Hurtful language hurts politicians

United States Senator Bill Hagerty on Tuesday joined Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and nine other colleagues to introduce the Public Servant Protection Act, which protects public officials and employees and their families from having their home addresses displayed publicly online. Text of the bill may be found here. …

United States Senator Bill Hagerty on Tuesday joined Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and nine other colleagues to introduce the Public Servant Protection Act, which protects public officials and employees and their families from having their home addresses displayed publicly online. Text of the bill may be found here.


That’s not how free speech works.

Should public servants and their families be protected by law enforcement? Yes. We all should, and those serving in office should get protection specific to their role as the vitriol is particularly incendiary and the service they provide is important.

Should government officials be sheltered from voters who disagree with them, those who say things they don’t like, in a peaceful manner? No. If the voices are dangerous? Yes.

Should journalists and news outlets couch political grandstanding as “protection” from “threats”? No.

Should public employee addresses be public record? That’s not clear cut. I think elected officials should have their addresses on record since their residence is part of the requirement to hold office. If public service employees, like fire and police, are required to live in their community, then that should be public record as well.

Of course, this is largely moot. Most everyone volunteers their location on social media. It would not take much work to figure out where a public servant lives based on posts by themselves, their significant others, or their offspring.

Lawn care specialists, house cleaning professionals, au pairs, and the like could also post location information.

Maybe neighbors post their own information and it becomes easy to triangulate a voted-on public servant’s house?

※ The Hyperbole and Horror of Ginni Thomas

A week has gone by and I’m still aghast. Still astonished. Still absorbing what Ginni Thomas said in those text messages to Mark Meadows, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, as she urged him to overturn the 2020 election, and what she apparently believes in her poisoned mind. So let’s please, please move past Will Smith and the deconstruction of that ugly incident and reallocate our attention to her behavior. It has broader and more profound consequences. It also explains why, despite my efforts not to, I sometimes feel almost hopeless about this country’s present and future.

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” Thomas wrote to Meadows in the days following the election, her derangement and despair wrought in a bonanza of exclamation points. “You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice.” The precipice! I should haul out a few extra exclamation points myself, especially because Thomas went on to say that she and Meadows were watching “the Left” attempt “the greatest Heist of our History.”

(H/t 3 Quarks Daily; via NYT; emphasis mine)

Disappointing Journalism: WDEF

WDEF needs to address their local political coverage, at least in this instance. It’s disingenuous to show one candidate (Coty Wamp) fiddle with their microphone (1:10-18 in the clip) as b-roll to a voice over of the candidate’s platform and then tout the other candidate’s (Neal Pinkston) years in office and experience (1:57 in the clip) with the candidate holding their microphone.

WDEF also failed to mention Pinkston’s nepotism charges as well as Wamp’s misidentification of a criminal subject. I’ll consider that a wash.

Full disclosure: I do not contribute or in any way support either candidate even though I am a registered Republican. When I see shoddy or poor journalism (or media pretending to be journalism) I will call it out.

Residency requirements

The Tennessee legislature passed a bill (waiting the governor’s signature) to require three years of residency in the state and in the district any candidate for office looks to represent. I have not dived into the details, but barring an elected official from representing a changed district based on the census and district redrawing, I do not see a problem with this legislation. A Trump-backed candidate does and has out-of-state money to back her.

Please educate me on this. It seems like anti-carpetbagger legislation where it’s MAGA folk instead of Yankees.

That is not your pipeline

Imagine a bill to study energy infrastructure in your state:

On March 2, a seemingly innocuous bill in the Tennessee General Assembly proposed a study on energy infrastructure,  but an amendment to remove local government’s ability to regulate fossil fuel infrastructure threw up red flags with legislators, local government officials and environmental groups.

(Dulce Torres Guzman via Tennessee Lookout)

Based on my limited understanding:

A libertarian would say the state should not supersede the will of the locality, and the locality not supersede the will of the local people and deny the pipeline;

A liberal would say the good of the many outweighs the good of the few (or the one), but part of the calculus should be the environmental impact and deny the pipeline;

A conservative would say the good for business is the good for all as pipelines and their ilk will create jobs, short term and long term and approve the pipeline;

A modern Republican would be for state’s rights, religious legislation, and where the others don’t intersect, a hands-off approach to business in this case, probably pro pipeline and approve the pipeline;

A MAGA would demonize those against pipelines (pro conservative) and demonize those for local control (anti libertarian) and variously pro- and anti-Republican depending on short-term goals and approve the pipeline;

A modern Democrat will do something either in concert with other Democrats or not;

An independent informed thinker, not an Independent voter, will look at the proposal – pros and cons, history, who benefits – and will be disappointed that the State government is moving so fast on this item.

They were never ok with you existing

Florida is the worst, though Texas tries to out do them:

Florida state senators on Tuesday approved legislation that regulates school lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity, defying demands from some of their youngest constituents and pushing the state deeper into the nation’s culture battles.

(Via WaPo; H/t Birchtree)

There is FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) about sexual orientation and gender identity in these places driven by vocal minorities – mostly fear.

Here’s the thing – intellectually understanding sexual orientation and gender identity is not required to be a decent human being. By being a decent human being means being open to helping a confused and ill-informed constituency – in this case, school aged kids – understand the 9,000 weird, powerful things they their bodies and brains will, are, or have gone through as they grow.

Passing laws that pretend puberty doesn’t happen and institutionalizes puritanical shame for those who do not fit into a binary narrative is mean, immoral, and unethical.

Let’s instead equip teachers and leaders and parents with the knowledge and language to help kids navigate the biological minefield that is growing up. That cannot start with limiting the conversation in schools.

Florida is the fucking worst.

So true.

First, ban the books & then the ideas

Lawmakers in at least 17 state capitols and Congress are pushing legislation that would require schools to post all instructional materials online. Their goal, at least in part, is to enable parents who distrust their children’s schools to carefully examine teaching materials — enabling protests or, in some cases, giving people fodder to opt their children out. That includes materials on race and racial equity but also any other topic that might spark disagreement.

(Via WaPo)

Here’s the thing: the information is already available for parents if they have the desire and time. There is no lack of transparency and there never has been.

Teachers and school advocates say multiple ways of accessing this information already exist, including talking with teachers, attending back-to-school nights or accessing online portals such as Canvas or Google Classroom. Formal curriculums are online for the public or available by request, they say.

BTW, if these laws pass I wonder how many of them will fund the burden they’re putting on public schools.

(H/t to Dave Pell’s NextDraft)

Students at the University of North Texas loudly expressed their displeasure with Texas House District 63 candidate Jeff Younger’s support of Texas’ new pogrom against gender-conforming treatments and their caregivers for children and teens. 

Younger was unable to give whatever campaign message he had been scheduled to deliver due to an overwhelming lack of desire to hear him out.

(Via Boing Boing)

Younger, who is running for Texas House District 63, was scheduled to speak at an event organized by UNT chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas. The room where Younger was to speak was filled by protesters who drowned out Younger and organizers with a “F**k these fascists” and “trans rights” chants.

Younger, according to the tweets, only egged on the protesters by asking them to make more noise and proceeded to call the protesters “Communists.” Another tweet alleges that Younger said “Trans people don’t exist.”

(Via MySanAntonio)

Generally I do not care for protesting before the target opens their mouth, but in this instance it seems warranted.

Always, government officials and those who wish to become one need to behave better than calling people names and invalidating the very existence of constituents (a.k.a. voters).

Texas is a garbage fire.

Timeless Cybersecurity Advice from Government

On 18 August 2021 a significant breach of T-Mobile was made known.

T-Mobile is warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. The acknowledgment came less than 48 hours after millions of the stolen T-Mobile customer records went up for sale in the cybercrime underground.

(Via Krebs on Security)

Cut to March 2022, and the State of Tennessee has advice about this almost 6 month old breach:

State Attorney General Herbert Slattery is warning Tennesseans to take precautions from a massive data breach at T-Mobile from last summer.

A large amount of private data has just been put up for sale on the dark web.

That’s where criminals trade in stolen personal information.

It includes names, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and driver’s license information.

Slatery says more than 3/4 of a million Tennesseans were hit by the data breech.

He says victims have recently gotten alerts through various identity theft protection services about their info.


Tennessee’s Attorney General waited until 750,000 Tennesseans’ personal data was available for sale — stolen six months ago and widely known to have been stolen — to warn the citizens that they should take precautions to protect themselves.

This is a non-partisan issue. I do not understand why the AG sat on this.

TIL The Geneva Convention is not (fully) part of US law

… the United States’ domestic war crimes law, the War Crimes Act of 1996 (as amended), has never been fully aligned with the nation’s obligations pursuant to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 to enact domestic legislation establishing jurisdiction over any individual suspected of committing a grave breach of these universally adopted humanitarian law treaties.

(Via Lawfare)

Also, hostis humani generis means an enemy of all mankind.

Anyway, read the whole article for the interesting and detailed details, such as

Congress deprived federal prosecutors of the authority to prosecute suspected war criminals discovered in the United States so long as they and their victims were aliens when their crimes were committed.

That, Dear Friends, is a loophole through which one could drive a oligarch’s yatch.