Gov. Bill Haslam Says Don’t Throw in the Towel on TNReady

Bill Haslam

Before he packs up and vacates the Tennessee governor’s mansion early next year, Bill Haslam wants a dialogue with you about ways to improve TNReady. Haslam, at the state capitol Tuesday, announced what he described as a listening tour to do just that. The current governor and a team of handpicked educators will travel to six different cities as part of that tour, he said. The first scheduled stop is Friday, in Knoxville. TNReady, Haslam said, has had several hiccups. “Recently, there has been a lot of criticism of TNReady,” Haslam said. “Much of that criticism was earned. We experienced significant problems with the implantation and delivery, and these are problems that we know are unacceptable.” Haslam said he wants to fix the problems instead of “pointing fingers and casting blame.” “I am committed to doing what I can as governor before I leave to get this right,” Haslam said. “To throw in the towel on assessment is the wrong approach.” As he talked, Haslam was flanked by several people he described as “TNReady Ambassadors” — teachers, assessment coordinators, and other educators from around the state. Among them — Wayne Miller, a former executive director of the Tennessee Organization of…

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Steve Cohen Will Push For Nancy Pelosi as Next Speaker of the House

Steve Cohen

If Democrats retake the U.S. House of Representatives this fall then U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, said he’ll support Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House yet again. Cohen made his remarks on MSNBC this past weekend. While there, he also called Republican President Donald Trump “a maniac.” No one from Cohen’s office returned The Tennessee Star’s request for comment this week. Cohen said Pelosi is “the strongest, most experienced, and best tactician there is.” “When you have someone to stand up to the most corrupt president, the most bullying president we have ever had and fight to create health care, fight to create jobs and fight to end the culture of corruption he has created in Washington then you want Nancy Pelosi,” Cohen said. “She is a proven leader. She is a star. She doesn’t back up to anybody. The people who vote for Democratic candidates will want a check and balance on Donald Trump. You don’t put a rookie in the big game of the World Series or the seventh game of the NBA. You go in with the pro who has been there and delivered.” Pelosi will never back down to Trump, Cohen went on to say.…

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SEIU Local Members Promote Minnesota Muslim ‘Super Eid 2018’ Sacrifice Festival

Muslims in Minnesota are celebrating their version of when Abraham was called by his god to sacrifice his only son Issac. Muslims call their holiday Eid Al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice. This year, however, they are calling it ‘Super Eid 2018’ in reference to holding the gathering at the Vikings Stadium where the Super Bowl was held this year and for bringing more area mosques together to hold one celebration. One promotional video for the event featuring Imams from the different mosques is described by one Imam as the “coming together and showing the unity and the power of our community.” A corporation referred to only as “Super Eid Inc.,” was set up to sponsor the event and although the site indicates that businesses and individual sponsors have contributed to the event, they also remain unidentified. And rather than a simple retelling of the sacrifice commanded by Allah, Muslims re-enact an actual sacrifice as required in the Quran, using live animals, usually a cow, sheep or goat. The Quran also requires celebrants to either participate in or to witness the slaughtering. A group of local residents raised concerns about possible animal slaughter inside the taxpayer supported stadium. It was later publicized…

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Haywood County Uneasy About Effects From Chicken Manure

chicken farm

There’s a big stink brewing in northwest Tennessee. Whether that stink is an unpleasant odor or whether the stink is a figure of speech depends upon whom you ask. Residents of Haywood County recently assembled to discuss how chicken farms could pose health hazards to their community. These chicken farms are not in Haywood. They are, however, likely coming to the adjacent Gibson County. Haywood residents say chicken farmers in Gibson will sign contracts with Tyson Foods. Tyson already has plans to open a processing plant in Gibson. People in Haywood County told The Tennessee Star they suspect either Tyson or the chicken farmers eventually will want to set up shop on their home turf. If allowed, they say that will degrade their quality of life. “Gibson County gets the jobs and we get the manure,” said Haywood County Mayor-elect David Livingston, adding the indecent smell will waft its way down into his territory. “It’s true that these concentrated feed lots are not Tyson-owned. This is where the liability is. Every one of these (chicken) houses produces a tremendous tonnage of manure.” Haywood County residents, he went on, have protested and made it clear they want neither Tyson nor the…

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Illegal Immigrant Charged With Murder of Iowa College Student Mollie Tibbetts

Mollie Tibbetts

by Evie Fordham   A Mexican national illegally residing in the U.S. has been charged with first degree murder in the disappearance and death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, officials said at a press conference at Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa Tuesday afternoon. Christian Bahena Rivera, 24, was charged with murder. He had resided in the area for four to seven years, officials said. He led investigators to the body’s location after confirming that he interacted with her while she was running and she felt threatened by him. Rivera said he “blacked out” at some point during their interaction, officials said. Her body was found covered with corn stalks in a farm field near the small rural town of Brooklyn, Iowa. First degree murder charged in Mollie Tibbetts disappearance. 24-year-old Cristihian Bahena Rivera, 24. Rivera lives in Poweshiek Co. Authorities confirm "he is an illegal alien." — KWWL (@KWWL) August 21, 2018 Officials said surveillance footage of a black Chevrolet Malibu SUV cruising around the area where she was last seen led them to the suspect. “On Aug. 21, ICE lodged a detainer with the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office on Christian Bahena-Rivera, 24, an illegal alien from…

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Facebook Is Implementing Chinese-Like Social Media ‘Trustworthiness Rating’

Facebook privacy concerns

by Kyle Perisic   Facebook is rating its users on a scale from zero to one to predict if they’re “trustworthy” – a system similar to one China is using on its citizens. The numbers are not meant to be absolute, however, the social media giant will not tell its users their score, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The score aims to be one measurement among thousands of other unknown behavioral clues that tell Facebook how trustworthy users are when they interact with posts. This credibility score is a response to users gaming Facebook’s system that allowed users to report whether something is credible or problematic. As Facebook rolled out these tools, users began abusing them. “For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true,” Facebook’s Tessa Lyons, who is in charge of fighting misinformation on the platform, told The Washington Post. Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post on Jan. 19 that the platform would…

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Republicans in State Senate Did Not Support Bill To Secure Tennessee Voting Machines With Paper Ballot Audit Trail


When Democrat Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) sponsored a bill earlier this year that would provide greater vote security by requiring that before January 1, 2020, electronic voting machines have the capability to create a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) for each ballot cast and that the VVPATs be preserved as paper ballots, the bill failed to advance because no Republican on the committee seconded the sponsor’s motion on the proposed legislation. Background The issue of election integrity continues to receive attention since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2017 notified 21 states that were targeted by hackers during the 2016 election, and the 2018 mid-term elections are viewed as targets for Russian interference. In February, it was reported that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.” A “Report on Cyber Vulnerabilities in U.S. Election Equipment, Databases and Infrastructure” was an outcome of the 25th annual DEF CON hacker conference held in July 2017 in Las Vegas and, for the first time, featured a…

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VP Pence Will Return to Minnesota, Highlighting High-Stakes Election for Republicans

Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence plans to return to Minnesota for the second time in one month, highlighting the unusual importance of the consistently blue state for the 2018 elections. On August 8, both Pence and President Trump visited Duluth, Minn. to campaign for Pete Stauber, a candidate for the state’s Eighth Congressional District who won last week’s primary. Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan announced Pence’s return in an August 20 press release, expressing her excitement to welcome him back. “This election cycle, the future of our country and state are on the line and its a priority of the MN GOP to send more Republicans to Washington DC to support the President’s agenda,” Carnahan remarked. She went on to point out the high-stakes nature of Minnesota for Republicans in the 2018 election, calling it an “election year unlike any we have seen since perhaps the late 1970s.” “We look forward to supporting our current administration and carrying them through to the 2020 election,” she added. As indicated by Carnahan’s statement, the state GOP has stood by the Trump administration on the campaign trail, perhaps explaining former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s upset loss to Jeff Johnson in the primaries.…

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Keith Ellison Likely to be Replaced By Candidate With Equally Controversial Past in Minnesota’s ‘Anti-Israel Seat’

Ellison, Omar

Minnesota State Rep. Ilhan Omar is still serving out her first term as the first Somali-American legislator, but she is poised to inherit what some have called the “anti-Israel seat” in the U.S. House of Representatives. Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District has remained a Democratic stronghold since the 1970’s, and Omar should easily defeat her opponent Republican Jennifer Zielinski in the race to replace Rep. Keith Ellison, who left Congress to run for Minnesota attorney general. Like her soon-to-be predecessor, Omar brings with her a healthy resentment of the Israeli state, notoriously tweeting in 2014 that “Israel has hypnotized the world.” “May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” the tweet continued, later referring to Israel as an “apartheid regime.” Omar’s intriguing past, which involves four years in a Kenyan refugee camp, goes well beyond her contempt for Israel. Minneapolis attorney and writer Scott Johnson, who dubbed MN-05 the “anti-Israel seat,” wrote a 2016 article claiming that Omar had married the father of her three children in 2002, but then married her alleged brother in 2009 for fraudulent purposes. Omar obviously denied the claims, calling them “baseless and absurd,” but Johnson insisted that the claims…

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Commentary: It’s Up To Conservatives To Nationalize The 2018 Midterm Election

by Richard Viguerie   For many years I’ve been telling the GOP establishment that Republicans never win a big election unless they nationalize the election – that means drawing a clear contrast with the Democrats and giving the voters “a tune they can whistle” on big conservative themes. The Republican Establishment has studiously ignored that advice and the defeats of Jerry Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, as well as the 1998 and 2006 congressional elections are proof that running a content-free campaign and refusing to nationalize the election is a losing strategy for Republicans, especially in a midterm election year like 2018. According to Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll, Democrats continue to lead Republicans on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot, but after two weeks of a tightening race, Democrats have expanded their lead. Rasmussen’s latest telephone and online survey found that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters would choose the Democratic candidate if the elections for Congress were held today. Forty-one percent (41%) would opt for the Republican. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided. As I see it, 2018 will likely be another Republican wipeout, like 2006, unless…

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President Trump Decries ‘Coalition of Open Borders Extremists’

Donald Trump

by Steve Herman   President Donald Trump is referring to opposition lawmakers, as well as local and state officials who oppose his immigration control agenda, as “a coalition of open borders extremists.” Trump at the White House on Monday afternoon accused opponents of waging “an unprecedented assault on American law enforcement — our greatest people,” saying they are threatening Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) “for doing their duties.” According to the president, “They have no courage. They have no guts. They just have big, loud mouths.” The remarks came during an East Room event honoring law enforcement officials for bravery in combating smugglers, drug cartels and transnational criminal organizations. “You’re saving lives. You’re saving a lot of Americans,” Trump told the audience. “We don’t play games,” he said, lauding law enforcement’s performance in strictly enforcing immigration laws. He said that CBP prevents “10 known or suspected terrorists” from entering the United States every day. During remarks, the president repeatedly attacked political opponents against his immigration and border control policies. The president specifically targeted those who have called for ICE to be abolished for alleged human rights abuses. “We will not stand for the…

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Johnson and Walz Spar Over Taxes, Refugee Resettlement In First Minnesota Gubernatorial Debates

MN Governor Debate

It’s been just one week since Rep. Tim Walz and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson won their respective primaries, but the two are already hitting the debate circuit in their race for Minnesota’s governor seat. On Friday, the two went head-to-head in front of a live audience in Nisswa, Minn., showing right off the bat that the fundamental differences between the two candidacies will come down to taxes and diversity-related issues. Johnson, on the one hand, promised not to raise a single tax, prompting his opponent Walz to criticize him for closing “the door on any potential negotiation.” He put himself “in a box that does not allow you ideologically to have that discussion,” Walz suggested. While both agreed that costs of healthcare in the state are too high, their visions of a solution were far different. Walz expressed support for a single-payer healthcare system, while Johnson favored a free-market solution. “I don’t believe that as governor I should be able to tell someone that if you think limited coverage is best for you, I know better. Let’s give people more options and choice,” Johnson commented, though Walz retorted by revealing that he believes “healthcare is a basic human right.”…

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Tennessee Democratic Spokesman Calls Evangelical Christians Racist

Mark Brown

The Daily Caller is calling out Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Mark Brown’s offensive language against Republicans, evangelical Christians who support President Donald Trump and even country music. Brown also serves as spokesman for Phil Bredesen’s U.S. Senate campaign. “Many of Brown’s most offensive tweets have been deleted but have been documented with screensaver captures,” David Krayden writes for the Daily Caller, and lists several instances. “On October 31, 2017, Brown, who is trying to get Democratic candidates elected in the Bible Belt, tweeted out an article from the LA Times entitled, ‘Under Trump, Evangelicals show their true racist colors.” Brown, who lives in the heart of the country music capital, also tweeted, “If forced to pick my favorite mainstream country act, I would gouge out my eardrums with a f—ing icepick.” Scott Golden, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman, said in a statement, “For him to attack people of faith for supporting the President is truly a new low. Such hateful vitriol is always a bad look, but Phil Bredesen and his followers continue to double down on their disdain for Tennesseans.” Brown has been cursing up a storm. Brown, who has been promoting Bredesen’s campaign in his role as a spokesman for the Tennessee Democratic…

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