Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NashvillePTOTalk gone

While most of us were tending to holiday celebrations a valuable Nashville education asset disappeared. The Yahoo Group NashvillePTOTalk was deleted in its entirety. The last message I got through it was dated Saturday, 12/27/08. If one of the regular posters on the list hadn't written a note to other active posters I'm not sure I would have noticed for another week or more.

The list was created in March of 2002 by Phil Oliver with this mission statement:

"Nashville PTO Talk" is a forum for parents and teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, who want to support responsible public school reform. Nashville's metro schools are pursuing the announced goal of "strengthen[ing] parent/community ownership of the school system," with significant increases in parental involvement in PTOs and as classroom volunteers; and the board of education has issued a strong mandate to the director of schools to raise student achievement. Parents have a crucial "ownership" role to play, along with teachers, administrators, and the larger community, in insisting that achievement not be gained at the cost of real learning: learning that is both challenging, lasting, and fun. School should be a positive and nurturing environment where children learn to love learning, and where teachers are given the resources and the freedom they need to foster that kind of environment. Here is a place for all of us in Nashville who care about the future of our children and, therefore, of our schools, to talk about it... and to assert our "ownership."
Phil was kind enough to welcome this homeschooling mom's participation and I have very much appreciated the give and take that occurred on the NashvillePTOTalk list. In May of 2005 he handed the list over to MNPS parent Carol Hanson. I've written Carol for an explanation of the list's disappearance.

This is a bad time to lose a valuable salon for discussing public education in Nashville. I hope the effort to recreate it goes well. Stay tuned and we'll let you know where and when it's reincarnated.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008-12-30 TN Legislation filed

A couple more bills have been filed:

*HB0045 by *Hill.

Handgun Permits - As introduced, clarifies that an applicant for a handgun carry permit is not required to furnish any identifying information concerning any handgun the applicant owns or possesses in order to appy for and be issued a permit. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.

HJR0006 by *Johnson C.

Memorials, Retirement - Gene Washer - [Publisher of the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle newspaper since 1991--and he only had 3 credit hours of journalism.]

Monday, December 29, 2008

TV is turning us off

Am I the only one upset that the airing of the family classic "The Sound of Music" last evening on ABC network television was thoroughly peppered with advertising for "The Bachelor" and other not-so-family-friendly programming?

You want to know why the transition to DTV and the fear of losing a television signal is meaning less and less every day? Here's a clue. When a family decides to settle in for a night of classic entertainment only to have it hijacked by inappropriate images that require the defensive use of a remote control it's just easier to use streaming Netflix or buy the video and dump the network broadcast altogether. Who cares if we lose a broadcast signal when the box still works to display the unadulterated (pun intentional) version of family programming?

The TV schedule may have said "Sound of Music" but the sound the networks should have heard coming from our home last night was the sound of the DVD player.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Voting begins Friday

From this morning's Tennessean regarding the upcoming Charter Amendment to make English the official language of Metro Nashville business:

"I would defy you to find 5 percent of Hispanics in favor of this," [Tom Negri, general manager of the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel] said. "This is a disheartening ordinance for major firms who may want to move in with diverse employees. Now is not the time to build an imaginary fence."
  1. Many more than just Hispanics will be voting on this and many more languages than Spanish are on the line here.
  2. Could it be that Mr. Negri's hospitality staff is his highest concern?
  3. Show me a 'major firm with diverse employees' that wants to move into Nashville. Just show me one who is seriously considering taking Nashville out of consideration based on Nashville requiring its official business be conducted in English. Just one. I'll wait...
Further Mr. Negri statesVanderbilt University history professor Edward Right-Rios states "But there are some people who fight assimilation."

Precisely. And why should the taxpayers foot the bill for their unwillingness to assimilate?

Again from Mr. Negri Mr. Right-Rios: "My guess is that the ones who are supporting (English-only) often are the entrepreneurial immigrants frustrated with their compatriotas [compatriots--fellow countrymen] who seem to be lagging."

And so we should overlook their frustration and accommodate the laggers? Maybe they realize that the laggers are endangering themselves and reflecting badly on their home country? Maybe they realize that learning English isn't all that hard. Maybe they're tired of taking flak and prejudice created by these laggers? Maybe it's time for the laggers to stop lagging.

And again from the article: "Fourteen percent of people in Davidson County speak a language other than English at home..." This is not a vote on what language people speak in their homes, in their private business, in their personal communications between friends and neighbors. It's ONLY about the official business of Nashville government. Councilman Eric Crafton gets the final word in the article:
"What I've been saying 100 times is that this charter leaves us with the ability to control what services we provide and don't want to provide," he added. "Our job is really easy to convince people that a community is more united, more efficient under one common language."
Early voting starts on Friday for two amendments to the Metro Charter. I'll be voting yes on both. Take advantage of early voting and don't let an unexpected event (illness, bad weather, life) keep you from voting.

2008-12-27 Roundup

The goal is to actually educate the child:

“Want to save the state money at a time when school budgets are being slashed? Offer more vouchers... .” But wait! Don’t private schools take only the “best” kids from privileged backgrounds ? Not under Florida’s program they don’t. Chattanooga Times-Free Press
Eye-catching quote via Joanne Jacobs:

We’re not prosperous because we’ve invested in higher education, [George] Leef writes.

"The truth is closer to the reverse of that. Only a very affluent country could afford to have a higher-education system that costs so much and produces so little."

Anderson County/Oak Ridge parents: Did you know your child took this survey last spring?
Members of the Anderson County Board of Education heard the results of the county school system's Youth Risk Behavior Survey last week. The Oak Ridger also obtained a copy of the survey results from Oak Ridge school officials on Friday. (snip)

The Centers for Disease Control developed the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System to monitor health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability and social problems among young people and adults in the United States. State officials with Tennessee Coordinated School Health administered the voluntary survey to middle-school students for the first time this spring. via The Oak Ridger
Now it's Anderson County's turn to pick a Superintendent of Schools. Stonecipher has announced he's retiring.

Bedford County gets an academic magnet elementary school next fall.

Nashville gets two more charter schools. Actually, one is an expansion of an existing one. Nashville is still very far behind on allowing this public school option for children. Memphis has 9 for a student population of about 110,000 (one for every 12,000+) and Nashville currently has 3 for about 75,000 students (1 for every 25,000). That ratio will fall to 15,000 next year. Here's the Tennessee Charter Schools Association website. UPDATE from TCSA: There are currently 16 charter schools in Tennessee with 10 more approved for the next school year.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and I have something in common. We've both been described as ranklers by the Tennessean. He last week and me in 2006. Ranklers get things done. Maybe you don't like WHAT they get done...but they get things done.

Good news for free speech and voters:
On December 18, the 10th circuit struck down Oklahoma’s ban on out-of-state circulators for initiatives. (snip) There are now four circuits that have invalidated bans on out-of-state circulators (the 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th), and only one circuit, the 8th, that has upheld them. via Ballot Access News
I met Paul Jacob several months back. The thought of these folks being so harassed by the OK Attorney General was scary. For daring to gather signatures on a petition the Oklahoma 3 found themselves at risk of 10 years in jail and $25,000 fines. Here are a few links for background info. Free the OK3, Tennessee's Blue Collar Muse and the Wall Street Journal. Astonishingly, despite his outrageous behavior and defeat in the Circuit court OK AG Drew Edmondson still plans on running for OK Governor. Apparently, he's drinking whatever IL Gov. Blogojovich is drinking.

This crisis will have to go to the end of the line.
Quoted in a Tennessean article about the 'need' to improve our roads and its funding system is this comment about persuading taxpayers to part with their finite cash for the road crisis:
"We're not doing a good job of that. We need to be telling it to Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, chambers of commerce that there is a transportation crisis coming in Tennessee." State Rep. Bill Harmon (D-Dunlap)
Harmon is identified as "chairman of the state's Transportation Funding Options Study Committee". Well, I'm betting that chairmanship and the 'crisis' will both change in January with a Republican controlled House and Senate.

More legislation from Rep. G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) :

*HJR0004 by *Hardaway.

General Assembly, Studies - Establishes a special joint legislative study committee to study issues relating to unsolved civil rights crimes. -

*HJR0005 by *Hardaway.

General Assembly, Studies - Creates special committee to study the impact of slavery and segregation on African Americans in Tennessee. -

*HB0044 by *Hardaway.

Lottery, Scholarships and Programs - As introduced, creates the ASPIRE work study program to provide additional postsecondary financial assistance from net lottery proceeds to students receiving both the Tennessee HOPE scholarship and the ASPIRE award. - Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 4, Part 9.

Other legislation filed this week:

*SB0004 by *McNally.

Public Health - As introduced, requires the commissioner of health to require children under the age of 24 months enrolled or enrolling in a child care facility to receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. - Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 50; Title 56, Chapter 7 and Title 71, Chapter 3, Part 5.

*SB0006 by *Tate.

Parks, Natural Areas Preservation - As introduced, prohibits the state, counties, and municipalities from requiring the naming of parks and recreational facilities in dedication only to individuals who are deceased at the time of such naming. - Amends TCA Title 11.

Let's just sell the naming rights to the highest bidder and solve the Bredesen/Goetz/Naifeh budget crisis at the same time. I argued against naming a MNPS building after a living person back in 2006. Until folks are dead we can not be assured that they won't make a wrong turn at some point which will require having to go back and un-name something after an embarrassing incident. If the idea is to honor a life well lived, lets let them finish their life and give their kids a chance to write that tell-all biography first.

*SB0009 by *Black.

Nurses, Nursing - As introduced, certifies medication technicians who can administer certain medications in nursing homes under the supervision of licensed nurses. - Amends TCA Title 63, Chapter 7, Part 1.

And Sen. Henry files his second bill---another resolution to honor someone. Henry's bill and this CMA press release are very similar.

SJR0003 by *Henry.

Memorials, Retirement - Ed Benson -

Friday, December 26, 2008

Can you spare a bit more change, Gov'ner?

Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) makes an interesting comparison his recent blog post called "Credit to the Governor". The Governor needs more flexibility in employee contracts in order to face the current and very serious budget shortfall. Rep. Campfield points out that school districts could use similar flexibility.

A situation where bureaucracy has grown unwieldy. Where managers are being held accountable for failing results, but have limited ability to make changes. If Phil looked he would see that to give other people the ability to manage their own employees and budgets, to hire good leaders and to get rid of bad ones if they are to be held accountable for their results would only be reasonable, fair and sensible. I think if The governor were to look at the situation he would see it too is in ripe need of CHANGE!
From my point of view after enduring more than 30 hours of effort to remove a teacher who clearly should have been in another line of work I heartily agree. See: "We Dismissed A Teacher". The BOE has given away too much authority in regard to employees and if the State of Tennessee takes over MNPS I sincerely hope this will result in major changes to the misnamed "Educational Agreement".

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, MERRY Christmas

Enjoy a lighter view of what we 'know' about this sacred day.

"Glory to God in the Highest!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Johnson explains comment

Late last night MNPS BOE member Karen Johnson (District 6-Antioch) posted a comment to yesterday's "Say What" post and I think her very reasonable explanation should get at least as much exposure as my questioning of it. Here it is:


I just returned to Nashville and was forwarded your blog statement with reference to me again. What most people don't understand is the constant fire I am under by a small group of people who want to paint me as being against my own race. I am not against anyone and the wall that I was up against at this meeting I am not going to go into. The fact is I was told that here you go again, voting for someone who is a white male versus the black candidate. I was accused of this for the vote I made for the chair giving my vote to David Fox. I was accused of being against blacks by the rezoning vote, and now I had accusations around this situation "I was told we are watching to see if you do the right thing this time" The fact is that my vote is not based on race "ever" but I did have to lay it out there what I was challenged with. There was no doubt Jesse Register was the most qualified and I stand behind this vote also. It's unfortunate the meeting was not taped so that the entire context of what I said could be understood. Those who were there understood it and in fact I received calls after the meeting that were very positive. It's unfortunate that you would reference my comment the way you did, but nevertheless I made the choice that I felt was right based on Dr. Register's clear qualifications exceeding the other two candidates. I am excited about working with him.

Karen Y. Johnson

12:32 AM

If I understand her correctly she was not expressing her own frame of mind but giving voice to the comments she knew were coming her way based on the criticism she'd already received. Johnson gets credit for understanding what was coming her way and still voting her conviction.

As she writes above, it's unfortunate that the meeting wasn't taped so that I, and others, could have had access to the context of her statement instead of memory of a news clip that became vapor almost immediately. I know video equipment is expensive, as is its maintenance and the people to operate it but I do hope the system finds the money to ensure that future meetings are always covered. It's a sad state of affairs that citizens feel the need to keep an eye on their representatives but such is our time.

I do want to thank Karen Johnson for so quickly clarifying her comments.

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008-12-22 legislation filed

Rep. G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) was busy this weekend. I think he's reached his limit for bills filed.

*HB0016 by *Swafford. (SB0008 by *Burks.)

Highway Signs - "Vietnam War Memorial Highway," segment of I-40 in Cumberland County - Amends amend TCA.

Not to be confused with the Vietnam Veterans Parkway from north Nashville to Gallatin.

*HB0017 by *Swafford.

Tobacco, Tobacco Products - As introduced, removes exception for age-restricted venues from Non-Smoker Protection Act; revises posting requirements to require "no smoking" signs at only the main entrance. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 18.

*HB0018 by *Swafford.

Criminal Offenses - As introduced, creates new criminal offense of aggressive driving; penalty is a Class B misdemeanor or, if intent is to injure another person, a Class A misdemeanor. - Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 55, Chapter 8.

*HB0019 by *Hardaway.

Taxes, Privilege - As introduced, imposes an occupational privilege tax on professional athletes and professional entertainers; establishes fund for juvenile court programs. - Amends TCA Title 67.

It's for the children so it's OK to confiscate their income. Can the team deduct the tax from their salary caps as a donation?

*HB0020 by *Hackworth.

Child Custody and Support - As introduced, establishes the "Office of Noncustodial Parent Advocacy." - Amends TCA Title 36 and Title 37.

From the bill: "The office of noncustodial parent advocacy shall provide assistance to unwed noncustodial parents in obtaining visitation rights to their children." It's just a pilot program...right.

*HB0022 by *Hardaway.

Local Government, General - As introduced, raises the age to be an entertainer in a cabaret or other adult-oriented establishment from 18 to 21; requires any political subdivision that has or adopts an ordinance regulating such establishments to require certain information be provided by a person applying for a permit as an entertainer. - Amends TCA Title 7.

Are they adults at 18 or not? We've got to stop straddling the line.

*HB0023 by *Hardaway.

Mortgages - As introduced, establishes the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Fund and delays foreclosure actions under specific circumstances. - Amends TCA Title 13, Chapter 23.

The state doesn't have enough financial trouble as it is--Hardaway wants us to cosign for 2nd and 3rd mortgages. No.

*HB0024 by *Hardaway.

Law Enforcement - As introduced, requires local law enforcement to begin an investigation within 12 hours of receiving a report of an alleged violation by a funeral director of abuse of a corpse or concerning the handling, custody, care, or transportation of dead human bodies. - Amends TCA Section 39-17-312 and Title 62, Chapter 5.

Because abuse of a corpse is on par with rape, robbery and murder and needs immediate attention? Is this really a health issue? Or maybe, let's see, Hardaway represents Memphis. Memphis is full of Ford funeral directors...

*HB0025 by *Hardaway.

Paternity - As introduced, requires paternity testing before a father can be listed on a birth certificate. - Amends TCA Title 24, Chapter 7, Part 1; Title 36 and Title 68.

And here we have Hardaway's "Insult the Monogomous Mom Act 2.0" his 2006 version having been such a rousing success. Better yet, if Dad has questions let him take 'Junior' for a blood drawing and let Mom and Dad hassle it out in the divorce courts. Further, who is going to hang on to all this DNA and/or assure us that privacy isn't being violated? Absolutely NO. If Dad and Mom don't have a's not the state's business either. This is NOT more bureaucracy the state taxpayers need to take on.

*HB0026 by *Hardaway.

Judges and Chancellors - As introduced, adds one nonlawyer to judicial selection commission; increases membership of commission from 17 to 18 persons. - Amends TCA Title 17.

Would this be the same judicial selection commission that is being sunsetted by the Republicans for being unconstitutional? Is an even number a good idea at all?

*HB0027 by *Hardaway.

Criminal Offenses - As introduced, increases the penalty for knowingly making a false report of child abuse or child sexual abuse from a Class E felony to a Class D felony if at the time the report is made the defendant is a party in a custody or visitation determination, the custody or visitation determination involves the person against whom the report is made, and the report is made for the purpose of delay or to gain advantage in the custody or visitation determination. - Amends TCA Title 36, Chapter 6; Title 37, Chapter 1 and Title 39, Chapter 15.

*HB0028 by *Hardaway.

Arson - As introduced, increases the penalty for the offense of arson from a Class C to a Class B felony and sets a minimum fine for arson of a place of worship at $25,000 and aggravated arson at $50,000. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 14.

*HB0029 by *Hardaway.

Criminal Offenses - As introduced, enhances the penalty for abuse of corpse from a Class E felony to a Class C felony when the person causes the death of the person whose corpse is mistreated; adds enhancement factor by which a defendant's sentence can be increased within the appropriate range, that a defendant is convicted of second degree murder and the defendant knowingly mutilates the body of the victim after death. - Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 40.

*HB0030 by *Hardaway.

Arson - As introduced, increases the penalty for arson from a Class C to a Class B felony and sets a minimum period of incarceration for arson of a place of worship at eight years and aggravated arson at 15 years. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 14.

*HB0031 by *Hardaway.

Election Laws - As introduced, requires a county election commission to accept and not return a mail voter registration form received within seven days prior to the registration deadline if the form lacks postage or has insufficient postage. - Amends TCA Section 2-2-109.

Not only do you not need a photo ID to vote---you don't even need a stamp. The taxpayers will cover this cost too. Of course, if you're a military voter....

*HB0032 by *Hardaway.

Criminal Offenses - As introduced, enacts the "Crime-Free School Zone Act." - Amends TCA Title 39; Title 40 and Title 49.

Because the 'gun free' school zones have worked so well.

*HB0033 by *Hardaway.

Adoption - As introduced, requires notice be given to a parent before the parent is considered to have willfully failed to support or visit a child for purposes of termination of parental rights; and requires certain additional information be in a petition to terminate parental rights or the adoption petition. - Amends TCA Title 36, Chapter 1.

Miss 4 months of child support or visitation willfully and you're cut off. Nevermind if your name is on the birth certificate.

*HB0034 by *Hardaway.

Funeral Directors and Embalmers - As introduced, requires funeral directors to surrender custody of a dead human body after receiving a written notice and to disclose to the purchaser of a funeral service that it is a violation of the law for a funeral establishment to refuse to surrender the custody of a dead human body to the person legally entitled to custody; removes exemption from continuing education requirements if disciplinary action is taken against a licensee by the board. - Amends TCA Title 62, Chapter 5.

Again, Hardaway takes on the Memphis morticians.

*HB0035 by *Hardaway.

Public Funds and Financing - As introduced, enacts "Sudanese Divestment Act of 2009." - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 3, Part 24; Title 8, Chapter 34; Title 8, Chapter 35; Title 8, Chapter 36; Title 8, Chapter 37; Title 8, Chapter 5 and Title 9, Chapter 4.

Symbolism over substance. Assumes we'll have any public funds to invest.

*HB0036 by *Hardaway.

Motor Vehicles - As introduced, removes present exemptions to offense involving allowing minor on off-highway vehicle without helmet. - Amends TCA Section 55-52-201.

Sorry, Mom and Dad you "knew or should have known that the child is or would be operating, or is or would be a passenger on an off-highway motor vehicle."They're teens. They're going to do something stupid if given half a chance.

*HB0037 by *Hardaway.

County Government - As introduced, authorizes counties having a charter form of government to begin the collection of delinquent property taxes in the same year in which such taxes become delinquent; lessens the period of redemption in Shelby County to 90 days instead of one year under the same circumstances as currently authorized for Knox County; establishes a mechanism for a property owner to deed certain property to a governmental entity. - Amends TCA Title 67, Chapter 5.

*HB0038 by *Hardaway.

General Assembly - As introduced, requires the general assembly to approve of all historical artifacts to be displayed on the second floor of the capitol and allows the general assembly to remove historical articles if appropriate. - Amends TCA Title 3 and Title 4.

If the archivists you've hired to handle historical items aren't doing their job correctly, fire 'em. But I would hope our legislators have better things to do than hover over the display cases looking for items there inappropriately. What on Earth could this be preventing?

*HB0039 by *Hardaway.

Insurance, Health, Accident - As introduced, authorizes the state insurance committee to establish a program under which citizens of the state of Tennessee may buy into and be covered under the same group insurance health care plan offered to all state employees. - Amends TCA Title 8, Chapter 27, Part 2.

How about we flip this around. State legislators (and employees) have to buy into the same programs the rest of us have to endure? Maybe some of those prohibitions on buying out of state plans might come down.

*HB0040 by *Hardaway.

Correction, Dept. of - As introduced, requires department to test all incoming inmates for bloodborne pathogens effective July 1, 2009, and requires that all inmates in custody of department be tested for bloodborne pathogens by July 1, 2010. - Amends TCA Title 41.

And when they're released can WE know about it?

*HB0041 by *Hardaway.

Funeral Directors and Embalmers - As introduced, requires a funeral establishment to store or make arrangements to store in a cold storage vault a dead human body received by the funeral establishment for burial until shortly before the funeral service and burial of the body is scheduled to occur. - Amends TCA Title 62, Chapter 5.

What's with Hardaway and the morticians? Is this the fourth or fifth bill he's filed on the topic?

*HB0042 by *Hardaway.

Taxes, Privilege - As introduced, requires certain counties that levy a payroll tax to reduce the county real property tax rate in an amount sufficient to offset all revenue derived by the county from such payroll tax; and requires certain municipalities that levy a payroll tax to reduce the municipal real property tax rate in an amount sufficient to offset all revenue derived by the city from such payroll tax. - Amends TCA Title 5; Title 6; Title 7 and Title 67.

This reads like three card monte with taxes. See if you can find your money before they do.

*HB0043 by *Hardaway.

Lottery, Scholarships and Programs - As introduced, divides lottery scholarship ASPIRE award into a grant and a required work-study program. - Amends TCA Section 49-4-915.

And the legislative session hasn't formally begun yet.

Say What?

I made my opinion known and stayed out of the Superintendent fray in Nashville. They've decided to offer the job to Jesse Register of Chattanooga. The Tennessean headline was probably most accurate in identifying the move as 'hesistant'. It seems to be their MOS. Of the three candidates available I believe they made the best choice.

Of more concern to me was a comment from female and black MNPS BOE member Karen Johnson (District 6-Antioch) which caught my ear the other night. I've gone to WKRN, WSMV, WTVF and WZTV and reviewed their on-line videos and not one of them has the quote but I know I heard it while surfing the late news as did several commentators at the Tennessean web site. Metro 3 isn't re-running the live broadcast so I can't check that. The video showed her saying that her immediate reaction to hearing Jesse Register was among the candidates was doubt that a white man could run such a diverse school system. To her credit she eventually voted for him. However, I'm disappointed she thinks that way. I'm very surprised to hear her make this comment in public.

What about being white disqualifies anyone for a job? I'd like to know when we will actually get past the assumption that only people 'like' people can actually advocate for them and serve them well. It's the same sort of nonsense that says only women can understand women's issues or vote for their good. What's the use of all this diversity training if the end result isn't people who can understand someone else's POV and need? Would it be good to have Hispanics, women, the handicapped involved in the governing of our world...yes. But I'm looking at the BOE and I don't think lack of 'diverstiy' at the top of the system is really a problem.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Republican survey and education

The TN Republican Party has released its survey results. The graphic shows the results of their question regarding education. Since the House Education Committee drives education legislation and it's about to be in the hands of the new Republican majority I expect to see some important changes to how we educate children in this state. I'll say it again, Tennessee is surrounded by 8 other states. I get inquiries from folks who are investigating education choices before deciding which one of those states to move to. We're in an education competition. It's past time for Tennessee to embrace the 21st century options.

Memphis still has 'issues'

Some additional information on HB0011 from the Memphis Flyer.

For most of this year, proposals to relax residency restrictions on Memphis police — now mandating residence in Shelby County — have resulted in a series of 7-6 votes against, with blacks uniformly opposing the change and whites favoring it.

*HB0011 by *Kelsey.

Law Enforcement - As introduced, provides that there is no residency requirement to be a police officer in a law enforcement agency employing more than 2,000 officers and any violation results in the agency's loss of revenue derived from forfeitures, confiscations and seizures. - Amends TCA Title 38, Chapter 8, Part 1.

More bills filed

There was a lull in legislation filing and so as of this morning here are the newest ones:

*HB0015 by *Ferguson.

Local Education Agency - As introduced, permits election of director of schools and outlines qualifications. - Amends TCA Section 49-2-203 and Title 49, Chapter 2, Part 3.

The election of superintendents is constantly debated. That fact that it is shows the frustration that constantly exists regarding the government school system. Consider it a failure on the part of school boards when citizens want the right to go around them and directly elect the person in charge of the day to day running of those school systems. Consider it a failure on the part of citizens that they didn't elect school board members with enough wisdom and courage to actually hold their employee accountable.

And two Joint Resolutions:

*SJR0001 by *Norris.

Constitutional Amendments - Adds provisions establishing the right to hunt, fish, and harvest game subject to reasonable rules and regulations; establishes standard for reviewing such rules and regulations -

Seems a sad commentary on our modern life when a constitutional amendment to guarantee that a family could harvest wild game in order to feed their family might be necessary. I grew up in a hunting and fishing family in northern Wisconsin. I remember when the folks in Madison decided during President Carter's administration to clamp down on poaching. Seems families were so desperate that Dad would go out and snag some meat out of season. The locals working for the state's wildlife office made it absolutely clear that no matter what came out of Madison, they were not going to stand between a desperate man with a gun and food for his family.

SJR0002 by *Henry.

Memorials, Death - Monroe Carell, Jr. -

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hijacking our representative government

My thanks to Metro councilmen who aren't afraid to have citizens actually vote on how their government should be run. I'm appalled at the lengths some of these councilmen, election commission members, our mayor, a judge and others have gone through to keep we the people from actually entering into the process. The latest trick was to break the law and attempt to withhold money to provide for a special election for two charter amendments. Money that wouldn't have to be expended at all if the Democrat controlled election commission hadn't decided to misinterpret the time frame provided for in law in a trick to keep the people from voting.

Here are the names of the councilmen who fully understand who has a right to be in charge of their very own government:

Buddy Baker
Karen Bennett
Carl Burch
Phil Claiborne,
Sam Coleman
Michael Craddock
Eric Crafton
Duane Dominy
Robert Duvall
Jim Forkum
Randy Foster
Jim Gotto
Frank Harrison
Jim Hodge
Pam Murray
Rip Ryman
Bruce Stanley
Charlie Tygard

And with the notable exception of Jerry Maynard who had the guts to vote NO and earns respect for at least stepping up to the plate, the rest abstained from voting. Oh...that's leadership.

And speaking of that English as Official Language charter amendment David Briley (former councilman at large, mayoral candidate and grandson of a former mayor) has penned an email blast that is remarkably offensive. Looks like name calling is about all this lawyer could come up with to defend his point of view on this issue. That doesn't speak well for Briley's debate skills to be sure.

Briley calls supporters of Nashville's business being conducted in English unwelcoming, backwards, right-wing reactionaries, right-wingers, and states that we're "hijacking our representative government". EXCUUUUUUUSE ME? You've got to be kidding. Supporters have been all about letting our representative government work as it's supposed to. If anyone's been doing the hijacking it's the opponents to the charter amendments who are in such great fear of we the people that they've expended a great deal of effort and political favors in seeing to it that this amendment is kept from the voters.

The only tactic they have left to them is to try and not offend unwelcoming, backwards, right-wing reactionaries to the point we're inflamed enough to rush to the polls come hell or highwater and hope that we forget that there is an election while opponenets of English as our Official Language carpool every available voter to the polls to vote against it.

This screen shot from where the Democrat controlled Election Commission mentions when early voting ENDS but fails to mention when it BEGINS.

Early voting starts Friday, January 2, 2009.

The last day to vote early is Saturday January 17, 2009.

Election Day is THURSDAY, January 22. Don't forget. Vote early so that inclimate weather, unexpected illnes or something else doesn't get in the way.

Here are links to the actual amendments, as well as where to vote and when.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stratford Cluster PAC elist is up

The MNPS Stratford Cluster Parent Advisory Group has its own elist now at GoogleGroups.

Here's their mission statement:

"Our mission is to open lines of communication between parents, the school administration, the school board and city officials. We believe that open communications among all parties is vital to the success of the school system and the education of our children. When there is communication and parents believe they are listened to they become involved in their school for the betterment of the school and the school system."
Let the communication, discussion and advocacy for their children begin!

2008-12-16 Roundup

Obama nominates yet another Harvard grad as well as Hyde Park neighbor and basketball partner Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Duncan has done such a fabulous job running the Chicago Public Schools that the Obama's had their own children enrolled there---oh wait, no. The girls were enrolled in the University of Chicago Lab School instead, Duncan's alma mater. I'm tremendously thankful his nominee wasn't Bill Ayers who is on the faculty of the University of Illinois, though I've no doubt his opinions will matter.

This from Education Matters.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Arne Duncan will be named Secretary of Education. This appointment most likely means Obama and Duncan will make the NEA very happy while the taxpayers and children will suffer the consequences.
From Joanne Jacobs:
Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago schools, will be Obama’s secretary of Education. Duncan was no miracle man in Chicago, as Eduwonkette has pointed out. And he’s not as radical as D.C.’s Michelle Rhee. But he’s faced the biggest problems in education in Chicago — and he’s a personal friend of Barack Obama.
This Week in Education has a pretty good rundown of other comments.
And this Chicago Tribune two page piece has a more generous view of Duncan's term in Chicago.
No comment from the Chicago Teacher's Union yet.

Regarding bailing out the Big 3 (as measured by debt) Nathan Moore writes:
"The UAW (et al) are surprisingly uppity, considering they are a primary cog in an industry that should have ceased its existence years ago.
The only thing surprising about union uppity-ness is that union workers don't see the downside of their actions. You'd think that eventually they'd realize they were killing the golden goose.

Open Government from the REPUBLICAN majority: Ben Cunningham has the links to the interviews the REPUBLICAN Caucus did with the constitutional officer candidates yesterday. Also the applications. Let's make this the first in a long line of improvements from the way the Democrat controlled Tennessee legislature ran Tennessee. At left Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) offers the "Bowl of Transparency" to Presumptive Speaker Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) from which the names of the candidates was randomly drawn to determine the order of the interviews.

I saw a bit of it yesterday live streamed. Presumptive Speaker Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) made a point of letting folks watching know that the REPUBLICANS welcome citizen input and you're welcome to send them email, faxes, and call them on the phone with your comments. They did say that comments that are anonymous will not be considered. If you're going to say something---include your name, address and phone number.

2008-12-16 TN legislation filed

And the bills keep coming. Just bookmark this page and keep hitting refresh:

*HB0010 by *Maggart, *Lynn.

Election Laws - As introduced, requires identification and proof of citizenship for voter registration; requires a voter to present qualified photographic identification before voting; voters without proper identification shall be allowed to cast provisional ballots. - Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 2 and Title 2, Chapter 7.

Again, thumbs up to ensuring only citizens vote.

*HB0011 by *Kelsey.

Law Enforcement - As introduced, provides that there is no residency requirement to be a police officer in a law enforcement agency employing more than 2,000 officers and any violation results in the agency's loss of revenue derived from forfeitures, confiscations and seizures. - Amends TCA Title 38, Chapter 8, Part 1.

The language is pretty specific. Wonder which agency is this? I'm a big fan of people who are paid by a government entity live in the boundaries of the government entity. If you work for Metro Nashville you should live in Metro Nashville. I consider it incentive to do the very best job you can.

*HB0012 by *Kelsey.

Constitutional Amendments - As introduced, provides that the publication requirement mandated by Article XI, Section 3, is satisfied if the proposed constitutional amendment is timely posted on the official Web site of the secretary of state or on the official Web site of the general assembly. - Amends TCA Title 3, Chapter 2.

This could save taxpayers a chunk of change in advertising fees. The Internet is certainly more available than some 'paper of record' that's probably part of a currently dying industry. The whole idea is to inform as many people as possible. Now days, that's more like the Internet.

*HB0013 by *Floyd.

Bail, Bail Bonds - As introduced, when determining the amount of bail, creates a presumption that any defendant not lawfully present in the United States is a risk of flight. - Amends TCA Title 40.

*HB0014 by *Floyd.

Tobacco, Tobacco Products - As introduced, prohibits smoking in certain motor vehicles whenever any minor is present in the vehicle. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17.

From the text of the bill: "Motor vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle licensed for on-road usage, other than a motorcycle, motor scooter or motorized bicycle, regardless of whether the self-propelled vehicle is publicly or privately owned, leased or rented; whether the vehicle is operated for public, private, or commercial purposes; or whether the windows or doors of the vehicle are in an opened or closed position.

Too nannystate for my taste.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Barney Cam is up

We've enjoyed the annual Barney Cam Christmas video put out by the White House every year. Watching this one is a bit bittersweet knowing it's the last one. Go to, right hand side and pick your favorite media player to view it.

Not waiting until January

State legislators are already beginning to file legislation for the upcoming 106th General Assembly. Big thumbs up on HJR0003 (no income tax) and HB0009/SB0003 (picture ID for voters). Looks like Rep. G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) is still on his parental rights soapbox. You may remember he was the one who managed to offend nearly every woman in the state by suggesting all babies be tested for paternity. I like lower taxes on food...but Hardaway is sponsoring it?

I certainly hope that this group of legislators realizes that the number of bills has gotten completely out of hand---4,280 last session. Filing a bill doesn't make you a good legislator. Remember quality trumps quantity. You'll have enough to do just balancing the budget mess Gov. Bredesen and Speaker Naifeh gave us.

*HB0001 by *Cobb J, *McCormick, *Dean. (SB0001 by *Watson.)

Highways, Roads and Bridges - As introduced, enlarges optional projects as pilot programs permissible under Tennessee Tollway Act to include: (1) presently permissible single highway project and single major bridge project, (2) two highway projects or (3) two major bridge projects. - Amends TCA Section 54-3-113.

*HB0002 by *Hardaway.

Child Custody and Support - As introduced, enacts the "Equal and Fair Parenting Act" to create a rebuttable presumption that equally shared parenting time is the custody arrangement in the best interest of a child. - Amends TCA Title 36, Chapter 6, Part 1.

HB0003 by *Cobb J. (SB0002 by *Yager.)

Rhea County - Subject to local approval, repeals the ban on partisan elections for county executive and county legislative body of Rhea County. - repeal Chapter 322 of the Private Acts of 1978.

*HB0004 by *Bass, *Turner M.

Handgun Permits - As introduced, provides that person exempt from classroom and firing range training requirement by reason of prior military experience is also exempt from payment of $115 application and processing fee. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.

*HB0005 by *Hardaway.

Child Custody and Support - As introduced, requires that a court in making a decree or order for child support set a presumptive date for the termination of the current child support obligation. - Amends TCA Section 36-5-101.

*HB0006 by *Hardaway.

Lottery, Scholarships and Programs - As introduced, creates the Tennessee Education Lottery financial assistance grant for certain students who are financially needy. - Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 4, Part 9.

*HB0007 by *Hardaway.

Taxes, Sales - As introduced, reduces sales and use tax on food and food ingredients from 5.5 percent to 4.5 percent. - Amends amend TCA Title 67, Chapter 6.

*HB0008 by *Hardaway.

Banks and Financial Institutions - As introduced, limits fee that high-cost home loan lenders may charge for third or subsequent pay-off statement provided to borrow in 12-month period to $10.00. - Amends TCA Title 45 and Title 62, Chapter 13.

*HB0009 by *Weaver. (SB0003 by *Beavers.)

Election Laws - As introduced, requires a voter to present qualified photographic identification before voting; voters without proper identification shall be allowed to cast provisional ballots. - Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 7.

Joint Resolutions:

*HJR0003 by *Kelsey, *McDaniel, *Casada, *Lynn, *Maggart, *Matheny, *Johnson P, *Shipley, *Halford, *Rich, *Swafford, *McCormick, *Niceley, *Harrison, *Brooks K, *Cobb J, *McManus, *Bell, *Hill, *Lundberg, *Haynes, *Lollar, *Evans, *Dennis, *Brooks H, *Hensley, *Weaver, *Sargent, *Ford , *Dean, *Williams, *Coley, *Watson, *Floyd, *Montgomery, *Carr, *Eldridge, *Johnson C, *Harwell, *Faulkner.

Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to clarify the constitutional language that currently prohibits the levying of a tax on any class of income, other than income derived from stocks and bonds, and to prohibit any tax levied on or measured by employer payrolls. -


I told you we were baking cookies. 22 quarts worth. Well, not counting the broken ones and the ones we kept for ourselves. We replicated the packaging idea from the month's Real Simple Magazine.

Kieflies (use powdered sugar instead of flour to roll dough)
Spritz (Wilton Cookie Press is a must have)
Rasberry Pinwheels Getting the log rolls uniformly shaped is tougher than we thought.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008-12-15 Roundup

Nail in the NOW coffin: Women outearn men at top business jobs.

A Carnegie Mellon University study has concluded that women executives out-earn their male counterparts.

The study, which examined 16,000 executives over 14 years, found that women at the top of the business world bring in a bit more than men and are promoted at the same rate, countering the popular notion that women earn less than men for the same work. (snip)

The largest empirical analysis of the top echelons of publicly traded companies determined that women earned about $100,000 more per year than men of the same age, educational background and experience.Via Post Gazette

Mayor Deans calls for obeying Open Records Laws: Well, that's not the headline in the Tennessean but it should have been. Ben Cunningham points out that the new 'rules' Dean set for open records request are minimal and he could, and should, go much further if he really wants to do the job right. Since Dean is also acting as Superintendent of Schools I'll add to Ben's list "ditto for MNPS". Prosperity Project has more. One of Ben's suggestions is:

- Assign staff to review each department's records and determine if important records can be digitized for easy online access by citizens.

For me, getting the full MNPS BOE agenda packet online didn't happen until I talked with the Board Secretary and we realized that the photocopier she was already using to copy the agenda to create the Board's hard copies (being delivered by courier, btw) could also create pdf documents. I suspect there are very few documents that couldn't be digitized. The question will be how to get the system into the habit of doing so. This is where the clerical staff can be our friends.

I'll add to the list that I'd like to see proposed budget documents released in Excel format also so that others can move the numbers around during the discussion of where the money should go.

Did the mayor bring an interpreter or was that Crafton? Rex also comments on the recent celebration of the Japanese emperor's birthday where Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Councilman Eric Crafton met. Rex found it ironic considering they are on opposite sides of the English as Official Language charter amendment. Rex should have mentioned that of the two gentlemen only Crafton could express best wishes of the day to their Japanese hosts in fluent Japanese.

Goose/Gander: Can someone explain to me how the Faith Leaders for All of Us (Really? ALL of us?) can use The Bible to influence public policy but Two Rivers Baptist or Cornerstone Church can't? What's the difference? Oh, that's right...they're not LEFT-wing fundys.

And one more on left-wing fundys unable to MoveOn: Someone torched Gov. Sarah Palin's church over the weekend. Let's hope they were unaware that the church was occupied at the time or else let's call this attempted murder and lock 'em away for their lives. Donations can be mailed to: Wasilla Bible Church, 1651 W. Nicola Avenue, Wasilla Alaska 99654

Friday, December 12, 2008

2008-12-13 Roundup

I've got 83 Firefox Windows of interesting stuff I need to clear out. So here goes. No, I didn't count the windows. Firefox has an add-in for nearly everything.

I'll start with a huge THANK YOU to Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R). While I'd rather taxpayers not bailout or subsidize or loan money to any private entity and take a risk of losing my tax money what he did manage to do was highlight the absolute fact that the UAW isn't one bit concerned about saving the auto industry. It's only concerned about saving their own benefits. Why their membership continues to believe that they can kill a company and still stay on the payroll is beyond me. It's an alternative planet than Planet Reality where workers who've been fired still receive FULL compensation four (4) years after being fired. Fox Business has the video of Sen. Corker explaining why the bailout failed. Those three words were 'a date certain'.

You want a clue about how many chains are on that UAW anchor to free enterprise? Check out this 22 lb, 2,215 page Year 2007 agreement with Ford. Will workman's comp cover you if you throw your back out putting it on the table to read?

The UAW is so upset that they didn't get what they wanted that they've nearly initiated another 'War of Northern Aggression'.

Festering animosity between the United Auto Workers and Southern senators who torpedoed the auto industry bailout bill erupted into full-fledged name calling Friday as union officials accused the lawmakers of trying to break the union on behalf of foreign automakers. AP via Yahoo News
Unfortunately for them, the south of 2008 isn't the south of 1860.

Educational transition
: The Obama's are sending their girls to the very exclusive Sidwell Friends school in the DC area. Ben Cunningham points out that the PTA meetings could be very interesting considering the number of well placed DC insiders with children also attending. I'm wondering if Sunshine Laws might be violated with a group like this. But I won't worry too much about that considering the ever vigilent national press is also very well represented in this parent group. Here's the full Washington Post article.

Further the Obama's will be homeless for their first couple of weeks in DC. Apparently, historic protocol for the incoming presidential family is to stay across the street from the White House at Blair House beginning 5 days before the inauguration. However, the Obama's want to get the girls settled in time for the new school term. They're trying to avoid, I assume, the mobility issues that so many DC students (and students in Nashville) experience when they're homeless. What is curious to me is why they just don't cut out the middle move and ask George and Laura Bush to move out of the White House immediately to accommodate the girl's schooling schedule.

Clarksville is planning ahead...but based on what? From the Cheatham County School Board Watchdog:
"Commissioner Wood and McCannless stated at previous board workshops that due to huge residential developments in Pleasant View there needed to be a NEW high school built. (Interesting enough is that all these new families would only have HS students - don't you think?)"
They also have an on-line poll going on now. If you're in Cheatham County you might want to stop by their blog.

iTunes U: Dr. Tim Webb of the Tennessee Department of Education introduces folks to their Electronic Learning Center.

According to their press release:
"Students currently can access curriculum-based lessons in language arts, and study skills, with math to be added this month. Educators can view training sessions on Tennessee’s new academic standards, School-wide Positive Behavior, reading and other teaching resources. Additional podcasts will be developed and added on an ongoing basis."
Pity they've linked these podcasts to iTunes instead of just linking to the video files and letting folks pick their own media player. There is one that's an 8 minute primer about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) which parents might appreciate but it took a couple of attempts for it download. And the production is basically a PowerPoint presentation with audio. I would have expected better. Maybe the others are.

Certified ≠ effective: There are several pieces that crossed my browser this week about teacher quality and effectiveness.
"...between 2003 and 2007 students in states with a real alternative pathway to teaching gained more on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (a federal standardized test) than did students in other states. (snip)

The study undermines the arguments from colleges of education and teachers unions, which say that traditional certification, which they control, is the only process that can produce quality teachers. The findings hold up even after controlling for race, ethnicity, free-lunch eligibility, class size and per-pupil state spending. (snip)
President-elect Barack Obama has expressed guarded support for education reforms like merit pay and charter schools. Yet he chose Linda Darling-Hammond to head the education policy team for his transition. Ms. Darling-Hammond, a professor at Stanford, is a union favorite and vocal supporter of traditional certification. She's also been a fierce critic of Teach for America and other successful alternative certification programs.
Via the Wall Street Journal (Hat Tip: Rep. Stacey Campfield)
More from the study authors at the Hoover Institute.

Unfriendly Feds: Ben Cunningham points out how unfriendly the Federal government is toward 'undocumented students'. Seems the State of California will give an illegal immigrant in-state tuition but not legal citizen from, oh, say, Nevada. The Federal Appeals Court has said that has to stop. Documented students are looking for tuition refunds.

Speaking of unfriendly. Councilman Eric Crafton has had a lot of irrational and over the top heat directed his way for initiating a charter amendment in Nashville which would require our city's official business to be done in English. Some have suggested that he should be removed from office. However, they may want to rethink that when he's also sponsoring a change to the Metro Water fees which have prevented some of the very local restaurants that these same Goo Goos insist are essential to the vitality of their neighborhoods (and their community organizing efforts--they gotta meet somewhere). Seems the fees are so huge it's a financial strain on even seasoned restaurateurs and are preventing the next new round hot spots from opening. I don't want citizens footing the bill for these risky endeavors but we don't need to make it impossible to even attempt the effort either. Next hearing on the bill is this Tuesday evening.

Rude Guests: One more comment on this charter amendment. How is it that a Honduran immigrant comes here to escape her own bad government and then demands the right to derail our electoral system? CM Crafton has this absolutely right:
She alleges this would be hard for her to communicate, yet she knows enough about our constitution that she knows what unconstitutional is. She knows enough she can hire an attorney and file a complaint.” via City Paper
I'm of the mind she was actually a recruited pawn however, it's galling that any non-citizen should have any standing to keep legal citizens from voting on any issue. If she truly wants to reform any political system---she and her recruiters should start with the Honduran one. This isn't a battle about English, this is a battle against our republican form of government by folks who would rather we submit to rules and regs by unelected officials rather than the vote of the people.

BlagObama: Does anyone seriously believe that Illinois Governor Blagojevich didn't ask his outgoing Senator Barack Obama if he had an opinion on who should replace him? No. Most of us would consider it a dereliction of duty if Blagojevich didn't ask or Obama didn't suggest. The sin isn't in the asking or suggesting. It's in offering it to the highest bidder.

Tennessee makes another Pork Report. This time Sen. Tom Coburn reveals it (page 22) not the TCPR. Apparently, there's an airplane shaped gas station in Knoxville---
It is an airplane that cannot fly and a gas station that has not pumped gas for nearly half a century, but the Powell Airplane Filling Station has just landed a $9,000 federal grant.(95) It is an old airplane‐shaped building that once served as a gas station, liquor store and used car lot, though is now an eyesore on the side of a busy highway. A few local residents have rallied around the old filling station in hopes of turning the tiny airplane into leased office space. Tom Milligan, who has been instrumental in the effort, said, “I was coming up through here one day and I seen they had two bulldozers on the front and I thought they was fixin' to wreck the place. [I] knew we were going to have to have quite a lot of money to fix it.”(96) Rock Bernard, another local resident, added, “If you ask 100 people in Knoxville, I bet 80 will know where it's at.”(97)
I think the $9,000 would have been better spent on grammar lessons. Apparently, Matthew Lesko is right---you can get government money for just about anything. Better yet, gents, use your own money.

Last minute Christmas Shopping at Terry Frank's place. If you truly want to shop local and green check out her one of a kind 'Tennessee Treasures' gift ideas. My favorite is this 'Flip Your Lid'.

I'm down to just 67 tabs and there are cookies to be baked. More later.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MNPS BOE---just say no

If I haven't made my POV clear here it is again.

MNPS BOE doesn't need to hire a director at this time.

We need to leave Chris Henson in place through the summer when we know where we stand with the state. THEN we should begin a director search when everyone knows just what the job is going to require.
  • We don't need to hire someone just to have someone in the job.
  • We don't need to have this BOE hire someone when, depending on the scores in August, they may be tossed out of office by the state.
  • We don't need to have a new person come in and try and make changes that the state may very well not allow in August when the scores are known.
This whole effort is a colossal waste of time, effort and cash we cannot afford to waste on a dog and pony show. Just suck it up, apologize to the candidates for wasting their time and let's look at this again when we have a better pool of candidates because we have a better job description.

BTW: Maybe someone can clean up the Director's Cabinet page and actually create an Interim Director page to link to when bloggers and others refer to Chris Henson. The current page refers to Garcia as Director, still has Ben Wright and Woody McMillan on it and still doesn't have Melissa Bryant's photo. I'm sure she's not really concerned about it but if you're going to mention her there---

BTW II: I know the BOE voted to provide Henson a few more dollars each month but if they're going to take my advice and leave him in the position for another year, they need to up that yet again for the next year. There is no way we can fully compensate anyone for putting up with all this nonsense but let's at least try.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

But what about the Christmas card?

WSMV reports that Gov. Bredesen will only spend $500-$1,000 on a smaller invitation only Christmas Party at the capitol this year. His administration failed to reign in their spending so there's no cash, it's unseemly to party hardy when folks are being laid off left and right (and the party bunker isn't done yet anyway).

Forget all that, what we really want to know is which National Geographic cover did he replicate for this year's official Christmas card?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Do the callers have to be bilingual?

The Nashville Peace & Justice Center is hosting a phone bank against the Metro Charter Amendment requiring English to be the official language of Metro Nashville. No real surprise there. If it's left leaning--NPJC is usually involved. According to the announcement they sent out they'll be calling people every Monday and Thursday night until January 22.

Fellow tenants at their 4732 West Longdale Drive leftist mail drop facility include:

ACORN: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
No-Spray Nashville
Interfaith Alliance of Middle Tennessee (apparently they've recently moved)
United Nations Association Nashville

Back in 2003 syndicated radio talk show host Phil Valentine found the Communist Party and Democratic Socialists of America as fellow tenants in the NPJC's former office space.

Below is the NPJC's list of member organizations from their website. Oddly, their 990 for 2007 lists income from 29 member organizations but they currently only list 22.
  1. Americans United for Separation of Church and State
  2. BURNT: Bring Urban Recycling to Nashville Today
  3. Common Cause
  4. Cumberland Greens
  5. Earth Matters
  6. Emma Center ("The center is dedicated to the memory of Emma Goldman, 20th century feminist and anarchist..." and the contact is Chris Lugo)
  7. First Unitarian Universalist Church: Social Concerns & Actions Committee
  8. Friends Meeting (Quaker)
  9. Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist Church
  10. Interfaith Alliance
  11. MidEast Peace Coalition Middle TN Presbyterian Peace with Justice Committee
  12. Nashville Homeless Power Project
  13. Peace Roots Alliance (at The Farm in Summertown, TN)
  14. National Organization for Women (NOW) (No local listing. Here's the national gang.)
  15. Progreso Community Center
  16. Radio Free Nashville
  17. Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing (TCASK)
  18. Tennessee Equality Project (TEP)
  19. Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) (a subsidiary of LaRaza)
  20. Veterans for Peace
  21. United Nations Association
  22. War Resisters League
The chart here is from the NPJC's 2007 990 and shows their officers and directors then. They include Ginny Welsch, Karl Meyer, Elizabeth Barger, Gigi Gaskins, Keith Caldwell and Tamara Lossel. Line 93a says they got $4,425 in rent from their partners in social reform. Line 93b says they collected all of $410 for the sale of English language study books.

The NPJC 990 also lists over $16,000 in program expenses for "Hispanic Program-Progreso Community Center: See attached" but there is no attachment to explain the expenses.

Seems only fair that if they're going to throw associations around as a reason to discredit the effort and not to vote for English as the official language for Metro we ought to be able to point out theirs.

UPDATE: Red Hat Rob provides more details of Chris Lugo's Emma Goldman. Apparently, anarchist is an understatement. Terrorism goes back a long way folks. Rob's writes...
By tieing themselves to Emma Goldman, [Nashville Peace & Justice Center] are throwing in their lot with the founders of political terrorism and assasination.

UPDATE II: I've been accused of deliberately posting the home addresses of the NPJC officers. It wasn't my intention at all to put them in harms way and in an abundance of caution I've obliterated their street addresses. I would never want anyone to replicate David Lowe's threats against Councilman Eric Crafton.