Tag Archives: pitts

TN Commentary on GOP’s Lean to the Extreme

The apparent suicide of a mentally-troubled Florida man distraught over the re-election of President Obama is cited by Lenard Pitts in a column critical of right-wing commentators.
Sometimes, they act — the Hannitys, the O’Reillys, the Trumps, the Limbaughs, the whole conservative political infotainment complex — as if this were all a game, as if their nonstop litany of half truths, untruths and fear mongering, their echo chamber of studied outrage, practiced panic, intellectual incoherence and unadulterated equine feculence, had no human consequences. Sometimes, they behave as if it were morally permissible — indeed, morally required — to say whatever asinine, indefensible, coarse or outrageous thing comes to mind in the name of defeating or diminishing the dreaded left. And never mind that vulnerable people might hear this and shape their beliefs accordingly.
Did the conservative political infotainment complex kill Henry Hamilton? No.
But were they the water in which he swam, a Greek chorus echoing and magnifying the outsized panic that troubled his unwell mind? It seems quite likely.
One hopes, without any real expectation, that Hamilton’s death will give pause to the flame throwers on the right. One hopes, without any real expectation, that somebody will feel a twinge of conscience. Or shame.
But that will not happen.


Frank Cagle, who is pretty darn conservative in many matters, says in a column that elections show the Republican party needs to distance itself from the “crackpot caucus.”
The Republican brand has come to be associated with bigotry and hate speech. It is the tone and the rhetoric that turns off people who might otherwise agree more with conservative principles than liberal ones.
In the 1950s, the John Birch Society began to make inroads into the Republican Party. Their extremist views and paranoia about government plots threatened to marginalize the party. William F. Buckley, editor of The National Review, and other conservative opinion leaders worked to throw these people out of the party.
What can Republican leaders today do to change the perception of minority groups and demographic changes?
They can start by condemning people who claim, all evidence to the contrary, that Obama is not an American citizen. They can call out conservative talk-radio hosts for hateful tirades and name-calling. They can condemn Limbaugh when he does things like refer to a young woman testifying before Congress as a slut.
They can also call out a handful of state legislators who make national news with stupid bills.
It’s time to start taking responsibility. Call down and excise the Crackpot Caucus.

Continue reading

Bill Inspired by Carbon Monoxide Fatalities Approved

News release from state Sen. Tim Barnes:
NASHVILLE – A bill sponsored by State Senator Tim Barnes and State Representative Joe Pitts to protect renters of recreation vehicles from carbon monoxide poisoning passed both the House and Senate on Monday.
“This legislation comes too late for those who have lost their loved ones, but with the help of their family members, we can ensure that such a tragedy never happens again,” Barnes said.
Senate Bill 2357/House Bill 2734 requires all lease or rental recreational vehicles in Tennessee to have working carbon monoxide detectors. The bill was brought to the state legislature after a tragic incident in Clarksville last year in which five people were killed from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning during a charity event.
Police found the victims in an RV with a generator near a vent and all the windows and doors shut. All five had fatal amounts of carbon monoxide in their blood.
Christine and Ed Watson, whose daughter and husband were killed, came to Pitts and Barnes with the legislation. The bill requires all lease or rental agreements to contain as statement acknowledging that the vehicle is equipped with a working detector.
Under the bill, companies can be held liable for violating the requirement.
“The Watsons have worked tirelessly to educate both lawmakers and the public about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to prevent such a terrible heartbreak from happening to other Tennesseans,” Pitts said. “In our eyes, Christine and Ed Watson are heroes.”
The legislation now goes to Governor Bill Haslam for his signature.

Detector Bill Named After Carbon Monoxide Victims

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill that would require working carbon monoxide detectors in leased recreational vehicles has been named after five people who died from carbon monoxide poisoning last year at a bike rally in Clarksville.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts, of Clarksville, was advanced in a House subcommittee on Tuesday. Christine and Ed Watson, both of Clarksville, showed a picture of their daughter, Kathryn Over, and her husband, Jonathan, who were among the five killed last September during a Bikers Who Care event.
Christine Watson said the bill would prevent future tragedies by requiring a working carbon monoxide detector in RVs.
Police say the deaths were accidental after a generator was found near a vent for the trailer and all the windows and doors were shut.