» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
Skip Navigation LinksHome
VOL. 39 | NO. 2 | Friday, January 9, 2015

No one knows his audience like Bart Durham

He spends $2.2M annually on ‘cheesey’ TV ads. Here’s why they succeed

If, as the saying goes, everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, Bart Durham’s has come in 15 and 30-second spurts – the length of the commercials that depict him as a lawyer everyman, ever-ready to tilt at windmills for the sake of justice for the working class.

Blair Durham embraces firm strategy, planning no changes

Don’t look for change up on the 17th floor of Parkway Towers, where Blair Durham is determined to keep his pop’s legacy thriving long into the future.

The production company behind Durham’s ads

Bart Durham is perhaps the best-known attorney among those who watch late-night TV when the commercial rates are lower.


OK, it’s a great house! Can we please see it?

In Nashville real estate circles, it is difficult to say goodbye to 2014. We loved that 2014 and she was wonderful.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: from the West at 9.2 gusting to 19.6 mph
Humidity: 55%


Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society. “Ancestors, Antiques and Heirloom Artifacts” is a special meeting to “show and tell” interesting things about your family. Share your own history by bringing photos, artifacts, or heirlooms of your ancestors. Saturday, 1 p.m., FiftyForward Knowles, Patricia Hart Building, 174 Rains Ave., Nashville. Information: www.mtgs.org

more events »


Vols take plenty of momentum into offseason

KNOXVILLE – There’s nothing like going into the offseason on a high note. The Vols will be riding the momentum from the resounding 45-28 victory against Iowa in the Jan. 2 TaxSlayer Bowl through the end of recruiting season, winter workouts, spring practices and into the summer months.


Osborne to lead PNFP Capital Markets

Roger Osborne has joined Pinnacle Financial Partners as a senior vice president and managing director of the newly formed PNFP Capital Markets Inc.


Who doesn’t need a 707-horsepower street car?

Want some attention and excitement in the new year? Try the newest Dodge Challenger - the one with a 707-horsepower, supercharged Hemi V-8 under the hood.


Marketing trends that matter: Top 10 for 2015

2015 marketing trend reports are a dime a dozen this time of year, though in reality many focus on fads, which by definition have fleeting popularity.


Making career resolutions for the New Year

Happy New Year! The holidays flew by this season. If you’re in disbelief that we’re starting a new year, you’re not alone. Just learning to say “2015” may take a little time.


Viewing whole series again a growing experience

“Dear Judge Vic, In last week’s column, you wrote, ‘A repeating scene in “Breaking Bad,” which I’ve now watched twice, involves the protagonist’s birthday.’ This was a sly segue into talking about your birthday. (Happy birthday, BTW, belatedly!)


In need of some winter sunshine? Slice a lemon!

The phrase “making lemonade” expresses entrepreneurial abilities and triumph over adversity. In this week’s article, though, it means just what it says.


Dollar General stands firm on store divestiture figure

GOODLETTSVILLE (AP) - Dollar General said Thursday that it still believes it should not have to divest more than 1,500 stores to complete a deal with Family Dollar.

Nashville airport had record 11 million passengers in 2014

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville International Airport had more than 11 million passengers in 2014, a record in the facility's 77-year history.

Gilmore, Akbari elected state directors for Women in Government

NASHVILLE (AP) — State Reps. Brenda Gilmore of Nashville and Raumesh Akbari of Memphis have been elected to leadership roles with the national organization Women in Government.


2 PACs fined by state election officials

NASHVILLE (AP) - Two political action committees have been fined by Tennessee officials who say the organizations didn't properly disclose information including donors and expenditures before elections last year.

Emma and William again most popular Tennessee baby names

NASHVILLE (AP) — Emma and William reprised their roles in 2014 as the most popular baby names in Tennessee, according to provisional figures from the state Health Department.

Tennessee digitizing original historical maps for public

NASHVILLE (AP) — Officials say the Tennessee State Library and Archives is digitizing original historical maps and making them available to a wider public.


Study: Fewer struggle with medical costs as coverage grows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not only do more Americans have health insurance, but the number struggling with medical costs has dropped since President Barack Obama's health care law expanded coverage, according to a study released Thursday.

Booking a trip to the ER on your smartphone? It's a breeze

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — It's like OpenTable for medical appointments.


Average rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.66 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for the third straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate again marking its lowest level since May 2013. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, dipped below 3 percent for the first time since then.

Foreclosures fell in 2014 to levels before housing bust

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A healthier U.S. housing market and economy helped to winnow foreclosures in 2014 to levels not seen since before the housing bust.


End of holiday season boosts applications for US jobless aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — The end of the holiday shopping season led to more Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week, raising the number of applications to an 18-week high. Still, the number remains near historically low levels.

US wholesale prices drop 0.3 percent in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices fell in December by the largest amount in more than three years, reflecting the biggest monthly decline in the cost of gasoline in six years.

Weak bank results weigh on stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing results from Bank of America, Citigroup and other companies nudged the stock market lower Thursday. Target rose after the retailer announced plans to close down its stores in Canada.

Bank of America earnings fall 11 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America reported an 11 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings Thursday, caused partly by the slowdown in trading revenue that has hit Wall Street.

BP cuts 200 staff, 100 contractors as oil prices fall

LONDON (AP) — BP has announced it will cut an estimated 200 staff jobs and another 100 contracting jobs in light of falling oil prices.


Obama to renew push for paid leave for working parents

WASHINGTON (AP) — Renewing a push for paid leave for workers, President Barack Obama on Thursday will call on Congress, states and cities to pass measures to allow tens of millions of workers to earn up to a week of paid sick time a year, the White House said.

US loosens embargo on Cuba, making trade and travel easier

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is putting a large dent in the U.S. embargo against Cuba as of Friday, significantly loosening restrictions on American trade and investment.

Despite low gas prices, gas tax hike appears unlikely

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new Republican-controlled Congress is facing an old problem: where to find the money for highway and transit programs.

Board: CIA search of Senate computers reasonable

WASHINGTON (AP) — Disputing the conclusions of the CIA's independent watchdog, an independent board has asserted that CIA officers acted reasonably when they secretly searched Senate computers last year after learning that Senate aides had removed certain classified documents related to the torture investigation.


Fellow Republicans reluctant about Haslam's health proposal

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to offer health coverage to more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans is getting a tepid response from fellow Republicans in the Legislature - so much so, that he has yet to find a Senate sponsor for his proposal.

GOP leader says Tennessee lawmakers will approve VW incentives

NASHVILLE (AP) — A top Republican in the Tennessee General Assembly expects his colleagues to approve the state share of a $300 million incentive package for Volkswagen despite misgivings over a "secret deal" for the United Auto Workers union at the German automaker's plant in Chattanooga.

Tennessee lawmakers to vote on treasurer, comptroller

NASHVILLE (AP) — A joint session of the Tennessee House and Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on new terms for two of the state's constitutional officers.


ISS encourages Family Dollar and Dollar Tree deal

MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) — Family Dollar Stores Inc. said Wednesday that a proxy advisory firm recommends shareholders vote for a buyout offer from Dollar Tree Inc.


New guidelines issued for US news media leak investigations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Wednesday announced revised guidelines for obtaining records from the news media during leak investigations, removing language that news organizations said was ambiguous and requiring additional consultation before a journalist can be subpoenaed.


Government policy change aims to help first-time homebuyers

Uncle Sam wants to make it more affordable for Americans to buy their first home.


GM predicts pretax earnings, profit margin rise in 2015

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it expects pretax earnings and profit margins to increase this year over last, after adjusting last year for recall costs.

Driverless vehicle test site to be operational this spring

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Officials expect a Michigan testing site for connected and driverless cars that will simulate a cityscape to be operational this spring.


Obama pitching more access to fast Internet

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is once again challenging major cable and telephone companies by encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt state laws that stifle competition for high-speed Internet service.


Dismal report on US retail spending hits the stock market

NEW YORK (AP) – A dismal report on retail spending in the U.S. and signs of slowing global growth drove stocks lower and sent yields on government bonds plunging as investors sought safety.

Business group: Cuba deal opens prospects for US companies

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday that U.S. efforts to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and ease curbs on trade presents American companies with "extraordinary opportunities" to boost business by selling everything from cars to computers.

Fed survey finds moderate economic growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy was growing at a moderate pace in December and early January, helped by gains in sales of autos and other consumer products, increased factory production and a pickup in tourism in various parts of the country, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.

Key interest rate falls as investors seek safety

NEW YORK (AP) — A barometer of Wall Street's anxiety flashed red on Wednesday, when traders rushed to the safety of U.S. government bonds.

Holiday shopping hiccup: US retail sales fell in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the job market on a roll and gas prices falling, consumers are spending away, right?


House votes to undo Obama immigration policies

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican U.S. House voted Wednesday to overturn President Barack Obama's key immigration policies, approving legislation that would eliminate new deportation protections for millions and expose hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants to expulsion.

Budget cuts curtail IRS services as filing returns gets harder

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS is cutting taxpayer services to historically low levels just as President Barack Obama's health law will make filing a federal tax return more complicated for millions of families.

Houses passes bill easing rules regulating Wall Street

WASHINGTON (AP) — Propelled by its enlarged Republican majority, the House has moved to ease a landmark law reining in banks and Wall Street, more than six years after a financial crisis brought on the Great Recession.

Obama moves to create first methane limits for gas drilling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Wednesday it will issue the first regulations to cut down on methane emissions from new natural gas wells, aiming to curb the discharge of a potent greenhouse gas by roughly half.


Tennessee lawmakers convene 109th General Assembly

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee lawmakers convened the 109th General Assembly on Tuesday amid abortion rights protests inside the state Capitol.


TennCare ends contract with computer vendor

NASHVILLE (AP) - TennCare says it is ending its contract with computer vendor Northrop Grumman Corp. and will find another company to develop a computer system to determine Medicaid eligibility.


Belmont looks to repeat as presidential debate host in 2016

NASHVILLE (AP) — Belmont University is applying to host another presidential debate.

Dozens of abortion rights protesters rally in Nashville

NASHVILLE (AP) - Dozens of abortion rights supporters have held a protest near the state Capitol in Nashville to decry legislative efforts to enact new restrictions.

Print and TV journalist Wallace Westfeldt dies at age 91

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — Wallace O. Westfeldt, whose half-century journalism career started in print and led to network and public broadcasting, died Sunday at the age of 91.


Haslam names panel to recommend judicial candidates

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has named the members of an 11-person council to recommend candidates to fill judicial vacancies in Tennessee.


Supreme Court clarifies rules for rescinding mortgages

WASHINGTON (AP) — A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that home buyers don't need to file a lawsuit, but may simply write a letter if they want to back out of a mortgage because they claim their lender violated the federal Truth in Lending Act.


As cheap gas shifts car buyers' habits, automakers power on

DETROIT (AP) — Inside the auto show here, automakers are showing off electric and other vehicles designed to cut our dependence on fossil fuels. Outside, car buyers are paying the lowest prices in years for carbon-based fuels.


World Bank cuts 2015 forecast for global economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Bank, citing stagnation in Europe and Japan and a slowdown in China, downgraded its forecast for the global economy this year. It also reported that world economic growth came in below expectations in 2014.

US stocks end see-saw day lower

NEW YORK (AP) â?? Stocks swung from gains to losses and almost back again on Tuesday.

Government predicts shale slowdown as oil falls

NEW YORK (AP) — As oil's long slide continued, the Energy Department forecast Tuesday that production from U.S. shale operators will begin to tail off in the second half of the year.

Help wanted: US job openings at 14-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) â?? The rapid hiring that made 2014 a stellar year for job gains is showing no sign of slowing down.

MetLife to challenge 'too-big-to-fail' tag

NEW YORK (AP) — MetLife is challenging its U.S. designation as a company that is "too big to fail," a tag given to corporations that the government believes could pose a risk to the economy in the event of a collapse.

Unions intensifying attacks on new emerging free-trade pact

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just over two decades after lobbying unsuccessfully against the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. labor unions are again voicing strong reservations to a proposed major trade-liberalization deal.


Senate Democrats look to tweak bill on Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats hoped to use Senate consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to get Republicans on the record about climate change and to resurrect parts of a bipartisan energy efficiency bill doomed by pipeline politics last year.

House GOP majority aiming to soften financial overhaul law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The newly bulked-up Republican majority in the House is aiming to soften the bite of legislation that grew out of the 2008 financial crisis and put banks and Wall Street under the most sweeping rules since the Great Depression.


Coalition announces effort to preserve Nashville's Music Row

NASHVILLE (AP) - Fresh off their successful effort to prevent the demolition of a Nashville studio that once recorded the likes of Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, advocates want to include all of the city's Music Row area in their preservation efforts.


Study: Insure Tennessee could bring $1.14B to state

NASHVILLE (AP) - A University of Tennessee economic study commissioned by advocates for expanding Medicaid says Gov. Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee could create 15,000 jobs and bring $1.14 billion in new spending to the state.

Mancini elected chairwoman of Tennessee Democratic Party

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Democrats hoping to improve their bleak prospects in the state have elected activist Mary Mancini as their next chairwoman.


GM's new electric could upstage Tesla — and its own Volt

DETROIT (AP) — With the introduction of an affordable electric car that can go 200 miles on a single charge, General Motors is setting up a showdown with Tesla to sell an electric vehicle to the masses. It may also upstage a car of its own.

Volvo to sell Chinese-made cars in US

BEIJING (AP) — Volvo Cars, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, said Monday it will export cars made in China to the United States, a step forward for Beijing's ambitions to extend the global reach of its auto manufacturing industry.

Volkswagen, Ford take top awards at the Detroit auto show

DETROIT (AP) — Ford's big move to aluminum for the body of its flagship F-150 truck has helped it garner some additional material: The hardware that comes with the North American Truck of the Year Award.

Hot cars at the Detroit auto show

DETROIT (AP) — The North American International Auto Show begins this week in Detroit with media and industry previews. It opens to the public Jan. 17.


Why US inflation stays ultra-low while job growth is surging

WASHINGTON (AP) — This isn't explained in Econ 101. Month after month, U.S. hiring keeps rising, and unemployment keeps falling. Eventually, pay and inflation are supposed to start surging in response.

Energy sector leads a decline in US stocks as oil falls

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy companies are leading a decline on the stock market as crude oil continues to tumble.


Senate moves ahead on Keystone despite Obama veto threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate is moving ahead on a bill to construct the Keystone XL pipeline despite President Barack Obama's veto threat.

Obama drops the tempered tone of his economic message

WASHINGTON (AP) — For most of last year, President Barack Obama tempered his pitch on the economy: It may be improving, he would say, but millions of Americans had yet to benefit from the rebound.

Obama seeks laws on data hacking, student privacy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama wants Congress to pass legislation requiring companies to inform customers within 30 days if their data has been hacked, a move that follows high-profile breaches at retailers including Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus.


Goodwill surpasses 2014 job goals for Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) — Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee said it provided employment services and job training to 28,159 people and helped 9,558 land jobs in 2014, far exceeding its goals for the year.

Sports Illustrated to celebrate swimsuit launch in Nashville

NASHVILLE (AP) — Sports Illustrated is celebrating its 2015 swimsuit launch in a two-day event in Nashville next month.


Little Jimmy Dickens remembered for humor, warmth

NASHVILLE (AP) - Little Jimmy Dickens was remembered on Thursday for his humor and warmth at a funeral on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, where he performed regularly for decades until shortly before his death at age 94.


Haslam calls Tennessee lawmakers into special session on Feb. 2

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday issued a call for a special legislative session to take up his proposal to offer medical coverage to more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans.


Haslam navigates delicate politics of Obama visit

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has made a habit of being elsewhere the last three times President Barack Obama has visited Tennessee. But on Friday, just as Haslam prepares for a tough sell to the GOP-controlled Legislature on Medicaid expansion, the governor plans to be front and center with the Democratic president when he visits Knoxville.

Many schools closed, delayed due to cold

NASHVILLE (AP) — The bitterly cold temperatures have led several school districts in Tennessee to cancel or delay classes.


Nissan, NASA to work on autonomous car technology

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automaker Nissan and NASA are teaming up to advance the technology behind cars that drive autonomously.

BMW leads German luxury carmakers to record sales year

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany's luxury carmakers had a record year in 2014 thanks to expanding sales in the United States and China.

Coming to a car near you: auto technology at CES

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Self-driving cars garner much of the attention, but in reality, we're years away from tooling around in something like Knight Rider's KITT. Coming sooner to a car near you: smartphone apps on dash displays, cruise control that adapts to cars around it, remote engine starting and more.

Barra: 1st year as GM CEO marked by disappointment, progress

DETROIT (AP) — Mary Barra says her first year as CEO of General Motors contained both disappointment and progress, as the company recalled a record number of cars and trucks but also improved its handling of safety problems.

Daimler car sharing unit to launch first service in China

BERLIN (AP) — Germany automaker Daimler says it is expanding its car sharing service to China.

Honda fined $70M for not reporting death, injury complaints

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Thursday it is fining Honda $70 million — the largest civil penalty levied against an automaker — for not reporting to regulators some 1,729 complaints that its vehicles caused deaths and injuries, and for not reporting warranty claims.


Nebraska high court tosses suit over Keystone pipeline route

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's highest court threw out a challenge Friday to a proposed route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, even though a majority of judges agreed the landowners who sued should have won their case. The decision removes a major roadblock for the $7 billion cross-continental project Republicans have vowed to make a key part of their 2015 agenda in Congress.


US mortgage rates hit new lows; not a lot more buyers biting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates started the year by dipping to new lows, with the benchmark 30-year rate marking its lowest level since May 2013.


Streak of solid hiring bolsters confidence about 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) â?? U.S. employers are showing more confidence than they have since the Great Recession began and will probably propel the economy in 2015 to its fastest growth in a decade.

US stocks slide following weak wage growth, oil price slump

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are ending lower after investors were discouraged by weak U.S. wage growth and another drop in the price of oil.

How lower oil prices could fuel more hiring in US

WASHINGTON (AP) — In June, when oil cost $107 a barrel, U.S. employers added a healthy number of jobs — 267,000. Now, with oil below $50, hopes are rising that hiring in the United States is poised to intensify.

Sony Pictures CEO had 'no playbook' for mega-hack on studio

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The network was crippled. Days before Thanksgiving, Sony Pictures employees had logged onto computers that flashed a grim message from a hacker group calling itself Guardians of Peace. Soon personal information for tens of thousands of current and former workers was dumped online, including Social Security numbers and the purported salaries of top executives. Five Sony-produced movies, including the unreleased "Annie," appeared on file-sharing websites. Thousands of private, and sometimes embarrassing, emails hit the Internet.

JC Penney to shut 40 stores and cut 2,250 jobs this year

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney Co. said that it will close about 40 stores this year and cut approximately 2,250 jobs, as it tries to improve its profitability.

NYC will begin banning restaurant plastic foam in July

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City will move to the forefront of a growing environmental trend by banning food establishments from using plastic foam containers starting this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration announced Thursday.


In court and Congress, Obama's resistance to pipeline tested

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a double blow, the newly empowered Republican-led Congress and the Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday undercut President Barack Obama's opposition to the long Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS:
Sign-Up For Our FREE email edition
Get the news first with our free weekly email
TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon