The Star News Network’s Neil McCabe Weighs in on Washington’s Spending Snowball

The Star News Network’s Neil McCabe Weighs in on Washington’s Spending Snowball

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed The Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmaker line to outline the $5 trillion dollar infrastructure spending and the anti-Trump senators who continue their hostility toward Donald Trump.

Cunningham: Gosh, things are going on so quickly in Washington this week, and it’s just depressing if you care about any kind of fiscal responsibility.

Neil McCabe is on the line with us. Neil is the national political correspondent for The Tennessee Star and is the most connected man in Washington, D.C. Neil, tell us, is there any way that this big snowball can be stopped? This $5 trillion spending snowball, or are we doomed to just watch it roll through?

McCabe: First of all, yes, we are doomed to just watch it roll through. But it’s the confluence of a number of events. And I think the critical one for people of our ilk, Ben, is that Mitch McConnell has made the decision that he’s going to stick it to Donald Trump.

And sort of this cattery of anti-Trump Republican senators is going to get together and give Joe Biden a bipartisan win. And it’s just because of the different cultures of the House and the Senate. The Senate has always been culturally hostile to President Trump.

And I’m talking about Senate Republicans, whereas House Republican congressmen are overwhelming, not only do they like Trump, they support Trump, and they feel a kinship with Trump. Whereas Republican senators see him as an interloper, as this stranger from another planet who has just basically messed up all of their plans.

Mike Lee had this great line where he says everybody talks about wouldn’t it be great if Republicans and Democrats could learn to work together again? And Lee always says the problem in Washington is, when Republicans and Democrats work together, it’s to raise spending and to raise taxes.

And that’s exactly what this bill is going to do. And McConnell has now decided that this thing was dead and he’s brought it back and he’s going to do it to stick it to Trump.

Cunningham: They do. They treat Trump and the supporters of Trump like an embarrassment basically. They are just embarrassed, but they will go the distance. And the House Republican leadership is not doing much at this point, are they?

McCabe: What you’re seeing, thanks to the leadership of Jim Banks, who I have (Inaudible talk) Granted it’s in baby steps. But he is returning the Republican Study Committee to its roots. The Republican Study Committee was founded in 1973 as part of that effort to bring some services and back into the Republican Party.

It was that same movement, that same period of time, that created the Heritage Foundation and the Committee for a Free Congress. And the American Conservative Union was all part of that movement. And so the Republican Study Committee has been integrated under Boehner and then under Paul Ryan. And then McCarthy is part of leadership because instead of being the rebels, they became part of the empire structure.

Banks is waging a war against this infrastructure bill. And he’s doing it by actually reading the bill. And he and his people are reading the bill and they’re pulling stuff out of it. And guys in the Senate and conservatives are trying to delay it.

And that just gives people more time to read it. But really, it doesn’t matter what’s in the bill. McConnell wants to stick it to Trump and so do a lot of Republican senators.

Cunningham: That’s pretty depressing that that is the dynamic. How much can they delay it? There are two bills. And I certainly don’t understand it as well as I should because things move so quickly. There’s a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

And then there’s the $3.5 trillion, which supposedly will pass with reconciliation. There’s so much stuff in that $3.5 trillion. Is the parliamentarian actually going to say yes, all of this stuff is qualified as budget, and we’re going to pass it with reconciliation. Is that going to happen?

McCabe: They’re going to work over the parliamentarian. Basically, that $3.5 trillion bill has been written almost in coordination with the parliamentarian, basically working as the referee. And so everything that Democrats can’t pass on their own is going in the $1.5 billion. So you now have the factor of 10, 15, maybe 20 Republican senators who are moving heaven and earth to give the Democrats everything they can’t get in the reconciliation bill.

And the test vote of that was the filibuster. And the Republicans joined the Democrats to break the filibuster. And so now when that comes to the floor, it’s just a simple majority vote.

Cunningham: That is so depressing. And obviously, Lindsey and Mitch McConnell obviously believe they can do this without incurring any penalty back home.

McCabe: Well, you know, McConnell and Lindsey Graham, they just won reelection. Portman, who’s one of the guys leading the effort, was the budget director under George W. Bush. He loathes Trump and loathes conservatives. He’s retiring.

That’s why J.D. Vance is in that race. And you have Pat Toomey, who was once the darling of the conservative movement. He was president of the Club for Growth, and he’s retiring. So he’s part of it. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, she’s got a tough primary fight.

She’s underwater in some polls that I’ve seen. And so the senators who are on their way out are walking around like zombie senators. And their only goal right now is to set themselves up for their retirement and private life and also set up 20 or 30 of their aides with lobbying jobs as beltway bandits.

And all of those sorts of cookies, treats, donuts, and ornaments are going to be stuck into that bill to help out these senators and their staffers when they return to private life.

Henry: Neil, Grant Henry here with Americans for Prosperity.

McCabe: Hi Grant.

Henry: Pertaining specifically to this $3.5 trillion plan, one would hope that through that bird rule amendment process you could theoretically cut out some of this nonsensical trash. The Pro Act stuff, the Green New Deal stuff, and increased healthcare spending.

But if that doesn’t happen, it will come across as a fairly transparent con in my mind against the American people. It’s exactly what you just said a second ago, Neil. This is just a grab bag, a kitchen sink way to pass all the legislation.

In the last minute we have here, let me ask: if that happens what are the ramifications for the midterm elections? Does it do anything towards that at the last minute here?

McCabe: I think, Grant, you know more than anybody else that this is going to dull the knife of Senate Republicans as they try to retake the chamber. What you’re seeing in House conservatives, they are mounting a serious campaign against this bill, and that’s going to drive up their chances of retaking the lower chamber. Of course, Kevin McCarthy is nowhere to be seen.

Cunningham: Neil, we are coming up on a break. Can you stay over with us?

McCabe: Sure.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robin Steeman of Moms for Liberty-Williamson County Chapter Outlines ‘Wit and Wisdom’ Indoctrination

Robin Steeman of Moms for Liberty-Williamson County Chapter Outlines ‘Wit and Wisdom’ Indoctrination

 

Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Cunningham welcomed Robin Steeman of Moms for Liberty-Williamson County to the newsmaker line to outline the indoctrinating curriculum of Wit and Wisdom and its efforts to push back against the school board and superintendent.

Cunningham: Robin Steeman is with Moms for Liberty in Williamson County. Robin, good morning.

Steeman: Good morning, Ben.

Cunningham: Thank you so much for taking the time to join us this morning. We just wanted to get an update on what’s going on. The last I heard, you guys were attending school board meetings.

Your thrust has been to highlight and expose Critical Race Theory in schools and other issues that are going on. Give us an update on what is going on right now with you guys.

Steeman: Sure thing, Ben. As you know, we started our journey taking on Critical Race Theory in Williamson County. And it really started with the hiring of the diversity equity inclusion consultancy in which – that we anticipate they’ll identify systemic racism in the county.

And then we’re off to the races with CRT-type policy. In that journey, we became aware of students ashamed of their skin color and students feeling like a victim because of their skin color.

So we really turned to look at where CRT already existed in the system. And, of course, our first suspicion was the curriculum. So we’ve done a deep dive into the Wit and Wisdom curriculum, and there are pockets of CRT.

But the problem with Wit and Wisdom is it’s really social-emotional learning from K through fifth grade. It’s extremely dark, extremely graphic. Emotions run high, but they’re all negative emotions and just a lot of age-inappropriate material.

And that’s where our battle is right now is Wit and Wisdom. And as the school year starts, literally next week, parents’ emotions are running high. For some parents, there are some stress levels out there.

Cunningham: And it just sounds so Orwellian. All of these terms just sound really, really strange and Orwellian as if we all need to be forced into equity and inclusion. And as if there’s some great moral rule out there that we’re not attuned to that – parents must be educated about the great moral issues of the day.

This is just ridiculous. Parents should be in charge of what goes on in schools and schools should prioritize teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic first before they get into the social-emotional and all these other issues. How did we drift so far away from the basics of education?

Steeman: I wish I knew that. (Chuckles) I’m new on the scene. I think it’s a slide and we’ve been going down a slope for a while and parents have been busy, and we’ve been living our lives.

And we’ve put a lot of faith and a lot of trust in the school district and in those that run the school district and assume that they’re on the same page with us and at least the same side with us. And then COVID happens, and parents get to sit in on what their kids are being taught and low and behold what’s going on.

Cunningham: It’s been a huge revelation, I think, to parents and grandparents and everybody. And thankfully, I don’t know, it may be a mixed blessing of COVID that we are getting some insights into exactly what is going on and beginning to hold them accountable. What do you see for Moms for Liberty as your role over the school year that is about to start?

Steeman: We’ve put in well over 1,200 hours by now of research into Wit and Wisdom by over 20 parents to really get to the bottom of it because each module, each lesson also has a teacher’s manual and that teacher’s manual must be looked at thoroughly.

And I’ll give you an example real quick because we just found something new. There’s a book in the kindergarten grade, module one, and it’s called Bojangles. And I bought the book and read it, and I have no problems with it. I would let my daughter read it.

She’s about to go into first grade. But it talks about Bojangles and how he danced and how that was a positive thing in the world. And there’s this one page where he’s dancing past open and closed doors. And two of the doors are closed.

And then a couple of the doors are open and the people are waving. But there’s this one door that’s closed. It looks like a man is turned the other way. It was kind of an angry expression. And what is his skin color? Well, it’s white.

I mean, is that historically accurate? I’m sure. But I have no problem with that for a child. My child would see that and would probably focus on the waving happy people and would focus on the pictures of Bojangles dancing.

But then you look at the teacher’s manual and it’s striking because it says, okay, kids, let’s focus on the angry white man. Look at his expression.

Cunningham: You are kidding me? Does it literally say that?

Steeman: Well, it doesn’t say the white man, but it’s the angry man. It wants them to focus on that. And, of course, the skin color is very evident. But then it goes on to say that Bojangles, that these doors were closed to him because of his skin color.

And it says it multiple times. I mean, a child would have never picked up on that in just the reading of the book. But the teacher’s manual will not allow them an innocent reading of the book. It will not permit their children’s innocence.

It has to force a kindergartener, a five or six-year-old, to look at this story through a racial lens, to say, oh, Bojangles is racially oppressed. And this man behind the door and the angered expression has something to do with that.

And then further, it goes into the Harlem Renaissance for kindergarteners. I would submit that the kindergartener has no idea what the regular old Renaissance is. So it’s just not age-appropriate. The book itself is fine.

But the teacher’s manual is where it just goes off the rails. And the teacher’s manual even puts a note in there for the teachers like this word is too advanced. The word is closed for module one and the kindergarteners because of the blended sounds. But due to the narrative of the story, because that’s more important, then we’re going to use it anyway.

So put it up on the word wall, but the students don’t need to read it. Those are just out of whack priorities. This is English language arts. You’re teaching a child to read and write for the first time and you’re choosing words that are too advanced because they hit the narrative that’s being presented.

So once you read that teacher’s note, it’s really all you need to know about the priorities of this particular lesson. The teacher’s manuals are really crucial. There are many examples of a book that may be okay or maybe not that bad.

And then you match it up with the teacher’s manual and it’s incredibly stilted in ideology, especially in the third grade. We’re digging up more stuff about Story Messenger, which is a book about Galileo, which normally would be a great thing.

But the teacher’s manual, instead of focusing on his scientific advancements, this new way of thinking, and how he changed the world, it absolutely focuses on how he was persecuted by the Church. The Church and its traditions are bad.

Cunningham: It’s indoctrinating kids into a particular worldview. I don’t think there’s any question about that.

Steeman: No, there’s not. So what we’ve done is we’ve raised our objections with our school board and with our superintendent. We submitted letters requesting a forum back in June that we could present our findings, but our superintendent would really have nothing to do with that.

We had a forum anyway, and three school board members and a handful of our local elected officials attended. But instead, now we’re wrapped up in this 4.403 process, which is a board policy title request for reconsideration of instructional materials.

Which really was geared for a parent filing a complaint about a single book, whereas we’re following it complaining about the whole curriculum. But now we’re in a 4.403 process. It’s a pretty loose timeline.

They’re not giving us a lot of specifics. There are five members on the committee that we don’t necessarily agree with. We weren’t given a seat at the table even though we’re a legitimate parent organization.

And the policy allows for the parent organization to be at the table. So school starts imminently and parents are getting nervous. Some have pulled out altogether. And then for those that are keeping their child in because not every parent can withdraw their child …

Cunningham: We are coming up on a break. Can you stay over the break for us? I apologize for interrupting you there. I’d love to ask you some more questions.

Steeman: I sure can.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davidson County GOP Chair Jim Garrett Weighs in on Metro Nashville Public Schools Mask Mandate Pushback and 2022 Election Year

Davidson County GOP Chair Jim Garrett Weighs in on Metro Nashville Public Schools Mask Mandate Pushback and 2022 Election Year

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed GOP chair for Davidson County Jim Garrett to the newsmaker line to discuss why they are pushing back now on Metro Nashville Public Schools’ attempt to mask mandate students again and how 2022 will be an interesting election year for the Fifth Congressional District of Davidson County.

Cunningham: Jim Garrett is the chair of the Davidson County Republican Party. Jim is on the line with us this morning. Jim, good morning.

Garrett: Good morning. Good morning, Ben. Good morning, Andy, and good morning, Grant. How are you?

Cunningham: We are doing great. Thanks so much for calling in this early. I’m telling you, it puts a new perspective on the world when you get up at 4:00 am in the morning. Actually, I got up at 3:15, so that really was a new perspective.

But thanks so much for calling in this morning, Jim. You guys have just sent a letter to the Metropolitan Nashville School system as the Republican Party of Davidson County. What did you say?

Garrett: We felt it was time that we stand up against this rhetoric that we hear coming from the left. Basically, we outlined that we were against masks and we would encourage the school system not to enforce a mask mandate. And we gave them five or six factual reasons to support our argument there.

I think the left that uses emotion, we like to use fact. And we use factual reasons and studies. And there are so many conflicting studies, you don’t know who to believe. And I think that’s by design on their part to keep us all confused so that their rhetoric seems to be dominant. And it should not be.

Cunningham: Why now? Why at the end of July, first of August – of course, school is about to start. But what motivated you to do this?

Garrett: We had heard several of our members had seen a petition that went out by a group. And I won’t say a left party. But it went out by a group associated with them calling for the schools to reinstitute the mask mandates.

And because of that petition, and they’re advertising in The Tennessean, and they had 1,800 signatures. Because of that, we felt it was important for us to say something.

Henry: Jim, Grant, Henry, here with Americans for Prosperity. Have ya’ll received any kind of response yet? Good, bad, or otherwise to this letter you sent out?

Garrett: I am not aware of any response yet. The people who are monitoring this with us, our communications people told me that there’s not been any feedback. And I personally have not received any. Although I did, again, a call last week from a lady who was a school teacher.

And she kept talking about the Republican Party was so vile in her school by her students and how she didn’t introduce politics to the school. But yet she only let them listen and watch PBS and CNN television shows.

Cunningham: (Laughs) Oh, boy, that’s objectivity. Isn’t it? I’m telling you, it’s crazy. Well, thank you so much for stepping out. And even in a blue county like Davidson County, the Republican votes represent 40 percent plus of the electorate. So they should listen and they should respond, and they should give you some kind of feedback back on this thing.

Garrett: I think the Republicans, our members feel like if we don’t stay in that often, we probably don’t. Conservatives tend to be individualists. We let the individual make the decision like we think parents should be making the decision about masking in schools and not the school board. But they think we don’t say enough. And our executive committee felt it was time on this subject to stand up and shout out our opposition to it.

Henry: Jim, let me ask here as well. Yesterday, Speaker Cameron Sexton was quoted saying the following: “And I sure hope that a school system in this state after this data is released does not shut their schools. If they do, I’m going to ask the governor for legislation to allow these parents in those school districts to take their money through school choice and go to wherever they deem they need to go.”

Is that kind of message resonating with any of the state Republicans in Davidson County?

Garrett: I believe it is. Yes. We believe in the voucher system. It’s been battered back and forth in the General Assembly. I hear it from our members who – some who would like that and some who wouldn’t.

But I do hear it. And so I think we’re supporting that stance. I heard that yesterday and was surprised that he came out with a statement about what he did.

Cunningham: Jim, on another topic, just politics that we’re interested in and I’m sure the audience is interested in is you’re keeping up very closely with the redistricting process. Every 10 years when they do a new census, they have to come out and redraw the political districts.

And, of course, a lot of people are very interested in Davidson County, in the Fifth Congressional District, and what’s going to happen there and how the districts might be drawn. Give us just a quick timeline of how one of the major decision points in the future for that. And when will we know what the new districts will look like?

Garrett: We have talked with Senator Jack Johnson. We’ve talked with Representative Lambert. Members of our group have talked with them about that same question. They tell us now is the time to get involved.

We have a meeting next week with Speaker Sexton to discuss redistricting specifically. And there’ll be another subject in their meeting with Speaker Sexton. But primarily the meeting is about redistricting. We are working on a map of where the Republican voters are in Davidson County, and we’ll have some ideas about what we would like to see.

We don’t need a major change. We just like to have some districts tweaked a little bit to pick up five or six points. And if we get a fair chance, I think we can pick up seats. But we don’t need a slam dunk in say a half a dozen districts or so. But we need some help here in Davidson County.

Cunningham: It is the enclave of Democrats that stay there year after year. I don’t know how long Jim Cooper has been there. Of course, Jim’s got a challenger from the left also this time, a pretty strong challenge. I think AOC has endorsed his challenger. So lots of things going on.

He’s got to worry about the challenger from the left first. But hopefully, we can have a competitive district where Republicans can have a shot. At least running a good, solid campaign and presenting a great alternative.

Garrett: I think Cooper’s been there – I’ve heard – 32 years, and he’s run basically unopposed for most of those, unfortunately. But yes, this year he seems to have a good shot at it. I would actually like to see Kelly win the primary for Starbuck because I think she would be a better opponent to run against than Cooper is.

She is so socialist and so much to the left, I think she would make a good opposite candidate. 2022 is going to be an interesting year. We have got two or three candidates right now that have announced running for that seat. There are going to be more that show up.

I’m sure that there’s one or two more. I’ve talked with them and they’re still in the decision process. So I think 2022 is going to be an interesting year for the U.S. Congress seat here in Davidson County.

Cunningham: And how do people get in touch with the Davidson County Republican Party?

Garrett: They can always get us through the gopnashville.org website. And there are buttons here for volunteering for contributing. But if you go to the volunteer button and put your name in, there is a place where you can ask questions. We get questions through there all the time.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaker Cameron Sexton Weighs In on Parent Centered News Conference Monday with Lee and Schwinn

Speaker Cameron Sexton Weighs In on Parent Centered News Conference Monday with Lee and Schwinn

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to the newsmaker line to further illustrate his position from Monday’s press conference where he, Governor Lee, and Penny Schwinn stood firm on getting children back to class with parents at the wheel.

Cunningham: My name is Ben Cunningham and I’m sitting in for Michael Patrick Leahy at the big Tennessee Star microphone this morning while Michael is away. He is expanding an ever-expanding media empire and getting more and more outlets for us conservatives.

And we have this morning we have an extraordinarily special guest on the line this morning. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton is with us this morning. Speaker, good morning.

Sexton: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Cunningham: Yes, thanks so much for joining us. You had a pretty amazing press conference yesterday and kind of threw down the gauntlet on behalf of students and parents in Tennessee.

And it was really an amazing assertion of let’s get back to school. Let’s get kids in school. Let’s get them in the classroom and let’s teach them in the classroom. Please tell us how that all came down yesterday.

Sexton: Yes. Yesterday the governor and Commissioner Schwinn were announcing the TCAP results which was not good. Basically, we’ve lost a lot of the ground. We’re back to around where we were in 2015 and 2016 on proficiency. It’s all across the board. All subjects. All grades.

It was not a good day on TCAP. And the interesting thing is, there were individuals in the session who is trying to tell us, oh, learning loss is not an issue.

Well, it really is. And when you don’t have kids in school and you have them doing remote work or you have them do virtual education or you just close down the schools as some did, you see what the results are.

And now they’re trying to use COVID as a reason why they maybe need to close down schools, require mask mandates, maybe segregate kids on who’s vaccinated and who’s unvaccinated. And the data doesn’t point that that needs to happen with the children and that they actually need to be in class. It needs to be in person. I think the majority of teachers agree with that as well. And so basically what I said, you know what? Schools if you want to shut down, if you want to require a mask, if you want to segregate kids based on who’s vaccinated or not, I’m going to ask the governor for a special session. And we’re going to go in and we’re going to make some changes, and that may be going in a direction called school choice. And let parents decide where they want to send their kids if the school system there is not doing what’s needed to get done to get their child educated.

Cunningham: Well, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of myself personally and all the folks that I talk with around Tennessee, this is an amazing measure and press conference. I think many people in Tennessee would like to have the option to choose their school if the school that they’re going to is not performing. Can you tell us what would be the next step? What would trigger your action at this point?

Sexton: If the school system shut down, if the school system moved all their kids to remote learning or gave them hybrid remote learning, or if they started requiring kids to wear masks, I mean, all those things or segregated kids in the classroom. Those things would get me to ask the governor for a special session. And we’ll come back in and take a look at it. There are schools right now debating whether or not our kids will wear masks and the data doesn’t point to that direction where that should happen. All data says is that children are less likely than anybody else to have severe COVID or to be hospitalized. And the survival rate for anyone below the age of 20 who gets COVID even with the new Delta variant is 99.99 percent. And so let’s just talk about the facts. Let’s talk about the data, and then let’s have that conversation. But kids need to be in class, and we can’t accept the second year of TCAP numbers to go down.

Cunningham: And that’s got to be music to the years of parents across Tennessee. And you were at the press conference. The governor was there. Senator Johnson, our education secretary. All those folks were there. And you guys are showing a very unified front.

Sexton: Yeah. I mean, I think we’re all on the same page. We want what’s best for the children. And the data doesn’t lie. I know there’s a lot of people out there who think that kids need to wear masks eight hours a day, every single day down to the age of two. I mean, I have a hard time figuring out why they’re so angry about allowing parents to make the choice. You have people out there who are so mad when you say what the parents should make the choice. If they want their kids to wear a mask, let them wear a mask. If they don’t want to, then they shouldn’t have to wear one. And there are people losing their minds out there because you’re saying the parents have a right to decide what’s best for their kids. It tells you where the left is in our world today.

Cunningham: It does. And I noticed several questions at the news conference to the governor or about that. Why don’t you listen to this group of experts? Why don’t you listen to this group of experts? The state government is there to serve the citizens and the parents initially, most of all. And thank goodness you guys are putting the citizens at the top of the priority list. I for one – thank you for doing that. The news conference was really amazing yesterday, and I think it puts educators and everybody else on notice that parents have got to be the major decision-makers in this process.

Sexton: It’s their children. They know what’s best. They’re going to do what’s best for them and their kids. And people who think otherwise, I just don’t understand that capability. And the other thing is they’re wanting to make examples of people being hospitalized. Well, the people who are hospitalized in Tennessee, I’ve talked to hospitals all across the state and 96 percent of the people in the hospital are unvaccinated people, and they’re the age brackets of 35 to 50. And what I say is, stop listening to the CDC. Stop listening to the national media people and just go have a conversation with your physician, your pediatrician, and your pharmacist and ask them what’s best for you and your family if you’re unsure. But talk to the experts who know about your health and have a conversation. Quit listening to the Washington bureaucrats and the state bureaucrats and the school systems. Have a conversation with the people who know about your health. And then you all make a decision that’s best for you and your family. It’s pretty easy.

Cunningham: Yeah. Absolutely. And so many people have tried to politicize this issue and have a political agenda behind all the press releases that come out. The scare tactics and everything. But I, for one, want to thank you very much for coming out. That was pretty extraordinary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a press conference like that where you had unity of the legislative and the executive branch. And everybody was saying parents should be the ones who are making these decisions. That’s an extraordinary statement in this day and time.

Sexton: It is. It really is. And I’m glad to be a part of it. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Lee and Commissioner Schwinn and members of the General Assembly, the House and Senate, and listening to the people in our district. And overwhelmingly the people in the district and people across the state of Tennessee believe kids should be back in school. That should be in person. They shouldn’t be doing remote learning. They shouldn’t be doing virtual, and schools should not be shut down. You shouldn’t be requiring a mask. That’s what the people in Tennessee want. But you have people out there, as you said, trying to scare people into believing something that the data does not support.

Cunningham: What is the next step in your decision? What would trigger you to call a special session and what are you monitoring at this point?

Sexton: We’re watching Shelby County looking at requiring mask mandates. I think Williamson County has something coming up where they’re looking at it. So we’re watching that. Davison County’s looking at it. Wilson County had a meeting last night. So we’re just watching. We made our statement. We put it out on record of what we expect, and we’ll see what happens. If people start going in different directions then we’ll go back here and I’m going to ask the governor for a special session. And hopefully, we’ll be able to get that done. And it might be three to four weeks later because by the time you get it organized and set. But I’m curious. If we need to go in, it’s a big enough issue for us to go on a special session to solve this really quickly.

Cunningham: And you can act within 30 days. 45 days. That certainly is a reasonable time frame. Is that correct?

Sexton: It is. You could act within seven days, but the problem is you would have members who might not be in town. People have work. And so you try to give enough time for them to clear their schedule and to be able to have a special session. But yes, you can call a special session within 30 days if you need to pretty easily.

Cunningham: Speaker Sexton, thanks so much for joining us this morning. I know you’re busy as a switch engine this morning with all the press and everything. But that was an amazing news conference there yesterday. And I personally cannot thank you enough for coming out and asserting this parent-centered agenda. I think that’s what so many people in the state want. And thank you so much for being bold and coming out yesterday and very positively asserting that agenda around parents and students.

Sexton: Well, thank you. You’re very kind. And I hope you have a wonderful day. I hope to see you soon.

Cunningham: Great. Thanks so much.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Host Ben Cunningham, Andy Ogles, and Grant Henry Discuss News of the Day, Education, and COVID Silver Linings

Guest Host Ben Cunningham, Andy Ogles, and Grant Henry Discuss News of the Day, Education, and COVID Silver Linings

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Cunningham welcomed Grassroots Engagement Director of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee Grant Henry and Mayor Andy Ogles in studio to discuss the news of the day and education in the era of COVID.

Cunningham: This is Ben Cunnigham sitting in for Michael Patrick Leahy this morning, along with Grant Henry and Andy Ogles. Andy is the Mayor of Maury County. Grant is with Americans for Prosperity. And we are holding down the fort this morning for Michael Patrick Leahy, who is out expanding his ever-expanding media empire.

He just keeps adding people and states all the time. I don’t even know how many states he’s up to. More than a dozen, I think. And he has, of course, The Tennessee Star and all the other state Stars. And it is your one source of dependable conservative news.

And I’m telling you, Michael just works his tail off. Hopefully, I can say that on the radio, but he works very hard to bring good, solid, fact-based – but with admittedly conservative bent – news to you.

And unfortunately, there’s just not much of that out there these days. The Tennesseean, and WPLN who has basically said, we’re going to be Liberal and we’re going to be proudly Liberal.

And we’re going to allow reporters to have a liberal bias. And we’re going to allow them not only to have a Liberal bias but to express it in their news content because of all the great good intentions they have to make the world a better place. Newsflash, we all want to make the world a better place. And we all should have a voice.

And the news we get should be reported objectively without bias. And that, of course, is the objective. But unfortunately, we’re getting that more and more. The news that’s being reported has a definite bias to it.

And you’ve got to interpret the news and the light of the bias that – from the source. And that’s just, unfortunately, what we, as news consumers, have to do these days. There’s no question about it. Andy, you had a report on a breaking story. Are there any updates to the Smile Direct shooting?

Ogles: I just looked and the information is the same. So they’re off of Antioch Pike, the Smile Direct warehouse. There was a shooting just moments ago. Two employees were shot. The shooter has been neutralized. And what I mean by that is that the shooter has been shot.

I don’t know his or her condition. So the scene seems to be secure. But if you’re traveling in that area, just know that it’s going to be crazy there for a bit as they kind of unpack what’s happened.

I know that the parking lot is taped off with crime scene tape, et cetera. But just be careful. If you’re in the area, make way, yield to the police because they’ve got a job to do this morning.

Cunningham: And it may well affect the inbound traffic from Murfreesboro and points out from there. So if you can take an alternate route this morning, that, unfortunately, and those kinds of things do occur.

Ogles: That’s right.

Cunningham: And that’s why the Second Amendment is so important in our state. We look at incidents like that and we see them reaffirming our right to protect ourselves for self-protection. In other states, the far-left Democrats look at incidents like that, and they use these as affirmations for taking our guns away from us.

And that really is a central part of the cultural fight we are in. Let me give you just a little bit of an update. Speaker Cameron Sexton will be joining us at the bottom of the next hour to talk about a pretty amazing news conference that he, the governor, and Jack Johnson, and our Education Commissioner had yesterday talking about getting kids back to school.

Getting those masks off of them, getting them learning because they got a report that said, basically, the kids are suffering. And they are suffering. This remote learning simply is not the way to teach kids. They need to be in a classroom. They need to be with a teacher there who can give feedback to them.

And if they don’t have that, then they need alternatives. And in the press conference yesterday, Speaker Sexton actually mentioned possibly even going for more vouchers. And that was a pretty amazing statement.

Of course, the voucher bill that was passed is in litigation now. I think they’ve made their statements before the Supreme Court, and we’ll probably hear about that fairly quickly. I don’t know. Do you guys got any insight into how long it’ll be before we hear?

Henry: I’m not sure I am.

Ogles: I think it’s anybody’s guess when you’re talking about the media outlets. I’ve got a story here from The Tennesseean that was talking about they looked at the test scores and – prior to COVID – rising fourth graders. So transitioning from the third grade to fourth grade.

At the end of the school year, kids are tested, and you only had about 35 percent of third-graders or rising fourth-graders reading on level. And then when you look at this new data, which is abysmal, by the way.

When you look at 65 percent of kids not reading on the level and roughly the same amount – 62 percent or so – not doing math on the level.

And what we’ve seen because of COVID is anywhere from a 10 to 20-point drop in test scores. Across all grades, the average is: only 29 percent of Tennessee students are on grade level for English. Only 29 percent.

Cunningham: That’s across all?

Ogles: All the grade levels.

Cunningham: Oh, that’s depressing.

Ogles: Only 25 percent are on grade level for math. And what’s insane is that third-fourth grade, maybe there’s a maturity issue, maybe that they need to mature. But when you get up into your seventh and eighth grade, those numbers are holding so that you only have 30 percent of your seventh and eighth-graders on the level.

And that’s a round number. I’m kind of just using a generic round-fixed figure there. But seventh and eighth graders reading or doing math, only 30 percent. We’ve got to do a better job in the state of Tennessee.

The system we have isn’t working. So I’m excited to have the Speaker on and let you guys ask questions because we’ve got to take this system, dismantle it, and build it back with a new approach. If there is an upside of COVID, I think it pulled the veil back on education in the state of Tennessee and really across the country.

And you see kind of this Critical Race Theory and some of these LGBTQ curriculums that have been forcibly inserted into our curriculums, and now parents are woke. Let’s take that term. I’m glad to see parents waking up to the crap that’s being force-fed to our kids, and let’s get back to the fact that it’s up to parents to teach.

Let’s give parents the right to choose where the kids are going to be taught. And it was a firm to hear the Speaker of the House being so forceful on this issue yesterday.

Henry: Yeah. What’s the old adage? We don’t have a democracy, we have a democracy of those that participate. I think Mayor Ogles just pointed to this directly. That one of the strange silver linings that have come down, come out of all these shutdowns, is that more people are paying attention to how their children are being educated in the state of Tennessee, I think than almost ever before.

At least in my lifetime. Granted, I’m somewhat young, but you get what I’m saying. I think if you’re looking at, say, the Critical Race Theory situation, or maybe if you’re looking at the math situation, or if there’s anything going on with public school that you might find even somewhat distasteful, maybe start looking into some alternate options.

Maybe start looking into considering some legislation at the state level for backpack funding, where the funding follows the child. Or look into what that ESA bill from several years ago did. The educational savings account bill.

Cunningham: Yes.

Henry: Granted, it’s only pertinent to, say, Memphis and Nashville, but that was essentially allowing you to use the dollars that were following your child to, I don’t know, home school, or maybe to a private school, or maybe for college savings, or maybe for, I don’t know, buying kids to a coop program or something to that effect.

The idea was to get a more personal touch on the way that your child is educated because there’s nothing more determinative in a child’s education than parental involvement and parents choosing how to educate their children.

Ogles: Well, I know we’re coming up on a break, so I have a shameless plug.

Henry: Do it! I love it! This is a good news segment right here.

Ogles: So my daughter’s going into the ninth grade, freshman, in high school, and last night she tried out for the volleyball team – so, the high school volleyball team. And so she was fired up last night, just anxious, kept checking because the coach had said that she’d either send out the team roster either late last night or first thing this morning.

So we just got the roster. So my daughter, a rising freshman, made the high school volleyball team, and she just found out and she’s excited. I can’t wait to chat with her in just a minute and congratulate her. Because she was one of three freshmen that made the team. So, way to go, Adelaide.

Cunnigham: Congratulations. (Applause)

Listen to the full third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Ogles and the Freedom Matters Tour Brings Out Large Crowds from Around the State

Mayor Ogles and the Freedom Matters Tour Brings Out Large Crowds from Around the State

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to discuss migration to Middle Tennessee, record-breaking growth, and the Freedom Matters Tour’s unusual large amount of attendees.

Cunningham: My name is Ben Cunningham and I’m sitting in for Michael Patrick Leahy. Joined in studio this morning with Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and Grant Henry with Americans for Prosperity.

Guys, good morning. Thanks so much. You were just commenting, Andy, about the traffic. I saw the same thing coming in from Gallatin. I don’t know. Maybe that’s a good indication that things are picking up.

Ogles: I don’t know what was going on this morning. I don’t know if we all left three minutes late and it created this log jam, but, it takes me about an hour to get here, give or take, but it took me an extra 10 minutes or so just because the traffic getting to the interstate was heavier than normal.

Cunningham: I saw the same thing. And of course, Middle Tennessee is booming anyway, I saw where you guys had, like, $4 billion in new investments in Maury County. I mean, you all are just killing it down there. New battery plant. People are moving. They’re moving everywhere in Middle Tennessee. It’s an amazing phenomenon in –

Ogles: I think when you look at total investment for the last 12-month period, we’ve had about $4.5 billion investment in Maury County per capita when you look at per-capita growth. So that’s a percentage of the population with the fastest growing county in the state of Tennessee.

Cunningham: Oh, you are now?

Ogles: Yes. And number one in manufacturing job growth. So we’ve become one of those economic engines for the state. So we’re a small county that punches way above our weight class.

Cunningham: You’re doing a great job in Middle Tennessee in general. I saw where FedEx was going to hire 1,000 new people in Middle Tennessee. And, of course, Amazon can’t get enough people. They’re just begging for people to come work for them. It’s an amazing time to be in Middle Tennessee.

And I get on the Nashville Tea Party Facebook page. I get almost daily messages of people saying I’m in upstate New York or I’m in Ohio and Illinois.

And what can you tell me about good areas to live in Middle Tennessee? And I tell them, heck, any area you choose, except you might want to stay out of Davidson County. Haha. (Laughter)

Ogles: I was thinking, I just wasn’t going to say it.

Cunningham: And so many things going on. You’ve got an event coming up. You, Tennessee Stands, and Robby Starbuck have been going around the state.

Ogles: Freedom Matters Tour.

Cunningham: And you’ve got an event coming up tonight.

Ogles: That’s right. So we’ve been traveling the state. The first one was up in Kingsport and had a little over 400 people. And then last week, we were in just outside of Knoxville and the Tellico Village retirement community.

Again, we had about 420 show up there. Then tonight in Mount Juliet, I’m expecting 450. I don’t know. 550. It’s kind of hard to tell sometimes.

Cunningham: Can people just walk up and walk in? Is it general admission?

Ogles: Yes. It’s a free event. You can go online and get tickets. We have ample space. (Inaudible talk) So we do have room. Of course, we’ll register you at the door. Whereas, like Tellico Village, we had to cut off registration about two weeks prior to the event because we’re just out of space.

And, but there’s just a lot of pent-up angst. You guys are talking about the Senate budget and these bills that are coming forward. When you look at Critical Race Theory and kids being out of school and all these Covid restrictions and impingement on freedoms, people are frustrated.

And I think that you see that manifesting itself. When was the last time you have a town hall in previous years, and you’d have 400 people show up?

Cunningham: Right.

Ogles: It’s crazy. And I’ve been doing grassroots for a long time. We all have. And to have 400 people show up to an event on a Tuesday night or a Saturday afternoon is insane. And like I said, Tellico Village, if we would have had another two weeks, we would have had another 100, 200 people there.

Cunningham: What is resonating with people? Why are they motivated to show up?

Ogles: I think for different people, it’s different issues. And some of the aforementioned, like Critical Race Theory. You knew the scores were going to be bad, but now you see them with the school testing and the numbers coming out. I don’t know, the election.

I think a lot of people, myself included, know that there was election fraud and feel that the election was stolen and they want to know that they still have a voice. And that’s what the Freedom Matters tour is about. Tonight we’ll be in Mount Juliet. And then on Thursday, I’ll be up in Greenville – so, Upper East Tennessee again.

Cunningham: Wow. That’s great. You’re right. I don’t think I’ve seen this level of angst amongst the electorate in a long, long time, maybe ever. I don’t know. There are so many things that got people really angry, and they’re just very worried about the future of the country.

Listen to the second hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.