Monday, January 28, 2008

Wherever You Go, There Politics...Are

While there areas of the country, of various states, counties, cities and neighborhoods that have, for whatever reason, been labeled with any particular trait, characteristic, or identity, I have found that wherever you go, people are people. I could, certainly, be writing this blog from the other side of the fence, pointing out how crazy California is. I have long maintained that California should really be an independent country because, well, we don't get the rest of the country and the rest of the country doesn't get us. But I digress.

Politics, and politicians are same wherever you go since, well, they're people too and, well, birds of a feather, right? In California, it turns out the Governator (case in point of why the rest of the country doesn't get us) gets into a little accident on one of his motorcycles and we discover he (gasp!) doesn't have his motorcycle license. I'm sure if you have ever met more than 3 people with motorcycles, you probably know someone who rode one without a license. I mean, really, it basically a bicycle, right? If you don't have a license, they impound the bike, I'm sure there's a misdemeanor, and you get a stern lecture, then you go get the license.

Well, here in The Volunteer State, lawmakers do things like get DUIs. Last year, State Rep Bob Briley got plowed and went on a "drunken rampage" where he "tore down streets at 100 mph." He was finally stopped and arrested, but not before cursing and asking the arresting officers to shoot him in the head. This was all captured on the police in-car cam. Well, the Distinguished Gentleman apologized to his colleagues last week for the behavior he's "not proud of."

All that is really just run of the mill politics. From what I can tell, he still has his license, he's serving a jail sentence on weekends only, and still a member of the State House of Reps. His apology however, has sparked a fantastic war of words as demonstrated by the titles of articles in the Tennessean:

  • Briley statement draws widespread sympathy
  • Briley earns praise, forgiveness in House
  • Citizens react with anger at Briley, ‘thieves, adulterers,’ comment (note the comma, it's important)
  • Legislators' forgiveness of Briley steams some voters

After the apology, Rep. Gary Moore defended Briley saying, "Some of us are alcoholics. Some of us are thieves. Some of us are adulterers." Rep. Charles Curtiss said Briley has "got a lot of issues in his life, but the reality of it is that all of us have issues in our lives. The press has not caught up with all of us yet." And then went on to say, "I don't think there are any criminals in here, but we're a cross-section of society. There are people in there that drink, people in there that beat their wives, people in there unfaithful to their wives. No question in my mind about that."

Lessons to take away: DUI's are OK for white elected officials, many of whom are also alcoholics, thieves, adulterers, and wife-beaters. But they are definitely not criminals.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When you can get coffee

Here in East Nashville there is a trendy coffeeshop called Portland Brew East (like Portland Oregon, where coffee is born).  I don't, as a general rule, drink a lot of coffee.  But it's a great place to get online and do some work without kids and household distractions around.

San Luis Obispo, CA, a town of about 55,000 is home to Linnaea's Coffee. You can really get any coffee drink (that doesn't contain alcohol), the decor is worn wood, they sell lots of high quality food and baked goods, and feature local artwork.

Nashville Metro Area contains over 1.5 million people.  The zip code 37206 which I and Portland Brew East share (and also defines East Nashville) contains 28,000 residents.  You can get lots of coffee drinks you like at Portland Brew East.  The decor is contemporary, they sell high-end coffee accessories, and feature local artwork.  They don't feature much in food or baked goods.

In San Luis Obispo you can enjoy Linnaea's between 6:30AM and 11PM everyday of the week except Sunday, when you would have to leave at 10PM.  Their seasonal hours often extend to 1AM on Thursday through Saturday.  At one time Linnaea's had an "open all night" policy on Fridays and Saturdays that played an important role in my life.

In East Nashville, however, you can't enjoy any of this after 9PM.  Or before 7AM.  Or at all on Sundays.  If you want coffee, a place to spend some time, a place to meet friends after dinner or a movie, then you have to be done and gone by 9PM.  Except on Sundays, when you have to be done by 9PM the night before.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Places You Can Take Guns

Tennessee is a state that issues Handgun Carry Permits to US Citizens or "Lawful Permanent Residents" who are 21 years of age. You can apply at your local Driver Service Center (the TN equivalent of the DMV), It costs $115, requires a handgun safety course and fingerprinting. WIth the 4-Year permits, one can carry any handgun the permittee legally owns or possesses. This however does not allow a permittee to carry the handgun anywhere (s)he chooses. One place you cannot take a handgun is into an establishment that serves alcohol.

The City Paper ran an article today about a bill introduced into the State Senate which would finally allow permit holders to carry their handguns into establishments that serve alcohol. It's about time, isn't it? There are 34 states that allow guns in bars. The bill passed the State Senate with a vote of 24-6. Similar bills have been defeated in the general assembly in the past.

The bill does specify that the permit holder may not consume alcohol while there. That should suffice to prevent any mishaps. Some quotes from the article:

Democratic State Senator Rosalind Kurita "I just don’t see a need to bring a gun into Pizza Hut or O’Charley’s" Honestly, though, when was the last time you got decent service from a Pizza Hut? Kurita again, "liquor and guns don’t mix." I think that's a subjective call, 'cause really it depends on what you're drinking.

Democratic State Senator Beverly Marrero: "there were times possibly when someone behaved in such a way where someone should have been shot. But I’m glad they weren’t." I know this is a tad confusing, but that's an argument against the bill.

Bill's sponsor, referring to the current ban on guns in bars asked “Who are we protecting?” Tough question. I think I'm going to have to say "People who don't want to get shot by drunken idiots."

Link to the Article

What is CD All About?

California Diaspora (CD hereafter) is a chronicle of the experiences of a Native Californian living in the South.  Specifically, living in Nashville, TN.

Nashville is a large city so many inhabitants are transplants like myself who were drawn here for various reasons.  Nashville is a major hub for several industries including the Christian and Country Music industries and their support industries (photography, videography, graphic design, music production and representation, etc), Book Publishing and Distribution (religious specifically), and many others.  So Nashville will perhaps not be as shocking or offensive as Left Coasters might think, but there is still plenty of strange stuff happening here.

I will also include some stories from my sojourn in Chattanooga, TN from a few years ago.

I invite comments on all posts and would love to read similar or conflicting experiences from the South.