NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

Following Primary, Alexander Emphasizes Moderate Credentials

Having sufficiently stressed his conservative credentials to stave off a Tea-Party challenge from his right, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is looking now to win support among moderate liberals and centrists.

The two-term incumbent has released what he hopes will be a growing list of endorsements he’s picked up from the ranks of Democrats and independents.

Included in what he’s calling “Tennesseans for Alexander” are Democratic notables like former U.S. Rep. John Tanner and the longest-serving member of the Tennessee General Assembly, state Sen. Douglas Henry.

Also on the list are several current or former mayors, as well as former University of Tennessee Football Coach Johnny Majors and Rochelle Stevens, an Olympic gold medalist.

Alexander’s Tea Party-backed primary opponent, state Rep. Joe Carr, criticized Alexander as being too moderate.

During his campaign Alexander did his best to highlight his conservative endorsements and credentials, as well as his opposition to President Barack Obama‘s policies.

Now, though, Alexander looks to be shifting toward his “consensus-building politics” mode.

Not everybody who bought into Alexander before is buying in this time, though.

Alexander’s Democratic opponent in the November general election, Gordon Ball, a Knoxville attorney, has previously allowed his name to appear on a “Tennesseans for Alexander” list, a decision that Ball now calls “a huge mistake.”

Press Releases

MTSU Filmmaker Continues to Collect Honors, Awards for Short Film

Press release from Middle Tennessee State University; December 7, 2012: 

The kudos keep rolling in for “The Miracles on Honey Bee Hill,” the latest independent short film from MTSU professor Dr. Bob Pondillo and his crew of students and alumni.

The 23-minute film, which was two years in the making, has been an official selection at nearly 40 film festivals worldwide. It was translated into Czech and shown Nov. 8-14 at the Mezipatra Film Festival in the Czech Republic.

The latest honor is the “Best Short Narrative” award, which was presented Nov. 16 at the Big Mini-Film Festival at Long Island University in Brooklyn, N.Y.

On Nov. 10, “Miracles” captured “Best Film” honors at the ARTLightenment Film and Arts Festival in Nashville. In addition, the movie won six technical awards for best art direction, sound, costumes, visual effects, makeup and sound design.

Other top awards for “Miracles” include:

  • the “Best Achievement, Short Screenplay” award at the 2010 SoCal Film Festival in Huntington Beach, Calif.;
  • “Outstanding Short Film,” “Outstanding Actress in a Short Film (Lucy Turner),” and “Outstanding Short Screenplay,” Northwest Ohio Independent Film Festival, Lima, Ohio, July 8, 2012;
  • “Best GLBTQ Film,” Best Shorts Competition, La Jolla, Calif., July 16;
  • “Best Romantic Comedy-Short Film,” 16th annual International Indie Gathering Film/Music Festival, Cleveland/Hudson, Ohio, Aug. 17-19;
  • “Special Jury Award: Social Change,” Social Media Film Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 8-9;
  • “Best Director—Short Film (Bob Pondillo),” Long Beach QFilm Festival, Sept. 14-16; and
  • “Best Short Film,” “Best Director—Short Film (Bob Pondillo),” “Best Movie,” Mississippi International Film Festival, Oxford, Miss., Oct. 26-28.

Each of these awards is the result of the film’s acceptance by each festival as “official selections” from among hundreds of entries. The judges deemed those “official selections” superior to other films in their respective categories.

Pondillo, a professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, enlisted colleague Cosette Collier, a recording industry professor, in engineering the film’s song, “My Special Someone.” Another recording industry professor, Dr. Bob Wood, composed the score.

With a mostly juvenile cast, “Miracles” tells the story of Millie, who is beloved by everyone in her church until she introduces the congregation to her soulmate, Ed.

A DVD of “Miracles” is available for a $15 donation to the Tennessee Equality Project at More information is available at as well as on Facebook and Twitter.