Our Common Good

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais testified during divorce proceedings that he and his former wife made a mutual decision for her to have two abortions, according to divorce transcripts released Thursday.

DesJarlais, who practiced medicine before going to Congress, easily won a second term in Tennessee’s conservative 4th District despite previous revelations that he once urged a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.

On his campaign website, DesJarlais espoused an anti-abortion position, saying: “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.”


DesJarlais in the court proceedings acknowledged having sex with at least two patients and he said he prescribed painkillers for at least one of them.

"Yes, she is a patient and I wrote her prescriptions," DesJarlais said.

He urged one of those patients to get an abortion during a phone conversation that he recorded. The congressman denied during the campaign that he had recorded the call, but in his 2001 testimony he acknowledged that he did. DesJarlais said he was only trying to get her to admit she wasn’t pregnant.

The transcripts show that woman testified under oath that she had been pregnant. She declined to answer whether she had an abortion but said she didn’t have a child by DesJarlais.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington last month filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health arguing that DesJarlais conducted an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient. DesJarlais said at the time that he doesn’t expect anything to come out of the complaint.

While on the stand, DesJarlais testified that he had sexual affairs with eight different women during 1999 and 2000 while his divorce was pending. For some of the time, he was attempting to reconcile with his estranged wife, who also admitted to having sexual relations with multiple men during the same time.


And, naturally, this white whine piece features Tennessee, which kind of “won” (or lost, depending on your perspective) a certain contest from earlier this year that was hosted on this blog.

Man Behind Sudden Millions To FreedomWorks: I’m Not ‘Shadowy’


His name is William Rose. He is a resident of Knoxville, Tenn. And a company he formed on Sept. 26 currently holds the title of biggest corporate contributor in the 2012 election, according to The Center for Public Integrity, thanks to the nearly $5.3 million the company gave to a prominent conservative super PAC between Oct. 1 and Oct. 11.

The fact that one of his company’s first orders of business was giving away several million dollars has earned Rose some unwanted attention. And on Monday, The Knoxville News Sentinel published a six-page press release written by Rose, dated Nov. 3, written in the first person, and intended, in the author’s words, “to address various media reports and inquiries related to Specialty Group, Inc. and its recent contributions to FreedomWorks of America, Inc.”

“I am the CEO, President and General Counsel of Specialty Group,” Rose wrote in the release. “I am also a member of the Board of Directors. Specialty Group is not, as has been insinuated in the media, a ‘shadowy’ entity or an ‘unregistered’ (and therefore, unlawful) political action committee. Specialty Group is a Tennessee corporation formed to buy, sell, develop and invest in a variety of real estate ventures and investments. Although the entity was only recently formed, Specialty Group is developing land that my family has owned for over 50 years and pursuing investment opportunities that I’ve worked on for the past several years.”

According to the News Sentinel, Rose gave the document to a reporter during a meeting Saturday at a Panera Bread restaurant in Knoxville, a meeting at which Rose declined to answer additional questions. The paper also reports that the Knoxville City Council “recently approved the purchase of property on Ledgerwood Avenue that is owned by a trust whose trustee is Rose. According to the city, the property is a chronic blight offender.”

In the press release, Rose described himself as a “disappointed, yet staunchly patriotic, Baby Boomer,” as well as a single father “rearing a couple of young sons, trying to make a living in this cratered economy.” (He has been described in reports as an attorney, but the Tennessee Bar Association does not list a William Rose among its members.) Rose railed against the Obama administration’s responses to the December 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, the Fast and Furious scandal, and the recent attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

“Common sense - a notion seemingly lost in 2012 American politics - tells me that if the Obama administration had a truthful, reasonable explanation for Agent Terry’s death and for the attacks and resulting casualties in Benghazi, the administration and its political operatives would run post-haste to every microphone, town hall, and political rally to laud the leadership of the President and his team,” Rose wrote. “Silence on these issues can only mean one thing, namely, the administration must hide the truth from the American people until after the election.”

Rose expressed surprise that anyone would be interested in “my opinion in regard to these matters, but I’ve been besieged for an ‘explanation’ of why Specialty Group has
donated its money in a particular legal fashion.” He maintained that he had no reason to answer the questions being asked of him:

I just want to be left alone by the prying media who seem hell bent on asking a private citizen about private facts, rather than asking the President, the Vice President, and other administration officials about ‘what they knew’ and ‘when did they know it’ in regard to ‘Operation Fast and Furious’ and the attacks in Benghazi.

With this said, Specialty Group is a private corporation which uses private capital for lawful business, social, and political purposes, as specifically addressed by the 2010 United States Supreme Court in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case and later, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit case, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission.

A couple of reporters who have contacted me have suggested that I have
some ‘duty’ to disclose otherwise private information. No such ‘duty’ exists.

The document ends in a perhaps unintentionally mysterious way. After relating a story from his youth, the time when his father confided in Rose how much was paid each month to rent their house, Rose wrote that “[t]he business of Specialty Group is my ‘family secret,’ a secret that will be kept — as allowed by applicable law — for at least another 50 years.”

Read Rose’s whole release here.

The front window of the Sumner County Democratic Party office in Gallatin, Tennessee was defaced on Monday with a bumper sticker that refers to President Barack Obama as a “bro” and First Lady Michelle Obama as a “ho.”

The Court of Appeals decision was unusual because the court didn’t just issue an opinion, it also ordered Hargett to “immediately advise the Shelby County Election Commission to accept photo library cards issued by the City of Memphis Public Library.”

Hargett’s appeal argues that his act of simply filing appeal papers stays that order until the Tennessee Supreme Court weighs in. Communications Director for the state’s courts Michele Wojciechowski said whether or not Hargett’s filing actually stays the Court of Appeals decision is a matter of law for Tennessee’s Supreme Court to decide.

For now, Hargett is advising the Shelby County Election Commission as follows:

“On the advice of our counsel in the [Tennessee] Attorney General’s office, voters in Shelby County who present Memphis library cards will be allowed to vote with provisional ballots – and those ballots will be marked to indicate the type of ID provided. If the Supreme Court upholds the appellate court’s ruling, those ballots will be counted with no further action needed by the voters. However, if the Supreme Court strikes down that provision, then the voters will still have up to two days after the election to go to their local election commission offices with proper identification in order to have their votes counted.”

According to the Brennan Center For Justice, Tennessee is one of 14 states to pass restrictive voting laws that could impact the November 6 election. A Republican-controlled state legislature passed the law requiring voters show a photo ID at the polls in 2011 and a Republican governor signed it. Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, a Democrat, sued on behalf of two women who tried to vote with library cards in the August election.


Pressured his mistress to get an abortion, while repeatedly voting to limit the choice to have an abortion to millions of other American women.

I took a screen shot in case he deletes it…

Brad Staats - TN candidate for Congress posts gun on Facebook to welcome President Obama

In Tennessee, a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls explicitly excludes student IDs.

In Wisconsin, college students are newly disallowed from using university-provided housing lists or corroboration from other students to verify their residence.

Florida’s reduction in early voting days is expected to reduce the number of young and first-time voters there.

And Pennsylvania’s voter identification bill, still on the books for now, disallows many student IDs and non-Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, which means out-of-state students may be turned away at the polls.

In 2008, youth voter turnout was higher that it had been since Vietnam, and overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. This time around, the GOP isn’t counting solely on disillusionment to keep the student vote down.

In the last two years, Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed dozens of bills that erect new barriers to voting, all targeting Democratic-leaning groups, many specifically aimed at students. The GOP’s stated rationale is to fight voter fraud. But voter fraud — and especially in-person fraud which many of these measures address — is essentially nonexistent.

None of the new laws blocks student voting outright — although in New Hampshire, Republican lawmakers almost passed a bill that would have banned out-of-state students from casting a ballot. (The leader of the State House, Bill O’Brien, was caught on tape explaining how the move was necessary to stop students from “basically doing what I did when I was a kid: voting as a liberal.”)

And in some states, education officials are trying to limit the damage. In Pennsylvania, for instance, many universities are either reissuing IDs or printing expiration stickers to make current cards valid, according to a survey by the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group.

But every additional barrier makes a difference to students, said Maxwell Love, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “It’s the little things that make voting harder that are going to affect apathetic students … This is like literally slamming the door on youth engagement.”


Pennsylvania is a swing state; it’s also the state with the most out-of-state students in the country.

Out-of-state students are particularly vulnerable, Kaiser-Jones said, because they otherwise have no need to get in-state ID.
“You can do anything else in Pennsylvania with a driver’s license from another state,” he said, “except vote.”


Administrator of Elections Steve Gaddis has decided not to publish a sample ballot in the Polk County News, despite a Tennessee law that requires him do so.

Tennessee Code Annotated 2-12-111 regarding notices of elections states, “(c) The county election commission shall publish, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, notice of every election, stating the day, time and polling places for the election, not more than ten (10) nor less than three (3) days before the election.”

According to Gaddis, a sample ballot was printed Bradley County’s Cleveland Daily Banner and the Blue Ridge, GA News-Observer. When asked why he he chose not to publish in the Polk County News, Gaddis said, “I just did.” He said he got caught at the last minute and “that’s what I decided to do.”

When pressed for further answer, Gaddis said he was just “really dissastisfied” with the local newspaper. He referenced a recent typo in the paper before hanging up the phone. […]

(Polk County is about an hour away from Chattanooga in Tennessee.)


Tennessee: Meet your Democratic Senate nominee (third from left). He hates gay marriage, think Arnold Schwarzenegger could be the next Hitler, and wants to sound the alarm about “FEMA prison camps.”


 …the Tennessee Democratic party has condemned Clayton, saying in a statement that he is “associated with a known hate group” (a reference to Public Advocate of the United States), and blaming his victory on the fact that his name appeared first on the ballot.

Guess we can be glad that the Democratic Party is not endorsing him. Sounds like another case of a wing-nut running as a Dem just to screw things up.  And it seems to have worked.


Tennessee: Meet your Democratic Senate nominee (third from left). He hates gay marriage, think Arnold Schwarzenegger could be the next Hitler, and wants to sound the alarm about “FEMA prison camps.”


…the Tennessee Democratic party has condemned Clayton, saying in a statement that he is “associated with a known hate group” (a reference to Public Advocate of the United States), and blaming his victory on the fact that his name appeared first on the ballot.

Guess we can be glad that the Democratic Party is not endorsing him. Sounds like another case of a wing-nut running as a Dem just to screw things up.  And it seems to have worked.

Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) sent an email from his state email account to constituents containing a rumor that Obama and the Department of Homeland Security are planning a series of events that could lead to the imposition of “martial law” and delay the election. Among the events hypothesized in the email is a staged assassination attempt on the president that would lead to civil unrest in urban areas and martial law.

Keisling appears to have forwarded a more widely circulated email from Joe Angione, a Florida-based conservative blogger. Angione prefaces the rumor by saying it has not been confirmed but likewise notes it has not been denied. Angione also writes that people need to work to prevent the rumor from becoming reality.

The conspiracy theory started with an article written by Doug Hammon and posted on CanadaFreePress.com, which he said arose from conversations he had with an informant within the Department of Homeland Security.

The Constitution Party of Florida posted the same Angione story on their website this week. Party chairman Mark Pilling wrote a note saying that he believes some sort of unrest will occur this year.


Janet Moore, one of the recipients of Keisling’s email, said she called the lawmaker Tuesday morning to express her disagreement with his decision to send the email. Moore, who lives in an adjoining legislative district in rural Tennessee, told HuffPost that Keisling told her that the rumor was “pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?”

When she asked Keisling why he sent the email, if he found it ridiculous, she said that Keisling told her, “I wouldn’t put anything past anybody.”

Pretty damned irresponsible.  I figure that if there is any unrest, it will come from people who are not allowed to vote because of Republicans voter suppression efforts.

Tennessee multimillionaire Andy Miller has been warning for years about the lurking threat he says Sharia law poses to America. But this summer, his anti-Islam campaign has become the main act of a riveting Middle Tennessee congressional race, as Miller has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a pair of super PACs aiming to take out GOP freshman Rep. Diane Black in her Thursday primary.

Black’s sin, according to Miller, is not taking the danger of Islam seriously enough. And he has found an ideological soul mate in Lou Ann Zelenik, a tea party activist and former construction company executive who lost to Black in 2010 by a mere 283 votes.


Ten Republican-controlled state legislatures have voted to defund Planned Parenthood since the 2010 midterm elections, but the clinics affected by the cuts will not have to shut their doors any time soon. The Obama administration so far has awarded hefty new federal family planning grants to Planned Parenthood clinics in three states that have cut the providers’ funding: New Jersey, Tennessee and North Carolina.

While Obama supports Planned Parenthood, the direct Title X grants are not exactly unusual: HHS has contracted directly with Planned Parenthood providers for years, including under former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. But the Planned Parenthood clinics that are receiving new federal grants this year are applying for those grants for the first time after defunding in their states created a need for federal money.

Paige Johnson, a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood clinic in Durham, said that clinic has never appealed to HHS for Title X grants because it was always able to partner with the state. But after the state stopped contracting with Planned Parenthood, the clinic made the case to HHS that it is the primary provider of family planning to low-income women in the area. Under federal law, HHS is required to award grant funds in a manner that expands women’s access to care in the most cost-effective way possible in areas of the greatest need.

Trust me, they mad.

A huge thank you to the Obama administration for putting women’s health above the GOP’s hissy fits.

Tennessee Gov. Haslam hired an amazingly talented business attorney who is also a Muslim. As a result, several county Republican groups and a Tea Party group went berserk… calling for [her] to step down and for Haslam to receive “appropriate action.”



Gov. Bill Haslam hired an amazingly talented business attorney to serve as the international director to handle the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s new focus on expanding the state’s overseas exports.

The new hire, Samar Ali, is a Tennessee native, Vanderbilt law graduate, a recent White House Fellow, a former associate attorney at Hogan Lovells and has one of the most impressive resumes of international humanitarian service I’ve ever seen.

She’s also Muslim.

As a result, several county Republican groups and a Tea Party group went berserk and began churning out petitions and resolutions calling for Ali to step down and for Haslam to receive “appropriate action.”

A couple of resolutions also condemn Haslam for allowing “open homosexuals to make policy decisions in the Department of Children’s Services.”

Apparently this small, but loud, group of local loons believe that anyone who isn’t Christian and straight shouldn’t have the opportunity to work for state government in Tennessee.

read more

Not only do they want Samar Ali to step down, they want the governor to receive “appropriate action” - what action do they deem “appropriate” for hiring a non-christian?

Unfortunately, this sort of Tennessean stupidity is beyond the purview of federal judges.