News release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn:
WASHINGTON – Representatives Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) and Todd Rokita (IN-4) today fought back against burdensome regulations being imposed on American ceiling fan manufacturers by the Department of Energy (DOE). Blackburn and Rokita secured a provision in H.R. 2609, the Fiscal Year 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, that would prevent any funds from being used by DOE to finalize, implement, or enforce the proposed “Standards Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits” rule.
Ceiling fans and ceiling fan light kits already face existing regulations set in place by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005). These existing provisions burden the ceiling fan industry with ineffective mandates. However, on March 11, 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a 101-page rulemaking framework document evaluating potential energy-savings requirements on ceiling fans through new regulations. The new regulations being considered by DOE would significantly impair the ability of ceiling fan manufacturers to produce reasonably priced, highly decorative fans. These regulations would not only place a higher price tag on less aesthetically pleasing designs but could increase homeowners’ reliance on other cooling systems that consume more electricity.
“First, they came for our health care, then they took away our light bulbs, and raided our nation’s most iconic guitar company — now they are coming after our ceiling fans. Nothing is safe from the Obama administration’s excessive regulatory tentacles,” Blackburn said. “These regulations extend into the homes of American families, raise cost for consumers, and kill the ability of our manufacturers to grow and create jobs. Enough is enough.
From “History Bill” Carey:
Paul Clements spent 11 years researching first-person accounts of the early settlements of Middle Tennessee. He assembled every available account of events such as the journey of the Donelson Party, the Battle of the Bluffs, the Nickajack Expedition and countless other events between 1775 and 1800. He recently published many of these in the book “Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements.” This amazing 800-page volume sheds new light on the early history of Nashville and proves that many of the stories we have heard only tell part of the story.
Carey’s Q and A session with Clements is HERE.
And Carey has a piece in the City Paper. An excerpt from that: A native of Nashville who doesn’t even have a degree in history, Clements just moved the understanding of Nashville’s early history forward one very large step. He did this the old-fashioned way — by staring at microfilm for more than a decade in places such as the Metro Nashville Archives and the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
“I’m in awe of what Paul has done,” said John Egerton, Southern historian and the author of Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South. “The very idea that such a thing could happen at this stage is astonishing.
“The only way it could have happened is because of a guy like Paul.”
You see, in the 1840s, a man named Lyman Draper interviewed many of the people who were here when present-day Davidson and Sumner counties consisted of nothing more than a series of forts and homesteads. Draper conducted these interviews intending to write a long book about the history of the American frontier.
Draper never wrote the book, but he wrote transcripts of the interviews. In some cases, the notebooks containing these interviews had never been translated from his mid-19thcentury handwriting — until Clements did it.
Furthermore, about 75 pages of handwritten notes written by someone who interviewed Edward Swanson in the 1820s were discovered in a West Tennessee home in the 1980s. This was a remarkable discovery. Swanson, you see, was one of Middle Tennessee’s earliest settlers; he came to the “French Lick,” as Nashville was once known, before the Donelson Party got here. Swanson’s notebooks were detailed, containing accounts of events such as the Battle of the Bluffs, and descriptions of the fort that used to be in present-day downtown Nashville.
A federal highway bill that is expected to receive final approval today in Congress could lead to far fewer red-light traffic cameras across the country, reports Michael Collins. The legislation, a massive bill that overhauls highway and transit programs, bars the use of federal money to purchase red-light cameras or other automated traffic enforcement cameras.
“Since most highway money, even at the state level, comes from the federal government, and most of the work that is being done locally involves federal money, what hopefully it will mean — and should mean — is that there will be many, many fewer red-light cameras all over the country,” said U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., a Knoxville Republican.
Duncan said he was able to insert the red-light provision into the final highway bill during negotiations between the House and the Senate.
Duncan serves as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. He also was a member of the House-Senate conference committee that pieced together the final highway package.
Both the House and the Senate are scheduled to vote on the highway bill later today
Two camera enforcement companies have lost a bid to overturn a state law that prohibits fining drivers for improper right turns on red if the only evidence is photographic, reports the News Sentinel. And despite predictions that the law that went into effect last July would cause an increase in wrecks, statistics in Knoxville refute that contention
Knox County Chancellor Michael W. Moyers’ 27-page decision signed May 30 addresses a multitude of arguments brought by American Traffic Solutions, Inc., and Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., asking him to declare the law unconstitutional.
ATS, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., provides camera enforcement equipment for 14 intersections in Knoxville. Redflex, based in Phoenix, Ariz., has equipped four intersections in Farragut with photo enforcement devices.
. “The challenged law does not in any way amend or modify the rules regarding making right turns at a red light,” Moyers ruled. “Its only effect is to provide that some other evidence besides the camera footage standing alone is necessary to prosecute a violation for making an illegal right turn at intersections where right turns on red are otherwise allowed.”
…Moyers noted in his opinion that lawmakers concluded use of traffic cameras “to regulate illegal right turns is a measure directed more toward revenue generation than enhancing traffic safety.”
The companies argued lawmakers discussed including an exemption to the new law for photo enforcement contracts already in force. The lawsuit asked the court to find those contracts were exempt from the new law. Moyers shot that argument down.
“The Legislature was free to include such language within the bill; it chose not to,” the chancellor wrote. “The failure to include such language does not render the bill vague or ambiguous.”
Both photo enforcement companies argued the 2011 law, deemed Public Act 425, interfered with existing contracts with Farragut and Knoxville regarding collection of fines for improper right turns on red. That, the companies contended, made the new law unconstitutional.
Moyers, however, ruled in his summary judgment that Public Act 425 “is a constitutional expression of the Legislature’s police powers …”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama headlined a fundraiser for her husband’s re-election campaign in Nashville on Tuesday, saying Democrat Barack Obama “has brought us out of the dark and into the light.”
Obama spoke for nearly a half-hour at the $500-per-ticket event, stressing her husband’s accomplishments, ranging from the military strike that killed Osama bin Laden to the federal health care overhaul.
Michelle Obama noted that the health care plan — which is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court — requires coverage for mammograms and prenatal care at no extra cost and for children with pre-existing conditions like asthma and diabetes.
Obama told the estimated crowd of 450 people that her husband is “the kind of president this country deserves. ”
Obama closed by asking the crowd three times: “Are you in?”
She responded to her own question by saying: “Because I am so in.”
“We have an amazing story to tell,” she said. “This president has brought us out of the dark and into the light.”
Musician Emmylou Harris performed for the crowd, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee State University President Portia Shields also spoke during the luncheon.
Obama recognized U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis and Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at the beginning of her speech.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn says she’s stuffing stockings with a bright present this year: the kind of light bulbs that are due to be phased out next year.
The Brentwood Republican had backed a provision to cut funding for an energy efficiency law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, effectively ending the manufacture of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs.
Congress on Saturday passed a reprieve for the bulbs, delaying until October the impact of the 2007 light bulb law signed by President George W. Bush.
Blackburn says in a statement provided to The Tennessean that she will fight “so that people can keep their light bulbs.” (http://tnne.ws/tz7Ec8).
Conservation advocates say the energy savings can’t be argued with. Opponents say it’s government intrusion, too.
About $600,000 was spent buying television ads on four Northeast Tennessee television stations by the opposing sides in a recent Virginia state Senate race, reports the Bristol Herald-Courier. The stations, based in the Tri-Cities area of Tennessee, broadcast into Southwest Virginia, where voters in the 38th District Virginia Senate seat live. The seat was a key in the battle for control of the Virginia Senate.
Excerpt from the story: If the phrases “phase them out,” “hard work,” and “running away from Barack Obama” sound familiar then it’s a pretty good bet you watched programming aired on one of the regions four network television stations over the past few months.
That’s because these messages were the central themes used by Virginia Sen. Phil Puckett, D-Lebanon, who was re-elected, challenger Republican Adam Light and the Republican State Leadership Committee in more than 2,100 advertisements aired on local TV stations this fall as they waged an all-out battle for control of the Virginia Senate.
Records obtained by the Bristol Herald Courier show that Puckett’s re-election campaign spent $317,680 buying enough time to air 1,231 30-second-spots on WJHL, WEMT, WCYB, and WKPT at various times between Sept. 1 and the Nov. 8 election.
Light’s campaign spent $159,895 to run 557 ads on those four stations, while the Republican committee spent $128,090 on 370 30-second spots it purchased on Light’s behalf as part of a bid to take control of the 40-member state Senate from the Democrats and place the state government squarely in GOP hands.
“There was some really big money spent in the Senate campaigns [during the past election cycle] and the television stations loved it,” said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst with the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Politics.
…”This could have been the 21st seat for the Republicans,” Kondik said of the 38th District, for which Light and Puckett fought tooth and nail.
Had GOP lawmakers won this district as well, he added, they would have earned complete control of the state Senate without relying on Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, to cast a tiebreaking vote
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The city of Knoxville is being sued by a red light camera vendor in a case that could change the new state law limiting citations for improper right turns on red.
American Traffic Solutions Inc. filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Knox County Chancery Court. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company provided the equipment for the city’s red-light cameras in Knoxville.
A state law that took effect July 1 bars cities with the cameras from issuing right-turn-on-red citations if the only evidence comes from traffic camera video. Sponsors of the measure, which also sets new restrictions on how local governments set up and use speeding cameras, said a camera couldn’t distinguish between truly illegal turns and drivers who nose into the intersection to see if it is safe to turn.
This lawsuit from ATS seeks to overturn the new law or to exempt about 20 cities that had contracts with traffic camera companies when the law took effect.
A state appellate court on Monday reinstated charges against a Knoxville man accused in the shooting of a red-light camera, the News Sentinel reports. In an opinion drafted by Appellate Judge Camille R. McMullen, the state Court of Criminal Appeals concluded Knox County Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz was wrong to toss out an indictment for felony vandalism and reckless endangerment filed against Clifford Clark in the November 2007 incident.
It’s not clear, though, whether prosecutors will be able to try Clark. Earlier this year, Leibowitz deemed Clark mentally incompetent to stand trial in an unrelated assault charge after his attorney, Ron Newcomb, argued Clark had suffered a “debilitating medical event” that caused significant memory loss and an inability to communicate.
Newcomb did not offer details, and Leibowitz sealed related medical records. Clark was accused of shooting out a red-light camera that captured him running a red light at the intersection of Interstate 640 and Broadway. Knoxville Police Department officers who were near the intersection when they heard four shots being fired and then saw Clark speeding away stopped him within seconds.
Knoxville traffic citations fell 73 percent from June to July as a result of a new state law regulating red-light camera use, reports Don Jacobs. Beginning July 1, when the law took effect, the Knoxville Police Department stopped issuing $50 violations for improper right turns recorded by cameras at 15 city intersections.
KPD Capt. Gordon Catlett, who oversees the photo enforcement program, said violations decreased from 4,826 in June to 1,308 in July.
Catlett said KPD officers continue issuing violations for drivers captured on camera running straight through a red light or improperly turning left.
Only right turns on red are exempted from the cameras’ $50 gaze.
“The real story is going to be in about four months when people realize they don’t have to stop before making a right turn and we see an increase in rear-end collisions,” Catlett said.
In Farragut, Traffic Enforcement Manager Ben Harkins deemed the new statute “a bad law.” Farragut also ceased July 1 issuing $50 right-turn-on-red violations based on camera evidence.