Saturday, April 29, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
While Rao did refer specifically to Salemtown's problems, she did not overdramatize them like some have. At one point the Detective showed a picture of one gang member and told Rao that he lived in Brentwood, the suburban land of four-car garages. If you look at NewsChannel5's map in the screen shot above, you'll see that the gangs are spread all over the map; that was a great graphic depiction of a problem that belongs to all of us who live in Metro. It's not just a problem for those of us in that red little circle superimposed on the North End (you can also click on the map to find the link to view Rao's report).
One slight inaccuracy in the piece involved Rao talking about Salemtown while video showed mostly Crip graffiti in Cheatham Place (to the west of Salemtown), which seems to have a more chronic and enduring problem with the vandalism. There was only one shot that I could identify as graffiti in Salemtown. We get hit, but most of ours comes down pretty quickly due to the Salemtown Neighbors neighborhood watch. Also, the commercial that runs on the NewsChannel5 website promoting the story is way over the top when the narrator says that gang members own our homes because they sit on their turf. I don't know whether that commercial airs on TV, but it stupidly glamorizes the turf battles. According to the report, there will be a second segment of the story on tonight's news.
The telecom bill, which gained passage--as I told you last week--from a subcommittee thanks to the corporate-driven desires of certain house members like Blackburn, was passed (vote: 42-12) by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee this week. The net neutrality amendment, which would have protected the rights of internet users against AT&T's plans to filter out certain sites downloaded, took a second hit from the full committee (vote 22-34). Only one Republican crossed over to vote to protect Internet users, and that was New Mexico's Heather Wilson. So, our little Vol, Marsha Blackburn once again voted on the side of the corporate telecoms. To make matters worse, several Democrats, especially those whose districts headquarter the telecoms and those who get paid on the sly by the telecoms, joined the Republican majority in torpedoing net neutrality protection. We need to come up with a new name for this committee; how about the "The Committee for Lackeys and Yes-men to Upper Class Twits"?
With the No Neutrality Telecom Bill now headed for the House of Representatives, I have to wonder how the rest of the Tennessee delegation is going to vote. I am particularly interested to see how Democrat Jim Cooper will vote, since AT&T has purchased BellSouth and will claim the Batman Building as booty. I wrote him a little letter on behalf of net neutrality via Common Cause, and I await a response. Hopefully, he won't Blackburn us.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
While some would shout "look over there" to distract attention away from the scurrilous money orgy and to defend the indefensible, others underscore the greed and dishonesty that drive the oil industry lust for more profits on top of the profits on top of the profits already super-saturating their bank accounts. For instance, contrary to the myth that governments are driving oil prices up by collecting large royalties, Big Oil is actually pumping oil out of the publicly-owned waters in the Gulf of Mexico without paying any royalties at all to the government. As Jim Hightower puts it,
This is the largest giveaway of the public's oil and gas in American history, at a time when gasoline is at record-high prices and oil companies need trains to take their ill-gotten profits to the bank. In 1996, crude oil prices were down at $10 a barrel, and the corporations ran to Washington crying that they needed "royalty relief" as an incentive to drill the deep wells in the federal waters of the gulf. Clinton and Congress complied, eventually waiving all royalties owed to We the People for Gulf drilling leases awarded in '98 and '99. At today's prices, with oil soaring to $70 a barrel, the companies expect to extract $65 billion worth of oil and gas from those leases in the next five years, giving them a fabulous profit. Yet, despite the jack-up in oil prices and the windfall profits, they still claim that they deserve full "royalty relief," costing our treasury $7 billion.So, the next time you're standing at the pump watching yourself throwing your good and hard-earned money down the bottomless pit of the highest retirement packages in history, remember the picture of Lee Raymond, for it is symbolic of all those fat oil cats who make your life more difficult in order to give themselves more ease.
HT: Bill Maher's 4/21/06 "New Rules," which referred to Lee "Fat Bastard" Raymond. The resemblance is remarkable.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Last week, as 30 members of the Metro Council debated and voted on public policy, Buck Dozier watched a hockey game. Granted, the at-large council member showed up ... but at some point he slipped out the door and headed over to the arena .... Dozier missed votes on six bills up for third reading and eight memorializing resolutions .... "All my bills were passed, so I tried to support the Predators a bit," Dozier tells the Scene.Oh, okay. Well, you haven't passed your run for the Mayor's office, yet, Mr. Dozier, and you're going to have a hard time justifying to those of us who believe in the nobility of strong public service at the local level why a hockey match is more important than your civic duty to all your constituents through your term as a council member. Let's hope that you care about pending actions beyond your bills. It seems to me a Mayor should care about most if not all Council activities.
However, I'm sure it required great personal sacrifice to drag yourself over to the no doubt boring play-off atmosphere of Predators' hockey. You must have derived little personal pleasure from that. I can certainly understand why you would rather have continued to stay long hours fulfilling your responsibilities in the cat house.
But all sarcasm aside, on the score of Mayor's who lend more support to professional sports teams than they do to neighborhoods: we've been there and done that with Phil Bredesen. Very few of us in Nashville are willing to go through that again given the high price items now on the Predators' and Titans' wish lists for Metro. I am bound to ask you, "As mayor would you strive to take money away from local services for schools and neighborhoods in order to support the Predators' drive for a new scoreboard and other renovations to the Center?"
I'm just wondering how far your support for the Predators extends and how far you are willing to sacrifice. If you would leave a Council session in order to "support" the Predators, how far does such support extend? It doesn't seem to me that the winsome Predators lack for fan support, so having just one more fan at the match rather than having a Council member at his desk on a regular meeting night seems a bit of a stretch in logic. I have a hard time supporting a candidate who believes that the Predators require his support to help them in the play-offs. If "support" means something else, then you've got some explaining to do in your campaign. Your almost singular reliance on the business community to back your bid for mayor has got me a little concerned about what you mean.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
I was once caught up in the struggle between manual reel mowers vs. gasoline-powered mowers, but now I'm on the otherside of the vigor of youth. I've sold out, since I am unwilling to forever sharpen those blamed reel mower blades and struggle against hills in ways I don't have to with my front-wheel drive. Now comes the good news that gas mowers can be fitted with golf-ball sized catalytic converters, which would cut down on noxious, smog-producing emissions. I'm all over that. I'd pay the 25$-50$ extra for an environmentally friendlier gas mower, because I'm not going back to reel mowers. My guess is that the demand for such a mower is sufficient among the large numbers who think smog is detrimental to their health.
But the NYTimes reports that our old friends, the corporate lobbyists, in tandem with a Republican Senator are fighting and throwing up obstacles to requiring gas mowers to meet clean air emissions standards much the same way that the auto industry lobby and powerful Motown congressional delegations obstructed legislation requiring cars to have catalytic converters and meet emissions standards in the 1970s. This is a no-brainer: mower engines contribute 93 times more noxious emissions than 2006 cars. Yet, the mower industry is stalling, saying it just needs one more study, and then it needs one more study after that. Meanwhile, we poor sap consumers are left with the choice of maintaining our lawns vs. sacrificing the quality of the air that we breath (not to mention the long-term negative affects on global warming, which will end up sacrificing the world we leave our children). I wish I could call for more studies to delay costs that I think are unnecessary.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Earth Day; the day when President Bush gets his picture taken in front of a tree and Vice President Dick Cheney shoots whatever flies out of it.
- - Bill Maher, Real Time (HBO), 04/21/2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
The problem with Ms. Blackburn is that she was one of a small group of Republican members that forced a rare roll-call vote on designating a presidential birthplace, and then she went on record as voting "no" on designation. Why? Because the designee was Hope, Arkansas, the birthplace of former President William Jefferson Clinton. As Nichols notes, "at a time when Republicans are banging away on critics of the Bush administration for not respecting the office of the presidency," Blackburn et al have the nerve to politicize an issue strictly concerning presidential history.
Nichols also points to the irony of someone like Marsha Blackburn opposing the designation on principle, when her ethics problems indicate that principle is not exactly her forte. According to Nichols:
Blackburn [is a] ... major recipient of [former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay's largesse and a loyal ally of the indicted ex-leader, having contributed $5,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund.That's not the only thing checkering Ms. Blackburn's ethics. There's also the little matter of her PAC overfunding her congressional campaign. But wait, there's more checkers: The Hill reports that Ms. Blackburn accepted a $500 campaign contribution in 2005 from Jack Abramhoff-chum and lobbyist Tony Rudy, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy last week. Ms. Blackburn also joined her collaborator Tom Delay in not returning The Hill's phone calls concerning the matter.
Tennessee's divine Ms. Blackburn does not seem to be flying right enough herself to judge others.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
not to block, impair, degrade, discriminate against, or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access, use, send, receive, or offer lawful content, applications, or services over the Internet,then you just lost. That is, you're on the losing side of an attempt by a minority of U.S. House Democrats on the Telecommunications subcommittee to provide for enforcement of "net neutrality," which is the idea that everyone, everywhere should have free, non-discriminatory access to the public thoroughfares of the Internet. Under mounting pressure from the phone and cable industry, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress, the subcommittee defeated by a vote of 23-8 an amendment--to the telecommunications bill--that included the wording you read above.
Tennessee Republican representative Marsha Blackburn is one of the members of this subcommittee, but I have not been able to find out the exact voting tally from any source. However, during a subcommittee hearing in late March, Ms. Blackburn reportedly pit herself against an advocate of the public interest (including the National League of Cities) during his testimony. And word out of Washington is that all of the inside-the-Beltway Republicans all the way up to the White House support an unamended telecommunications bill that favors the corporates and promotes "monetizing" the Internet. So, my guess is that she was not among the 8 voting against defeat; that is, the 8 who were in favor of net neutrality and non-discriminatory access.
If this bill passes and gets signed into law, look for more and more discrimination by the telecoms based on private taxes they impose on users and based on your ability to pay those taxes. Then, in a few years, when your side of town does not have the same Internet access as Belle Meade or Brentwood, you can probably thank Marsha Blackburn.
APRIL 15, 2006 -- A DISAGREEMENT OVER AN OUTDOOR DICE GAME IS BELIEVED TO BE BEHIND FRIDAY NIGHT'S MURDER OF RONNIE LEE PARKER ON 6TH AVENUE NORTH. PARKER, 29, OF FARMVIEW DRIVE, WAS AMONG SEVERAL PERSONS PLAYING DICE BEHIND AN APARTMENT IN THE 1700 BLOCK OF 6TH AVENUE NORTH WHEN HE BECAME INVOLVED IN A DISPUTE WITH RAY JEROME ODOM. WITNESSES REPORTED THAT PARKER TOOK OFF RUNNING, PROMPTING ODOM TO PULL OUT A PISTOL AND SHOOT AT HIM. PARKER COLLAPSED AND DIED ON A NEARBY SIDEWALK.According to police detectives, Odom has turned himself in.
Here's a sampling of Ms. Buttorff's description of the Republicans' comments:
Hilleary called the ... $9 trillion federal debt limit a bi-partisan problem, saying the Republicans "along with the Democrats" help are spending money like drunken sailors." Hilleary said entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are swelling the deficit ....See how Ms. Buttorff uses value-neutral verbs? See how she merely reports what the Republicans said rather than reading veiled political intentions into what they say? If the Republicans have ulterior motives, Ms. Buttorff is not letting on that she assumes what they are.
Bob Corker said reform to ensure legal immigration is important .... Corker added, "I don't think we ought to turn businesses into INS ... agents," cautioning that it's difficult for businesses to determine whether documents presented by job applicants are authentic.
Ed Bryant said he supports the recent U.S. House bill that would have strengthened border security.
But she sums Harold Ford, Jr.'s performance up by attributing an ulterior and partisan motive to it:
Ford ... criticized his Republican colleagues on what he terms the party's fiscal problems .... Ford played up his fiscal conservative side by saying he makes colleagues on both sides of the aisle angry at budget time [emphasis mine].She starts describing Ford's performance objectively, but then includes her own personal bias of what Ford was up to, and I was left with a less than favorable picture. Ideally, she should have stuck with "Ford said he makes colleagues on both sides ...." But she still could have described Ford as a "fiscal conservative" and been considered objective, given that relative to other Democrats, Ford is generally acknowledged as conservative.
But the term "play up" carries insincere connotations, and in this story could be construed to mean that Ford is sucking up to Tennessee voters by promoting qualities that are not true to form. Worse, yet, Ms. Buttorff's clearly neutral presentation about the Republicans' performance ironically makes them look a lot better than Ford, who could be interpreted in this story as ingratiating and dishonest. The Republicans, on the contrary, were merely presenting their honest and transparent thoughts. There are definitely more egregiouseous examples of conservative media bias in reporting that draw into question the myth of "liberal bias," but small ones like this also alter, however imperceptibly, local popular perceptions about candidates.
Conservative media critics are fond of referring to the way reporters vote to perpetuate the "liberal media" myth. I personally don't think it matters how Ms. Buttorff votes. Just look at the one-sided treatment she gave the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate in today's City Paper. There is some evidence to indicate that, if she leans at all, she leans away from Democrats in print if no where else.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
All in all, the story on Summers is a dog-bites-man story that doesn't surprise those who watch John Summers operate. Nonetheless the question of whether Summers is violating the law is not insignificant. But the real story within this story, the man-bites-dog angle of Hinton's piece, is the possibility that a member who is actively running for Mayor may be dealing votes behind closed doors (an euphemism that includes e-mail correspondence). Mayoral candidate Buck Dozier denies that he made deals with Summers in the Hinton story, but if he actually is it would be one more strike against him in his bid to lead Metro (as if it weren't bad enough that he seems willing to legalize Vegasesque flashing billboards around my neighborhood--with no planning whatsoever--for the sake of a few more campaign contributions).
Three white stars on a field of blueThe first problem is that it is more of a prayer to God than it is a salute to the flag. I'll thank the government to keep its greedy paws off my faith.
God keep them strong and ever true
It is with pride and love that we
Salute the Flag of Tennessee.
The second problem is that the General Assembly already recognized an official salute to the Tennessee flag in 1987, which more appropriately fits the idea of a salute to the flag:
Flag of Tennessee, I salute theeMy guess is that the Christian extremists in the Assembly will find a way to rescind the original decision saying something like it was passed in an age when our state government was run by a bunch of atheistic liberal hippy infidels trying to take God out of government. But really, the second pledge is better because it is one that all Tennesseans of every religious belief--even conservative Christians--could recite without qualms. Nobody's going to object if individuals want to stick the word "God" in the mix while they are personally saluting the flag.
To thee I pledge my allegiance with
My affection, my service and my life.
The third problem with the Harrison pledge is that it is already archaic if you look at a current map of Tennessee politics as posted on TennesseePolitics.com. Rather than the historically correct three regions, the politically correct (pardon the pun) regions of Tennessee actually number 5 or 6 in varied shades of blue and red along the progressive-conservative continuum. Maybe the Harrison prayer should be rewritten to include the words, "Five blue, light blue, red, pink, and gray stars on a field of white ...", with the Tennessee flag reworked to suit. Or maybe we can just stick with the flag salute we got in 1987.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Unknown Sounds fan: Hey! Are you that guy from Channel 2?
Brad Schmitt: No. I wish I was. That's Joe Dubin. I'm Brad Schmitt from the "Brad About You" column in the Tennessean. Joe's sitting somewhere around here tonight.
Unknown Sounds fan: [to another fan after Brad left] He's here tonight? Awesome! Where is he?! I watch him in the mornings!
Friday, April 14, 2006
Our primo seats are still unspruced. They are dilapidating and cracking plastic. The scoreboard, which was squirrelly most of last year, seemed to be completely on the fritz with the exception of the clock and the line score. I don't expect much from scoreboards; I don't need to see the neat little cartoon batters and runners or the word "Charge!" But I do like to be able to see who is at bat, what that player's batting average is, and what he has done so far in the game, all of which were completely impossible on the largest guitar scoreboard in the world (are there any others?). I guess they are saving money for the new ballpark, which is expected in 2008.
So, what are we season ticket holders to do next year? Sit on steps and keep score ourselves? Anyone who drinks beer and socializes at ballgames knows that the former is fine, but keeping the score ourselves is impossible. I'd have to isolate myself and drink water. But I digress. The Sounds did dominate and win the game rather handily, as my family sat around and rudely reminisced about all of last year's players who played so well that they got called up to the dance in Milwaukee by mid-season. However, if this club continues as they did tonight, we'll completely forget those other guys; well, we may not completely forget Prince Fielder.
The one other hitch in the night is that we had to cross a picket line to get into the stadium. The minor league umps are on strike for higher pay. They make a measly $17,000 a year, so I certainly don't blame them. I expressed my sympathies to one of the picketers, but I also told her that we had already paid for our season tickets. "If you would have warned us before we bought the tickets," I told her, "I might have given second thoughts to buying the tickets." That would have been a tough decision for me, because I feel guilty crossing picket lines. The game was being called by
Click here or on the screen shot below to watch video I shot of Sounds outfielder Nelson Cruz driving in the 4th run of the game for the Sounds in the 3rd Inning.
I had the privilege of meeting Rev. Coffin as a college student in the 1980's at the height of the anti-nuclear proliferation movement, which was about the time I grew out of my stage as a politically conservative Reagan-supporter. Rev. Coffin's writings and sermons were partly influential in my transition and I have always looked up to him as one of the giants of contemporary American Christianity.
HT: Democratic Veteran
Thursday, April 13, 2006
In related news from the Mayor's Office, the West Precinct won the 2nd annual precinct of the year award for having the greatest overall reduction in crime in 2005. The West Precinct is sponsoring a celebration on April 19 at the First Southern Methodist Church, 4409 Colorado Ave. at 6 p.m. The Sylvan Park Neighborhood Watch Group will be the host group for the celebration.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Thanks for affirming "Merry Christmas," guys and gals. I do have to hand it to you. You artfully dodge the overtly theological supremacy of Jesus by watering his status from "Lord and savior" to an "extraordinary life ... [that] profoundly impacted ... the United States." By my calculations, that places him on par with Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr. and a host of other very fallible and very mortal human beings. Your resolution basically dumbs down centuries of Christian theology in the name of saving a word or two. Now how about solving some of the state's real problems? And I want to be the first to wish an early "Happy Holidays" to you all.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Corporation That Had Not Raised Money for a Democrat Since 1812 Contributes $137,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton
I know that she's aggressively representing New York interests in 2006, but she's quickly losing my vote in 2008.
Conservative Blogs: It All Depends on Whose Looter It Is and We Reap What We Sew But We Steal What We Don't Sew from Those Who Do
What I am seeing on some of the conservative blogs is the promotion of the recently released report that Tennessee ranks 45th in taxes per capita by state. On those blogs where level-headed comments are allowed, rational people are setting the record straight on that ranking. Some of my favorite retorts to the rightwing love affair with low-tax rankings:
- "Tennesseans have extra bucks in their pockets to put toward a nice boat to run around on those federally subsidized lakes and what not."
- "[Conservatives] also ignore how much drain various states are on the federal government. Many low tax states don't pay their own way, getting more money in fed. dollars than they pay in." [BTW, this is similar to a point I made about the town of Spring Hill last July when the conservatives were drooling over the town's cut of property taxes to zero: state money collected from all Tennesseans allowed them to stop paying their own way. So, what conservatives call "tax reform" is basically Spring Hill leeching and draining tax dollars off the rest of Tennesseans.]
- "If you think of Red America as stubbornly self-reliant and Blue America as a drain on the Treasury, you've got it exactly backward."
- "I just buy stuff from Massachusetts online so I can avoid paying Tennessee's unconscionable 9.25% sales tax."
- "[M]aybe higher taxes [are] related to education. The states with higher taxes have a higher rate of high school graduates then states with lower taxes."
Monday, April 10, 2006
Sunday, April 09, 2006
First He Wanted To Save The World From Terrorism. Then He Wanted To Save Iraq from Itself. Now He Wants A Brave, New Legacy ...
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
Now, I like reading the Bible as much as the next Christian; in fact, I wish that many of my conservative co-hort would more closely subscribe to Jesus's teachings, especially the Beatitudes, than they seem to. And I also took historic and cultural courses on the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament" seems to me to be a slight against the Hebrews/Jews) and on the New Testament in both college and seminary. I think that elective courses on comparative religions for high school students would not only be appropriate, but they would be prudent, given today's total clash of faith perspectives on a global level.
So, I have no problem with the idea of allowing courses that teach non-devotional or non-proselytizing courses about religion. But let's just be clear about the slant of the bill: rather than being an honest attempt to study the role of religion in various societies, it serves to allow private and public high schools to continue to receive government money while teaching conservative Christianity as the authoritative fount of truth. It provides a back door for government funding (and hence establishing) parochial views of the world. I have no doubt that the introduction of this bill in the legislature is an attempt to shore up the evangelical theo-cons for the Republican Party in Tennessee.
While the bill provides that the courses be taught in an objective, non-sectarian manner, there is no practical way to enforce what doctrinaire teachers might say in a class of students who elect to take the class because there own doctrinaire beliefs. Monitoring by boards of education who may be sympathetic to "putting God back in the classroom" would merely provide an extra layer of insulation to establishment. Debra Maggart needs to go a long way to explain how the checks and balances of this bill are to be practically applied. Otherwise, it's just a political tool for appeasing the theo-cons, a group that tends to believe it is persecuted when it is asked to play fair in school.
04/07/2006, 10 p.m. Update: Did some more digging on this bill. Here's what it will cost the state if passed:
- Start-up cost -- $24,000
- Annual teacher's salary costs -- $787, 500
- Cost of bibles and other texts -- between $27,000 and $394,000
The events ended happily as Jones Paideia was saved from closure, and now if you take a look at their underrenovation campus, you'll see some attractive new additions going on in back where temporaries once stood. But, of course, the budget problems did not get resolved with school closures and now the chickens are coming home to roost for other constituencies touched by our public school system.
My family is in one of those consitutencies. Our toddler will be 3-years-old next year, qualifying her for one of the public school Montessori programs. Moreover, we live in close proximity to Hull-Jackson Montessori Magnet. Since magnet schools are required to take a certain percentage of their students proximate to their campuses, odds at possibly getting her into Hull-Jackson are better than most. However, now the school board is considering cutting programs for 3-year-olds in order to save money, and so my support of Jones Paideia may have helped bring about the closure of a quality program in which our toddler might have enrolled in 2007.
I don't regret my support of Jones Paideia, because the school makes the North End a better place to live. I just hope that all of those Jones Paideia parents and teachers who don't live in the North End will remember how important saving their school was to them and that they will be supportive of the rest of us who continue to face the possibility that our public school services (and in some cases jobs) will probably be cut in Jones's stead. I don't believe that Montessori programs for 3-year-olds are any less important than the schools that were saved from the chopping block last fall. In fact, from my family's own perspective, they are more important.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Appeared To Help Own Cause with Senatorial Sponsorship of Provision
The article has spawned an interesting discussion this week on density and the impact of the Nashville Star rail line on suburban development over at urbanplanet.org.
Wackenhut has reportedly been at the center of security problems at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, involving mistaken responses to initially unidentified white powder (which later proved to be benign). Thanks to a belated evacuation order, employees had gone to lunch, and they had to be rounded up and quarantined (how about some suspicious white powder to go along with those fries?). Wackenhut whistleblowers reported no WMD training, lightly guarded Homeland Security entrances, and no radios to communicate with each other. The Energy Department also concluded that Wackenhut guards improperly handled the transport of nuclear and conventional weapons during one of their tests. One whistleblower said that when he found a suspicious bag in a parking lot on another occasion he "didn't have a clue about what to do."
04/06/2006, 12:15 p.m. Update: Doyle is not the only Homeland Security official to be charged with illegal activity with minors. According to MSNBC:
As for the other Homeland Security official charged with a sex crime, his name is Frank Figueroa, former head of Operation Predator, the Homeland Security program specifically targeting child sex predators, Mr. Figueroa today pleading no contest that he exposed and fondled himself in front of a teenaged girl in the food court of a mall in Orlando last October.It's ironic that the very official charged with targeting sex predators is himself a predator; putting wolves in charge of the hen house.
And this all comes on the heels of Congressional hearings on how a 13-year-old got became the victim of on-line pornography, an episode that virtually was ignored by the U. S. Department of Justice, despite their knowledge of it. The Justice Department bends over backwards to defend torture and wire-tapping, but it cannot vigorously pursue and prosecute those who prey on our children. I'd call that getting priorities backwards.
*State Representative Maggart (R-Hendersonville) claims that gays and lesbians should not be allowed to adopt children because they are dysfunctional. My guess is that there are more dysfunctional straight families than gay/lesbian families, so by her logic, straight families should not be allowed to adopt children. Basically, thanks to some bad apples, nobody gets to adopt children.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Germantown Partners has put Monroe and its $400K townhomes on hold for a year. They have decided to focus their energies into the Summer Street project near Germantown Cafe.
Falcon Capital Funding was only able to pre-sell one Garfield Place unit and that contract was withdrawn because of the company's decision to delay construction until four of the $300K units were sold. While the company still intends to start construction before the end of the year, they are currently focusing their efforts on projects outside of Nashville's urban neighborhoods.
It looks like builders have stopped their hard charging in the North End, and numbers of players seem to be waiting on each other to continue. However, besides Summer Street, some projects continue to be constructed or remain on the market: Morgan Park Place, Salemtown Townhouses, and Werthan Lofts.
Monday, April 03, 2006
They Say the Neon Lights Are Bright: Does Buck Dozier Care About the Quality of Urban Neighborhoods?
The bill's passage could mean that one of the prettiest views of the downtown skyline could very well be marred with blinking Auto Zone or O'Reilly Auto Parts signs or with KFC or Kroger marquees. Residents in Phase IV of the Werthan Lofts development may find themselves in the unenviable position that Seinfeld's Kramer did when Kenny Roger's Roasters put in a huge red blinking sign outside of his apartment window during one episode. Confusing tomato juice and milk because your world is LED-tinged could be distasteful, as Kramer showed with his breakfast cereal.
While my district's Council member, Ludye Wallace, is the bill's co-sponsor and while I CC'ed him, I really didn't expect him to break his long-standing habit of ignoring his constituents. But I did assume that, since Dozier was going to run for Mayor, he would at least give me the respect of a brush-off reply, if nothing else. But I have yet to hear from the man. My guess is that he believes he's got all he needs in the supportive votes from suburban Council members, who are just as NIMBY as anybody else, but who were placated by Dozier's restriction of video billboards to the step-child Urban Services District. My second guess, inspired by Christine Kreyling, is that passage of this bill is going to be a warm chestnut to Doziers' principle constituency: the business community.
So, it's becoming clear to me that mayoral candidate Dozier is probably more interested in running for business and against neighborhoods. It's looking as if he won't be the clearly viable "neighborhoods candidate" that we've had in the last two elections. As a neighborhood leader, I am concerned about what would happen to the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods and advocacy for urban neighborhoods at the executive level under Dozier. It's not clear to me that Council member Dozier gives a tinker's damn about anyone remotely at odds with his business constiuency.
What is clear to me is that he is passionate about foisting video billboards on promising little neighborhoods without any imput from Metro Planning or any balance with residential interests. But the fact that one of the prospective highways wraps around Capitol Hill gives some in the General Assembly a whole new opportunity to direct market dim-witted ideas in Shopryland's drive-by style:
We have already been warned that, should we back out of the DP deal, the United Arab Emirates may well take offense and not be so nice about helping us in the War on Terra—maybe even cut back its money, as well as its cooperation. This is a problem specific to the fact that we are dealing with a corporation owned by a country: A corporation only wants to make money, a corporation owned by a country has lots of motives.
Second, this is a corporation, consequently its only interest is in making money. A corporation is like a shark, designed to do two things: kill and eat. Thousands of years of evolution lie behind the shark, where as the corporation has only a few hundred. But it is still perfectly evolved for its purpose. That means a corporation that makes money running port facilities does not have a stake in national security. It’s not the corporation’s fault any more than it’s the shark’s.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Baseball is a kind sport. There's room for many different body types and levels of coordination. It's democratic in its distances. Kids who are small can't hit the ball real far but can move quickly between the bases while the sluggers usually can't run. On the playground, everybody has a chance.
One of the new retro builds over in East Nashville near Martin's Corner Market with a satellite dish attached to the porch.
What the hell are these people thinking? That this looks okay? I'm a believer in balance between overlay restrictions and individual initiative, but this is a strike against all those who believe that people should be allowed to do absolutely anything they want to their own houses. We consider self-mutilation a dysfunction; perhaps dwelling-mutilation should also be considered a disorder in need of proper treatment. In this case, proper treatment might involve throwing a tight spiral at that dish.
[Watching baseball is] like watching weather form .... Two fronts collide and feel each other out. There is a distant rumble, an accumulating uncertainty, tension. Abruptly the silence is broken -- a crack of electricity. You don't always know where to look. Everything is in motion, in flux, changing, and then more thunder, and again an eerie stillness. Leads evaporate. The whole experience is ethereal. When you see the sport in person, or you listen to it on the radio, it seems to be composed partly of air, but this aspect never really comes through on the television.Nonetheless, I will be watching the Indians play those amazing World Champion White Sox tonight in the first game of the season.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseballs around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball.
You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all.
Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex, and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem.
Baseball, to me, is still the national pastime because it is a summer game. I feel that almost all Americans are summer people, that summer is what they think of when they think of their childhood. I think it stirs up an incredible emotion within people.
Baseball is a harbor, a seclusion from failure that really matters, a playful utopia in which virtuosity can be savored to the third decimal place of a batting average.