Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Marsha Blackburn Stands with Loan Sharks..Alexander Wants Greater Filibuster Power to "Fix" Senate...More from Crockett

Marsha’s Choice

Lamar Alexander Seeks Path to Change in Senate

Ramsey Boldly Stops Just Shy of Trump

Haslam sounds off on Trump comments on Muslims

Gov. Bill Haslam sounded off on controversial anti-Muslim comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying they run counter to “core” American values, after a Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation event in Cool Springs on Tuesday morning.
"America was founded from the very beginning based on religious freedom and a lot of people came to our shores because they wanted freedom to practice religion the way they wanted to," Haslam said.
Trump touched off a firestorm on Monday afternoon when he issued a news release, calling for the"total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
In the wake of a deadly attack in San Bernardino, California, Trump has advocated for increasingly tight controls on the nation's borders. His comments on Monday drew strong condemnation from both Democrats and his opponents for the GOP presidential nomination. Tennessean

Ramsey: Halt immigration from nations with ‘ties to terrorism’

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called Tuesday for a moratorium on all immigration from countries with “ties to terrorism.”
The comments from Ramsey — a Republican who previously called on fellow Christians to arm themselves — follow a call by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to block all Muslims from entering the United States. Trump’s comments have been widely condemned by rival GOP candidates, party leaders and others.
In a statement, Ramsey said, “While I would not favor an explicitly religious test, I do think it is time to place a moratorium on immigration from a long list of countries with ties to terrorism.” He did not specify which countries he would include.
During Ramsey’s failed bid for the Tennessee governor 2010, he questioned whether Islam is a religion. Humphrey on the Hill

University of Tennessee Revises Memo About Holiday Parties

The chancellor for the University of Tennessee says an online memo advising employees to make sure holiday celebrations aren't Christmas parties "in disguise" was "poorly worded."
The memo "Best Practices for Inclusive Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace" was posted on the school's website by its Office for Diversity and Inclusion. It says parties should celebrate workplace relationships with no emphasis on religion or culture.
UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said in a statement Tuesday that the original posting has been replaced and that oversight of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion website has been reassigned. Memphis Daily News/AP

Lamar Alexander Seeks Path to Change in Senate

Nothing touches off a political war in the Senate like proposals to tinker with the arcane rules that govern the often creaky chamber. Talk of eliminating the filibuster is called the nuclear option for a reason.
But Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the cerebral former Republican governor and cabinet member, may have come up with a novel approach to winning support for the changes that many, if not most, of his colleagues agree are overdue — and to enact them without starting the congressional equivalent of Armageddon.
His idea? Use the next few months to develop, debate and approve proposals to make the Senate more efficient, but then agree not to institute the changes until 2017 — after next year’s election. With no certainty about which party will win the majority next November, the thinking goes, both Republicans and Democrats might be enticed to roll the dice and embrace changes since there would not be an obvious advantage to advance for either party.
“We think we are more likely to get a consensus that way,” said Mr. Alexander, who is working with five fellow Republicans to explore what can be done to improve how the Senate does — or does not — function.
His goal is to institute changes with the support of at least 67 senators, the traditional threshold, as opposed to the simple majority Democrats employed two years ago to weaken filibusters against Obama administration nominees. New York Times

TN Sen. Beavers agrees with Trump's Muslim ban

A Tennessee senator agrees with comments made by business mogul Donald Trump that it's a good idea to initiate "a total and complete shutdown" of Muslim people entering the U.S.
"For him to suggest banning all Muslims, I don't have a problem with that," said Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet.
Beavers, a supporter of the GOP presidential nominee, said people are scared and it's the government's job to protect them. In her opinion, that means preventing Muslims coming into the country — through immigration, refugee resettlement or any other means — for now.
"No, I don’t think there's anything Islamaphobic at all. It's about protecting our own, protecting our country," Beavers said.
"It’s our job to protect Tennessee." Tennessean

Armstrong seek to ban bribery talk before jury

There was some talk of bribery in secret recordings made of a conversation between a government informant and state Rep. Joe Armstrong, reports the News Sentinel, and now Armstrong’s lawyer wants that talk barred from use during the Knoxville Democratic legislators February trial on tax evasion charges.
Defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs on Monday filed a motion to that effect on Monday.
In a portion of the conversation contained in the motion, Armstrong turned aside cigarette wholesaler Roger Cox’s offer of $20,000 for the legislator’s help in an apparent criminal investigation of Cox’s son but did not challenge Cox’s statement he once gave Armstrong $5,000 in some other unspecified deal.
“You remember when they got in trouble before because they had some kind of cigarette they weren’t supposed to have and you know I gave you five grand,” Cox is quoted in the transcript. “I’ll give you ten grand on this and another ten grand when it’s over.
Armstrong responded, “Aww (sic), no man, you don’t owe me a thing.” Humphrey on the Hill

Ramsey Boldly Stops Just Shy of Trump

Bravely stopping just short of Donald Trump's call tostop all Muslims from entering the United States, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey writes on Facebook that he wants to see a moratorium on all immigration from countries with "ties to terrorism."

On Monday nightTrump, a demented orangutan who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, said the U.S. should close its doors — fabulous doors, by the way, just fantastic — to all Muslims until we can “figure out what is going on.” Ramsey, a Looney Tunes character who is among Tennessee's most powerful elected officials, says he would not support an "explicitly religious test."

Ramsey doesn't specify which countries would be on his list, only saying it's a "long list." We have some questions. Will Ireland be on the list, given its unfortunate history of domestic terrorism? What about France? After all, the Paris attackers were mostly French citizens. We know how much the lieutenant governor loves his gas guzzling Chevy Tahoe, but surely American Ally Saudi Arabia will be on the list, right?

After state House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada said last month following the Paris attacks that Syrian refugees currently settled in Tennessee should be rounded up and detained, I quipped that his comments had the unfortunate effect of making calls to reject Syrian refugees seeking, you know, refuge in the United States seem moderate by comparison. Nashville Scene

Marsha’s Choice

Marsha Blackburn, who represents Tennessee’s 7th District in Congress, has made her choice.
She’s chosen to stand with payday lending loan sharks and against the interests of Tennessee consumers.
Blackburn has signed-on to co-sponsor HR 4018, the misnamed “Consumer Protection and Choice Act” that would allow payday lenders to continue trapping consumers in a cycle of debt.
Specifically, the bill:
would delay the CFPB’s payday rule for two years, and would allow the payday industry to avoid federal regulation altogether by pushing industry-backed state bills based on a Florida law that has proven ineffective at reining in the payday loan debt trap.
Here’s the Florida story for payday lending consumers:
Triple digit interest rates: Under Florida law, the typical payday loan costs over 300% annualized interest (APR)—an exorbitant rate of interest that wreaks havoc on households who are already struggling financially, and was illegal in all states until relatively recently;
• Back-to-back lending without considering borrowers’ ability to repay – Rollover bans and cooling off periods are insufficient to protect borrowers from long-term financial harm. In spite of the industry-backed Florida law, 88% of repeat loans were made before the borrower’s next paycheck;
• A long-term cycle of debt – Limiting borrowers to one loan at a time has failed to provide relief in Florida, where 85% of payday loans are issued to borrowers with seven or more loans per year; Tennessee Citizen Action

The South won the Civil War: White men, racial resentment, and how the Bitter Minority came to rule us all

Donald Trump’s recent failed attempt to surprise the political world with a sizable group endorsement by black ministers occasioned a very sharp observation from Joy Reid on The Last Word. After Jonathan Allen noted that Trump was desperately looking for “a racial or ethnic or any other type of minority that he can go to and not already have basically poisoned the well,” Reid helpfully clarified the why of it all: “Republican primary, that’s not about black and Latin voters, because there really aren’t any in the Republican primary,” Reid said. “That’s about white suburban voters who want permission to go with Donald Trump.”
Trump’s situation is anything but unique—it’s just a bit more raw than it is with other Republicans. Ever since the 1960s, as Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy was being born, there’s been a ongoing dilemma (if not huge contradiction) for the erstwhile “Party of Lincoln” to manage: how to pander just enough to get the racist votes they need, without making it too difficult to deny that’s precisely what they’re doing.
There are a multitude of cover stories involved in facilitating this two-faced strategy, but one of the big-picture ways it gets covered is with a blanket denial: It wasn’t Nixon’s race-based Southern Strategy that got the GOP its current hammerlock on the South, it was something else entirely. Say, the South’s growing affluence, perhaps, or its “principled small-government conservatism,” or the increased “leftism” of the Democratic Party on “social issues”—anything, really, except racial animus. Anything but that. (It’s akin to the widespread beliefs that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, or that the Confederate flag is just a symbol of “Southern pride.”)
Most who make such arguments are simply mired in denial, or worse, but there areseveral lines of argument seemingly based on objective data in the academic literature. But a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper that Sean McElwee recently referred to should put an end to all that.
Why did the Democrats Lose the South? Bringing New Data to an Old Debate,” by Ilyana Kuziemko and Ebonya Washington, does three key things: First, it uses previously overlooked data—matching presidential approval against media coverage linking President Kennedy to civil rights—to shed light on a key transition period—broadly, from 1961-1963, narrowly, the spring of 1963—when the Democratic Party clearly emerged as the party of civil rights. Second, it uses another new source of data—responses to the “black president question” (first asked by Gallup in 1958), whether someone would support a black (originally “negro”) candidate for president, if nominated by their party—as a measure of “racial conservatism” to analyze the contrast between the pre- and post-transition periods.
As McElwee reported, the paper “find[s] that racism can explain almost all of the decline of Southern white support for Democrats between 1958 and 2000.” Indeed, it explains all of the decline from 1958 to 1980, and 77% of the decline through 2000. (The authors prefer the 1958-1980 time-frame, since Jesse Jackson’s candidacy in 1984 and 1988 “may have transformed the black president item from a hypothetical question to a referendum on a particular individual.”) Third, the paper looks at the other explanations—the cover stories—and finds they have only a marginal impact, at best. (Although its focus is Southern realignment away from the Democratic Party, the GOP has obviously been gaining strength at the same time as a direct result.) It also sheds light on an early phase of dealignment, starting when Truman first came out for civil rights in 1948, leading to the Dixiecrat revolt. Salon

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