TN couple pleads guilty to chicken abuse, fined $25 each
Tennessee to Launch 911 Texting in 2017
Black Caucus eyes options to ‘mass incarceration’
A top Republican in the state House said he expects the scandal will turn out to be a “small bump in the road;” a former governor said critics were doing a disservice to more than 3,000 workers at the plant; and the state’s economic development chief went to a nearby dealership to put a $5,000 deposit on a new SUV to be made at the factory next year.
Volkswagen earlier in the day announced an official decision to stick with its lone U.S. plant in Chattanooga — including production of the new midsized SUV next year — despite the uncertainty caused by its emissions scandal. Erik Schelzig
Tennessee to Launch 911 Texting in 2017In two years, Tennessee residents will have the option to text their emergencies to 911 operators.
Tennessee Emergency Communications Board Executive Director Curtis Sutton told WMC-TV that texting will be included as part of a statewide upgrade of 911 communications expected in 2017.
Sutton said the new capabilities will help those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, as well as people who may be unable or afraid to speak.
"Text-to-911 is great for domestic violence cases, in which someone can't call right away or can't be heard calling 911," said Whitney Green, public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. Green said 911 texting is available in Arkansas, but only on a county-by-county basis.
States are updating their 911 systems in response to a Federal Communications Commission order issued in August 2014. The order requires all wireless carriers and text service providers to enable consumers to send emergency texts to dispatch centers that can accommodate them. Memphis Daily News
TN couple pleads guilty to chicken abuse, fined $25 eachThe owners of a West Tennessee farm where animal rights activists took undercover video have pleaded no contest to one count each of animal cruelty.
Thomas and Susan Blassingame were fined $25 each and given just under a year of unsupervised probation.
They were charged after the nonprofit Mercy for Animals released a video in August that showed the couple killing chickens on their T & S farm by hitting them with a spiked stick.
Tyson Foods cut ties with the farm, and the Blassingames’ attorney, Steve Conley, says the couple has since retired. Humphrey
Tennessee legislator to take state-mandated test alongside studentA state legislator from West Tennessee has heard enough teachers complain about the state’s new standardized tests that he decided to take one himself, alongside children in an elementary school classroom in his district Friday.
State Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, will join students at Hillcrest Elementary School in Troy, Tenn., as they take the online practice test for the new TN Ready English language arts exam that they’ll take for real in early 2016. State-mandated student assessments are in transition this year, with TNReady replacing the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, in grades 3 through 11.
The state began TCAPs in 1988 and revised the tests in 2010 to reflect more rigorous standards enacted two years earlier as part of the Tennessee Diploma Project. In the years since, testing and academic standards have been mired in political controversy with the introduction of Common Core State Standards and the state Legislature’s decision this year to replace Common Core with standards drafted in Tennessee. Knoxville News Sentinel (Subscription)
For a good time, you can't beat politicsIt’s entertainment. That’s what politics is about.
Somehow it became Holy Writ this presidential cycle that Donald Trump and Ben Carson are doing well because they have nothing to do with Washington, D.C., a place that real Americans are supposed to hate.
But that’s wrong. It’s not about being an outsider. It’s about being entertaining.
Trump entertains with his bombast and gusto and outrageous self-promotion.
Ben Carson entertains with his slow blinks, his clasped hands, his soothing monotone and calm demeanor.
Carson is a feel-good guy. He is not a shouter. John Kasich, who many in the media thought would do very, very well this year, believes there is a direct relationship between getting votes and decibels.
And Kasich spent most of Wednesday night’s Republican debate bellowing his replies as if he were shouting into a hurricane.
Kasich may be many things including smart and accomplished. But he is not entertaining.
Trump is first in the Real Clear Politics poll average, Carson is second and Kasich is ninth.
Ted Cruz is in fifth place, right behind Jeb Bush. But I have a feeling Jeb has secretly decided he’d just as soon be secretary of the interior as president of the United States. That’s how his debate performance looked anyway.
Which means Cruz could rise a notch or two. And as Cruz showed Wednesday, he understands entertainment.
The CNBC debate moderators had attempted to use a tried and true formula to create a successful debate: They wanted to get the candidates to beat up on one another.
Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, but Cruz played it very, very smart and he did it on live TV without rehearsal.
“The questions asked so far in this debate are why the American people don't trust the media,” Cruz said. “This is not a cage match!"
Then he performed an impressive feat of memory, providing a compendium (as he saw it) of the media questions so far:
“Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain?
“Ben Carson, can you do math?
“John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?
“Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?
“Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?”
“Why don’t we talk about substantive issues?” Cruz said. “This is in contrast with the Democratic debate where every fawning question from the media was ‘Which of you is more handsome and wise?’”
But Cruz wasn’t done.
“Nobody watching at home,” Cruz said, “believes any of the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary.” Politico
Note: Cruz' response has gotten a lot of play but not the rather substantial question he avoided answering by going off on his prepared diatribe.
Here is the question CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla asked Ted Cruz.
"Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown, and calm financial markets of the fear that a Washington crisis is on the way. Does your opposition to it show you're not the kind of problem-solver that American voters want?"
Black Caucus eyes options to ‘mass incarceration’
Members of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators said Thursday they’re considering legislative proposals that would revive a sentencing commission, as well as loosen sentencing guidelines for drug offenders in certain cases.
The group sponsored a town hall meeting to discuss mass incarceration and its impact on the community.
The caucus heard from a number of speakers, including Nashville criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor David Raybin, who was a member of the sentencing commission that was dissolved in 1995.
Raybin has been a vocal advocate of the commission, a panel he says is needed because “you constantly need to tweak and respond to criminal justice issues.” Associated Press
Crockett Policy Institute