Nashville Letter to Haslam

The Occupy Nashville protesters have issued an open letter to the Governor as we prepare to hear his State of the State speech in 30 minutes.

Dear Governor Haslam, Tennessee General Assembly, and Tennessee Highway Patrol,

HB 2638/SB 2508 not only criminalizes Occupy Nashville, but also further criminalizes all of Tennessee’s economically disenfranchised, unhoused citizens. If you want to criminalize Occupy Nashville and our unhoused neighbors, then say so. But don’t say you are evicting us because we don’t welcome other groups. Don’t say we threaten public health. Corporate influence in our political system is the real threat to public health, and when you stand on the side of corporations and criminalize your fellow citizens, you threaten the health of our democracy.

Occupy Nashville welcomes all people to exercise their First Amendment rights on the plaza. We seek to create an environment that makes other groups feel welcome, safe and empowered. We have worked with the Metro Public Health Department to address health concerns. It has never been possible to control the behavior of everyone who comes onto the plaza, though we take it upon ourselves to clean up and encourage everyone to follow the Code of Conduct, which discourages inappropriate behavior.

Despite knowing these things, you have continued to be hostile. In the early-morning evictions of October 28th and 29th, you declared war against the rights of your fellow citizens. You were overruled and reprimanded for infringing on our First Amendment rights and we have occupied Legislative Plaza since then.

Since October 8th, we have raised the consciousness of a generation and opened the eyes of the public to a system that perpetuates greed, injustice and inequality. The people of the world cried out against your attempts to evict us and we won an injunction barring your harassment. We have remained nonviolent, we have launched a successful campaign to halt the foreclosure of Nashvillians’ homes, we have taken to the streets to protest against corruption and injustice, and we reclaimed a derelict public building so that it could once again be used for public good. Now you are once again poised to enact an unjust law that will harm the public.

HB 2638/SB 2508 is an attempt to control, constrain, and manipulate public space to conceal the failure and inequity of the system you perpetuate. The visibility of unhoused people in public spaces is evidence that all is not well. Your system isn’t working when 25.7% of children in Tennessee live below the poverty line and when vacant housing units outnumber the people lacking affordable housing. You can’t lock people away in jail, declare success, and sweep suffering under the rug. Public property belongs to the public.

When you pass unjust regulations and use force, we grow stronger. If you pass this bill to evict Occupy Nashville and criminalize our unhoused friends, we will prevail in the courts and on the streets. You may expect actions like these:

1) We will occupy the State Capitol,
2) We will occupy public property (abandoned and in-use),
3) We will reclaim foreclosed homes, and
4) We will occupy the restrooms of all Pilot Travel Centers.

We take these actions in a spirit of love for our fellow citizens and unhoused friends. We hope you will respect the people’s right to use public property for public good. We stand in solidarity with our un-housed neighbors and occupations from New York to Nigeria, Murfreesboro to Memphis, Oakland to D.C. We stand for the rights of the people.Which side are you on?

Sincerely,

Occupy Nashville

State of the State

Mary Mancini with Tennessee Citizen Action has assembled an all star panel to live blog Governor Haslam's State of the State address, thus forcing me to actually watch a State of the State for the first time in...well ever I think.  Anywho, you can catch me along with those listed below over at www.tnca.org/live tonight starting at 5:30PM.

Mary Mancini, Executive Director, Tennessee Citizen Action
Wade Munday, Board of Directors, Tennessee Citizen Action
Sean Braisted, Producer, Nashville21.com
Kris Murphy, Political Coordinator, AFL-CIO TN
Steve Scarborough, Proprietor, RoaneViews.com & WhitesCreekJournal.com
Bill Howell, Tennesseans for Fair Taxation
Dick Williams, Common Cause of Tennessee
More to come....

On Ideas and Actions

Via KNS and Joe Powell
I know I probably shouldn't bother, but Matthew Hurtt decided to continue his Campfield apology tour by writing a post lamenting the "left's" reaction to Martha Boggs refusing to serve a State Senator because of his well documented homophobic actions:

The problem with the incident in Knoxville and the subsequent public response is that it’s motivated by disdain for an individual and his beliefs. The manager who tossed Campfield out and the people who have applauded her aren’t standing on some libertarian, free association principle. They’re doing so because they don’t like Stacey.

What’s the difference, then, between refusing service to a man because you don’t like his ideas and refusing service to a man because you don’t like his skin color? Both decisions are based on a disdain for an individual.
Stacey Campfield also agrees with this notion that he was ejected for his thoughts, telling a Buzzfeed reporter, "if you don't think the way certain people think, then they think you don't have a right to be served."

Here's the thing.  Martha Boggs would have absolutely no way of discriminating against Campfield's personal views if it weren't for the fact that he has made it his mission in life to use his position of power as an amplifier for spreading his own personal brand of verbal santorum around the state and nation.

Ideas and thoughts are the consequence of synapses firing in the brain, they happen billions of times a day to every human being. In order to know what ideas are floating around in someone's brain, they have to commit an act, be it writing or speaking, informing their fellow humans about what those ideas are.

Stacey Campfield was not denied service because of his ideas, he was denied service because of his actions. Such as, going on a radio show and saying that AIDS is the result of people getting it on with monkeys. Or actions such as sponsoring the "Don't Say Gay" bill which would prohibit teachers from allowing the word, or concept, of homosexuality to leave their lips.

Now, its all fine and dandy to have a philosophical discussion on the merits or demerits of the concept of "free association," but, as it stands right now there are protected classes against discrimination, and being an idiot is not one of them.

See Also: Cup of Joe Powell for more reactions.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Customer Isn't Always Right

Earlier today, from what I can tell, the restaurant The Bistro at the Bijou in Knoxville refused service to one Sen. Stacey Campfield. They posted a FB message that said, "I hope that Stacy Campfield now knows what if feels like to be unfairly discrimanted against." From all that I can ascertain, that was a response to not serving him for his well documented views of ignorance and bigotry towards the GLBT community.

In response, one Matthew Hurtt wrote: So, discriminating against someone because you don't agree with their political beliefs is perfectly fine. Two wrongs do, in fact, make a right, Fantastic logic!

That's a fine example of false equivalency. Stacey Campfield, who I've met, talked to, and actually kind of like as a human being, is a person of power in this state who has used said power to promote discrimination, misinformation, and outright hatred towards his constituents and other Tennesseans.  Knoxvillains who wish to eat out have a whole host of different options from which to choose from.  But Tennesseans who want equal representation and rights have only one legislature to look to.  While there are many representatives, theirs, Stacey Campfield has made it a mission in his life to make life harder for those who don't fit his own personal view of 'normal'.

There is nothing inconsistent or incoherent about discriminating against those with power who actively discriminate against those without power.  There is no difference between refusing to serve David Duke than there is Stacey Campfield.  While Campfield's views may currently have more resonance among the American populace, it doesn't change the fact that he wishes discrimination against people based on who they are.

I hope Campfield was refused service for his advocacy of abhorrent beliefs, and I would hope that Nashville establishments would do the same to Stacey and the many other advocates of discrimination within the legislature.  As long as the enemies of tolerance and compassion are given aid and comfort by the society at large, they will continue their evil deeds.

I look forward to soon patronizing The Bistro at the Bijou, and I hope you would do the same.

Update: 

The Metro Pulse in Knoxville got a quote from bistro owner Martha Boggs:
"I didn't want his hate in my restaurant," Boggs said in a interview this morning. "I told him he wasn't welcome here. ... I feel like he's gone from being stupid to being dangerous, and I wanted to stand up to him."
See Also: Michael Silence has a good rundown of reactions. 

Update II:

Stacey Campfield has blogged about his experience and says that he left the restaurant because "she started to yell and call me names again so I figured it was better to just leave."  He also adds this nugget:

Some people have told me my civil rights were violated under the 1964 civil rights act in that a person can not be denied service based on their religious beliefs. (I am catholic and the catholic church does not support the act of homosexuality)
Ummm...no. According to the EEOC, "Social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, are not “religious” beliefs protected by Title VII." While Title II covers restaurants, its safe to say that the same definition of "religion" would apply there as well. Arguably the belief that "homosexuality is a sin" is a religious belief, but saying that AIDS resulted from people having sex with monkeys, or passing laws that prohibit the discussion of the concept of same-sex relationships, does not fall under that classification.

Update III: Martha Boggs responds on camera to the incident on Sunday, saying she thinks Campfield is a "bully" and that "he needed to be stood up to".

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Herron says "Peace Out"

Sen. Roy Herron, in an uncharacteristically long press release, has announced he will not be running for re-election to the 24th Senate District seat.

Dresden—Senator Roy Herron (D-Dresden) today announced plans not to run for office in 2012, but instead to lead the Ned McWherter Center for Rural Development in expanded efforts to help young people go to college and create jobs for Tennesseans.

The senator expressed both great gratitude to constituents and high hopes for students and workers. Herron stated:

“I am blessed to represent the most wonderful people on earth. The people who have let me work for them as their representative and senator are my teachers, friends, and many are like family. I’m excited about working with them and other Tennesseans to help more young people go to college and help our state grow and gain good-paying jobs.”

Herron said after he finishes his state senate responsibilities this year, he will work actively as the president of the McWherter Center, a non-profit, non-partisan, charitable organization. The McWherter Center provides scholarships and educational opportunities for Tennessee students.
The McWherter Center was founded in 2008 with the blessing of the former Governor who died last April. Herron explained, “Some of us blessed to learn so much from Governor McWherter wanted to continue his service, and he loved the idea of a Center that would help young people.”

“Governor McWherter repeatedly taught,” Herron recalled, “’Schools plus roads equals jobs.’ And while he called himself a college drop-out, he helped his two children earn five (5) university degrees, and he recognized that in the 21st century his formula must be updated to say, ‘Colleges plus information highways equal jobs.’” 

Herron said, “Now the Center can use Governor McWherter’s wisdom and legacy to help enable our young people to continue their education beyond high school so they can become all that God’s grace and their gifts will let them become.”

Herron said re-districting made the decision to leave the legislature hard, because he knows and loves so many people in the new 24th senate district.

“The new senate district is four counties I’ve represented in the senate for 16 years (Obion, Weakley, Henry, and Benton), another county I represented in the House for 10 years (Carroll), and my late sister’s home county (Gibson) near our farm where I also know so many that I love so dearly.”

“But Governor McWherter said his second term was ‘for the kids’ and I want my next stretch of public service to follow his lead in making a difference for our young people.”

Senator Herron said the McWherter Center will be working with Tennesseans of both political parties as well as independents to expand college opportunities. He explained, “The rich can afford college, the very poor can get financial aid, but the middle class and working people are struggling as college costs soar. The ‘strong back jobs’ are gone overseas and the 21st century jobs are going to those who have a 21st century education. The McWherter Center can help students get 21st century educations and jobs.”

“At a time when some in the General Assembly want to make college scholarships harder to attain, I don’t see Nashville moving in the right direction. But I believe many Tennesseans will work together to help the young people who want to study hard and improve their lives.”

LEGISLATIVE RECORD

Herron won then-Speaker McWherter’s seat representing Weakley and Carroll counties in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1986 when McWherter ran for Governor. In 1996, Herron ran for the state senate where he initially represented Dyer and continues to represent Lake, Obion, Weakley, Henry, Stewart, Benton, Henderson, Decatur, and Perry counties. In 2010, he was the Democratic nominee for Congress. He remains in the state senate.

In the General Assembly, Herron has held numerous leadership positions, including chairing the Select Committee on Children and Youth, the TennCare Oversight Committee, the Senate General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee, and the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Herron has sponsored literally hundreds of bills that have become law and a state constitutional amendment.  As an attorney who had served as a special prosecutor, Herron authored the Crime Victims Bill of Rights that for the first time in Tennessee history enshrined in the Tennessee Constitution a set of rights for victims of crime.

As a former minister and lawyer who graduated from and taught at Vanderbilt’s Divinity and Law Schools, Herron wrote the Student Religious Liberty Act to protect children’s rights to pray in public schools and the Bible in Schools Act which provides a constitutional way for children to learn about the Bible in public schools. 

As the father of three sons, two of whose lives were saved in the womb and as newborns by exceptional healthcare professionals, Herron worked with Governor McWherter to expand access to healthcare for working families. He then fought to try to get the next administration to require better stewardship of taxpayer dollars by the managed care organizations.

As a country lawyer, Herron took the case of a natural gas company employee worried about unsafe and illegal practices endangering hundreds of West Tennesseans, then wrote Tennessee’s Whistleblower Law that protects citizens who refuse to break the law or report crimes to law enforcement.

An avid hunter and sportsman, Herron often quipped that with a district including more rivers and lakes than any other, he represented “more ducks and geese, more bass and bream” than any other legislator. He authored and worked on numerous acts to protect Second Amendment rights and expand outdoor opportunities. Herron grew up fishing and duck hunting on Kentucky and Reelfoot Lakes with his father and raised his own sons doing the same. Working with Congressman John Tanner, Governor Phil Bredesen, and Representative Phillip Pinion, Herron helped obtain the new spillway at Reelfoot Lake. 

A fiscal conservative known for his pickup truck with almost half-a-million miles, Herron has spent the taxpayers’ dollars like his own. He helped balance Tennessee’s budget every single year in office, while keeping Tennessee one of the lowest-taxed states in the country.
Herron warned that many in Nashville today seem intent on bolstering private for-profit educational companies at the expense of taxpayers and to the harm of public schools. Herron said he will miss continuing to fight for public schools as a senator, but plans to continue his efforts for public school students through his work with the McWherter Center.

As the son of a smoker who died of heart disease and the brother of a smoker who died of lung cancer, Herron sponsored the legislation that first banned smoking in state government buildings, then the legislation that banned smoking in most public places. That legislation has taken Tennessee from a third more citizens smoking five years ago to where we are today, saving taxpayers and insurance premium payers millions in reduced healthcare costs and which will ultimately save thousands of lives.

A runner who has completed more than thirty marathons and three 140.6 mile Ironman Triathlons, Herron sponsored the legislation creating the Coordinated School Health Program that works across Tennessee to reduce childhood obesity and improve children’s health.
As a businessman committed to economic growth, Herron helped create infrastructure improvements that have meant jobs and will mean more jobs in the future. Herron has played a significant role in the four-laning of Highways 22, 45E, 45W, 79, 412, and I-69, as well as new roads like 218 and numerous life-saving improvements such as the safety barriers between opposing lanes of interstate traffic. 

He fought for and helped secure funding for the Cate’s Landing Port and Industrial Park in Lake County, the West Tennessee Jobs Megasite in Haywood County, improvements to area airports, and the expansion of efforts by the Department of Economic Community Development to draw companies to Tennessee. 

As the parent of three sons, Herron worked to improve Tennessee’s schools, helping pass Governor McWherter’s and Governor Bredesen’s education initiatives, including the Better Education Program, pre-kindergarten for low-income children, and fairer funding for rural school systems.

“I’ve seen great teachers do great work and the differences they’ve made in our sons’ lives,” Herron said. All three of Herron’s sons attended Weakley County public schools in Dresden. “I want all children to be blessed with great, loving teachers like our sons were blessed to have.”
As a graduate of and former teacher at the University of Tennessee at Martin and Vanderbilt University, Herron has advocated not only for public schools, but also for post-secondary education in the vocational and career centers and community colleges and universities. 
Herron has been known in the Senate for his willingness to work. In more than a quarter century, he has 100% attendance except for the day his youngest son was being born. He missed the House session that day, but only that day, and he has yet to miss a Senate session.
Herron also has been known for his Listening Meetings. It is believed that he has conducted more public Listening Meetings than any other member of the General Assembly, a number he acknowledges is “somewhere well north of a thousand.”

In addition to the legislation that Herron has helped pass, he also is known as having modified bills that needed correcting and having helped stop bills he thought should not pass. When asked for examples of some of the bad legislation he has helped stop, Herron declined, saying, “I don’t want to give anybody any ideas about trying some of those bad ideas again. We’re doing too much harm to the people already.”

CONCLUSION.

Herron will serve out his term which ends with the new general election in November. The current session of the General Assembly is expected to adjourn by May.

Herron assured citizens, “I’m just as passionate about the issues and care just as much about our people. If I can help you now as senator or in the future in any way, please, let me know.”

The Long Lost Brokered Convention

Its something that political junkies love talking about.  It engenders all sorts of Aaron Sorkin-esque romanticism about the political process.  It was discussed in 2008, when a handful of journalists and columnists freaked the fuck out when Obama and Hillary had taken the primary into the depths of February (in case you forgot, it didn't stop there) and started talking about a brokered convention with Al Gore positioned as the savior to be.

Well, now its the Republicans turn, but instead of machinations by editorialists trying to fill their contractual writing obligation by positing ridiculous theories, its now the Republican base who are looking at their deeply flawed candidates with a sense of resignation and remorse

I am part of the base that will do everything I can to defeat Mitt Romney because I believe he will be a disastrous nominee who will cost us the House, the Senate, the White House, and consequently the Supreme Court. There are Mitt supporters who feel the same about Newt, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul. So maybe we ought to all find someone who we all kind of like instead of heading to Tampa in August all licking wounds and pretending to rally to the man the voters chose between the evils of two real lessers.
Of course, there are a few hiccups to this solution to your problem.

1) The GOP rules don't allow for the same level of "super-delegates" that the Democratic party had. From what I can tell, there are generally about three automatically "unbound" delegates per state. Now, this isn't hard and fast, there are some states where all the delegates are unbound, some with binding rules that only require for 1st ballot unity, some that require multiple ballots, some that are "moral" but not legal, and all sorts of other various measurements for judging how loyal someone is. So, based on my calculations, there are roughly 1768 "bound" delegates to 587 "unbound". Is that enough to trigger a brokered convention with an outsider candidates? I suppose, but its unlikely because...

2) Neither Romney or Gingrich are just going to give up, nor will their contributors let them. Yeah, its great for Republicans to think they'll set aside personal ambition and years of hard work so that Chris Cristie can waddle his way to the nomination, but really, does anything you've seen so far indicate they have that sense of selflessness? Someone is going to come out of this nomination process with the most votes, whether they matter or not, and the most delegates. That person will fight to make their case as to why they should be the nominee. They may come to an agreement with the runner-up for a VP slot, or they may cut a deal with Ron Paul to add Rand to the ticket and moderate their recklessly dangerous geo-political views. But ultimately...

3) Someone will probably collapse. None of them have the same sort of foundational campaign apparatus or fundraising base that Obama and Hillary did. Newt Gingrich is right now running entirely on the power of his adoring fans who marvel at his brilliance in debates...except, when he falls flat in one, and then he collapses ten points the next day. This sort of volatility makes me very pessimistic about the chances of a competition lasting until August, because sooner or later one of the candidates will make enough of an ass of themselves to allow for the other to gain a permanent momentum. My guess is, based on all available evidence, that person is Newt, especially given the apparent coalescing of the mainstream GOP establishment (Fox News, Drudge, Coulter, etc...) into a rag-tag group of Anybody But Newt. They may not like Mittens Romney Inc, but they sure as shit aren't gonna sit by while Newt auditions to play the part of Walter Mondale in the general election.

Of course, I would love to be wrong here...let the process drag out in a war of bloody attrition where Republicans put the Clinton impeachment and Capitalism "on trial" for the world to see.  Yes, you've dug yourselves into a deep hole with your Reagan revisionism and utter rejection of reality these past 20 or so years.  Now, no candidate with half a brain or know-how can survive the type of rigid purity tests you have created for yourselves. You've become a wholly dysfunctional walking blob of cognitive dissonance in your battle against the secular-humanist-muslim-terrorist-communistic-socialist-liberal-corporate-crony that you see as our President.  You did it all to yourselves.  If you, Erik, don't like the candidates with which you have been presented, look into a mirror and blame yourself.

Jameson Meet and Greet

Judge Mike Jameson is having a good ol' fashioned meet and greet at Swett's tonight, featuring many of Davidson County's African-American elected officials such as Sen. Harper, Rep. Pruitt, CM Maynard, Davis and others.

Judge Mike Jameson 
 
Thursday, January 26, 2012
5:30-7:30PM
 
Swett's Restaurant
2725 Clifton Avenue
Nashville 37206

Taxing Capital

It seems that Mittens Romney Inc has brought to the forefront a discussion about our 10 year experiment with dramatically lowered long-term capital gains tax rates and how they effect the economy.  Now, I'm not a tax policy or economic expert, but it seems to me that if, as Republicans seem to contend, lowering or eliminating the capital gains rate will have a positive impact on the economy, then the 2001 decrease in capital gains taxes should reflect that, no?

Well, they don't.  In fact, when I ran the numbers and tested the capital gains rates from 1987-2008 (the latest available for the "effective rate" I actually found there is a moderate correlation between higher capital gains rates and INCREASED employment.

Now, obviously "correlation does not equal causation," but this guy makes a pretty compelling case for why the lower tax rates might hurt the economy, rather than helping it. What this indicates to me is that, at the very least, lowering capital gains does not have a positive impact on the economy, at least in so far as it is felt by average Americans.  A lower rate may help with the accumulation and expansion of wealth among the already wealthy, but in terms of making our economy grow or prosper, the evidence just doesn't seem to be there.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kurita Hilarity

Matthew Hurtt has piggybacked on a post by Joe Lance discussing the prospects of a Federal judge overturning the decision by the Tennessee Democratic Primary board to declare the results of the 2008 Senate District 22 Democratic primary "incurably uncertain" and kick the decision back down to the county parties to decide who should be the Democratic nominee (hint: they chose Tim Barnes).  Hurtt concludes:

The only course of action that I can see if the court rules in Kurita’s favor is to remove Barnes from office immediately and allow Kurita to serve out the remainder of the term that would have been hers. No Republican filed to run in the 2008 election.

Both parties could then run again in the August primary without TNDP meddling.

It has always seemed to me that once a primary election is held and paid for by the taxpayers, then the results should stand. Sure, a political party should reserve the right to select a nominee, but they should be required to announce a selection process and cancel the primary.
First, I'll bet $20 the federal courts do not overturn the decision of a lower court to allow the Democratic Primary Board's decision to stand. However fair or unfair, the fact remains that state law, Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-17-104 to be exact, establishes that the Primary Board, comprised of the elected members of the Tennessee Democratic Executive Committee, are to be the arbiters of any nomination dispute. This was upheld in 1978 in Taylor v. TDEC which states:

Court's opinion that under Tennessee Code Annotated § 2-1704, plaintiff had a statutory right to contest the nomination, but that it was the State Primary Board of the Democratic Party, not the chancery courts, which had exclusive jurisdiction to dispose of such a contest.

It is apparent from a reading of the seventeenth chapter of the election code that the legislative intent was that intraparty squabbles over the nominating procedures are to be considered a political matter which are to be resolved by the party itself without judicial intervention. The party machinery is much better equipped than the courts to resolve such a dispute with the speed and finality that is required to preserve the integrity of the democratic election process.
Fact is, Tim Barnes contested the nomination, the TDEC was, by law, required to hear the complaint, and by fact of legislative construction, the board is made up of elected members and impartiality is not one of the requirements for obtaining office.

Alright, so now that we got that out of the way.  If by some chance Kurita managed to land a group of "judicial activists" who decide to supplant the law with their own feelings of fairness...what should be the outcome?  Well, nothing.  The other fact that still remains is that despite her name not being on the ballot, Kurita still (as Hurtt points out) was able to run for the seat.  By the end of the campaign, every voter could reasonably be assumed to have known she was running, and they decided to elect Tim Barnes anyway (by 15,000 votes).  The notion that she should be given a seat in the legislature with no evidence that was the will of the general electorate, is utterly absurd and I'm willing to bet without precedence.  There is no way for a judge to prove that, if Barnes had been deemed the loser of a nomination contest, he couldn't have won as a write-in candidate.

My hope here is that the courts do uphold the original rulings and put this waste of the court's time to rest.  The place to litigate this is not in the courts, but in the legislature.  If we don't like the process set forth for determining nomination contests, then the Republicans in the legislature should change the law that sets it up.

Turner Running Again for District 58



Steve Turner, who when up against Mary Pruitt in 2010, is going again for the 58th District seat once more:

Community leader and small businessman Steven Turner has announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination for State House District 58. Turner, a native Nashvillian and long-time resident of the 58th district, is seeking to build on his 2010 campaign in which he came within 170 votes of the 25 year incumbent Rep. Mary Pruitt.

“Now more than ever, Nashville and the 58th District needs a strong voice in the legislature to speak out on behalf of underserved families against those who work to silence their voices and ignore the rights of our city and its residents” said Turner. “I remain committed to serving my community by running for the opportunity to stand up for our seniors, our teachers, our students, and all of the other Tennesseans who have been under attack in the past legislative session.”

The 58th District hasn't changed too terribly much since 2010. Some notable differences would be Germantown is now out and in 51 (ironically, Steve Turner used to live in Werthan but moved last year to the East Nashville), while TSU's main campus has been drawn in. In addition, the district is slightly more African-American 63% - 31% white.

[Disclosure: I'm supporting and volunteering with his campaign.]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Congrats Stacey!

On the occasion of Newt's historic victory in South Carolina, I felt the Tennessee Young Democrats ought to congratulate our favorite Senator on his candidate's success:

Tennessee Young Democrats Congratulate Sen. Campfield

On the victory of his candidate for President, Newt Gingrich.
Nashville January 21, 2012: Sean Braisted, President of the Tennessee Young Democrats, would like to extend our congratulations to Sen. Stacey Campfield, Co-chair of the Newt Gingrich for Tennessee campaign, for his candidate's overwhelming success in the South Carolina Republican primary.
Earlier this week Mitt Romney's campaign had stated, 'On Saturday, South Carolina picks a President.' “While we disagree with that assessment, we are happy to acknowledge South Carolina's historic role in selecting the nominee of the Republican party,” said Braisted. “As the Republican voters of South Carolina have thoroughly rejected the candidacy of Mitt Romney, we look forward to a debate between President Obama and nominee Newt Gingrich.”
“We look forward to a debate between Newt Gingrich who supports a budget busting tax cut for the wealthiest one percent, versus President Obama's belief that we should have a tax policy that helps working families and asks the wealthy to pay their fair share in order to responsibly close the deficit.”
“We look forward to a debate between Newt Gingrich's desire to have all poor Americans become janitors versus President Obama's efforts to create a competitive education system that prepares young Americans for a 21st century economy and allows all people, regardless of status, the opportunity to compete for the highest paying jobs.”
“We look forward to debate between Newt Gingrich's evolving health care views which have currently landed on throwing people off their health insurance and telling sick Americans to fend for themselves, versus President Obama's support for a health insurance system that encourages health insurance participation, enables young adults to continue their insurance while in school, and keeps insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.”
“Whether a debate between Romney or Gingrich, we look forward to advocating for and supporting the President's proposals to empower working families, send more people to college, protect Tennesseans against Wall Street greed, and improve the quality of health insurance for millions of Americans."

Is Newt the Reagan of 2012?

As we sit and wait with bated breath to found out if the disgraced former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, will pull off an epic turnaround of fortunes and defeat Mittens Romney Inc in a state which he held a twenty point polling lead nary a week ago, I felt compelled to do a little research for some historical references.  Now, I'll qualify this discussion with my opinion that I don't think Newt will wind up with the nomination...his fundamentals just aren't that strong in terms of his ability to sustain a national campaign.  However, if Newt does win South Carolina, the possibility of upsetting Romney's path towards the nomination seems a lot clearer than it was just one week ago.

So, what are we looking at for November?  Well, with Newton in the race, all current polls show Obama beating him like a bongo at an Occupy Wall Street protest.  The current RCP average shows a +11 lead for the President, with only two polls in a year of polling that show Gingrich ever having a lead against Obama.  While certainly encouraging, the fact that Newt ever came close or ahead of the President in polls shows that the possibility exists he could do it again, and if it were to happen at the right time, well, you and I could be looking into work visas in Canada in the not so distant future.

I suppose, in looking at the race, the most likely cited comparison will be between Newt and that of the 20th century Jesus, Ronald Reagan.  And, if the comparison were to be made, it wouldn't be entirely out of context.  After all, in an article on March 23, 1980, EJ Dionne cited a poll which showed President Carter drubbing Reagan by a whopping 53-34, with a 34% favorability rating for the former California Governor.  That's actually worse than a Reuter/Ipsos poll earlier this month showing a 53-38 margin for the President over Gingrich.  The same poll showed that a 47-42 lead in a hypothetical Ford-Carter matchup...not too dissimilar from some of Romney's leads. I wouldn't be surprised if the Gingrich folks pull out this poll to bolster their credentials in the coming weeks as the Mittens onslaught gets into full gear.

While relevant to point out, I also think that is about where the comparison ends.  Keep in mind, these polls were before the political realignment that followed the Reagan election.  Indeed, Dionne cited Carter's strength in the Midwest and South in contrast to Reagan's backing in the West.  Now its largely a reverse of fortunes for the two parties, and its very difficult to see a similar realignment coming in the near future seeing as this realignment was largely due to Conservative Democrats and Liberal Republicans swapping party affiliations over the coming decades. 

In addition, just a month after this poll was done, Carter had a 21% job approval rating, largely due to an 18% reported annualized inflation rate.  In comparison, the annual inflation rate in 2011 was 3% for all items, and .1% for December.  Granted, food and energy inflation rates were higher, 4.7 and 6.6% respectively, which may have a greater influence on electorate moods than inflation on other items, however there is little indication we'll face the sort of massive economic pressures that Americans in 1980 were feeling, at least in comparison the the few years prior to the election.

Another similarity between then and now is that in 1980 is that Congress was deeply unpopular, the difference though is that in 2012 Congress is controlled by the Republicans.  While Carter had a rough relationship with Congress, it was more difficult for him to blame the problems of the economy on them, because his party was in control...obviously Obama is much more free to attempt to sell the contrast.

So while Reagan could rely on Carter's unpopularity to carry the day, the fact is Obama's fundamentals are much stronger than that of the Georgia peanut farmer's.  Reagan was also running during an ideological shift of the general electorate.  Despite beliefs that Reagan was the reason for the conservative shift in America, the fact remains that polls in early 1980 showed shifts of the American electorate to the right on issues such as social welfare, spending, and the military.  For the first time in decades, Americans favored an increase in military spending.  There is, I believe, little evidence that shows a growing desire for increased militarism among the general electorate this go around.

But, beyond poll numbers and data, I think the biggest reason why Democrats like myself are cautiously optimistic about a race against the Newt have more to do with his personality than his positions.  Newt is in many ways the gross and inaccurate caricature that has been adopted by the Right against President Obama.  He defines egotistical and arrogant, his belittling of the media and his opponents, while endearing to the right, are less likely to be attractive to the middle of the political spectrum.  And, in addition, he's a scummy human being compared to a President who by all appearance has his personal house in order. 

My biggest fear though with Newt, is that while he's played the media and GOP electorate like a fiddle thus far, he's also smart enough to transition to "nice Newt" in the general election.  After all, this is a guy who sat down with Nancy Pelosi on a couch to discuss the need for climate change legislation.  Much like Romney, the man has few convictions beyond advancing his own personal success, and while he's come up with some idiotic ideas in the past, I think he's smart enough to track polls and adopt a more centrist viewpoint and demeanor should he get the nomination.  The question is whether or not he could or would be able to look past his own brilliance to listen to other people.  I'm guessing not, and I'm also guessing we won't have a chance to find out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vote for your favorite Mexican

Jackie and Dunlap had probably the best take on Newt's ridiculous proposal for a 21st century white citizens council (3:45):



Just a review, Newt re-iterated his plan for a "WWII style draft board" to decide whether or not someone's grandmama could stay in the US. Newt added a few caveats to his haphazard proposal:

Now, I don't think we're going to deport grandmothers and grandfathers who have 25 years of networking and relationships in a community. So I've suggested a World War II-style draft board where local citizens would review the applications, you could only apply if you proved that you were financially responsible caveat 1 , you proved you had genuine family ties caveat 2, and you had an American family sponsor you caveat 3. You still wouldn't get amnesty; you wouldn't get citizenship. You would get a residency permit. In order to apply for citizenship, you would have to go back to your own country and get in line behind everybody else and be processed as a person from that country caveat 4.
So, basically, if you want to stay in the US as a second class citizen, you have to prostrate yourself in front of a group of Real Americans™ who will decide if you are worthy of staying, but even if these Real Americans™ decide you are good enough to stay, if you want to participate in American society, you have to cart your ass back to your native country and wait 20 years until you can maybe get full citizenship.  

Yep, that'll work.

War on New Yorkers

Rep. Frank Niceley is using some good ol' fashioned Southern hostility to New York to score some brownie points with the gun nuts regarding a case of a woman from Tennessee who broke New York City's gun laws.  As Humphrey reported, Niceley introduced HJR585 which lays out the case of a Tennessee nurse who has a handgun permit in Tennessee, who went to visit the 9/11 Memorial and was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon after asking a guard what she should do with her gun.  The resolving clause of the resolution states:

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby urge the State of New York to use common sense and sound judgment in the disposition of the case against Meredith Graves.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we remind the citizens of New York, especially those residing in New York City, to drive carefully through the great State of Tennessee, paying extra attention to our speed limits.
Teehee. Its funny, so funny. What's really funny is that this rightwing boob, who most assuredly thinks people who "break our laws" to come and work and feed their families are the scum of the Earth, is asking for amnesty for this Tennessean who failed to follow the laws of the State of New York, and is now not-so-subtly warning the residents of New York that should they find themselves in Tennessee, they may face selective prosecution for traffic violations.

Now, I get it, this sucks for the nurse. And if I were the prosecutor in Manhattan, I would try and find a way to make this case go away as quickly as possible. But, I'm sorry kids, states regulate their own gun laws. The 2nd Amendment as currently viewed by the Supreme Court does not extend to your right to pack heat whenever and wherever you like. And if this had happened in a state like New Jersey, I might be a bit more sympathetic, but every gun owner in the South has been conditioned to loathe the "draconian" gun laws of the evil Mayor Bloomberg, so if there is a failure on the part of a jurisdiction, the failure lies with Tennessee in not fully teaching their residents about the concept of reciprocity.

So, a quick primer, here is a state site which shows which states a Tennessee handgun permit is recognized in, and here is a third party PDF which puts all the laws in one easy to use format. If you pack heat, and intend to travel with it, learn it. Every gun owner I have ever known is aware of reciprocity laws, and is aware that New York does not share the same liberal views on gun carrying that we in Tennessee do.

Back to Niceley.  Just as Gaylord and Dolly announced that Nashville is going to get a major tourist attraction in the form of a water and snow park, this asshat decided to up and declare war on the 3rd most populace state in the nation, and the number one most populous city in our great union.  Thanks for that. Because on top of having to deal with your emotionally crippling case of homophobia and xenophobia, what Nashville needs from the legislature right now is a fucking war with the Northeast.  That'll help create jobs.  That'll help get our economy back moving.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ty Cobb running for State Senate District 28



Former 64th District Rep. Ty Cobb is running for the newly formed Senate District 28.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to ask hard-working folks like you to let me represent District 28 in the state Senate,” Cobb said. “I want to represent your best interests in the Legislature because I understand many of us are hurting financially as jobs have disappeared during one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression.

“Neighbors, family, friends and co-workers have urged me to serve in the Senate so we can get the Legislature back to doing what it’s supposed to do, which is govern with common sense and efficiency. We now have too many politicians in Nashville who are more worried about being big-shots than being advocates for the regular Joe."
The 28th Senate District is about a ten point GOP district on the state level. So far, the Republican candidate appears to be Rep. Joey Hensley, the guy behind the "don't say gay" bill in the House.  This is a tough district, but not unwinnable, especially if the Republicans fall apart nationally, as it seems they may be poised to do.  

Along with the press release, Cobb attached a radio ad that will play in his district:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hensley looks to backdoor "don't say gay"

The Advocate

Ignorance delayed is not necessarily ignorance denied as Rep. Joey Hensley has announced he's going to defer his "Don't Say Gay" bill which was scheduled to come before the House Education committee today:

The Tennessee Equality Project, a gay rights group, was planning to bring 100 people dressed in purple to the hearing on the bill scheduled for this afternoon. Chris Sanders, chairman of the group’s Nashville committee, said it was calling off the protest, though a few members may still turn out for the House Education subcommittee meeting where it was scheduled to be heard.

Hensley said he plans to package the bill, which restricts discussions about homosexuality in elementary and middle schools, with other curriculum legislation. He projected the delay will be for about three weeks.

Mayor Gotto gets a challenge

State Representative and part-time shadow Mayor of Nashville, Jim Gotto, has picked up a Democratic challenger for his re-election bid this year.  Darren Jernigan, the recently re-elected Metro Councilman from district 11, is seeking the nomination to take on Gotto this November:

Today I announce my candidacy to run for State Representative in the newly reformed District 60 encompassing Donelson, Hermitage, and Old Hickory. I grew up in District 60 and now I’m proud to raise my family here. I want to help make Tennessee an attractive place to relocate, start a family, or create a new business.

I care deeply about where we live. Tennessee is confronted with tough issues every day. It has become more important than ever that we stand together, partner with stakeholders, and listen to the views of all of our citizens in order to overcome these challenges. We have the skills and resources to achieve our goals and together we can make District 60 an extraordinary place to live.

Becoming a State Representative gives me the opportunity to expand my passion for public service beyond the local level. I was proud to be re-elected to a second term on Nashville’s Metro Council and I have used my office to help support and strengthen our communities. As a State Representative, I will continue to foster an atmosphere that helps our businesses grow and to see that our neighborhoods are safe, happy and healthy environments - today and in the future.

I would like to ask for your support as I seek to represent you in District 60 in the Tennessee State House of Representatives.
The redrawn district 60 is a slightly more conservative place to run in than it was in 2010. A rough analysis of the district shows a 44/55 Obama to McCain voting split in 2008, with a general 46/54 Dem/GOP performance. However, Jernigan currently represents one of the most Republican of precincts in the new district, 11-3, and was recently re-elected to the Metro Council with over a thousand more votes than his challenger, William Guthoerl.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Urban chickens passes Council...sort of



The Metro Council just passed an amended version of BL2011_47, Karen Bennett's bill to allow for property owners in Nashville to raise hens in their backyard.  The bill was a substitute which allowed for a two year sunset provision, among other changes, as well as an amendment passed by Robert Duvall to exempt eight council districts (12, 20, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33) from being covered by this bill.

Now, I favored this bill, or at least concept, to allow homeowners to raise chickens.  My neighbor has a dog tied up in her backyard that barks at all hours which bothers me a hell of a lot more than the possible clucking of some chicken here or there.  However, its just awfully bad policy for legislation to exempt political districts from codes and zoning laws.

As you may have noticed, I followed the 2011 Council redistricting process rather closely, and at no point was the subject of whether or not people could have barnyard animals ever brought up.  They were drawn primarily with population, physical boundaries, and existing political interest in mind.  So, by passing this eight district exemption with no logical reasoning beyond some CM saying "I got a lot of emails," we've given these elected officials way to much power and control over their district.  There was no planning and zoning input into the exempted eight districts as to whether or not they should be exempted, nor was there any real discussion on the council floor about whether or not the eight districts who requested exemption had good reason for the exemption. Your ability to raise chickens is entirely dictated by the whims of a council-member you may or may not have voted for, not, rather, the collective input and wisdom of the 35 district and 5 at-large council members.

Red Tape Alert

Someone, quick, give Speaker Ron Ramsey, creator of TNRedTape.com, a call.  There is a big government statist who is considering instituting a ridiculous, costly, and unnecessary regulation on small businesses across the state.  The scurrilous politician behind this latest attack on job creators?  Ron Ramsey:

And when questioned on the issue in light of the state's shift in policy on economic development incentives -- Haslam's legislative package unveiled last week would add outright grants of taxpayer cash to the state's existing arsenal of tax breaks, worker training and infrastructure assistance -- Ramsey said he'd be "fine" with testing corporate executives, too.

"It's fine with me. I mean I'll have to check into that," he said.

"I'm fine with that. I'm fine with legislators being drug tested. Because I know that we will be criticized if we target one segment of society like that. But you're right, if they're getting state money, federal money -- oh I shouldn't -- I don't know how you define who the executives are." He said that's something lawmakers would have to look into.
Oh, that Ramsey. Of course, we all know corporate executives will not be included in any ill-conceived measure to provide corporate welfare to drug testing companies, but all the same, in any rational world in which Ron Ramsey had a shred of credibility, his answer would've been something more like this:

No, we shouldn't require a company's officer to undergo drug testing to get state assistance. The only concern we should have is whether they have a proven track record and business plan in place to create sustainable jobs for the people of Tennessee.
Unfortunately, Ramsey and the rest of his poor-baiting rightwing caucus have let their desire to hate on poor people get in the way of rational thought. The same above faux statement should apply to recipients of government benefits. Whether someone smokes a bit of weed whilst on food stamps is irrelevant to whether or not the money we've set aside for food programs are going towards food. The only reason for state mandated drug testing is if a person has shown a history of drug use and a condition of their parole is that they don't use drugs. Otherwise, the operating assumption that if someone is collecting unemployment then they are more likely to be smoking crack, is simply an act of irrational prejudice, and irrational prejudice should not be the basis of any state or federal policy (of course, it all too often is).

The reason Ramsey can't dismiss out of hand this logical extension of an illogical drug testing measure, is that he doesn't want to admit that his drug testing scheme is simply a malicious desire to impugn the integrity of people who use state or federal assistance.  When confronted with this question, perhaps Ramsey should use the opportunity to stop and think through the necessity of this nanny-state measure that seeks solutions to problems of which there is no evidence of their existence.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Coffee with Cooper

Rep. Jim Cooper has been making the rounds this past week with editorial boards, journalists, and yes even us lowly bloggers.  At a coffee session at Bongo Java, Rep. Cooper sat down with we Nashville bloggers to discuss a wide range of issues including campaign finance reform, congressional reform, the budget deficit, Occupy Wall Street, SOPA, and a whole lot more.  I've uploaded the audio of the event, its a bit lengthy, but interesting nonetheless.



Bloggers participating:

Mike Byrd - http://enclave-nashville.blogspot.com
Southern Beale - http://southernbeale.wordpress.com
Betsy Phillips - http://www.tinycatpants.com
Trace Sharp - http://newscoma.com/
Dru Fuller - http://drus-vues.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Nominee Romney

See, its so fated that it even rhymes. Just watched the Ron Paul v. Gingrich/Santorum/Perry debate in which Mittens Romney huffed and puffed and stayed the hell back as his "opponents" ripped each other to shreds. 

The only one really taking Romney to task at all was Jon Huntsman, who is the only credible general election candidate on the stage with Romney, and who displayed a tempered traditional conservative philosophy that is at odds with the modern Republican party that has abandoned its traditional roots in a similar way to the Democratic party abandoning its traditional Southern conservatism in the 60s and 70s.

As for the de facto GOP nominee, it amazes me that for such a poll tested mealy mouthed candidate, he's still holding on to the tired and outdated support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  Nearly all the national polls show the American people warming towards, or outright supporting, gay marriage in a rather dramatic fashion considering anti-sodomy laws were on the books and being enforced less than a decade ago.  Of course, this my be one of Mittens few actual beliefs, given his closer ties to the LDS Mormon church compared to the more distanced Jon Huntsman, but regardless, it just seems somewhat surprising to me that national politicians at this stage in the game still think its alright to support drafting bigotry into the US Constitution.

As for the rest of the debate, it was largely a rehash of all the previous policy idiocy we've come to know and love from the modern Republican party with a special shout out to the Ricks on the stage whose unparallelled foreign policy belligerence would make Genghis Khan blush.  Mittens continued to set the stage for his general election campaign in which he'll subtly (and sometimes less subtly) question the President's American credentials (and who better than a member of a religion based upon the concept of American exceptionalism to do so).  Professor Chickenhawk Gingrich played to the New Hampshire crowd by plugging in some references to local issues, points to him on that.  Ron Paul did a good job dressing down Gingrich on his gleeful desire to send young men and women to an early grave despite his unwillingness to risk his porky hide when given the opportunity. And finally Jon Huntsman played to the Independents of New Hampshire, along with the handful of remaining sane moderates who haven't been shamed into dropping their GOP affiliation, by presenting a non-bigoted, actual conservative viewpoint on American power...or in other words, continued to distance himself from the vast majority of today's Republican voters.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Keep Lawrence County Together!

That was the appeal made by Rep. Joey Hensley in his election efforts in 2010, fighting back against accusations from the Lawrence County Democrats that Hensley and the GOP would be splitting the Lawrence County baby.  In response, Hensley put an add in the newspaper which stated:
FACT: Legislative districts are determined by the Political Party in charge of the Legislature during the redistricting process which in 2011 will be the Republican Party.  A Democrat [sic] Representative (Calvin Moore) will have no control over the redistricting process.  With a Republican Governor (Bill Haslam) and a Republican controlled Legislature, Joey Hensley will protect Lawrence County from being divided and continue to represent all of the citizens of Lawrence County.
Bold claims from a bold man, unfortunately, Hensley forgot to add a disclaimer that he thinks Lawrence County ends about a 3/4 quarters of the way that the State of Tennessee envisions the border of Lawrence County.  Unless, and I shudder to even think this, Hensley was either lying about what he wanted, or his fellow Republicans forsake him in drawing the borders of the 70th district.  Either way, if Hensley is a man of his word, he will vote against the proposed district changes from his party's leadership and push for a whole Lawrence county.