Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Nashville Conundrum

Nashville was a place of hell for me in so many ways which makes sense given its locale in the Bible Belt so perhaps it was more of a purgatory for me to await my transfer to the Good Place but it was three years of captivity that I am still recovering from.

As I await my final negotiation with freedom I laugh when I am there talking to the residents about the state of their city.   I pretend (well I am actually) a tourist who just happened to live there for a time, which I neglect to tell them until they have finished their version of truths which in any other place would be called lies.   That is the conundrum of the Southener, the ability to lie while professing a belief in Christianity that holds the teller to be truthful.  The loophole is that they are forgiven for their lies as they ask for it and heathens are just well doomed.  I heard that once from a "friend" and that ended the friendship right there for posing the statement: "You cannot be a friend until you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior."  Well three out of three ain't happening and that ended that.

That boy is the most troubled individual I have ever known and over issues of religion to sexuality to alcohol and rage there were no prayers that could redeem him so I walked out and left that child to wallow in anger and hate that again no physical person is capable of aiding without help - spiritual or otherwise.   And that is the reality of many of those I met in Nashville, the inability to face truth, let alone hear it as they were the most arrogant yet ignorant people I have ever met in my life and what once saddened me now amuses me.

I called it the contradiction wrapped in a conundrum.  There are few conversations I had that did not circle jerk themselves into fits of rage, anger and frustration. The finger pointing, the laying blame, the endless coveting and or gossiping of others and their failures and successes, the denial and of course the outright lying which seems to be the provenance of the region.

First up the status of the city as "it." That was a passing phrase in a New York Times article several years ago and was really about the city and its transition on a what was a short lived television series and how it made the country industry and the city seem cool.  A quick perusal of the streets on any given day negates that with the endless shuffling of Bridezillas and other drunken patrons of the street that is aligned with one tragic honky tonk after another that claims to be the home of some famous individual who found the lights of the bigger streets and avenues.  But in the meantime sad characters play cover songs for tips while the staff sling cheap beer and are told be sexier and tips are stolen.

Then the city growth largely due to the post flood money coming in from outside investors and government money charged up the Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau that run the shadow government of Nashville until the recent Mayor put on his boots to do some boot scoot boogieing of the tax incentives and other welfare programs to keep industry attached to the mother's nipple.  Irony that these same people eschew public assistance as the same but then that is for the poor and the coloreds.  Shame on them for being poor and colored!

Nashville also denies that it is Vanderbilt, not Nissan, not Bridgestone, not the soon to be Amazon Center of Excellence followed by Ryman Entertainment as the two biggest private employers in the region. And in turn the lowest to the highest paid individuals are those in those fields essential to Nashville's rise - medical and tourism.   For awhile Construction rivaled that and in turn we learned why the Plumber now Governor was able to finance his campaign for religious piety in Tennessee as he was also a big recipient of government handouts aka contracts.   Well the last Governor, Haslam, hardly entered office with a clean slate either.  Bitch this is Tennessee as corrupt as Jersey but just fake friendlier.

There are stories galore about the Government and the State Legislature many which happened while I was living there and each story became more sordid and disturbing with each revelation and yet it is not the first nor last in a state of confusion that spends more time on hate laws then on resolving issues of import that most States do. But then again those states can read and write their own lies, we know that in Republican held super majority states those laws and ordinances have the sloppy penmanship of ALEC and other lobbying organizations masked as think tanks.  If there is any thinking going on in these tanks I would love to know what that is exactly.

One of the two most recent was a discussion with a woman who worked for an organization getting ex prisoners jobs that paid $15/hr.  To my response was: "How do I get put in jail as when I worked as a Substitute Teacher I made $13/hr as I had a license and it was decreased to $11 when my license expired"  The response was the the look I now call dopey pony.   The next was with a CBD farmer who informed me that rich people were coming to Nashville and that was what the city needed to continue to grow and that all these companies made a lot of money and wages would rise.  Well okay they did but again given the industries of hospitality and medical they did as they had to but let's look at that in specific detail.

Nashville bragged about 100 people a day moving there, the most of them were intrastate folks and those interstate ones were from the 5 corners or those states abutting Tennessee and those were not the best and the brightest.  Any larger state population I met coming from New York or California were transferred by the company or retirees as the low cost of living and the no income tax was a generating factor.  The key word is was.

And because hospitality is a major driver many restaurants are finding it hard to find workers and in turn are paying people salaries or wages out of reach of experience just to get staff.  Which explains why half the restaurants are junk and often close as they simply can't generate the product to meet the costs.   And the reality is while wages grew from the minimum they are not sufficient to offset the cost of living in Nashville. Again that conundrum and contradiction in terms.  Wages are growing but not enough so brag all you want you were below the wage scale for years so that climb was not exactly a big climb and again I have written about the municipal workers of the area and their wage issues so really they are or are they?  **ETA this story is so bizarre and SO Nashville that I have included it which again explains why the barrel and the bottom have met when it comes to finding Municipal workers of any kind of intellect  

It is endless the absurd quoting of real estate transactions as on VC or Investment firm is unloading to another some property or another at excess values like moving deck chairs on the Titanic.  We have seen the after affects of over valuing property and in turn when one company buys a building it means the tenants be they commercial or residential will inevitably be the ones who pay the tab.  The endless construction of luxury apartments when the workers cannot afford to live there is another cause and effect that will be sung about in a  honky tonk when the investors lose their shirt and it is coming.  Although it will be a designer one that much is sure and as long as I am not in some REIT with these con artists its all good.

My personal favorite con artist are the white collar ones and they are doing great at grifting Nashville tax payers.  We have the Nissan issue of course and then here comes Bezos and his river of grift but the small players are no less significant.  Here is an article in the New York Times about Smile Direct a business model that is so full of bullshit my face hurts from making that smell face.

Orthodontics venture sees pushback as it disrupts industry
    Kara Hartnett Nashville Post 
SmileDirectClub continues to face legal challenges and investigations, most recently in California, Florida and within the U.S. House of Representatives. 
Nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives — all with medical backgrounds, including five dentists — wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission in January to ask the two entities to investigate the practices of downtown-based SmileDirect to ensure that it is not misleading consumers or harming patients. 
Similar allegations have been made in an arbitration demand made against SmileDirect in the Southern District of Florida, where a woman seeks relief for the company operating illegally in violation of various state and federal laws. She also alleges SmileDirect’s products and services were not as represented and promised, according to court filings. Local law firm Bone McAllester Norton represents the woman in the case.

Meanwhile, the California Board of Dentistry has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by SmileDirect for launching an investigation into the group's operations and chief clinical officer. From their findings, the board alleges CCO Jeffrey Sulitzer committed violations of California’s dental laws through the use of fraudulent permits, misleading advertising, treating patients and aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of dentistry.

SmileDirect has faced scrutiny within the industry at state and federal levels since coming to market a few years ago. Most recently, the booming company — revenues for the first nine months of 2019 rose nearly 90 percent to $554 million — received some good news from New Jersey’s Supreme Court last month when it dismissed claims filed against the company by the New Jersey Dental Association for unlawfully practicing dentistry in the state. The company still faces various fraud allegations related to its September IPO.
Yes but that is home grown talent where the home grown boys who found that company live across the river from me.  Hmm I thought Nashville is where the rich people go or at least establish residency to avoid income tax.  But hey tag you're it!

And as Nashville continues to swindle, lie and brag its way onto list after list they fail to talk about the lists where they lay firmly at the bottom - domestic violence, poverty, education, voting, health and obesity, And it was listed as one of the top four WORST state to live.  Yeah, go figure.

So on that when I leave to never return to Nashville on February 28th, I leap into a new year in a new place and it could never top that list.  For that I will thank the invisible daddy in the sky.  

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