Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Yes, I’ve now seen Hall and Oates on the Daily Show. Thanks!

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Everyone who knows I’m a Hall and Oates super-fan keeps asking if I saw them on the Daily Show the other night. Never fear, I just did.

I loved it! (OK, I loved it in spite of it seeming like they could have maybe used another rehearsal of the song.) They’ve made guest appearances on other shows in the past, but they usually don’t get to interact much before they launch into whatever song they’re there to perform. It was fun to see them have a little comic setup before they played.

And “the only non-douchebag on that show”? Gold.

John Irving at the Ryman Auditorium

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

“Suppression is very American. … If you don’t like abortion, don’t
have one. … Why should it matter to straight couples if gay couples
get married?” - John Irving, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, November 8,

Random thoughts about the election

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

My dad died three years ago today. That’s going to linger with me all day anyway, but especially because my dad, despite conservative leanings, was already impressed with Obama back then. I bet he would be feeling happy and proud today, and crying like a baby.

I really liked Obama’s comment during his acceptance speech that, to all those who didn’t support them, he would be their president too. I felt like that did two things really well: it suggested that he would be open to input from those outside party lines, and it also, in good managerial style, quietly affirmed his authority. Any manager who’s ever had to take over an existing team knows that you sometimes come into a situation where you don’t have consistent support and you have to play that card both ways: I’m nice, I listen well, and/but don’t even question that I’m the boss. I think that was well played.

I’m just so proud that we did it. And relieved.

Songwriting and politics

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

I briefly skipped across something in a feed a few days back referring to this, but I didn’t realize what song the campaign was using, which means I didn’t realize the songwriter in question is none other than my neighbor, Gretchen Peters.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Once again, nice flag-waving title, and the chorus generally sounds pretty upbeat:

Let freedom ring
Let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is the day of a reckoning
Let the weak be strong
Let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away
Let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day

That penultimate line is the giveaway. The song, written by Nashville veteran Gretchen Peters, tells the story of the mother of an 8-year-old daughter who escapes an abusive husband by torching their house, with him still inside.

“The fact that the McCain/Palin campaign is using a song about an abused woman as a rallying cry for their vice presidential candidate, a woman who would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, is beyond irony,” Peters said. “They are co-opting the song, completely overlooking the context and message, and using it to promote a candidate who would set women’s rights back decades.”


Now Peters says she’ll be donating her songwriting royalties from the song to Planned Parenthood — in Palin’s name. “I hope with the additional income provided by the McCain/Palin campaign, Planned Parenthood will be able to help many more women in need,” Peters said.

It’s certainly not the first time politicians have used a song for a campaign without paying attention to its underlying message, but it’s arguably one of the more bewildering usages.

Greening Nashville

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I sure hope this comes to be:

The mayor has called on the committee to identify goals and develop a plan of action that would help Nashville to first become the greenest city in the Southeast, and later one of the greenest cities in the nation.

As the article points out, there’s plenty of work to be done, from outdated stormwater infrastructure (as evidenced by the turrets of water that run down our street when it rains) to sorely lacking mass transit options, with recycling and air quality in between — but it all seems manageable in the long term. I’m glad to see attention being paid to the gaps that need to be addressed.

Now if they would just get moving on a mass transit option that would take me from Nashville to Franklin. I’m getting a little tired of these $60 tanks of gas.

MCB = Much Crazy Bullshit? But maybe it can still be better

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

I’ve been completely out of the loop on the drama and goings-on over at, which I say in part to apologize to those for whom I’ve not been able to be supportive and in part to claim that I take no part in the madness. The mess is expansive and the scars are starting to look like they run pretty deep.

While I wasn’t completely naive about the possibility it might blow up, I really had a very optimistic outlook for it in the beginning. But I and many other contributors have never been nearly active enough to spread the workload out evenly enough, and possibly as a consequence, the voices have become too much of a shrill monotone.

So much of the nay-saying about MCB seems to pertain to a lack of balance in political opinion, which I find unfortunate. I have found that blog, at times, to be a great source of reasoned debate between people of differing viewpoints. I don’t blog often about politics, per se, but like most people, the majority of my opinions can be taken at some level as an indicator of my political leanings. After all, you don’t meet all that many vegan (well, mostly vegan), child-free, atheist, bisexual… conservative Republicans. I’m not saying it’s a foregone conclusion from my writings that I’m a liberal/progressive/Green/what-have-you, but I think the overlap between my lifestyle/preferences and political viewpoint is easy to spot.

What’s my point? I guess it’s that I don’t think a community blog need necessarily be overtly about politics, and I don’t think politics need necessarily be a policy discussion every time in order to be meaningful. But it’s often the topics that do deal directly with policy that turn the most vicious — or maybe that’s because those discussions somehow attract the most vicious commenters.

I don’t have any answers; I just find it unfortunate and I hope that the next era of MCB corrects course and is stronger for the growing pains.

Bullhorn at the polling place?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Bullhorn at the polling place?
Bullhorn at the polling place?,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

Doesn’t this violate at least the spirit of the “no soliciting votes within 100 feet” rule?

ETA: I know the picture doesn’t get the details across, but the people in the blue tent are campaigning for Erica Gilmore for a District 19 Council seat, and one of the guys in the tent has a bullhorn he’s using to address voters as they enter the church-cum-polling-place across the street. He very clearly asked me and Karsten to “vote for Gilmore” as we were entering the polling place. I don’t know how that law is enforced, but I don’t get the impression that this dude is in full compliance.

“Notable.” Ha!

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Liberadio included me in its roundup of “notable” bloggers endorsing Briley. Or, well, now that I read it again more closely, I guess they called the endorsement notable. Not so much me. Oh well, back to insignificance.

It’s Briley for me, too

Friday, July 27th, 2007

S-townMike has decided he wants Briley for the next mayor of Nashville.

I’m so glad to read that. Anyone who’s seen our front yard (or pictures of our front yard) in recent weeks knows we’re a Briley household. But I have a great deal of respect for S-townMike and the strength of his views on community and neighborhoods and what’s good for Nashville in general. So honestly, just to know that he’s thrown his support behind Briley as well pleases me, but I’m especially pleased that some of our reasons are the same:

Every opportunity I have to talk to Mr. Briley, he makes a concerted effort to listen, to chat with me authentically, and to be accountable for what he tells me. [...] I have never seen him evade a difficult question put to him.

Indeed I have seen David Briley seem to seek out difficult questions. I really sense that he’s a man of great character and integrity, and it comes through most in one-on-one interactions. Not to say the man’s never been wrong or won’t be wrong again — we’re electing a mayor, not an icon — but I get a good feeling when I talk with him that he sincerely means to do the right thing by people, and to do the right thing by Nashville.

Which reminds me of one more thing S-townMike says:

It is a testament to who David Briley is: a consummate leader who is not simply versed in the intricacies of governing, but a man readily attuned and energized by his responsibilities to the communities that he governs.


Chris Wage — whose opinions on the growth and development of Nashville I also have a great deal of respect for — has this to say about the race:

Everyone I’ve talked to in the past week — admittedly a small sample set — has been excited about Dean or Briley, whereas I’ve gotten nothing but baffled apathy regarding the rest of the field, particularly with regards to Clement.

I have had some overlap in sampling with Chris, but our sample set is not exactly the same and my experience is still identical to his. More specifically, the people I meet who are passionate about the race are passionate about Briley. I think it comes back to how much his character comes through when folks meet him.

Hey, look. I know I’m not an expert on local politics. I’m not a Nashville native, and I don’t have as much background on who’s who and what their backgrounds are as do a lot of folks I know. But I do pay attention, and I learn more every day, and I do genuinely care. When Karsten and I moved here four and a half years ago, we didn’t know we were going to fall in love with the place so much. I’m happy to call Nashville home and I hope to for a very long time. I believe David Briley is the mayor we need to help the city continue to grow responsibly, to address the valid concerns that come with growth, and to become an even better place to live than it already is.

And a cry of “oh crap” is heard throughout the Nashville blogging community…

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Brittney Gilbert has resigned her post as author/editor of Nashville Is Talking following a truly hideous episode of misunderstanding and attacks primarily from — get this — left-wing bloggers. Brittney is a lefty herself, but her position was misunderstood by her linking to a racist piece of garbage a few days ago without making her reason for linking it explicit — which was unnecessary for regular readers, as we all know her take on the mudslinger in question — and in the ensuing maelstrom, whatever the real issues were, they got lost in a flurry of ridiculous trolling and name-calling. Aunt B has an excellent summary of it all.

I’ve been following this whole thing for the past 12 hours or so, and it has been making me reflective and a little sad. I’m disappointed that more people don’t exercise compassion in their dealings with others. I’m disappointed that so many people resort to name-calling so quickly. I’m disappointed that this ultimately pushed Brittney to the point of resignation. And I’m just sad to see extreme reactions have such influence while opportunities for balance and understanding are overlooked.

That may make me sound like a “can’t we all just get along” type, but the thing is, I’m not afraid of confrontation. I believe in being direct with people when there are conflicts, and I strive to be gentle until my gentleness is misunderstood as a sign of weakness, and then all bets are off. I’m not always as compassionate as I should be. I forget sometimes about the feelings and frustrations of the people I’m interacting with. I think most of us do. *

The thing that makes me feel bad, personally, is that this all started because a dude died. And it was the reaction to the dude’s death that got everyone talking. You know, Talking. As in Nashville Is. And Brittney linked to an excerpt of some talking, as she is free to decide to do within the bounds of her job. (I expressed concern in comment #28 over how the link would be interpreted by those unfamiliar to the blog, as well as reservations about adding authority to the racist nonsense by linking to it, but I certainly never meant to suggest that Brittney was wrong to make that call.) It was controversial. It got people talking. I agree that the fact that she linked to it was as relevant as the link itself, but I can’t understand why so many people responded with such a lack of curiosity about either. They simply made their assumptions and began calling names.

I can’t decide whether to hope that WKRN decides to keep Nashville Is Talking up and running with a new author/editor or that they shut it down because Brittney is so much the heart and soul of that blog. What I hope for Brittney is easy, because I fully believe she’ll do really well in her next move.

* (I’m not sure why, but this reminds me to mention that Mack was surprised a few weeks ago, after reading my writings here for some time now, when I described myself in conversation as liberal. Huh? Not that it’s an either-or proposition, but I wonder how many conservatives he knows who are bisexual atheist child-free-by-choice vegans. I’m curious to meet one now!)

Long line at polling place, North Nashville

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Long line at polling place, North Nashville
Long line at polling place, North Nashville,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

I also posted this over at Nashville Metroblogging, but check out these lines out the door by 7:20 AM.

The right to be atheist? The right to have rights?

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Are rights given by god or by government? If you don’t believe in god, do you still have rights?

These are the questions Donald Sensing asked in his blog today. When this post showed up on Nashville Is Talking (a local blog aggregator), I knew I had to respond. Because as I said in my comment, this is the second time in a few years that I’ve been told that I (through inclusion in some group) “don’t deserve any rights at all.”

The core of his post seems to be this:

So could not we religious people simply say, “Sorry, persecuting atheists is no longer against our religon?” If you think not, why not?

Whether you are a believer or a non-believer, I’d like to hear your thoughts.