celebrities

Haslam to consider clemency for reported sex abuse victim who committed murder at age 16

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says his administration has begun gathering information on Cyntoia Brown, a Nashville woman whose murder conviction has become a cause célèbre, reports WPLN. But a decision on whether to grant her clemency is unlikely to come until the last days of his term in January, 2019, in keeping with a tradition established by predecessors.

Brown was convicted more than a decade ago for the murder of a Nashville man. Advocates for Brown say she was caught up in a so-called “sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline.” At 16 years old at the time of the crime, Brown says she was the victim of sex trafficking.

Continue reading

Republican songwriter announces for 7th Congressional District seat

Prominent Nashville songwriter Lee Thomas Miller has officially announced his run for Congress to represent Tennessee, reports tasteofcountry.com.

Miller is a songwriter behind numerous country hits, including the No. 1 hits “The Impossible” for Joe Nichols, “The World”, “I’m Still a Guy” and “Perfect Storm” for Brad Paisley, “You’re Gonna Miss This” for Trace Adkins, Terri Clark’s “I Just Wanna Be Mad” and Tim McGraw’s “Southern Girl.” “You’re Gonna Miss This,” “The Impossible” and Jamey Johnson’s “In Color” were also nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Country Song. Miller is running for the District 7 House seat that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has held since 2002. Blackburn is vacating the seat to run for the Senate.

“I’ve been writing the stories of real Americans for as long as I can remember,” Miller said in a press release (and video, above) announcing his candidacy Tuesday (Nov. 14). “Stories about life and loss. Love and regret. Songs about innocence and youth. Songs about faith and the struggle to keep it. I give a voice to those who can not find the words they are looking for. I give a voice to those who are not being heard.”

…The songwriter is running as a Republican, and he lists religious liberties, a pro-life stance, cutting taxes and regulations and border security as key items he supports. Prior to his announcement, a number of top Nashville music business leaders signed a letter of support for his candidacy, including Curb Records CEO Mike Curb, songwriters Luke Laird, Liz Rose and busbee, and Brad Paisley and Dustin Lynch.

Songwriter/conservative activist eyes run for 7th Congressional District seat

Lee Thomas Miller, a country music songwriter prominent in the industry both for his hits and his advocacy for conservative causes, is on the verge of joining the field of Republicans who want to succeed Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the 7th Congressional District seat.

So reports the Nashville Post, following up on Miller comments reported in Tennessee Star on Monday as creating “a lot of buzz” and adding a bit more commentary.

Continue reading

Peyton Manning: No to Senate race, yes to Alzheimer’s research

Football star Peyton Manning told a Nashville sports radio station Wednesday that he won’t run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, according to the Associated Press.

“I certainly have an interest in politics and in our country,” the former NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback told WGFX-FM. “I just have zero interest in being a politician.”

Continue reading

On songwriting Sen. Rusty Crowe, Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker

State Sen. Rusty Crowe is co-author of a song paying tribute to the late Glen Campbell that has been recorded by Tanya Tucker and released for sale this week, reports the Johnson City Press. The song, “Forever Loving You,” ties into legislation Crowe, R-Johnson City, successfully sponsored last year that was promoted by two of Campbell’s children.

Continue reading

Haslam found what he’s looking for at Bonnaroo?

Tweet from the governor of Tennessee while visiting the Bonnaroo music festival near Manchester on Saturday — pictured with Crissy and members of the band U2.

haslamu2

Corker and Peyton Manning join Trump on Sunday golf outing

Former NFL star Peyton Manning and Republican Sen. Bob Corker were spotted at the White House on Sunday, joining President Donald Trump in his motorcade on a trip to Trump National Golf Club, according to multiple media reports. Excerpt from the CNN version:

The White House did not comment on what Trump was doing at his property, but reporters saw golf clubs being unloaded from the motorcade after the President’s arrival back to the White House.

This is the 16th weekend of Trump’s presidency in which he’s visited a property that bears his name, and the 26th day of his presidency he has spent at a Trump golf property.

According to the press pool reports, the trio spent about 4½ hours at the golf club.

Peyton Manning was set to receive the Lincoln medal at Ford’s Theatre in Washington on Sunday night, along with American businessman Ronald Perelman. The medal is given to a person who “exemplifies the lasting legacy and mettle of character embodied by the most beloved president in our nation’s history, President Abraham Lincoln,” according to pool reports.

Continue reading

Senate votes to repeal voter ‘selfie’ ban violated by Justin Timberlake

State senators voted unanimously Thursday to repeal the law Justin Timberlake famously violated last year and allow “selfie” pictures to be taken at polling places.

Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey noted in brief remarks on the Senate floor that Timberlake made “national and international news” by taking a picture of himself while voting “in my hometown of Germantown” and posting it on the Internet.

The celebrity entertainer said later he did not realize he was violating a state law, which was passed in 2015 with Kelsey as Senate sponsor. He was not prosecuted.

Continue reading

Peyton Manning on seeking Lamar’s seat: ‘I have no interest in the political world’

Back in January, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander dismissed as “unfounded rumor” speculation that the veteran Tennessee lawmaker would not seek re-election when his current term ends and Peyton Manning would run for his seat. Now the retired NFL quarterback, once the star quarterback at the University of Tennessee, says pretty much the same thing, reports the Denver Post.

Since retiring from the NFL in March 2016, Manning has been the subject of much speculation about his next career, which has ranged from potentially joining the Colts’ front office (he didn’t) to running for the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is reported to be weighing retirement instead of running for a fourth term in 2020, and Manning’s name has been floated as a potential candidate. (Previous post HERE.)

“I don’t know where that came from. Last week I was going to run a team, this week I going to apparently run for Senate, and next week I’ll be an astronaut,” Manning said. “I have no interest in the political world, but would like to continue serving communities.”

Manning said he’s “excited about the next chapter of my career” and that he has “a bucket list” of things he wants to do before finding something new.

Anti-tax leader: Revised Haslam transportation bill is not a tax increase

The latest version of Gov. Bill Haslam’s transportation legislation has received a blessing from Grover Norquist, a national anti-tax activist, who says the package overall reduces more taxes than it increases. Haslam, who sought Norquist’s opinion, says that is “a really big deal,” reports the Times-Free Press.

Under the version of Haslam’s plan advancing in the Senate, the state would increase its tax on gas by 6 cents per gallon and diesel by 10 cents per gallon, but also cut other areas including the sales tax on groceries, the tax on earnings from stocks and bonds and corporate taxes owed by large manufacturers.

Norquist, founder of the group Americans for Tax Reform, said in a letter to state House and Senate members that the most recent version of the governor’s bill advancing in Senate represents a “net tax cut,” and does not violate lawmakers’ pledges to not raise taxes.

He also noted that the Senate had removed a proposal to link fuel taxes to inflation, “which means gas tax hikes will not be put on autopilot.”

The Haslam administration sought Norquist’s input on the Tennessee plan after seeing that Americans for Tax Reform supported gas tax increases in New Jersey and South Carolina when they were coupled with tax relief.

Norquist’s position on the Tennessee gas tax proposal contrasts with the strong opposition voiced by the state chapter of Americans For Prosperity, founded by billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch.

…Haslam told reporters he considers the announcement from Norquist to be “a really big deal.”

“This is somebody who’s kind of staked his whole thing on we should never have tax increases,” Haslam said. “Whether you agree or not, the fact that the founder of that movement — who had people sign no-new-tax pledges — says this is not a tax increase.”

Note: The Nashville Post has full text of the letter HERE. Meanwhile, Tennessee Star reports Norquist’s support has caused a backlash.

(T)he fierce backlash from conservative opponents of the gas tax increase in Tennessee to the last minute attempt by supporters of the governor’s plan to bolster its chances by calling in a “celebrity ” who has never lived in the state and knows little of the intricacies of the bill or the state’s budget, spells more, rather than less, political trouble ahead for the governor and his allies.