The November election shows that the once-dominant Tennessee political species known as the “yellow dog Democrat” is not extinct, though confined to isolated areas, while the now-dominant species — let’s call it “yellow cat Republican,” though the phrase is not christened by tradition — is thriving in much broader geographic regions.
Exhibit No. 1 on the Yellow Dog Democrat (YDD) survival front: Mark Clayton, widely condemned and officially disavowed by the remnant state Democratic establishment for “extremist views” contrary to Democratic values. He nonetheless collected more than 30 percent of the vote statewide against Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. He got 704,708 votes and, if you counted only the votes in the Democrat-dominated habitats of Davidson and Shelby counties, would have defeated Corker.
That was roughly equal to the percentage performance of Democrat John Jay Hooker against incumbent Republican Don Sundquist in the 1998 gubernatorial election.
The state Democratic Party had urged the faithful to write in a candidate rather than vote for Clayton. Almost none did so. After the election, Clayton actually declared victory “in the race against the unelected bosses who waged a write-in campaign (against) their own duly nominated leader (Clayton) with unauthorized party resources.”
In short, the YDD faithful ignored the party advice and backed Clayton.
Exhibit No. 1 on the Yellow Cat Republican (YCR) front: U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais was re-elected with almost 56 percent of the vote in the GOP-dominated habitat called the 4th Congressional District, despite the disclosure that he had been a total hypocrite in his private life as compared to his political and public life declaration of opposing abortion. And that, as a physician, he had sex with patients other than his wife at the time. You might say that, in his personal life, he had exhibited extremist views contrary to Republican values.
The City Commission in Etowah, Tenn., approved an ordinance banning pit bulls by a 3-2 vote at its meeting Monday night, despite a campaign by pit bull owners against the measure, according to the Chattanooga TFP. The ordinance, which the City Commission already approved once in a first reading, singles out pit bulls as a particularly dangerous breed with a strong fighting and chase instinct. Some of the characteristics that make them dangerous, according to the ordinance, include a diminished tendency to warn they’re going to attack, a tendency to “fight to the death” and to tear flesh “which has resulted in grotesque injuries to human victims.”
…Under the ordinance, City Code Enforcement Officer Dave Mason said, “Any new dogs coming in are banned.”
The ordinance grandfathers-in existing pit bulls. But owners would have to take a variety of steps, including registering animals with identifying photos, posting “beware of dog” signs, obtaining $100,000 in liability insurance, keeping the dogs muzzled on short leashes when outside of the home and keeping them confined indoors or in a locked pen or kennel at home.
Under the ban, any puppies born to registered dogs would have to be removed from city limits within six weeks.
“The Colbert Report” targeted U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais from Tennessee Wednesday night, lampooning the pro-life congressman’s abortion scandal, observes Chris Carroll.
The satirical political show on Comedy Central featured revelations that the Jasper, Tenn., physician urged a patient with whom he had a sexual relationship to get an abortion a dozen years ago.
Show host Stephen Colbert recognized the congressman as the show’s “Alpha Dog of the Week,” highlighting a statement on DesJarlais’ website which says “all life should be cherished and protected.”
“DesJarlais recently proved his flexibility by lifting his leg,” Colbert said, “and peeing on his own position.”
…”Shocking!” Colbert said. “A conservative Republican congressman was caught having an illicit affair — and it wasn’t with a man.”
— Note: Link to the Colbert Report critique of DesJarlais is HERE.
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A state lawmaker hit back Tuesday at critics of a YouTube video she posted of her dog Pepper being held outside a moving car for what she called an “air swim.”
Freshman Rep. Julia Hurley said in an interview in her legislative office that her Chinese crested named Pepper enjoys being held out into the wind.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Hurley’s short video titled “Pepper Air Swims” was pulled two days after being posted on YouTube. Hurley, a Republican, said she removed the video because she “didn’t want to deal with” criticism she calls politically motivated.
“I think it’s a liberal ploy to take the attention off the bills and the legislation I’ve passed and the positive things I’ve done, to make me look like a bad person,” the Lenoir City Republican said.
Hurley said people who complained about the video should explain why they don’t have a similar reaction about other unrestrained dogs in the beds of pickup trucks or leaning out windows.
“My dog obviously enjoys it,” Hurley said. “She’s very happy.”
A brief YouTube video linked to state Rep. Julia Hurley showing a small dog being held outside a moving convertible was removed from the Internet Monday, two days after it was posted.
More, lifted from the News Sentinel’s website:
The video, titled “Pepper Air Swims” shows the small dog being held out the passenger window, its front legs moving in the air, as two people laugh in the background. (Note: Though the video has been taken off YouTube, the KNS has it up, HERE.)
The faces of neither person are shown. Only the forearms of the person holding the dog are seen. The video was posted to the freshman lawmaker’s YouTube channel under the user name “repjuliahurley.”
Hurley, a Republican seeking re-election to a second term in the 32nd House District, owns a Chinese crested, a hairless breed of dog that she named Pepper. She drives a BMW convertible.
Hurley didn’t return repeated calls and emails seeking comment Monday.
A Roane County resident blasted the video Monday.
“I find Ms. Hurley’s behavior to be extremely unkind and irresponsible,” the Rev. Peggy Blanchard stated in an email.
State Rep. Julia Hurley (R-Lenoir City) was kicked out of the Roane County Courthouse for taking her dog in with he, reports WATE-TV.
Hurley claims the 11-pound Chinese crested is a service animal, which is permitted in public places according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She had the dog on a leash when it was spotted by County Executive Ron Woody last week.
Hurley says she simply didn’t know dogs weren’t allowed in the courthouse. She says she’s upset because of the way she was treated and the way the situation was handled, not because she and her service dog were told to leave.
“I wasn’t being attacked for my dog being a service dog. I was attacked for having a dog in the courthouse. I was not requested respectfully to remove the dog. I was not spoken to at all. I was snapped at and yelled at across the courthouse,” Rep. Hurley said.
That’s not how Woody says things unfolded. “As I went out of my office, I saw a little dog walking down the hall, and of course it was on a leash so I had asked security, you know we need to get the dogs out of the courthouse. That was basically the extent of it.”
Hurley says the dog was already registered as a service dog when she adopted it, and it serves as a companion.
“That’s why I got her was to be my companion. I mean if I wanted to take her, if I put on her little service sweater and took her to the hospital for cancer patients, then she would be a service dog, but she’s my dog. She’s my companion,” Rep. Hurley explained.
She says the confrontation was to make a point with county employees. “If he has a problem with his employees, he needs to speak with his employees and not use me as an example to get to them.” UPDATEfrom Bob Fowler: By Tuesday, the freshman lawmaker had declared the issue off-limits. “I don’t want to talk about that anymore,” Hurley said. “I don’t think this is appropriate news. What’s going on in Nashville is newsworthy.”
Roane County Commissioner Randy Ellis said he witnessed last week’s incident and described Woody’s behavior as “quiet and respectful” when he asked courthouse security to remove the dog.
Ellis said Woody didn’t address Hurley at the time and disputed Hurley’s claim that her pet is a service dog, saying it doesn’t meet that definition under Americans with Disabilities Guidelines.
News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE, TN), July 26, 2011 — The Tennessee Senate’s “top dog” Rueben Faulk has a new gig as “Spokesdog” for Spay Tennessee. The organization tapped Rueben, who belongs to State Senator Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill), for the position after watching a news report on the chocolate Labrador Retriever’s “twitters” from Capitol Hill.
Rueben accompanies Senator Faulk from his Church Hill home in Upper East Tennessee to Nashville during the legislative session where he delivers a twitter report on everything from politics to the squirrels on the Capitol lawn. Faulk says Rueben is excited about having his own role in community service in encouraging responsible pet ownership.
“This was a perfect fit for Rueben,” says Faulk. “He definitely has strong opinions on how you need to treat your dog. Now, he gets to lead on that point.”
“We really enjoyed Reuben’s story being told on the news and knew that there are things he can do to help others of his kind by using his twitter account and new-found fame to promote responsible pet ownership,” said Julie Jacobson, of Spay Tennessee. “Preventing unwanted litters is the best way to stop shelter euthanasia. We hope Rueben can help spread the news regarding our referral service to help all Tennessee pet owners find affordable spay/neuter services in their area.”
To find more information about referral services, pet owners can go to http://www.spaytennessee.org/. Rueben’s twitter account can be found at Rueben Faulk@senatewatchdog.
(Note: This is an unedited version of a column written for Knoxville Business Journal. The edited version, trimmed somewhat, is HERE.)
Given that Tennessee is a right-to-work state and has one of the lowest union membership levels in the nation, one might think that there’s not much to be done in the way of new anti-labor legislation.
One would be wrong, however, at least judging by the plethora of bills in the General Assembly to slap new requirements, restrictions, prohibitions and other impediments on associations or employee organizations.
“We want to help Gov. Haslam meet his goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 destination for jobs in the Southeast,” explained Mack Cooper, who once upon a time was lobbyist for Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and who today is lobbying for passage of a half-dozen labor-bashing bills drafted and pushed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Being against unions has reached a new peak of fashionableness in the new Republican super majority of Legislatorland. But in some cases, it is being argued that the bills are either meaningless or even cause more problems for business than for labor.
For the meaningless argument, consider HB1585, one of the U.S. Chamber’s “model” bills, which proposes, as introduced, would have imposed a six-page list of new disclosure and reporting requirement on the Tennessee State Employees Association.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A lawmaker’s extreme fear of dogs has led to a ban on pets at the legislative office complex at the Tennessee Capitol.
An emotional Rep. Joanne Favors on the House floor on Monday evening said seeing a dog in the Legislative Plaza before the session had affected her blood pressure.
Afterward, the Chattanooga Democrat put her head down on her desk and was attended to by fellow lawmakers and a nurse.
Republican House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga told his colleagues to “be on notice” that pets are not allowed at the Plaza.
Republican Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol often brings his dog to his Nashville office. McCormick said it wasn’t Lundberg’s dog that frightened Favors, but asked that he no longer (bring) it along.