Learning to despise the haters

A burning cross in my front yard, and being labeled a communist on the front page of their national publication: these were the results of my first encounter with the Ku Klux five decades ago. As events unfolded recently in Charlottesville, and closer to home in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, my Klan interaction came flooding back. During my twenties, when I

Read More

Health Care: Is Expecting Reason Unreasonable?

I couldn’t tell if it was an admonition or a threat when Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s told his GOP cohorts that if they didn’t pass some version of the health care bill, they would……OMG!…..have to work with the Democrats to reach a solution. For some perspective, let’s not lose sight of the fact that eight years ago, Democrats

Read More

Higher education cuts hurt families

To most of us, $19 million is a whole lot of money; it’s certainly much more than the oft-referenced cost of a cup of coffee. But, that’s the specific amount sliced from Tennessee’s allocation to public higher education institutions for the fiscal year beginning on July 1. While the governor was forced to reduce his entire budget after a lackluster

Read More

Amp is a start for city that needs mass transit

Have you ever pondered the origin of the term “doubleheader”? Surprisingly, it was hatched in reference to a transit need. During the late 19th century, as New York City baseball teams began scheduling two games for the price of a single admission on the same day, train operators coined the phrase. Why? Because they had to add a second engine

Read More

Major shifts underway in the way Tennessee education and government operate

“Some people have 15 years of experience; some have one year’s experience 15 times.” That’s a maxim which I learned decades ago, which accurately reflects the paradigm shift taking place in the way Tennessee state government and our public education system now operates. Laws have already gone into effect this summer radically altering the state’s half-century old Civil Service system.

Read More

Dick Barry: Part of the Tennessee History he loved

Grey was the overwhelming, predominant hair color amidst the mostly male crowd gathered recently to celebrate the life of our mutual, just-departed friend, William L. (Dick) Barry of Lexington, TN. Appropriately, we congregated in the House of Representatives chamber, where Dick served two distinguished terms as Speaker (1961-65). We all sat captivated by Dick’s commanding voice as an audiotape of

Read More

The Case for Sports (and a domed stadium) for Nashville

When NashvilleNext, the community-driven process for guiding Metro Nashville through 2040 recently began pondering what we should look like as a city 27 years from now, one indelible image came to mind: a climate-controlled football stadium.  Our own Music City Dome? First, let me document precisely how sports have broadened Nashville’s appeal and the profound impact which sporting events have

Read More

We need more purple, less red and blue

As I was contemplating writing a column pleading for more mature and measured bipartisan efforts in the face of our nation’s presumed forthcoming fiscal disaster, I recalled the column I wrote exactly four years ago about a “purple coalition” and what the Volunteer State could offer America’s new president early on in his administration. Though my support for President Barack

Read More

Longtime public servant dies at 59

Edwards worked on World Fair, 2000 Gore staff and Sports Authority, among others Emmett A. Edwards, a businessman and public servant for more than three decades, died Monday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center due to complications from lung cancer. He was 59. Born in Covington, Tenn., in May of 1953, Edwards graduated in his high school’s first racially integrated class

Read More

State needs new emphasis on higher education

Where does public higher education stand in the pecking order of priorities in the Volunteer State? Not very high, I’m afraid. In the past decade we have seen major shifts, some good and some bad, in efforts to provide a quality post-secondary education for Tennessee’s students. I had the privilege of being involved in one of the good things in

Read More