Endorsing a proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution on the ballot next month that would grant the General Assembly and the governor more power to appoint appellate and Supreme Court judges, while preserving arguably unconstitutional “judicial retention election” statutes, president of the Tennessee conference of the NAACP Gloria Sweet-Love recently said, “We want fair and impartial judges who will protect the rights of all people, not just the special interests with their campaign contributions.”
George Scoville | All Articles
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George Scoville is a public affairs strategist and occasional blogger in Nashville, Tennessee
Tennessee has many quirks that have become the standards by which I have judged society at large over the course of my life. From the cool misty mornings in Smoky Mountain National Park in the east, to Monteagle Mountain atop the Cumberland Plateau in the mid-state area, right down to the dry-rub smoked ribs at Rendezvous in Memphis, these experiences unique to Tennessee have helped me define beauty, majesty, and what I consider to be “the good life” after spending almost all of my natural life as a resident of the Volunteer State. I am certainly glad to be living here again after almost five years in the nation’s capital.
The antagonistic president and publisher of Hustler magazine, Larry Flynt, has never shied from a public fight. In fact, he has been one of the more ardent defenders of First Amendment rights in the latter half of the twentieth century. His speech and press activism reached its apex in the landmark Hustler Magazine v. Falwell case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the petitioner, and about which Columbia Pictures made a popular 1996 film starring Woody Harrelson as "the pervert," and Edward Norton as Alan Isaacman, the attorney that quashed Jerry Falwell's moralizing-as-law before the nation's high court. Now comes the Wall Street Journal with a story about how Playboy and Penthouse magazine sales have been prohibited on military bases. While a spokesman for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service claims this was "purely a business decision," we are left wondering, in this era of hyper-partisanship and over-wrought politicization: did the United States government help Larry Flynt even the score as a reward for his outspoken criticism of Republicans, which helped insulate our current commander in chief from the ballot box last November?
Craig Stowell always suspected his brother might be gay, and he made sure to let his brother know he would love him no matter what if his brother ever came out to the family. It was the right thing to do. But Stowell didn’t become involved in political fights for marriage equality until Republicans in the New Hampshire legislature introduced HB 437 in 2011 to repeal the Granite State’s 2010 law conferring the same state protections on same-sex marriages that traditional marriages enjoy. (The legislature had tried previously --- and failed --- to repeal New Hampshire’s 2006 law protecting civil unions between gay couples.) Gay marriage proponents defeated HB 437 in 2012.
As states around the nation try to preempt a new push for federal gun control laws, the Volunteer State has stepped forward as a shining example of what not to do. Most gun owners are happy with State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey’s proposal, which would allow gun owners to keep firearms locked in their cars at their places of employment. But this gun owner believes Ramsey’s bill erodes property rights, and exacerbates a big-government problem with more big government. Tennessee Republicans deserve praise for tackling gun rights ahead of a possible federal intervention package, and the bill’s final passage appears imminent; but Ramsey’s colleagues in the House should reject his proposal and alter their tack before it’s too late.
First, you take politics, and add a lot of money. Then you mix in hypocrisy and a velvety ribbon of smugness to cut the bite of the irony.
Yesterday Americans celebrated the achievements of workers: those faceless, unsung heroes adding sprigs and sprockets to various widgets on the assembly lines of material progress and achievement (or something). We proponents of free markets have strong feelings on the matter; we tend to believe the modern labor movement has been detrimental to economic progress. But as a September 15 deadline approaches for completion of a new collective bargaining agreement between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association, and a lockout looms large just eight years after a season-destroying lockout, hockey fans in 30 North American cities are learning a hard economic lesson about labor disputes. While the struggle between labor and management dominates the spotlight, consumers (fans in this case) go largely unnoticed. Contrary to what Harrison Mooney at Yahoo!’s popular Puck Daddy blog writes, hockey fans should leverage the tools at their disposal to insert themselves into the discussion.
An honest election-year appeal from a zealous campaign finance reform candidate would sound something like this: "If you send me to Washington, I promise to make it more difficult and expensive than it is now to remove me when I inevitably betray you!" But since Mitt Romney's campaign out-raised President Obama's re-election campaign by $35 million in June 2012, after Obama 2012 raised only $39 million in May 2012 (approximately $270 million cycle-to-date; that's not only off-pace to reach his $750 million total haul in 2008, but puts him far short of his present $1 billion goal), the "secret money" knives are again coming out in campaign finance warfare. The left's latest targets are 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups, for which it is lawful to raise unlimited sums from anonymous donors, and to spend unlimited sums on issue ads (relative to Internal Revenue Service compliance requirements).
“Don’t we all have a right to know,” asks Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a recent fundraising email, “exactly which corporations and individuals are spending millions in attack ads to influence elections --- and what their agendas are?” While we should expect this type of rhetoric from bullies who think that the government should force workers to give up their right to a secret ballot in unionization proceedings, making it easier for Democratic supporters to rake new campaign funds from their peers’ paychecks, this is one of those times when “No” is a complete, forceful, and declarative sentence.
When did Americans become so infantilized as to treat the president of the United States like he’s the only adult in the room?