Nichole “Nikki” Goesner first appeared on the Tennessee political stage during the 2009 debate over “guns in bars” legislation, invited by a state senator to tell the story of how her husband was killed in cold blood as she watched and how she has wished ever since that she had a pistol in her purse on that night.
“Had I not been disarmed, I could have had a chance to save Ben,” she writes as she retells the story in the recently published book “Denied a Chance: How Gun Control Helped a Stalker Murder My Husband.”
In her mind, Goesner writes, she constantly replayed scenarios in which she would have acted differently if the .38 she was licensed to carry had been with her. It was left in her car because state law at the time forbade carrying a gun into a restaurant where alcohol was served.
She was there to help her husband, as a second job in the evenings, run a karaoke operation. He was setting up the equipment when she spotted the man who had been stalking her, she writes, and asked the manager to evict him. The manager was talking with him when the man turned, unzipped his jacket, pulled a .45 from underneath his coat and shot her husband, who fell on the first blast and then was shot another five times.
While U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has devoted a lot of time and effort to burnishing his partisan Republican credentials in preparation for next year’s re-election run, he has also been deftly including a history lesson from his background on the value of bipartisanship.
That came on Jan. 17, 1979, when Alexander was sworn into office as governor of Tennessee three days ahead of the announced inauguration day. Democratic Gov. Ray Blanton was removed from office ahead of schedule and thus blocked from granting further end-of-term pardons and paroles to imprisoned criminals.
The events of that day, those leading to it and the lay of Tennessee’s political landscape in that bygone era are thoroughly chronicled in “Coup,” a book written by Keel Hunt that is being published this summer by Vanderbilt University Press. It is a recommended read for anyone interested in Tennessee history or politics.
Hunt makes it clear that Alexander, then a 30-something lawyer best known for walking across the state in a red-and-black plaid shirt during his gubernatorial campaign, was reluctant to get involved in Blanton’s early ouster. The scandal-ridden Blanton administration had probably contributed substantially to Alexander’s 1978 campaign win.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Al Gore, who takes aim in his new book at the corporate media for “suffocating the free flow of ideas,” on Tuesday defended the sale of his television channel to Al-Jazeera.
The Qatar government-owned news network earlier this month struck a deal to buy Current TV, the cable news network co-founded by the former vice president. The price tag was $500 million.
Gore told The Associated Press that he had no reservations about selling the channel to Al-Jazeera, which has won U.S. journalism prizes but has been criticized by some for an anti-American bias. The new owner plans to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America.
“They’re commercial-free, they’re hard-hitting,” he said in a phone interview. “They’re very respected and capable, and their climate coverage has been outstanding, in-depth, extensive, far more so than any network currently on the air in the U.S.”
News release from Secretary of State’s Office:
Tennessee’s public libraries will soon have more books available – cheaper and faster than before – thanks to a new interlibrary loan service set to debut next year.
The new Firefly Courier service, developed by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, will link rural, suburban and urban public libraries throughout the state, as well as libraries at colleges and universities.
The new courier service will allow libraries to request and receive books on loan from other libraries more quickly and more efficiently. Interlibrary loans, which previously were handled through the postal service, account for about 125,000 books checked out from Tennessee libraries each year.
The State Library and Archives, part of the Office of the Secretary of State, provides support and training for regional library systems across Tennessee.
“For many years, we have tried to reimburse libraries for their postage costs to support the interlibrary loan program,” State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill said. “We have been spending about $200,000 per year, but even that only covers about half the postage costs.”
Philip Norman Bredesen is writing a book, crusading for bipartisanship and federal debt reduction, promoting the study of humanities, making speeches, keeping track of investments taken out of a blind trust and contemplating what to do next.
“I’ve got another career in me. I’ll figure out what it is in a while,” he said in an interview last week.
Three weeks shy of his 69th birthday, Bredesen joked that “I think I’ve gotten younger, actually” since watching Bill Haslam take the oath of office to succeed him as governor of Tennessee almost two years ago — an event he described as “sort of an out-of-body experience.”
Interestingly, Bredesen did not rule out re-entry into the political arena as a candidate for something in 2014 when asked about the possibility. That is a contrast to the latter part of his reig as governor when he flatly declared he would not run for any political office in 2012.
Bredesen says, “There’s no message there.” He’s just keeping options open.
Having read a fair amount of Blake Fontenay’s nonfiction writing — or at least what passes for the factual making of statements in state government circles — I was curious upon learning of his first published attempt at pure fiction.
It’s a novel titled “The Politics of Barbeque.”
Fontenay is the public relations guy for Tennessee’s three constitutional officers — the secretary of state, the state comptroller and the state treasurer. This is three times as many bosses than the typical state government employee assigned to deal with media and leaves him with the taxpayer-funded duty to write news releases on multiple fascinating topics.
A two-page oral sex encounter by an awkward teen at boarding school in the coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska was deemed too racy by Sumner County schools last week, The Tennessean reports. The district banned the book from its assigned classroom reading list, becoming at least the second in the state, after Knox County in March, to keep students from reading it together in class.
The teen novel is the first in several years to be stripped from Sumner classrooms. Wilson, Rutherford and Williamson county schools say they haven’t banned the book or any titles in recent years. Metro schools didn’t have information on the book as of Monday.
“Kids at this age are impressionable. Sometimes it’s a monkey see, monkey do,” said parent Kathy Clough, who has a freshman and a senior at White House High School, where the book had been assigned reading. “I’m going to trust that my school board made the right choice. … If they feel like this book is a little too graphic, I’m all for it.” Debate over censorship
As many as 500 books are challenged each year, more often by a parent or school administrator and mostly for being too sexually explicit or containing too much foul language, according to the American Libraries Association.
The challenges ignite debate over censorship of books in public schools and how much control a parent should have, as Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill to deter teachers from promoting “gateway sexual activity.”
News release from Secretary of State’s office:
The 2011-2012 Tennessee Blue Book, considered the manual of state government and state history, is now available online.
The Blue Book can be accessed by visiting http://state.tn.us/sos/bluebook/index.htm.
“Making the Blue Book available online is another way we can provide better service to our customers, the citizens of Tennessee,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “The newest edition of the Blue Book has updated graphics, photos and other enhancements that have not been available in previous editions. The staff of our Publications Division has embraced my challenge to look for new ways to add value to the work that we do here.”
The Blue Book is published every two years by the Secretary of State’s office. It contains valuable information about the legislative, executive and judicial branches of state government – including biographical information about top elected and appointed officials. It also includes biographical information about the state’s representatives in Congress, a detailed history of the state, information about historical sites around Tennessee, statistics about cities and counties, election results, state symbols, and much more.
The online archived Blue Books date back to the 2005-2006 Tenenssee Blue Book. To view the archived books, please visit http://state.tn.us/sos/bluebook/index.htm and scroll down to “Archived Blue Books.”
The current edition of the Blue Book is dedicated to the Lt. Gov. Ronald L. Ramsey and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell for their service to the state of Tennessee.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The latest edition of the Tennessee Blue Book are being delivered to the state Capitol.
Secretary of State Tre Hargett said Friday that the state has ordered 54,600 copies of the official guide to Tennessee government and history.
The 2011-2012 edition features new graphics highlighting lawmakers’ districts, and shaded tabs for easier browsing of the nearly 800-page book that is used a reference by schoolchildren, educators, archivists, journalists, government officials and other citizens.
Lawmakers routinely give copies to constituents and other visitors to the Capitol.
Hargett dedicated the volume to the Republican speakers of the House and Senate, Sen. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville.
The previous version was dedicated to Tennessee service members killed in combat since 9/11
Chattanoogan Jimmy Moncrief has published a book entitled “Everything Obama Knows About the Economy.” The pages are all blank.
The Chattanooga TFP Saturday provided a report on this development long enough — with big type — to fill up several of those blank pages. An excerpt: “I’m not trying to start a revolution,” said Moncrief, who identifies himself as a fiscal conservative without a favorite GOP presidential candidate. “I just want to make people laugh.”
Asked about his inspiration, Moncrief’s credits a similar bit of emptiness from Sheridan Simove, who, ahem, wrote a 200-page bestseller titled, “What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex.”
“I remember reading that it sold like 3 million copies,” said Moncrief, a 30-year-old Memphis native who graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “I’m a banker. It’s not some glamorous job, so I wanted to do something fun and also wanted to make money.”
…On Amazon, where Moncrief’s self-published creation is listed as “temporarily out of stock,” buyers can pre-order the book for $14.95.
….”Selling books is a great way to grow the economy,” said Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese. “It adds to commerce, shipping, transportation and, for this book, garage sales.”
An Amazon reviewer, identifying himself as CheddarPants, went a different route.
“While this book isn’t remotely original, I do have to admit that it was written to perfectly correspond to the reading ability of most people who don’t like President Obama, so I have to give the author credit for knowing his target audience,” CheddarPants wrote.