Tag Archives: books

Tennesseans to receive $8.5M in E-book price fixing case

News release from the attorney general’s office:
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today announced Tennessee residents who purchased electronic books (E-books) could begin receiving account credits or checks this week. Payments are the result of the successful prosecution of a price-fixing case against Apple, Inc. in 2013.

Tennessee joined a group of 33 states, led by Connecticut and Texas, in investigating and prosecuting Apple for its participation in the conspiracy to artificially inflate E-book prices. Apple is obligated to pay $400 million in nationwide consumer compensation after the United States Supreme Court denied Apple’s request to review a lower court’s finding that the company violated antitrust laws.

“Returning the hard-earned money of Tennessee consumers was the primary goal in this litigation,” Attorney General Slatery said. “I appreciate the hard work of our office, along with our colleagues in other states, to make certain all companies compete fairly and play by the same rules.” Continue reading

Author of Nashville politicking novel unveiled

“West End,” a novel that deals with Nashville politics and newspapers, was published with the author listed as Crockett White, a pseudonym. The Tennessean reports it was actually written by Jim Squires, a Nashville native who once worked at the Tennessean before becoming editor at the Orlando Sentinel and Chicago Tribune.

“West End” is billed as “a novel of envy, revenge and dirty money.” It features fictional characters based on the likes of Nashvillians John Jay Hooker and the late John Seigenthaler, but with different names. The story includes a newspaper rivalry that resembles the competition between The Tennessean and the Nashville Banner years ago.

“All the things I’ve written had been true,” Squires, referring to his many newspaper and book bylines, told a crowd at the author-unveiling event at Vanderbilt University’s First Amendment Center. “And I think that if Jim Squires’ name was on this book, people would think it’s true.

“None of the things in the book happened to anybody that looks like someone else in the book. But all of those things happened to many, many people in many, many places like Nashville over the last 20 or 30 years.”

“West End,” which begins in the late 1960s, is a first-person account of a young reporter from the perspective of Squires. Fictional names in the book include Jack Hickenlooper, who is clearly a newspaper editor based on Seigenthaler, the longtime Tennessean editor who died in 2014. Another character is based on Hooker, former Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor in 1970 and 1998 and a longtime attorney and advocate. The book has a newspaper called the Clarion inspired by The Tennessean.

Haslam trying to get USPS to go along with TN law banning book shredding

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that he’s continuing to negotiate with the U.S. Postal Service to prevent it from shredding Imagination Library books delivered to incorrect addresses.

Haslam spoke to reporters following a ceremony celebrating the 10th anniversary of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Tennessee.

Earlier this year, the governor signed a measure lawmakers passed to ban the shredding of the books, and instead direct the U.S. Postal Service to donate them to pre-kindergarten or other programs.

For a while, many post offices had been setting aside the undelivered books until a volunteer could pick them up because the Governors Books from Birth Foundation — a partner with the Imagination Library — wasn’t paying to have them returned to their facility in Nashville.

However, USPS officials said that wasn’t fair to businesses that do pay for the right to get undelivered mail returned.

Haslam said his office, as well as U.S. Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, are still trying to work something out with the postal service.

“We have not had a resolution yet,” Haslam said. “We would like the opportunity to pick them up rather than have them just be destroyed.”
Continue reading

Haslam signs Democrat-sponsored bill into law

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law to ban the shredding of Imagination Library books delivered to the incorrect addresses.

The governor’s office announced Tuesday that Haslam signed the measure sponsored by Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and fellow Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson last week.

The bill directs the U.S. Postal Service to instead donate the books to pre-kindergarten or other programs.

The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation is a partner to the Imagination Library, which was created by country singer Dolly Parton in 1996. The program provides a book every month to children from birth to age 5 at no cost to the family, regardless of income.

The House passed the bill on a 93-0 vote, while the Senate approved its version 31-0.

Postal Service shredding Imagination Library books

Imagination Library books that are delivered to the wrong address are now being shredded by the United States Postal Service, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

For years, the USPS would allow volunteers with Imagination Library to reclaim the books. That started to change about a year ago.

“It has been a year-long process where the post office would no longer allow volunteers to pick up books,” said Theresa Carl, president of Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, a partner with Imagination Library. “Since 2008, the post office would allow volunteers to pick up the books and we would change the address so books wouldn’t be sent to the wrong address.”

Once the books were picked up, volunteers would try to deliver the books to the owners or donate them to places that served children.
The USPS said setting the books aside was a service it was not being paid for and therefore had to stop.

“The Postal Service appreciates Imagination Library’s business and acknowledges its service to the community,” David Walton, USPS corporate communications spokesman said in an emailed statement. “However, the Postal Service cannot offer a free service to one organization when other organizations and businesses are paying for the same services.”

State Historian Walter Durham Dies, Age 88

Walter Thomas Durham, Tennessee’s state historian for the past decade and author of 24 books on Tennessee history, died on Friday at the age of 88, reports The Tennessean.
Mr. Durham, a longtime Gallatin businessman and a walking encyclopedia of Tennessee and Sumner County history, was appointed state historian in 2002 by then-Gov. Don Sundquist. He had already served as president of the Tennessee Historical Society, founding president of the Tennessee Heritage Alliance (renamed the Tennessee Preservation Trust) and chairman of the Tennessee Historical Commission.
“An awful lot of history passed with him,” said Kenneth Thomson, president of the Sumner County Historical Society, who knew Mr. Durham his whole life and helped him with one of his final projects. “And it’s a good thing he recorded it.”
Mr. Durham never made much money off his books, often giving them away to organizations that would benefit from them.
His award-winning books spanned a wide range of subjects: the Union Army’s occupation of Nashville during the Civil War, Tennesseans’ roles during westward expansion to California in the 1840s and the period before its statehood when Tennessee was part of the vast Southwest Territory.
…Mr. Durham, born Oct. 7, 1924, is survived by his wife of 64 years, Anna Armstrong Coile Durham, as well as four children, four grandchildren, a sister and a niece.
He attended the University of Wisconsin and Vanderbilt University. After graduation, he served in Africa and Italy with the Air Force during World War II.
He was a partner of Durham Building Supply Co. in Gallatin from 1948 to 1973 and was a founding president of Gallatin Aluminum Products Co.

Election Official: Nashville Voting Machines Programmed for Maryland, Not TN

Davidson County voting machines that defaulted to Republican ballots during the Aug. 2 primary elections had been programmed like those used in a closed-primary system, which Tennessee doesn’t have, reports The Tennessean.
Election Commissioner Steve Abernathy, who has defended the county’s use of the machines, known as “electronic poll books,” confirmed that vendor ES&S programmed them like the ones used in Maryland, where voters generally must be registered members of a party to vote in its primary.
In Tennessee, the system is open, meaning voters don’t register as party members, and they can cast ballots in either primary. But the machines in 60 of Davidson County’s 160 precincts didn’t always work that way last month.
Some voters, including Sheriff Daron Hall, an elected Democrat, have said the electronic poll books gave them Republican ballots if poll workers didn’t ask them which primary they wanted to vote in.
The problem has drawn howls of outrage from Democrats, including Metro Council members and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper. Abernathy, one of three Republicans on the five-member Election Commission, said the machines weren’t supposed to work that way.

Electronic Poll Books Really Are Out in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Davidson County election officials have backed away from using electronic poll books in the November election.
The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/Ns0uLc ) reported the decision Thursday came despite Davidson County Election Commission members expressing confidence in the reliability of 60 of the devices used in the Aug. 2 primary.
The electronic poll books drew fire after reports that voters who did not specify the party primary ballot they wanted were assigned a Republican ballot.
Commissioner Steve Abernathy said he wants the commission to revisit the issue later, saying the software error evident in the primary election has been corrected.
“Based on that data I have seen so far from the electronic poll book locations, it appears that the primary ballots in Nashville were processed with better than 99.8 percent accuracy,” Abernathy said. “I challenge any other government agency or department to match that level of performance.”
Commission member A.J. Starling didn’t disagree, but said it’s a matter of voter perception after the gaffe in the primary election.
“The electorate out there doesn’t have the confidence that the system is what it ought to be,” Starling said.
The commission had planned to buy another 100 of the books, to have them on line at all 160 polls in November.
Funding also became an issue. The Metro Council voted last week to withhold a $400,000 final payment for the machines after the problem that became evident during the primary.

‘Electronic Poll Books’ Scrapped for Nashville Elections

Just hours after the Davidson County Election Commission voted Tuesday not to use electronic poll books for voting in November, Metro Council members voted to hold off on paying for the machines, reports The Tennessean.
The poll books, which replaced paper poll books recently in 60 of the county’s 160 voting precincts, have been at the center of criticism in the past week because some voters received the wrong ballots during the Aug. 2 primary.
The commission had planned to use the new poll books in all 160 precincts for the Nov. 6 general election. But four of the five commission members voted Tuesday to revert back to the paper poll books for all precincts.
The electronic poll books will be used only for poll workers to look up voter lists. Funding for those additional poll books — about $400,000 — was part of an appropriations bill that was before the Metro Council Tuesday evening. Last week, Metro Councilwoman Megan Barry called for the city to hold off on approving that money pending an audit of the election processes.
The council voted to approve her amendment and take up the issue of whether to fund the purchase of the equipment at a later date.
“I think it’s our responsibility to have the election commission come before us with all the uncertainty,” said Councilman Lonnell Matthews.

Nashville Council Members Join Flap Over ‘Electronic Poll Books’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Four members of the Metro Nashville Council will ask that the city withhold $400,000 for more electronic poll books after a several prominent Democrats were given Republican ballots in the primary.
County Administrator of Elections Albert Tieche has admitted there was a problem with the electronic poll books that were used in some precincts to check in voters but he denies that the problem was widespread.
He says there were generally more Republican ballots given out in precincts that used the old paper poll books than at those using the new electronic ones.
The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/O8N3N0) reports that Democratic leaders in the state Legislature are citing their own set of figures to show the problem was widespread. They say that 19,714 voters used a GOP ballot this year, compared to an average of about 5,800 in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 August primaries.
Party leaders asked the state not to certify the election results until the issue was studied.
The electronic poll books were used in 60 of Nashville’s 160 precincts during the primary. Tieche wants to roll them out for all precincts during the general election in November, but state Elections Coordinator Mark Goins has not yet said whether he will approve it.
If Councilwoman Megan Barry has her way, though, the question could be moot. She wants to withhold funding for additional electronic poll books until there is an audit of the process used in the Aug. 2 elections. Council members Lonnell Matthews, Jerry Maynard and Ronnie Steine have joined that call.