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The state of Tennessee has landed atop yet another list — this one compiled by D.C.-based reporter Tim Murphy of Mother Jones. In it, Murphy names Tennessee as No. 1 worst legislature in the U.S.

Murphy jokes that the results are scientific in nature, but in truth, it isn’t revealed how he came to the conclusions he did. Regardless, he does spell out examples for each state.

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(Sen. Stacey Campfield was cited numerous times in Mother Jones’ about the
worst legislatures nationwide. Photo by Saul Young/KNS)

As for Tennessee? Here are some of the reasons that Tennessee’s legislature is the worst — or craziest — in the nation, according to Murphy.

  • Gov. Bill Haslam’s signing of the “gateway body parts” bill that legislates an abstinence-only sexual education program, which would prohibit teachers from discussing almost any sexual activity during sex ed class.

  • Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield’s “Don’t Say Gay" bill, which sought to bar any discussion of homosexuality in elementary schools.

  • Campfield’s remarks about the origin of AIDS, in which he says this in a radio interview:

"It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men It was an airline pilot, I believe, if I recall correctly. …

My understanding and correct me if I’m wrong, Mr. Science, on this, but my understanding also is that it is virtually — not completely impossible — it’s virtually impossible to contract AIDS outside of blood transfusions through heterosexual sex. It’s virtually impossible. If you are having anal sex, yes, you are much more likely to contract AIDS.”

  • The “monkey bill,” a piece of legislation that aimed to “provide guidelines for teachers answering students’ questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects” like global warming.

  • Legislation introduced by Republican state Sen. Bo Watson to “crack down on the scourge of transgender citizens, by introducing legislation that, per ThinkProgress, “would institute a $50 fine for anybody who does not use the public restroom or dressing room that matches the sex identification on his or her birth certificate.”

  • Fake rumor circulated through a state email account by Republican state Rep. Kelly Keisling that asserts Obama was planning a “fake assassination attempt as a pretext for imposing martial law in the United States.”

If you’re curious what other examples Murphy cited, or if you want to read about other states’ goofs, check out the story on Mother Jones. And it’s worth noting, for those who may not know, Mother Jones is considered a politically liberal website.

I guess it’s officially that time. You know, the time before an election where everything that everyone is talking about seems to be grounded in politics.

I was sick of it before it even started, but now that it’s here, I’m really, really sick of it.

I think that’s probably because so much of what I see involves the worst of the worst: uncivilized bickering, sweeping statements, unresearched stances and, of course, the most heinous things done and said by candidates. (For that last one, think Holocaust denier Art Jones, Congressional candidate in Illinois; and Rep. Todd Akin, who made a comment about “legitimate” vs. illegitimate rape.)

Those examples just happen to be targeting Republicans, but the truth is candidates from all parties have done and said outrageous things. And venting online about these people is understandable. But I firmly believe if we’re going to bring this debate to our social networks, we ought to at least be informed, civilized and promoting useful messages.

That’s why I was glad to see a friend on Facebook had posted something I think falls into those categories.

"Not sure who you should be voting for based on your beliefs? Take a few minutes to answer these questions. Your results might surprise you!" my friend wrote on Facebook.


She posted a link to iSideWith.coma site that describes itself as “not affiliated with any political party, candidate, or interest group.”

"iSideWith.com was started in March 2012 by two friends with two very different views of politics. Our goal is to save users time by providing an accurate and updated breakdown of which candidates they side with on the issues. We aim to educate voters and to boost voter turnout this election season," their About page explains.

I make it a point not to make my political opinions known — even to those closest to me in many cases — but I took the quiz using a variety of answers to see how it worked.

My answers matched up to neither of the two main parties, which I thought made sense because I made sure my faux answers were all over the board.

But the site doesn’t just offer this quiz. There are interviews, videos, blog posts and comparisons that can help voters become more informed easily. 

Of all the political messages I’ve seen flood my news feed, I’m glad to see one with such a great purpose that’s being used in a smart way. Social to help spread the word, but deep and thoughtful enough to make a difference.

Check out iSideWith.com, and let me know what you think.

Over the weekend, I caught wind of the Texts from Hillary Tumblr that’s been trending around the Web.

The brainchild of Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith, the Internet’s newest meme shows Secretary of State Hillary Clinton texting a variety of people such as Meryl Streep, Ariana Huffington, Mark Zuckerberg and Vice President Joe Biden (seen here smiling at his phone with President Barack Obama).

The photos that started this - taken by Diana Walker for Time and Kevin Lamarque for Reuters - show Clinton sitting in a C-17 enroute to Tripoli and looking very engrossed with her phone.

The meme is hilarious and smart. And shows a no nonsense style of our  former First Lady. Joanna Weiss of the Boston Globe writes in an opinion piece:

Nearly every contribution falls along the same theme: Hillary’s not beleaguered, she’s in charge. This is the story the photo tells. The frown makes her seem impatient. The sunglasses make her look aloof, but also glamorous. Gone are the man’s-world accessories, the pantsuit and masculine haircut. Secretary Clinton is a woman, comfortably feminine, with long blonde hair, a chunky necklace, a giant broach.

Today, however, the meme catapulted to mainstream news after Clinton sent in her own version of “Texts from Hillary.”

That submission, with an actual LOLZ by Clinton, is already getting a lot of reaction: Politico, Huffington Post, Mashable, Time and the Washington Post have mentioned Clinton’s twist on the meme and the Associated Press has moved a story.

Some speculate that this vision of Clinton looking in charge, could help her if she runs for office again. While that’s in a few years, I’m just looking forward to seeing more snappy retorts from our Secretary of State.

I’d like to think it was the #trending column in this past Sunday’s Sentinel that really tipped the scales.