Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street

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

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.


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

We Are The 99 Percent

From the website We Are The 99 Percent


Occupy Wall Street has spread to Occupy Tennessee in many cities across the state and is getting some virtual ink. Whether you like the idea or you think it’s a waste of time, the movement is getting a lot of virtual ink.

Editor Bruce VanWyngarden at the Memphis Flyer writes that mainstream media is missing the big picture covering Occupy Wall Street. LINK

It’s a nascent movement, gaining momentum, flexing its new-found muscle, figuring out how strong it can get, how many people will step on board – either in the street or via financial and political support. The goal being, obviously, to impact politics by winning elections or scaring incumbents into changing their positions. The Tea Party got strong enough to take over the GOP with a similar strategy.

The Tennessean covered Occupy Nashville’s event yesterday. LINK

Participants swapped stories about layoffs, lost health-care coverage, multiple deployments to the battlefronts, crippling student loan debts, and, most of all, a growing suspicion that their government cares more about corporate money than it does about them.

Sean Braisted breaks down some differences between the Tea Party events and the Occupy Movement. LINK

Conservatives will, and have, point out the smaller turnout compared to some of the early Tea Party rallies…but keep in mind, this is entirely an organic movement without national or even really local leaders.  They don’t have access to the type of conservative media that the Tea Party did, but through word of mouth and disciplined organizing it could very easily expand to thousands in  a well coordinated protest, occupation, or whatever you want to call it.

Protesters also were occupying Memphis yesterday. LINK

Matthew Crewse, 25, said the government is giving away middle-class tax dollars to corporations that are posting and then sitting on record profits all the while posing as “job creators when they are not creating any jobs.”

“If you paid any money in taxes at all last year, you paid more in taxes then the entire Bank of America Corp. did,” Crewse said. “About two-thirds of corporations paid zero percent in taxes last year.”


Occupy protests are scheduled for Chattanooga and Knoxville today. Occupy Clarksville has a general assembly meeting scheduled for Sunday. Occupy Johnson City has set up a facebook page as well coordinating meetings and events.

Friday Roundup


The story of Dorothy Cooper has gotten national attention. Tennessee Citizen Action Executive Director Mary Mancini was interviewed with the 96-year-old woman who was denied a photo ID to vote yesterday on PoliticsNation on MSNBC. LINK

The democratic caucuses have unleashed a pro-jobs plan. Sean Braisted has the story LINK

The plan is rather robust amalgamation of different ideas focused on different aspects of job creation.  Probably one of the more important is the proposal to inject $15 million in the 27 Tennessee technology centers across the state.

No big surprises in the Memphis elections yesterday. Jackson Baker has the story. 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