Author Archives: T. Sharp

Same As It Ever Was


I’ve heard it said several times recently that no one cares about the poor. It’s one of the saddest statements ever uttered.

For a nation that prides itself on creating the “American Dream”, we have learned that location is everything. The Atlantic writes of this in an article called “Why Is The American Dream Dead In The South.”

The top 1 percent aren’t killing the American Dream. Something else is—if you live in the wrong place.

Here’s what we know. The rich are getting richer, but according to a blockbuster new study that hasn’t made it harder for the poor to become rich. The good news is that people at the bottom are just as likely to move up the income ladder today as they were 50 years ago. But the bad news is that people at the bottom are just as likely to move up the income ladder today as they were 50 years ago.

We like to tell ourselves that America is the land of opportunity, but the reality doesn’t match the rhetoric—and hasn’t for awhile. We actually have less social mobility than countries like Denmark. And that’s more of a problem the more inequality there is. Think about it like this: Moving up matters more when there’s a bigger gap between the rich and poor. So even though mobility hasn’t gotten worse lately, it has worse consequences today because inequality is worse.

There really are no words when it comes to studies like this other than we may think we have evolved since the 1960s but we really haven’t.

And that, my friends, is tragic.

Campaign Messaging And Competing With A Flatulent Deer

The paparazzi caught these deer dancing like no one was watching.

The paparazzi caught these deer dancing like no one was watching.

Last week at Newscoma, I wrote a little diddy about Jack and Diane, or rather just some quick thoughts about running for office. I riffed off a really great series of stories that Joe Lance wrote and revisited words of advice from Knoxviews’ R. Neal which is how jazz music works.

In blogging, there is nothing better than a great riff.

The one thing none of us really talked about is how do you get your message out. Here is an example of some of the problems that candidates, especially new ones, end up facing which goes to a national website as I’m trying to make a point. On Saturday, January 25th of the year 2014, the most popular story on the Huffington Post was about a flatulent deer. According to the headline, the deer, who apparently is a very intelligent creature as he roams about the forest thought he was avoiding the paparazzi,and didn’t KNOW that there was a camera watching him/her expelling bodily gases. Now trends come and go on websites and for anyone who has been in the online game for any length of time has always had to deal with the sad reality that not everything you do is going to go viral. Most of the time it won’t, if we are all honest.

And there are times that your message is going to get lost because news, especially online, moves at the speed of sound and there are going to be times what you want to say will be muffled by stories like a flatulent deer.

The bottom line is that locally, statewide or nationally, candidates are always going to have to compete with the trends when it comes to online marketing. In smaller markets, which I worked at for years, will probably give you a shout when you announce you are running but they are going to want your ad dollars closer to election time. That is how they make money so you are going to have to earn your media. Shaking hands, kissing babies and eating at every BBQ/Pancake/Spaghetti supper or speaking at the local Kiwanis/ Rotary Clubs in the district you are running in is a given because making the rounds is important, yet how do you reach people that are not at those events.

These are just a few questions to ask yourself. When you want to talk about how you have a plan for infrastructure for your home county, how are you going to deal with potential voters talking about a flatulent deer or Justin Bieber being a maroon?





Getting Under Their Skin

State Rep. Sherry Jones on the floor of the House

State Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville)

Take two minutes to see the squabbling on the floor of the House yesterday. Stay tuned for Rep. Butts statements at the end. I’d tell you to grab a bag of popcorn and a coke if it wasn’t so sad that this is really happening in our state. The democrats are getting under their colleagues’ skin on the other side of the aisle as you can see in this clip. From TN Report:

Mike Huckabee And My Fainting Couch

I must contain my female madness

I must contain my female madness


Dear Mike Huckabee:

I’m sorry. I apologize for having the vapors right now as I am a woman and the vapors come to me quite easily. Especially when my libido is out of control which it usually is. I am short of breath and I can’t find my favorite corset to put on at this moment.

Once again, I apologize. As I am a woman, I guess that is what you need from me.

I would like to thank former Governor and failed presidential candidate  Huckabee for discussing my helplessness. I mean, I guess now that he told me I needed assistance, I do. You know, because he told me of my second-class status and my lustful behavior to a bunch of folks at a GOP convention. This also explains why Viagra is more important than birth control and that the insurance companies as well as political organizations push this message so vehemently.  And my pesky reproductive system has demanded that I have a fainting couch at every location that I visit, including Wal-Mart.. No one knows when I’m going to fall out sweating profusely as you just never know when my worrisome libido is going to kick in. My job as a woman is to stalk men and be available at anytime to garner affection from the opposite sex, I get that I guess but being that I had endometriosis most of my adult life and a hysterectomy at the tender age of 40, I guess my worth is a bit lower than snail slime. I appreciate your feedback. As I had a flat tire this morning (true story) I realize you will arrive in Nashville tomorrow to change that said flat tire. I await our cavalry.

Oh, how you nailed it Huckabee.

“Republicans no longer accept listening to Democrats talk about a ‘war on women,’” he said, speaking at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Washington. “Republicans don’t have a war on women. [We] have a war for women — for them to be empowered to be something other than victims of their gender.”

As a victim of my gender, there is so many things I need to say. So the government is here to help? Dang skippy!! Who knew you were here to help me and all the women in the country. This is good to know! I thank you, I do.

I don’t know what I’d do without you. I thank you for your sincere concern.

Also, if you come to my house, let me know as I will have all of my friends of the female persuasion throw that fainting couch at you.

The tire will already be changed.

Polar Vortex Hits Tennessee State Capitol

This polar bear is named John. He is cold and lives in Lake County.

This polar bear is named John. He is cold and lives in Lake County.

The barren wastelands of January’s return as the 108th General Assembly hasn’t given us much meat to go with our potatoes during this rare occurrence of a vicious polar vortex. Gravy is out of the question as we have truly moved into the haves/have nots scenario in state government. We are back to a revised version of Guns, Gays and God legislation that ignores the basic tenants of a quality of life for average Tennesseans.

Lunch for workers, fugaddaboutit! According to Campy, we still have a war on Christmas that I have still not seen the frontlines of a battlefield because my house looked like Santa had a party in it as did my nieces school. Money is being thrown out of the state at a breakneck speed as our Governor and his cohorts refuse to expand Medicaid. And the sad reality that the term education reform is highly misleading. (If you want to know the whos, hows and whys of things, check out Tennessee Education Report.)  Let’s not forget that legislators are still wanting more state interference in local government when it comes to guns in trunks.The issue is not about guns, it’s about taking local control away from smaller government bodies. That is the concern. For example, why can’t Strawberry Plains, Nashville or the like control their own rules. It’s not about the second amendment in the least, it’s about the state having the final say-so.

The list is endless.

I could, but I won’t, bang the drum about the lack of legislation on creating jobs. So many democrats and bloggers over the years have screamed this down a tunnel apparently made out of banana pudding because the folks at the Capitol just aren’t hearing it. No one discusses in Music City about how a megasite sits basically ignored in Haywood County that could help west Tennessee thrive during dire times where jobs are about as scarce as finding a rhino in Lake County so I will turn our attention to the budget. Tennessee has an annual budget of roughly $33 billion dollars a year but revenues are down about $175 million bucks. This is worrisome to say the least. So what is the Governor’s plan? No clue.

We are too busy trying to stealthily change the power structure in our state government to be bothered by the pesky reality that everything is not okay and OH MY GAWD BIEBER WAS ARRESTED AND THE CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE ARE CALLING IT QUITS WHERE IS THE HUMANITY!! If the news is nonstop how can we even take the time to process what is happening in plain sight.

I pseudo keed because I love you.

Democrats are in the minority yet they are desperately trying to bring many of these issues to the spotlight but it is hard to drive a car in a blizzard where you can’t see the yellow line on the road.  Activists are working hard to get issues to the forefront but how does one fight against a wall of lobbyists who are going to most likely get the best seat at table with GOP legislators? It’s not easy, but they are out there.

These are things that Steve Ross and I (as well as a host of others) have said for years now. It’s not small or large government, it’s about effective government that helps each county in this state. The lack of empathy and good governance have left blizzard-like conditions in the legislature.

Time to bundle up, campers.


One House, Two Different Precincts

The Nashville City Paper reports another case of one house but two different voting locations.

Exiting a Glencliff-area polling place Thursday morning where she had just voted in the Democratic primary, Virginia Welch picked up on a procedural error in Thursday’s election.

Welch and husband Michael Muldoon, who lives in the same residence and showed up at the voting site a few minutes earlier, had received two different ballots and thus voted in two different races.

Welch’s ballot included the race for state House District 53, featuring Jason Powell and Jason Potts, but her husband’s ballot featured House District 52 in which Rep. Mike Stewart is running unopposed.

“We had gotten different ballots,” Welch told The City Paper. But when she discovered the error, it was too late. “We had both already cast the ballots.”

H/T to Southern Beale on Twitter

Redistricting Problems From Hamilton County

Out of Hamilton County, redistricting is causing some problems. WTVC with the story.

Redistricting is causing some headaches in Hamilton County, not only for voters, but for election officials as well.
Daniel Witherow has lived in the Emma Wheeler Homes for the last 9 years, and he’s voted in every election, including Thursday’s. He used to vote at the apartment’s rental office. He knew his polling place had been moved because of redistricting so he cast his ballot at the Bethlehem center, like it said on his Voter ID card. But then, he saw a sign posted at the rental office.
“I was thinking maybe it was a mistake. That’s what I was thinking, hopefully it was a mistake,” said Witherow. That’s because the sign said the location was moved to Calvary Baptist Church, which is all the way in Red Bank.
Daniel had his ID card, so he knew better than to go there, but he was worried others might get confused. “It doesn’t take much for a little thing like this to change the community. Most people, a little thing like that and they’ll just change their mind about voting altogether,” said Witherow.
Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, the Hamilton County administrator of elections, says the new redistricting has caused a few problems like this one.

The Story Of Sen. Joe Haynes

From the Senator himself on the TNDP website on his family’s experience voting today:

Barbara was asked for her photo identification. She doesn’t have a photo on her driver’s license so she provided the election workers with her state-issued retirement card and her Metro-issued judge’s pass. The latter included her photo. In spite of the fact that most of the people in our polling place knew us both, she was told she would only be allowed to vote using a provisional ballot.  She had been permitted to vote in March using the same identification she provided today.  She was told that she would have 48 hours to get the proper photo ID and furnish it to the Election Office to validate her provisional ballot.

Barbara had received her voter ID card several days ago and discovered it had been issued to Joe M. Haynes, not Mrs. Joe M. Haynes as she had registered many years ago.  Upon calling the election office, she learned that it was a mistake, and was told to just write “Mrs.” in front of the name and proceed to vote.

To add insult to injury, when I entered the voting booth the machine was set to vote in the Republican primary, even though I had just indicated, in writing and verbally, that I wanted to vote in the Democratic primary.  I called over a poll worker to correct the problem. I then learned that another person who was voting at the same time had the same problem.

Robert Meyers Isn’t Hiding

Got to give him credit, but Robert Meyers isn’t hiding from the media regarding voter problems in Shelby County. Jackson Baker with the story.

Give this to Robert Meyers, the mild-mannered and much-beleaguered chairman of the Shelby County Election Commission: He understands that he is accountable to the public, and he is willing to be a stand-up guy about the numerous ongoing glitches in the county’s election process.

Meeting with members of the media at the Commission’s Nixon Drive headquarters on Wednesday, Meyers, an attorney, offered no false reassurances and took his lumps. “I don’t believe we have completely eliminated the issues. There is some possibility that there will be errors tomorrow [election day], “ he said.

Honestly, you don’t see that very much and Jackson tells you the history, what is happening today and the lumps that Meyers is going to have to take cleaning up this cycle of the election.