Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who Cares About That Nasty Ol' State Constitution, Anyway?

The Tennessee Constitution says that appeals court judges are to be elected, but what does that matter-elections are just awful, aren't they?:

Imagine, if you will, that our State Government decided to ignore a critical part of the Tennessee Constitution. Suppose, as an example, that the Governor and a substantial number of members of the General Assembly decided that one House of the Legislature shouldn't have to stand for election, despite the fact that the State Constitution clearly says that both Houses must be elected by popular vote within their respective districts. Imagine if the Governor declared one day that Senators shouldn't have to stand for direct election, and that a number of them agreed with the idea, and even promoted it. Those arguing in favor of this extra-constitutional maneuver may have a good argument in saying that Senators, as members of the Upper Chamber, should be the deliberative body of sober thought designed to check the popular passions often unleashed in the House. That was, Senators might say, the original purpose of the federal Senate (and they would be right).

As to what to do about the inconvenient little fact that the Tennessee Constitution orders the direct popular election of members of the State Senate, the Legislature could solve that problem by having a commission appoint the Senators, and having a "Yes/No" retention vote when a State Senator's term expires. The retention vote can be set up in such a way that the State can say that it is an "election," even though the Senators won't really have to campaign anymore. Most people eventually won't care who their Senators are because they will never hear from them, and only those of us who might be considered "political nerds" would know something of the composition of the Tennessee Senate. It might turn out better that way, since Senators would be free to make sober and serious decisions and act as a check on what might be the temporary popular mood.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inter-modal Attention

The controversial railroad inter-modal project in Jefferson County is finally getting more serious and sustained media attention:

The Knoxville News-Sentinel has to be given credit for finally covering with some greater detail the controversy surrounding Norfolk Southern Railroad in Jefferson County, and the Railroad's plans to construct a truck-rail inter-modal transfer facility in New Market. For a very long time, Norfolk Southern has held this project over the heads of many in the local community, and the company has said that it would bring hundreds of jobs to Jefferson County-but has never been able to guarantee those jobs or explain its figures with any detail. Confidentiality agreements have been signed by public officials in the recent past not to reveal all that they know of the railroad's plans, something that can be construed as a violation of the Tennessee Open Records Act, and perhaps the Open Meetings Act as well.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Social Promotion

As a policy, social promotion of students past the 3rd Grade in Tennessee is about to end:

The purpose of legislation such as this is not to simply dictate to local education authorities what their retention policies should or shouldn't be. Instead, this new law is designed to benefit the student. If a non-special needs student isn't learning, they need to be helped, and if necessary held back until they've mastered the appropriate material. Until now, many children have been socially promoted with the theory that holding them back might do them more damage both socially and academically. Many public schools, not only in Tennessee but across the country, have operated with the notion that a student who may be held back a year is less likely to succeed in the future. If a child who is having trouble in school is made to stay until they "get it right," that student is more likely to apply theselves so that they don't have to be held back in the future.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

The DeFreeser!

Former Knox County Commissioner Victoria DeFreese has announced that she will run to succeed former State Senator Jamie Woodson in the 6th Senate District:

Teacher and former Knox County Commissioner Victoria DeFreese has officially announced that she will run for the Republican nomination in the 6th Senate District in the special election to succeed former Senator Jamie Woodson, who resigned to join the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). DeFreese has long been a darling of the conservative movement in Knox County for her strong pro-life and pro-second amendment stands, but she said Saturday that she believed that her background as a teacher made her the most suitable replacement for Woodson-a Senator who made education her signature issue.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011


Acts 2:1-42:

And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these, that speak, Galileans? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome,

Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this? But others mocking, said: These men are full of new wine. [14] But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day:

But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know: This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it. For David saith concerning him: I foresaw the Lord before my face: because he is at my right hand, that I may not be moved.

For this my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life: thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Ye men, brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David; that he died, and was buried; and his sepulchre is with us to this present day. Whereas therefore he was a prophet, and knew that God hath sworn to him with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins one should sit upon his throne.

Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted therefore by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear. For David ascended not into heaven; but he himself said: The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified. Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation.

They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

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