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VOL. 39 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 4, 2015

Civil asset forfeiture: 'It's a state license to steal’

Brewing fight over Tennessee’s right to confiscate, keep your money

The drugs in Kathy Stiltner’s car were over-the-counter antacids. The $12,000 in cash was from an inheritance. Still, police took the money – quite legally – and are still fighting to keep it, even after the drug charge was dropped.

Michigan provides model for curbing civil forfeiture

Michigan Rep. Jeff Irwin isn’t seeing the same success as his New Mexico peers in turning back civil asset forfeiture laws. But he is helping lead the fight in the Wolverine State.

Franklin's McGarry offers better platform for web content

Content is king – at least that’s the hope for the musicians, writers, teachers and motivational speakers who provide it.


State's go-to real estate privatization firm gets competition

Amid debate about privatization within state government, legislators are glad to see Tennessee seeking competition in its building leasing program.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Partly Cloudy
Wind: East at 5.8 mph
Humidity: 53%


Franklin Civil War Round Table. Historian and author Eric Jacobson will speak on “The Founders, the Evolution of America, and the Road to Civil War.” Jacobson is the CEO of the Battle of Franklin Trust and author of For Cause and For Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. The event is free to the public. The Franklin Civil War Round Table is an educational program of Franklin’s Charge, and starting this month will begin meeting at Carnton Plantation’s Fleming Center, 1345 Eastern Flank Circle. Sunday, 3 p.m. Information: fcwrt@yahoo.com, www.franklinscharge.com/round-table.

more events »


They TRID, but there’s still little satisfaction

TRID has hit and hit hard. The Truth in Lending Act Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Integrated Disclosure situation that came into effect for loans originated after October 4, is upon us and it is half as horrific as many predicted.


Even without wins, Mularkey offers refreshing attitude

Credit Mike Mularkey with one thing, if nothing else. He has approached his interim stint as the Tennessee Titans head coach with a high degree of honesty and a bit of a straightforward approach to the job.


Bar’s public service award goes to Conner

In recognition of more than 50 years of service to both the legal profession and the Middle Tennessee community, Waller attorney and mediator Lew Conner is being honored with the John C. Tune Public Service Award at the Nashville Bar Association’s annual meeting and banquet.


Buick Regal offers all-wheel drive for wintry travel

The 2016 Buick Regal is a competent and nimble mid-size sedan with pretty appearance, quiet interior, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and – important for the approaching winter – all-wheel drive for surefooted travel.


Terror threat shouldn’t deter travel to Paris

Paris is open for travel. What once was an obvious statement now comes with questions for some travelers.


Manage it like the Fat Man

The holidays couldn’t get any busier. Between mandatory-attendance parties, decorating your home, buying gifts, wrapping them and getting your cards out in time, your plate is full and you still have a business to run.


Siri, please tell me why I’m losing business

While some of the tried and true strategies that performed well for you in 2015 should no doubt carry forward, there are also several emerging marketing trends that could benefit your company’s growth strategy.


True grit: Moving forward despite adversity

The Memphis Grizzlies have made “Grit and Grind” a common phrase. The concept of grit, however, extends far beyond the court. In applies in business, life and many other areas.


Pound breaks ground with radio-based treason

In 1967, Ezra Pound told Allen Ginsberg, “The worst mistake I made was that stupid suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism.”


Great ideas for adding garlic to your diet

Garlic. Other than chocolate and coffee, garlic makes anything taste better. OK, that might not quite be true, but it does convey the love I have for garlic.


Tennessee college savings program giving scholarships

NASHVILLE (AP) — State officials say nearly 700 families have entered Tennessee's college savings $10,000 scholarship giveway.


Grand jury declines to indict Tennessee House GOP whip

NASHVILLE (AP) — Prosecutors sought an indictment of a top Republican in the Tennessee state House on charges of prescription fraud, but a grand jury in his home county declined to allow the case to move forward.


Wal-Mart to launch own mobile pay system

NEW YORK (AP) — The mobile payment wars are heating up. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said it's launching its own mobile payment system that will allow shoppers to pay with any major credit or debit card or its own store gift card through its existing smartphone app at the cash register.


GM ignition switch fund pays out $594.5M on 399 claims

DETROIT (AP) — Lawyers hired to compensate victims of General Motors' faulty ignition switches have paid out $594.5 million to settle 399 eligible claims.

Fiat Chrysler to pay $70 million fine to US government

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler will pay a $70 million fine to the U.S. government for failing to report safety data.

Japanese cars do best in insurance industry safety rankings

DETROIT (AP) — Japanese brands dominate the insurance industry's rankings of the safest vehicles for the 2016 model year.

VW: Staff began working on cheat in 2005 to crack US market

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — A small group of Volkswagen engineers began working as early as 2005 on emissions cheating software after they were unable to find a technical solution to U.S. emissions controls as the automaker pushed into the North American market, executives said Thursday.


Average US rate on 30-year mortgages rises to 3.95 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged higher this week following three straight weeks of declines, amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise its key short-term interest rate next week.


US household wealth in Q3 fell for first time in 4 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The stock market's sharp decline in August and September took its toll on Americans' finances in the third quarter. Household net worth fell for the first time in four years.

US jobless aid requests rose last week; but levels still low

WASHINGTON (AP) — Applications for U.S. jobless aid climbed last week, but the number of Americans seeking benefits remains close to historic lows in a positive sign for the job market.

Energy stocks, beaten down all week, lead a market rebound

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are broadly higher in afternoon trading Thursday following a three-day losing streak. Energy companies climbed after being beaten down over the past several days. Eight of the 10 sectors of the Standard and Poor's 500 index rose.

Men's Wearhouse struggles continue, stock falls

NEW YORK (AP) — Men's Wearhouse's is struggling as it tries to figure out the best strategy for its business since buying rival Jos. A. Bank.


Sleepless, tense climate negotiators haggle over Paris deal

LE BOURGET, France (AP) — Sleep-deprived and increasingly tense, diplomats and climate negotiators outside Paris struggled Thursday to narrow down a 29-page draft of an unprecedented deal to tackle climate change— but countries remained at odds on critical issues a day before the organizers' deadline for an agreement.


Expert says changes to university governance take years

NASHVILLE (AP) — A higher education expert told lawmakers on Tuesday that big changes such as those Gov. Bill Haslam is proposing for six state universities take years to implement effectively.

State agency helps register seniors for Tennessee Promise

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Human Services has partnered with Families First parents to register more than 700 high school seniors for Gov. Bill Haslam's free-tuition program.


More than half of US renters older than 40, study says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The majority of U.S. renters are now older than 40, a fundamental shift over the past decade that reflects the lasting damage of the housing crash and an aging population.


GM to replace key engine parts to fix car fire problem

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors has decided to replace several key engine parts to stop oil leaks that have caused more than 1,300 fires and four recalls of older cars.

Volkswagen: CO2 emissions problem far smaller than suspected

BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen said Wednesday that a problem with carbon dioxide emissions is far smaller than initially suspected, with further checks finding "slight discrepancies" in only a few models and no evidence of illegal changes to fuel consumption and emissions figures.

Volkswagen offers virtual look at Chattanooga plant

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Volkswagen has given a virtual look inside its Chattanooga assembly plant while physical tours are halted amid vehicle development at the German automaker's lone U.S. factory.

Toyota starts sales of 4th generation Prius hybrid

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota said Wednesday it expects annual sales of its newly-released fourth generation Prius hybrid to reach as many as 350,000 vehicles despite a big drop in oil prices making traditional gasoline cars cheap to run.


Tech stocks lead a broad decline in the US market

NEW YORK (AP) — A slump in technology shares on Wednesday helped turn early gains in U.S. stock indexes into losses across industries, extending the market's losing streak to a third day.

Oil prices seen staying low next year as demand weakens

PARIS (AP) — The head of the International Energy Agency expects oil prices to remain low next year as demand weakens and supply remains high.

Yahoo going back to the drawing board with Alibaba spinoff

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo's long-running identity crisis is spiraling in a new direction now that the company is abandoning a year's work on a tax-dodging spinoff to pursue an alternative path that will carve off its Internet business instead.


University of Tennessee revises memo about holiday parties

NASHVILLE (AP) - The University of Tennessee's chancellor said Tuesday that an online memo advising employees to make sure holiday celebrations aren't Christmas parties in disguise was "poorly worded" and that oversight of the website where it was posted has been reassigned.

Ramsey: Ban immigrants from places with terrorism ties

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called Tuesday for a moratorium on all immigration from countries with "ties to terrorism."


Auto safety ratings to include collision prevention systems

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government on Tuesday announced plans to update its safety rating system for new cars to include whether the car has technology to avoid crashes, in addition to how well it protects occupants in accidents.

Haslam dismissive of 'cherry-picked' UAW victory

NASHVILLE (AP) — While the United Auto Workers is celebrating the end of its losing streak at foreign automakers in the South, Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Haslam was dismissive Monday of the significance of what he calls the union's "cherry-picked" win at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.


Tenn. council joins effort to end US-Cuba trade embargo

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee business and community leaders assembled Monday to support a bipartisan public policy group in its effort to end the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba.


Gov't survey: Fewer Americans struggle to pay medical bills

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the fourth straight year fewer Americans are struggling to pay medical bills, according to a major government survey released Tuesday. Most of the progress has come among low-income people and those with government coverage.


US job openings slip in October; hiring, quits rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised fewer jobs in October, though overall hiring picked up and quits rose slightly, adding to evidence the job market is slowly improving.

Signs of weakness in China sink materials stocks; oil falls

NEW YORK (AP) — Sharp drops in materials and energy shares led to a broad decline in the stock market.

Food industry pushing to thwart GMO labeling by end of year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Food companies are mounting an aggressive year-end push to head off mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.

Chipotle shares fall amid E. coli, sales issues

NEW YORK (AP) — Chipotle's stock dropped in premarket trading Tuesday as the Mexican food chain continues to deal with fallout from an E. coli outbreak and contends with weakening sales.


First Tennessee Bank offering financial counseling program

NASHVILLE (AP) — First Tennessee Bank is working with a global nonprofit organization to provide free financial literacy workshops and financial counseling.

State official says repair of 10 Nashville bridges complete

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's transportation chief says the state's Fast Fix 8 bridge repair project on Interstate 40 around Nashville has been completed.

Country music exhibit included in Google interactive

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is included in a new online exhibition called Google Cultural Institute.


United Auto Workers win vote at Volkswagen's lone US plant

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The United Auto Workers union has gained a significant first victory at a foreign-owned automaker in the South, easily winning a vote by skilled-trades workers at Volkswagen's lone U.S. factory to have the UAW negotiate their collective bargaining agreements.


One Direction leads the way on Twitter's list of 2015 tweets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Messages of love and gratitude shared by the boy band One Direction topped Twitter's charts this year, eclipsing President Barack Obama's celebration of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage.


US consumer credit rises $16 billion in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers borrowed more heavily for auto and student loans in October, taking out debt that helps them find jobs and commute to work.

Oil price drops to lowest since 2009, sinking energy stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy companies are closing sharply lower, leading a broad decline on the stock market, after the price of oil dropped to its lowest point in nearly seven years.

Energy companies lead a decline in US stocks as crude slumps

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are dropping in late afternoon trading Monday as investors dump energy companies. Benchmark U.S. crude is trading at its lowest level in nearly seven years following a decision by OPEC last week not to cut production. Airline stocks rose on the prospect of lower fuel costs.

GE scraps $3.3 billion sale to Electrolux

GE has scrapped a $3.3 billion plan to sell its home appliance business to the Swedish company Electrolux, a deal opposed by U.S. regulators over concerns about competition.


Clinton offers new 'exit tax' on US-foreign company mergers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton on Wednesday will unveil a proposal for a new "exit tax" aimed at cracking down on corporate inversions, a practice that permits U.S. companies to merge with corporations overseas to lower their tax bill.


Vanderbilt poll finds support for modest gas tax increase

NASHVILLE (AP) - As Gov. Bill Haslam crisscrosses the state trying to build support for a gas tax increase, a new Vanderbilt University poll finds voters are willing to pay more to improve roads and bridges.


$144.1M Powerball prize claimed in Tennessee by trust

NASHVILLE (AP) - A $144.1 million Powerball prize has been claimed in Tennessee, a month after the ticket matched the lottery game's winning numbers, but the purchaser of the ticket remains unknown.

Tennessee State awarded $1.7M grant for engineering program

NASHVILLE (AP) - The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.7 million, four-year grant to Tennessee State University for a project that will include creation of an "engineering clinic."

Governor, first lady open Tennessee Residence for holidays

NASHVILLE (AP) - The work of Tennessee artisans will be highlighted at the Tennessee Residence as Gov. Bill Haslam and first lady Crissy Haslam open the executive residence for self-guided tours starting Friday.


Fight over net neutrality rules returns to appeals court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's latest push to make sure consumers get equal access to the Internet faces a key legal test as a federal appeals court considers whether to treat high-speed service providers like public utilities.


Average US rate on 30-year mortgages slips to 3.93 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week for a third straight week.


Strong job gains send US stock market sharply higher

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market had its biggest gain since September after the U.S. government reported another solid month of job gains.

Another month of solid US hiring clears way for Fed hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — If the Federal Reserve needed any final evidence that the economy is ready for higher interest rates, it got it on Friday.

OPEC keeps production at current level

VIENNA (AP) — OPEC oil ministers have effectively scrapped their official output ceiling gand agreed to keep producing above that level.

Yellen signals growing likelihood of a December rate hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress Thursday that economic conditions appear to be improving enough for policymakers to raise interest rates when they meet in two weeks — as long as there are no major shocks that undermine confidence.


House overwhelmingly backs 5-year transportation bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a 5-year, $305 billion bill that boosts highway and transit spending and assures states that federal help will be available for major projects. Senate approval was expected to follow later in the day.

Developing nations shift emissions stance in climate talks

LE BOURGET, France (AP) — The once black-and-white world of climate negotiations for poorer countries has evolved into many shades of gray at talks this week in Paris.

House backs sweeping energy bill to boost oil, natural gas

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defying a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House on Thursday approved a sweeping bill to boost U.S. energy production, lift a four-decade ban on crude oil exports and modernize the aging electric grid.

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