Saturday, July 29, 2017

Tar Baby

As I struggle with my own love/hate relationship with Nashville, the popular I Believe mural on 12th South was vandalized again.

There is another in of course East Nashville among many murals that dot the landscape here. There are some amazing artistic murals as well and in there is a guide book/site that one should look at in which to find some of the more interesting ones.   I think that is one form of public art I embrace here.

In our Main Library right now is perhaps the best photography exhibit on Hidden Nashville that has amazing less than well know publi and private spaces on display right next to the Civil Rights room one of the best curated files with regards to Nashville history.

But as I have said Nashville is not the bastion of liberalism that one would come to think or believe if anything it is contrived and almost duplicitous in ways that I cannot simply explain. So when I read this comment about the recent mural defacement I noted that the writer is well aware of this faux "Nashville Way" that reminded me of the "Seattle Process." Both are euphemisms for ways that you must communicate and demonstrate in order to be accepted and in turn respected. I grew up in Seattle and spent most of my days responding to the query, "Where are you from?" As clearly I never modeled that hand wringing pearl clutching that dominates the discussion/debate process. Here is is faux friendliness masking a judgemental hand and hence here I am asked, "What did you come here for?" Both are extremely passive aggressive questions that means I have offended the questioner and they want to understand why they don't get you (as in the former) or are angry that you are questioning their way of life (the latter). I never understood passive clearly.

But art is information it is commentary it is reflection of the times and murals have a long place in history as a way of storytelling.  I think of Diego Rivera frescoes  and Banksy as examples of how one uses street art to lead one to stop and think.  I feel that way often about much Graffiti as it is a type of art with a purpose.  But what does it mean to deface art or that of a building are they not the same? Ah a debate worthy of art.

But in Nashville I walk alone.  As even when I told someone about the current crime they went, "Over in East Nashville?"  And I think, "Well you are another idiot who knows nothing about your town and the only thing that matters to you is what matters to you."  But instead I go, "No the one on 12th."  And then conversation is over.  This marks Nashville Way more than any tar.


Love/Hate Mail: More Mural Talk

A Scene contributor weighs in on mural defacement
Scene Staff
Jul 27, 2017 3 PM

I Believe InDear Editor:

There are arguments to be made in support of the I Believe in Nashville mural as well as against vandalism of a local business. But Zach Gilchriest’s argument ("Hey Nashville, Stop Defacing Murals," July 26, 2017), that someone defaced “art” for the sake of some snarky anti-tourist foolery, lacks rigor and shows very little understanding about the rich history of street art. As a contributor who loves and respects the Scene and its staff, I find it hard to believe what Gilchriest claims: that you have "all seemingly reached the same conclusion: People need to stop defacing art."

I love the “I Believe in Global Warming” edit to the mural, and that's not because I hate tourists. Nashville paints itself as a progressive oasis in a sea of Confederate flag-toting conservative small towns, but it's a sanitized version of progressivism. New Nashville. Old Nashville. Don't matter. Gilchriest says that the vandals have kicked the artist in his teeth, that his “vision” is being trampled upon (and with it, our souls, right?). News Channel 5 said, “When it comes to believing in Nashville, it's knowing the Nashville way.”

Gilchriest doesn’t understand what the alteration does. It’s a criticism of New Nashville’s sanitized progressivism and architectural aesthetic of erasure. The alteration has nothing to do with pedal taverns and everything to do with critiquing the commercialized liberalism of New Nashville’s elite. Nashville progressivism embraces its Old Nashville “be nice or leave” ethos that masquerades as a political statement.

Here’s what altering the mural says: The fact that the president of the United States and many Tennessee lawmakers deny global warming is more important than your hip progressive identity. Yes, the alteration is a “kick in the teeth,” but a deserving one, and not to art.

Adrien Saporiti’s mural is a decoration. You can be pissed that someone vandalized another's property — which is not what I’m addressing here — but don't blame art. The nature of street art is to disrupt. It disrupts the social order and the whitewashed aesthetic that crowds out authentic cultural cityscapes. To go way back to the Bronx when Kool Herc was spinning records, at its very root, street art is the assertion that marginalized people and their ideas exist. They occupy public spaces to make themselves visible because their voices are denied by those who own and operate the buildings and bridges and subway cars that hold up a standard of anesthetized commercial value.

Art does not sanitize. Art does not euthanize. Art is not monolithic. Art does not make us all the same or provide a recognizable backdrop for our lives. Art doesn't reproduce its blandness all over town.

Art loves anarchy. Art loves resistance. I believe in art.

Best,

Erica Ciccarone

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Fox Conn


The long con began the moment Trump entered the race and now it is in earnest as others have been able to tag along for the ride to get whatever falls off the back of the truck.  But what is appalling, well in addition to pretty much everything, is that this is engaging Americans into being an accessory in this duplicity.

I find it ironic and appropriate that the Chinese company Foxconn is now taking further advantage from a President who was at first very resistant tent to Chinese fortune cookies but now swallowing them down with a cup of tea over a nice Peroshki and Vodka.  Well for now.    Pancakes are flipped less.

Nothing will be built, no jobs placed and like Carrier this will pass in the breeze of buried stories lost among more important things as the 200th vote to repeal/replace the ACA, the Russian investigation, is Forrest Trump staying, Pardoning oneself or the latest the Mooch smooch and finger fuck to the establishment.

And Apple who is Foxconn's largest client has no intention of relocating or opening a factory here.  And if you have no familiarity with the company look at their history of worker abuse and the suicides that resulted.  But that is another bullshit story that Trump has spread but keep believing as that is what keeps it a long con. 

I have noted the important sections.. for those who need to read 140 word or less. 


Wisconsin’s Lavish Lure for Foxconn: $3 Billion in Tax Subsidies

THE NEW YORK TIMES
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ, PATRICIA COHEN and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS
JULY 27, 2017


Foxconn’s plan for a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin is certainly good news for President Trump and Republican politicians Gov. Scott Walker and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, whose district the plant would call home.

But the deal with Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics supplier, comes with a heavy price tag for Wisconsin taxpayers: $3 billion in state tax credits that dwarf the typical incentive package companies receive from local governments.

Even as Mr. Walker celebrated the news with Foxconn executives at a rally at the Milwaukee Art Museum on Thursday, experts on the political left and right alike said the rewards were not justified by the cost of the tax breaks.

Over all, the subsidies for the Foxconn plant, which would produce flat-panel display screens for televisions and other consumer electronics, equal $15,000 to $19,000 per job annually.

That compares with $2,457 per year in the usual incentive arrangement, according to Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich. The new Foxconn jobs are expected to have an annual salary of at least $53,000 plus benefits, according to Mr. Walker.

“It’s a very, very costly package, and I’m skeptical that the benefits justify such big incentives,” Mr. Bartik said. “This is well beyond the typical deal.”

The White House and Wisconsin officials said Foxconn’s investment will create at least 3,000 jobs initially, with up to 22,000 more coming indirectly in the future as suppliers spring up and other local businesses benefit from the new plant.

If Foxconn lives up to its investment commitment and receives the full $3 billion tax break, it will be the fourth-largest incentive deal in United States history, according to Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a nonpartisan nonprofit research group in Washington that tracks economic development subsidies.

“We can only describe this as a gift from Wisconsin taxpayers to Foxconn shareholders,” Mr. LeRoy said. “This is a guaranteed loser for the state.”

Luring a high-tech, growing manufacturer like Foxconn will deliver economic gains for the state, especially for once-thriving factory towns in Mr. Ryan’s district, like Racine and Kenosha. At the event on Thursday in Milwaukee, Mr. Walker cheered the project as “transformational” for Wisconsin and acknowledged the state’s significant financial commitment.

“It’s bigger than anything we’ve done before,” Mr. Walker said of the incentives. “But if you want to play in the big leagues, it’s comparable with just about every other major financial incentive like this for a major project anywhere — not only in this country, but around the world.”

Foxconn executives approached the White House in the spring to talk about an array of policy issues, and began meeting regularly with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Reed Cordish, a top technology and innovation adviser, according to a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss private talks.

The company identified several states — including Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin — that would be potential sites for its facility, and Mr. Kushner and Mr. Cordish facilitated meetings between Foxconn executives and officials from those states. They hosted meetings at the White House between company executives and Mr. Walker and Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, the official said. **Note the blue states that turned red.. interesting

But White House officials played no role in negotiations between Foxconn and state officials, leaving it to the company to determine which state would be most favorable as a location.

Mr. Walker first contacted Mr. Ryan last month about the possibility of luring Foxconn to Wisconsin, and over the next few weeks, they began negotiating with Terry Gou, Foxconn’s chairman, and executives to encourage them to choose the area, according to an aide to Mr. Ryan.

Foxconn executives traveled to Washington later in the month to discuss the potential move to Wisconsin, and a few weeks later, Mr. Walker and Mr. Ryan, along with state elected officials, had dinner with Foxconn executives to hammer out details.

Aides to Mr. Ryan also lobbied state officials including Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin assembly, to support an incentive package for Foxconn, and met with executives to talk about federal work force development and training programs that would be available if they made the move, a topic that Mr. Cordish had also emphasized in his meetings with Mr. Gou.

According to a presentation by the state, the incentive package consists of $1.5 billion in state income tax credits for job creation, $1.35 billion in state income tax breaks for capital investment, and up to $150 million for a sales tax exemption. A 2016 study by Ernst & Young found that local subsidies are a key factor when companies decide where to locate new capital investments.

A special session of the Wisconsin legislature is planned to approve the incentive package, which is projected to cost $200 million to $250 million per year. The tax benefits would be contingent on Foxconn’s actual hiring and investment.

Still, the package hardly conforms to the kind of fiscal conservatism that Mr. Walker and Mr. Ryan have long espoused.

“Obviously, there is a strong desire for the state to land a company as big as Foxconn,” said Jared Walczak, a senior policy analyst at the conservative Tax Foundation in Washington. “But they’re also forgoing the opportunity to make a more competitive landscape for other businesses.”

Mr. Walker has been a lightning rod for Democrats after successfully taking on public employee unions in bitter state budget battles and backing cuts in government spending, and liberal experts were quick to criticize him on Thursday for providing Foxconn with billions in aid.

“It doesn’t fit with a governor that said we can’t spend much money,” said Martin Baily, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. “This is a guy who decimated the University of Wisconsin by budget cuts. On the one hand, he’s saying we can spend billions to pay Foxconn, but what about our own prized educational institution?”

Mr. Baily added, “It certainly could be a boost to the economy, but it’s just a big, big price to pay.”

He also questioned whether Foxconn would live up to its promises, given how similar commitments by the company in Pennsylvania and overseas fell far short of initial hopes. Perhaps the biggest investment pledge in recent years was Foxconn’s 2011 plan to invest $12 billion in Brazil and create 100,000 jobs. Foxconn never came close to that level of investment, according to news reports.

Foxconn has expanded its ambitions in the flat-panel display industry in recent years, including acquiring Sharp, the big Japanese panel maker, last year.

The Taiwanese company’s main publicly traded unit, Hon Hai Precision Industry, has spent about $9.5 billion worldwide on all of its capital investments over the past five years.

Foxconn is proposing to spend roughly the same amount — $10 billion over the next six years — just to build the Wisconsin plant. The company has also promised to spend billions around the world in the next few years.

It has begun construction on a $9 billion display factory in Guangzhou, China, that is to be completed in 2019 and create 10,000 jobs.

In 2015, the company committed to invest $5 billion in the Indian state of Maharashtra over five years and create 50,000 jobs. It also said it planned nearly a dozen additional factories in the country. So far, the first project has gone nowhere.

In 2012, the company said it would invest up to $10 billion to produce electronics in Indonesia. Two years later, it shaved that commitment down to $1 billion. No plant has been built.

Four years ago, Foxconn said it would spend $30 million on a plant in Pennsylvania, but it failed to follow through.

In a statement, Foxconn said the incentives had played a key role in the company’s decision to locate in Wisconsin, along with the state’s “talented, hardworking workforce, and a long track record in advanced manufacturing.”

“Co-investment in large projects by the governments in the locations where we invest are essential for our company and any company in our industry that is committing billions of dollars for a greenfield project,” Foxconn said.

Unlike Wisconsin, Foxconn said, other states like Pennsylvania and countries like India and Indonesia had not given the company the incentives it considers necessary to make the projects work.

Big companies like Foxconn possess leverage to extract concessions from state governments that smaller firms cannot, said Carl Davis, research director at the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington.

“This is not a comprehensive strategy for economic development,” he said. “If Wisconsin were going to offer this kind of subsidy for every employer within its borders, the state would be bankrupt.”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Matter of Taste

I posted the ignorant arrogant writing from the Publisher of East Nashville Magazine and then today I opened the other free weekly, Nashville Scene, and once again read another essay that demonstrates what I have said repeatedly, the South is a bastion of arrogance that belies explanation.  It is as if they are sure that there is nowhere as good as home and they click their ruby slippers three times it will all be alright.

I am not sure what to respond to with regards to this idiocy but in fact California is in the west and is our largest food producer with Washington State not far behind for many particular food products.  We have many small farms and corporate farms throughout America and now thanks to global commerce we have fruits and vegetables year round. And true that seasonally it is not the same and in turn the taste and quality are different, it is possible to ship foods across the globe now without any loss of freshness.   Wow that refrigerated boxcar is amazing!

So when traveling I already have an idea that across the country and the world their are seasonal and regional demands that dictate food choice.  Add to that  the reality (as in fact) of global warming has changed dramatically the availability of food and affected their seasons, and a good Southern example are Peaches.   The Georgia peach season and South Carolina's that follows have been altered and shortened this year due to colder winters and wetter springs leaving a shortage of that nectar. But again there are other Peaches... or not if you live in the South.

I am just finishing a great book, Grocery The Buying and Selling of Food in America , by Michael Rhulman discussing how the grocery industry has dramatically changed from the amount of choices to the seasonal aspects of food availability and how in turn food trends and fashions have changed how American consumers shop and eat.  So in other words Lesley you can get Kale in Wyoming if you so want.    But when visiting an area you should try the local stomping grounds and in Nashville that could be Shoney's a aging cafeteria chain founded in Nashville now owned by a Middle Easterner (whom is being passed off as Canadian as he tries to resuscitate the brand).   Or one could go to Dandguare's where Anthony Bourdain sampled the another bastion  of Nashville cuisine - meat and threes.  Or try Nashville hot chicken in the more established founding homes of Prince's or Bolton's or the more culturally appropriated and whiter Hattie B's.   

As for BBQ another debated cuisine that is almost civil war worthy as to which part of America makes the best BBQ.  So in reality the meat debate and greens here in Nashville are no different than anywhere else as in reality it is all a matter of taste.  But don't tell Lesley she is sure its better here!

And yes I make fun of my new neighbors but frankly they have done little to nothing to change my opinion otherwise.  So from someone from the West, I can say that food is as good as you want it to be.  I have learned about Sweet Tea and Grits so in exchange how about some fresh Salmon and tell me which you would prefer.



After Nearly Three Weeks Out West, It's Blessing to Enjoy the South's Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Again

Despite advances in fresh food transportation, the western U.S. is still very meaty
Lesley Lassiter
Jul 24, 2017 9 AM

WyomingWyoming's fresh produceI mentioned before that I’ve just returned from an extensive vacation out West. It was nearly three weeks, driving out among the national parks and monuments of the West. Several people I know took similar trips just before I did, and one person (a mother of of four) noted how nice it was not to cook for that entire time. Indeed, it was a nice break for me as well (we rarely eat out more than once per week). Many breakfasts were cereal bars or granola bars on the go, and lunches were either the same or sandwiches. Dinners were a usually more substantial, though some were leftovers from a previous night. This was no culinary vacation; it was an active vacation of hiking and sightseeing.

I did my best to ensure my kid was still getting some proper nutrition (apples and baby carrots were frequent snacks, for example), but I must’ve been neglecting my own needs. By the end of our second week, I found myself craving greens. Fortunately I was satisfied by “salad rolls” and a “Thai green salad” at a lovely restaurant called Teton Thai in Teton Village, Wyo. My hunger apparently wasn’t completely sated as I wandered into the Deadwood Social Club in Deadwood, S.D., days later and ordered a pasta primavera, unconcerned by the fact that the vegetables would have had to come from places far away from a land that supports little more than pine trees and grasses (and the animals that eat them). I inhaled every piece of broccoli on the plate as if it weren’t one of my most-hated foods (third only to bell peppers and celery). Green food, get in mah belleh!

A few days later, as we were making our way back to Nashville, I found myself thirsty for green food again but disappointed in South Dakota’s roadside dining, consisting mostly of bison burger joints. And then we found Al’s Oasis. I didn’t know much about it, but reviews included the words “salad bar,” so the decision was made. Apparently, my family was also feeling the lack of fresh green foods, as all three of us ordered the salad bar. In true Middle America style, the salad bar consisted mostly of pasta salads, potato salads, and Jell-O salads, though there was plenty of lettuce, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and cucumbers, too. My daughter and I both enjoyed plates piled with nothing but romaine lettuce (no dressing) during one trip to the salad bar. We, of course, also enjoyed tapioca pudding, chocolate mousse, and several of the pasta salads. But, ah, lettuce. I hadn't realized I missed it so much.

During my first post-vacation grocery excursion, I bought kale, arugula and romaine lettuce. It was quickly followed by a visit to the produce stand to get cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini and tomatoes. It’s been glorious to have salad and fresh fruit and vegetables every day again. Oh, how I missed the verdant South and all its bounty. Though I don’t love making dinner every night again.

##Old Lives Matter, sort of, kind of, not really

There will be no protests, no ##, no indignant ire and Police Chief and/or Mayor's resigning.  When Grandma got run over by a Reindeer she got a song at least.

A couple of years ago in Seattle on my way to the gym I witnessed an elderly black man who was walking with a golf club as a cane get stopped by Police.  I saw only the verbal encounter between he and the lady Cop but in the hour I was in class he was arrested and thrown in a holding cell in the Precinct literally at the other end of the block.  Later the arrest was of course just another bizarre attempt to have lawsuits filed by innocent citizens towards the Police Department as that is the only means of restitution and apology. As a taxpayer I paid for that settlement and many others before and since which only adds to the insanity of trigger happy cops.

Today in Minneapolis the blaming the victim or some random other woman for slapping the Police Car, which led to the moron shooting Ms. Damond to death.   Of course this case has ensued in the same way the Police blamed Charleena Lyes in Seattle  for being mentally ill and having the audacity  to call the Police 23 times before so fuck that we shoot that bitch!

And we have the many wellness checks and other calls to Police be they crime related or not that have ended up with innocent people dead or seriously injured as Police are sure that their lives are in constant danger and under threat so its you  versus them in almost every encounter.

But I will say that when Oldsters are arrested or killed little is ever mentioned or discussed as the reality is that we are better off dead.  Thanks, I think. No wait I am repeatedly told I am not old.  I am 58 years old and probably am in the last third of my life, with no family, no friends and no support system in place if I become seriously ill.  And given how I have been treated in the last five years by the Medical Industrial Complex I am afraid of them as much as I am with regards to the Police.  This is not living in America it is dying in it.



Another Possible Indignity of Age: Arrest

Paula Span

THE NEW OLD AGE
THE NEW YORK TIMES
JULY 21, 2017


It was the sort of incident that happens at facilities that care for people with dementia.

At a residence for older adults in San Francisco last summer, Carol King momentarily left a common sitting area. When Ms. King returned, she found that another resident had taken her chair, a nurse who witnessed the episode later reported. She grabbed the usurper’s wrist.

Though staff members intervened promptly and nobody appeared injured, the other resident (who also had dementia) called 911 to say she had been attacked. Soon, Ms. King’s son, Geoffrey, was summoned and four police officers arrived.

Over objections from staff members and her son, the officers decided to place Ms. King on an involuntary psychiatric hold, which allows a 72-hour detention when an officer believes someone is unable to care for herself or poses a danger to herself or others.

As they searched and handcuffed Ms. King and placed her in a patrol car, “she started crying,” Mr. King recalled.

At the Psychiatric Emergency Services department at San Francisco General Hospital, a psychiatrist found Ms. King “calm and cooperative,” showing no evidence of psychiatric illness, and released her after seven hours after she was detained.

Such episodes may become increasingly common. The ranks of the elderly are growing, and with them the number of people with dementia. As a result, older people and law enforcement officers are crossing paths more frequently, recent data suggests — sometimes with terrible consequences.

Consider arrest rates. From 2002 to 2012, the rate fell by 11 percent among those ages 18 to 64, according to federal data analyzed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

But the arrest rate rose by 23 percent for people over 55. It rose even more markedly — by 28 percent — among those over 65, more than 106,000 of whom were arrested in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available.

“These contacts are occurring more frequently,” said Dr. Brie Williams, a geriatrician and director of the university’s Criminal Justice Aging Project.

Arrests constitute only one measure of involvement, of course. The police are asked to find people with dementia who wander and to bring them home. They stop in for safety checks when family or doctors worry about elders’ welfare.

Especially when people have dementia, “they may be disrupting a neighborhood or engaging aggressively with someone they don’t know, and the police end up being called,” Dr. Williams said. Nursing home staff members, too, may call 911 when they feel unable to handle belligerent patients.

Such interactions can be helpful — or they can go very wrong. For Mr. King, a civil rights lawyer, it’s clear which category his mother’s detention fell into. “This was such a profound breakdown of procedure and good sense,” he said.

The acting police chief disagreed, saying last summer that the officers had acted within department policy and state law, and had “a duty and obligation to take action to protect the other residents from assaultive behavior.”

Mr. King has filed a complaint with the San Francisco Police Department’s accountability division, accusing officers of excessive force, unlawful detention and violations of disability law.

Yet Mr. King recognizes that “as bad as it was, it could have been a lot worse,” he said.

And that’s certainly true. In other high-profile cases last year:

■ A county sheriff’s deputy in Minneapolis, Kan., used a Taser on a 91-year-old nursing home resident with Alzheimer’s who refused to get into a car for a doctor’s visit.

■ After a 65-year-old in San Jose, Calif., was arrested and charged with trespassing, a judge — informed that the man had Alzheimer’s — dismissed the charge. But deputies at the jail released him before a friend arrived to pick him up, and he wandered onto a highway, was hit by a car and killed.

■ In Bakersfield, Calif., a 73-year-old man with dementia was walking in his neighborhood late at night when a woman he approached noticed something in his pocket that she thought might have been a gun. When the police arrived and told him to raise his hands, he ignored their shouts, walked toward them and was shot and killed. The object in his pocket proved to be a crucifix.

To Dr. Williams, these episodes underscore the need to improve the way police officers react when they encounter older citizens. “This is a specialized group in need of specialized responses,” she said.

There’s no definitive explanation for why arrest rates are climbing among old people. (And they remain far higher among younger groups.).

But beyond dementia, which Dr. Williams hypothesizes accounts for much of the increase, she points out that older adults can behave impulsively because of transient medical issues like delirium, dehydration, infection or the effects of medications.

Hearing loss becomes common among those in their 60s. When the police shout commands, can older people understand what they’re saying? Mobility declines, too. If they’re told to get down on the ground, or to climb into a patrol car while handcuffed, how quickly can they comply if they’re frail? Will their attempts lead to falls and injuries?

When an older person is spotted urinating in public, “is there a medical reason for engaging in what’s traditionally seen as criminal behavior?” Dr. Williams asked.

Since 2011, the San Francisco Police Department has incorporated a two-hour course on dealing with older residents, developed by geriatricians at the University of California, San Francisco, into its weeklong crisis intervention training.

Trainees learn about aging and use kits that replicate its effects, including glasses that impair vision as glaucoma or cataracts might, and popcorn kernels placed in shoes to mimic the discomfort of diabetic neuropathy.

“People generally have a hard time putting themselves in others’ shoes,” said Sgt. Kelly Kruger, who helped develop the training. “This brings it home.”

Officers also receive a guide to local programs and services for older adults, so they can refer those who need help.

A study published this year by U.C.S.F. geriatricians showed that the officers’ knowledge, including their understanding of age-related health changes that can affect safety during police interactions, increased significantly after training.

To date, nearly 750 officers, of about 1,800 total, have gone through the program, said Sgt. Laura Colin, one of the trainers. Though the Police Department has added more classes recently, training every officer — the goal — will take another six years.

While other cities have contacted the university to express interest, Dr. Williams knows of no other police departments that have adopted training programs about aging.

A pity. Police interactions with old people are likely to increase, she pointed out, simply because there are more old people. When officers better understand how to respond, “they are so relieved,” Dr. Williams said, adding

“They just want to know what to do.”


Emergency!

We have private prisons, concierge  medicine and now we have emergency rooms in hospitals run like pop up stores in retail outlets.  Shopped at Macy's lately?  Well many of their departments, from Cosmetics to clothing are actually run by leased companies that work in Macy's but under a type of consignment relationship.

 I have worked in both Shoes and Watches at Macy's  were the Management were placed and paid by the parent company, the sales staff hired and employed by Macy's and all commissions were compensated by the parent company but the hourly wages paid by Macy's.  I did very well as Macy's earned a percentage of my sales, they did not have to worry about stocking or mark down or write off for inventory. They were responsible for sales, theft and any damage caused by a Macy's employee but ultimately it was a shop within a shop.  Customers did not know this as they were often given excellent customer service by the Manager/Rep who offered product knowledge and in turn a Macy's employee who could offer assistance in finding the appropriate product choices and in turn closed the sale, offering Macy' discounts for opening up a credit card or other incentives that built the ticket.

Now I am a professional sales person so I actually know how to sell product, screen and vet a customer and in turn close a sale.  I made great money.  The over time the incentives, such as a great schedule on those busy days and in turn smaller staff rotations that allowed for more sales slowly eroded and the idea of union membership and support waned and in turn I moved on to Teaching which is not much different only less pay and even less respect.

But now that same concept comes to your local hospital. We are in a crisis when it comes to Emergency Care and in turn Hospitals, Physicians and options when it comes to Medical Care in rural areas.  Here in Tennessee, ground zero for the future of what it will be like when the ACA is repealed, we are in deep trouble when it comes to providing care for the greater population with hospitals closing, and few rural practicing Physicians to prove basic care needs.    This article about the free medical and dental camps in Virginia (a state like Tennessee that rejected Medicaid expansion)  are familiar sites here in Nashville and nothing says medical privacy more than sitting in a school's gym and waiting for a pap smear behind a curtain.  Hey Susie, what's up?  Oh your legs, looking good down there girl!

But the urgent care clinics that are around are an option and they are some are clearly privately run but many are in fact satellite facilities of major Hospitals chains in the area and those include the minute clinics in drugstores, the new front line of medical care.  But is that covered? No but it can be cheaper and be applied towards deductibles with the idea is that they can provide care at less overhead and in turn less cost to the consumer/patient.

But when you don't have a choice and are brought into the local trauma center you are not exactly in a position to ask the Admissions desk if your Insurer covers the procedure and if the Doctors on staff are in network.  And people wondered why when I went under for dental surgery I attached instructions and my will.   And they were paid regardless as they demanded payment up front.

This is just another example of how the Medical Industrial Complex is finding more ways to rip people  off and in turn contribute to the rising costs of medicine.



The Company Behind Many Surprise Emergency Room Bills

By JULIE CRESWELL, REED ABELSON and MARGOT SANGER-KATZ
THE NEW YORK TIMES   JULY 24, 2017

Early last year, executives at a small hospital an hour north of Spokane, Wash., started using a company called EmCare to staff and run their emergency room. The hospital had been struggling to find doctors to work in its E.R., and turning to EmCare was something hundreds of other hospitals across the country had done.

That’s when the trouble began.

Before EmCare, about 6 percent of patient visits in the hospital’s emergency room were billed for the most complex, expensive level of care. After EmCare arrived, nearly 28 percent got the highest-level billing code.

On top of that, the hospital, Newport Hospital and Health Services, was getting calls from confused patients who had received surprisingly large bills from the emergency room doctors. Although the hospital had negotiated rates for its fees with many major health insurers, the EmCare physicians were not part of those networks and were sending high bills directly to the patients. For a patient needing care with the highest-level billing code, the hospital’s previous physicians had been charging $467; EmCare’s charged $1,649.

“The billing scenario, that was the real fiasco and caught us off guard,” said Tom Wilbur, the chief executive of Newport Hospital. “Hindsight being 20/20, we never would have done that.” Faced with angry patients, the hospital took back control of its coding and billing.

Newport’s experience with EmCare, now one of the nation’s largest physician-staffing companies for emergency rooms, is part of a pattern. A study released Monday by researchers at Yale found that the rate of out-of-network doctor’s bills for customers of one large insurer jumped when EmCare entered a hospital. The rates of tests ordered and patients admitted from the E.R. into a hospital also rose, though not as much. The use of the highest billing code increased.

“It almost looked like a light switch was being flipped on,” said Zack Cooper, a health economist at Yale who is one of the study’s authors.

‘Like a Light Switch’

In several hospital emergency rooms, out-of-network rates for customers of one large insurer jumped to nearly 100 percent after EmCare took over.

In a statement, EmCare described the study as “fundamentally flawed and dated.” But it acknowledged that surprise billing, as the billing is called when the doctor is unexpectedly not part of an insurance network, is “a source of dissatisfaction for all payors, providers and patients in our current health care system.” It said that the issue was not specific to any one company, and that it had already publicly committed to reaching agreements with insurers for the majority of its doctors within the next two years. This study, and others, have found that EmCare is not alone in the practice of sending out-of-network bills.

EmCare said that it allowed hospitals to treat sicker patients when it takes over, and that an increase in such patients explained the higher billing in Newport.

In the study, the researchers examined nearly nine million visits made to emergency rooms run by a variety of companies between 2011 and 2015, using data from a single insurance company that does business in every state. In exchange for access, the researchers agreed not to identify the insurer. Insurers and health care providers typically sign contracts forbidding them to reveal the prices they have agreed to, and the national trends in surprise billing detected by the Yale team are consistent with a broader study by government researchers.

The new data suggests that EmCare, part of publicly traded Envision Healthcare, did not sign contracts with the insurance company and was able to charge higher prices.

Fiona Scott Morton, a professor at the Yale School of Management and a co-author of the paper, described the strategy as a “kind of ambushing of patients.” A patient who goes to the emergency room can look for a hospital that takes her insurance, but she almost never gets to choose the doctor who treats her.

Sometimes, insurers simply pay higher out-of-network bills, but the cost is often passed on directly to patients.

After slipping on some wet leaves outside her house in Crescent City, Calif., in February, Debra Brown, a 60-year-old county accounting clerk, wound up at Sutter Coast Hospital. She is paying off her deductible, but her insurer covered most of her remaining hospital bill. She was shocked to get an additional bill from a doctor who she said never identified himself and only briefly touched her broken ankle. That physician worked for EmCare. Her portion of the bill is more than $500.

“Now I’m going to have to pay this bill off, and I can’t afford to see a doctor about my high blood pressure medication,” Ms. Brown said. “This is insane, and it’s greedy.”

Nationwide, more than one in five visits to an in-network emergency room results in an out-of-network doctor’s bill, previous studies found. But the new Yale research, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found those bills aren’t randomly sprinkled throughout the nation’s hospitals. They come mostly from a select group of E.R. doctors at particular hospitals. At about 15 percent of the hospitals, out-of-network rates were over 80 percent, the study found. Many of the emergency rooms in that fraction of hospitals were run by EmCare.

When emergency room doctors work for a company that has not made a deal with an insurer, they are free to bill whatever they want, insurers say. “The more they bill, the more they get paid,” said Shara McClure, an executive with Blue Cross of Texas.

E.R. doctors say out-of-network billing isn’t their fault. Sometimes, insurance companies will offer only low payments, leaving physicians no choice, said William Jaquis, an executive with the American College of Emergency Physicians, who is also an E.R. physician employed by EmCare. Doctors would “prefer that we had better payment and better negotiation with the insurers, and the patients would be covered,” he said.

The researchers focused on 16 hospitals that EmCare entered between 2011 and 2015. In eight of those hospitals, out-of-network billing rose quickly and precipitously. (In the others, the out-of-network rate was already above 97 percent, and it did not go down.) They also looked at a larger sample of 194 hospitals where EmCare worked and found an average out-of-network billing rate of 62 percent, far higher than the national average.

More Surprise Bills, Hospital Admissions and High Codes

In the year after EmCare took over an E.R., customers of one large insurer who were served by it were more likely to receive out-of-network bills, be admitted to the hospital and be billed for the most complex types of care, according to a handful of examples identified by researchers at Yale.

The before-and-after analysis was limited to the small number of hospitals where the researchers could find public records of EmCare’s entrance, and it was based on claims from only one large insurance company. While the nationwide patterns are consistent with studies that have looked at other insurance companies, the single insurer in the study may not be typical in all cases: EmCare does participate in some insurers’ networks, such as Blue Cross of Texas. EmCare also says it has reached agreements with more insurers in Texas, Arizona, Florida and Virginia since 2015.

Researchers also examined what happened when one of EmCare’s top competitors — TeamHealth — took over a handful of mostly nonprofit emergency departments. There, they found a smaller increase in out-of-network billing and virtually no change in hospital admissions, testing or coding.

Analysts point out that hospitals, despite any patient complaints, can benefit financially from the increased testing and admissions EmCare has delivered. In the study, surprise bills were more common at for-profit hospitals than at their nonprofit competitors.

“They’d have to have their heads in the sand to be totally unaware” about the out-of-network billing, said Leemore Dafny, a professor at Harvard Business School, who reviewed the research.

EmCare’s emergency room management has come under scrutiny before. The company was named in a 2011 whistle-blower lawsuit against Health Management Associates, a for-profit hospital chain. The suit alleges that both EmCare and the hospitals pressured E.R. doctors to increase admissions and tests, even when the physicians believed they were not medically necessary. The company “repeatedly terminated physicians and E.R. medical directors” who pushed back, the suit says. The case, which was brought by a hospital chief executive and a former EmCare executive, is still pending. Envision said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Hospital emergency departments, which must take all comers regardless of their health insurance, were once viewed as financial drains. Then hospital leaders started to see the E.R. as the front door, critical to attracting paying patients. In the early 1990s, emergency departments accounted for a third of admissions to hospitals; today, they account for half, according to a RAND study.

As in so many other parts of the modern economy, turning operations over to large outside contractors has been a big part of the transition. Nearly a quarter of all emergency room doctors now work for a national staffing firm, according to a 2013 Deutsche Bank report.

EmCare in particular has thrived. Founded in the 1970s, it has grown rapidly in recent years.

Its sales pitch to hospitals is that it can find high-quality doctors and run emergency rooms more efficiently. It offers a software program called RAP & GO (short for Rapid Admission Process and Gap Orders) that it says speeds admissions and potentially produces “significant new hospital revenue.”

Some doctors say the staffing companies save them from the administrative headaches of billing and scheduling.

In addition to its work in emergency rooms, EmCare has been buying up groups of anesthesiologists and radiologists. In these hospital specialties, it is hard for patients to shop, and out-of-network billing is common.

EmCare’s size and reach have made some doctors wary of criticizing its practices. According to Dr. Carol Cunningham, an emergency room physician in Ohio, that is especially true in places where there is little alternative to working for a large staffing company. “You may have trouble finding something in the area,” she said.

But some doctors outside the E.R. have been less reticent. Dr. Gregory Duncan, chief of surgery at Sutter Coast Hospital in Crescent City, Calif., said patients started complaining about bills they received after EmCare took over the emergency room in 2015.

“I discovered a pattern of inflated bills and out-of-network bills,” he said. “What they are doing is egregious billing.”

Dr. Duncan, who also sits on the county health care district board, has joined with other elected officials in asking Sutter Coast to terminate its contract with EmCare.

In an emailed response, Mitch Hanna, the chief executive of Sutter Coast, said the hospital chose EmCare because of its ability to fully staff its emergency department. He added that he understood EmCare was working to bring two large commercial insurers into its network by the end of the year.

EmCare said in early February that it planned to reach agreements with insurers for most of its doctors. The company also said it was working with insurers, hospitals, lawmakers and others to make sure patients get appropriate care “without creating undue financial burden.” The American College of Emergency Physicians favors an approach in which out-of-network emergency room doctors are paid a standard rate.

California recently passed a law setting a maximum amount that out-of-network doctors can charge patients. Other states, including Florida and New York, have also passed laws to limit surprise bills.

But many state efforts to reduce surprise billing have been met by fierce lobbying from doctors who oppose efforts to weaken their bargaining position, said Chuck Bell, the programs director at the consumer advocacy group Consumers Union.

“The whole thing is really a mess,” he said. “Progress is really slow.”


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Diving In

As I began to assemble and write essays that I hope will comprise a book called,  Swimming in the Red Sea.  The book which came out of the blog but will enable me to have a wider audience was a way to express my feelings and observations about what it was like to relocate from a very "blue" state to a very "red" one and enable those reflections to be both therapeutic on one level and informative to others on another.  Curiosity killed the Cat and I have 8 lives left that said I was not curious just needed to be "woke" and wow I am awake.   But I have learned many things here and as the Teacher I am I want to share that what I have learned.  As when asked about if I "like" Nashville, I simply say, "It's interesting."  And I hope the book will be as well.

I have begun to edit and revise the introduction called, When the Bough Breaks, about what it is like to finally feel utterly broken living here and oddly it has little to do with Politics but in fact people.  I don't like them.  I am utterly bereft and perplexed as the amount of newcomers moving here range from supposedly 85-100 day, but that too like all things I have found here are lies.  This is the land of storytellers and I plan on adding mine to the list.  But the truth hurts and the pain I feel is quite palpable, dental surgery aside.

I have never read East Nashville magazine and have no reason to.  I can get on a bus and yes even walk to East Nashville it is that easy.  I would not recommend it during our current heat wave but there are a couple of fairly easy walks that gets you across the Cumberland and over to the starting point of what defines East Nashville along Shelby.

As all things in Nashville, Shelby is defined by the massive public housing complex that on a daily basis is covered on the news with regards to violence and crime.  The neighborhood abuts a largely gentrifying area and the attempt to turn that "project" into an affordable housing complex is ongoing but it is a reminder and great starting point to explain how Nashville was developed and designed to maintain the status quo and retain a semblance of segregation with the idea of being less discriminatory.

 I live near another housing development Edgehill which also abuts a massive gentrification project, the Gulch, and in turn the violence and crime will be edged out over time.  So good choice of a name there.   The other division is North Nashville and its proximity to the another massive gentrification project, Germantown, and its access to the Farmers Market, Downtown and East Nashville makes it another prospect to be mined.  Black families are leaving in droves to Antioch, they are being encouraged to move further north of the Cumberland to Bordeaux and of course out of the area to Madison.  Push and push back explains of course the crime stats here.

There is much to say about how Nashville defines people, no judges them, by where they live.  After asking you what Church you belong to the other is "Where do you live?"  And trust me people have no fucking clue as it was largely a warehouse area abutting another marker, the projects on Layfayette, so when I explain in pained detail they go as all Nashville natives do, "Well that used to be a horrible area and really dangerous."  Thanks for the history lesson as in the City of Now the living in the present is always marked by the past.  But it is also adjacent to the most truly diverse neighborhood in the City and while it may take time the reality is that once the Fairgrounds closes or is gentrified we will see the Nolensville change into the new East Nashville or the new Williamsburg as that is always the bizarre reference for when a gritty part of town changes into less of one.

And yes I was told repeatedly that the place to live was East Nashville and that was first told to me by a white man who relocated here a year prior from Seattle.  What.ever. That to me was the kiss of death right there. And there is about a perimeter of East Nashville I go and frequent but it is not all that and a bag of chips.  But then again I actually go all over Nashville and outside of it.  Few do. The idea of exploration and investigation not something people do here, regardless of if they were born here or migrated here. And most Nashvillians hate to travel, I have never met more closed minded fucktards. Oh wait I lived in Texas they think that too, that everything you could ever want or need is there so why go anywhere else.  It also is a money thing you can't travel on shitty wages.    I call it sad.  I also call it grim.  I call it pathetic.  So lets just cut this to Sad.Grim.Pathetic.  Good hashtag! 

But when actually picked up East Nashville Magazine at the Library, I was really looking for my favorite mag, Garden and Guns (yes it is called that and it is the Martha Stewart for Living crowd with guns), and instead read this.   Well this is all I read as it was all I needed to in order to once again validate and confirm my feelings about this absurdity here.

My sell by date was always a four year thing.  I am at year one, three to go.  And thank Jesus for that one as if I want to turn into this.   My comments are **by some of the idiocy that makes me realize yes 25% of the people here are illiterate, 33% have degrees and well the rest is history. They love history here.  They love it a lot. Like segregation and racism. History.


From the Publisher

It’s a five-year town thing

Greetings. I’m Lisa McCauley, and the magazine you’re reading is my brainchild. Although I’ve been publishing The East Nashvillian for seven years, this is only the second time I’ve expressed my thoughts within the pages of the magazine. So as you might imagine, I have a few things to get off my chest.

     First, a little background: I’ve lived in Nashville my entire life, and since 2001, I’ve lived in East Nashville, where four generations of my family have called home. I grew up just a few miles north of here during a time when East Nashville was the area you avoided at all costs. **White flight, they probably moved Goodletsville which I have learned was the better area for those who could not Belle Meade it.    When we visited a relative or had a doctor’s appointment in the ’hood (Miller Medical Clinic), my mom would always lock the doors around the time we hit Gallatin Pike and Ellington Parkway. The East Nashville you know now was far from being the East Nashville we knew then.

     It wasn’t until 1999 that I really started spending time in East Nashville. One of my best friends who I knew from working in the radio biz bought a house on Skyview Drive, and I started spending most weekends at his place. ** Well thank you for sharing your sex life.  How did that work out?  

 Around the same time, Mike Grimes and Dave Gherke opened Slow Bar at 5 Points in the location now occupied by 3 Crow Bar. At that point, I’d lived in just about every area of Nashville, **I doubt it but lying while talking is a trademark here.    but still hadn’t found the sense of community that I longed for — a creative scene in an up-and-coming area that was diverse and still a little on the edgy side. East Nashville was all of this and much more. I was living in the country in Williamson County **the richest and whitest county that is everyone's aspiration here at the time, but soon started spending as much time as possible in my newly discovered ’hood.

     In 2001, I bought my current house, and because my background was in advertising, I had the desire to start a newspaper, magazine, or some kind of media outlet dedicated to my new community. I started sharing my ideas, but I soon found that businesses that could or would spend money on advertising were few and far between. That dream ended up on the back burner.

     Fast forward to 2009. I was working for a large publishing company, and my work required me to regularly travel out of town. **How terrifying to have to talk to people that are not your people! It definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, so toward the end of the year, I left that position without a new gig in hand. I did freelance media sales for a month or two, but one day it hit me: It was now the time to bring my idea to the front burner. My partner thought I was crazy, but he supported the idea, provided I had enough advertising dollars to go to print for the first issue.

     I soon connected with Historic East Nashville Merchants Association and found that sense of community again with the local business folks. Some pretty amazing business owners welcomed me with open arms and, after a few months, we were able to publish our very first edition in August 2010. We barely had enough advertising revenue to cover our costs.

     Our first few years in business were amazing, and the love and support we received overwhelmed us. The magazine gave East Nashville a voice, and the business community embraced that.

     Now here we are seven years later and there have been a lot of changes since 2010 — some have been good, some not so much. I’m still so very impressed and in love with the EN music scene. It’s just as welcoming and loving as it ever was, and this truly touches my heart. The newcomers and the ones that came before them all support one another — void of jealousy or competition — and that’s not something you see in other music towns like New York, Los Angeles, or Austin.  *And you have lived in all of these cities to know this and compare.  Funny I have don't know that part of it.

     To the many businesses that have supported us over the years, I can’t begin to thank you enough. Without you we would have never made it this far. I will always be grateful for you. You got it, and I don’t just mean you got the magazine; you understood that here in East Nashville, we have something special that makes us the envy of the entire city, and that is our sense of community.  **It was cheap housing and that some hipster joints that opened there.  We are in a Nations craze right now so again really?

     This is who we are, and this is who we need to continue to be. If you’re new to the area, take the time to “get it” — listen and learn about this special place, our mindset, and get to know the trailblazers who helped carve out our unique East Side culture  **Huh? And that is what exactly?

     Tim Carroll sings that Nashville is a “five-year town.” I don’t think he’s singing solely about those who move to Nashville seeking a career in music. It takes time to acclimate.

     Here’s my point in case you’re still wondering: Be mindful of the ones who came before you. They paved the way for you. The East Nashville you moved to would not exist if not for their efforts. To be part of this community, you have to learn about it, respect it, and appreciate it. Otherwise, you will destroy the very culture that brought you here.  ** This is the talk at you and scold you right away so it saves time and energy.  And to let you know you are outsider, and you're welcome.  That is the definitive of Southern Hospitality.

     That said, welcome to the neighborhood. And if I haven’t already, I look forwarding to meeting each and everyone of you.  *Passing on that lovely invite. Thanks

Monday, July 24, 2017

Talk Talk

I read the op-ed below and thought this Woman is either truly in denial or a wonderful apparition.

Let's talk redneck shall we? Tennessee is an English-Only state.

In June 23, 2010, Governor Phil Bredesen signed into law H.B. 2685, which authorizes Tennessee employers to impose an “English-only” rule in the workplace if it is justified by a legitimate business necessity. The statute provides that such a rule is “not a discriminatory practice” within the meaning of Tennessee Law. However, employers should be careful not to view the law as creating a safe harbor for the broad imposition of English-only rules.
Given the current political climate and increasing concerns about illegal immigration, English-only rules have become more frequently considered or adopted by employers. Although the Tennessee law incorporates some of the requirements needed to justify English-only rules (legitimate business necessity and notice to employees of the rule and the consequences of violating the rule), employers should not implement such rules without further analysis.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s interpretative regulations and compliance manual operate with the presumption that any English-only rule is unlawful discrimination under federal law. In order for such a rule to withstand legal challenge, the employer has the burden of demonstrating that the rule was not imposed for discriminatory reasons, and that any discriminatory effect that it might have upon workers is necessitated by a legitimate business purpose, such as where needed to enable supervisors to properly monitor job performance, to promote safety in emergency situations, to promote efficiency when speakers of different languages collaborate on work projects, and as necessary to promote communication with customers, coworkers or supervisors who only speak English. Moreover, federal regulations and case law make it clear that any such rule should not be a total ban on use of language other than English, but must be specifically tailored to meet the legitimate business needs of the employer.
The two cohorts I choose to sub in as much as I can are those ELL and SPED as given that you need minimum degrees/experience/license to Sub I think these most vulnerable  should have someone at least familiar with the basic skills and knowledge in which to teach versus babysit the kids.

Well I can tell you the SPED programs are all over the map and each school has a program that is defined by the Teachers and in turn the ELL program is as well. What is fascinating is that often ELL kids are placed in SPED and vice versa as the testing and placing kids in the right program is clearly a hot mess with little to no formal protocol.  As a result the kids are being pushed through regardless. There are few to no Instructional Aids working in classrooms that speak the languages needed and I have never seen a volunteer so go figure. 

Nashville is diverse but it is quite segregated.  I was informed by a Black woman that I lived near brown people and she did not go to that area.  Yes I am sure White people say the same about North Nashville where the "other" brown people live. 

When I watched an Iranian girl cry out of confusion over the Math lesson I was teaching I finally tracked down a Spanish speaking translator one day to ask about this problem and I was told that if you place a request to the main office they could arrange for one to come and assist.  I see and that helps me in the now how?  Oy Vey!  I don't see this improving anytime soon.





What Is America to Me?

Margaret Renkl
The New York Times
JULY 22, 2017

NASHVILLE — In 2015, just as refugees were pouring out of Syria and pictures of terrified children filled every newscast and front page in the world, a small notice appeared in my church bulletin: “Are you looking for a way to help our city’s newest refugees?” It was a call for volunteers to assist in an English-language classroom at a local public school. I was once a high school literature teacher, so I saved it, planning to follow through whenever life slowed down a little. More than a year later, I was still dithering. The day after Donald Trump was elected, I finally volunteered.

The sun was just rising when I left for my first class. I’d been away from school for 20 years, and I was a little nervous, but when I walked through those doors I felt instantly at home. In the school office three mirrors hang side by side, each marked by the kind of inspirational message schools specialize in: “College Ready.” “Career Ready.” “Life Ready.” While I signed the visitors’ log, two students wearing hijabs hugged each other goodbye in the bright corridor, and the principal switched on the intercom to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

Teachers at this school face all the challenges of any teacher in a building full of teenagers, but in the Trump era their job is incalculably harder. My oldest son is a middle-school teacher at another Nashville school with a large immigrant population. On Nov. 9, his students arrived in class shaken, aware of what the new administration would mean for their families. Already a man had thrown a can from his car window at the older sister of one student, yelling “Terrorist!” as he passed.

“Build that wall! Build that wall!” The chants at Trump rallies are chilling, vicious, the voice of a mob, but among the many conservatives I know — those who voted for Mr. Trump and those who didn’t — there is not a single person who would throw a can at a child or assume that a Middle Eastern-born teenager must be a terrorist. They welcome immigrants who are here legally, but they argue for a level playing field, where newcomers are bound by the same rules they are bound by themselves. So Tennessee’s official attitude toward immigrants is what you’d expect from the conservative South: It joined 15 other states in signing an amicus brief supporting President Trump’s travel ban.

Nashville has one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in the country. Close to 12 percent of the city’s residents are foreign-born, and 30 percent of public-school students speak a language other than English at home.

The city has made a point of welcoming international newcomers, despite the actions of the Tennessee General Assembly, which meets in the heart of downtown. Metro schools don’t inquire about immigration status; instead, they offer mentors to foreign-born families. Workers at the city’s public libraries help newcomers apply for citizenship. Metro police officers don’t check the immigration status of people pulled over for traffic violations. The uneasiness here is palpable anyway. Seventy percent of Nashville residents support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but such numbers offer little reassurance when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents posed as Metro police officers during a recent roundup of Nashville Kurds.

The challenge of teaching “English learners,” as they are called in Metro schools, is immense, and this political climate only adds to the complexity of the task. The students in an English learners classroom speak many different languages at home, and their English-language competence varies widely. Every single step in the process of speaking — or listening, or reading, or writing — must be broken down and explained. To borrow a line from Joan Didion, English is a language I play by ear, and volunteering in this classroom has taught me more about my native tongue than graduate school did.

A typical class includes a lesson followed by a chance to work in pairs, taking turns reading (or speaking) and listening (or writing). As the students work, the teacher moves from table to table, and my job is to do the same, answering questions or serving as a partner for a student without one. At times I’m flummoxed by a student’s question, and then all the other kids at the table pitch in to explain. They don’t speak one another’s languages, either, but they understand better than I do what’s puzzling about the lesson, and they help one another — and sometimes me — understand.

Talking with these teenagers, I’m always struck by how familiar they seem. There’s the class clown, raising his hand to ask a silly question that makes his classmates laugh. There’s the school beauty, who never leaves her seat — she knows the others, vying to be her partner, will come to her if she waits. There’s the sleepy kid trying to nap undetected behind an open book, and the Type A kid with a hand always in the air. Their clothes and hairstyles are different, but they seem exactly like the suburban students I once taught; exactly like my own three sons, the youngest still a teenager himself; exactly like my high school classmates.

Only they aren’t exactly alike. Because they live in a nation with an incoherent and punitive immigration policy, these students — new residents of a growing, multicultural city — are as vulnerable as any immigrants in the red-state countryside. They live with the inescapable fear of deportation, their own or a loved one’s, and yet they come to class every day to master the language and culture of their difficult new home. In this effort, teachers are their staunchest allies.

In the E.L. classroom, there’s more to learn than language. During a unit on the Harlem Renaissance, I arrived to find a newly decorated bulletin board fashioned from an assignment modeled on Countee Cullen’s “Heritage.” The poem begins, “What is Africa to me?”

The students’ own poems were titled “What Is Myanmar to Me?” (“Spicy foods, we’ll take seconds, please”), and “What Is Zambia to Me?” (“I can feel the hot weather in my body/A beautiful sun outside on my face”), and “What is Mexico to Me?” (“I’m like a flame,/Waiting to go back again”) — on and on and on. I stood before that bulletin board with my back turned to hide my tears, and I read every poem.

School’s out for summer now, but I can’t stop thinking about all those brand-new Americans recalling the countries of their birth, using the poetry of their new language to convey the beauty of home. English is a problematic language, but these students are working hard to learn it — and working harder still to belong.

Teach the Children

When I read the below story about the Oklahoma Teacher my first thought was: "Well the red sea is deep dark and it stains, its toxic and no God does not put food on your table."

Oklahoma might as well be Tennessee as this state has done what it can to eviscerate union memberships, the ability in turn to negotiate salaries and in turn Nashville the most expensive city in the State treats the Teachers like shit in addition to compensating them the same.  Over 65% leave in the first three years that is the reverse from the rest of the Country where 40% do.

Nashville that is so proud of their rankings neglects the ones that demonstrate what a dump it is.  The 40% of the population uninsured, 57% lacking higher education, 30% with serious health problems, the median wage 45-47K.   Business Insider ranked Nashville number one where cost of living has outpaced wage growth.  It takes a salary of $70,150 to live in Nashville today.  Irony was Seattle was number 2 where I had relocated from.  And yet you could not find a more distinctly different approach to education and Teacher wages.

Louisville which was number 3 on the same list is a better comparison however.  Teachers in Nashville start at $42,100 with a bachelor’s degree. In Louisville, they start at $42,700. So, starting pay in Nashville is competitive. But, let’s look longer term. That same teacher after 10 years in Nashville will earn $47,000. In Louisville, it’s $54,974.

So in ten years in a job where you are required by law to maintain credit hours and training to keep your license and which you pay for in 10 years you get a 5K raise.. That works out to what 500 bucks a  year?  Well that is some good money as one of the yokels would tell me here.  Math not a strong suit here as it is higher learning and shit.

So after 25 years in the same job here is the breakdown:  A Nashville teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 20 years experience makes $56,000. In Louisville, that teacher makes $71,000. A teacher working in Louisville with 20 years experience earns $22,000 more a year than that city’s “comfortable living” salary. In fact, they earn more than Nashville’s “comfortable” salary.
How about the top of the pay scale? At year 25, a Nashville teacher earns $57,000. In Louisville, it’s just over $72,000.

In Tennessee, TEA had 28,802 active members during the 2015 – 2016 school year. That’s down 7%, or 2,240, from their 2014 – 2015 total of 31,042. TEA has lost over 37% of their active members in the past five years. 

The decrease in membership is a direct result of the state’s mission to do whatever it takes to make the union as weak as possible. Teacher’s collective bargaining and payroll deductions were stripped away, and the membership has been decreasing since then.

While TEA can no longer collectively bargain, they can do what is known as collaborative conferencing. Teachers at Metro Nashville Public Schools voted to start collective conferencing with the district this past school year. 

The Tennessean describes collaborative conferencing as:
Collaborative conferencing is a form of district and union negotiation where topics such as: salaries or wages; grievance procedures; insurance benefits; fringe benefits; working conditions; vacation; and payroll deductions can be discussed. Other topics outside those listed are prohibited in meetings and conversations.
Another reason to join TEA was the ability to gain liability insurance. Now, the state of Tennessee provides all public school teachers with liability coverage at no cost, though the amount of coverage is not clearly defined.
The Fund provides liability insurance coverage to covered individuals and protects against damages or claims arising out of the performance of their work and within the scope of their employment or assignment
Join the TEA  it costs Teaches $670 a year.  For what?  To join a union that no longer has power to do well anything.  The state of Tennessee has done everything possible to reduce the amount of power TEA had as means of reducing their membership and that seems to be mission accomplished.

This is a dump, the schools are dumps.  Tennessee has one of the largest gaps between teacher salaries and salaries of similarly-educated professions.   The work in Nashville is largely in the hospitality trade and low level hospital/clinical work  and yesterday I watched another carpetbagger pack his shit and move back home.  He lasted 6 months and most do.  I don't think there are more than 5-6 original residents left in the building that is just over a year old and there are better properties and offers to move up to 2 months rent free so there is little imperative to stay here regardless.   **(My favorite was the moron former American Idol contestant and Manager when renewing my lease informed me that they were not raising the rent which they could but they wouldn't and would I like to stay.  I just had surgery so yes but I have a sell by date and who in the fuck is moving when you are leaving in two years?)  I quit caring about my neighbors and as one left another has moved in from Ohio and he I suspect will be gone in a year from now.  Unless you have a very good job you are fucked here.  We all may take up panhandling.  Or work in the Trump Administration they seem to have high turnover.



A teacher’s solution to buy school supplies for her classroom: Panhandling

The Washington Post
By Amy B Wang and Emma Brown July 24 2017


As a public school third-grade teacher, Teresa Danks has grown accustomed to getting creative when it comes to providing supplies for her classroom.

She hits up yard sales all summer. Weekends are devoted to thrift stores. Almost daily, she scrolls through online sales and secondhand websites.

So when Danks’s husband joked over breakfast last Tuesday about how she could resort to begging — as she was venting her frustration over recent cuts to Oklahoma’s education budget — she didn’t immediately brush him off.

“He’s like, ‘Well, I guess you could make a sign, hit the streets like a panhandler,'” Danks said. He then laughed it off; she didn’t. “I thought, you know, that might just generate a buzz on Facebook to help me get the supplies I need,” she told The Washington Post on Monday.

Danks said she had never panhandled before and wanted to act quickly before she changed her mind. After picking up a poster board from a nearby QuikTrip, she laid it on the hood of her car outside and scrawled a message: “Teacher Needs School Supplies! Anything Helps. Thank You.” At the bottom, she added a smiley face.

As Danks was finishing the poster, a man walked out of the gas station, noticed what she was writing and handed her a $20 bill.

“I want to support you in what you’re doing,” she said he told her. That was just the beginning, she added.

“I told my husband, I made my sign,” Danks said. “Now get me out there quickly before I lose my nerve.”

He dropped her off at a nearby highway overpass, at the end of an exit to a local casino. Danks would later remember being “a nervous wreck” but, within 10 minutes, she had collected $32. One person stopped to hand her a bottle of water. Another wanted to tell her how much her own teachers had meant to her.

“I went from being nervous and awkward to being overwhelmed, not only with the small donations of cash but just the words of encouragement,” Danks said.

[With state budget in crisis, many Oklahoma schools hold classes four days a week]

Danks left the intersection soon afterward but returned after a local news station wanted her to reenact the panhandling. Even in the 10 minutes it took to film the segment, more drivers stopped. In all, Danks collected $126 that day. While that may not seem like a lot to some people, Danks said any amount helps. She told local outlets she makes $35,000 a year, a figure not out of line with many of her colleagues’ salaries, according to public records.

“We are given pencils and paper, and we are given textbooks … (but) it goes beyond pencils and paper,” she said. Danks estimates she spends about $2,000 of her own money per school year buying materials for her students to go through their project-based curriculum. “It might be paint and glitter, it might be batteries if we’re talking about science projects, or water bottles for the volcanoes. … We’re constantly replenishing and we’re trying to do these things week after week.”

She added: “All this stuff, it costs money. I want the proper tools to do my job well. I wouldn’t ask somebody to build my house with a spoon.”

Oklahoma already ranks near the bottom among the 50 states when it comes to per-pupil funding, spending about $8,000 per student — only Arizona, Idaho and Utah spend less, according to federal data. And even as the nation has recovered from the Great Recession since 2008, Oklahoma’s education spending has fallen 14 percent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Years of tax cuts and falling oil prices have hit this energy state hard, slicing away hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenue and leaving Oklahoma schools among the nation’s most cash-strapped.

The budget crunch is so extreme that schools have had to move beyond traditional cost-cutting measures, like letting class sizes rise and cutting art and foreign-language classes. Now, in nearly 1 in 5 Oklahoma school districts, students are going to class just four days a week — triple the number in 2015 and four times as many as in 2013.

The four-day week is meant to help districts shave off a few dollars that they would otherwise spend on utilities and transportation. But even more important, it’s become a key teacher recruitment tool in a state that, by any measure, offers among the worst pay in the country. The state has not raised teachers’ salaries since 2008, and the average salary now stands at $45,276, far lower than the national average of $58,353, according to the National Education Association, the largest U.S. teachers union.

“We’ve cut so much for so long that the options just are no longer there,” said Deborah Gist, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, a district that still holds classes five days a week but plans to merge schools and eliminate more than three dozen teaching positions.

Oklahoma’s neighbors — Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and Kansas — also pay less than the national average, but they still offer thousands of dollars more per year than the Sooner State. The disparity has led to a hemorrhaging of teachers from Oklahoma, according to local and state education officials. In May, Shawn Sheehan, the 2016 Oklahoma teacher of the year, announced that he was moving to Texas for a better-paying job that would support his family.

“This decision wasn’t an easy one. Not by a long shot,” Sheehan wrote in a blog post later published by The Post. “But at the end of the day, the simple truth is that we can be paid a respectable wage for doing the same job — this job we love very much — by heading out of state.”

Since 1996, Danks has worked at private and public schools in Oklahoma, returning last year to a classroom at an elementary school in the Tulsa Public Schools system. She said teachers are “upset and frustrated” amid continuing cuts to public education in the state — and emphasized that her panhandling was a spur-of-the-moment decision born out of that same frustration.

After the weekend, Danks started a Facebook page called “Begging for Education” that she hopes will bring more attention to education funding needs and problems in the state. Over the weekend, a corresponding GoFundMe account raised more than $3,000. Danks said additional donations will go to help teachers in other classrooms get supplies they need as well.

“I’m shocked and overwhelmed that people are listening to me, but I’m thrilled,” Danks said. “We have teachers every week that picket the (state) capitol and go unseen and unheard. I didn’t necessarily start off doing this for everyone else but I’m definitely doing it for them now.”









Shadow People

As one who lives in the shadows I get what it is like. You are invisible, you are ignored and dismissed as you have a job, a roof over your head and are not living in dire poverty. It comes with age, with gender, with ethnicity. People don't look away or get off elevators when your board but they avoid eye contact or any type of encounter other than polite demonstratives. It is an isolating existence and our ranks are large. We are the table bussers, the garbage and street collectors, the gym towel persons, the substitute teacher, the temporary worker. We make minimum wage or just above, we are educated, we are new to the country, we are married, we are single, we are parents, we are gay/straight and everything in between.  We are anyone and everyone.

I have lived in the shadows for all my life. I actually like it. I was a temporary worker, a retail clerk and Teacher then a Substitute. I owned my own business and lost in the divorce and could not find a partner who was willing to take a risk with me to build a business but then it was 2008 and risks were not a part of that equation. I went back to Teaching as a Sub and what was temporary became a profession. I live in Nashville now and that isolation finally realized itself as one that has shown to be a bad choice and decision. I will never be anyone but a shadow and that is the choice I have to live with.

But not everyone does. They want the "American Dream." And all of it in the shadow of those lucky, smart and well connected enough to attain it. Mark Zuckerberg is the epitome of what we define "self-made" if that means having well to do parents, a chance to enter Harvard and the friends who supported and aided that vision. The ability to cut those out and rise above and in turn find new faces to envision the vision even further. When I listen to Zuckerberg speak I hear an idiot who was lucky. Nothing about him says smart, interesting or even well educated. He reminds me of the same young man who came before him in Seattle who bullied and used people to climb to the top of the ladder and kick anyone on the up and in the way out on the road to success. He lived in Seattle to, the child or well connected parents and an opportunity to go to Harvard and drop out on the way to be the wealthiest man in America.

The story of Bill Gates, of Jeff Bezos shows men whose personality pushes others to drive beyond the vision and in turn once that has been achieved the sudden turn around to be a better man arrives and with it the foundations, the philanthropy and the politics. This pattern was well established by the Robber Barons of another era, the patrons of arts and family dynasty's that came from America's growth through its history. They were the Rockefeller's, the Carnegie's, the Vanderbilt's and others whose names adorn libraries, colleges and buildings throughout America.  The palaces and corporate buildings for the rich are their permanent markers to remind those who come after they will not be forgotten.

 The family has now long been supplanted by a new generation whose aspiration and desperation is just the same and as one name comes down a new one is replaced, new buildings are built, new ambitions met. This is the cycle of the rich.

When I read the story below I laughed as right now Prince Zuckerberg is busy on his listening tour and was rebuffed by the Park System to have a Glacier expert speak to him.  Well one Dynasty abutted another so we have something to look forward to in 50 years to see how that one works out. Well I won't be here as I unlike the tech sector have no desire to live to 100.




Facebook worker living in garage to Zuckerberg: challenges are right outside your door

As the Facebook CEO travels across the US to ‘learn about people’s hopes and challenges’, the cafeteria workers at his company struggle to make ends meet

Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco
The GuardianUK
Monday 24 July 2017

Mark Zuckerberg’s travels throughout the United States to fulfill his 2017 “personal challenge” to “learn about people’s hopes and challenges” have seen him drive a tractor, meet with recovering heroin addicts, don a hard hat and speak out against the staggering wealth inequality that his $68.5bn fortune so clearly represents.

But to Nicole, a worker in one of Facebook’s cafeterias, they have also raised an important question: “Is he going to come here?”

“Here” is just a few miles from Zuckerberg’s five-house compound in Palo Alto and mere blocks from Facebook’s sprawling Menlo Park headquarters. Here, on a quiet street of modest bungalows, Nicole and her husband Victor, who also works at a Facebook cafeteria, live in a two-car garage with their children, ages nine, eight and four.

“He doesn’t have to go around the world,” said Nicole. “He should learn what’s happening in this city.”

The family of five have lived in this cramped space next to Victor’s parents’ house for three years. Three beds crowd the back wall, while a couch and coffee table mark the front of the room as a living area. Clothes are hung neatly from the garage door tracks. The family goes next door to use the bathroom and kitchen. “It’s not easy,” Victor said on a recent morning. “Especially when it’s raining.”

“Our daughter continues to ask us when she’s going to get her own room, and we don’t know what to tell her,” added Nicole.

On Friday, the couple were among about 500 Facebook cafeteria workers who elected to join a union, Unite Here Local 19. They are the latest group of tech industry service workers to seek unionization in the hopes of achieving a better standard of living.

Neither Facebook nor the food service contractor, Flagship Facility Services, opposed the union drive.

Working at a Facebook cafeteria is an enviable job in many ways. Nicole earns $19.85 an hour as a shift lead, while Victor makes $17.85 – well above the $15 per hour minimum for contractors that Facebook established in 2015.

But in a region where software engineers earning four times as much complain about “trying to make ends meet”, the family is struggling.

They earn too much to qualify for state health care, but not enough to afford the health insurance offered by their employer. They frequently struggle to find enough money for basics like food and clothes for their children. Victor recently borrowed money from his mother to hold a birthday party for one of his daughters, and from a friend to pay for a dentist appointment.

“Back in the day, [the wage] would have been a great number,” said Victor, “but because of Facebook moving in, everything is so expensive. I have to get payday loans sometimes. We barely make it.”

At times, the challenges make the couple nostalgic for the days before Facebook moved to Menlo Park. When Victor was growing up, his father was able to buy a small house in Menlo Park with his earnings a landscaper. Earlier in their relationship, the couple both earned about $12 per hour as managers at Chipotle and were able to afford their own apartment.

“I felt more secure at my other job. You didn’t have people looking down at you,” Nicole said. Now she works at cafeterias with names like “Epic” and “Living the Dream”, and the distance between the two classes of Facebook workers can feel immense.

“They look at us like we’re lower, like we don’t matter,” said Nicole of the Facebook employees. “We don’t live the dream. The techies are living the dream. It’s for them.”

The smaller indignities are numerous. At the end of every shift, Nicole watches large amounts of leftover food go into the compost – food that she’s not allowed to take home. Cafeteria workers only enter Facebook’s medical clinics if they’ve been selected for a mandatory drug test. Facebook recently held a “Bring your kids to work” day, but cafeteria workers’ children were not allowed.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said that none of the company’s contingent or contract workers have access to facilities such as clinics, gyms, or bring your kid to work days, but that other policies were a matter between the contractor and the workers.

“We are committed to providing a safe, fair, work environment to everyone who helps Facebook bring the world closer together, including contractors,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

A spokesman for Flagship said that it “looks forward to a positive and productive relationship with the union”. The company declined to comment on its policies for workers at the Facebook campus.

“People think oh, you’re working for Facebook, you’re doing great,” Victor said.

“I’m supposed to the strong one in the family, and to be pushing off promises to the kids – to go buy clothes or food … We’re both working and we still can’t provide.”

“Our motivation is not to bash either company,” said Nicole. “It’s for our families. Why do we have to live like this, when the company we work for has the resources to make it better?”

“We’re not asking for millions,” added Victor. “I just want to not be afraid if I need to go to the doctor. That’s the reason we’re uniting.”