Here's the governor's official statement: NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam released the following statement regarding HB 1191/SB 1248:
“Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Tennessee. Farmers play a vital role in our state’s economy, heritage and history. I understand their concerns about large scale attacks on their livelihoods. I also appreciate that the types of recordings this bill targets may be obtained at times under false pretenses, which I think is wrong,” Haslam said.
“Our office has spent a great deal of time considering this legislation. We’ve had a lot of input from people on all sides of the issue. After careful consideration, I am going to veto the legislation. Some vetoes are made solely on policy grounds. Other vetoes may be the result of wanting the General Assembly to reconsider the legislation for a number of reasons. My veto here is more along the lines of the latter. I have a number of concerns.
“First, the Attorney General says the law is constitutionally suspect. Second, it appears to repeal parts of Tennessee’s Shield Law without saying so. If that is the case, it should say so. Third, there are concerns from some district attorneys that the act actually makes it more difficult to prosecute animal cruelty cases, which would be an unintended consequence.
“For these reasons, I am vetoing HB1191/SB1248, and I respectfully encourage the General Assembly to reconsider this issue.”
To which I would add, "Way to go, Bill."
We go to a rustic cabin along Beaver Creek, which at its widest could handle two rowboats passing (if boats were allowed), and which narrows to 10 or 12 feet in many spots.
The trout are fat and plentiful, since the stream is stocked. And it's also inhabited by a few smaller native fish. Some days we catch 10 or 12; some days we get skunked. The water is clear and the fish are easily spooked.
But the fishing is almost secondary. Four of us are now three, a yearly reminder of fleeting time and mortality. We come from Detroit, Erie, and Memphis and bond over cigars, campfires, bullshit, and the occasional fat trout.
I just got back. Here are a few pictures.
A precipitous drop occurred on the tweeted "news" that the president had been injured in a bombing incident at the White House.
AP quickly regained control of its site and tweeted that it had been hacked, but the response from Wall Street clearly illustrates the damage that can be wreaked when social media mischief occurs. As one wag tweeted:
"Somewhere the Twitter CEO is stroking a white cat saying 'excellent' realizing Twitter can tank the market."
The irrepressibly wacky legislator from Knoxville thought it would be hilarious to post a "humorous" graphic of a pressure cooker as a weapon. Because, you know, those murderers in Boston used bombs made from pressure cookers, so ... funny, right?
His point, if you want to call it that, was to illustrate the hypocrisy of the left for calling for gun control after the Sandy Hook shootings but not calling for pressure cooker control after the Boston bombings. Or something.
It's all too tiresome to explain further. If you really must read his rationale, go to his blog, which is probably what he had in mind anyway.
Subsequent reports indicate that Curtis was also an Elvis tribute artist. Several clips of him performing songs by the King are on YouTube. But, did you know Curtis also does a mean Prince imitation. And by "mean," I mean really, really bad. This video showing Curtis creeping out a class of teenagers starts out badly and ends on a high note — a very bad high note.
This enlightened piece of legislature requires that anyone who takes video or photos of animal abuse must turn over said photographs or video to law enforcement within 48 hours. Proponents of the law say it will help prevent animal cruelty, but the law, similar if not identical to laws proposed in many other states, is the brainchild of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing, corporate-funded outfit that's helpfully writing corporate-friendly legislation for GOP legislators all over the country.
The real purpose of the law is to stifle investigations of animal abuse or poor and unhealthy conditions for farm animals. It might better termed a "First Amendment Gag" law, since its intended to deter activist organizations and the media from reporting on offensive or illegal corporate farming methods.
I don't believe the law would stand up in court, if challenged, and, as Bianca noted, the Knoxville Sentinal has already declared that it will ignore the law. But it could, as it was no doubt intended to do, deter media outlets and activist groups without the deep pockets needed to take such a case to trial.
It's beyond absurd. Let's say ALEC decides we shouldn't have the media reporting on corporate pollution (not that far-fetched an idea), and decides that all video and photos of a corporate-polluted stream must be turned over to law enforcement within 48 hours. I honestly think the TN legislature would jump on board. It's the same principle, and patently unconstitutional.
This law has now been sent on to Governor Haslam. Don't hold your breath that he won't sign it.
The Tennessee legislature is all about protecting Second Amendment rights. The First Amendment? Not so much, apparently.
But the story of the week was the two-stroke penalty imposed on Woods on Saturday morning. Woods went to bed thinking he was three under par, only three strokes behind the leaders, heading into the weekend. Saturday morning he was informed he'd made an illegal drop on Friday, after a shot he hit had gone in the water after hitting the pin.
So what changed? After having seen no problem with Woods' drop on Friday, the PGA changed its decision the next day and decided to penalize him. Why? Because some television viewers had pointed out that Tiger's drop was taken a club-length or two farther back than the spot where the original shot was taken.
This brings up some interesting questions — at least, they're interesting to golf fans like me. The first is whether television viewers should be influencing the outcome of sporting events. It's the equivalent, in my mind, anyway, of television viewers pointing out that a pro basketball player's foot was touching the out-of-bounds line when he made a shot, and the NBA upon learning about it, taking away the basket the next day. That won't happen, of course. If the ref or the umpire misses the call in any other sport, that's just the way cookie crumbles. Tough darts. Golf, not so much, apparently.
The second question I have is whether it's fair that a player who's on television when he makes a shot is held to a higher standard than a player who isn't. For all we know, a similar, slightly improper drop could have been made by other players who didn't happen to be on camera when they did it. In that case, being on television when you make a penalty drop is a disadvantage, because that player is being held to a higher standard — one being administered by millions of TV referees.
The rules folks were using a sort of delayed "non-instant" replay to make a call that seriously impacted the outcome of a tournament. Was it the right thing to do? I don't think so.
SavingCountryMusic.com did a lovely write-up on her appearance and her career.
Here's a video of the Sunday's performance.
Backyard jasmine in fog.
Fog rolling down Vance from Front Street.
Looking east from the river bluff.
From the blufftop, looking at Tom Lee Park.
If you're not reading activist Trace Sharp's Newscoma blog, you're missing out on one of the freshest progressive takes on doings in Nashville. Today, she demonstrates how deeply the Koch brothers' ALEC group is embedded in our legislature, influencing (and by influencing, I mean writing) legislation on education, charter schools, wage-suppression, food safety — you name it and the ALEC folks have got a bill written for it. All of them aimed at further privatizing government functions, weakening health and safety regulations, and stripping away protections for the working class.
Also popping on the web today is a story about the North Carolina legislature's move to make Christianity the "official religion" of that state. Here's the justification, from the bill:
SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
This will probably wither on the vine in the legislature and would obviously be ruled unconstitutional in any federal court in the land, but really? What country do these guys think they live in?
Of course, it's all not doom and gloom. I did find this great video about Bubba Watson' hovercraft golf cart.
Judging from the following letter, it wasn't cleaned up:
After a wonderful Mississippi River trip on the Memphis-based American Queen, we arrived at Beale Street Landing on Sunday morning. We were embarrassed for the city, as we immediately saw construction debris around the unfinished and over-budget structure. More disturbing was the massive amount of debris and trash floating in the water between the dock and the building.
We landed at river towns and cities from New Orleans to Memphis. We were greeted by proud city ambassadors and clean downtown ports in all the stops except Memphis.
The Riverfront Development Corporation has been unable to manage the development of Beale Street Landing. Further, more than one half of its funding comes from the city, and an overwhelming percentage of the expenses are salaries. The president of the RDC got a raise this year, and the RDC just added a vice president who is paid in excess of $120,000.
Based on what over 300 arriving passengers and hundreds of crew members from the American Queen saw this weekend, the RDC and its staff are incompetent. I suggest that the city pull its funding and take over the functions of running the city's riverfront.
Hard to argue with that, Mr. Burns.
I've got a new one for him: "You might be a redneck, if ... you and your family have a reality television show." The rise of redneck television has become a raging flood with the recent success of such shows as "Hillbilly Handfishin'," "Bayou Billionaires," "Redneck Island," "Lady Hoggers," "Swamp People," "Duck Dynasty," "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," "Buckwild," "Swamp Pawn," "My Big Redneck Vacation," "Moonshiners," "Rocket City Rednecks," and "Justified."
This list doesn't even factor in all the huntin' and fishin' and shootin' and ATV and truck shows on the Outdoor Channel and elsewhere.
The networks carrying these epics include formerly respectable outfits such as The Learning Channel, The History Channel, and A&E. What's next? "My Big Gay Swamp Wedding" on Bravo?
There was an earlier surge of redneck chic on television back in the 1960s, when "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Andy Griffith Show," "Gomer Pyle," Petticoat Junction," "Green Acres," and "Hee Haw" ruled the airwaves. But those shows were mostly sitcoms, and the humor was corny and gentle. The new redneck reality shows are primarily slice-of-redneck-life freak shows. The "stars" are crude, unsophisticated morons, for the most part. The humor, if there is any, is at the expense of the participants.
And, of course, without exception, these shows are set in the South, further reinforcing the rest of the country's perception that most Southerners are ignorant, hog-huntin', hand-fishin', swamp-lovin', fat-ass goobers.
Not one to let a trend pass me by, I've sent a pilot script off to my agent for a show called "Rocky Top Legislatin'," which follows five or six East Tennessee GOP reps around Nashville. Comedy gold.
Yesterday, I brought up the little spat arising from the fact that the Satan character in The History Channel's The Bible mini-series looks remarkably like President Obama.
Which brings up the question: If the devil looks like Obama, what does Jesus look like? I think you can probably guess.
I was brought up in a small town in Missouri and my family belonged to the local Methodist church, where I went every Sunday for services and Sunday School until I left for college. Hanging on the wall of my Sunday School class was this picture of Jesus (or one very much like it). To this day, when I think "Jesus," this is the image that arises in my mind's eye: A vaguely Nordic-looking man with chiseled European features, smiling beatifically down upon us all.
Apparently, the "historians" at the History Channel went to the same Sunday School I did. Here's their version of what Jesus looked like:
So, dude, Jesus sorta looked like Brad Pitt! Who knew? Actually, the History Channel producers surely knew that they were creating a Jesus that conforms to American Christians' view of what their savior looked like, but is very unlikely to conform with what Jesus would have really looked like as a Middle Eastern man of 2,000 years ago. But the History Channel probably figured the viewers of The Bible probably weren't ready for a Jesus who might have looked like this:
Here's another interesting take on the "Jesus as Surfer Dude" phenomenon.
History Channel spokespeople say it's totally coincidental. The producer and director also deny that Obama was the inspiration for the Satan character's appearance. Read more here.