Dispatch From Tennessee

Greetings, First Drafters! First of all, a big thanks to Athenae and everyone else for the warm welcome and the opportunity to share my rantings over here. I look forward to meeting some new friends. Also, please bear with me: I’m a TypePad newbie.

Let me start out by introducing myself. I grew up in Montclair, N.J. and Los Angeles, CA — two of the country’s most liberal cities. But I’ve spent most of my adult life in Nashville, TN, rural Kentucky and rural Pennsylvania — among our most conservative areas. (Let me debunk some regional stereotypes right now: I met more rednecks whose family trees had no branches in Pennsylvania than I ever did in Kentucky. Just sayin’, y’all.)

I have an undergraduate degree in environmental science. My professional career has been divided between the music industry and communications in environmental ed and resource management. I devoted years to a progressive church, where I coordinated outreach activities like monthly congregational letter-writing campaigns — but I’m so sick of Christians ramming their religion down my throat all the time that I haven’t walked through a church door in three years.

So, I’m a riddle wrapped in a contradiction tied with a flip-floppy bow. Most of my posts over at Southern Beale are written in a fog of outrage over some pile of stupid that’s been inflicted on the world, and Ido take this shit personally, so expect some cuss words. I think, as a longtime reader and commenter over here, that this won’t upset too many people.

I like living in Tennessee but a lot of stuff pisses me off here, and honestly there are days when it’s all I can do to keep from packing up the dogs and cats and telling the husband to meet me in California. The last few years have been particularly horrid. We’ve got every wretched piece of wingnutty legislation coming out of Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, with a special Tennessee twist: crap like our“Don’t Say Gay” bill, or how our Republican-dominated state legislaturedecided to override Nashville’s non-discrimination ordinance last year, because small government! And local control! Except when we don’t like it!

Democrats in Tennessee are an anemic, demoralized bunch but they do exist, and occasionally they come up with a good idea or two. One was a bill that would force legislators to disclose the special interest groups behind “model legislation” of the kind coming from ALEC and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sadly, last week the Influence Disclosure Actwas killed in a subcommittee, but not before Republicans kicked it in the teeth:

“This is a bad bill … horrible bill, really,” Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, said during the House State and Local Government Subcommittee meeting. “I know what it’s getting back at. It’s getting back at ALEC.”

Curry Todd … Curry Todd … why does that name sound familiar? Oh yeah:he’s the Tennessee state chair of ALEC, as well as an ALEC board member. How convenient! ALEC sure got their money’s worth!

But there’s something else, something nagging at the back of my head … oh yeah: back in the fall Todd, who sponsored our notorious “guns-in-bars” bill, was arrested for DUI with his loaded .38 special wedged between his seat and the car’s center console. Click on the link, the mug shot alone is priceless. Todd was so shitfaced he literally could not walk straight, let alone drive, let alone be trusted with a loaded handgun.

If this were a Demcorat there would be manufactured outrage all day and all night until the poor sucker was run out of the legislature and sent home with his tail tucked between his legs. But Curry Todd is a useful idiot for the corporatocracy, able to quash things like the Influence DIsclosure Act that would let everyone know which bills were written by the Koch Bros. or Corrections Corp. of America. So we’ve all kind of forgotten about the mess at the corner of 21st Avenue South and Blair, and anyway, didn’t a prominent Democrat do something awful once, too? Move along … move along.

Because that’s how we do it here in Tennessee.

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23 thoughts on “Dispatch From Tennessee

  1. Eykis says:

    Glad to find you here, this looks like a great site. As a native Dallasite, who has spent the past 12 years here, it is horrible, but sure as hell cannot deal with Texas and all the idiocy there – would love to move back to the mountain in New Mexico, alas, no jobs there either.
    Keep up the great work/writing.

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  2. Gummo says:

    Hey, Southern Beale, always enjoy your righteous rants, welcome!

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  3. Tommy T says:

    Hey Eykis – try growing up in Waco.
    Dallas is Maine in comparison.
    Tommy

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  4. Randy Johnson says:

    If you find my comments inappropriate all I know to tell you is Southern Beale left bread crumbs leading me here. If her presence here means she will reach a larger readership it’s a good thing.
    Funny she should mention rural PA in her post. I am a native Alabamian and as I’m sure you guys know the circus is in town there today. Listening to a news report Santorum was quoted as saying he represented the area in PA “between Philly and Pittsburgh which is Alabama.” It was also noted some residents of the Keystone State were not thrilled with the comparison.

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  5. Adrastos says:

    Inappropriate? Not bloody likely. We are home to Jude who swears more than I do and I fucking swear a whole fucking lot.

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  6. Dan Meenan says:

    So. Beale is my muse, my moral compass. It gives my wife and me great comfort to know that there is some Southern Sanity.

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  7. Y’all have been too nice!
    Randy, I believe that region of the Keystone state Santorum referred to is what we call “Pennsyltucky.”

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  8. Kaylynne says:

    I was surfing along, not minding my own business and those same cyber bread crumbs led me here. I don’t blush easily and have been known to more than hold my own in a battle of wits, so cuss away, rant, rave and let it out. Can’t be worse than what I have said during the rethuglican rebates and not as bad as what I threw at the tele, either. Southern Beale has become welcome sight in my inbox when gosh knows most else isn’t these day. I’m about sick of this petition and that petition and well meaning bird brains who round robin forwards of shit I get anyway! Southern Beale is like staring the day with a fine cup of strong, black coffee.

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  9. Kaylynne says:

    Pardon the damned typos. This keyboard is being donated to the GOP. Let it plague the crap out of them! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. JrFanBoy says:

    21st Ave S. & Blair? Do you work at Harris Teeter, or just eat regularly at Brown’s Diner?
    Either way you’ll make a fine contributor, I think.

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  11. Doc says:

    Welcome to camp happy! Enjoy yourself… ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. JazzBumpa says:

    I ate all the bread crumbs, so this will probably be the last comment.
    Just want to say how delighted I am to see someone other than me saying “rethug.”
    Santorum swept Ala and Miss in what looks to me like near-3-way ties.
    Romney is spending millions, Santorum pennies.
    Santorum is insane. The south terrifies me.
    Gingrich outspent him. Newt is in for the duration.
    (shudder)
    JzB

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  13. Marc says:

    Southern Beale – awesome!!

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  14. brig says:

    i follow your post all the time..My husband and I bought property in Eastern TN about 8 years ago, right in the Smokies beautiful property with lots of trees overlooking the mountains, just the place to let dogs run in the woods. But after the 2008 election I saw what i got myself in for, my mom said what did you expect I was just mesmerized by trees and mountains. Seriously hate telling anyone that we are going to be living in TN. So now after reading your blog i see it can be done, basically the people are nice and keep to themselves and I am only about 45 minutes from Asheville so when i need some open minded people like me i know where to go..keep posting love your stuff

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  15. mary wilson says:

    AH, SB, I am joyful that you have expanded your audience and ‘followers’. Although I do appreciate some of your stories of your ‘raising’, I was actually brought up in an Irish Catholic family here in Knoxville, but as a Navy wife, my horizons were broadened, and seeds of activism were planted in me as we moved cross-country for 6 years, then landed in Hazard KY where COAL was king and still murders and sickens folks today…and yet some of the best people in America live in those hills. I learned to be a real hellraiser there, with the goal of providing my 4 children much better public schools. I move back to TN as a single Grandma, two of my 4 at ETSU, and became a RABID ultra LIBERAL Democrat. In fact I hell raise online, in Letters to the Editor, on FB and at meetings, that I have proudly earned MANY labels, the one of which I am most proud…”a danger to our democracy”! And I am absolutely joyful that females in our State of Hate now have a few reasons to get out and fight back, at last, over the WAR on us! Here! Having our daughters, sisters, and ourselves called “sluts” is, well, the final STRAW!
    So, thanks for spreading your unique brand of “telling it” out there! I will definitely keep in touch!…Mary in Knoxville

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  16. ThresherK says:

    Any site with added Southern Beale today is by rule better than it was yesterday.

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  17. khowell says:

    Welcome, Southern Beale, from just across the state line in Cadiz. We spend entirely too much time in Nashville – will be down there next week to celebrate the new McKay’s and have a veggie burger and a milkshake at Bobbie’s.

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  18. Mr. Mack says:

    Clicky. Follow Beale. Find Liberal oasis. Bookmark.

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  19. I know Cadiz well, khowell!!! Verrrry well. We probably know each other!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  20. adrastos says:

    Didn’t A warn you about excessive exclamation points, SB? One will suffice.

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  21. Petrushka says:

    I am so happy other East Tennesseans read this blog. Even happier that one of our own is now posting!

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  22. Wild says:

    Oh yeah.When we’re done bitching about how our biaomehn city isn’t minty fresh every day (think of it as yuppie repelent), how about soem real street debris, in the name of this ICI condo project, samck dab in the middle of the Bywater. 200 parking spaces, 100 units at $250 grand & UP. IT’s own stores and shops. It’s not an eye sore. It’s not even gentrification.IT’S A FUCKING HI END GATED COMMUNITY.Right smack dab in the middle of the biggest artist community in New Orleans.How long until THEY get tired of tattooed feaks near their Lexus and start buying out blocks for more rich boy condos? Not fucking long, ya heard it?We’re headed towards Game Over, kids.Enjoy it while it lasts.

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  23. Lucero says:

    I read your post and wsiehd I was good enough to write it

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