If the dollar has little value, then donate a few.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Jealous.. Me......You bet!!

Bill Dunn will ride in the limmo with the President tomorrow when he comes to Nashville.


Overall the ethics bill that passed out of the house is good.

Other ethics bills we passed in the past were ethics bills in name only and had little true ethics reform. This time was different .True, many things that we wanted were not put in.In the past though none of what we wanted was put in . This time some things we wanted were put in.

So far this bill has a lot of good things in it and the bill was passed with bipartisan support.Some republicans think much was passed for show only and will be taken out behind the closed door ethics conference committee.We will see.....

The one I wanted

The amendment I had that I wanted heard the most ( I had several that did not get heard) was a Ban on free or reduced price alcohol at receptions to legislators.

Ethics bill passes

94 to 2 .About 50 ammendments did not get a vote, the question was called .

Elected Solicitor genral


Public funding of campaigns

Died on the house floor.

Hair cut any one?

Haircuts and grooming supplies are now a legal campaign expense.

Term Limits

I had an amendment for term limits of 12 years in the house and 12 years in the senate . It failed on almost a party line vote. 57 no,35 yes 7 present not voting.

Game on

The bill is on the floor.

More to come...

The post I did on 1/28 is not the end or the last on this issue.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The committee system,again.

The house finance /budget sub committee has gone through and redone the ethics bill again. Most legislators have stopped reading the changes and are just waiting for the final bill to come to the house floor. Much has changed in one committee and then was later changed back in the next.

Some feel even the final bill (passed on the house floor) will change in the conference committee (where the house and the senate make the 2 bills the same).A lot may hinge on who goes on the conference committee (appointed by the speaker).

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I Have a feeling

Things are about to get dirty.

More on the AG

Some comments on my posts need a longer response then I want to do in the comments section . These comments came from my post on the AG's opinion on the black caucus.

These are the questions /main points raised by my post.

Several points in response:

1. You didn't point to any law in it's black and white letter and then the AG's reading to prove your point. If you can't do that then you have no argument at all for the change. This is your premise for advocating a constitutional change. You should be able to support it at the very least.

2. Do you not believe that true civil servants exist disinterested, dispassionate men and women who serve for the greater good? They do not require popular support. No one really elected most of the founding fathers.

3. The law exists to protect individuals from public whim. In case you haven't noticed the "majority" swings with the breeze. In order to run a nation of law rather than men, it is necessary to respect the law until it is changed by our representatives. You don't run the AG's office the way you run a state representatives office.

My response.

1. The Attorney General's Opinion is just that, an opinion. It is not law.
Opinions are many times based on one person's interpretation or perception
of what he believes the law says; or based on what they wish others to
perceive. An example of this would be when the Governor illegally gave
money to his own campaign in excess of the legal allowable amount.

The AG said he was not going to uphold the law. He went on to say the law
in question was not allowed, in his opinion, by the State Constitution.
This OPINION was in contrast to existing law, history and the opinions of
the legal department who wrote the law. (Not to mention the several
legislators who voted to pass the law, legislators who happen to be

Yesterday, I heard one rep say "If a Republican gets close to a mistake he gets hammered .I a Democrat rep completely disobeys a law it gets overlooked."

Other examples might be the Rep. Lois Deberry case or the Sen. Jerry Cooper
case where the law has not been enforced. In some cases, the law is said
not to exist or fit the crime, although other interpretations say it clearly
does. Another classic example is the income tax tug of war. The AG opined
that the income tax "may" be legal even though it is clearly spelled out in
the Constitution that it is not.

2. Yes, some do serve disinterested neutral parties. But this is politics.
Many legislators hope to institute laws via the judiciary, laws they have no
hope of passing through proper legislative channels. I agree with you that
these people do not require "popular support" as they are not elected. They
only require the support from a very select few(a limited few who have been
appointed by politicians no less! ) Keep those few happy, and power and
position are appointed no matter how miserable the performance.

Many times these people rush the agenda of a select few instead of the
public at large, in an effort to stay in power.

And regarding the founding fathers, they were elected in the classic sense.
They didn't just show up because they were interested in writing a

3. Although the AG's office differs from a representative's office, both
offices serve the taxpayer and both should serve the people. The law is
written and passed by men who represent the will of the public and the law
should reflect that will. The AGs office should interpret current law as it
was intended by its creator, in other words as it was intended by the
legislative and executive branch. Often however, law is interpreted
according to an agenda or opinion presiding within the AG's office;more
along the lines of "legislating from the bench." This propensity towards
judicial activism is a problem with the appointed people in the AG's office.

The AG's office is currently not being run any way near the way a
representative's office is run. The AG office serves the people who put
them in power, not the people who make up the great state of Tennessee.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Calling for the question

As you may have heard the ethics bill was passed out of the state and local committee to the fiscal review committee. The part many people did not hear about is that several of the proposed republican amendments (over 10)did not even get a chance to be read.

At almost any time a member can call for the question .This cuts off all debate and stops amendments from coming forward and being proposed. A vote is taken on the bill and if it passes the bill moves on as it is.This Technique is used many times when legislators do not want to be on record voting for or against an amendment and don't want the ideas brought forward. Amendments are the only way many republicans can have ideas brought forward, voted on and turned in to law.

Many legislators are so fed up with the committee system that they do not even bother with trying to put forward bills or amendments to the committee and wait for a bill that fits in the code section to make it to the full house floor.

This kills the time saving value of the committee system and extends the time all the members spend on the house floor. Unfortunately the committee system has been abused for so long this is what many legislators have left to resort to . On the house floor it takes 2/3 majority to call for the question instead of a simple majority as in the committee system. The quick call for the question can and does still happen but many amendments at least have a fighting chance to be heard and voted on.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Senate session canceled

As you may have heard the senate will not meet tomorrow because 3 senators were called to appear before a judge on the O. Ford case. What you may not know is that the judge may get MORE then she bargained for. Nuff Said.

Monday, January 23, 2006

New links

I finally put up some new links . I plan to put up more later (suggestions still accepted). I did not take down any links but probably will if some stay inactive much longer.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

The AG

As you may have read the Attorney General responded to some of my questions I asked
about the Black Caucus. Somehow, federal money going from the federal
government to the state and then to pay caucus member dues, the employees of
the BC or to the universities, and then to the black caucus is not
considered funding from the federal government, to the state, or to the
discriminating party in question.

I guess this is another example of why we need an elected Attorney General,
and/or Solicitor General. And I intend to ask for a second opinion from
other sources. I¹m not so sure the Attorney General¹s office is apolitical.

Unfortunately, the Attorney General also refused to answer any of the
questions regarding the accounting or spending irregularities that have been
going on.

To date, the Black Caucus still has not been approved as a non-profit 501c3
(as they have claimed to have received). They can continue to collect money
as they did for years without oversight.

They have not produced the records of their finances. We are looking at 3
months + since they said the records would be ready "next week.²

I have talked with people in the accounting field and they tell me an audit
of this type should take at most one week. Are they auditing or creating
books? I rest assured when they do appear that they will say what ever they
need them to say.

I have spoken to Rep. Johnny Shaw briefly in an elevator. We exchanged
greatings. Rep. Johnny Shaw has not spoken to me since that time.

I have not talked with him regarding Caucus membership as they have not
changed their bylaws to allow people of other races to become full and equal

Friday, January 20, 2006

As I was saying.

These are some of the changes I was talking about in my last post.This info is from a press release and a letter from Bill Dunn sent to clarify the changes.

"For the second day in a row, Democrats in the House State and Local State Government Subcommittee voted to water down the ethics reform bill. On party line votes, Democrats on the committee voted to:

 Remove the prohibition on lobbyists donating to and hosting fundraisers for the legislators they lobby. (Am. 12 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones)

 Delete the provision banning PAC contributions 20 days before an election. It now reverts to a 10 day ban. (Am. 11 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones)

 Remove the extended black out date on campaign contributions. The original bill moved the date from the start of session to January 1. (Am. 9 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones)

 Remove the time limit to repay a campaign loan. The original bill set September 30 of the year after an election as the day by which candidates must repay loans to their campaign. There is now no deadline. (Am. 10 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones)

 Allow the spouse or immediate family member of the Executive Director of the newly created Ethics Commission to be a lobbyist, officer of a political party, or legislator. (Am. 1 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones)

 Allow the spouse or immediate family member of a member of the Ethics Commission to be a lobbyist, officer of a political party or legislator. (Am. 1 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones)

 Remove the Registry of Election Finance from the Ethics Commission, creating more bureaucracy and duplication of services. This will undo the work of the House Government Operations Committee and cost taxpayers at least $10,000. (Am. 3 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones).

 Shortens the “revolving door” door period from one year to six months. This would allow members of the commission to make political contributions, register as a lobbyist and engage in other political activity just six months after leaving the commission. (Am. 4 to HB 7001 by Rep. U. Jones)

 Removes the requirement that lobbyists disclose the bills on which they are lobbying. (Am. 5 to HB7001 by Rep. U. Jones).

House Republicans on the committee voted against these measures.

1) allow lobbyists to take an individual member out to dinner here in Nashville using the credit card of the employer of the lobbyist. The employer of the lobbyist does not even have to attend the dinner. Current law mandates that lobbyists invite to dinner an entire committee or the delegation of two senatorial districts. This amendment would allow one-on-one wining and dining between lobbyists and legislators. It would keep the $50 ban and would require mutual disclosure. One-on-one wining and dining by lobbyists is NOT an improvement to the bill - it is a HUGE new loophole that we need to close.

2) allow lobbyists to provide UNLIMITED (no caps!) "benefits" to members attending any event "sponsored by" a "charitable organization" As with this entire bill, however, the details of the definitions are critical to understanding the real-life impact. This would allow any lobbyist to provide tickets, paid for by the employer of the lobbyist, to a Titans game for a "Girl Scouts Day" at the stadium. Or, it potentially would allow unlimited lodging, entertainment, travel and meals to be given to a legislator by any lobbyist to attend a "Humane Shelter convention" in Memphis. It does not require the money spent by the employer of a lobbyist to actually go to benefit the charitable organization. It does require disclosure of the unlimited money spent by the employer of a lobbyist for such activities. See below for the very broad definition of "charitable organization" - it DOES NOT have to be a legitimate 501(c)(3) organization.

"Charitable organization" means a group which is or HOLDS ITSELF OUT TO BE a benevolent, educational, voluntary health, philanthropic, humane, patriotic, religious or eleemosynary organization, or for the benefit of law enforcement personnel, firefighters, or other persons who protect the public safety, or any person who solicits or obtains contributions solicited from the public for charitable purposes. A chapter, branch, area, office or similar affiliate or any person soliciting contributions within the state for a charitable organization which has its principal place of business outside the state shall be a charitable organization for the purposes of this part."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Promises broken, Trust lost.

As I have reported earlier when gov. ops. Met for the ethics bill we were instructed to only deal with the part dealing with gov. Operations and not deal with any other part of the bill.

This is not usually how a bill is treated at all in gov. ops.. We usually have say over any and all parts of the bill and can amend it as we see fit. This time not so . We were also told by leadership that the other committees would not touch or amend what we did in gov. ops. and in return they would only concentrate on the state and local part of the bill (until the bill hit the house floor).

When we were in gov. ops. Committee myself and others had amendments we wanted to put on but we stuck to the request of leadership . Now the shoe is on the other foot and guess what ?

Yep! Almost every change put in to the bill in government ops. is being ripped back out and amendments are being added in by the state and local sub committee mostly on a partisan basis. This is going to make the floor battle take even longer as we will have to go back over the same ground again to get to the same place if at all. I was impressed with how well we worked on a bi-partisan level on gov. ops. I see now that that time is over.

I do not expect to see this bill get passed next week . I doubt it will even get to the house floor next week. I suspect at least a full week there depending on how much we have to work out .

If the treatment of ethics continues under the present system expect a long drawn out partisan fight.

Hooks to be honored ?

A memorial in recognition of Michael A. Hooks was submitted in honor of the former E cycle paid consultant. It was submitted by B. Cooper, J. Towns, L. Deberry, U. Jones, B. Morrero,H. Brooks, L. Miller, L. Turner, J. Deberry .It was struck from the consent calendar by the republican leadership.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lois De berry update

As you may know Rep. Brian Kelsey did an ethics complaint on Lois Deberry for admittedly accepting a bribe from a non registered paid lobbyist. As you may also know the ethics committee voted to do nothing about it (It ended in a stalemate. Dems thought an apology is acceptable as a punishment. Republicans wanted more, but lacked the votes to do anything .Thus the dismissal of the committee with no action taken .)

Now Rep. Kelsey has renewed his motion and is expecting action one way or another. We will see if Rep Mc Millan moves the committee back into session to forge a resolution on this issue ,or hopes to wait it out in the expectation that it will blow over when an ethics bill passes and special session ends .

If the case is taken back up maybe Lois can get Knox D.A. Randy Nichols (Sorry, The name irony is just to much to pass up) to defend her. His latest statements make me think that he has no problem with people in power accepting bribes.

O. Ford update

As you probably know by now the senate voted to void the Ford/Roland senate election because fraud was found to have occurred .You may or may not know that they have to vote again to make it binding (pending law suit ect.) .The word here is that more Democrats may cross over on Thursday and vote to void the election because fraud was so evident.

What happens after that is up in the air .Who will be seated ? Roland? Ford?(yes it can happen) or different person altogether? Will we see a new election? When?

I appreciate the quote "May every legal vote count and may every vote counted be legal"

I pray for the health of the governor

I heard two days ago that Lt. Gov. Wilder nearly crashed his plane when he forgot to land it AFTER putting down the landing gear.Yikes!!

Today on the Senate floor Wilder was also seen digging out ANOTHER hot lunch. Those of you that have seen the Steve Gill video know what I am talking about. UGH!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Much angst is floating around the world of blog with the loss of Bill Hobbs and others.

But fear not true believers !!! Another new /old name is about to enter the game and I suspect big ......scratch that HUGE things . This could become (if updated regularly ) the new mega site for state /local/national news. I expect wit, knowledge and in depth looks at politics and politicians from a Tennessee insider .One hint .This person has a history in the newspaper business .

More to come.....


I have a few friends who serve the city of Knoxville as councilman .I went to the recent swearing in ceremony and was struck by how much in the oath was on ethics .


Notice it does not say "unless I am a lawyer" as the proposed ethics bill does. If we changed the word "city" to the word "state" several legislators would have a significant pay grade drop.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Do not forget if you live in the Chattanooga area to go and vote for the vacated seat of Chris Newton . The republican canidate is Eric Watson. The word I hear is the early votes are coming from the liberal part of the district so your vote is important.

TBC on the House Floor...

We were asked by leadership to hold our amendments until the house floor or state and local committee so we can start to move the ethics bill forward by only concentrating on the Gov operations part of the ethics bill. I will hold off on announcing my amendments until then.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Are you serious?

Bad idea number 2 has got to be the state funding people to run for office. This idea came from several Democrat Senators . The reason given was to help the little guy break into politics .

First, let me say I somehow doubt only the little guy would get the money.

Second, If these legislators truly want to help the little guy and get some new blood into the mix then maybe some of them should step down from there seat and not run again as they have all been in office 20+ years!!!

This idea went away also but got a shocking amount of support.

Ya cant make this stuff up

Sen. Steve Cohen is usually one of the most "open minded" legislators legislators in the state some might even argue in the country ,but his comments before session even started put him in a new light to many .

Before session starts each day a prayer is said by a guest, visiting priest /minister /rabbi or what ever denomination a legislator of that body wishes to bring forward to pray. If none is on hand any legislator may fill in and say the opening prayer . No denomination is given any special treatment over any other and all can pray in any form or fashion of there choosing without condemnation from the body.

Until yesterday, when Sen.Steve Cohen said that legislators and priests should not be able to pray in the name of Jesus any more.They should only be allowed to do a non denominational prayer .Wilder who was leading the session was confused (I would not mind if Wilder said the prayer more often but my reason may be a little different than other peoples). Cohens objection was put aside for now but may come back.

His later comments "What would Jesus do ! What would Jesus do!" interjected at every opportunity let many people know his distaste of other religions, his long term goals and who would be the target.

The last I knew freedom OF speech and OF religion did not mean freedom FROM speech or FROM a religion based on what you may or may not like . Cohen had the right (and used it) to sit through the prayer. He could bring in a Rabbi to pray (Cohen is Jewish)If he thought his needs were not being met or were not represented.He could lead the prayer himself or pray in the fassion of his chooseing or not .He could leave the room and return after the prayer and not miss any part of session but to say others should only be able to pray as he sees fit makes me wonder what rights does he think are important?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Miller steps down

Jeff Miller has stepped down from leadership in the republican party. He also has stated he will not run again for office.

Now that Miller has made those steps what will Tuke talk about ? I doubt it will be the people in his own party who have done the same things yet remain on similar committees and in positions of power.

Hobbs hangs it up

Bill Hobbs the first blog I check every day is shutting down. I cant believe he is shutting down just as all holly you know what is about to break loose in the legislature but Bill needs to do what is best for Bill and his family. Bill ,you are welcome to guest blog on my site at any time.

All the people who have seen what Bill has done should Go on over and wish him well.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Jerry Springer looked so good that we could not resist!!

The governor and leaders in the legislature decided the best use of state funds was to purchase no less then 5 jumbo (I guess 42 inch) flat screen plasma TV sets to hang around the legislative lobby . To date all I have seen on them was regular cable TV shows.TCPR will probably have a field day with this, as well they should.

The Ford, Roland Battle

I went to the hearings today for the Ford ,Roland race and both sides admitted that at least 2 dead people and 4 felons voted illegally / fraudulently .

The decision went down 4 to 2 to immediately vote to say that there was already enough proof that fraud had occurred . The law says that the number of cases of fraud does not have to exceed the numbers of vote difference in the election, only to prove that fraud happened. There were also other arguments made that 40 + people voted that were not supposed to because they illegally did not sign the forms that made them eligible to vote. There was also some people who listed a funeral home in the district as there residence (I don't think I have to tell you what funeral home was listed.)as well as residences that no longer existed.

Still some senators want more proof that fraud occurred so now they are spending $1,700.00 to get the most up to date official list of dead people from the social security administration to run against the registered voter list for the election so we can see if more dead people voted.

I suspect no decision for 2 weeks .

The 2 people to vote that enough proof had been presented to prove that fraud had occurred were Sen. Miller and Sen. Ramsey.

A new year

Special session is about to start tomorrow I have some good (Or what I think are good) ideas to add to the ethics bill. I will fill you all in tomorrow but I want to wait until I present them to the committee before I spill the beans.I am on the first committee the ethics bill goes through (government operations)and we are suppose to meet tomorrow at 2 pm.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Breaking news

Steve Adams the number two person in charge of the lottery has been asked to resign. I have been told by different people for different reasons (both or neither may be true)

1. A harassment suit .

2. Corruption, involving the passage and contracts for the lottery.(A long standing rumor is that the next bunch of indictments will involve the lottery and Tenncare)

His wife,Reta (who just happens to work in Jimmy Neifeh's office) is not answering any questions.

More trooper news

My little bird has let me know that a State trooper internal affairs investigation has begun on two or more troopers at the highway scales in Knox co.. Supposedly some politically connected road builders from Chattanooga were supplying recommendations for promotions and gifts to troopers with the with the return of being exempted from paying tolls, penalties and fees at said scales.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How far is too far?

I cringe sometimes when I read the paper. Not just for Jeff Miller but for
all politicians. Stories like those covering his divorce case and marital
problems are to me, a big smoke screen to facts. I think facts are the most
important way to a clear view of a problem. I knew when I got into politics
that personal attacks are the norm, and a person's personal life gets put
out to the public for target practice.To me this is the worst part of being elected and it know has kept many good people from running for office.

The Sen. Miller story has many parts. Some are good, what I consider fair
game reporting; some are none of my (or in my opinion, anyone else's)
business. They have little or nothing to do to do with legislating or
whether laws have been broken or abused.

If a law was broken or questioned, then we need to know. We need facts,
evidence, and the formality of an ethics complaint. I do not want criminal
activity to continue in the legislature. I will go so far as to print it
here on my site for all to see.

Miller has not had an ethical complaint lodged against him , has yet to be
indicted or to admit to any illegal activity.To my knowledge he actually did the same thing Ulysses Jones did except the reporting period has not ended for when Miller took the money. Many other democrats have admitted
to illegal activity and have been indicted in a federal sting, yet many
democrats have chosen to attack only Miller while they are mute regarding
their own members. They allow their own party to rot from within.

When a republican was indicted as part of the Waltz sting, several GOP party
members asked him to step down. On this blog I advocated for him to step
down. The only democrat I have ever heard speak out against his own party's
corruption is Frank Buck, and I honor and appreciate that about him.

Is the "Politics as usual" so ingrained in the Tennessee Democrats that no
one else will stand up against it? They fight for the admittedly guilty to stay and pray that the people who catch the criminals will go away.

I have little respect for the entire sales pitch "He claims to be a Christian /family
values man, but look at this!!! But look at Miller's personal life!"

I ask Bob Tuke for a list of legislators who will openly say they do not support
"Family /Christian values". I doubt I get a one who would say he/she doesn't.
Although I feel it should be a goal for all, in the eyes of God we ALL fall

Yes, let me add my name to the list. I try my best to support "Family
/Christian values." Is that a claim that I am 100% perfect? No, I am human.
I make mistakes.

The last perfect person lived about 2000 years ago. I have met none yet in
my lifetime who is perfect and I might as well end the illusion now. I see
no one in the legislature on either side of the aisle that can hold the
title of perfect.

Titillating as the attack may be, it goes more to smearing a person's name then it
does uncovering truth. I have yet to see how the senator's personal life is
linked to a waltz crime.

If there are facts that he has committed a crime, then we need to know. If
not, then why continue to throw barbs at the unfortunate, if not tragic, end of a marriage and a marriage where children are involved.

Bob Tuke finds it easy to hit Miller. Are there no democrats in Nashville
with no skeletons? I could probably list several who are cheating on their spouse, Some have
been divorced, some have drinking problems,some Democrats I have heard even lead an "alternative
lifestyle." Will Tuke ask them to step down? Does he think it should be covered by the news ? I doubt it.

Tonights Nashville Post reports that Sen. Miller's divorce was finalized.
Do we hear such up to the minute reporting for all legislative divorces? Do we get all the gory details from reporters who questioned the soon divorced?

I can imagine the pictures most would paint of the soon to be ex .They would probably tell how the former love of there life was just a short step from dancing drunk and half naked around a fire with a baby on a pitch fork.

and how do we decide who gets the personal problems,personal disasters, or bad personal
choices covered in the media?

Does anyone else agree? Leaving Miller out of the equation, I ask, how
far do you think is too far? Should a persons personal life be a news story if it does not effect his or her legislating or is part of a crime?

On the rest of the report the question comes up .Is Bill Dunn a liar ? I doubt it . I spoke several times with Bill during and
after the summer ethics committee meetings and he repeatedly said he had no
intentions of signing on to the ethics bill as a sponsor . There were to many
problem loopholes and things left off to consider it a good bill as it stood.

has got to be one of the most ethical ,honest people I know and to suggest
otherwise.......Well, you might as well tell me Mother Theresa was a swinger ...It is just not credible. The accusation diminishes the accuser even more.(Is that possible?)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

How did we all miss this???

Nashville Post did a great 3 part story on Dec 14,15,16 of an interview with Tim Willis of the Tennessee Waltz fame.Yes ,he name names places and events . Another good inside look at what is going on and what will come out in the future. Some how the other blogs and MSM have missed this story. To get the full report you can sign up for a FREE trial subscription. I suggest it as the entire story has lots of good facts.