Tag Archives: Occupy Nashville

Mayors Speak Out


The mayors from Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville are letting the legislature know that they do not want that state interfering in city business. Knoxville mayor Madeline Rogero said the state doesn’t like federal mandates and the same thing goes for local government when it comes to state mandates. LINK


Rogero cited some example of pending legislation that could have a negative impact on local governments. One is HB3386, which would prohibit local governments from requiring city contractors to provide a specified level of benefits to employees.

Memphis, for example, now requires city contractors to pay more than the federal; minimum wage. Knoxville does not and Rogero said there are no plans to do so.

“Whether we do it now or not is not the issue,” she said. “It’s another of those bills that preempt local authority. We would like to have more autonomy on the local level and have the state let us make the decisions on what’s best for us.”


In a Jackson Sun editorial, community colleges are being discussed as an alternative. LINK


As the economy improves and new jobs come online, workers will find that many of yesterday’s jobs are gone forever. To be employed or re-employed, they will need new skills and more education. The challenge for students, young and old, is whether they will be prepared for higher learning. Mastery of basic math, reading and writing is a must to qualify for such apprenticeship and community-college programs.

Such education efforts are not new. Henry Ford took poor kids off the streets of Detroit, put them in ties and white shirts, fed them lunch and trained them in apprentice programs to be machinists, pattern makers and mechanics to work in Ford factories.


Occupy Nashville’s actual occupation of War Memorial Plaza may be coming to an end but protesters tell Jonathon Meador that their fight is far from over. LINK


For weeks, the Tennessee General Assembly has debated legislation that would effectively evict Occupy Nashville from the plaza, citing a familiar chorus of complaints centered on the protesters’ bodily functions. The most notable of these was Rep. Eric Watson’s comment that the protesters “need to be peed on” – a reference to an alleged public-urination incident hotly denied by Occupiers. Last week, Watson’s HB 2638 sailed through the House, 70-26. The bill means to levy a jail sentence of one year and a $2,500 fine against anyone – whether Occupiers or any of Nashville’s approximately 6,000 homeless individuals – caught with “bedding for the purpose of sleeping … including tents, portable toilets, sleeping bags, tarps, propane heaters, cooking equipment and generators.”

As of press time, the General Assembly is expected to vote Thursday on the Senate version of Watson’s bill, SB 2508, sponsored by state Sen. Dolores Gresham, which would make camping in the vein of the Occupy movement a misdemeanor offense and permit the seizure of the offender’s private property by the state.



Gannett papers are going behind a paywall. What this means is that finding out news from the state capitol may become a little bit more difficult although there are independent newspapers and television that will get the traffic for people who live outside the 440 Loop. LINK


The vogue for digital paywalls sweeping the news business has made it all the way to the top:Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, is planning to switch over all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by the end of the year, it announced during an investor day held in Manhattan Wednesday.

Quick Hits

  • Katy Graham has a new blog called Lavender and Cheese. She discusses the realities of health insurance where she had to make a choice for financial reasons. LINK
  • Eric Stewart also has a new campaign blog.LINK
  • The latest legislation in Nashville which Betsy Phillips writes at Pith in the Wind that our lawmakers didn’t think all the way through. LINK
  • Jackson Baker has the latest on redistricting and District 90′s John DeBerry at the Memphis Flyer. LINK
  • Cara Kumari writes about Gov. Bill Haslam’s Top To Bottom review. She says it is quite lengthy and broken up into sections. LINK
  •  Proposed legislation for term limits for Tennessee representatives has died in subcommittee and sent to summer study.LINK

District Races Shaping Up, Occupy Nashville Days May Be Numbered and Economic Injustice




Joe Lance in Chattanooga at the Tennessee Ticket has been following all the races across the state and breaking them down one by one. If you are a political junkie, Lance is one stop shopping so be sure to put him in your bookmarks this election year.  LINK


Mary Mancini at Tennessee Citizens Action writes about economic injustice and that actions speak louder than words. LINK

For some reason, many Tennesseans believe we live in a state where life is good, we are rewarded for hard work and playing by the rules, and our elected officials work for us to improve our lives.

The reality is…uh, yeah, not so much. The evidence lies not only in the  metrics, which illustrate Tennessee’s standing in health, personal safety, and education, but also in how the hardworking people of the state are considered (or not considered, as the case may be) by those in power. In other words, while they say one thing, their actions show their true intent.

Former state rep. Philip Pinion tells Northwest Tennessee Today that he won’t seek the senate seat in the 8th. There are a lengthy list of republicans who might run yet only one democratic name is being floated but the person floating the name is Rep. Bill Sanderson. LINK


Also on the GOP side, Sanderson said he has heard there is a potential candidate from Obion County and one from Weakley County considering a run for the office, as well as a state representative from West Tennessee and an attorney in Huntingdon.

“I personally believe this election will be decided in August,” he said, indicating the Republic nominee would likely be elected to fill state Sen. Herron’s seat.

On the Democratic side, he said he has heard former state Rep. Mark Maddox of Weakley County is considering running for the seat.


Occupy Nashville is one step closer to being evicted and if the law passes, there will be strong penalties including a possible one year in jail. LINK


Representatives for Occupy Nashville responded that they have asked police to arrest lawbreakers but have instead seen the presence of law enforcement diminished. They said their camp of about 50 tents is a form of free speech similar to marches, sit-ins and rallies.

“The Supreme Court said money is free speech,” protester Michael Custer said at a hearing. “If money is free speech, then surely a 24-hour vigil … must also count as free speech.”

Only three lawmakers – Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville; Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis; and Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis – cast votes against the Occupy Nashville bill as it cleared the House Judiciary Committee 13-2 and the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-1.


Tom Humphrey writes that a bill introduced last week would introduce term limits. LINK 

Rep. Art Swann, R-Maryville, says some colleagues have urged him not to push for a vote on a plan that could impose a 12-year term limit on service in the state House, but he plans to move forward anyway.

Swann’s proposal, HJR625, filed Feb. 1, proposes an amendment to the state constitution that would increase the term for a state representative from two years to four years, but then impose a three-term limit in consecutive service.

Quick Hits

  • Rep. Craig Fitzhugh and Sen. Reginald Tate discuss Gov. Bill Haslam’s bill for larger class sizes is bad for Tennesseans. LINK
  • Jim Voorhies writes about health insurance and a real story of someone who lost theirs and is ill. LINK
  • Rep. Curry Todd’s DUI case is headed forthe Grand Jury. LINK
  • A letter to the editor at the Jackson Sun scolds the paper for a recent editorial about alternative legislative session years and wonders why the newspaper didn’t talk to Rep. Craig Fitzhugh. LINK
  • Know what the Cinnamon Challenge is? Joe Powell is going to tell you and its connection with politics. LINK

Positioning For 2012

It’s been an interesting year in Tennessee as we lurch toward December. When the session ended this year, the news did not. The key is that this happens every year and its up to us individually to pay attention to what is happening behind the scenes. With the next session coming up in about six weeks, what will be the biggest news as we head into 2012? It will be an election year which will get the headlines, but policy will impact each community locally.

Just a little food for thought on this last day of November.

History is being preserved and the process is rather incredible. LINK

The State Library and Archives is moving to preserve about 10,000 boxes of Tennessee Supreme Court cases dating from the state’s birth in 1796 into the 1950s. The
Tennessean reports that about 20 employees devote four hours a week to the project that involves mostly handwritten documents, using scissors, a brush, sponge, pliers and magnifying glass.

This is something you might want to go take a gander at. The Lottery was designed to assist students, let’s keep that in mind LINK

Tennessee officials agreed unanimously to recommend halving lottery scholarships for students on the cusp of eligibility as a way of closing a widening deficit.

A state Senate task force approved a plan that would make high school students hit both the testing and grade point average requirements to receive the full $4,000 HOPE scholarship and $2,000 Aspire grant. Those who hit one of the two benchmarks will receive awards for half the amount.

What happened at Occupy Nashville. You need to just read about Jeff Woods’ story. Disclosing is fun but it is not something that the Haslam administration likes doing. LINK

After announcing the 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew at Legislative Plaza, Thaddeus E. Watkins – attorney for the state Department of General Services – sent an email to the state attorney general’s office.

“Fun time has started,” Watkins wrote.

Yes, the laughter is killing us! Jailing idealistic young demonstrators and trampling on free-speech rights – it doesn’t get any more hilarious than that. Fun times!

And then they were arrested the next night. LINK

The state Department of General Services billed Occupy Nashville $1,045 to provide two troopers for security the night before they began arresting the protesters and clearing their encampment.

The invoice was part of a public records request to the department from The Associated Press.

Protester Dorsey Malina said she was one of a group that met with General Services Commissioner Steve Cates on Oct. 26 over their concerns about security on the plaza.

What is Americans Elect? According to Michael Cass at the Tennessean, the nonpartisan group wants to be on the ballot in 2012 with a variety of different scenarios. LINK

Obama was statistically tied with or trailing GOP candidates Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in scenarios in which an independent wasn’t mentioned, but he moved ahead of all three when a “qualified independent candidate” was introduced as a hypothetical competitor.  

Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project and the Tennessee Tea Party are not jiving after the latter made inflammatory remarks  about retiring congressman Barney Frank on Twitter. Of course, Sanders lets them have it.  LINK

The news of Franks retirement brought a derogatory tweet on the Tennessee Tea Party’s twitter feed. The remark was also posted on the party’s facebook page as well. The tweet called Frank a prevert, and used a number of degoratory terms about franks homosexuality.

Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project was told of the tweet shortly after it was posted. What angers Sanders is that the person who tweeted the comment didn’t talk about Frank’s policies, but rather is sexual orientation.

 Quick Hits

  • Sean Braisted on Newt Gingrich. Bets are on that Mitt will get the nod but Newt has been surging lately. See what Sean has to say. LINK 
  • We should all debunk the myth. Roane Views tells you how to do it. LINK  
  •  See what happened on Cyber Monday. LINK 
  • A letter to the editor wants to know what in the heck has happened to this country. LINK 
  • More from Braisted on Americans Elect which he attended and has an update on what the meeting was about. LINK

Eric Stewart, Political Marketing And Occupy Nashville

TennDem writes that Eric Stewart’s candidacy is setting a tone that is resonating. LINK

That message is resonating these days. Congressional approval remains in the teens. And most see partisan bickering at fault for the failed “super committee.” Stewart’s strategy could be to let the GOP to paint themselves as ultra-partisans who care about a divisive political agenda instead of working together to solve the big challenges. All he has to do is stay positive, be constructive, and ask for contributions immediately after each GOP attack.

Politics as marketing? Steve Ross writes it’s not that simple. LINK

For whatever reason, we hold exception that our lives aren’t simple, but that other people’s lives, or the best policy solution somehow is. This contradiction is the essence of the human condition, and it holds us back from enacting solutions to problems that have vexed billions of people before us.

Marketing: simplifying everything by recognizing a need, seeking to fill that need, and proposing a simple solution that completely ignores reality.

If you want to understand why people are so dissatisfied with government, you need look no further than that interview I posted yesterday. If politics has become marketing, and nothing more, its no wonder we’re hungry for solutions.


This might be filed under the files called not cool and didn’t work. LINK

Top state officials put off requests for portable toilets at War Memorial Plaza several days before Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration cited unsanitary conditions as a reason for implementing a curfew that prompted dozens of arrests.

Email records reviewed by The Tennessean indicate that both state and Metro officials received requests for portable toilets in the days preceding the arrests of Occupy Nashville protesters. The toilets were never installed until after the controversial arrests.


That is a lot of money. $29 grand?. LINK

The government paid nearly $2,500 for Sarah Palin’s husband to come to the trial of a Tennessee college student who hacked into her email — even though Todd Palin never testified, court records show.

In all, the government paid more than $29,000 to fly members of the Palin family and other witnesses to Knoxville, send a prosecutor to Alaska for research and pay other travel expenses, according to the Department of Justice records obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. Air travel totaled about $18,600, and hotel bills amounted to nearly $3,300.


Middle Tennesse blogger Jim Voorhies is not a happy dude. Constructive criticism about many things.  LINK

It’s effective today. And it will be totally spread by word of mouth. If it goes anywhere, that will be great and if it doesn’t it won’t be any less effective than being a Republican or Democrat.  And that’s the whole point. For the last several election cycles, our political system has featured an inflexibility and an inability to get anything substantive done. The super committee failed, there are no new jobs, the people who crashed the housing market aren’t in prison, nor are people that created all those derivatives or people who approved lousy home loans – it’s been a series of failures one after another.

The Jackson Sun is none too happy about the so-called super committee. LINK

We had doubts all along, but the picture began coming into clearer focus on Sunday. That’s when members of the committee made the rounds on the morning talk shows, pointed fingers at each other and made it clear the committee would not do its job.
Aides to the politicians said talks had been broken off and a formal announcement of failure was expected.


Quick Hits


  • The funniest thing you will read this week. Hit the link at Knox Views. LINK 
  • Conservatives more squeamish than liberals? Zach tells you why. LINK 
  • Guys, pour a cup of coffee and sit back to watch Rep. Steve Cohen on Up with Chris Hayes. LINK   
  • I realize we don’t do a great deal of national news here, but here are updates from last night’s debate. LINK  

Enjoy Thanksgiving. We will see you after the holiday.

Stewart announces run in the 4th, Wright will challenge Wirgau in the 75th

Eric Stewart has announced he is running  in the 4th against Scott DesJarlais. Solid. LINK More from Post Politics. LINK

State Senator Eric Stewart announced today that he will run to represent Tennessee’s 4th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging to put partisanship aside so we can protect our nation’s commitment to seniors, create jobs to revive our economy and reduce our massive deficit.

“Congress is broken and all we see is fighting, political posturing and gridlock from the folks we sent there to work on our behalf and solve the serious problems we face,” said Eric Stewart. “People are struggling.  Unemployment remains too high, and our economy is sluggish at best. Illegal drug problems continue to increase and many small businesses are hanging on by a thread, if at all.  All the while, Congress is only focused on slinging mud and pointing fingers instead of taking action to create jobs and reduce our debt.  I’m running for Congress to bring common sense back to Washington and put the needs of the people ahead of special interests, rigid ideology and petty partisanship.”


From the Paris Post Intelligencer, Henry County’s Steven Wright has thrown his hat in the ring to run for state representative. He spoke this week about running in the 75th. LINK

“I feel like there is a real urgency for people who need help in this district, and the number one need right now is jobs,” said Wright, who criticized current state legislators for their lack of focus and action regarding unemployment. “When a man or woman can’t find a job, that takes away their dignity.”

Rep. Craig Fitzhugh writes that Tennesseans need jobs and has introduced legislation to help. LINK

Some politicians want you to believe that the people of Tennessee would rather receive unemployment than find a job. While like every program there is certainly some abuse, the vast majority of these people just want to get back to work. I hear it every week from people who call my office. These are not lazy people; they’re our friends and neighbors, people who want to work, but have just fallen on hard times. These are some of the people I want to target with new jobs legislation.

In the House of Representatives, I have introduced the Tennessee Works Act of 2012. This program, which I modeled after a Republican proposal in Georgia, will allow the state of Tennessee to use unemployment insurance to get people back in the workplace sooner.

Liz Garrigan is not happy with the governor and gives him what we call in the south “a talking to” . LINK

In fact, your Occupy Nashville crackdown, deemed unlawful by both night court and federal judges, was the first story since my erstwhile editorship that made me wish I’d clung to that job with the same tenacity you defended – for a cringe-inducing length of time, otherwise known as lots and lots of news cycles – your horrible misjudgment.

From the Memphis Flyer. This is not of the good, not at all. Friends, this is just not cool from right wing darling, Rush Limbaugh. LINK

The furious counterattack against the women who in the past had accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment was led by Rush Limbaugh, who occupies a vast electronic locker room, making jokes that would be considered immature in junior high school.

Quick Hits

  • Is local media banned from Mitt Romney’s event in Knoxville? LINK   
  • A federal judge has ordered that Occupy Nashville can stay indefinitely on Legislative Plaza. LINK
  • Rich guys in Tennessee politics. LINK  
  • Steve Scarborough has written a letter to the EPA about the Coal Ash spill. A great deal of people have been affected by the TVA and are calling on the Senate not to vote for S1751.  Friends, just take a few minutes to read it as you may want to send a letter as well. LINK 
  • A Heritage Foundation fundraiser was held in Nashville last night with Donald Rumsfeld as the keynote. Occupy Nashville protested the former secretary of defense. Southern Beale has the story and the video. LINK

Honoring Our Veterans

It’s Veterans Day. Just a reminder of the real issues that veterans have to go through from a blog called Ordinary Gentlemen. The world has changed as the author writes. Today, and everyday, we should celebrate our men and women who serve. LINK

I wonder how much of the difference between how the public felt about the boys in WWII vs. how they subconsciously regard the vets in Iraq or Afghanistan is embedded in the fact that in 1942 you just didn’t know what was going on with the boys for a long, long time… and today you have satellite phones.  The whole town would have known how many men had gone missing, for months or more, and the collective unconscious would have been working that entire time, inventing horrible possibilities.  You read these sorts of collections of letters and the stark nature of “not knowing” seeps through every line.  The horror of hope.

More on Occupy Nashville. The governor wants the charges dropped against the protesters. LINK

The state now wants the trespassing charges against anti-Wall Street protesters dropped. A spokesman for Governor Bill Haslam has announced he will ask the District Attorney to dismiss the misdemeanor citations.

Mike Anger, who turned 30 while living at War Memorial Plaza, was arrested twice for violating curfew.

There’s some relief among the nearly 50 Occupy Nashville protesters that they won’t have to go through the hassle of clearing their names. But Mike Anger, who was arrested twice, says he also wanted to make his case.

So the THP went undercover for the Halsam Administration during Occupy Nashville. Betsy Phillips doesn’t buy there reports and apparently the occupiers knew what was going on. (Saucy Language Alert.) LINK

Well, until these conservative legislators and their staff provide some proof, I’m going to believe they were just looking for excuses to bully people they didn’t like.

Speaker Beth Harwell is playing the game with the capitol’s press corp. Not a dumb move but it is what it is. LINK

Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville said today that challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District next year is “not something high on my agenda right now.”

But the speaker isn’t ruling out a race.

Is Sen. Jim Kyle looking at other options from a press from local activists and constituents? Jackson Baker with the scoop. LINK

Jim Kyle, the Democrats’ leader in the state Senate and a longtime Shelby County legislator, says he woke up Tuesday morning of last week without a thought about running for another office, but he started getting phone calls urging him to consider a race for district attorney general next year.


“I hadn’t thought about it at all, but I had to respect the people who were talking to me about it, and I am thinking about it seriously,” Kyle said. 

Presidential hopeful Texas Gov. Rick Perry is avoiding Nashville in his junket which is rather peculiar after his faux pas last night at a GOP Debate. LINK

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry struggled and stammered and finally failed to remember one of the federal agencies he would eliminate as president, Nashville donor Kline Preston saw a sound bite he knows will be replayed on endless repeat for months to come.

“I think it’s going to devastate his chances,” said Preston, an attorney who has given $1,000 to Perry’s campaign but now is supporting businessman Herman Cain for the Republican nomination.

Goodyear’s displaced workers in Union City are getting some federal help. LINK

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a $3,448,259 grant to provide re-employment and support services to about 850 workers laid off in July due to the closure of Union City’s Goodyear plant.
The local tire plant actually shut down in mid-July, affecting nearly 1,900 workers at the plant.
Since then, there have been trade fairs and state programs that have been launched to assist the displaced workers from Goodyear as they pursued other careers.
Also on the heels of the Goodyear plant closure, the state Department of Economic and Community Development designated Obion County as a Tier III Enhancement County. That designation elevated Obion County to a high priority status in terms of tax credits for industrial development.


Quick Hits

  • The David Letterman/Rick Perry connection. You might want to see this as he was scheduled for Tennessee this week. LINK
  •  Congressman Steve Cohen in the news about the “integrity of government.” LINK
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey in a picture tweeted on Twitter. Nothing really there but thought it was interesting. We already said the Perry wasn’t there so just GOP celebrity news here. Carry on. LINK
  •  Cathy McCaughan has some interesting good ideas about the Occupy Movement. LINK
  • A rundown from Grand Divisions on the events of the week. LINK 

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

How Cookies And Conversation Led To Common Ground

It could have come out of a movie. Last night, the Vanderbilt GOP went to counterprotest Occupy Nashville. What some thought would be contentious apparently turned into people sitting down after a tense few moments and having actual conversations with each other at Legislative Plaza. And some folks even shared cookies which, no joke, really did happen. LINK

The group was quickly drowned out by a roar of cheers and applause from the nearly 150 Occupy Nashville protesters. Some called out, “We love you” to the students as the two groups faced each other: the students standing at the foot of the stairs and the Occupy Nashville group sitting at the entrance to the plaza.

Chanting from the students, “We are the debt generation!” was quickly amplified as Occupy Nashville protesters started joining in. It wasn’t long after that the two groups combined. Many shook hands and broke into small discussion groups, intent upon hearing each other’s views.

And from Mike Morrow who filed his story at TN Report. LINK

Conversations did continue. One Vanderbilt College Republican, John Stephens, a freshman from Orlando, Fla., was seen with an Occupy Nashville button on his jacket.

“I was talking to a man and told him I really like the open forum here,” Stephens said. “I said I’m here to speak my mind, so he gave me a button.”

The Photo ID is being discussed all across the state. Local democrats in Jackson discussed yesterday looking at repealing the new state law as it hinders certain people getting a new mandated photo ID which most recently has targeted elderly voters. LINK

“It’s such a shame that you can go to pay your taxes without a photo ID, but you got to have a photo ID to vote,” state Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, said at a news conference in Jackson.

Democratic leaders said the photo ID requirement especially targets the elderly, students and blacks.

“I just think this is a real impediment to encouraging people to vote,” said Mike McWherter, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Speaking of Photo ID laws, a retired Murfreesboro couple is headed to Congress to talk about how they weren’t given the as-promised photo ID. LINK

A retired couple from Murfreesboro will testify before a House subcommittee about their experience with Tennessee’s new law requiring a photo ID as Democrats question whether these types of state laws create barriers to voting.

“These changes in state voting laws raise serious constitutional concerns under both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fifteenth Amendment,” U.S. Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Jerrold Nadler of New York wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee chairman.

House Minority Leader writes about the realities of education reform in light of hearings this week on school vouchers on his blog. LINK

 So what is real education reform? Real education reform is giving our teachers the tools they need to help our students succeed. We achieve this when we allow them to bargain as a group for what they need to be successful. Real education reform is a system of tenure that works. We achieve this when we set high, but realistic standards for reaching this professional goal. Real education reform is a fair evaluation system that’s not just an overly burdensome mandate on schools. We achieve this when we bring everyone to the table-teachers, principals & administrators- to set fair, realistic and simple rules for evaluations.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s father and brother have been named to the leadership team for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. (Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has his boots firmly in Gov. Rick Perry’s court, just as a reminder. ) LINK

Romney’s campaign announced that Jim Haslam, the founder of the Pilot Flying J chain of truck stops, will serve as state chairman with Ted Welch of Nashville, another prominent Republican fundraiser.

Romney’s statement cited Jim Haslam and Ted Welch’s key roles in getting Republicans such as Bill Haslam and U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander elected to statewide office.

Quick Hits


  • The Nashville Scene Reporter who was arrested last weekend writes about the event when he was cuffed and taken in with Occupy Nashville protesters. This one really is a must read. LINK
  • Speaking about Occupy Nashville, they have sent a letter to the governor saying let’s start “anew.” LINK
  • From earlier this week, one woman talks to WPLN about the days she was forced to drink from a separate water fountain and why protests are good for change. LINK
  • A Rutherford County woman writes of her struggles in finding a job and how earlier this week she stood in line for seven hours to apply at Nissan. She also talks about what it is like to be unemployed long term and the hurtful words she has heard recently. LINK 
  • Occupy Memphis has gone forward, despite arrests in other cities, quite peacefully. LINK 

Nashville Protests Get National Spotlight

The Tennessee Highway Patrol arrested several protesters around 3 A.M. this morning for not vacating Legislative Plaza. LINK

Some protesters left the plaza but about two dozen refused to do that and were handcuffed and loaded onto buses. No one was injured. One woman did collapse onto the sidewalk and appeared to have a seizure and emergency workers were called.

As the story is moving swiftly, at 6:45 A.M. WSMV is reporting that a Nashville judge says protestors should not be charged. LINK

Tennessee Bloggers React

Did Legislative Plaza become GOP Plaza with new regulations on Occupy Nashville? Sean Braisted thinks so. And he has the goods on the directives being given to protesters. LINK

A new directive, in response to the Occupy Nashville peaceful protests, cuts off access to legislative plaza for those who don’t have the blessing of the Governor’s office.

The Tennessean has been following Thursday’s events at Legislative Plaza. It’s going to cost them to stay. LINK

The Occupy Nashville movement will have to obtain and show proof of liability insurance and also cough up $65 a day in order to comply with new permitting requirements the state plans to begin enforcing at Legislative Plaza tomorrow, according to state spokeswoman Lola Potter.

Nashville’s Mike Byrd links to a story comparing Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Nashville. LINK

The Nation’s JoAnn Wypijewski compares Occupy Wall Street (NYC) to its spin-off Occupy Nashville after speaking with several folk involved in the Nashville protest. She has some deeper impressions than many local reporters have divulged

Roane Views comments on the crackdown. LINK

The Occupy movement has so far been growing and gaining in public support. This may be a bad move on the Governor’s part in the long run. Sending a paramilitary force to mess with a peaceful protest has not worked well in other parts of the nation.

The Occupy Tennessee Facebook page reported this morning that this was just the beginning. LINK

UPDATE: The protesters were released this morning at 7:55 A.M. LINK

In Other News

Unemployment, my friends, has risen in 51 counties. LINK

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for September 2011, released today, show that the rate increased in 51 counties, decreased in 32 counties, and 12 counties remained the same.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for September was 9.8 percent, up from the August revised rate of 9.7. The national unemployment rate for September 2011 was 9.1 percent, unchanged from the August revised rate.

Photo ID rules are being discussed despite what GOP legislators are thinking. LINK

This law is opposed by a dwindling few, of which I am one. (It is beyond me that a politician should tout his own popularity as an indication of the “rightness” of a proposal but whatever.) None of us want our vote canceled by someone who died twenty years ago. Considering where we’ve come from we have expanded the rights of individuals to vote by a large measure. It was the right thing to do. Making election officials more accountable is the right way to fix the problem, not a top-down order from the government that requires citizens to get a photo ID. Make government work better. Attack the scruples of people who rig elections. To blame a principled minority and then give them the definition of the word “suppression” is just typical government patronizing. While you’re attacking the small but vocal minority why don’t you attack the dead while you’re at it. Seems fair.

Steve Ross focuses on that plans are being made to make sure that everything is inline when it comes to scheduling. Budget meetings and fundraisers at the same time. And, alas, who is paying for travel? LINK

But that’s not all the good Governor has on tap. Just hours after I got notice of this meeting I got this invitation to a $500 a head fundraiser for Republican candidate for DA, Amy Weirich.

Now look, I don’t begrudge Amy for doing what any smart politician would do, seek out the biggest name they can get to help raise money for a first term, even if she is a Republican. I have plenty of friends who like her, yadda, yadda, yadda… However I, like my blogfather Steffens, am still waiting for a mythical Democrat to announce for the race.


Quick Hits


  • Occupy Jackson is set for Saturday. LINK
  • The Occupy Nashville arrests have made the New York Times. LINK
  • Jeff Woods and Ron Ramsey. It’s always something to see. LINK
  •  Daily Kos by Illisa Gold is up. As Illisa is an attorney and originally from Nashville, you might want to read this. LINK
  • Main Street Journal has a comprehensive list of all the different livestreams of the Occupy Movement across the state. LINK

A New Age Of Protest

We have seen over the past couple of years the protests of the Tea Party and now more recently the Occupy movement and the growing online movement called I Am the 99 Percent. Next week, a group of Tennesseans will protest Gov. Scott Walker’s appearance in middle Tennessee.

It’s a new era of protest and Tennessee writers have taken pen to paper to discuss their thoughts on what is happening across the nation and around the state.

Barbara Sanders pens a guest editorial to the Tennessean explaining why she is part of the 99 percent. LINK

These protesters and many of us who support them believe strongly that nonviolent protest can bring about change. There are such a vast array of problems in our economic, governmental and financial institutions that huge changes are needed. In the past, we have voted for leaders who we hoped could make such grand changes and help take care of all of America’s people. But we are frustrated.

Things have not gotten better in America.

Joe Powell of Morristown philosophically takes a look at OWS. LINK

A pair of recent editorials tries to crack the code to answer a “what does it mean?” aimed at the Occupy Wall Street and other spreading protests nationally and globally. But I’m not sure really that there is a code to crack.

Over 200 hundred people took to the streets of Johnson City over the weekend. LINK

“Most of the media has been portraying us as a bunch of drug crazed hippies,” said Grizzly. “There’s a lot of college graduates, veterans, people from all walks of life that are all dissatisfied with our government.”

Occupy Memphis has an extensive page on national and local stories from around the state as well as a list of upcoming events. LINK And Occupy Nashville continues to camp out at the Legislative Plaza and has updates on their website citing meetings and assemblies. LINK

Tuesday Update

A GOP presidential hopeful has named his Tennessee team. LINK

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s Tennessee leadership team includes music industry executive Mike Curb, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and fundraiser Stephen B. Smith.

The Shelby County Commission has awarded the Christ Community Church family planning funding that has gone to Planned Parenthood for years. Commissioner Walter Bailey, who voted against awarding the church the federal funding, had reservations during yesterday’s vote. LINK

“That gives me great concern. I must admit. And gives a lot of people great concern. This is a matter of concern a lot of women harbor, whether the county, through your program, would provide emergency contraception,” said Bailey.

Christ Community says it is morally against the morning after pill, but will contract with a third party to provide it. Christ Community is also against abortion but says it will acknowledge it as an option during counseling.

Rep. Curry Todd has resigned from a key chairmanship. LINK

State Rep. Curry Todd, a lead proponent of a new state law allowing permit holders to carry handguns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, resigned a key House committee chairmanship Monday days after his arrest on drunken driving and gun charges.

Golf was played Monday morning and conversation were held between Todd and Gov. Bill Haslam. LINK

As controversy swirls around him, Rep. Curry Todd went golfing in Nashville with House Speaker Beth Harwell and others at a charity event this morning. Gov. Bill Haslam said Todd told him privately at the golf tournament: ” ‘I realize I made a bad mistake and I’m sorry.’ ” Todd might have been talking about that tee shot he shanked, but we don’t think so.