Parting Thoughts

Even though they didn’t want to initially, I thought it was very kind of the Republicans to invite us liberal folks, who ended up being just me and Mack.

One thing I found really disturbing is that because the legislative branch of the government is part time, it really limits who can even run for office.  You have to have folks who have either a steady source of income from a spouse, a really flexible job, or some wealth.  I think we can all see that this limits, just practically, who can run for office.

I think I’d rather it be a fulltime job and see if that would open up the pool of politicians to draw from.

Ack, sorry.  I just fell asleep.

Clearly this post just needs to be put out of its misery, so I’ll end it here.

Notes on Tort Reform

10,000 doctors in TN

9 OBs in Memphis to serve all of the TennCare .

Tort reform…

Access problem to doctors because doctors leave practice because they can’t afford insurance. Some folks paying $120,000 to $200,000 a year in insurance.

OBs’ insurance rates have gone up 90%.

70% of doctors have been sued.

We export most of the doctors we graduate from UT. is the doctors’ website.

Hmmm…. Well, lots to think about.  More about this later.

An Unholy Alliance

I’ve just been told that I must remain here until Mack and Carter get back from smoking.  The two of them together, plotting, makes me nervous.  Hopefully they’re just discussing where to get good tamales.  But imagine if they find common ground of some sort.

Also, I need a haircut.

You know what tickles me?  Every single legislator we’ve talked to has made a point of telling us how busy they are.  No one has asked about it, so clearly, it’s a perception they feel people have of them and they’re worried about it.

Oh, and I asked about the best ways for constituents to get a hold of their legislators (especially after Rachel’s whole form letter incident) and this is what I learned.

Form letters from out of a person’s district get deleted or disregarded almost instantly.  Form letters from within a district get answered, but not really considered.  A personal email is considered, but all of them said that they’re inundated with so much email that it’s probably not that effective.  So, either an old fashioned letter or a phone call is the way to go.

Who knew?

Well, I guess some folks.

But isn’t that the trick?  Some folks just know that they can call up a legislator and be heard.  The rest of us, I believe, feel ahead of time that our voice would not matter to people in power and so we don’t bother.  I don’t know how you overcome that on your own.  It takes something or someone to show you a different way.

I mean really how crazy is it that here I sit blogging away in the state capitol?

I don’t know.  It’s like Plimco said.  If someone had told me ten years ago that this would be such a big part of my life and it would take me here or out east or where ever, I’m not sure I’d have believed it.

Ha, Carter just poked his head in so I guess they’re back from their smoke.  I’m going out to watch the New Americans have their day on the hill.  Maybe more later.

Live Blogging the AG Meeting

We’ve all been told that the AG committee meeting is going to be contentious so the computers are out and I’m typing away. I can’t tell if Kleinheider has managed to get online yet. Mack has his usual look of detached interest going on. And the room is full of kids all dressed in red. On the one hand, clearly, they’re having fun because they’re out of school. On the other hand, they have to behave. So, I can’t tell if they’re enjoying themselves or not.

I see from a distance that Kleinheider is online, so check wiht him for actual facts. I think we all know there will be no facts to be had here.

The rumor is that the two contentious things up for discussion are the tobacco tax (Republicans wonder why we’re raising taxes if there’s a budget surplus, yet they feel like they’re being asked to vote against youth health.) and the hog dog bill.
Ooo, we’re starting with the tobacco bill.

Republicans are pissed that they’re being portrayed as “tools of the tobacco lobbiests” by the governor. Oh, and here comes the “tax increase with a $400 million dollar surplus” line.

And here they come complaining about how much money is spent on education. I get their point, but I’ve got to tell you, Republicans, you’ve got to find a way to talk about education that doesn’t make you sound like you hate learning. Or the teachers’ unions.

Now we’re in recess and we’re learning that thee kids in red are not AG kids but kids from some Christian school, who are proud Americans. And proud of their Lord and Savior. I’ve got to say, I’m really surprised by how much folks run around this building giving props to Jesus. I was raised in a Christian household and I think it’s safe to say that my family loves Jesus as much as the next person, and I am just not used to all this Jesus cheerleading. I think if you’re brought up that way, you probably don’t think anything of it, but I’m sitting here getting a little weirded out.

Ooo, I heard a funny story this morning about a politician over in Memphis who was at a picnic and some kids were playing around in their sandbox and there was a salamander and the politician came over with a small shovel and a bucket and he tried to scoop the salamander into the bucket and he accidentally chopped the salamander in two. The kids start to scream and he looks at them and says, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Ha, okay maybe what passes for Republican humor is not actually that funny, but first thing in the morning that tickled the shit right out of me.

The Christians are leaving. I guess once you’ve done your Jesus cheer in one room, you’ve got to go on to the next room.

It’s also New American Day on the Hill so everyone Mack knows is here as well. I’ll just say that I’m concerned that I’m about to work Mack’s last nerve. I’ve just been following him around like a lost puppy for two days.

So, that Representative Dunn is pretty dang sharp. And funny. I’ve got my eye on him.

Okay, Campfield. He came over to our table last night and talked to Mack. I don’t know. The whole thing just was grueling and made me mad. He had no idea who I was, which was fine, except that he also barely looked at me and barely engaged me in conversation. I felt blown off and, you know, if he’d known me, I wouldn’t have blamed him for being rude. But he didn’t. So, yeah.

I told him that I thought his crazy-ass he-man act made it very hard for me, as a voter, to tell when his legislation was useful. Like we talked about before, there are pieces of legislation he puts forward that seem, individually, to be reasonable. But because he seems so batshit evil and insane, I assume there’s some nefarious purpose to it and feel like I must oppose it on principal.

He seemed unswayed.

But the point is that Mack kicked his butt.  Just manhandled him.  Put his paw on the puppy and watched him squirm.  I was impressed and jealous of the ability he has to commandeer a room and kind of subtly dominate it.

Back to the meeting, Representative Shaw (I think that’s his last name) kicks butt. Smart and quick and has a very handsome pink tie.

Wait. Wait. It’s over. What the fuck?

Now Mack’s friends are coming in. This one standing in front of me is very cute.