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VOL. 38 | NO. 12 | Friday, March 21, 2014

Medical marijuana's uphill fight: Polls show support, patients show human toll. Is this the year legislators finally come around?

HB 1385, the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, is apparently dead for this legislative session. “It's over,” Bernie Ellis has posted on Facebook. “At least for now. 

Real people, real need for medical marijuana

Patient advocates who are pulling for the passage of medical marijuana legislation and regulation in Tennessee want others to know that they aren’t a bunch of hippies looking for a buzz.

A NORML response to those who want laws changed

A couple of years ago, computer programmer Scott Burchfield set out to meet some new friends.

MTSU poll: Tennesseans show surprising support for medical marijuana

Middle Tennessee State University’s Dr. Ken Blake was genuinely surprised with the results of his recent poll on state support of medical marijuana.

Lady Vols, Nashville share Final Four dream

Isabelle Harrison hopes The Road to Nashville – site of next month’s NCAA Women’s Final Four – is paved with gold for her and her University of Tennessee basketball team.

Local Weather
Today
Nashville, TN
39°F
Partly Cloudy
Wind: 5 mph
Humidity: 65%

EVENTS

People’s Law School. A free program that provides an overview of common civil legal issues. Taught by Legal Aid Society attorneys and volunteer attorneys, the weekly, one-hour classes are 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at Wright Middle School, 180 McCall St., and at Cohn Learning Center, 4805 Park Ave. Registration information: 298-8050, www.nashville.gov/Nashville-Community-Edcuation.aspx. Topics include:

more events »

NCAA's road to Nashville

A look at the events and schedule for the NCAA Women’s Final Four, scheduled for April 6-8 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.

STREET LEVEL

Seafood, memories at McNair’s old Jefferson Street restaurant

Jamal Britton hoists Alaskan king crab legs from steamer to Styrofoam to-go box. Without hesitation, he turns to grilling fish filets as he attempts to satisfy the steady flow of folks ducking beneath the almost-invisible scrawled memorial to Steve McNair.

REALTY CHECK

Fannie, Freddie helped turn economy around

“By the end of this quarter, Fannie and Freddie will have paid the government $203 billion, slightly more than the $187.5 billion they received from the government in their 2008 bailout. But 2008 was six years ago. Had the government charged shareholders a very reasonable 10% interest on the loan, F&F would owe another $93 billion. So, let’s talk when F&F’s total payments to Uncle Sam total $281 billion.”

REAL ESTATE

Top Midstate residential real estate transactions for February 2014

Top February 2014 residential real estate transactions for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

VIEW FROM THE HILL

Sex sells as politicians use UT to fire up base

With the budget debate looming in the General Assembly, and many other serious issues on tap as the Tennessee Legislature hits the home stretch, Republican leaders of the supermajority turned their attention to higher education.

LEGISLATIVE PROFILE

With GOP in control, Harper stays focused on constituents

When her children were small, Thelma Harper spent long hours at their school. As a room mother, she found plenty of ways to utilize her time and talents. As her children grew up, however, they didn’t want Mom around quite as much.

NEWSMAKERS

Vanderbilt Hospital names Parmley its chief of staff

C. Lee Parmley, M.D., J.D., professor of Anesthesiology and chief of the Critical Care Division of the Department of Anesthesiology, has been named chief of staff of Vanderbilt University Hospital.

GUERRILLA MARKETING

Getting the best return on your email marketing

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series.

I SWEAR

Reminiscing about nothing – and its long history

Season 4, Episode 3: “The Pitch.” The show: “Seinfeld.” The theme? Let’s call it “the absence of anything.”

MUSIC INDUSTRY

1st production model Stratocaster sold for $250K

NASHVILLE (AP) - The first production model Fender Stratocaster has been sold for $250,000.

HEALTH CARE

Gay couples find uneven access to health insurance

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Nearly every day for three months, Carl Bechdel had to make calls or send emails to try to get family insurance coverage for his husband and himself under President Barack Obama's landmark health law.

State cautions uninsured about health deadline

NASHVILLE (AP) — State Department of Commerce and Insurance officials are cautioning uninsured Tennesseans that they may find it challenging to get health insurance if they wait after the March 31 deadline for open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act.

House finalizing bill to stop cut to Medicare docs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Doctors who treat Medicare patients would get a last-minute reprieve from a scheduled 24 percent cut in their government reimbursements under a bill the House was considering Thursday.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Panel advances parent trigger bill in Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal that would allow parents to decide the fate of a struggling school is advancing in the Senate.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Microsoft unveils Office for iPad

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft on Thursday unveiled Office for the iPad, a software suite that includes programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and works on rival Apple Inc.'s hugely popular tablet computer.

Contracts to buy US homes fell in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell for the eighth straight month in February, a sign of slow real estate sales over the next few months.

US economic growth for Q4 is revised slightly up

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly more than previously estimated, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years.

Applications for US jobless aid dip to 4-month low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, the lowest since late November and a hopeful sign hiring could pick up.

Average US 30-year mortgage rate rises to 4.40 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week in the wake of comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen suggesting that the Fed could start raising short-term interest rates by mid-2015.

Tech companies, Citigroup tug US stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mostly lower Thursday as further declines in technology companies outweighed encouraging economic news. Citigroup fell 6 percent after the Federal Reserve denied the bank's plan to raise its dividend and buy back more stock. Most other major banks won approval to raise their dividends.

Oil up above $101 as US growth rate revised higher

The price of oil advanced past $101 a barrel Thursday amid an upward revision to U.S. growth figures and continuing supply concerns.

Fed blocks Citigroup from raising dividends

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday barred Citigroup from raising its dividend or boosting its stock buybacks, saying it's too hard to predict how some parts of the bank's global operation would fare in a sharp economic downturn.

BofA to spend $9.33 billion in FHFA settlement

Bank of America will spend $9.33 billion to resolve a dispute over mortgage securities with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26
STATE LEGISLATURE

Senate panel approves school voucher bill

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee is advancing in the Senate.

Watered-down meth bill advancing in House

NASHVILLE (AP) - A watered-down version of Gov. Bill Haslam's anti-meth legislation is advancing in the House, though significant differences remain with the Senate bill.

Bill to repeal Tennessee motorcycle helmet law fails

NASHVILLE (AP) — The latest effort to get rid of Tennessee's motorcycle helmet requirement has failed in a Senate committee.

NASHVILLE AREA

Popular Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr dies at 52

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gail Kerr, an outspoken columnist for The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, died Tuesday. She was 52.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Using video, GM CEO reaches out to customers

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors CEO Mary Barra is reaching out directly to customers, as GM tries to counter bad publicity from a recall of cars with a potentially deadly ignition switch defect.

Nissan recalls more than 1M vehicles for air bags

DETROIT (AP) — Nissan is recalling just over 1 million cars, SUVs and vans because the front passenger air bags may not inflate in a crash. It's the company's second recall to fix the same problem.

Deal allows Tesla to sell cars in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio auto dealers have struck an agreement that will allow Tesla Motors to sell its electric cars in the state.

HEALTH CARE

HHS grants extra time to enroll for health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — People who've started applying for health insurance but aren't able to finish before the March 31 enrollment deadline will get extra time, the Obama administration has announced.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Report: Digital sites bring momentum to news

NEW YORK (AP) — Growing digital outlets are bringing "a sense of momentum" to the news business even as long-term problems continue to plague the industry, a journalism think tank said on Wednesday.

Orders for US manufactured goods up 2.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February by the largest amount in three months, helped by solid gains in demand for airplanes and autos.

A stumble in tech stocks drags US indexes lower

NEW YORK (AP) — A slide in technology companies dragged the stock market lower, erasing an early gain.

Oil above $100, traders shrug off jump in supplies

The price of oil rose above $100 a barrel Wednesday as the market looked beyond a large increase in oil supplies.

Disasters led to $45B in insurance losses in 2013

GENEVA (AP) — Disasters such as floods in Europe, winter storms in the U.S. and typhoons in Asia cost insurance companies $45 billion in 2013, a leading Swiss firm said Wednesday.

Facebook buying virtual-reality company for $2B

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is buying virtual reality company Oculus, betting $2 billion that its technology will become a new way for people to communicate, learn or be entertained.


TUESDAY, MARCH 25
STATEWIDE

Redistricting has little effect on Tennessee GOP

NASHVILLE (AP) - While Republican lawmakers in some states may have benefited from congressional redistricting, the changes had little effect in Tennessee.

STATE LEGISLATURE

State Textbook Commission bill advancing in House

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that makes changes to the process for selecting books for state schools is advancing in the House.

Senate sponsor says compromise near on Common Core

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Senate sponsor of a contentious proposal to delay further implementation of Tennessee's Common Core education standards for two years said Tuesday that a compromise is close on the legislation.

Bill to end daylight saving time in Tennessee fails

NASHVILLE (AP) - An effort to exempt Tennessee from daylight saving time has failed by one vote in the state House.

Effort to rewrite Tennessee whiskey law fails for year

NASHVILLE (AP) - State lawmakers on Tuesday decided not to rewrite the legal definition of Tennessee whiskey this session, meaning the rules supported by Jack Daniel's will govern other distillers in the state for at least another year.

Lawmakers, groups to announce health initiative

NASHVILLE (AP) — Legislative leaders and several groups are launching a new initiative to encourage healthy eating in Tennessee.

Senate OKs religious expression measure

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal that would give students free religious expression is headed to the governor for his consideration.

Bill to allow AG to investigate corruption fails

NASHVILLE (AP) — Legislation that would allow the state's attorney general to investigate public corruption has likely failed this session.

Students stage silent protest in Tennessee House

NASHVILLE (AP) — A student group that opposes Tennessee's voter ID law has staged a silent protest in the gallery of the House chamber.

Bill to make in-state tuition changes fails

NASHVILLE (AP) — Legislation that would make students in the country illegally eligible for in-state tuition has failed this session.

HEALTH CARE

Birth control rule seems to divide Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seemingly divided, the Supreme Court struggled Tuesday with the question of whether companies have religious rights, a case challenging President Barack Obama's health overhaul and its guarantee of birth control in employees' preventive care plans.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Consumer confidence rebounds in sign of optimism

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence has rebounded to the highest reading in six years, providing a further sign that the economy's prospects should brighten with warmer weather.

US home prices dip in Jan. for 3rd straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices dipped in January for a third straight month, likely because of slower sales in recent months caused by cold weather, a limited supply of homes and higher mortgage rates.

Sales of new US homes fell 3.3 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people bought new U.S. homes in February. Sales fell to their slowest pace in five months, a sign that the housing market has yet to recover fully from brutal winter weather.

Stocks move higher on Wall Street; Sonic gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks got a lift Tuesday as health care companies bounced back after a heavy sell-off.

Oil down as factory data, sanctions risk weighed

Oil prices edged slightly lower on Tuesday as soft factory data from China and the U.S. balanced the threat of sanctions against Russia following its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Report: Payday loans can be expensive for borrowers

WASHINGTON (AP) — About half of all payday loans are made to people who extend the loans so many times they end up paying more in fees than the original amount they borrowed, a report by a federal watchdog has found.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Obama to propose ending NSA's phone call sweep

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House wants the National Security Agency to get out of the business of sweeping up and storing vast amounts of data on Americans' phone calls. And a proposal to have the government seek information from phone companies' existing records satisfies public concerns about privacy, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.


MONDAY, MARCH 24
STATEWIDE

7,780 flood insurance policies face hike in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - For many Tennessee property owners in flood-prone areas, a move by Congress to soften steep increases to subsidized insurance policies may come as little comfort.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Common Core spawns widespread political fights

NASHVILLE (AP) - More than five years after U.S. governors began a bipartisan effort to set new standards in American schools, the Common Core initiative has morphed into a political tempest fueling division among Republicans.

NASHVILLE AREA

Post office hiring 70 in Nashville, Memphis

NASHVILLE (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service says it plans on filling more than 70 skilled maintenance positions in both Nashville and Memphis.

HEALTH CARE

Latinos being left behind in health care overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's largest minority group risks being left behind by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Q&A: What can IRS do to health plan scofflaws?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new health care law helps some people, hurts others and confuses almost everyone. Hoping to simplify things a bit, The Associated Press asked its Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus followers for their real-life questions about the program and the problems they're running into as the March 31 deadline approaches to sign up for coverage in new insurance markets.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

5 Madoff ex-workers convicted in case's 1st trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Five former employees of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff were convicted Monday at the end of a six-month trial that portrayed them as telling an elaborate web of lies to hide a fraud that enriched them and cheated investors out of billions of dollars.

Survey: Economists see US growth pickup this year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — With the pace of U.S. economic growth seen speeding up later this year and next, many business economists expect the Federal Reserve to end its bond purchases this fall or even earlier.

Health care, tech names lead decline in US stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Weakness in the health care and technology sectors dragged the U.S. stock market lower.

Oil rises slightly as Gulf waterway closes

The price of oil edged higher Monday as traders waited to see how long a key transit route in the Gulf would be closed following an oil spill there.

Cisco to invest over $1B in cloud computing

NEW YORK (AP) — Cisco says it plans to spend more than $1 billion over the next two years to build up its cloud computing network.

'Significant' oil spill closes US ship channel

TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) — No timetable has been set to reopen a major U.S. shipping channel after nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil spilled into the Texas waterway, but more help was being called in Monday to contain the spill and protect important shorebird habitat.

Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people

If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Writing a budget might divide House Republicans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Divisions among Republicans over a budget deal and a shortfall in tax estimates are complicating the House GOP's efforts to advance a spending plan this spring.


FRIDAY, MARCH 21
MUSIC INDUSTRY

Graham Nash to speak today at downtown library

NASHVILLE (AP) — Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash will be in Nashville on Friday.

STATEWIDE

Teachers' union files 2nd test scores lawsuit

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's largest teachers' union is suing Gov. Bill Haslam and his education commissioner.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Haslam signs supermarket wine bill into law

NASHVILLE (AP) — Folks waiting for the neighborhood grocery store to stock their favorite merlot or chardonnay may have to wait a little longer even though Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a law to allow supermarket wine sales in Tennessee.

AG election measure fails again in Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment calling for the popular election of the state's attorney general has failed again in the Senate.

COURTS

US appeals court upholds Fed's cap on 'swipe' fees

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has handed a defeat to a coalition of retail groups that challenged as too high the Federal Reserve's cap on how much banks can charge businesses for handling debit card transactions.

HEALTH CARE

Q&A: Can't afford health plan, will I be fined?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new health care law helps some people, hurts others and confuses almost everyone. Hoping to simplify things a bit, The Associated Press asked its Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus followers for their real-life questions about the program and the problems they're running into as the March 31 deadline approaches to sign up for coverage in new insurance markets.

Q&A: Am I stuck in my job's costly health plan?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new health care law helps some people, hurts others and confuses almost everyone. Hoping to simplify things a bit, The Associated Press asked its Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus followers for their real-life questions about the program and the problems they're running into as the March 31 deadline approaches to sign up for coverage in new insurance markets.

Health care law has uneven impact on companies

Sarah Curtis-Fawley will have to offer insurance to her workers at Pacific Pie Co. because of the health care overhaul, and the estimated $100,000 cost means she may have to raise prices or postpone opening a third restaurant.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

An early gain fades on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing slightly lower after an early rally faded away.

Oil rises past $99 amid new US sanctions on Russia

The price of oil rose above $99 a barrel on Friday as the U.S. and European Union expanded sanctions against Russia and warned of possible penalties against its energy industry.

Wal-Mart's new tool gives competitors prices

NEW YORK (AP) — The "Every Day Low Price" king is trying to shake up the world of pricing once again.

Wendy's rolls out mobile payment in US restaurants

NEW YORK (AP) — Wendy's is rolling out a program that lets customers pay using their smartphones, following a similar plans unveiled by Burger King this week.

Fitch takes US off negative ratings watch

A credit rating firm has concluded a review of the United States' credit rating and reiterated that it deserves the highest rating.

Starbucks to roll out beer, wine to more cafes

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks plans to turn more of its cafes into a destination for beer and wine in the evenings.

Nearly all major US banks pass Fed 'stress tests'

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than five years after the financial crisis struck, the biggest U.S. banks are better able to withstand a severe recession than at any time since the meltdown, the Federal Reserve has determined.

AT&T to take orders Friday for new Samsung phone

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T says it will start taking orders for Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone starting Friday.

Just 11 pct. of US long-term unemployed find jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study documents the bleak plight of Americans who have been unemployed for more than six months: Just 11 percent of them, on average, will ever regain steady full-time work.

25 years later, Exxon Valdez spill effects linger

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, there was the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, at the time the nation's largest oil spill.

Report: California is top crime target in US

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is the top target in the U.S. for international criminal enterprises that operate from safe havens in Eastern Europe, Africa and China, according to a report being released Thursday.

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