Tag Archives: speech

Whatever Happened to Phil Bredesen?

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.

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Text of Michelle Obama’s Nashville Speech

From the White House Communications Office:
Remarks by the First Lady at the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference at Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, June 27, 2012:
11:05 A.M. CDT
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, my, my, my. (Applause.) Please, you all rest yourselves. Thank you so much. Let me tell you, it is such a pleasure and an honor to join you today in Nashville for your 2012 General Conference.
I want to start by thanking Bishop McKenzie for her introduction. And I want to honor her for the history she’s made —
MRS. OBAMA: Absolutely. (Applause.) For the example she has set and for her inspired leadership in this church.
I also want to thank Mayor Dean for his service to this city and for taking the time to join us here today.
And finally, I want to thank all of the bishops, pastors, and lay leaders in AME churches here in America and around the world. (Applause.)
You all are part of a proud tradition, one that dates back to the founding of that first AME Church and the founding of this nation and has shaped its history every day since. You all know the story — how back in the late 1700s, a man named Richard Allen bought his freedom from slavery — (applause) — became a minister, and eventually founded a Methodist church called Bethel Church – or “Mother Bethel” as we know it today. That first AME church was located in a blacksmith’s shop, and that first congregation had just a few dozen members.
But there’s a reason why one pastor called Bethel’s founding “a Liberty bell for black folks.” (Applause.) There’s a reason why W.E.B. Dubois said that Bethel Church “belongs to the history of the nation rather than to any one city.”

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Alexander Backs New ‘Clean Air Rule’ (Critics say it’s an attack on coal)

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said he would vote to uphold a new federal clean air rule “because healthier air means better jobs for Tennesseans–every one of Tennessee’s major metropolitan areas is struggling to meet standards that govern whether industries can acquire the air quality permits to locate here.”
In remarks delivered on the floor of the United States Senate, Alexander said, “This rule requires utilities in other states to install the same pollution controls that TVA already is installing on its coal-fired power plants. TVA alone can’t clean up our air. Tennessee is bordered by more states than any other state. We are surrounded by our neighbors’ smokestacks. If we want more Nissan and Volkswagen plants, we will have to stop dirty air from blowing into Tennessee.”
He continued: “Here’s why: The first thing Nissan did when it came to Tennessee in 1980 was apply for an air quality permit for emissions from its paint plant. If Nashville’s air had already been too dirty to allow these emissions, Nissan would have gone to Georgia, and one third of Tennessee’s manufacturing jobs today would not be auto jobs.”
The senator also noted that cleaner air means more jobs from tourism. “East Tennesseans know,” he said, “that 9 million tourists a year come to see the Great Smoky Mountains–not the Great Smoggy Mountains.” He said the Great Smokies is one of the nation’s most polluted parks.
“We have 546 Tennesseans working in coal mines, according to the Energy Information Administration, and every one of those jobs is important,” the senator said. “There are also 1,200 Tennesseans who work at the Alstom plants in Knoxville and Chattanooga that will supply the country with pollution control equipment required by this rule. Every one of their jobs is important, too.”
He cited the health advantages of the new rule, pointing out that “three of the five worst U.S. cities for asthma are in Tennessee” and that, because of high levels of mercury, health advisories warn against eating fish caught in many of Tennessee’s streams. The new rule would require coal-fired power plants to put on advanced pollution control equipment to control mercury emissions along with 186 other pollutants, including arsenic, acid gases and toxic metals, as required by the Clean Air Act amendments passed by Congress in 1990.
The senator said that he will vote against a resolution by Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe disapproving of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Utility MACT rule.
To reduce costs, Alexander introduced legislation with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) to allow six years to comply with the rule, a timeline many utilities have requested. He and Pryor also urged President Obama “to exercise his already existing authority to allow six years.”

Despite Haslam Veto, Pody Vows to Push Fight on Vanderbilt Bill

State Rep. Mark Pody delivered “a scorcher of a speech” at the Wilson County GOP Reagan Day Dinner, reports Chas Sisk, vowing to continue his push against Vanderbilt University’s requirement that all school clubs, including religious groups, adhere to rules against discrimination on the grounds of creed, sexual orientation or religion.
Pody was sponsor of the bill, which Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed after the 107th General Assembly had adjourned for the year, meaning there was no chance to override. Proponents will thus have to start all over with passage again next year.
“We actually made history. We were the very first veto in the last two year’s of this administration. But I am going to back,” Pody said, slamming his fist on the lectern at Friday night’s Wilson County GOP event. “I am not going to be pushed around, and if the only thing that I do is to stand up and say Christians will not be pushed around.”
“We do have a right to be here,” he continued as the crowd of about 100 or so GOP activists whooped and cheered. “We are a constitution. We believe it. We’re conservative. We came to fight now.”
…Pody’s speech proved to be the most emotionally charged moment of the night, surpassing addresses from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik, state Rep. Linda Elam and former state Rep. Susan Lynn, Elam’s primary rival

Note: Pody was also sponsor of the Health Care Compact bill, which failed on the House floor on the last day of the session.

A Jimmy Naifeh Farewell

House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh made a pitch for civility in farewell remarks to the House as the 107th adjourned, reports Richard Locker.
Naifeh, 72, a Democrat first elected in 1974 and who served as House speaker longer than anyone in Tennessee history — 18 years — gave a brief farewell to his colleagues and received an ovation on both sides of the aisle. He acknowledged the Republicans’ rise to power, commended Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and encouraged civility.
“It is time for changes because the elections told us two years ago that they wanted this particular leadership in place. The Republicans have the votes and we’re following along best as we can,” he said.
“One thing I’m going to leave you with is, when we’re in committee and we’re debating very hard and you’re upset with each other, make sure you leave it in that room. Especially when you’re up here on the floor and when you get into hot debate, when you walk out this door here, leave it in here. You’ll find it helps a whole lot,” said Naifeh.

Occupiers Want an Apology for Urination Oratory

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Occupy Nashville protesters are demanding an apology from the sponsor of legislation aimed at stopping them from staying overnight on the Capitol complex.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Eric Watson of Cleveland could be up for floor votes in both chambers this week.
The legislation would make it a misdemeanor to lay down “bedding for the purpose of sleeping.”
The proposal refers to items associated with camping, “including tents, portable toilets, sleeping bags, tarps, propane heaters, cooking equipment and generators.”
The protesters have camped at the plaza since early October. There are about 60 or so tents on the plaza and at least two portable toilets nearby.
Watson said in the House Judiciary Committee last week that the proposal is necessary because of criminal activity and lewd behavior where the protesters are encamped.
He said someone believed to be associated with Occupy Nashville urinated on a state employee. Watson said those sorts of things tarnish the protesters’ efforts to have a “peaceable assembly.”

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Ramsey: Occupy Nashville ‘Really Not a Protest’

An “open letter” emailed by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office:
Dear Friend,
As you may be aware, a group known as Occupy Nashville has essentially taken up residence on War Memorial Plaza across the street from the Capitol. While describing themselves as protesters, they are actually something quite different.
Average protesters, usually on some defined day centered around a specific issue, march or congregate en mass to demand redress of a specific grievance. Normal protests can get loud and they can get rowdy. Frequently, they can last long into the night. On rare occasions, they can last a few days.
Occupy Nashville is quite a different animal. This protest is not really a protest at all. It is, as the name implies, an occupation. I value our constitutional rights — the freedom of speech most of all. Without the freedom to directly confront our leaders, our constitution isn’t worth the parchment on which it’s printed.
Whether from the left or the right, I appreciate people engaging their government.
However, to continue to ignore the reality of Occupy Nashville would be to shirk my duties as a public servant. I have to tell the truth and the truth is this: your War Memorial Plaza – a place dedicated to Tennesseans who paid the ultimate price in service to their nation and fellow citizens – is no longer a place for visitors. It is unsightly, it is unclean and, depending on the time of day, it is downright dangerous.
While the initial “Occupiers” may have started out with good intentions, their movement has been infiltrated and co-opted by the homeless in Nashville. Unsurprisingly, amongst the homeless population there is a distinct criminal element. In Occupy Nashville, this criminal element has found safe haven and justification for their lifestyle.
While the crimes committed in and around the Plaza run the gamut, several of the incident reports I have reviewed have alarmed me. From public sexual behavior to narcotics trafficking to assault, the criminal element surrounding Occupy Nashville has made a visit to our State Capitol more than unpleasant.
For example, a legislative employee standing in a bottom floor courtyard was recently urinated on by someone connected to the occupation.
This is disgraceful.
The Occupiers are not merely a nuisance with a blatant disregard for societal norms — they have become dangerous. I have reviewed paperwork from both Metro Police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol and seen reports that include threats of bodily harm by people with knives and other weapons.
One report I read particularly disturbed me because it affected young students here to learn about their Capitol: a homeless member of Occupy Nashville exposed himself in full view of students on a field trip.
A cursory glance at media coverage paints a very unsavory picture: a public brawl occurred on the Plaza on Christmas Day followed by a brazen act of arson in time for the New Year.
In essence, open acts of sex, drug use and violence you wouldn’t expect in an “R” rated movie are at times on full display on your War Memorial Plaza.
It saddens me because every year students from Tennessee schools visit our state capitol to learn about their government and see a very moving War Memorial dedicated to Tennesseans who died for their countrymen over the last 100 years. This year my advice to teachers looking to bring students here would be simple: stay home. I cannot in good conscience recommend the Capitol as a class trip destination at this time. I’m embarrassed to say it but it is the truth.
I hope and pray this situation will be resolved sooner rather then later and I can once again wholeheartedly recommend that visitors and students come to Nashville to learn how our government works.
Again, I support our constitution and embrace with open arms our rights of free speech and assembly. Liberal judges here in Nashville and on the federal bench can try and twist the law however they want but the reality is clear: this occupation has gone beyond speech and assembly and become an embarrassment — both to causes Occupy purports to support and the state of Tennessee at large.
Ron Ramsey

Haslam’s Climb to ‘Rhetorical Heights Seldom Seen’

My nomination for most resounding praise of Gov. Bill Haslam’s “state of the state” speech goes to Greg Johnson, News Sentinel columnist. An excerpt:
“{I)n his second State of the State, Haslam was obviously a man in his moment, clear on the condition of the state he finds the state and sure about the direction he wants to lead those who will follow. Yes, the technocrat was still evident.
But Haslam climbed rhetorical heights seldom seen in the usually mundane presentation of the state budget to a joint session of the Legislature.
“In the little over a year that I have been in office, I’ve been reminded time and again about the incredible state we live in and the inspiring people who call Tennessee home,” Haslam said. “I have hope for Tennessee because I have confidence in Tennesseans.”
These were not mere words. Rather, Haslam invoked a Reaganesque belief in the people, speaking, it seemed, from a place deep within him of a Volunteer Exceptionalism that trusts the people to find their own way and build their own lives.
…Haslam, with core conservative convictions clearly evident on Monday, knows it is the exceptional people that make Tennessee exceptional. Still, he called us higher. He closed, “As I stand before you this evening, I challenge all of us to believe in better.”

New Judge Ethics Rules Questioned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Revamped ethics rules for state judges are designed to increase public confidence in the judicial system. Critics say it could abridge the rights of judges.
The reworked Code of Judicial Conduct bars Tennessee judges from making political donations. It also tightens restrictions on when judges must step away from overseeing cases because of interest conflicts, according to The Tennessean. http://tnne.ws/wiJJU6 ).
Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark said the new recusal rules should give litigants more confidence.
Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick believes several provisions of the new code could infringe on judge’s free speech rights. Fitzpatrick is troubled by a restriction on judges commenting on pending cases.
Some prosecutors said new recusal language could allow criminal defendants to bog down prosecution of the charges against them.

Cohen Takes College Sports to House Floor

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., made a speech on House floor Thursday to pitch the idea of University of Memphis joining the Big East Conference. The Commercial Appeal says Cohen had one minute — and no timeouts — to play the role of Rick Pitino.
On Wednesday Pitino, the University of Louisville basketball coach, campaigned for the Big East Conference to consider inviting former Conference USA rival Memphis. Cohen, a Memphian and longtime fan of Tiger athletics, picked up the conference realignment ball Thursday and took his best shots.
During a brief plea on the House floor, Cohen said he wanted to encourage ”all the Big East presidents to consider the University of Memphis for membership.”
”Memphis is a major city, home of Federal Express and International Paper and other major companies. We don’t have a professional football team in Memphis so if we get in the Big East, in essence, you are our professional football team and the city would rally around it, unlike in Dallas and Houston where they have professional (football) teams.”
Cohen referenced Pitino’s suggestion to invite Memphis during his talk, the speech coming as the Big East considers adding Boise State, Central Florida, SMU, Houston, Air Force and Navy to offset the departures of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and TCU.