More About the Reporter They Arrested

You remember that earlier this evening the THP sent out an email accusing Jonathan Meador of being so drunk that he “appeared to be intoxicated and unable to care for himself.”

Meador was able to videotape his arrest. Judge for yourself how intoxicated and unable to care for himself he seems.

The second I saw there was no notice of what his blood alcohol content was at the time of arrest, I was deeply suspicious that this was a bullshit arrest. But hearing him identify himself to the police and hearing him interact with the protestors, it’s obvious that he wasn’t drunk, was able to care for himself at least until thrown to the ground, and that they knew he was a member of the media.

But go ahead, Haslam administration. Let’s have another mid-morning press release in which you explain this away as being something other than what it obviously is.

When Cheaters Prosper

SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell has sent a boot-in-your-ass letter to Alexia Poe, the Governor’s Director of Communications:

I expect the Governor to publicly apologize to him for this violation of his rights and to assure the people of Tennessee that this administration will not interfere with the right to a free press that has been a fundamental right in this country since our founding.

Somehow, I doubt that apology is forthcoming, since the Governor plans on arresting people again tonight.

We feel that we have grounds to enforce the policy.

I just wanted to link to Matt Taibbi’s piece on why this is not just “losers” who are jealous of the success of “winners,” because I think he gets right to the heart of what a ludicrous belief that is.

And we hate the rich? Come on. Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners.  But that’s just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning – they’re cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.

In this country, we cheer for people who hit their own home runs – not shortcut-chasing juicers like Bonds and McGwire, Blankfein and Dimon.

That’s why it’s so obnoxious when people say the protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life. This isn’t disappointment at having lost. It’s anger because those other guys didn’t really win. And people now want the score overturned.

All weekend I was thinking about this “jealousy” question, and I just kept coming back to all the different ways the game is rigged. People aren’t jealous and they don’t want privileges. They just want a level playing field, and they want Wall Street to give up its cheat codes

I would add that, specifically in Tennessee’s case, we would like the Governor to give up the “I made up a rule and called it a law” and “I’m using the THP to enforce a ‘law’ that’s not really a law” and “I arrest journalists who try to cover me violating Tennesseans’ first amendment rights” cheat codes.

Edited to add: The Boston Globe has a great story on the protestors.

And holy shit, the THP arrested Jonathan Meador for smelling like alcohol and appearing “to be intoxicated and unable to care for himself.” This says to me that they know the arrests won’t stand (otherwise, why didn’t they subject him to a breathalizer?) and are just making up bullshit reasons.

That’s really, really not good.

Can a Book Be both Bad and Amazing?

I just finished Chuck Palahniuk’s Damned and it is not good. The pacing’s all off. Some things are too repetitious and there’s a conceit at the end that seems designed solely to excuse the book–it’s not Chuck’s bad writing, it’s Satan’s. I couldn’t get into the book at all because the narrator just did not sound at all like a 13 year old girl and I finally just had to succumb to the male voice my brain want to give the text. And it’s another one of those “Surprise! I’m the set up for a sequel!” books.


That being said, there is a section in this book where Maddie, the main character, is left at boarding school over the winter holidays (much like Harry Potter and Ebenezer Scrooge) and she slowly comes to wander around the school and eventually the grounds naked. And then she gets stuck outside with her hand stuck to the door knob (the door is locked) and that part–from the moment she gets left behind until she gets back in her bed after getting back in the school has simply got to be one of the nicest, most well-done pieces of writing I’ve seen.

In spite of everything I just said about pacing and the problems of the narrator, I really did believe, in that moment, that I was reading something that not only was telling me something about that character, but also was telling me something about being a girl that I hadn’t quite realized.

The book’s not unreadably bad. I enjoyed it, kind of. And parts are really funny. It just felt like maybe it was a draft away from actually being done.

Welcome to Tennessee–Where the First Amendment is 2/3 Null and Void

After arresting protesters for peaceably assembling on Thursday night, Governor Haslam upped the ante by arresting protesters for peaceably assembling and arresting a Scene reporter who was there covering it. On Twitter, they were also saying that a Fox 17 camera person was injured, but I can’t find confirmation of that this morning.

I’m going to just link to Mike Byrd, who’s done a nice write-up that is succinct and makes sense. I don’t think I could pull that off right now.

I want to say that, when you live in a state where they make up “laws” on the fly AND wait until the middle of the night to arrest people for violating those made-up on the fly laws so that their actions remain hidden from citizens, when they wait until the middle of the night to arrest people AND they arrest journalists so that your ability to learn about what happened is curtailed, it’s sobering.

Who even knows what’s legal in Tennessee? Apparently it’s just at the whim of the Haslam administration. Who also knows for what you’ll be arrested? Apparently, if you look like an occupier, you’ll be arrested, but if you look like you just came from the theater, you will not. And once they start arresting journalists? Ugh.

So, that’s freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. If I were a religious person in this state, I’d be looking around nervously at this point.

It’s a weird feeling. On the one hand, I have never felt more deeply troubled about living in Tennessee. If we can’t agree on basic things like how laws are made, that they should be enforced equally against everyone, and that I, as a citizen, have the right to learn about what happens in my state through the press and not through state issued press releases, then we are in pretty precarious times.

But on the other hand, when I look through Chris Wage’s pictures, and I see these amazing, ordinary people, my fellow Tennesseans, it makes me so incredibly proud.

On Wednesday, these were a handful of people I think most people in the state thought were a little corny. By now, Saturday morning, they are on the front line of a fundamental battle in this state over whether we still live under the Tennessee State Constitution–

That the printing presses shall be free to every person to examine the proceedings of the Legislature; or of any branch or officer of the government, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions, is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. But in prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers, or men in public capacity, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and in all indictments for libel, the jury shall have a right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other criminal cases.

And the U.S.–

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Bill Haslam could have let the occupiers occupy until the cold weather sent them home. The fact that he can’t do that indicates something so troubling about how he and his administration see the scope of their power that it should make us all angry.