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

Friday, May 29, 2009

Comments fixed

I think.

Comments out

In an attempt to get the aggregator working again the comment section is back out. Hopefully it can be resolved quickly with both in place.

Dem leader caught in lie to NRA

I value a person who can be trusted with his word or oath. I hate to use the word liar. I really do. To me it is one of the greatest insults you can throw at a person if it is true. I know there can be different interpretations on an issue. There is an old police officer saying "No one lies like an eye witness" and I don't doubt that. But the NRA survey is about iron clad. When they ask questions they are quite detailed and specific. Not a lot that can be misconstrued.

That makes this Andy Sher story about the governor and his promise to the NRA even more disheartening.

The executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, Chris Cox, in a statement called the veto “a shock and a major disappointment to gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment because Governor Bredesen had committed to supporting this legislation.”

“During the 2006 campaign, Governor Bredesen assured Tennesseans — and the NRA in writing — that he would support this effort. NRA’s endorsement of Governor Bredesen that year centered largely on this promise. Today, that trust has been betrayed,” Mr. Cox said.

Tennessee and the economy ahead

If you think this years budget is bad just wait till next year.

Years of party bunker building, starting and expanding a daycare/pre k program as well as tons of other un needed boondoggles and perks for administration have left the state in dire need of cuts. The governor is instead going after the mentally ill, the handicapped, increasing taxes and raiding the rainy day fund.

What "great" fiscal manager he is.

If you think this year is bad you ain't seen nothin yet. Next year will be worse. Way worse. This years revenue started off OK. Money flowed as was expected or at least pretty close to it.

Then, the bottom fell out. It was bad for a few months then it got worse. That, and the governors refusal to cut some programs so he could qualify to get federal money is going to put the state in a tail spin. We are pumping what financial "air" we have into a balloon with a hole in it.

Next year we wont even have the first few months of a semi good economy to base our revenue on. The year will start bad, and by all projections, end bad. Sorry, Obama cool aid drinkers. The "stimulus" is not going to pull us out as was promised. We will have eaten up a chunk of our rainy day fund (that kept our bond rating up and our interest rates low) and the tax increases will do what they often do do (Increase revenue for a short term and then go flat). If he passes his bond spending package this year we will have really mortgaged our future for road projects this year and next.

Next year I predict more of the same "spend it all" attitude from the Dali lama of Democrats. He will raid a bunch more of the rainy day fund, go after the reserves of many departments that many people don't know about, increase taxes, make some minor cuts and limp out of office looking halfway competent. Short of huge swing in the economy the year after will be an all out train wreck.

Of course Phil wont be there then. The party bunker will be a show place, We will still have the golf courses, all Phil's staff will still have had their raises and a probable Republican will be left to hold the empty bag. I guess we will always have that going for us.

Is Phil for guns in high schools?

Governor Phil shot down legal gun owner rights but one line he made in his veto speech made me wonder. Phil said...

"As a young man growing up in a small town, I attended a gun safety class in my high school sponsored by the National Rifle Association."

He may be against guns in restaurants but by his own admission seems to have no problem with minors having guns at high schools. Interesting......

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Story shift

As many of you know and have heard by now the Gov has vetoed the bill to allow gun owners to carry in restaurants. As some of you know the veto power of the governor is minuscule in Tennessee. To say it is sure to be overridden is an understatement. When over 3/4 of the legislature voted for a bill it is almost unthinkable that it will suddenly not be able to get 50%+1.

So why did he finally come out, veto and speak against it now when it has been a story and an issue for months and on his desk for days? Wouldn't his words and threats of actions been more powerful a month or so ago?

Simple questions. Simple answer.

The reason he did it was to shift the story.

The story going into this weekend was probably going to be one of two things. Either the majority of Democrats vote to override the constitution and the will of the people on being able to vote for their supreme court judges.

Or The Democrats budget that is cutting a lot of social services and government jobs. Neither story helps Dems.

The Governor throws out a meaningless veto on a somewhat controversial bill mere minutes after the judicial selection bill passes and that night, the weekends stories and editorials all shift to the gun bill. It sucks all the air out of the room.

I also think it is part of an overall Democrat plan to keep the entire year looking like the only thing going on is guns. I think many of them honestly think that all the talk on guns is hurting us so they want to keep the talk on that one issue as long and as often as they can. That somehow they can make it look like that is all the "supposed" new Republican majority wants to talk about. Oddly, about half the gun bills or more this year were run by Democrats.

Think about it. The Dems have locked down on every other big issue. Education reform? Dead. Illegal immigration reform? Dead. Voting reform? Dead. Health care reform? Dead. Real tort or judicial reform? Dead.

One story and one story only. Guns and how Republicans want to give them out to drunken felons at local honky tonks and little children in parks. For the most part I think the legal gun owners have done an excellent job in the media dispelling half truths and out right lies. I guess they will have to keep it up for another week or two anyway.

5 cross overs

5 Dems crossed over and voted against judicial selection. Oddly Rep. Henry Fincher spoke strongly for the bill but when the vote was taken he voted against it.

A political vote?

I guess it would be similar to the vote he made two years ago against my bill allowing state control of guns made and sold in the state of Tennessee. The exact same bill he ran and passed himself today.

Possibly he just thought about it.

Judicial selection

Passes. 57-39. election continues to mean selection.

Ratted out

Someone told the Dems our plan. Naifeh killed his amendment. The interesting part was all the Dems voted against the old judicial selection process.

Voting on judges in the house

Dies 41 to 55

A vote for judicial selection is a vote against judicial selection

An odd opportunity has popped up and could throw the entire judicial selection bill into chaos. Jimmy Naifeh is going to offer an amendment to go back to the judicial selection process. The senate has said if any non approved amendment goes on to the judicial selection bill that they will kill the bill and not bring any other judicial selection bills forward.

When that happens we go back to contested elections as was intended by the constitution.

So to vote against judicial selection we vote for judicial selection.

Actually many of the members will vote blue light. It is not a vote in favor of the amendment but if the Dems go with Naifeh all it will take is a majority of the members voting and blue will not count. A hand full of votes could carry the day.

Judicial selection

Is up today. I expect 17 to hold fast to the constitution and fight for true contested elections as the constitution requires and their oath binds them to. 7 more are on the wire and can go either way.

It's all about the votes

The Dems have decided to not protest the change in the election commission. Why were they in lock down before and just rolling over now?

When it was presented a few weeks back a few Republicans were out sick and we didn't have the votes to pass it (you need 50 votes to make it happen). When the Dems went into lock down, Mumps played it smart and rolled the bill till later when we would have 50 votes for sure. The senate also made clear they were ready to shut it all down if the Dems did not go along. Now we are back up to full strength and the Dems can not stop it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Did he just say that?

Rep. Coley is a person who is known to bring up Chinese references on many occasions. Occasionally he is teased about it. Today when calling on Rep. Coley Speaker Williams called him Rep. Cooley.

A bit over the line.

Opt out

Guns in parks with Opt out ability for the locals passes. 54 for -41 against - 4 not voting.

"We made you. We can take you out!

The sovereignty resolution passes telling the federal government it is getting too intrusive in state issues.

Rep. Mike Turner tried to make the argument the state gets involved in local laws and why are we getting involved in federal politics.

The fact that the states made the local municipalities as well as federal government sort of shut that argument down.

New legislator blog

Rep. Debra Maggart starts her legislative blog

Monday, May 25, 2009

To all our vets

Mere words can not express my thanks to you for your service and sacrifice.

Anyone remember......

Does anyone remember the $61 million dollars of your money the state spent last year that was going to build a switchgrass refinery? It was supposedly going to produce 250,000 gallons of cheap fuel in 2009 alone and 5 million gallons a year after that! Tennessee could have the lowest gas prices in the nation in no time!

Yes, Tennessee was going to be a real leader in this new green technology! It was going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Good for the environment, cheap fuel and virtually no off cast waste. Tennessee is going to be way out front! All the research was virtually done. A mass production facility was just needed to show it could work on a large scale. Quit holding back the money you ignorant hayseed!

It is funny how people run into each other. I was at a cookout my uncle had at a state park yesterday. One of the other guests worked for the higher ups at UT's Agriculture department. Curious, I asked how the switchgrass refinery was coming. They shot back a "Don't you know?" look and said it was not going to be much of a refinery after all. It has been scaled back to more of a research facility for switchgrass and not much actual production of fuel would ever come to pass. More testing is needed. Lots of research still to go.

How bout the bio fuel craze and all the tax incentives and tax credits given out for those refineries in Memphis? How much are they producing? Welcome to mothball city.

Your tax dollars at work.

This year we are spending your money on solar technology.

Yes, Tennessee is going to be a real leader in this new green technology! It is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Good for the environment, cheap fuel and virtually no off cast waste. Tennessee is going to be way out front! Since no large breakthroughs have happened in solar for many years, it is ready for a huge breakthrough now. All the research is practically done. A massive research facility is just needed to show it can work on a large scale.........

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The first step for socialized medicine

IT passed the first committee on a party line vote. Kay Brooks has more. This bill makes the finger print issue look like child's play. It could get ugly.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I guess those illegal millions don't count

Governor Phil says one of the most hypocritical things I have heard since oh.....Wednesday, when speaking on removing fundraising limits.

"Gov. Phil Bredesen said he hasn't seen the legislation, but believes "there's a reason for limits."

"I've always taken the attitude I'm going to work within whatever rules the Legislature passes on these things," Bredesen said. "I certainly have not proposed ever changing those limits."


When did that thinking start? Possibly after you dumped millions illegally into your own first gubernatorial campaign against the current state law limits?

Must have been.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We are now the emotion police

HB 484 now says if I get an electronic message that puts me at "Emotional distress" I can sue and it is a criminal act where I can have you put in jail for up to a year. Watch your comments. It just passed and I get distressed easily.

Guns opt out, in. Opt in, out. Up

Frank Nicleys bill to allow guns in state parks has been amended to allow guns in local parks. The bill allows the local community to opt OUT. A similar bill by Harry Tindell would allow for local parks to be no carry, with the option for the locals to allow it (Opt in). Tindells bill is not moving in the senate. Nicelys bill is scheduled to be up later today.

Pull my finger

Senator Joe Haynes (D) talks about why he is in support of police being able to mandate fingerprinting while many others say it should not be mandated and could be abused. The bill was pulled from its slot on yesterdays calender and put off for one week in the hopes of passage next Thursday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Genetic link to autism found

It is not the end of autism but it is a good beginning. The gene is thought to limit the absorption of calcium.

I hate to say I told you so....

But here it is. Right from the donkeys mouth. The Dems are in lock down. AC does a good job as well as Jeff woods getting the quotes and interviews.

Dems go into lock down

The dirty part of legislating is starting. The Democrats have gone into lock down mode on their members and mandated they kill charter schools. The committee adjourned for the year without getting to vote on the bill. So much for "Bipartisanship".

I was wondering why all the Democrats were late to floor session today. They must have been putting the screws to the troops on their key issues. The Dems have gone into attack mode on many issues lately and are going around saying "They started it". Really? Where? When?

This is not an issue

Now the ACLU is sueing over this "Non issue"

Dems not ready to work

As expected the Dems are now admitting they are not ready to start work on the budget and wont be for WEEKS!

Worse yet, When they do bring someting forward they are wanting tax increases.

Gettin the finger!

The senate rolled the finger print bill. The votes are not lining up!

Good job people. You made your voice loud and clear. It is looking like legislators are listening. More on this later.........

The sweep

In the third and final game with the interns (Flag football) it was looking like it might be a tough battle. After the rally put on by the legislators in softball, the bigger (younger) interns were ready for revenge. The legislators were quite shorthanded. In fact it was looking like the legislators may not even be able to field a 7 person team. Executive privilege was used and a special player was recruited to quarterback and give us 7 players. That player was Bill Dunns daughter (Katie Dunn) Who was stopping by to visit her father after college graduation. Another girl on the legislators team? What could be the harm thought the interns.

With an equal number of players on the field and Bills daughter at the helm it was almost unfair. The legislators marched down the field and quickly scored touchdown after touchdown. Katie scored the first TD And evaded blitz after blitz leaving her male defender on the ground bloodied and winded. Did we mention she was the MVP champion for Notre Dames flag football league? No? I can't remember.

In the meantime our defence put the Pittsburgh Steelers "Iron curtain" to shame. Interceptions by legislators almost outnumbered completions for the interns.

By halftime the legislators and staff were jingling the keys.

Final score, Legislators 23, Interns 0.

If you add up all the scores of all the games played the legislators swept the interns by an average of double digits.

Now what about this resolution?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Joke of the week (Great comeback line)

For those that don't know him, Major General Peter Cosgrove is an 'Australian treasure!

General Cosgrove was interviewed on the radio recently.
You'll love his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children.. Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you gotta love this! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time.. It is a portion of an ABC interview between a female broadcaster and General Cosgrove who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military headquarters.

So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery and shooting.

Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?

I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

The minority of the minority

After last nights passage of SJR127 I think it is getting more and more clear that the far left that used to run the show around the capitol is loosing control. For years a few people have been able to bottle up conservative legislation in the committee process. They had the numbers and the votes. When the liberal Democrat leadership snapped its fingers the troops (conservative and liberal) fell in line and voted in lockstep.

With the latest round of losses in elections and with conservative legislation (Guns, SJR127) passing by big numbers I have to wonder how long the liberal wing of the Democrat party will be able to hold on to the reigns of leadership in their party.

Yes, last night their were some shockers. Some Dems I thought would never vote for SJR127 did. I was pleasantly surprised, but I have been surprised a lot this year. Some people I thought would never support gun owner rights were actually the ones carrying legislation for gun owners. More then a few times this year I have heard "Where did that come from?", "What is he doing carrying that bill?", "He voted for what?" in the capitol halls. Many Republicans are shocked the way things are going this year. Not in mass in committee yet, but more and more Dems are stepping away from their party leadership and voting for conservative legislation on the floor. It is not all the time. We are still having a difficult time with illegal immigration, election and education reform but some things are starting to happen in other areas.

Were they "political conversions"? Possibly. Possibly some did not truly "See the light" but they are now "Feeling the heat". I guess, in politics, when it comes time to add the votes up the heat can be just as good as the light. If the next round of elections continue to go in Republican direction I expect a power shift will occur in the Tennessee Democrat party leadership. The old time conservative Democrats could take control of their party back over from its more liberal wing of current leadership.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And on second thought.....

You may have heard the vote on SJR127 was 76-22.


The new adjusted vote total was 77-21.

Rep. Jim Hackworth (D-Oak ridge) later went back and changed his vote from against passage, to for the resolution.

Being from East Tennessee Jim was thought by many to be the one Democrat who could pay the political price for his original "No" vote.

Obama's socialized med in Tennessee (Part 1)

The push for Obama socialized medicine is on in Tennessee. Part one is to mandate every one be put on a similar database. All hospital records, patients records, payment plans and so forth. Get it standardized and then takeover. Here is step one for Tennessee. Coming up in Government operations committee on Wednesday.

Supplemental budget

The governor has once again put off for at least another week presenting the supplemental budget for the next year. Most insiders say his original projections were wildly optimistic and he was not giving firm plans on what he wanted to do with those numbers.

Now times are even worse and we still don't have a budget to look at just a lot of whisper and rumors.

We keep getting deeper and deeper into the session and most people are starting to realize the governor is just playing a waiting game. He is hoping by the late date that he finally presents it we will just all fold up and go home and not argue about what he gives us. What we do hear is he is already planning cuts of 10 to 12 percent from most departments (with layoffs and furloughs for many state employees) cuts to the mentally ill, handicapped and Tenncare. Close to original pre stimulus numbers. I think he is hoping some sacred cows of his may not feel the knife if he can ram it through late enough(Can anyone say $25 million from pre K?)

Projections for next year are estimated at 2/10ths of 1 percent up. With the mish mash of projections past I would not hold your breath.




Game on.

Beat to the punch

I was planning on running a bill next year that would allow confiscated guns to be sold and the proceeds go to the county or the police force that confiscated it.

I was beaten to the punch by David Shepard and HB2376. This is a good bill that could keep some rare and valuable guns in circulation instead of having them be destroyed. It would include guns purchased in buyback programs.

Illegal identification

After much debate the bill telling local police to inform homeland security when an illegal alien is arrested passed. Not one to point it out but the "Sherriff's Association" sent out a memo in opposition to the legislation. No names or counties were mentioned. It was also pointed out the association misspelled "Sheriff". The memo appeared at the 11th hour when the bill was being presented on the floor even though the bill had been around for months. Final vote 67 for, 24 against, 4 present not voting. All the No's and passes were Democrats.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fingerprints are us

The government is setting up a system to get everyones fingerprints. Sort of reminds me of gun registrations. Why have them if they are not going into a future database? More from the Tennessean

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where are the animal rights activists?

My uncle the former paratrooper used to do this to try and gross us out as kids.

Not that I wouldn't if I had to, but is this the goal lifestyle of the modern liberal? I mean, come on. You are going to have to try and do better then that if you can ever hope to convert people.

If this is the future of the "Green lifestyle" I will happily continue to live in the red.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A rose by any other name

There is a blow up coming on the native American issue. Not between the white cowboys and the native Americans but between the multiple factions of the native Americans themselves.

This turf battle all comes down to two issues dealing with recognition. Many descendants of the local Indian tribes want recognition to say they are Indian. Not so they can have casinos (That is already clearly out of the question) but so they can sell "native American" or "Indian" crafts. Yes, those names are copyrighted and can only be used by recognized native American tribal descendants. The second reason is so they can be eligible for federal funds/grants/tax breaks or incentives (for medical centers and things like that).

Currently the federal government only recognizes direct descendants of native Americans that made the move during relocation. If they stayed or hid out they and their descendants lost their recognition no matter if they were 100% native American or not. The recognized tribes that moved don't want to recognize those that did not move because they would loose their monopoly on their selling of goods and exclusive take on the federal grants.

The Tennessee native Americans only hope is for state recognition. Previously the state recognition board was made up almost exclusively of the out of state native American tribe members who were nationally recognized already.

Guess how the efforts to get state recognition went?

Now the move is on to get some tribe members recognition by directly bypassing the state board that has not recognized any tribes in as far back as anyone can remember.

To me this seems like an easy one. Although I am not a big fan of grants based on national origin or race, if I legally came to America and say I was formerly 100% full blooded Italian I would think it would be OK to sell "Italian" food. If I were Mexican I would expect to be able to sell "Mexican" blankets or whatever. If I were....Well you get the picture. (Please feel free to save yourself the time on your "You aren't very PC" comments. I know that is not all they sell or can do)

The Tennessee Indian tribes have been working on this issue for years. This could be the year they finally see some daylight.

Guns at the capitol

The Lt. governor and the speaker are split. Guess who is for gun owners and who is against?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stopping revenue cameras

A new move is on to stop or adjust revenue cameras (Also known as red light and speed cameras). The cameras have come in and out of favor the last few years. Many local communities have put them in to see a revenue jump and later taken them out as public outcry has increased.

The argument most used for implementation is they are purely for safety. Not revenue. The facts of the claim go back and forth. Most agree side impacts go down slightly but rear impacts and whiplash go up dramatically for red light cameras. No known impact of speed cameras is known by me but with both, the revenue question is not a question. They make money, and lots of it.

The pubic outcry has been strong against the cameras. The state is now ready to get into the mix. How to stop them has become an issue. Baning a revenue generator was met with harsh criticism a few years ago. But the thought of taking the money from the locals? Suddenly I think we may need a little more time to discuss this important safety topic.

The latest ideas have come from other states. Some are mandating that the money raised go into drivers ed courses in schools. Others want the state to just take the money outright and put it in their general fund or use it for education.

With revenue shortfalls, Tennessee is looking at plans to do some revenue shifting. Will the money go for education or to general fund is the big question. I am sure the state will be fine with allowing the locals to keep the increased "safety".

As you can imagine the locals are not for those plans so much. With the additional revenue generated gone the motivation for additional "safety" diminishes. Most of the local communities take the cameras out in short order or forgo the implementation of new ones.

Not worth the pain in the neck.

More on fingerprinting

Another article on the fingerprinting of everyone who gets a ticket. It is up for a final vote in the senate today. I wonder how many people will go to jail for not providing their fingerprints if this passes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guns at the capitol

Easier then you might think.

AG: Election mean election, except for elections.

The AG has made it clear. A retention vote is not an election (potentially for legislators and the gov.). Yet when the exact same word "Election" is used in another part of the constitution (for judges) it could mean anything.

Glad that is all cleared up.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The best time spent

The best way you could possibly spend the next 20 minutes of your life would be to watch this video. It is a true slice of Tennessee history in rare form.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Little did I know

Home school graduates are hated more then gun owners.

Guns in restaurants that serve alcohol

Passes 66 to 23. All time and age restrictions were stripped off. Legal gun owners will now be able carry in more places then you can smoke. Of course smoking kills more people then legal gun owners do.
Congrats to Curry Todd for passing something that has been 15 years plus in the making.

I wonder about ....

HB 2220 by Stewart. The bill will allow locals law enforcement agencies to mandate a finger print be given on all tickets. No matter guilt or innocent.

How long till the database is started up?

Bell's bill passes

61 to 27. We had 2 hours of debate. We probably won't argue that long on the budget.

30 minutes

The countdown clock is started.

State recognition of home school diplomas

Mike Bells bill to correct the misconception that a home school is not a valid diploma to be recognized by the state for jobs is being battled on the house floor. It is looking like the Dems are trying to filibuster the bill. We are working to limit debate and get an up or down vote on the bill.

John J lights them up

From what I heard John J Hooker lit them up in the senate speaking In committee regarding judicial selection. One senator I spoke to was too impressed to describe it. He was saying it was too good for words and this senator is not easy to impress. John J made the worms squirm. His argument was supposedly tight, to the point and interesting.

I have been Lucky enough to see John J in action and speak to him several times. He is a real treat. A classic old school Democrat that has been been minimized by the new more liberal Democrat party. Don't be mislead. He is sharp as a tack and more well read then any two lawyers on the hill regarding Tennessee constitutional law. Tennessee would be a better place with more Democrats like him on the floor.

I plan on putting up the video as soon as I can find out how to edit to him speaking. I hear it is must see.

2000 posts

I just passed 2000 posts on my blog. I imagine that equates to about 22,318 misspeled words, 2941 tpyos, 4,494 run on sentences but I am sure you know how it is I mean everyone does that once in a while right, right, well there you go, 3,593 improper use or fazing of a words, 284934 missed punctuations and I am sure many other things.

Luckily my goal was never to show off my fancy typing or righting skills. Of course all the former and wannabe English teachers out there are now ready to, or already have, burned their computers from reading this blog.

Thank you all for your patients. I have tried to get better on my English but I know many of you still cringe. Possibly I should try one of those English as a second language classes. It might help. Or not.

And just FYI. I plan on continuing to post as I see fit. All you lefties try and not chip a tooth as you put the barrel in your mouth.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cut and run

One of the two top stories for today happened in the full house judiciary committee over HB 1762. The bill would give parents the rights to their minor children's medical records.

The lefties went crazy. They know this could be a step toward informed consent of a minor who wants an abortion. This issue was brought home with the recent very questionable (probably illegal) actions done by planned parenthood Memphis that were caught on tape. A Planned Parenthood worker told a presumed a 14 year old to lie to a judge about her age and the age of her 31 year old boyfriend to get him to allow her to have an abortion with out parental consent and to cover up the statutory rape.
Just as the bill was getting interesting and the Dems started to realize they could lose the vote they moved to adjourn the meeting in the middle of the bill being presented. The Republicans were objecting and calling for a vote on the motion to adjourn but chairman Coleman said more or less "I'm gone" and scurried out of the room with his fellow Democrats. Expect one Democrat to change their voting pattern or be out of the room when it comes up again next week.

You can view the judiciary committee here. It is the last bill presented.

Stuck in committee

I hate when this happens. Some times legislators have to be in two places at one time. In a committee they serve on and in another committee to present a bill. Today was one of those days. My bill to get rid of some of the states airplanes came up at the same time we were voting on bills in children and family committee (a committee I sit on). Early in session the chairman will roll the bill one week if the sponsor is not available to present their bill but here at the end of session committees are closing down so any bills not presented are rolled until 2010. Such was the case for my airplane bill.

Oh well, by next year I will hopefully have even more info to present my bill.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fly me to the moon

As many of you may have read I have a bill up in the morning to sell all but two of the states owned aircraft (This does not include the 25 plus airplanes owned and used by higher ed). When I first read the state had over 50 airplanes I asked when was the planned blitzkrieg on Georgia? The number and cost blew me away.

The more I dig on this issue the uglier it gets. Hull value (Resale value) of found state owned aircraft is already over 9 million dollars. Insurance cost every year is $50,000.00. I am still digging on the fuel costs, pilot costs, maintenance costs, inspection costs, licence cost, hangar costs, etc. these are all ongoing costs we have to pay every year weather we use the plains or not.

The expected cost to fly regular airlines and or charter/ rent a private aircraft as needed for similar services is around 100 grand a year. When all the expenses are added up for the Tennessee air force I bet the ongoing cost shift is a net positive to the state by going to airlines, charter and rental.

That does not include the $9,000,000.00 we would put in our pocket from the sale of the surplus aircraft. Even if none of the ongoing expenses were added in, It would take 90 years to offset the gain made by selling the airplanes. 90 years! Well past the expected lifespan of any aircraft we may currently own.

I showed the list of airplanes to another legislator who is also a former pilot. The first thing he did was let out a low whistle. One of the planes was valued at $1,800,000.00 He knew the aircraft and thought there was no reason to have such a high end aircraft. He also asked about the governors two airplanes. I said what airplanes and he said the governor supposedly has two private jets at his disposal not on the list and not low end planes either. I plan on doing some more digging if given the time.

This could be a nice gem in a tight budget year.

Who is responsible for your children?

Simple question. Simple answer.

A bunch of us just shook our heads when she said it in children and family committee. Unfortunately, this theory is not held by just one single legislator. There are several who push this agenda and have this mind set.

Carnac on Cammack

The great swami Carnac the magnificent holds the hermetically sealed envelope to his jewel encrusted turban. Closes his eyes and gets a vision. Slowly he responds. Who is Ward Cammack?

He opens the envelope and reads the question.

"Who is for civil unions, gay adoption, against nuclear power, gave tons of money to Republicans a few years ago and is not going to win any political race in Tennessee?"

See the video here. It gets pitiful after a while.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Opt in or opt out

Tom Humphreys gets the definition battle going for a lot of our legislation this year. To op in or opt out and what is local control.

Big issue.

What it means for a big issue (guns) is...

Opt out means all local parks would be legal for licenced people to carry in and if a local community does not like it they can opt out certain parks or all parks.

Opt in means guns are banned everywhere and if some community does not like it they can opt to allow legal guns in certain parks.

Some people feel it is a right to carry first and restrictions can be put on that right but the right first belongs to the individual. Others want government to have initial control of the right and allow it as they see fit.

Rights given to the individual are harder to take away then rights that are already gone that may someday allowed by government. There has to be a very strong push to overturn the statuesque. Many times the will of the people to allow freedom is subverted by the minority as we had in the state house for years. It took 20+ years to even get the idea up for an up or down vote on the full house floor on many gun bills. Now it is happening.

The same barriers and restrictions could happen in community after community across the state.

It all comes down to one issue. Who do you trust? The people, or the government to make decisions on when they feel you should be given your constitutional rights? That issue can come down to two sets of words.

Opt in or Opt out.

But that is different

Sometimes it is funny when you have the same thought as someone else but a completely different take. This is one of those times. I was on the house floor as we passed another liquor bill. This one allowing free distribution of liquor in dry counties. Later in the day we were talking about the bill that allows guns in restaurants that serve alcohol. I got to thinking of how the same people who vote against the gun bills will allow all the alcohol people can pour down their throat to the same gun owners and probably illegal gun owners. Where has gun violence been more prevalent? In restaurants that serve with legal gun owners present but not drinking or at home where people can drink all they want unrestricted?

If the mere presence of alcohol and gun owners does not mix, whether the person is drinking or not, then how is it OK when we know people are going to drink and have access to guns.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I'm leavin on a jet plane

Our good friend Reagan Farr is off on another one of his "Desperately needed" trips to Destin Florida in one of the states private planes. Why is it these important trips always seem to go to the sunny beaches of Florida? What? No airlines go from Nashville to Florida? Wow. Delta, Southwest, American Airlines and all the others must really be cutting back. Last I knew those type flights left about every hour or two and cost a couple hundred bucks. One airline was under 60 buck each way to Florida. The states private plane cost was pushing 3 grand in fuel alone not including hangar costs, pilot cost, hull cost, insurance, etc. Sound like a good investment? How bout we sell some of those planes? I have a bill to do just that. Fiscal impact is to the plus 9 million dollars in instant return and more over time. It should come up this week.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Against the decision but for the judge

I am many times confounded by people who are more then vocal in their questioning of the decisions that supreme court judges make, but are willing to close their eyes and allow them to continue on their path without any real oversight and ignore the intent of the constitution.

I can not count the number of legislators who yell and scream about the Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist decision (the decision striking down our reasonable abortion laws) saying it was activist judges reading into the constitution and creating what was clearly not there. Yet when the time comes to do something about those same activist judges they are silent, or worse, come out and say that the system that put them in place needs to stay.

They continue that any sort of political contest might influence their future decisions. How can they say their past decision are activist and clouded by their personal politics and, yet somehow, in the same breath say the judges will only continue to look at law with a totally unbiased "from on high" opinion without the thought that their personal opinion playing into their decisions? That is sort of like coming out and saying "They are partisan, unbiased and need to stay that way"

Are they biased now?

Yes. Even without those type decisions the law is quite loose in Tennessee. A lot is left up to interpretation and opinion of the judge. What is wrong with wanting ask what sort of opinion or interpretation a person might have on an issue previous to giving them a job where that opinion comes into play?

Is the system already biased?

Yes. How can you look at who is doing the appointment and what that process is and think otherwise? To think that the trial lawyers and the bar association does not have an agenda on any issue is ludicrous. They will admit they do. They take positions all the time on political issues. Their judges even take positions on political issues. They are currently active in politics.

Does anyone think these groups just walk in a room with a stat sheet and say "The most fair decision maker will have the least number of cases that are appealed or that are overturned on appeal" and then ask that person if they want the job? No. That is not how it goes at all. The decision making process is done behind closed doors and judicial philosophy is argued. The people on the board make a political decision based on who meets their ideology closest then a selection of 3 candidates is given to the governor to chose from (Or reject and get another slate of 3). Even then, does anyone really think the governor, no matter what party they are from, does not have an agenda or would not pick someone closest to their political philosophy?

Short of true popularly contested elections, as the constitution intended, the governor should be given total ability to pick the judge for filling interim vacancies. To pick from 3 pre selected bad choices is not truly giving him any choices at all. If those groups want to make suggestions that is fine but their opinion shouldn't be the end all be all. In many cases now the decision is the least of three evils.

Corruption of judges

The other argument I hear is, if judges had to run for office they would be corrupted by having to raise funds every 8 years. I wonder how many of these same elected officials will admit to being "Corrupted" by having to raise funds and run for office in the same manner every 2 years? If that is the fear make all donations to them anonymous.

Chaos theory

The argument that if we go back to contested elections it will create "Chaos" is laughable. Was it chaos for the 160 or so years that the state ran previous to when the Missouri plan was put into effect? No.

Were a judge to step down early, die or whatever there is a process in place to handle things and put a temporary judge in place should the courts become backlogged before the next election. The "Chaos" threat is empty rhetoric to scare people into settling for the status Que.

The only reason the Missouri plan (Judicial selection) was even implemented was because Winfield Dunn got elected governor and the Democrats, seeing their statewide influence slipping, went into panic mode at the thought of a Republicans getting to appoint judges on an interim basis or elect them on a full time basis. That day has come.

Politically speaking

Some Republicans fear reprisals if they don't give the trial lawyers what they want.


Trial lawyers give very little to Republicans. They almost always endorse the liberal and try to beat conservatives. Conservative lawyers are like Democrats who drive around with bumper stickers that say "I am pro gun, Pro God, pro life and a Democrat" Their are so few they have to have a bumper sticker or no one would believe they exist.

Were the majority to get what they want does anyone think it will change? No. They will just keep on keeping on. If they don't get what they want what will happen? They will be so busy spending all their money trying to keep liberals on the bench they wont have any money to get involved in political races. Win goes to conservatives in political races. In races for the bench who wins? 9 times out of 10 it is the conservative. We win both ways.

People want the ability to vote on judges. Only 16% like the current system. 19% want a federal type system. That poll result is state wide across all demographics and does not change with party affiliation. To say the people are smart enough to elect them as the person that make the laws but too dumb to elect the people who are supposed to interpret those same laws is insulting to their constituents.

Getting away from the current judicial selection process is the right thing to do. The constitution talks about an ELECTION not a SELECTION. It is good for our state, it is good for conservatism, it is good for the party and it is good for people. This is one of those times if the legislature does nothing, things get better automatically.