Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Bottom 10

 As like last year I sat out the Women's March here in Nashville.  I spent the day as I did before wandering charming Franklin, doing some spice shopping, antiquing and just enjoying a 60 degree plus days after a week of freezing cold and being house bound thanks to snow and the flu.

The reality is that I trust few to none in this City-town and respect even fewer.  I want to spend as little time as possible in the company of the people who call this home and pretend to care, one day a week is not enough nor even near enough to raise this regions ranking.   But thankfully, the City of "It" has now been passed to Chattanooga with its designation as a must see place by the New York Times and with Senator Corker soon returning to his home city he can take advantage of the real estate loopholes in the tax bill he voted for to make his town boom even more.

And that is the first issue of import.  The lack of voter participation.  We are ruled here by a minority and all of those in elected office reflect that.  So start by getting people to vote

Tennessee ranks last in voter turnout. How 2 lawmakers hope to change that.
Jordan Buie, USA TODAY NETWORK -Dec. 11, 2017

Tennessee ranks 40th in the nation in voter registration and last in voter turnout. More than 838,000 adult Tennesseans are not registered to vote.

In the Volunteer State, some see this as a crisis in civic duty.

Now, two lawmakers from separate political parties and branches of government have a plan to change that.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, and state Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, have proposed Project Register, an adult-geared spinoff of a nonpartisan project the two developed a couple of years ago to get 18-year-olds to register while they were still in high school.

“One of the bullet points that really shocked us was we had a very hot 2015 mayor’s race here in Nashville and there were fewer voters there than we had in this city in 1971,” Cooper said during a meeting with the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee on Monday.

“That is just stunning. It shows how we have lost the ethic of voting and participation. It’s a little bit like civic clubs are having a hard time. Churches are having a hard time. We need to do what we can with the Volunteer State.”
Reaching adults in the workplace

In the high schools, Cooper said, teachers reminded students to vote and the message was relayed in modern mediums, such as rap videos featuring lyrics on the importance of voting.

Now, the pair want to reach adults in the workplace by getting employers to send out reminders to vote in company emails and links to online registration and to include voter registration information in company onboarding.

“The mayor’s race brought this to our attention,” Dickerson said during a news conference at the Nashville Public Library. “We realized that of voters in Davidson County between the ages of 18 and 25, only about 10 percent were even showing up to vote in the mayoral race. As a result, Congressman Cooper’s office and my office launched what I called a nonpartisan effort to register more young people to vote in our county. This is a continuation of those efforts."

By size, Cooper said Tennessee should be 17th in voter registration.

This summer, Tennessee was the 36th state to roll out online voter registration, an update Cooper and Dickerson hope will allow a large marketing campaign to reach millennials and other voters who might be more inclined to click a link and fill out an online form than sending in physical paperwork.

Now that there is a link to click, Cooper and Dickerson said their goal is to market that link broadly through businesses in a way that can have a profound impact.

As of Monday, 75 businesses representing 125,000 employees have signed on to participate in the project. These businesses range from major corporations to local nonprofits to an association of real estate agents and local universities.

Nashville Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said Monday that he’s excited about his organization getting the chance to leverage the passion of Predators fans to get the message out.

“You’re going to start seeing (the voter registration message) a lot throughout Smashville and most certainly in our building because all the things that are in front of us, all of the challenges, all of the potential problems, we can only solve them if we turn more people out to vote,” he said.

Bank of America Nashville Market President Tyson Moore said his associates were shocked by the numbers Cooper and Dickerson presented on Tennessee voter turnout.

“We thought this is something we could absolutely effect change on,” he said. “The fact is that being able to cast a ballot is a great American freedom that we all have, and being able to get people out to the polls is certainly to protect the great democracy we all enjoy as citizens.”

Cooper said 99 percent of businesses approached in Middle Tennessee have signed on and the goal is now to move to the rest of the state.

Cooper and Dickerson said they expect the project to be a bipartisan campaign supported by Tennessee Republicans and Democrats. It is as important as ever for people to register to vote, with every state House seat, the governorship and a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in 2018.

Next up our level of education.  Can't vote if you cannot read.  The supposed Drive to 55 is an experiment that needs help and it needs help way before any of these kids or adults enroll in College.  Our K-12 schools subject of a book talks about the role of Charters, Magnets and other mechanisms that continue to divide and segregate our schools.   There is a massive Teaching shortage and in turn further blame making and bullshit centers everything around the facts that without Collective Bargaining there is little support and organization around schools, school funding and the issues that Teachers are facing - from excessive testing to violence to lack of pay.    Tennessee has been at the bottom of the list of States for academic achievement for decades.  The joke is that at least Alabama i lower.

Tennesseans are lagging behind most other Americans in the amount and quality of education they get, according to a new survey.

The state ranks as the No. 8 least-educated state in the U.S. according to WalletHub, a financial-oriented website that compiles rankings of U.S. states and cities based on the social and economic well-being of their residents.
The education survey, released today, measured 11 metrics to come up with the rankings – including the percentage of residents with high-school diplomas as well as those with associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The survey also factors in the quality of education based on U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of public-school systems as well as their ranking of the top 200 U.S. universities.
Tennessee is No. 39 overall for the subcategory of “quality of education and attainment gap,” thanks in part to its No. 35 ranking for “average university quality.” But the state only mustered a No. 43 ranking for both the subcategory “education attainment rank” and the survey as a whole.
Massachusetts finished as the No. 1 most-educated state in the WalletHub survey, followed by No. 2 Maryland and No. 3 Colorado. West Virginia is America’s least-educated state, according to the survey, and Southern states hold 12 of the bottom 15 positions – including No. 49 Mississippi and No. 48 Louisiana.
Virginia was an exception to the low rankings of Southern states, placing No. 7, but the next-best ranking from the region was Georgia at No 35.

Least-educated states
50.West Virginia

Then we have higher education with about 1/3 of the population attaining higher degrees.  This educated workforce is necessary to raise salaries and in turn taxes to improve the quality of the region and the overall quality of life for all residents.  Can't have service without those to be served and they need to pay the tab.  Wages for those in the service industry are still low and when they speak of Southern Hospitality they should include paying them a living wage.  This particular industry hits those of color and women more across the board, so you want equality try wage parity and solvency.

Violence from guns in the street to ones in the home, Nashville has the same population as Baltimore (600K plus) but only 1/3 the homicides at about 100 this last year.  The number marked the most killings in the city since 112 people died in 1997 — the highest number of criminal homicides in modern city history, Metro Nashville Police Department records show. The lowest number took place in 2014 when 41 people were slain.

And women, march on this stat:
For the seventh year in a row ( as of 2016), Tennessee ranked among the top ten states for women murdered by men, according to a new study released by a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization.

There were 53 female homicide victims killed by male assailants in 2014 - a murder rate of 1.58 per 100,000 women, according to the study by the Violence Policy Center. The group analyzed 2014 data, the most recent available.

Tennessee ranked 9th in the country for its murder rates of women by men. With the exception of 2007, Tennessee has ranked in the top ten since 1999, according to the annual analysis of homicide data. The vast majority - 51 out of 53 women murdered by men - were killed by men they knew. Thirty were killed by current or former husbands and boyfriends.

But Nashville in its constant blame game blame outsiders.  So in 1997 when your population was one-half the size what was the reason then?  Because surprise that marked another period of growth in population as well.  Census Data from that time period is an interesting look back to the decade before and other than population growth, little else has changed here.  Hmmm.  I look forward to seeing what the 2020 Census brings. (That is if it is funded appropriately)

The lack of infrastructure has massive injuries and accidents across all the highways and again blame outsiders as well when people move for jobs but to afford housing for said jobs require a commute without a regional adequate transit system to serve commuters you have that problem.  But you have no sidewalks so hence it may be why the Women's March here covered ostensibly 5 city blocks as that is where there is sufficient ability to actually walk.  I walk that daily and even a neighbor said he sees me walk everywhere and I must be in good shape.  Ah yes another problem here in Nashville, health. Funny the Chamber of Commerce that weighs in (pun intended) on the state of the schools (a total laugh-a-thon) also studied transit and health and found they are correlated!  Shocking, I know, not really!

But even The Atlantic covered the issues surrounding transit and infrastructure and well again Nashville with it's big push to transit is still well behind and will be a decade before it even serves the area sufficiently.  Can't get to the bus if I can't cross the street and connections? Not possible. Although I have figured out many ways and funny walking again even a short distance with well lit and maintained sidewalks makes it quite enjoyable.  (Hey it is the humidity that gets me the cold was nowhere near as off putting but the summer is horrific here) But then I am asked repeatedly about if I am afraid.  Of what? Oh wait I know the poor that ride the bus and in turn the "type" of people who ride the bus of which I am one.  The math is a simple equation.

I cannot stress enough the lack of health care insurance and options for affordable health care is laughable as this is the town that Medical Tourism could be the next on the list of reasons to visit. The City is a venerable center of much of the nations medical insurance and health care providers, but you have to have insurance to access it.  Ah yes the quandary here - access and availability - they are not the same.   Mind the Gap as they say in London.

The flood in 2010 that brought said change and development here has never been addressed and given what we have seen nationwide when natural disasters hit we are both ill prepared and reliant upon the private sector to resolve the problems that brings.  Unless  you are Puerto Rico and then good luck.

 Ladies of the Nashville March I have a challenge for you, there are right now three positions open for the upcoming Nashville School Board with possibly two more also coming up. Start there. Run. Get Teachers and Students and their families to be your advocates for public education and for voting and fulfilling their civic duty.   Start to restore the public schools and examine charters and their roles in how they are decimating and not fulfilling their obligations to educate the largely minority youth whom they are in charge.

From there stop the testing histrionics and encourage Teachers to organize and form a Union and in turn challenge the right to work laws that Bob Corker so effectively denounced when the Auto workers attempted to do so in Chattanooga a couple of years ago.    A school board is the most local of offices and a great platform in which to jump into the pool but not in the deep end.

Will any of the women be encouraged or prompted to throw their pink pussy hat into the ring? No.  There is something about the women here that when in a collective, be that a Church or in a march, they have no problem sharing their voice.  But in the quiet halls of conference rooms or meeting halls they don't.  The loudest voices are usually women who are right wing nut jobs like Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black or my personal favorite nut fuck, Mae Beavers.  The use the weapon of the Bible to both shield and arm themselves to rile up the rubes who vote them into office. Remember Tennessee is the state where Democracy consists of a minority ruling the majority.

The whisper is race toned, gender toned and complicit with the Evangelical dominance in the community. Again 53% of the residents of the area identify as such and with that all the baggage that the dogma they espouse which includes a deep distrust of the "outsider."   There is a odd mob mentality that marches and churches share. When you are safe as one of a group you are safe from distinction and in turn having to support or rationalize your beliefs.    When you ignore the reality and in turn refuse to stand up for what you belief even when it is horrific, ignorant or just plain stupid you will never learn.  Instead you will vest and cocoon yourself in the comfort in the idiocy of intellectual "safe spaces."  Nothing intellectual is safe and that is what learning is, taking on a risk to be exposed to people, to ideas, to concepts that are not yours.   And from that comes communication and exchange.

I am asked repeatedly, "What brought you here?"  And my response is, "To fuck you over. How am I doing so far?"  As the facts that I have shared here I have shared aloud and been promptly reprimanded, ignored and actually told I would be harmed if I told others.  So really you think I would set foot at your march and feel safe?

But march on ladies and next year I will evaluate your successes from the same place I did before, Franklin at the farmer's market having coffee and enjoying the day.  It was a day well spent and I wish you the same.

But that list you have places us at the Bottom 10 and that is hard list to take on.

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