Monday, November 30, 2015

Crockett: Gun Permits OK for Voter ID but NOT Student ID

Diane Black: Gun permits should be as good as a driver’s license

For Hooker, cancer ‘a jolt’ but also opportunity

The ups and downs of John Jay Hooker are the stuff of Nashville legend.
Friend of Muhammad Ali, socialite, lawyer who moved in the Kennedys’ circle, Hooker also lost businesses, millions of dollars and high-profile political campaigns. In his later years, he has earned the moniker gadfly, mostly for losing battles, and seemed to be fading into irrelevance.
Then he got cancer and everything changed.
Being told he was dying breathed new life into the 85-year-old Hooker as he rallied to the cause of physician-assisted suicide. Now he calls it “the most important thing I’ve ever done.”
“It’s transformed my life in the sense that when I first got the news that I had only six months to live, it was a jolt,” he said. “But now that I have sort of shifted gears I feel it’s an honor to have the credentials to get into this fight.”
During a recent trip to his oncologist, a woman in the waiting room introduced herself, declaring how wonderful it was to meet him and saying she wanted to sign on to his latest crusade.
“You should see all the people who come up to me when I’m walking down the street,” Hooker said in an interview at his retirement home apartment, where framed newspaper clippings from his political campaigns, business enterprises and social engagements filled the walls. Looking a little out of place was a 200-year-old oil portrait of his ancestor William Blount, a signer of the U.S. Constitution. Tennessean

Jones Lang LaSalle May No Longer Be Sole Firm Representing Tennessee In Real Estate Deals

The state of Tennessee will not extend a controversial contract with a private real estate firm and instead will throw the deal to negotiate government office space open to bidders.
The Department of General Services has posted a request for information asking commercial real estate brokers to offer their plans to manage the state's office leases.
The move comes after state officials decided not to extend their contract with Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle past February.
"Well, we've learned some things from the time when this contract was originally let," said state spokesman David Roberson. "And so I think we're better informed now than we were at that time."
The state's relationship with Jones Lang LaSalle began four years ago, when the firm wrote a study that suggested the state sell several of its buildings and instead lease office space from private landlords. Months later, the firm was given the exclusive right to represent state agencies when they negotiated with those landlords.
Critics said the arrangement smacked of backroom dealing.
State officials have defended the deal, and they say Jones Lang LaSalle is free to bid on the new contract.
But it's unlikely it would become the state's sole agent. Tennessee officials are considering spreading the right to represent state government among several firms, each with expertise in a different region of the state.  WPLN

UT Report Lays Out Options for Boosting Road Funding

A new University of Tennessee study is laying out some options for the state to boost its funding for road projects, ranging from charging drivers by the mile to tapping the state's general fund for new money.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has been traveling the state to make the case for why Tennessee needs to address the way it pays for its road needs. But any talk of a gas tax hike is being met with a largely chilly reception among state lawmakers — most of whom are facing re-election next year. Memphis Daily News

Lessons learned from Sumner County public records fight

At a cost of about three or four college educations at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Sumner County’s school officials and school board just got educated about the state’s public records law.
Sumner County parents and taxpayers paid the tuition.
On Nov. 13, Sumner County Judge Dee Gay ruled that the school district violated the Tennessee Public Records Act when it denied a citizen’s request to see a copy of its public records policy.
The school district had argued that it could reject any request to see public records if the person made the request by email or by phone, which is what Joelton resident Ken Jakes did.
It took 20 months and a citizen who was willing to spend more than $10,000 of his own money on an attorney to tell the school district what should have been obvious all along. It can’t make up local rules to block access to public records. The judge ordered the school district to change its illegal public records policy to come into compliance with the law.
“It is a policy that is most convenient to the Defendant … without concern to the accessibility and convenience to the public,” Gay wrote. “Further, when the individual options (for making a request) are analyzed under the law individually, they present options that are not favored by statute or case law.” Tennessean

Diane Black: Gun permits should be as good as a driver’s license

Tennessee’s U.S. Rep. Diane Black is proposing that handgun carry permits be accepted as an appropriate form of identification for boarding an airplane after her own gun permit was refused as proper ID at the Nashville airport when she had misplaced her driver’s license.
From a Black op-ed piece written for Fox News:
While knives and weapons may make it past airport security all too often, your handgun carry permit – a government-issued form of identification – will not. I speak from personal experience. On a recent flight from Nashville to Washington, I approached the TSA counter only to realize my drivers’ license was tucked away in a pocket of my jeans at home. Unfazed, I pulled out my handgun carry permit to identify myself to the agent. The card bears my picture, my full legal name, my date of birth, and a hologram with the state seal.
Further, as any firearm owner knows, the process of obtaining your handgun license is significantly more involved than obtaining a drivers’ license. It requires completion of a safety course, a fingerprint, and a thorough background check. If that’s good enough to carry a weapon, then surely it is sufficient as a form of identification to board a plane, right? Humphrey on the Hill

Hillary Clinton’s Nashville fundraiser hauls in $500,000

Hillary Clinton’s private fundraiser last week at the Nashville home of businessman Bill Freeman hauled in more than $500,000 for the former secretary of state’s presidential campaign, according to the host.
Freeman, calling the event on Friday a “huge success,” said the fundraiser was expected to bring in $200,000 for Clinton, but that it instead more than doubled that projection, netting slightly more than $500,000 overall.
Freeman, Tennessee’s top fundraiser for Democrats and one of Nashville's mayoral candidates in the past election, said around 200 people attended the Clinton fundraiser at his Forest Hills home. Tennessean

GOP’s hell-bent on tearing us apart: A decades-long strategy to win by divisiveness now leads to President Donald Trump

Republican candidates for the presidential nomination claim that Democrats kill babies and harvest their organs to sell them, insist the U.S. is at war with an “evil state of consciousness,” compare Muslims to rabid dogs, and call for closing mosques and registering Muslims. These are not fringe candidates. They are the front-runners.
American politics has descended from principle into tribalism.
The descent began in 1968. That year’s presidential election looked to be a principled fight, with Democrats Hubert Humphrey and Robert F. Kennedy articulating a vision of an inclusive America in which the government expanded efforts to guarantee equality. For their part, Republican managers understood that they had a problem. The two sides of the Republican Party were too far apart to be cinched together by any national vision.
On the one hand, moderate Eisenhower voters believed in using the federal government to promote equality of opportunity, although they were nervous the Johnson administration’s War on Poverty had gone too far. On the other hand, Movement Conservatives who had backed Barry Goldwater in 1964 rejected the principles of the New Deal. They wanted the government to stop meddling with the social welfare legislation that they insisted was a redistribution of tax dollars from hardworking white people to lazy African-Americans.
To win the 1968 election, Richard Nixon’s team adopted the Southern Strategy, sacrificing black rights to cement Movement Conservative white voters to the Republican Party.
The racial dimension of this decision is well known. Less well known is that it also marked a seismic shift in the mechanics of American politics. The chaos of 1968 cemented the Republicans’ new electoral strategy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Democratic presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey got sent into obscurity, and former Vice President Richard M. Nixon won the White House without a popular majority.
The year after the election, an architect of the Southern Strategy named Kevin Phillips wrote a groundbreaking book. In “The Emerging Republican Majority,” he argued that voters aligned according to their ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. By playing to those different constituencies, he argued, the Republican Party could cobble together a coalition that would dominate American politics for at least a generation. Republican leaders began to slice and dice the American electorate rather than advancing a coherent vision of the nation’s future.
This electoral strategy played perfectly to the growing power of Movement Conservatives in the party. The majority of Americans strongly believed in government regulation of business and in social welfare legislation. In contrast, Movement Conservatives embraced a vision of an American government that backed Christianity and unfettered capitalism. Knowing that they could never attract supporters based on their principles, Movement Conservatives turned instead to an age-old technique: They whipped up fear of an enemy. To take the nation back from secular New Dealers, Movement Conservatives insisted they were the true Americans, standing alone against a dangerous cabal. The enemy was a group they dubbed “Liberals” with a capital L to suggest they were a party that mirrored the Communists. Liberals were attacking America by destroying religion and individualism. Movement Conservatives insisted that business regulation and social welfare legislation were not, as most Americans thought, a way to level the American playing field. Such laws were a redistribution of wealth, since government programs and bureaucrats and programs cost tax dollars.
Movement Conservatives’ first boogeymen were African-Americans. Since Reconstruction, reactionaries had insisted that government protection of black rights meant a redistribution of wealth. The federal muscle required to enforce the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision enabled Movement Conservatives to rehash this old argument. Linking black rights to taxation enlisted racism on the side of Movement Conservatism, a linkage illustrated when Barry Goldwater picked up the Deep South states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina in 1964.
In 1968, the Southern Strategy brought the Movement Conservative narrative into the heart of the Republican Party. Nixon’s strategists deliberately pushed the idea of good Americans under siege by constructing a simple narrative designed to play on people’s emotions. “Voters are basically lazy,” one of Nixon’s advisors wrote. “Reason requires a high degree of discipline, of concentration; impression is easier. Reason pushes the viewer back, it assaults him, it demands that he agree or disagree; impression can envelop him, invite him in, without making an intellectual demand…. When we argue with him, we… seek to engage his intellect… The emotions are more easily roused, closer to the surface, more malleable.” Nixon cemented a constituency by dividing the world into the “Silent Majority,” and “they.” The Silent Majority was made up of hardworking men and women. “They” were minorities, women, and anti-war agitators who wanted government handouts even as they attacked the nation. Salon

Crockett Policy Institute

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