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Archive for the ‘Recommended Reading’ Category

My New Hero: Kevin Montgomery

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I have a new hero: Kevin Montgomery. I first met Kevin while I worked for his dad, Bob Montgomery, in my first job in the music business. Bob was an influential music publisher, and co-owner of publishing company House of Gold Music. I worked for Bob from 1980 – 1982, recording songwriter demos in House of Gold’s small attic studio on Nashville’s Music Row. Kevin was just a kid then, and at times he would be around while I was working in the studio. While he never really got in the way, I remember thinking of him as the boss’ kid who exhibited a bit of a ‘my dad owns this place‘ kind of attitude. But I realized even then that Kevin was a good kid.

Fast forwarding through the years, Kevin and I connected a few years ago via Facebook. At that point, Kevin was all grown up, and was a singer/songwriter himself. Not long after we reconnected, he really grabbed my attention and admiration when he stepped up and helped organize support for a friend who was in a terribly difficult and unjust situation. He successfully pulled together thousands of people to show support for Danny Tate [see my previous post], a friend in need, and to help mobilize this group to right a horrible legal wrong done to Danny. I began to see him as a guy who cared about injustice done to others, and who was able to incentivize people to act.

So it came as no surprise recently when Kevin became aware that a group from Westboro Baptist Church planned to show up in Nashville to advance their special agenda of hate at the funeral of a fallen Marine hero, Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf. Kevin knew Sergeant Balduf’s family, and he was determined to do what he could to shield the Balduf family from Westboro’s protest.

And so he once again launched a campaign to pull people together and mobilize them to right another wrong. And people responded. In droves. Nashville got behind Kevin’s efforts to ensure that the Balduf family would be protected. And it wasn’t only people in Nashville who responded. People came from far and wide to show support for Sergeant Balduf’s family, and to honor the life of a fallen hero by helping to counter the misguided protest of people from Westboro Baptist Church.

Kevin put days of work into his effort. He started a Facebook group which grew to over 14,000 members in a matter of just a few days. He organized busses and ambulances to ferry supporters from place to place. He arranged for port-a-potties in key areas. The Patriot Guard Riders got involved, and turned out literally thousands of riders as escorts of Sergeant Balduf’s body for the various stages of the procession. Over the course of several days, there were supporters lining the route from airfield to funeral home, to the church for the funeral, and finally back to the airfield for the flight to Arlington where Sergeant Balduf was finally laid to rest. All in all, Kevin’s efforts produced an amazing turn out, and focused a city on doing the right thing.

So Kevin, I no longer see you as that somewhat obnoxious kid of my boss. You have grown to a place of prominence by taking a stand when you see wrongs that need to be set right, and for acting on your convictions. You are a man who commands my respect and my admiration. My hat is off to you, Sir.

For those who may be interested, Kevin has published a blog post about the process and the steps he took in organizing support for the Balduf family. It will serve as a valuable guide for anyone looking to utilize social media in organizing for any cause.

Written by jb

June 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

The Danny Tate Ordeal

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Years ago, when I was first starting my career in Nashville, I had the pleasure of getting to work a number of times with a talented songwriter named Danny Tate. Throughout the ’80’s Danny was a popular fixture in the Nashville club scene, and I caught his shows a few times. I haven’t seen him or heard anything about him in years. Until this week.

This week, I learned that Danny is going through what has to be an incredibly difficult ordeal, to say the least. He has had issues with substance abuse in the past, although he’s also experienced long stints of sobriety. But in 2007, his estranged brother, with the help of an attorney who may have less than noble intentions (imagine that!), used Danny’s past against him by seeking, and being granted, a ‘temporary guardianship and conservatorship,’ ostensibly to protect Danny from himself. Consequently, Danny has lost control of all his financial assets, all his royalty payments, as well as his right to enter into contracts. Essentially, he’s been stripped of all of his rights, all without the Constitutionally guaranteed protection of Due Process, and without the opportunity to mount a defense.

To make a long story short, I’ll just say that it appears there are many fishy elements to this saga. It doesn’t seem to be totally ‘above board’ but instead looks rather messy and dubious at best. It’s something that shouldn’t happen to anyone, but evidently it could happen to any of us at any time. And now there’s news that the brother’s attorney is in the process of doing the same thing to another person, in the same court under the same judge who ruled in Danny’s case. Fishy stuff, indeed.

Please take the time to read up on Danny’s case. And pray for him. He needs his freedom back, and I want to help him get it if there’s anything I can do.

Here’s where you can get information on the case. But be forewarned: what you find may disturb you. But we need to be disturbed when we see something like this.

If you are concerned by what you find in Danny’s story, I urge you to inform your friends and contacts. Write to Tennessee’s governor. Let’s do what we can to help a brother reclaim his life and his rights.

Written by jb

March 28, 2010 at 12:09 am

The Law

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One of my best friends for many years was a man named Jackie Street. Jackie was one of those rare and unique people who made everyone he met feel that they were his best friend. I’ve never known anyone who had more respect and love for the U.S. Constitution than Jackie. He spent long hours studying The Constitution and the writings of those who gave it to us in an effort to understand their intentions and the reasons why they formed our Government in the way they did. Years ago, he brought my attention to a short book by Frederic Bastiat, a French economist and statesman, called The Law. Jackie felt that this was such an important book that he bought a number of copies and handed them out to people he felt would benefit from reading it.

First published in 1850, The Law was written during a period when France was rapidly turning to complete socialism. Bastiat laid out in a common sense way the argument(s) against the move toward Socialism in his political environment, and his explanations and arguments are — word for word — equally valid when applied to our situation in the United States today.

The Law is available for reading on-line, and I highly recommend that people do just that. The issues we now face in this country are critical ones for our future, and this book, even though it was written more than one hundred and fifty years ago, is extremely helpful in clarifying our understanding of the real purpose of Government and Law, and in helping to shape our views of what we should expect from them.

Do yourself a favor and read this short book. I pulled it out recently, and realized just how applicable it is to our current situation. Even though Jackie Street is no longer with us, I’m sure he’d be glad you did.