State revenue shortfall back above $100M

Sales tax collections off 9 percent in March
Apr 8, 2009 3:03 PM

Tennessee's loosey-goosey muni bond derivatives

The New York Times lifts the veil on the surprises a number of Tennessee cities have gotten after working with investment bank Morgan Keegan to issue debt. The municipal bond derivatives marketed by Morgan Keegan – which also ran educational seminars on the complex deals – resulted in payments jumping higher as the economy tumbled.
Municipal bond experts say they know of no other state where a firm was allowed to wear three hats; several states prohibit a single firm from acting as both adviser and underwriter. In Pennsylvania, which has such a prohibition, federal prosecutors are investigating accusations that investment banks and financial advisers conspired to sell bonds with inflated fees to school districts. “It’s like the lion being hired to protect the gazelle,” Robert E. Brooks, a municipal bonds expert and a professor of financial management at the University of Alabama, said of the situation in Tennessee. “Who was looking after these little towns?”
Apr 8, 2009 8:05 AM

Sources: State Senator entering governor's race

West Tennessee Democrat to be newest face in the 2010 crowd
Apr 7, 2009 9:10 PM

Metro and Belmont team up to address teacher shortage

From a press release:
Nashville Teaching Fellows, an initiative of Metro Nashville Public Schools and The New Teacher Project, announced today a new partnership with Belmont University to train top-notch, effective educators who will teach high-need subjects in difficult-to-staff Metro schools. Nashville Teaching Fellows is recruiting approximately 75-100 outstanding career professionals and recent college graduates to teach subjects with traditional teacher shortages—such as math, science, Spanish and special education—in high-need schools. After a highly competitive selection process, chosen Fellows will participate in rigorous summer training to prepare them to enter the classroom as teachers in the fall.
Apr 6, 2009 4:53 PM

Eddie Jones says goodbye

Former Nashville Banner editor, Tennessee political operative and Nashville Chamber of Commerce leader Eddie Jones, who passed away yesterday at 85, closed out his old-school journalistic career with these words in the final edition of the Banner ever printed, on February 20, 1998:
My first stint at the Banner was from 1949 to 1956.

My mentor, writing coach and drill sergeant was Charlie Moss, the legendary Banner editor who pushed several generations of would-be reporters into becoming seasoned journalists.

Here was the Moss style:

One day I was summoned to his office, always a nerve-wracking experience, and Boss Moss had on his desk a 10-page story I had written about a complicated battle over one of the new TV licenses being issued in Nashville.

"Son,'' Moss growled, "what the hell does this say,'' waving my copy.

"Well, Mr. Moss, here's what the situation is,'' which I explained in just a few minutes.

"Son,'' Moss said, handing me back my copy, "get your ass back to your desk and tell your typewriter what you just told me. The readers can understand that!''

When I came back to the Banner a decade ago, and 31 years after leaving, things were, well, quite different.

The blue haze hanging over the newsroom generated by the standard-issue ashtrays on every desk was gone. Paper had been largely replaced by computer screens, the paste pots were gone as was the hot metal type.

And it was god-awful quiet! No rattle of half a hundred Royal manual typewriters clacking out hot stories, no battery of wire machines setting off a chorus of bells when a bulletin or flash was moving, no editors yelling "Boy, copy!'' when a story was ready to move. (They really said that; political correctness hadn't been invented.)

So while it was different, it was a heady experience for me to sit in the office where Charlie Moss sat, to use his desk and to remember him with great love.

For a while I was focused on the difference between the wild and woolly '40s and '50s, replete with practical jokes and great scoops, and today's milder newsroom atmosphere.

But then my senses got straight and I suddenly realized that while many things were different, the Banner staff was still something special. They knew that they were just a little bit better than anyone else, that they had justifiable pride in their professional abilities and that they could always hold their heads high.

They are doing that today, and I'm proud of them for it. The Banner family is, always was and always will be special!

This is the last piece of copy that will be written on my Royal manual typewriter, a vanishing piece of news equipment.

Readers may not know exactly what this ending means, but journalists everywhere will know how heavy my heart is as I strike these characters:


Apr 6, 2009 1:42 PM

How voting records could spell trouble in Spring Hill

Bob Corker is doing his best not to let GM's local plant fall victim to political considerations.
Apr 6, 2009 12:06 AM

Thanks for the support, but not so loud, Rick

Former Columbia/HCA CEO Rick Scott has come back into the public eye as a vocal critic of President Obama's as-yet undefined healthcare reforms.

So far, he has spent millions sending camera crews to countries with socialized medicine to record the pitfalls, buying up television ad time a la T. Boone Pickens, and generally agitating about the nebulous reforms allegedly on the way.

Liberals however, seem unperturbed:

Liberal groups planning to defend the administration’s health care plan, whatever form it takes, are seizing on Mr. Scott’s background through Web videos, fact sheets, blog postings and unflattering additions to his Wikipedia entry, which until recently did not mention his ouster from Columbia.

“He’s a great symbol from our point of view,” said Richard J. Kirsch, the national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now. “We cannot have a better first person to attack health care reform than someone who ran a company that ripped off the government of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Scott, for those of you who don't remember, was ousted from Columbia/HCA back in the late 1990s following a $1.7 billion misunderstanding with the government.

Apr 2, 2009 10:14 AM

Bringing market mechanisms to state government

By instituting what is essentially a sin tax.
State employees who smoke - or who have a smoking spouse - will begin paying an extra $50 per month for health insurance next year, state Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz said Wednesday.
Apr 1, 2009 11:42 PM

Birch being pushed for TVA

Former Supreme getting push for power board and an update on names for vacant judicial slots
Apr 1, 2009 12:48 PM

Delek snags another defense deal

The Department of Defense has renewed its contract to buy fuel from the Brentwood-based company (Ticker: DK) and increased its size from $102 million a year ago to more than $160 million. Delek has been supplying the military since 2006.
Apr 1, 2009 7:30 AM