Thursday, June 25, 2009

Perspective

One of the most memorable statements made this week came from Bob Krumm:

"52 professional media outlets have asked to attend an arraignment hearing for some singer accused of beating his girlfriend . . . meanwhile the world depends on amateur footage to get honest reporting from Iran."

And now, knocking the shameful affair of SC Gov. Mark Sanford (R) off the front page, the world's press is focused on the death of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. They're still trying to figure out if Jeff Goldblum fell to his death in New Zealand.

Unfortunately, our enemies aren't as easily distracted. Al Qaida is bragging about their execution of a Tennessee man for daring to live his name--Christ Bearer.

"Christopher Ervin Legget, who grew up in Cleveland, Tenn., had been living in the North African nation with his wife, Jackie, and their four children for six years. He did humanitarian work while teaching at a school specializing in computer science in El Kasr, a lower-class neighborhood in Nouakchott, according to relatives in Tennessee.

The Rev. Jim Gibson, co-pastor of First Baptist Church of Cleveland, said Leggett was a church member but worked in Mauritania independently. He said Leggett's family is returning from Mauritania, and a funeral may be held at the church on Tuesday." Charisma Magazine

Our world is more upside down than I want to admit. Millions will mourn the death of the pop icons. But to be sure, One has stood to welcome home a son.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's just an EGO thing



After leaving the Army I was working as a civilian for the Navy in the office that arranged the shipment of the household belongings of servicemen and their dependents. Got a phone call from a General. I was quite respectful and business like. Called him sir just like I did every other male caller. Using his obviously experienced "commander voice" he told me to call him General not sir. I replied: "Yes, Sir." And I continued to call him sir throughout the conversation.


People who need to hear Doctor, Senator, General may have earned the title but have rarely earned the respect.

Hat Tip: Truman's Take

Thursday, June 18, 2009

His personal plea



Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville) makes a personal plea to fellow legislators not to 'screw up' something this important. This after the room is distracted by public comments made by Rep. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) about the lack of education choice for poor public school students.

See Jones is offended and Charter Bill PASSES! for details (scroll down).

Let's get it right



Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) gets it. Here's two and a half minutes of common sense.

He's got a point to be sure. Our children have gold necklaces and $100 tennis shoes but lack the education they, and America, need to regain our competitive spirit. He admonishes his fellow legislators to "get it right and start working on this problem". He voted for the charter bill.

Jones is offended


Rep. Ulysses Jones (D-Memphis) is offended by Rep. Brian Kelsey's (R-Germantown) comments regarding the status of poor children without school choice. Despite being called out of order by the Chair, Jones says his piece. This video starts with Kelsey's brief statement and then Jones is recognized.

Charter Bill PASSES!

The Democrats stepped slightly aside from the school house door after a $100 million dollar arm twisting by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and allowed the charter bill to pass. Final vote 79 yes, 15 no.


I'll have to wait for in House viewers to explain what all the commotion was in the room but it was clear from Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville) strong words that there was some definite restlessness in the room. Democrat Caucus Chair Turner said fairly early in the discussion "We've come a long way on this bill...I can't believe we've come this far and going to screw it up. Let's vote this bill out." Several speakers asked for order in the room and called for the House to 'come under the rule'.

Rep. Tommie Brown (D-Chattanooga) had some stern words for the room after the vote asserting that the Democrat declaration of a unit vote (everyone votes against the charter bill) was at the request of one male Democrat who 'needed cover' for the vote. She didn't name him. No one wanted that, she said, and it gave the Democrats in Tennessee a black eye the entire nation was commenting on.

Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) felt the need to defend teachers and express her feelings about what she considered "bashing" of public schools. She threw out the ineffective and oft repeated argument that charters "cherry pick" their students. No one pointed out to her that they recruit from failing schools and students and that the MNPS system has done such a poor job in the past of notifying parents of the education option that door-to-door notification was almost essential. It's not like charters are only accepting rich white kids with high IQ's. She also asserted that the TEA (Tennessee Education Association) worked with the bill crafters to ensure that something worse didn't come about. She predicted that charters wouldn't be for students and time would show that they turned out to be something else.

In the middle of all this an unexpected 6th amendment was offered by Rep. G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) and then withdrawn. It would have allowed any student into a charter school if after the failing school students, failing students, and at-risk students had turned the slots down.

Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) commented, rather passionately, that this bill had made folks take a long look at the the public education system. He said we needed to rediscover that competitive spirit and creativity that allowed us to go to the moon using a slide rule, pencil and paper and computers with less power than his cell phone.

Rep. Ulysses Jones (D-Memphis took time to dress down Rep. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) for a press release about students who attend charter schools. Speaker of the House Rep. Kent Williams (R CCR -Elizabethton) called him out of order and directed him back on the bill a couple of times with little impact.

Rep. Les Winningham (D-Huntsville) commented that this was "an opportunity to be able to start schools and make them be accountable". That no one wants failing schools. That they'll be no more expansion of charter schools until it's all reviewed in 2015.

Maybe no one "wants" failing schools but as was pointed out by one speaker (and I'll review the video and figure out who it was) the Legisalture has allowed too many students to remain on the plantation and has failed over and over to hold regular public schools accountable. It's OK for those public schools to fail but we'll be derned if we'll let a charter school get away with not graduating every one of their students.

I'll upload and add some YouTube videos later today. Some of these words shouldn't be forgotten at election time.

UPDATE: The Jones/Kelsey kerfuffle likely stemmed from this quote in the Chattanoogan.
Charter school expansion will help poor children have a chance to receive a quality education,” said Rep. Kelsey. “Our public school system is the last vestige of slavery. It traps many impoverished kids into a system of poor education with very little chance of success. I’m glad that this bill continues to pick up bipartisan support from the local level all the way up to the presidency.” Chattanoogan
UPDATE II: Rep. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) comments at the Nashville Post that the press release with the comment above was sent out on Tuesday (two days ago) in anticipation of the House bringing the bill back yesterday. So, apparently, it looks like there wasn't any plot to spring this press release moments after the bill vote. Of course, I'm sure Rep. Jones and those that have fought hard to control education choices are still not happy.

Hat tip (twice): AC Kleinheider at Nashville Post

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thankfully, I had an alternative

Someone forgot to throw a switch this afternoon.

For about 20 minutes folks hoping to view the Tennessee House session this afternoon on Nashville's channel 8.2 were watching an empty committee room despite the fact that the session was ongoing.

This late in the session there's too much to do and too little time. Thankfully, I had a viewing alternative.

Charter bill heads for floor vote

About 2:30 p.m. the House Calendar and Rules Committee voted to place HB2146 on the House's regular calendar for today. Of course, the schedule for the House session says it'll start at 1:00 p.m. According to
Speaker of the House Rep. Kent Williams' (R CCR -Elizabethton)
office he just announced the session would start at 3:00 p.m.

Charter Bill still chugging along

The charter bill has just passed in the House Finance Committee. It goes next to the House Calendar and Rules Committee for scheduling for a floor vote.

Rep. Ken Coleman (D-Murfreesboro) needed a definition of 'failing student'. Mr. Bruce Opie of the Department of Education quickly provided one.

Rep. Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar) wanted clarification on the number of charter schools allowed. Total of 90? 35 in Memphis? 20 in Davidson county? Others wherever there is a need? Sponsor Rep. Beth Harwell-Halteman (R-Nashville) responded "Yes, Sir."

Calendar & Rules will meet as soon as the Finance Committee finishes their brief agenda.

Charter bill still moving

The charter bill smoothly passed through the House Government Operations Committee and is now headed to Finance which is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. today.

It passed without comment. Headed to the House Finance Committee which will meet at 12:30.

Charter bill moves

2009-06-17 @ 08:50 AM This morning the House Education committee reconvened and passed on to the Government Ops committee Rep. Beth Harwell-Halteman's (R-Nashville) charter school bill.

The bill was stripped of previous amendments and then had 4 amendments added. One amendment was offered by Rep. Harwell. Rep. Ulysses Jones (D-Memphis) interrupted to say this was his amendment and was to be offered on the House Floor instead. The amendment was then removed from the bill and will 'travel with the bill' to the House Floor where Jones will move to add his amendment which will require that the at-risk students in failing schools will have priority in attending these charter schools. Then other at-risk students will have to participate in a lottey for any open slots.

The bill with the 4 amendments passes on to Government Ops which is about to meet.

Amendment 1 states that only districts with 14K students or more or LEA's failing AYP 2 consecurtive years and on the State's high priority list are eligible. Districts can opt in after 2/3ds of their BOE's vote to opt in. Charters can run 10 years with a mandatory review at 5 years.

Amendment 2 Caps Charter schools at 90 for the entire state. Maximum of 20 in Davidson County and 35 in Memphis (it pays to have a Memphis heavy Ed Committee, I guess).

Amendment 3 was offered by Rep. Les Winningham (D-Huntsville) on behalf of Rep. Tommie Brown (D-Chattanooga) who was 'delayed'. It requires tracking of these students and reporting of information like funding and movement of students (if I understood Winningham correctly.)

Amendment 4 was again offered by Winningham for Brown (who was still 'delayed) which would 'encourage' systems with charters school to use stimulus funds, "Race to the Top" funds to try other innovative schools such as magnets.

All amendments passed. The bill itself apparently got just one noe vote. Don't know who at this moment.

Commenter Jamie tells us the two no votes were Rep. Judy Barker (D-Union City) and Rep. Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Taxpayers and voters are stakeholders too

From Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville) (hat tip AC Kleinheider at Nashville Post)

“I appreciate the [Obama, Alexander, Dean] input, but none of them have kids in public schools.”
A reminder that the public school system requires taxpayer dollars and citizen votes in order to be run. Until it doesn't need our money or our votes...mere voters and taxpayers have as much standing as any anyone in how the system is run. Ditto President Obama, Senator Alexander and Mayor Dean.

Is it unfair for them to bar reasonable educational choices when they've certainly had the opportunity to choose differently for their children? Certainly. But it doesn't bar them from expressing their opinion and working toward improving the system as they see necessary. No member of the legislature was elected by just parents of public school children, or TEA members. They have a responsibility to represent all the voters in their districts. They have a responsibility to put the children's needs ahead of adult politics.

Educational civil rights

Someone's smelling the morning coffee: This from South Carolina:

Today this black Democrat [Sen. Robert Ford] says the new civil-rights struggle is about the quality of instruction in public schools, and that to receive a decent education African-Americans need school choice. He wants the president's help. "We need choice like Obama has. He can send his kids to any school he wants."(WSJ)
And from Tennessee:

Bound by the unit rule, House Democrats killed the [charter schools] bill but Republicans are attempting to resurrect it.

"We have not changed our caucus position. We've asked everyone to hold our positions on that but I don't know if everybody will or not," said [Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville) ]. "If somebody breaks, there won't be any horse heads in the bed in the morning. There'll be some teeth gnashing, but there won't be any permanent damage." (Commercial Appeal)

I will, again, encourage the passage of the charter schools bill and would suggest that TEA (Tennessee Education Association) leaders buy dental night guards. Standing in the school house door and keeping children from an educational choice that works because the TEA will lose some members or cannot force charters to be just like the failing public schools they do control is evil. It's not about TEA membership. It's not about paying back campaign markers. It's about the children--remember? Don't make them wait another year to get the education they were promised long ago. They don't have the time to spare. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A step forward is better than no movement at all. Seriously consider what you would want if these were your children. Vote for expanding charters.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Murder is murder

Tiller Killer: Right from the start let me make it absolutely clear that Tiller's assassination didn't bring back one baby from death. It was an action that fell outside the parameters of our rules of law and should not have happened. Let me repeat that...no one should have murdered Tiller.

Let me also make it clear that the further we get from the rule of law the more frustrated among us will take the law into their own hands. It's not unusual for some to so object to the absolute failure of our judicial system to hold people accountable that it drives them to similar madness. Anyone watching the events in Kansas courts regarding Tiller had to know that they system was bending over backwards to keep anyone from knowing if he was performing these abortions legally. Throw in the financial connection between him and his 'second opinion' and a laundry list of other items and even the most sane folks were throwing up their hands in frustration. Tiller's Killer was not among the sane and so came unhinged and did more harm than good in killing Tiller.

Today's copy of the Tennessean contains three opinion pieces regarding abortion. The opinion of the Editorial Board is that it's a lack of civility that's really the problem here. Apparently, 30 years of protesting outside of his clinic and calling a man who killed babies a 'baby killer' is uncivil. Likely the Editoial Board wrote something similar about the fight for civil rights here in Nashville. Planned Parenthood listens to 'the loudest voices' instead of the quiet majority providing homes, care and resources for women in need. The third voice is just one such voice. Richard Lamb's comments include:

"Acts of violence against abortion providers or abortion facilities must be condemned. When such violence erupted in 1994, Southern Baptist theologians and ethicists convened in Nashville and produced "The Nashville Statement of Conscience," which condemned such acts of violence as unbiblical, un-Christian and un-American. The pro-life movement must continue to denounce such violence."
And the vast majority have. It's convenient for Planned Parenthood and it's allies to point to the whacked out Phelps cult as being the voice of anti-abortionists...but the fact is it is not. One person every decade or so has died as a result of those who couldn't wait for the law to change. A very few got tired of seeing every reasonable effort to ensure the safety of women and girls, informing girls and women of just what was inside their bodies and to allow parents to be informed about a serious medical procedure about to performed on their daughters thwarted time and time again. In the meantime George Tiller, by his own testimony, did 60,000 procedures. 60,000 children who never got the chance to plead their case for life. I'd say in light of that figure alone the pro-life movement has been exceptionally patient and civil.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Time to update?


Looks like I'm not the only one who hasn't updated their LinkedIn profile in a while.

It's a little sad...he's only got one connection.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Gotta run

Metro CM Jim Gotto (District 12-Hermitage) is making noises like he's interested in replacing Rep. Ben West, Jr. (D-Hermitage) when the time comes. I'm ALL for replacing a Democrat with a Republican. But in looking towards that contest I would encourage CM Gotto to consider entering this Thursday's Planning Commission meeting which he will chair with an eye towards upcoming elections. He's already done more than enough for Democrat Pam Murray. Does he really want folks to see him also enabling her revocation of the mobile vending bill to be on his resume when election time comes?


Like it or not, the race has begun.

City Paper: "Gotto keeping options open for higher office."

Monday, June 08, 2009

For those with ears to hear



For what they consider our own good they're going to take every bit of freedom we have. They alone are fit to run things. "We the people" aren't to be trusted.

Taking on the ACLU--again

Remember the ACLU got their panties in a wad because certain websites weren't accessible to Metro Nashville and Knox County public school students and they filed a lawsuit to get the Internet filters removed? Both systems promptly caved and removed the filter but the lawsuit hasn't been withdrawn.

I got a press release this afternoon from June Griffin an East Tennessee woman whose had enough of the ACLU running things and is fighting back. From her press release:

"Mrs. Griffin, who is representing herself, stated that she resented the ACLU's being paid out of tax dollars for their legal fees, under 42 USC 1988. She further cited contradictions in the various statutes, which collide with each other and leave the judges in a position of arbitrary power which she states is contrary to the Tennessee Declaration of Rights which forbids arbitrary power by condemning those who hold the doctrine of non-resistance to such arbitrary power."

She's not alone in her resentment of this organization eating up so many finite taxpayer resources in their effort to remake America. Further, they tend to work the last nerve of a great number of folks in this county.

According to the press release, Mrs. Griffin was also involved in the posting of the Ten Commandments fight.

I spoke with the Court Clerk's office this morning. They told me that Judge William J. Haynes must first rule on whether he'll even allow her motion and no there's not regular motion docket.

Here's the beginning of Mrs. Griffin's 'Motion to Intervene":


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE

KEILA FRANKS, by and through her next

Friend and mother Pamela Auble;

BRYANNA SHELTON, by and through her

next friend and mother, Angie Weight;

EMILY LOGAN, by and through

her next friend and father, Andy Logan,

And KARYN STORTS-BRINKS,

Plaintiffs,

v. CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:09CV0446

METROPOLITAN BOARD OF PUBLIC

EDUCATION, JESSIE REGISTER, in his

official capacity as Director of Schools for

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, KNOX

COUNTY SCHOOLS BOARD

OF EDUCATION and JAMES MCINTYRE, in

his official capacity as Superintendent of

Knox County Schools,

Defendants.

COUNTER COMPLAINT TO

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Comes Citizen, United States and Tennessee Taxpayer June Griffin in the

designation as and hereafter referred to as “Intervener” in the above-styled case

submitting her Counter Complaint to plaintiffs’ request for relief.

(snip)

I'll be happy to provide the .doc that was attached to the Press Release if you'll write me at Kay@KayBrooks.com.

Educational Neanderthals

Liz Garrigan's opinion piece in today's City Paper takes on Metro Nashville Education Association President Erick Huth. Having observed this man for many years now I found her piece spot on. I especially liked her comments on his comment that charters cherry pick students. The truth is charters are gleaning the ground for the students that have fallen off the MNPS educational tree. Further they are finding that these children are not too bruised to still be successful. Educational Neanderthals just let these children fall to the ground to rot and yet still demand that no one else pick them up and salvage them. MNEA should be encouraging charters as part of the team effort of educating all the children because professional educators are all about ensuring the children get what they need.

Garrigan does the piece interview style. Here's one of several questions:

Can you share with us where your passion for counterrevolution began?

(Pauses to answer his early-model Nokia cell phone.) I remember being very young and hearing about this thing called Xerox. It was coming in to replace the Ditto machine, whose smell of wet ink made me simply intoxicated as a little boy. There was just nothing like paper with blue smudged type. I led the protest movement in our kindergarten to keep out the new technology, something the administrators claimed would make things more efficient.
Read the rest. It's funny, true and frustrating.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Big Fat Zero

Today it really is Ă˜bama.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 34% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-four percent (34%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0. That’s the highest level of strong disapproval and the lowest overall rating yet recorded (see trends).

It's called a passport

Via the Tennessean this morning:

"Despite what people think, there aren't always single documents that prove immigration status, and citizenship status is often very complex," said Joan Friedland, policy director for the National Immigration Law Center."

Give us all a break. The man in question is holding THE SINGLE DOCUMENT that does prove citizenship status.

The real question is why anyone who has already had a brush with the law regarding their citizenship status, and more importantly that of their child, waits over 10 years to get their status clarified. That's the question the Tennessean doesn't ask. Why did it take Son 10 years to get a passport? Why did they have to waste the resources of so many people (the Sheriff's department included) before they cleaned up this mess? Mom ignores a previous deportation order. Son drives without a license. Deputy sees the deportation order when Son is stopped for a minor automobile issue. Son identifies himself as foreign born.

This family made a lot of mistakes that got them in this situation. This family needed to clear up their status long ago. They needed to recognize that even if they are citizens and it's not right that they have to walk around with citizenship documents the fact is the only way to make sure that they're not inadvertently caught up as a result of the illegal activity of others is to obtain and carry their passports.

Do not make the Sheriff's department the bad guy in this situation when personal responsibility could have avoided a lot of trouble in this family's life. 287G isn't the problem here.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

2009-06-3 Education Round Up

Charter schools are only mostly dead: Nice to see that Obama's administration isn't too busy running corporate America to have the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan call into Tennessee. According to the City Paper:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan singled out Tennessee last week in an interview with the Associated Press. Duncan said states that don’t provide more school choice could be missing out on $100 million or more in federal stimulus funds.

Since that time, Duncan has had multiple conversations with House leadership including caucus chairman Rep. Mike Turner.
(snip)
Caucus sources said last week they took issue with the fact that Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) was the lead sponsor for the legislation.

Oh, for pity's sake. Put your big boy pants on Dems and put the children first. Quit kowtowing to the TEA (Tennessee Education Association). Their fear that because some 70% of MNPS students might qualify for charter schools means they'll be held accountable, lose members and lose their standing as a bargaining agent is very real, but they've had their chance. It's time for a new way.

Irony all over HR0087 sponsored by Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) and passed unanimously by the House:
WHEREAS, parental choice and involvement are crucial to excellence in education; and
WHEREAS, denial of the basic right of parents to choose the manner in which their children are educated goes against the ideals of individual liberty and freedom; and
...well, except if they want their child in a charter school (or their homeschooled child to be a police officer). It's OK to tell Germany how to run their education choices but here in America we let the teacher's union do it.

It will be the death of MNPS. Over and over again programs that parents say are working are eliminated. Here the Tennessean reports on the Ombudsman program and parental pleas to keep it going.

5% is a start: I've long been an advocate for paying teachers based on their performance and market forces. I'm happy to see this in a recent WZTV report:
"As an added incentive to get the best educators, Metro schools are offering a 5% pay increase for teachers at the five fresh start schools."

"Why Would Thomas Jefferson Love Napster?" This seemed an interesting link for Nashville.
"Not pleased with the copyright curricula generated by Big Content, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced classroom materials of its own. Not surprisingly, fair use, the public domain, and artists who love P2P file-sharing of their music all make appearances."

Firetrap shuttered

An update from District 5 resident and local attorney Jamie Hollin regarding the firetrap at 837 Cleveland Street. You may remember this is the property that was illegally turned into a quadplex. The owner, Charles R. (Friday) Blackwood, with over-and-above help for her campaign donor from CM Pam Murray (District 5-East Nashville), petitioned the Planning Commission to retroactively spot zone it so it would be in compliance and Blackwood could continue to rent it as a quadplex. Instead of teaching Blackwood and every slum lord in Nashville a lesson the Planning Commission (Mr. Ponder moved and Mr. Gotto seconded) approved this change 7-0-1 (Gee abstained) and moved it on to the Metro Council for their approval. BL2009-429 is currently scheduled for public hearing on Juy 7, 2009.

In the meantime the Environmental Court via Judge Jim Todd ordered Charles R. (Friday) Blackwood "to cease and desist" using the property contrary to Metro Codes, secure the property, paint the boards in a manner consistent with the exterior of the property and allow no one to enter the premises. After years of thumbing his nose at the laws of this city he's finally complied.

If CM Pam Murray (District 5-East Nashville) doesn't pull BL2009-429 before July 7, let's hope the Metro Council puts and end to Blackwood's scawflaw* scofflaw ways by voting against this bill.

*Hat Tip to Sheridath Blackwood for the spelling correction.

See also:
She Needs to Resign and Stay in Detroit
Pam's Loss Neighborhood's Gain

One last trip to Mickey D's


Yup. The flower draped casket is in the back.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Butchering the discussion


I've been watching a live stream of the informational meeting about the proposed convention center. Butch Spyridon, President of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau has been exceptionally rude, mocking and impatient. While I'm waiting to hear Dr. Heywood Sanders finish his thought he was regularly interrupted by a man who is supposed to be the face of Nashville to the world. Apparently, Southern Hospitality has been thrown out the window in Spyridon's desperate attempt to force the citizens of Nashville pay for his legacy building. Spyridon may be a great cheerleader and salesman for Nashville but he's failing to persude me that this is a must for Nashville. His mocking of Lancaster, PA and Branson, MO was childish. About the only important number Spyridon provided was the fact that financing would add 20% to the $635,000,000 estimated price tag. That should give you pause.

Frankly, Spyridon comes across as the child who has just come home from Timmy's with a free puppy and is making all sorts of promises about how he'll feed, bath and walk it. "Can I keep it? Can I? Can I?" Sanders is the patient but practical parent who knows the child cannot be relied on to care for the puppy, that vet bills will need to be paid and that at some point the child will head off to college and Mom and Dad will get stuck with Spot. He admits that the puppy that's just been shoved into his face is cute but being the adult with life experience he knows there's more to consider.

Bottom line for me is this should be a completely private enterprise. If it's a good deal there will be folks willing to gamble their own money in order to make a profit. Nashville should NOT guarantee or provide a dime of financing. Should NOT use its powers of eminent domain to help procure one foot of land for this project. Government should not be in the business of business. We've got enough to deal with ensuring the safety and health of our citizens. When we're doing that very well, there are still a dozen issues Nashville could and should focus on before providing a convention center for visitors.

Tonight the Metro Council will vote on whether to start acquiring land for this project. It's absolutely clear that this is still an unsettled issue with iffy projections and that support from the community that will make money from the deal is BIG but support from mere citizens isn't there. The Council should not move forward with this project. I don't care that Spyridon has already sold convention space in a center not yet built. He overextended his authority. Yes, I know Nashville is special...but it's not THAT special. What I do know is that we're living in historic times and debt got us here. I'm supposed to take on more? No.

The Chamber can't be wrong, can it?


I awoke at 5:00 a.m. this morning with a splitting sinus headache. Despite that pain I was seriously tempted to bang my head against the wall when I read the City Paper this morning. These are the folks that Nashville elected to run the school system. It's just unbelievable that they would say these things let alone believe them. I'm not surprised they're using them as an excuse. They need every one they can get their hands on to absolve them of responsibility. The context is last night's meeting between the Metro Council and Dr. Jesse Register, Director of MNPS in preparation for passing the Metro Nashville budget.

"Council member Ronnie Steine cited years of independent management reports from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, which suggested the level of central office staffing was where it belonged.

Board of Education Chair David Fox said he had also relied on the Chamber reports as an independent check on staffing levels"
Ronnie Steine is on the Council's Education Committee. David Fox is Chairman of the MNPS Board of Education. Seriously? These men seriously believed that the Chamber Report Cards were unbiased and independent assessments of MNPS? Did they take ten minutes to review the membership of these committees over time? Did they take ten minutes to review the report cards over time? Did they completely forget the money and support the Chamber poured into getting some of them on the school board and council?

Councilman Eric Crafton's Save Our Students group was immediately marginalized and their work was suspect because of bias against the messenger but no one could legitimately question the quality of the data. Yet these folks are shocked ala Inspector Renault in "Casablanca" that the Chamber who clearly has an agenda in so many areas of Nashville's life would dare to present them a report that supports their plan for Nashville.

It's morning, folks. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Grad gift from Governor Bredesen


Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), who kept his cards close to the vest, signed the homeschool diploma bill this afternoon. HB0431/SB0433 was filibustered by the Democrats for nearly 2 hours two weeks ago as they fought tooth and nail to keep students with Category IV diplomas from getting jobs as police officers (despite getting their college degrees), or day care workers, auctioneers, hair dressers or pedorthists (among other jobs). I'm thankful to the Governor for not vetoing this and letting the community and the state to move on to more pressing issues.

Rep. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and Sen. Dewayne Bunch (R-Cleveland) are to be highly commended for their efforts. Everyone wants qualified employees but to say that merely because the diploma didn't come from a public school they were unfit for the job was a stretch in the extreme. Former DOE employee Cindy Benefield started this mess nearly three years ago and it took a great deal of effort on the part of a lot of people to clean it up. This is a prime example of bureaucratic authority gone completely off the rails. I'm glad things have been set right.

This is a great graduation present for a lot of Tennessee's citizens.