Activist, Author Will Potter To Speak At Chattanooga Public Library On Jan. 16

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Award-winning author, journalist and activist Will Potter will be speaking at the Chattanooga Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 16, addressing the expected introduction of “ag gag” legislation in the upcoming Tennessee General Assembly, associated First Amendment and free speech issues, and the broader trend of criminalizing dissent and how that impacts social justice activism.
 
Mr. Potter’s presentation begins at 6 p.m. and will be on the Fourth Floor at the library.
The event is free and open to the public.
 
Mercy Junction ministry is sponsoring the event in conjunction with Occupy Chattanooga, Animals Vote Tennessee, Move to Amend Chattanooga, Chattanoogans Against Monsanto and Dixie Day Spay.
 
Mr. Potter, based in Washington, D.C., is author of "Green Is The New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege.”
 
During his talk next week, Mr. Potter will follow the history of how animal rights and environmental activists come to be targeted as "eco-terrorists" and labeled as the top domestic terrorist threat by the FBI. He will make the connection between the criminalization of animal rights/environmental activism and the potential threat to corporate profits, and talk about the consequences for those working in the animal rights/environmental movements, and the risks for social justice activists in general.
 
More specifically, Mr. Potter will address “ag gag” legislation, which will likely be re-introduced into the Tennessee General Assembly in 2014.
 
"Ag gag" legislation was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2013, but Gov. Haslam vetoed the bill after the state attorney general warned that the bill was “constitutionally suspect.” The bill’s sponsors, Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville and Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, pledged to re-write the bill and re-introduce it in 2014.
 
"Ag gag" laws attempt to "censor whistleblowers, investigators, and journalists who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms and slaughterhouses," Mr. Potter writes on his blog. "Investigations by groups like the Humane Society, Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing have exposed shocking animal cruelty and consumer health dangers in the food industry. They have led to the largest meat recall in US history, criminal charges, and international media exposure. Rather than put a stop to these abuses, corporations are trying to criminalize the whistleblowers who expose them."
 
Mr. Potter blogs at www.greenisthenewred.com. His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones and the Vermont Law Review. He has also testified before Congress.
 
Mr. Potter is also one of the 2014 TED Fellows.
 
This event will be an important overview and discussion for anyone working on issues surrounding animal rights, the environment, food labeling, and social justice in general, as well as anyone concerned about corporate power, free speech restrictions and First Amendment issues. 

Bill Hoyt, 90, Skydives On The Occasion Of His 90th Birthday

Bill Hoyt tandem skydived with the Chattanooga Skydiving Company on Saturday.   Mr. Hoyt just celebrated his 90th birthday, was a World War II pilot, and tries to jump every few years on his birthday. (click for more)

Railroad Repair At Pineville Road Postponed

Norfolk Southern Railway has postponed the repairing of an at-grade track crossing in the 900 block of Pineville Road, between Parmenas Lane and Hudson Road.  This closure was originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 22, but will be rescheduled for a later time. (click for more)

Prominent Business, Civic Leader, And Philanthropist Scotty Probasco Dies At 86

Prominent Chattanooga business, civic leader and philanthropist Scotty Probasco has died at the age of 86. Scotty, as he was affectionately greeted by most of Chattanooga, was known for his modesty, generosity, dependability, and unswerving loyalty. “Great work” was always on the tip of his tongue – a manifestation of his joyous humility. He was a man of high ideals, of kind ... (click for more)

Chemical Odor In Lookout Valley Traced To Chattanooga Tank Wash

Chattanooga firefighters in Lookout Valley were sent out Friday night to investigate reports of a strange odor in the area. The firefighters searched the area, but never found the source of the odor.  John Schultz, an investigator with the Air Pollution Control Bureau, was also out Friday night and eventually tracked the source of the odor to a business, the Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Proud Of Hometown Boy Turned Global Leader, Bob Corker

Time Magazine has it right.  Not only is Chattanooga’s own U.S. Senator Bob Corker one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” but he is probably now the most prominent leader in the history of our city.   At a time of extreme frustration with Washington and Congress in general, Bob continues to rise above the division and rancor to build consensus and solve ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Great Work, Ol’ Pro!

Years ago I was lucky enough to be the seatmate of Scotty Probasco on an airplane bound for somewhere and he taught me a word that has helped me be a much better person than I ever thought I could. We were already swell friends, since he’d watched me grow up at First Presbyterian Church every Sunday with his kids, and he liked some of the stuff I tried to write back then. So ... (click for more)