TPPP Episode 45 : Speaking Frankly About Voter Suppression 

It’s time for another episode of The Podunk Polymath Podcast! The intro this week is read by this episode’s guest and host of Habeas Humor, Charone Frankel. On the palaver I discuss my thoughts and experiences at Nashville Pride 2017, which includes a heat stroke and a drag show!

On the palaver, Charone and I talk about voting laws in various states; how some of these laws are used to suppress the vote; and what the ACLU is doing to try to get these laws struck down. Mixed in all this serious talk is some irreverent humor and sundry shenanigans. I hope y’all enjoy it!

Download the show here.

The Man Behind Trump’s Voter-Fraud Obsession 

OA72: Body Slamming Journalists Plus Political Vs. Racial Gerrymandering

ACLU – Voting Rights

History of Voting Rights – MassVOTE

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TPPP Episode 25 : The Problem of Prisons

Greetings and thanks for joining me for another exciting episode of The Podunk Polymath Podcast! This week on the pre-ramble I talk about the Cheeto-in-Chief’s latest efforts to irrevocably destroy our nation. This time he has issued a ban on immigrants from certain countries on entering the country, although none of those countries had anything do with 9/11, and most of the countries omitted are ones that, I’m sure coincidentally, Trump has business interests in. I also talk about the protests at airports in response to this travesty, as well as #deleteUber, and Lyft stepping up to give a million dollars to the ACLU. Lastly, I tell how I myself have decided to become a member of the ACLU in light of their successful fight to get a federal judge to issue an emergency stay preventing refugees from being expelled from the country, although apparently DHS agents are not complying with the order.

On the palaver I talk to Fred Sims, co-host of ORly Radio and former corrections officer, about the prison crisis in our country. We talk about the US having the largest number of people in prison; the disproportionate representation of African American males in the prison population; the issue of private prisons; solitary confinement; as well as what we can do as ordinary citizens to bring attention to these problems to our political representatives. This is a time to test men’s souls, and I fear this episode is less than upbeat. However, we have to resist as much as we can to fight Trump and his abhorrent policies, and that means constantly challenging these policies as much and as often as we can. Resist!

Download the show here.

Trump Bars Refugees and Citizens of 7 Muslim Countries

Federal Court Grants Stay In Challenge To Trump Immigration Ban

Protests Erupt Nationwide for Second Day Over Trump’s Travel Ban

Border agents defy courts on Trump travel ban, congressmen and lawyers say

OrlyRadio Show

OrlyRadio on Facebook

OrlyRadio on Twitter

Fred Sims on Twitter

Prison Policy Initiative

For-Profit Prisons: Eight Statistics That Show the Problems

Private Prison on Wikipedia

The New Jim Crow Website

Become a Freedom Fighter — Join the ACLU


Williamson County, TN, School Board Trying to Sneak Prayer Into Meetings

About a week ago I came across an article stating that the Williamson County school board right here in Middle Tennessee was considering instituting a Christian prayer at the beginning of each meeting. For those not familiar with Tennessee geography, Williamson County is one of the counties adjacent to Metropolitan Nashville – Davidson County, aka Music City. Naturally, they are many commuters to Nashville who live in Williamson County, and I happen to be one of them. You can therefore imagine my anger when I heard about this clear Constitutional violation. And why, you may ask, am I so certain of this violation? Because soon after this article appeared, the Tennessee chapter of the ACLU issued a statement which says, in part:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has declared that prayers at school board meetings are unconstitutional.  In Coles ex rel. Coles v. Cleveland Bd. Of Educ., the Court held that the “the practice of opening each school board meeting with a prayer has the primary effect of endorsing religion.”

That’s pretty clear language, no? Even the school board attorney acknowledges it’s illegality:

Citing a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, board attorney Bill Squires said praying at school board meetings has been ruled unconstitutional, though praying before public meetings such as at city council meetings remains legal.

Of course, this doesn’t stop certain board members from still wanting to institute the prayer, regardless of whatever legal costs might be incurred, you know, because Jesus:

Board member Candace Emerson maintains prayer ought to be part of the meetings because of its value.

“A prayer has saved my life more than once,” Emerson said. “I’m just telling you, there’s an incredible power, especially when it’s collective. I know I would not be sitting in this chair today — on two occasions recently.”

Because prayer has been proven to save people lives, says no study ever.

Thankfully, the Superintendent of the school system seems to recognize the idiocy of challenging a court ruling, and what costs would be involved:

WCS Superintendent Mike Looney challenged board members to think about the cost of the fight.

“Are you willing to stand up on a matter of principle and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees to make a point based on your personal belief that may or may not align with those of other people in the community?” Looney said.

So at least there are some sane people at the Williamson County school board.

Naturally, as a newly minted member of the FFRF, I went to their page for reporting potential violations and made a request for them to send a letter gently reminding the board of their obligations under the law. I haven’t heard anything back, possibly because the board hasn’t actually tried to institute the prayer (yet), but I did come across the previously mentioned ACLU statement. Hopefully the school board will rethink its position and drop the whole issue. The next meeting is on October 16th, so I guess we shall soon find out. But if for some odd reason they decide to be ignoramuses and actually try to make this invocation to their Skydaddy a reality, there shall be a protest, and I shall be a part of it.