Wednesday, April 25, 2012


House Republican Caucus Chair Debra Maggart (crucifix and all)

            Things are getting curiouser and curiouser at the Tennessee General Assembly, and yesterday's blow-up was one of the oddest moments in recent state history.  Sit back, folks, I'll try to sum up without omitting too many of the usual suspects or three part harmonies you've come to expect from the nation's most inept state legislature.
             You may have heard about our "guns in parking lots" bill here in Tennessee.  That's a measure that would prevent employers from punishing workers who leave firearms in their vehicles on company property, regardless of that company's rules about bring weapons to work.  The Republicans who sponsored said legislation thought this was a great way to pander to the NRA and the Tennessee Firearms Association, which is also a great way to stay in office in this state.  If the NRA's happy with the job you're doing, you tend to get reelected a lot.  Funny how that works.
            Anyway, some folks thought the prospect of employees showing up for work with loaded weapons at their disposal was a bad idea.  Those folks included the Chamber of Commerce and our own (very) pro-business governor, as well as sane people who don't think everyone needs a gun in every situation.  Suddenly, what seemed like a 'no-brainer' of a bill to Republicans, one that would satisfy the NRA and the state's gun nuts, was caught in the middle of a debate about property and business owners' rights to set company policy on their own property.  Property owners verses gun owners... What's a good legislator to do?
           Well, the obvious answer when faced with a tough call in Nashville is to mimic the town's football team and send in the punter.  Boot the bill down the calendar to the next session of the legislature and hope like hell it dies in committee or something.  So that's what the GOP's House members did yesterday.  And thus began a shit storm of Biblical proportions. 
            When House Republicans realized the Republican governor of the state AND the business lobby opposed the new guns-in-the-trunk-of-the-disgruntled-worker bill, the last thing they wanted to do was bring the bill up for an on-the-record floor vote, because if they had voted FOR the bill they would catch hell from the governor and the Chamber of Commerce, and had they voted against the bill they would face crucifixion by the NRA.  Literally.  Crucifixion.
             As soon as the Republican controlled committee moved to table the bill (punt's away!) the Democrats in the House, who had been grinning ear to ear over the prospect of putting their GOP counterparts on record (and thus in the crosshairs of one group or the other) went crazy, threatening to bring lawsuits if proper procedure wasn't followed.  At the same time, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association sent a blistering email to his membership urging them to go all Roman Empire-ish on the gutless GOP leadership who had abandoned the guns-in-cars bill.
             Here's a quote from Executive Director John Harris' email in which he blamed House Republican Caucus Chair Debra Maggart for the bill's delay, courtesy of The Tennessean (motto: "We're not making this shit up!  This guy is calling for crucifixions!") :

“Rep. Debra Maggart’s political career needs to end much as the Romans crucified criminals — not just to end her tenure but as a glaring example to other Republicans that you cannot take the grassroots groups or the rights of citizens for granted,” he wrote, adding, “it is time to display a used crucifix at the entrance to the General Assembly as a warning.”

Tennessee Firearms Association Director John Harris, (all 'round gun nut)
           When informed of Harris' call for political crucifixions (and the delivery of an actual "used" crucifix to the General Assembly) Chairperson Maggart expressed surprise and shock, pointing out that she and Harris had attended the same Christian academy together back in the seventies (which might explain where he learned so much about crucifixes and their value as tactics of intimidation).
             Try to get your heads around this, now.  Here's the head of a prominent state gun lobby threatening crucifixions of Republicans at the same time Democrats opposed to the NRA's bill were arguing in FAVOR of that bill being brought to a floor vote.
             And all the while, our governor is rubbing his head and wondering why no one pays any attention to the reforms he's trying to make for the state, saying it's the media's fault for covering the Legislature sent to Nashville to represent the voters.  Damn press...
             All of this makes me wonder which side of this debate Jesus would side with, you know, if he hadn't been crucified and were around to give an opinion on the matter. 
             How would Jesus vote?  Guns in cars, or crucify the bastards who punt the issue down the calendar? 
             Ah, it doesn't get any better than this...


Mooner In The Perti Dish said...

Squat. OK, first, I can still squeeze you in on a little place up to the north pasture--think Texas.

Second, this guy's been talking to our Ted Nugent, it seems.

Third, I think this is a fine example of how the extreme special interest groups of the right will be at odds this year.

You can't be against everything and really be for anything.

Leslie Parsley said...

I'm glad you wrote about this. Saw a snippet about it on the news but not enough to catch it all. LOL, you can't make this stuff up.

Did you see this story out of Dechard?

squatlo said...

Leslie, thanks for passing that news clip along. Wow, a referendum of two voters to decide an annexation/quarry issues involving 50 families? Must be rural TN in action.

Denise said...

Seriously considering running away from home....

Sarge said...

Me thinks Mooner has an offer you need to take - But, is Wacko in Waco any different that nuts in Nashville?

Folks, please VOTE!


okjimm said...

Boy&Howdy.... and I thought shit was going nuts in Wisconsinton!!

Kulkuri said...

To really get their attention they need to set that crucifix on fire!!!!!!!!!!!

Mooner In The Perti Dish said...

Squat. OK, look, I've been back over here a good dozen times to look at the first pic on this post.

I can't find my eith grade yearbook to confirm with absolute reconning, but that lady is the spitting image of Daniel Maggert from back to Travis Junior High.

I've never know a true arch conservative to make the change, but Daniel's family was an odd bunch.

Can you find out for me?

squatlo said...

Mooner, that's tops on my to-do list today, right after I figure out why my compooter has crashed, the car's AC isn't working, and how to type on The Empress' laptop...

Shalimar said...

Someone didn't read their Gospels closely enough to realize that the Romans were the bad guys.

Phoenix Justice said...

Arizona has such a "guns in trunks" law against the wishes of the Chamber of Commerce and other corporate interests. See, our Republicans don't care who they piss off politically as long as its not Grover Norquist.

squatlo said...

Well said, Phoenix Justice.

Eric said...

"Property owners verses gun owners... "

In this context, that's "versus" (unless, of course, the bill and its debate were all cast in iambic pentameter).

squatlo said...

Eric, thanks for the correction. As you can see, I majored in beer, tennis, and creative spelling in school.

(And The Bard would be proud of your reference...)

"To Carry, or not to Carry, that is the question... whether 'tis nobler to bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or pop a clip in their asses..."