Tag Archives: Mike McWherter

Jobs, Schools And Haslam’s Blunder


The online trends from around the state over the weekend include a great deal of anger on comments made by the Lt. Governor on Tennessee’s unemployed population which is sitting at roughly 400,000 folks. The debate on school vouchers also dominated media outlets on whether or not the state should subsidize $5,000 to private schools. And political pundits question the PR skills of the Haslam administration in their first real test with Occupy Nashville.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said at a business function in Kingsport last week that he wants to cut unemployment benefits. It is obvious he’s never had to live in this day and age on unemployment. LINK

“When does it become a benefit and when does it become a lifestyle?” Ramsey, R-Blountville, asked of the current unemployment compensation system.

Weekly unemployment pay averages $285 a week, and beneficiaries aren’t pressed hard enough to look for work, Ramsey said.

The Metropulse has challenged Ramsey to live on $300 a week. (And as a sidenote, that would be just two days per diem during session if he was traveling from Blountville to Nashville.) LINK

So we’d love to see Ramsey live on $285 a week. We’d love to see Ramsey apply for jobs at Walmart and get turned down for being overqualified. We’d love for him to actually make the attempt to see how over 9 percent of the state is currently living. Hell, this reporter will even pony up her own money if Ramsey takes us up on her challenge. PLEASE, Ron Ramsey, try living on $300 for just ONE week. But I bet a month’s worth of unemployment wouldn’t even cover your mortgage.

In Tom Humphrey’s column from yesterday’s Knoxville News Sentinel, the Dean analyzes Haslam and Occupy Nashville’s arrest last month. He says the governor’s plan was flawed. LINK

Gov. Bill Haslam has broken that tradition. One suspects that he did so without a top-to-bottom review of the matter.

The traditional stance for governors — who are often, but not always, the focus of the sign-waving, chanting and such — has been to ignore the protesters with the assumption they’ll go away. Some, of course, have been harder to ignore than others over the years. But they have, indeed, eventually gone away.

Sen. Andy Berke explains the school vouchers issue which would target four cities in the state. If you were wondering what this issue which was discussed last week in the House Education Subcommitte is all about, Berke breaks it down. LINK

School vouchers jeopardize these reforms by removing public education funds from where they are needed most: public schools. Under a proposal before the legislature, half of public funding for a child in the state’s four largest counties would follow that child to a private school. That funding would not guarantee a child’s admission into a private school, nor would it come close to covering tuition costs. It would effectively subsidize private education for families who already plan to send their children to private school.

Ted Rayburn on the editorial board of the Tennessean also weighs in on school vouchers with several questions that require answers which have not been addressed. LINK

The most obvious concern is cost. “Up to $5,000″ may cover the cost of a student attending their public school for a year, but many of the private schools in the four counties charge far more in annual tuition; some cost two to three times as much.

Being from low-income families, these students have no one to call upon to chip in the rest of the tuition. That leaves it to the private school to subsidize the difference, and perhaps there are schools that would. However, where is the assurance that the private school that subsidizes its voucher students one year will continue to do so the next year? What would happen to any academic gains those students made at the private school when they have to transfer back to their public school the next year?


Quick Hits From Around The State

  • Sean Braisted writes that Sen. Stacey Campfield says that he will take the Metropulse’s challenge and live on unemployment for one month. LINK
  • Solutions and not rhetoric are needed to deal with Tennessee’s unemployed at Newscoma. LINK 
  •  A round-up from Grand Divisions on news from around the state in the past few days. LINK
  • Ron Ramsey doesn’t thinks times are bad enough. (Saucy Language alert.) LINK

Pairing The Actions And Words of Rep. Curry Todd

To link all the reports about the arrest of Rep. Curry Todd on DUI and gun possession charges Tuesday evening would take forever. Hundreds of national/local news reports and blog posts from around the nation have chronicled his arrest by the Metro Nashville Police Department. At last count, more than 400 news stories, which doesn’t even include blog posts, have been placed around the Internet. If you are interested in seeing what has been written, we suggest you search Google. To let you know how rapidly this story spread, a post written by Jeff Woods at Pith in the Wind was shared more than 800 times yesterday on Facebook alone.

There have been numerous posts that have expressed anger and others have focused on the House member’s history in the legislature.

From Sean Braisted, an exchange between Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh with Todd during the Guns in Bars debate in which Todd sponsored. Braisted has the video. LINK

Oh, yeah, who was the House sponsor of that Guns in Bars bill?  Why, thank you for asking, it was in fact Rep. Curry Todd.
Now, we don’t know yet where Todd was drinking, and whether or not he was packing heat whilst drinking or if it was just in his car, but, regardless, I think its worth pointing out the connection.

The Huffington Post spotlighted a story where Todd made disparaging comments about undocumented mothers in November 2010 while writing of his arrest this week LINK.

“They can go out there like rats and multiply, then,” he responded. He later said that he was “wrong” to use that language and said he should have used the term “anchor babies” instead.

From a presser that Tom Humphrey has at the Knoxville News Sentinel that the TNDP sent out. LINK

Curry Todd said any gun permit violators should have permits revoked for life. From the March 10, 2010 Judiciary Committee meeting:

Rep. Barrett Rich: “OK, that’s just a pressing question I had and just wanted to make sure that is clear. If you get caught doing something with a handgun permit that you shouldn’t be doing, it’s my personal feeling you shouldn’t have a permit anymore.

Rep. Todd: “It’s my personal feeling that you shouldn’t have it forever, you should just be disbanded from carrying forever if your doing it.”

Rep. Rich: “Yes, sir, I agree.”

Rep. Todd: “I have always said that.”

Video here at 29 minutes in.

Todd apologized for his actions late yesterday but it remains to be seen what will happen. There are all always consequences to behavior especially when it comes to aligning actions and words, especially from those elected officials who create laws we must abide by.

Quick Hits:


  • The battle over Title X funds in Memphis continues. LINK
  • Being that yesterday was dominated by Todd headlines, we would like to remind you that Sen. Andy Berke reported to constituents this week 304,000 Tennesseans are currently unemployed. LINK
  • Pres. Bill Clinton thinks that the Occupy Movement can create a strong positive debate. “The Occupy Wall Street crowd basically is saying, ‘I’m unemployed and the people that caused this have their jobs again and their bonuses again and their incomes are high again. There’s something wrong with this country. This is not working for me,’” Clinton said, the Chicago Tribune reports. “So I think it can be a good positive debate.” LINK
  • Darrell Bouldin writes a letter to the editor about attending the “Take Back The American Dream” conference in DC. LINK
  • Topeka, Kansas has repealed domestic violence laws which is unacceptable. Joe Powell has the story. LINK
  • Nashville writer Mike Byrd is following a non-profit that Tweeted about the Occupy Movement and then took their tweets down. Interesting on a lot of levels. LINK 
  • Tennessee Citizens Action has information on forums designed to answer questions about Photo IDs. LINK

Occupy Wall Street Movement Is Growing

Occupy Wall Street began nearly three weeks ago and appears to be expanding across the country.  At last count this morning, Occupy Chattanooga, Occupy Knoxville, Occupy Memphis (which held an event last night), Occupy Clarksville, Occupy Nashville and Occupy Tennessee have been spotted on Facebook and Twitter over the last few days and appear to be organizing.

The demands of Occupy Wall Street are clear, the group of protesters want less corporate money in politics. Writer Ezra Klein explains what Occupy DC’s branch this morning in the Washington Post. LINK

“Corporatism has become the standard, and people forget they’re part of government….it’s power that’s come for sale,” said Brian, a 24-year-old unemployed Maryland resident, who arrived with a backpack to camp out.”Our government has allowed policy, laws and justice to be for sale to the highest bidder.”

The lede from this story in the LA Times focuses on the growth of this movement. LINK

“Those who think that the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement is just a traffic annoyance with nowhere to go should remember that the same was said at one time about protest movements around the world throughout history, including the tea party movement in the United States.

More on Tennessee’s collective Occupy events as they come in.

Video from TPM

Tuesday Roundup

Redistricting has been the issue that has been a great concern for some legislators. Not for House Democratic Caucus Leader Mike Turner though, he is thinking ahead. LINK

“I’m running for the House two more times, and if the opportunity is there to run for mayor I’m thinking about running for mayor. And if I’m not successful there, I’ll just run for the House for the third time. I’m not going anywhere,” Turner told TNReport.

“Of course that’s almost three-and-a-half years away, but I am interested in it. I’ve had some people approach me about it. It made me start thinking about it. I’ve had some people in the business community and some other interested citizens – and I won’t say who – who have said something to me about it. I was flattered, and I thought about it and told them I’d look into it.”


It’s official. Weston Wamp is running. LINK

As has been expected for several months, Weston Wamp confirmed over the weekend that he is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee’s 3rd District in 2012.

This means Wamp will face freshman incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in the Republican primary next August, in a bid to serve in the seat his father, Zach Wamp, held until January of this year.


Does on GOP wannabe political candidate have the inside scoop on redistricting. Sean Braisted makes an interesting find. LINK

While the rest of us plebs have to wait until at least next year before we know what the GOP legislators are cooking up for our state legislative map, it appears one young Republican candidate has already gotten the inside scoop on what his new district will look like.
Jeremy Durham, former President of the Tennessee Young Republicans, launched his campaign for state legislature as a resident of Franklin, TN.  On his site, Durham notes that “[w]ith Franklin, Fairview and Spring Hill all located within the new state legislative district, we must elect a legislator who understands that businesses coming to Tennessee often translates into jobs for our area.”

If roads and jobs brought people together during the time that Gov. Ned McWherter was in office, Zach Barnes has an idea about Ned 2.0. LINK

I learned a lot about the late Ned Ray McWherter while I attended Jackson Day this past weekend. I learned that Governor McWherter helped build roads all throughout our state. This helped different parts of the state connect with each other which helped the Tennessee economy. Residents could now travel to different cities easier than ever before. Building roads did not just provide a path to different cities, but provided jobs to Tennesseans.

I think we need a new updated Ned Ray McWherter.


Well, it is October although zombies tend to linger around all throughout the year. LINK

We had nuclear zombies at the TVA Board meeting and now we have money grubbing corporate zombies on Wall Street. At least the media is grudgingly admitting that something is going on even if it’s two and a half weeks late to the party.
Can America toss the money changers out of the temple?

Dru Smith Fuller has a round-up of the Out of the Blue reception that was held on Oct. 1 prior to Jackson Day. LINK

Trace Sharp