Wednesday, November 26, 2014

CPI Buzz 11-26-14

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” 
― Winston S. Churchill

Freshman Lee Harris elected state Senate minority leader

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Incoming state Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis has been elected leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
The caucus held its elections on Tuesday.
Incoming Sen. Jeff Yarbro of Nashville was elected caucus chairman.LINK

Taxpayers Pay To Promote Tre Hargett's Name

Tennessee's secretary of state is appointed by lawmakers to keep the state's official records and oversee state elections.
But the way that Tre Hargett has spent your money has caused some to question whether he's running for something else -- at taxpayer expense.
Now, following new questions raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, Hargett is admitting that he "missed the mark" on one such expenditure.
"You realize this is not Tre Hargett's money?" we asked.
"Absolutely," he agreed. "This money belongs to taxpayers."
Hargett raised eyebrows recently when he decided to replace the traditional "I voted" stickers that are handed out on Election Day.
Instead, his office ordered new stickers that prominently featured his name. LINK

Are Legislative Leaders Too Cozy With Haslam? Governor Defends Ties

The conservative wing of the Tennessee legislature has accused House leadership of being too cozy with the governor’s office. Bill Haslam is defending his ties, suggesting coziness is preferred over conflict.
The campaign to unseat Beth Harwell as House Speaker is basically about her being too close to Haslam. She has – at times – used her power to make sure legislation doesn’t reach the governor’s desk, like an attempt to repeal Common Core education standards.
Asked if people who claim he has puppets in the legislature may have a point, Haslam tells WPLN he doesn’t see a problem with working in tandem.
“That’s why people hate Washington right now, right? Because nobody actually seems to be trying to solve the problem,” Haslam says. “You could have leadership that always fights with each other. But if we went and took a vote around Tennessee, is that what you want? I’ll bet on how that will come out.”
The legislature and executive branch have different roles, Haslam says. But claims that he’s too tight with legislative leaders – in his view – miss the point of state government. LINK

Nashville protesters disperse after blocking I-24 in Ferguson vigil

About 450 protesters yelled that in unison when they gathered outside the Metro police station in downtown Nashville on Tuesday night. The event, billed on Facebook as a candlelight vigil to show solidarity for Ferguson, Mo., quickly turned into a march that blocked downtown streets and even Interstate 24.
Micky ScottBey Jones of Spring Hill grabbed the megaphone outside the police station. In front of a crowd bundled in scarves and hats against temperatures that dipped into the low 40s, she talked about her 11-year-old son.
"It terrifies me that someone may look at him and not see a child, but instead see a dangerous man that needs to be taken down," she said. LINK (Subscription)

Cry for justice: Critics say Ferguson is just latest flashpoint in issue as old as black and white

They've been here before.
Not Michael Brown. Not Ferguson, Mo. But for many people, a grand jury's decision not to indict the white police officer who shot and killed an 18-year-old, unarmed black man pointed to a larger problem that extends beyond the St. Louis suburb.
A problem as old as black and white. A problem that traces back through decades of social injustice and racial disparities.
Across the St. Louis area in the hours after the decision was announced, thousands of people took to the streets. Some prayed and stood for peace. Some looted stores and burned businesses. Dozens were arrested. By nightfall Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had more than tripled the number of National Guard troops in Ferguson, ordering the initial force of 700 to be increased to 2,200 to keep order.
"I've never seen anything like it," said state Rep. JoAnne Favors, a Chattanooga Democrat. "I've never seen anything like I've seen on TV the last several days."
In February 1960, Favors and other students from Howard School sat in defiant protest of Jim Crow segregation laws at the lunch counters of downtown Chattanooga department stores. Those days were peaceful, Favors said. The only ones resorting to violence were the authorities.
But in some ways, those who are protesting and rioting over the Ferguson ruling are fighting the same fight.
"It's the same feeling of hopelessness, inequality and injustice," Favors said. "We dealt with those same kinds of issues." LINK

VW Policy for Tennessee Plant Sets Off Labor Scramble

In rival camps located about a mile apart, both supporters and opponents of the United Auto Workers' efforts to unionize their first foreign auto plant in the South say a new labor policy at the Volkswagen factory is going to help them.
The new policy, known as "Community Organization Engagement," establishes formal rules for labor groups at the plant for the first time. What the effects will be is still up for debate.
To some, the policy may open the door to the union eventually representing all workers in contract negotiations. To others, it may undercut the union by giving an opposing group an official voice at the plant.
The outcome is being closely watched in the U.S. and abroad. Other German and Asian automakers in the South are keenly monitoring developments, as are anti-union Republicans. LINK

What Ferguson Says About the Fear of Social Media

“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about. Following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media.”
So said the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, in his statement Monday night, explaining that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. His argument that social media had somehow hampered efforts to find out the truth about Michael Brown’s death rang false to many, who felt that social media had in fact been a crucial tool for standing up to a justice system that seemed to be failing its citizens.
“In Ferguson and the St. Louis area,” writes Sarah Seltzer atFlavorwire, “social media has been there to document outrageous moments, large and small, from awful press conferences to terrifying nights of tear gas arrests and guns pointed at protesters. Social media brought the ‘mainstream media’ to town, kept the nation’s eye on their city, and rightly turned this story into one with national, even global, symbolism and ramifications.”
And she argues that social media has given people a voice when those in power prefer to ignore them:
“Social media has shifted the focus on a number of other pressing issues, essentially creating a pipeline between localized instances of injustice on the ground and the national dialogue. Thus, Mike Brown’s killing and the ensuing protests became a national story. Wendy Davis and grassroots activists fighting the closure of abortion clinics became a national story. Campus rape’s persistence became a national story. As they all deserve to be, because each local outrage is an example of a disturbing macro trend. Yet such genuine outpourings contrast with the stalwart refusal of actual authority figures to listen to people’s demands and hear their testimonies.” LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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