Archive for November, 2014

SEARCH FOR NEW TNDP CHAIR

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

The special committee formed to vet a field of candidates in search of the right leader for the Tennessee Democratic Party submitted three names Monday for the state executive committee to choose between, said ad hoc chairman Bill Freeman.

The committee recommended:

– Mary Mancini, a Nashville resident and former executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action.
– Terry Adams, a Knoxville attorney who lost in the Senate Democratic primary to Gordon Ball.
– Rep. Gloria Johnson, R- Knoxville, a Knoxville teacher who narrowly lost her re-election bid.

The three recommendations come as no surprise after TNDP Chair Roy Herron announced that he would not seek a second term.

Democrats suffered losses in the November election, on Herron’s watch, losing ground in both houses of the General Assembly on Nov. 4.

Bill Freeman organized a group of 28, at the behest of the state executive committee, to interview nine finalists Monday. The three finalists were chosen from an applicant pool of 20 Democrats.

The committee was looking for a strong Democrat with a strong fundraising background, good organizational skills and someone who knew the ropes of the Democratic Party across the state.

Although Freeman declined to say whether the committee ranked the three recommendations, others involved in the selection committee reported that Mary Mancini was the first choice of a majority of the committee.

The state executive committee will elect a new chairman. They are not bound by the recommendations of the ad hoc committee.

Serving on the special vetting committee were: Bill Freeman; Vetting Committee Chair, Chris Anderson, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Fabian Bedne, Metro Nashville Council Member (District 31); Mayor Andy Berke, Chattanooga; Gary Blackburn, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Will Cheek, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee and former TNDP chairman; U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (District 9); Karl Dean, Mayor Nashville; U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (District 5); State Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson); State Rep. Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory); State Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville); Bob Clement, U.S. Rep.; Wade Munday, TNDP Treasurer; Gale Jones Carson, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Geeta McMillan, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Mayor Kim McMillan, Clarksville; Gary Moore, president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council; Matia Powell, president of Tennessee Young Democrats; Charles Rains, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; A.J. Starling, vice president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council; Gerard Stranch, attorney and former TNDP general counsel; Bob Tuke, former TNDP chairman; Barbara Wagner, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Sylvia Woods, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Glenn Funk, attorney District Nashville; Marla Salas, Victory Fund Campaign Board; and Ellsa Parker, TNDP Vice-Chair.

The first round of a series of meetings, to hear from the candidates, were held today in Morristown and Sweetwater Tennessee. Executive Committee members, who will elect the new TNDP Chair, County Chairs and democratic activists attended the East Tennessee forum to hear from the candidates.

The next round of meetings will be held in Middle Tennessee on December 6 at 8:45 AM in Cookeville at 1:45 PM in Nashville Tennessee. The final round of meetings will be held on December 13 at 8:45 at Jackson and at 1:45 PM in Memphis Tennessee.

The election of new officers and chair will be held on January 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Home for the Holidays

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we prepare to give thanks for all that we have, but for many Americans, home is not where they will spend the holidays. Many will spend the holiday season on the streets or in shelters.

Over 600,000 people are homeless on a given night – these people sleep in the streets or in shelters. More than 1.5 million Americans will be homeless at some point during the year. Count the people who stay with family or friends and that number of homeless people jumps dramatically.

The overwhelming majority of poor people do not sleep in the street or in shelters. Most individuals have social safety nets, other than government [safety net] programs, in the form of family, friends and community. When bad things happen, many of us can turn to loved ones for support. For the majority falling from housing into homelessness, 72 percent lived with family or friends before ending up in the shelters or the streets. Homelessness is happens when a person’s safety net disappears.

The outlook for future progress in the war on homelessness is promising. More so than with poverty, local governments, private charities and churches can play a vital and effective role in assisting the homeless. New service models are being tested in different cities and regions of the country so we can figure out what works and what doesn’t. More programs are emphasizing data and performance-based measures of success. Creative new programs are springing up. For example, Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness (ARCH), a nonprofit in Johnson City, Tennessee, continues to help find affordable houses for the chronically homeless with disabilities, many of which are veterans. Housing is paired with meaningful opportunities to connect with community and work.

An important aspect of providing help for the homeless is funding. Some funding is accomplished through government dollars and this is determined by grants to regional areas based on data on homeless numbers. In January, each year, the point in time (PIT) survey is conducted all across America. It occurs on one night, as a directive of HUD and a snapshot of homelessness on a single night. In Northeast Tennessee, ARCH will perform the PIT on January 22, 2015. Volunteers are needed to perform this survey by counting the homeless in Northeast Tennessee. Call ARCH at (423) 928-ARCH (2724).

The future on the battle against homelessness is promising, but we must not lose sight of the real suffering faced by real people – even if they are made invisible by poverty statistics. Our main focus and overarching goal must not only be to put roofs over heads, but to address the complex issues facing some of the worst off among us. The war on poverty will not be won until we also win the war on homelessness. Until then, Home for the Holidays will mean life in the streets for many Americans.

Fear not! The 1800’s weren’t all that bad!

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

1800saNashville – State Rep. Steve Womick has filed the first abortion-related bill on Thursday, November 13th to take advantage of the passing of Amendment 1. Under the new bill – The woman will be forced to have an ultrasound one to three days before a procedure. She will also be forced to listen to the heartbeat.

Womick says his concern is to “fully inform the mother of what she is doing”. He says his bill will protect the “emotional and mental health of women across the state of Tennessee”. So it takes a Republican man to tell Tennessee women what they are doing? The GOP war on women continues and more bills restricting women’s rights will continue when the Tennessee legislation convenes in January.

It is interesting to note that in 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that abortion was protected in the Tennessee Constitution as part of a woman’s fundamental right to privacy. Welcome to the new Dark Ages in Tennessee.

Canadian Words of Wisdom

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

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2015 ObamaCare Open Enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014

Monday, November 10th, 2014

obamacare_400_360_3602015 open enrollment for Obamacare begins this Saturday, November 15, 2015. For coverage starting in 2015, the Open Enrollment Period is November 15, 2014–February 15, 2015. Visit healthcare.gov and get affordable health insurance for yourself and your family.

Step 1 to stay covered through the Marketplace: Review your current health coverage

If you already have health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s time to review your plan and decide if you want to make changes for 2015. You can choose to stay in your current plan (if it’s still offered) or change to a different plan.

Insurance companies can change a plan’s premiums, cost-sharing, and the benefits and services they cover each year. Every fall, your health insurance company sends you a notice explaining these changes. It’s important to review your plan’s 2015 health coverage to make sure it still meets your needs.

Here are a things to remember as you review your plan:

•You will receive a letter in the mail this month about your health plan policy describing your plan changes.
•Read the letter, and contact your health plan if you have questions.
•Write down important dates and information from the letter, like enrollment deadlines and your 14-digit plan ID.
•HealthCare.gov now has 2015 health insurance plans and prices available for preview, so you can see what other plans are available to you and compare to the coverage your current plan will offer.

Reviewing your current health coverage is just the first step. Learn how to take the rest of the 5 steps to staying covered starting November 15.

During open enrollment in 2014, the 7 million target was exceeded on the last day of open enrollment with over 8 million Americans signing up from health insurance.

Seven million was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office for enrollment in taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance through new online markets created under President Obama’s signature legislation.

Republicans in congress remain committed to repealing ObamaCare. The congress has voted [unsuccessfully] over fifty=four times to appeal Obamacare. Many newly elected Republicans in the November 2014 Elections promise to continue voting and wasting taxpayer money in futile efforts to appeal Obamacare.