Rex: Democrats confused on party's charter school stance

Monday, June 15, 2009 at 12:00am

Lost in the middle of the state legislature’s battle over whether to expand access to charter schools is the ideological chasm between the national and state Democratic officials. It’s turning into a game of political Twister — one where the players can’t tell the difference between the blue and red dots on the mat.

Locally, Democratic lawmakers like Mike Turner and Gary Odom have been fighting tooth and nail to block what they have been calling a bad charter school bill being carried in the state legislature by Republican Beth Harwell.

Turner has said repeatedly that he is not against charter schools, but they aren’t the ‘fix’ that other politicians are making them out to be. So, just who are the “other politicians?”

How about President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who spent time on the phone with the media last week about the importance of charter schools, the emphasis that the Obama administration places on them and how supporting them could bring in $100 million in federal funds to the state of Tennessee.

For some area Republicans the differences between the national and local Democrats is a real head-scratcher. Historically they’ve been the most strident charter school supporters, but they have had a hard time lately getting a grip on the fact that they actually agree with Obama on something.

Take an aspirin fellas. Rex knows times have been tough for you Rockefeller Republicans. Call one of your limousine liberal friends and talk about General Motors — that’ll make you feel better.

Progressives want Ramos to 'break a leg'

Rex’s sources in the progressive Nashville underground said President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court was all well and good, but they still are keeping their eye on their favorite liberal-leaning local lawyer, Gregg Ramos.

As first reported by, Ramos is under serious consideration for an opening on the federal bench. There are openings on the 6th Circuit and the U.S. District Court, with Ramos being discussed more for the latter.

All has been quiet in the world of federal legal appointments in Middle Tennessee but in the last few weeks West Tennessee has seen Congressmen John Tanner and Steve Cohen nominate three lawyers for the U.S. Attorney’s position in Memphis once held by GOP player David Kustoff, who is now on the gubernatorial campaign of Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons.

Kustoff resigned in May of 2008, so that position has been open for a while. Of course that means nothing since the Middle Tennessee District Court slot has been open since CCA’s Gus Puryear availed himself to become the whipping post for the Left two years ago.

Say goodnight, Gracie

Metro Council member Megan Barry turned a few heads at a recent Education Committee meeting, when she mistakenly referred to Board of Education member Gracie Porter as “Gracie Allen.”

For the (much) younger readership of The City Paper, Gracie Allen died in 1964 and was the real-life wife and on-stage comedic foil to iconic cigar chomping comedian George Burns. To catch even more of you up, George Burns played God in the Oh, God! movies.

If you still don’t know who we’re talking about, just Google it.

Anyway, Barry didn’t catch her mistake and wasn’t corrected. But the error didn’t go unnoticed as the comment elicited laughter from more than a few souls sitting in the pews at the back of the Council Chambers.

For the record though, if you are an elected official and hear someone say “Oh, God!” while you are speaking, they don’t think you are George Burns, they just want you to shut up.

Enough already!

Is Rex the only one who thinks it ridiculous that Fan Fair (Rex refuses to call it the CMA Music Festival) has ended, Bonnaroo has come and gone, and yet the state Legislature is still in town?

Among their accomplishments this year are increasing the liability restaurant owners will have to pay insurers and allowing FedEx to deliver wine into the state legally.

Rex begs legislators, if this is really the best you can do, go home. Seriously, Sen. Jack S. Phogbound of Dogpatch is starting to look more respectable by the day.

Rex Noseworthy appears Mondays in The City Paper

3 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 6/15/09 at 7:41

Gracie Allen! One of the most talented women of the 20th century.
"Say good night Gracie"

By: ACitizen on 6/15/09 at 2:00

Good night, Gracie.

By: millenboy on 6/15/09 at 2:56

From the Tennessean.

House Minority Leader Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, said he supports charter schools but needs more guidance from school leaders before he can decide on the law.

"We believe charter schools as they are presently configured will take millions away from public schools," said Earl Wiman, president of the Tennessee Education Association. "We've had enough of the federal government telling us what to do, and I would be surprised if the House of Representatives would allow themselves to be blackmailed by Arne Duncan."

Mr. Odom obviously took his guidance from Mr. Wiman, not the voters/parents.