A Generation of “Firsts”

September 10, 2013 I went to a Webb Middle School PAC meeting this morning ( I know I am too old for this but don’t forget I am raising my 7th grade grandson) and was fascinated by the topic presented by David Nelson, Head of the Middle School.  The title, “A Generation of Firsts,” was adapted from an article by Tim Elmore on GrowingLeaders.com.   Think about this: This is the First Generation of Youth Who: 1) Doesn’t need adults to get information 2) Can broadcast their every thought or emotion to those who “follow” them 3) Has external stimuli at their fingertips 24/7 4) Is socially connected at all times, but often connects in isolation 5) Will learn more from a portable device than from a classroom 6) Adults have enabled to be narcissistic instead of valuing a team 7) Use a phone instead of a wristwatch, camera, wall calendar or board game 8) Scores lower on global comparisons but believe they are “awesome.” Wow!  This is the generation who can receive outside stimulation anytime they are bored but have not had to motivate themselves.  They are rarely disconnected but connect virtually on a screen.  What is happening to their social skills, their ability to meet people and interact with a real person?  They can send messages to huge populations, sometimes going viral, not necessarily always a good thing. As adults we have told them they are gifted, and special. In an attempt to build self-esteem, it’s produced narcissism.  American kids continue to score lower on standardized tests than their peers around the world but the one place they score highest is in self-confidence. So how do we deal with these awesome individuals?  Limit their screen time and encourage face time.  Take a break from technology on occasion- all of us need to do that.  Have a real conversation at a dinner table or in an elevator instead of constantly checking your texts and emails.  Mr. Nelson suggests they use the “employer” test or “principal” test- when you tweet or post, would you want your boss or principal to see it?  Figure out a way to use their technology to help their community or campus.  Above all,  check out what they are posting, playing, who they are communicating with and make sure they turn it off and have face time with the family. Sure am glad I made that PAC meeting this morning.  ...

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“Coup” – A Tennessee History Book Worth Reading

“Coup” – A Tennessee History Book Worth Reading

I don’t generally do book reviews but every Tennessean needs to get a copy of Keel Hunt’s new book, “Coup”  and read it.  Why?  Because it’s the only coup of its kind that has ever occurred in this country and it happened in Tennessee!  Hunt, who was on Governor Lamar Alexander’s staff, as was I, interviewed hundreds of people who were there and who were a part of  Tennessee’s “coup” and early swearing-in in of Governor-elect Lamar Alexander three days early in January, l979. What makes the coup and this book so fascinating is that both political parties, Democrats and Republicans, participated in the coup in order to keep the Democrat Governor Ray Blanton from releasing more hard-core prisoners in his last hours as Governor. If you are old enough, you will remember that Governor Blanton and several of his lieutenants served time in prison for various misdeeds, but the one that garnered so much attention was his pardoning of Roger Humphreys, a convicted murderer of two people in Johnson City, TN.  Humpheys was a trusty at the Governor’s residence and was allowed to become a day-time state photographer.  He was also the son of one of Governor Blanton’s political cronies.  A Republican journalist, Lee Smith, saw Humphreys in the State Capitol one day taking photographs and recognized him as someone he had gone to school with in Johnson City.  Smith’s subsequent writing about this in the Tennessee Journal created a firestorm that eventually led to Blanton’s undoing. There were several other criminals pardoned or given clemency right before his term ended and the fear that he was about to release many more is what set about the “coup.” Hal Hardin, who was the US Attorney at that time in Nashville, was the person to set the early swearing-in in motion by calling Gov-elect Alexander and suggesting it be done.  Alexander was not inclined to do so because America doesn’t sanction coups and unless both Speaker McWherter, (D) and Lt. Governor Wilder (D) were in favor, he wasn’t inclined to do it.  The unfolding of how they all came together, along with State Attorney Bill Leech, Democrat, is what makes this book so intriguing. I was working as Political Director for the Tennessee State Republican Party and had been involved in all the Republican legislative races.  As luck would have it, I happened to be at the Alexander transition headquarters that Wednesday afternoon when the decision was made to swear Alexander in early.  As I recall events, we got a call from Tom Ingram, Alexander’s campaign manager, to “get down to the Supreme Court” building as soon as possible.  None of us knew what was about to take place...

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US Senate Race Just Got a Little More Interesting

With State Representative Joe Carr’s announcement yesterday that he will switch from challenging embattled 4th District Congressman Scott DesJarlais to a run for the US Senate seat currently held by Lamar Alexander (R), things are going to get a lot more interesting and heated.  Many pundits believe Carr couldn’t have won that seat so why not pull out.  He was behind State Senator Jim Tracy in his fundraising and in commitments from powerful political friends as well.  Also, the money that Rep. Carr had raised for that race, almost $300,000, can be transferred to the Senate race.  No brainer, right? More important may be the fact that the Tea Party in Tennessee has been searching for a credible candidate to challenge incumbent Senator Alexander because some of them view him as too “liberal” and a tool of President Obama.  While nothing could be further from the truth, that really doesn’t matter much in political speak.  Interestingly, a Vanderbilt poll taken recently showed self-identified Tennessee “Tea Partiers” giving Alexander a 62% approval rating, a number perhaps Rep. Carr should have seen before tossing his hat into the Senate ring. That same poll also shows a majority of Democrats in Tennessee giving Alexander a favorable rating. It will now be interesting to see if Rep. Carr becomes the only credible candidate to challenge the Senator.  The Tea Party has made a lot of noise about vetting candidates around the state before they anoint their own challenger to Alexander.  According to Rep. Carr, on a recent trip to Washington, D. C., he was greatly encouraged to get into the Senate race.  I can’t imagine who in D.C. would have encouraged him.  Certainly not Senator Corker, nor Congressman Duncan who have both endorsed Senator Alexander’s reelection bid.  I don’t think anyone at the RNC would take such a bold step so we can only assume that he may have met with some of the GOP’s right-winged members of Congress perhaps.  Note however that Rand Paul, the darling of the Tea Partiers, has said some very nice things about Lamar in recent weeks.  Rumors are that the Koch brothers may be interested in this race so perhaps Carr is getting encouragement from those out of Tennessee financial folks. Carr will have a hard time catching Lamar on fundraising.  The Alexander camp has over $3 million in the bank and scheduled fundraisers are looking very successful.  The party regulars who traditionally provide financial support are clearly behind Alexander’s reelection.  Carr will have to look to non-traditional support such as outside Tennessee donors, small grass roots contributions and perhaps national Tea Party funding if that exists. Additionally Carr will be serving in the General Assembly from...

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Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee GOP likes Romney’s choice

WASHINGTON — Of all the people Mitt Romney could have picked to be his running mate for vice president, the one who excited Susan Richardson Williams the most was U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. “What I like about him is he has really been a leader in the House — he has put forth ideas and not just rhetoric,” said Williams, a Knoxville resident who will be an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa. “I think the country is really hungry for ideas and someone who has solutions,” Williams said. Read the full...

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‘The Time Has Come For Me To Pass The Torch’

‘The Time Has Come For Me To Pass The Torch’

Via our friends across the aisle at Out of the Blue… The legacy of Jimmy Naifeh was noted all across the state yesterday as he stood on the House floor and announced that he was retiring after session. Tennessee writers and politicians acknowledged the distinct mark he has created serving in the House for nearly 40 years. “After talking with my family and friends, I believe the time has come for me to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders,” Naifeh said in prepared remarks in front of members of both the House and Senate, which recessed to witness the iconic Speaker Emeritus’ retirement speech. “I certainly played hardball – just once or twice – but I always maintained relationships on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “This is a very unique fraternity. … We celebrate together, and we mourn together, and we work together for the people of Tennessee.” —The Tennessean …Read the full post...

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