My Adventure with The Sacred Harp

So, today, I had to try to find out of any of the different versions of The Sacred Harp–each one claiming to be more authentic than the last, each one’s claim on true authenticity more dubious than the last, at least as far as I can tell–still had George Pullen Jackson’s historical piece up-front.  I ended up calling down to Carrollton, Georgia, where the Denson book is now published.

The gentleman I talked to informed me that there were nothing but hymns in his book.  He did not want it cluttered with any of that new junk.  That would be funny enough, considering that Jackson died in ’53.  But the thing that had me laughing the rest of the afternoon was that I swore I could practically hear the wink in his voice.

Sometimes the arguments are older than you are, and you just have them because you always have.  And what can you do in the face of your place in history but play your part when the tie comes and try to enjoy it?

Is a Fee a Tax?

Let’s talk about HB0010 just for a second.  Maggart & Lynn are sponsoring it.  The wording is such:

Election Laws – As introduced, requires identification and proof of citizenship for voter registration; requires a voter to present qualified photographic identification before voting; voters without proper identification shall be allowed to cast provisional ballots. – Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 2 and Title 2, Chapter 7.

I direct your attention to the parts I’ve bolded and ask your opinion on this.  So far, the “qualified photographic identification” seems to be either a state-issued driver’s license or a state ID.  Both of which cost money to obtain.  So, if you want to vote, you have to procure AND PAY FOR a photo ID issued by the state.  I’ll say it again–you have to pay the state for an ID in order to vote.  How does that not come into direct conflict with the 24th Amendment?

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Are the state legislators now not considering a fee (for the license) a tax?  It’s money collected by the state which you have to give the state in order to vote.

I’m no lawyer, but it seems like the very first election after this bill is passed ends us up in Federal Court.  That seems imminently foreseeable.  And fighting federal court cases costs money.

And aren’t we having a budget crisis?

A Preview of What We’ll Be Fighting About

The very first bills are posted at the Tennessee General Assembly’s website.

There’s some stuff about expanding what kinds of roads could have tolls on them and some stuff about lowering the tax on food and a proposed constitutional amendment to ban an income tax.  I think lowering the tax on food is a good idea.

But here’s what I wonder.  What is the strategy for fixing our budget mess?  I’m no economist, but it seems to me that, if you have more going out than you have coming in, you either have to reduce what’s going out or increase what’s coming in, or both.  Our main source of revenue is the sales tax.  So, how does reducing the sales tax put our finances back in shape?

I don’t know.  I, of course, think it should be done, but I also want to know what the overall financial plan for the State is.

There are a couple of gun things in there–letting military folks get out of paying some fee–which, again, normally I could give two shits about, but now am wondering if we need “coming in” to be equal to or greater than “going out,” why are we proposing lowering any of the “coming in”?–and a constitutional amendment to protect your right to hunt.  I’m not sure why we need a constitutional amendment for that, but fine, whatever.

A couple of things about how we treat children during and after divorce–one that would make presumptive custody joint custody and the other that would set an end date on child support payments.  I didn’t know there wasn’t already an end date on child support payments.  I thought that, once the kid turned 18, you were safe to show back up in its life pretending like you always loved it but its hag mom just wouldn’t cut you a break, unless your ex-wife had a really good lawyer.  But you learn something new every day.

HB0002 states “Child Custody and Support – As introduced, enacts the ‘Equal and Fair Parenting Act’ to create a rebuttable presumption that equally shared parenting time is the custody arrangement in the best interest of a child.” Yep, you read that right.  It makes the baseline “equally shared parenting time.”  Half and half.  Even for school-age kids.

My friends, be prepared to live in the same school district as your ex forever.

I think this kind of legislation is well-meaning, but we all know that people who actually put their kids first will make some arrangement where one parent has more parenting time than the other just so that both parents can find jobs and the kid can have a stable school life and this legislation will be used by parents who just want new and exciting ways to fuck each other over using their kids as weapons to do so.  I do not envy the judge who has to go through the timesheets.

Anyway, I’m expecting more troubling stuff in the pipeline.