Burch: Haslam and the Holy Rollers

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Bill Haslam continues to have high approval ratings — 68 percent overall in a recent Vanderbilt University poll. Haslam is popular with independents (62 percent) and Democrats (60 percent). So unlike reactionary right-wingers who seem to hate moderates and liberals on sight, the majority of Democrats and independents are able to appreciate reasonably sane Republicans. (During the most recent Democratic national convention, Bill Clinton pointed out that he never hated his Republican detractors the way they hated him.)

The Tennessee General Assembly, however, is another story, failing to earn the approval of the majority of Democrats (44 percent) and independents (49 percent). And that’s no wonder, as Mother Jones recently ranked Tennessee’s legislature dead last among the 50 states.

Mother Jones — which sarcastically called its rankings “purely scientific” — suggested that our state legislature is either first or last on the “crazy” meter, depending on whether one prefers to live in an insane asylum.

The magazine mentioned a sex education bill approved this year that referred to “gateway body parts.” This was presumably a blushing attempt to avoid terms like “sex organs” and “genitals.” Also cited were a failed bill to fine citizens for using restrooms that don’t match their birth certificate sex and a conspiracy theory email forwarded by a state legislator that said President Obama planned to stage a fake assassination attempt for political gain.

But this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Tennessee’s legislature is packed with Holy Rollers who seem intent on creating a perfect storm of “thou shalt not” morality bills.

Many Republicans who claim to believe fervently in two things — Jesus Christ and a much smaller, less intrusive government — in reality act nothing like Christ and create bill after nonsensical bill in an attempt to legislate their medieval “morality” on the masses.

As Nashville Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, recently said, “They’re preoccupied with sex up here. We’re about ready to put the turbans on and put the women in burkas, if we keep going at this rate.”

Haslam has also criticized the bizarre bills emanating from the suspiciously Taliban-like reactionaries now occupying Capitol Hill.

But the Holy Rollers are undeterred and hence we have a steady stream of “no hand-holding” and “don’t say gay” and anti-evolution bills that make Tennessee the laughingstock of the nation and the foil of late-night comedians.

And then there are guns. According to the Bible, Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers” and “turn the other cheek.” But the Holy Rollers continue to demand the right for citizens to carry loaded weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol — an obviously combustible mix.

Now they want guns in parks, parking lots and universities. And they’re not satisfied with Colts and Magnums. In American bigger is better. So the next logical steps, so to speak, will probably be assault weapons in high schools, grade schools, kindergartens, pre-schools, Sunday schools and maternity wards.

Where the legislature’s madness will end, only God knows.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

158 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 12/14/12 at 5:53


Did we have different math classes in school? I was taught 44 and 49 percents would be the minority of the "thinkers".

And Mother Jones news opinion? Gimma a break. Their opinions are as biased as opinions can get (I wonder where they rank in the magazine industry, number 1, or last). It would depend on who made the opinion, wouldn't it?

Politics is like everything else you might have; you never know what you're going to get until you get it. Look at what we have in DC now. Did you expect to become this near bankruptcy in 2008?

And Mike Turner (chairman of the House Democratic Caucus) said recently, "They're preoccupied with sex education up there. We're about ready to put the turbans on and put the women in burkas, if we keep going at this rate."

Well, Mike, me boy, I'd say it won't be likely they're slow down. Sex seems to be the major subject for children today.

When I was a young man and you needed a condom you "snuck up" to the pharmacist and whispered to him. H would slightly nod and slip you one under the counter.

The the 'businesses' got their right for free advertising and began their displays at the checkout registers.

Great for business, isn't it. Can you imagine young boys when those displays first began? And the young girls wound "glimpse" at them and then look away toward the door. Have you ever 'stood aside' and watched how those children reacted? I have. Comical, but knowledge wise I could see their future coming.

NO, this isn't the America I grew up in.

By: Ask01 on 12/14/12 at 6:01

I wonder if they will, in the interests of consistency, also pass a law allowing, nay encouraging, the carrying of weapons in the legislature?

I believe there is a greater chance of gunfights among the lawmakers themselves than average citizens.

The upside, I believe, is the greater part of the electorate, once they see the insanity which will almost certainly flow from the hill, will realize they have left the inmates running the asylum and set things right.

I believe situations such as the so called supermajority arise out of frustration with the "system" and a sense of desperation causing voters to overreact and support candidates they would otherwise ignore.

The pendulum will eventually swing back to neutral, but until then we need to hang on because because the ship of state is indeed in the hands of those even more obsessed than Captain Ahab chasing the white whale. (NO, not Rush Limbaugh.)

Just remember, when telling people you are from Tennessee, stress you aren't married to a close family member and actually have all your own teeth.

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 6:07

Bah...Haslam's approval rating isn't that high because the people that were polled weren't experts, right Ben? lol

And then there are guns. According to the Bible, Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers” and “turn the other cheek.”

That was about 1300 years before guns were invented. Though, it shows a lack of foresight on his part. You'd think he'd have seen it coming. Just saying.

The thing about guns is the reactionaries...you know, the ones that nearly had a sh!tfit when Bob Costas had the audacity to even suggest there's a gun culture problem in this country. When we can't even have a discussion, there's a problem.

FYI: there's a gun culture problem in this country.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 7:26

Good morning, Nashville.

Another fine missive from Mike Burch, the lonely liberal voice in the right-wing wilderness of Tennessee. Thanks, Mike.

Christ said, "Blessed are the peace makers"...so true...the B-36 bomber was affectionately known as, "The Peacemaker".

The Colt Army single-action revolver was also know as "The Peacemaker".

The nuns taught us that Jesus was an unarmed, pacifist....that does not jibe with the Southern heretical view of Jesus as an armed, militant, Jewish nationalist and virgin, heterosexual, stud muffin.... and death death penalty advocate.

Southern Christians have re-invented the Christ, to suit their bigoted attitudes and hateful, mean-spirited beliefs.

Christ must be a figment of the collective imagination...if he really existed, he would come down here and smack down the heretics....but, then again, maybe the nuns were wrong....maybe Jesus really was the asshole that the Southern Christians believe him to have been....after all, he sat by and did nothing to save the Jews from the holocaust....was Jesus an anti-Semite? A Nazi? Or just too busy to care?

By: treehugger7 on 12/14/12 at 7:29

Perhaps we should require legislators to carry guns on the hill. Forget your gun? No voting for you today....if we can't vote them out, maybe we can get them to shoot each other! It'd beat the watching the titans!

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 7:36

Great suggestion, hugger...no gun = no vote...no wimps allowed....a Bowie knife, however, could be an acceptable substitute personal weapon?

Let them vote with their bullets, not their ballots.

Let's bring back the dueling tradition, for politicians who can't get along....let the flying projectiles be the final arbiter of the dispute....Yeee! Haawwww!!

By: yogiman on 12/14/12 at 7:42


As an old saying goes: 'Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.' And you obviously have a negative opinion of we "suthners". What is your opinion based on? Have you ever lived in the South?

Well, I've lived in the North and I can assure you, the people of the North and South are different... thank God. I like the South better.

Loner, you've made several comments about "your" church but then you question if exists. May I ask what you go to church for? Do you figure that might be your gate to Hell and that's where you want to go?

After all, you will stay worm down there.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 7:43

Smaller government! Unless it involves sex - then they want to dictate everone's personal affairs.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 7:44

Schools are better "up North" and produce people with critical thinking skills who know how to do more than cut and paste.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 7:45

You know, people who can READ THE LAWS and UNDERSTAND THEM. People who RESEARCH to see if something is true before they post it. Unlike the idiots down here who read chain emails and ridiculous conspiracy websites and think it's the gospel truth, so to say.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 7:45

No doubt, we are awash in firearms in this country. If law & order were to break down in America, warlords and gangs of roving thugs...like we see in so many failed states....would quickly emerge from the chaos...restoring order could be functionally impossible.

One nuclear bomb going off in Washington, DC could be enough to initiate the swift slide into mass hysteria and total anarchy...the union of American states could dissolve and the nation could quickly and irreversibly descend into murderous and senseless chaos.....especially if the television sets all went dark...and all the government checks quit being issued...no more bread & circus?

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 7:47

There's a fine tradition of political duels, Loner. The Hamilton-Burr duel is legendary. It is high time it made a comeback. I'd love to see that in Congress too...though the teabaggers, in theory, would have the advantage.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 7:52

Thanks for the back-up, Bn...I'm trying to ignore the troll...he's trying to lure me into a response....I'm not taking the bait....arguing with the troll is like arguing with dog shit....all the logic in the world will not change its nature...all one can do is avoid stepping in it and schlepping it into the house.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 7:56

I'd love to see John McCain and BHO in a duel....just to finally clear the air...Obama could permanently put McCain out of his misery... and do the whole nation a favor at the same time...McCain's chronic Soreloseritis is a national embarrassment....time to put the rabid dog down?

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 8:02

I'm sure that the NRA and the gun industry would be happy to produce sets of beautifully hand-crafted, matched, dueling pistols for Congressional and Presidential use...gratis.

The networks could host a new show..."Political Duel of the Week"...or some such thing, to showcase the final solutions....ratings would top that of the Super Bowl.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 8:02

You got it, Loner. Taxes are higher "up North" but the schools are worth it.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 8:03

I saw a Hello Kitty automatic firearm on reddit. Yeah, that doesn't encourage kids to carry weapons. *sigh*

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 8:07

The tea-baggers talk a good fight....but could they walk the walk in a duel?

Desjarlais, for example, was a macho man, when the gun barrel was in his own mouth and his own finger was on the trigger...but could this macho guy face an armed opponent in a duel? I think that the addled bagger would chicken out...RUCK-A-BUCK, BUCK....(cue chicken sound effect here)

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 8:10

People don't believe me when I mention the schools in the Northeast. I have first-hand experience that they're better than anything in TN. And I'm pretty sure they're better than the Midwest too...gauging some things my wife and brother-in-law have said...he didn't know what Prohibition was...after he graduated. Thats extraordinary.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 8:17

You cannot put a price-tag on the value of a good, solid education, Bn...without the fundamentals, the population is forever hobbled...for those in control, that's just how they like it...the South has always had an affinity for rule by landed aristocrats and political dynasties....the ruling class prefers to keep the peasantry uneducated, religiously indoctrinated and docile....that simple but effective scheme has worked for centuries.

The fact that it was once illegal, in the Old South, to teach an African Negro slave to read & write is grim evidence to support my claim.

By: yogiman on 12/14/12 at 8:23

Well, I haven't read all of the laws, B2, but I have read the Constitution and studied it.

I understand all of our laws are based on that little 44 page manual. That is, of course, unless you know more about what they were writing than they did.

That little manual states for a person to be elected as President and Vice-Presicent of this nation they must be natural born citizens, not the son of a Kenyan British subject, which made him a British subject; even though his mother was an American citizen. It takes two to tango, ya know.

I'm still waiting for one of you 'experts' to tell me what amendment has been passed to override that requirement. And I continue to question why your man Barry refuses to identify himself. And I continue to question why the people we have in congress has allowed it to happen from the beginning.

I still wonder why John McCain never questioned Barack Obama on his eligibility when Obama questioned John McCain. I've also still wonder why the Senate held a session to question John McCain but never questioned Barack Obama.

Another thought you might consider, B2. Marco Rubio's name is being thrown in the 2016 picture almost every day. He was 4 years old when his parents became American citizens. He may make a good president, but he isn't Constitutionally eligible. Ignore it once and you may as well flush it down the commode.

If you have the answers, I'd sure lover to learn them.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/14/12 at 8:23

I agree Ask01, that a gun fight is more likely to break out on The Hill.

Weren't experts, lol gdia

Once again Loner points out the American myth of the Peacemaker. Jesus in the image of Rambo is the image that is seen in the South.

By: bfra on 12/14/12 at 8:27

Nemo - Maybe I missed something, that isn't the way I imagine Jesus at all. What part of the South sees Jesus in that image?

By: govskeptic on 12/14/12 at 8:28

Those holy rollers are such a drag on our state we should just call them bad names
and not play with them at all. I personally get great comfort in knowing that those
enlightened writers at Mother Jones is looking out for us on all levels. Loner and
Michael have gone out of their way, as well, to help us all to know our state so much better.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 8:28

We have some crummy schools around here too. Some inner-city public schools are failing...lots of drop-outs....white flight to the suburbs has left the schools cash-strapped.
We have the urban gang problem too....Rochester NY recorded 32 homicides this year....31 killed last year.

Suburban schools in NY state are newer and generally better staffed and funded...school taxes are part of the deal...we pay our property taxes to the village or city, the town and to the school board...some counties levy taxes as well....plus we have a state income tax....state excise taxes...various "user fees" & "registration fees", certain state surcharges and a state lottery, off-track betting etc. all pumping cash into the system.

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 8:29

That was true once, Loner. Without a doubt. But it wasn't just the blacks that were under-educated. Whites were too. In fact, Southern schools have historically been horrible. The ignorant leading the ignorant.

But I do think it's morphed into a national issue. I think that education has been demonized to some extent. People wanted to be smart, to learn. Now, I don't see it.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 8:31

The "experts" have shown the yogitard the LAWS and how it relates to the CONSTITUTION but he is too dumb to comprehend. Just because he has an opinion of what the law should be, he is unable to understand that his opinion is not correct and is only an opinion. S**T for brains is what the South produces and the dumbs**ts seem to think that's fine and vehemently defend their ignorance. It's the damnest thing.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 8:32

Govskeptic breaks down and admits to the truth: " Loner and
Michael have gone out of their way, as well, to help us all to know our state so much better.

Thank you, Gov, for the kind words...I'm speechless...need another latte and a bit of the kind bud...gimme five...I'll be back.

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 8:33

The only thing the troll has studied is "Birther Conspiracy Theories for Idiots".

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 8:36

Indeed, g. I have never seen such a group of people actually take pride in being ignorant! In the midwest education is valued and stupidity is scorned. I don't get how these sh**heads exist.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 8:38

They complain about their insurance turning down their prescriptions and automatically blame Obamacare when it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with it! They rail against single payer although they have no earthly idea what it means. UNBELIEVABLE.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 8:40

I have a saying for people like that. That are immune to knowledge.

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 8:44

And, they're on the rolls yet detest entitlements...then don't use them.

Yeah right...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/14/12 at 8:49

g, they're too dumb to even put that obvious 2 + 2 together. They hate the 47% but don't even realize they are part of it!

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 8:51

OK...I'm back...and I'm going to share some personal information with the board...I went to a tiny three-classroom schoolhouse in Albion, NY....K through 8...a Polish-American Catholic school...we had a church right on the same property...rectory too....back in the day...I was born in 1947.

We had no gymnasium, no swimming pool, no cafeteria, no industrial arts shop, no band or orchestra, no counselors, no security people, no office staff at all.

We had a library and we had an upstairs hall with a stage...for putting on plays...we ate our brown-bag lunches up there or went home for lunch.

When I left there, in 1961, we had a total of 72 students and 3 nuns....one part-time janitor...the priest was the overall head honcho.

Today, that school is now in private hands...they remodeled it and made it into a Bed & Breakfast...on the Erie Canal.

Here is their well-produced promotional video and website:


The site talks about the school's history....I have never been in the B&B...it's gotta be haunted.

I hope that you all find this interesting....now you know who to credit or blame for my attitude and language skills...or lack thereof.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/14/12 at 8:53


Why are you wasting time on the troll. Just don't read and you will have a better day.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/14/12 at 8:56


Southerners are so ready to go to war and Jesus has a double cross ammo belt adorns his bare chest. Can you see that image?

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 8:58

Here's their actual website:


By: bfra on 12/14/12 at 9:02

Nemo - No I can't & I was born & raised in the South.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 9:04

Here's their actual website:


Nemo...Bfra...I found that image of Jesus...right here:


I may use that as my screen wallpaper...cool.

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 9:04

Considering how so many people, not just in the South, have adopted Jesus as being caucasian tells you something.

When I see his likeness and it's really Jeffrey Hunter or Robert Powell, there's a problem.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 9:06

This image of the Savior may be the best yet:


By: bfra on 12/14/12 at 9:06

Loner - Very quaint B&B. Is any of the work on the blackboard left over from your days there? LOL

By: bfra on 12/14/12 at 9:07

Loner - I didn't watch your images of Jesus, I have my own.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 9:08

The Jesus in my 9:06 link is blue-eyed, Gd....the virgin, heterosexual, stud muffin Jesus....with a bad-ass attitude....a "badassitude", as they used to say in the hood.

By: Loner on 12/14/12 at 9:14

I checked that blackboard out, Bfra...nope, nuthin'....I did tap erasers after school on many occasions...that was punishment for being a wise-ass in class....I'd pay a good buck for one of those erasers, if they had the provenance to authenticate the item...I'd put that on my mantle...a trophy of sorts...I got White Lung from tapping erasers at St. Mary's Assumption....but I was the class comedian and that is what counted.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/14/12 at 9:16

That is not my image either, bfra. However I have seen many who do. Especially at the start of a war. God is on our side. That was the thought of Southerns at the start of the Civil War.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/14/12 at 9:18

Tapping erasers Two weeks, Loner. lol

By: gdiafante on 12/14/12 at 9:23

I really don't have an "image" of God. How can something that's omnipresent have an image?

Jesus can, because he was a man. It's just that the man didn't have long hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. That's the European concept of him.

By: bfra on 12/14/12 at 9:26

Loner - My game was to do something to get to tap the erasers to get out of class & goof off.