March 2008

Free Commerce

The effort to allow grocery stores to sell wine, as is legal in all but 15 states, has likely stalled for this year.  It was only after three requests that Bill Ketron’s bill even got a grudging second from Mark Norris (R-Collierville).

Just out of curiosity this morning, I poked around the Registry of Election Finance to see if there might be some correlation between dollars donated by the liquor lobby; not surprisingly, the only member of the committee who hadn’t received triple-digit contributions last year is Steve Roller, who wasn’t appointed until Dec. 18, 2007.   I didn’t comb through all the reports, but the select few that I read through told me enough.

Committee Vice-Chair Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) collected $4,000 from the WSWT PAC (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers) from December ’06 to December ’07.  I’m not sure if it’s the money, or the fact that he’s a Deacon at the Jackson Baptist Church, but he surely wasn’t looking out for Tennessee Wineries or consumers this week.

The only consolation is that one of the lobbying outfits for the liquor wholesalers has gotten into a spot of trouble over their "astroturf" (fake grassroots) website to oppose online sales of wine in Tennessee.  Astroturf — that’s a new term to me, but fitting.

Sooner or later, it will happen.  It’s just a question of how much longer we put up with the higher cost and inconvenience of a system designed to benefit the network of distributors who funnel huge sums to the legislature every year.

NCLB Tweaks?

Last week, the New York Times carried the news that

The Bush administration, acknowledging that the federal No Child Left Behind law is diagnosing too many public schools as failing, said Tuesday that it would relax the law’s provisions for some states, allowing them to distinguish schools with a few problems from those that need major surgery.

I wondered whether Tennessee would apply to be one of the "up to ten" states allowed to adjust the punitive process, applying resources where they’re most needed.  Saturday’s Tennessean indicates that the state will apply — but that article seems to focus primarily on the special-education component.

It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Apology

Sunday’s post, entitled "Winds of Change," contained (among other things) a gripe about someone who started a blog with a name that might reasonably lead folks to believe we’re part of a parenting partnership.  This morning, Joel pointed out to me in the comments that "Winds of Change" is the name of another blog — albeit one that I had never seen.

Thus, I expend an apology to the authors there, Joe Katzman and Armed Liberal, for any infringement on their name.  It was unintentional.  It’s good reading, too — just for a taste of the style, here’s Armed Liberal’s snapshot of why he likes Barack Obama:

Look, part of my view of Obama is that he’s a post ’68-er; he grew up on the other side of the shockwave that split American politics, and as a consequence there’s a chance that he can find new frameworks to understand issues and create policies that aren’t entirely driven by the relatively stupid positions taken by my cohort back when we were smoking a lot of pot and working out our anger issues with out parents.

It’s probably healthy for any of us to give some thought to why we frame our issues and positions as we do, and whether that framework is appropriate for today, rather than the time at which we first developed an awareness of politics.

Change Happens

Yesterday, I aired my gripe about the advent of a new blog under the name "Citizen Netdad."  As of this morning, the blogspot has been removed.  Apparently, no ill will was intended, and the fellow is willing to come up with a new name.

Civility in cyberspace — what a novel concept!  I really appreciate the prompt response, and once I learn what his new site will be called, I’ll link to it. 

Winds of Change

It was a shock to learn this morning that VolunteerVoters is no more, with Kleinheider falling to budget cuts at WKRN.  Reading through the many comments, it’s clear that this is a blow to the blogosphere across the state.

If anyone needed more evidence that the economy really has fallen through the outhouse floor, there it is.

*  *  * 
I also learned this morning that someone has started up a new local blog under the heading Citizen Netdad.  My husband has talked about doing so for better than a year, but I’ve always dissuaded him… he needs his own identity.  So for anyone who stumbles across it and wonders, no, Citizen Netdad is no relation to me — and certainly is not my hubby.  HWTFM has procured a domain name, but hasn’t put anything up yet.

In case you’re wondering, the missing link is intentional.  I’m still in a tiff over the blatant ripoff of a name so similar to my own.

*  *  *
The Oak Ridge Schools’ draft budget for next year should be arriving sometime this week, so stay tuned in the coming days for some more useful posting on that subject.  Also, we have a German exchange student arriving on Wednesday, so that should liven up things at home for a few weeks.

Through these last cold, dark days of winter, I’ve nearly finished Beta’s quilt top (in preparation for her leaving for college next summer), have begun work on a prom dress for Gamma, and finished Delta’s Easter dress yesterday.  All the hearth and home stuff hasn’t left a lot of time for writing, but I’ve gone through several excellent books on my iPod.  Listening isn’t as much fun as reading, but it’s hard to read and sew/drive/cook at the same time.