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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quote of the week (health clinic edition)

A funny quote I heard while at the health clinic.

"I know people who would die to be as healthy as I am"


The hard sell

I went to the health clinic two days ago to get a yellow fever shot (required for some trips overseas) While there, the nurse of course hit me up for some others (tetanus, hep a and b) while I don't mind them asking I definitely got the hard sell on the swine flu vaccine.

When first asked I just said "No thank you" but it didn't end there. I suddenly felt like I was at the new car dealership and they were trying to sell me the ultra rustproofing protection package for a car. I was told of the dangerous swine flu, how catchy it was how it could be deadly, on and on. I kept saying "no thank you" but the nurse wouldn't quit. I probably had to say "No thank you" Five times. No exaggeration.

The last time I finally asked if they had identified ANY of these deadly cases of swine flu at all in Knoxville. "No" Had anyone died from it in Knoxville? "No". I then explained how from what I had seen the death rate for the swine flue was not markedly greater then the average death rate for the regular flu and from the few reports I had seen those who had died were usually already in some weakened condition. I next mentioned how when ever I heard someone got a flu shot more often then not they ended up sick. Was there a chance of that happening? "Yes, it has happened" I then questioned why the national emergency when so many things have a much greater death rate and get little to no attention.

Did they give hard sell to people who smoked? drank? or ate too much? No? Then why the difference with the flu?

I guess if I keel over dead next week from swine flu you can all sit back and laugh but I think I will live through this latest scare.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pre K flops again

A new comptroller report states no verifiable difference in Pre K versus non Pre K kids after early grades. With budget cuts coming up legislators should be willing to look at programs who's cost is high and effectiveness has proven to be limited. Other areas of education could use that same money with better, lasting results.

We need to talk

Someone needs to get the Republican parties together to talk. Yes, if you didn't know there are two wings in the Republican party. The right wingers (Often called the Paulyacks after Ron Paul supporters or tea partiers) and the left wing "moderates"(Often called Lamartians after their devotion to the principals of Lamar! or squishies)

It seems the left wing of the party is ready to accept people whose views contradict the core principals that the party was founded on. At the same time they want to kick out or get rid of members who support all of those same original views, sometimes to the extreme.

If we are going to go all "Big tent" and talk about pulling people in to the party who agree with us 80% of the time, then we need to also remember to pull in the people who agree with us on our core principals 90%, 100% or even 110% of the time too. They also play a vital part to our success, the lefties need to recognize, accept, encourage, recruit and support them as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interesting tax proposal

Vermont State Rep. Fred Maslack has read the Second Amendment to the U.S.. Constitution as well as Vermont 's own Constitution very carefully, and his strict interpretation of these documents is popping some eyeballs in New England and elsewhere.

Maslack recently proposed a bill to register non-gun-owners and require them to pay a $500 fee to the state. Thus Vermont would become the first state to require a permit for the luxury of going about unarmed and assess a fee of $500 for the privilege of not owning a gun.

Maslack read the "militia" phrase of the Second Amendment as not only affirming the right of the individual citizen to bear arms, but as a clear mandate to do so. He believes that universal gun ownership was advocated by the Framers of the Constitution as an antidote to a "monopoly of force" by the government as well as criminals.

Vermont's constitution states explicitly that "the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State" and those persons who "conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms" shall be required to "pay such equivalent." Clearly, says Maslack, Vermonters have a constitutional obligation to arm themselves so that they are capable of responding to "any situation that may arise".

Under the bill, adults who choose not to own a firearm would be required to register their name, address, Social Security Number, and driver's license number with the state. "There is a legitimate government interest in knowing who is prepared to defend the state should they be asked to do so," Maslack says.

Vermont already boasts a high rate of gun ownership along with the least restrictive laws of any state - it's currently the only state that allows a citizen to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. This combination of plenty of guns and few laws regulating them has resulted in a crime rate that is the third lowest in the nation.

"Don't offer it. We might take it!"

The Obama socialized medicine plan is getting close to a vote and it looks like the public option is going to be a part. The latest pitch is states will be given an opt out provision. If they don't want to take part then they can opt out.

IT sounds all well and good but is not as simple as you might think. As usual it will come down to money.

Yes, the state may have the ability to opt out of the plan but how many legislators will actually opt out of something when they will get the bill if they stay in or not? Is the federal government going to say that only the states that stay in the plan have to pay for the potential shortages created by it?

Of course not.

States like Tennessee will be toting the bill for states like California, Nevada and New York. Many legislators will argue if their constituents have to pay the bill then they want whatever small service is offered to go with it. Long term consequences be damned.

While reform is needed this plan needs to go away.

Bunch and Bell

I am sure many posts will swirl around today about Sen. Dewayne Bunch and Rep. Mike Bells decision to run for the senate. While their is plenty of time to talk about the up coming election I would like to take a few minutes and talk about Senator Bunch.

Dewayne has always been a first class person as well as a top senator. When I served with him in the house I always thought of him as one of the most well read legal minded legislators we had. When he did something it was well reasoned in law, the constitution and policy.

You may recall this last year he was one of the people who put in a ton of work trying to get reform of the judicial selection process. As a lawyer, being one of the main forces trying to make judges run for real elections well, I can only imagine the pressure he was put under to fold up on his position.

He never did and fought hard till the end.

That is just the way he is. He fought for conservative principals and goals no matter what the odds or personal consequences. Fiercely loyal, he would stick with friends and principals through thick and thin. And yes, their were some thin times. He never wavered and never let on that things bothered him. He was just a loyal person who worked hard for his beliefs.

As chair of the wrestler caucus (a group of legislators who were also former highschool or college wrestlers) his weekly meetings at Ted's Montana will never be the same. While we used to kid him about how he was supporting liberal Ted Turner by eating there Dewayne would hold fast to the location. They were one of the few restaurants that served crushed ice in their drinks. A must for a quality restaurant according to him.

While not gone yet, his sharp, dry wit will be missed on and off the senate floor in 2011 but our loss is his families and Chattanooga's gain. I rest assured in the knowledge that he will continue to raise a great family and Chattanooga will once again have another great conservative lawyer to lead the judiciary where they need to go.

And when they get there I am sure they will have crushed ice in the drinks.

Good stuff from mom

My mom sends me comments jokes and quotables on a regular basis. Many of them become the "Joke of the week" posts. Some just make me smile or think about a topic for a while. I liked this one.

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical,
unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway

If you do good,
people will accuse you of
selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful,you will win
false friends and true enemies
succeed anyway.

The good you do today
will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway

Honesty and frankness
make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women
with the biggest ideas can be
shot down by the smallest
men and women with
the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.......

...People favor underdogs
but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building
may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help
but may attack you
if you do help them.
Help people anyway

Give the world the best
you have and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you 've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Tennessee State Senator Dewayne Bunch has decided to not run for re election in 2010. Senate Dist 9 covers Polk, McMinn, Bradley and Meigs county.

State rep. Mike Bell has announced he will run for the seat.

More later.

Just some questions

I decided to ask the Attorney General some questions on my previous post and regarding the judicial selection process. Clarity is always good.

Here they are.....

Is it constitutional for there to be any financial limits for donation amounts to non legislators?

Is it constitutional for TREF or the assembly to assess penalties or set financial limits on non elected officials, lobbyists or PACs for receipt or donation of a disclosed amount above or below the current limits that go to or come from, non elected officials?

Are non legislators constitutionally guaranteed the right of free speech (through political donation) to legislators and non legislators equally? Are legislator guaranteed equal protection under the constitution for their rights of free speech similar to non legislators? Is a legislators right to free speech limited if they are limited in, or penalized by the amount they can donate to the candidate of their choice be they sitting legislator or not? Is a non legislators rights to free speech limited if the candidate of their choice is barred from accepting a donation or the full intended amount of their donation?

Who would have standing to bring a lawsuit against the state questioning the constitutionality of the judicial selection process?
Would any citizen or legislator or lawyer or former judge or lower court judge or person who was qualified to become a judge and had applied to the current process yet was rejected meet the needed criteria?
What is the criteria to have standing or to show injury in such a case?
f article 6 sec 3 and 4 provides for an election every 8 years for the full term Where in the constitution does the legislature get the power to give the governor the power to appoint a judge for the full term? Since judge Anderson and Birch served their full term and retired in 2006 and as a consequence their was going to be a vacancy to be filled for a full 8 year term by what constitutional authority did the governor appoint judges Wade and Koch to fill those impending vacancies?

If a full term was served by a judge by what constitutional authority does the legislature give the governor the right to appoint a judge to another full term over standing for contested election by the qualified voters of this state?

Loopholes for lobbyists/ Questions bring questions

Tom Humphrey's details the loophole for lobbyists to donate to campaigns in this article and sets up some interesting questions down the line.

If a law is unenforceable is it really effective in doing what it was set up to do? I would say most people would say clearly no.

A question that arises out of the Gottlieb case is the entire constitutionality of bans on donations. I think with the attorney general refusing to defend the registry of election finance it is clearly sending a message to them that he (the AG) thinks the TREF being able to limit or fine a non legislator for making a donation is not constitutional. It is an impediment to their free speech.

According to the history of the AG's actions and past statements, the limits on PAC donations are artificial and unenforceable at least on non sitting legislators. The Gottlieb case is just another example. The AG and the registry did not move on Bredesen after he donated millions to his own campaign despite the law. If they are consistent then there comes the question on can there be any limits or penalties for donations to or on non elected officials.

The AG has danced around this before, saying along the lines of legislators can decide to limit themselves in what and when they can accept. In effect that statement is saying he doubts the constitutionality of limits on "Non legislators".

If that is the case then I wonder if he considers the $2,000.00 limits on individual donation or the $5,000.00 limit on PAC's to non elected officials as constitutional? If that is not constitutional then the question on the ban on lobbyist donations to non elected officials comes into play for the same reasons.

The question of equal protection under the law then comes into play for legislators verses non legislators. Even if that did hold up in his opinion then I wonder how long it would be before legislators decide they feel at a disadvantage to non legislators and remove the limits and go with full disclosure only.

Were that not pass I wonder if some sitting legislators might step down from office to run for higher office (Say Governor) and not be limited by the donation caps or time limits.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Joke of the week (stop light edition)

A lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a sheriff's deputy. He thinks that he is smarter than the deputy because he is a lawyer from Chicago and is certain that he has a better education than any cop from Nowhere, Tennessee . . . He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Tennessee deputy's expense.

The deputy says, 'License and registration, please.'

'What for?' says the lawyer.

The deputy says, 'You didn't come to a complete stop at the stop light.'

Then the lawyer says, 'I slowed down, and no one was coming.'

'You still didn't come to a complete stop', says the deputy. 'License and registration, please.'

The lawyer says, 'What's the difference?'

'The difference is you have to come to complete stop, that's the law. License and registration, please!' the Deputy repeats.

Lawyer says, 'If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my license and registration, and you give me the ticket... If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket.'

'That sounds fair. 'Please exit your vehicle, sir,' the deputy says.
At this point, the deputy takes out his nightstick and starts beating the daylights out of the lawyer and says, 'Do you want me to stop, or to just slow down?'

Would you like to be friends?

I was bumped from my Facebook account for adding too many friends too quickly. I have appealed but have yet to receive any sort of response so I just set up a new account. If you were a friend or would like to be one I ask that you add me as a friend here.


P.S. No, I don't play "Mafia wars" or "Farm town"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"While I may not be an actual governor, I play a one on TV"

Bill Frist drops his plan to put Tennessee in the top 5 for education in 5 years. Thanks for the help and all but don't you think you could have had a greater impact on actually getting it to pass had you been the governor?

But this one never gets old!

Musicians are arguing their music should not be played for gitmo detainees. I can't see the logic in this. Are they saying even they think their music to closely resembles torture or are they really just looking for a royalty check?

I know this one could never get old.

Quote of the week (the plot thickens)

While questions on quotas/race/diversity of board members and employees is standard fair from members of the black caucus. The quote of the week has to go to one Black Caucus member who, while reviewing a board on ambulance regulations added a new twist to the line of questioning and seriously added...

"I want to know why all these ambulances always have to be WHITE!"

Someone has been listening to a little too much Louis Farrakhan.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Economy is a car crash

I have never seen or heard of a re assureing car crash but the Metro Pulse is calling the states economy "car crash" as the good news....But dont worry, its not not a train crash.

Feel reassured?


Comptroller Justin Wilson assures us that the train crash is coming in 2010. I went out to dinner with several legislators last night and they all agreed. Next year will be bad but 2010 is going to be down right ugly. Programs that may be nice but are not absolutely necessary are going to go away.

Selling of nice things like say the presidents mansion at UT could become more commonplace as budgets tighten. Of course the state does have Bredesens 20 million dollar party bunker. I wonder what the re sale value is on that thing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just too easy

Reagan Farr looses in court again. I wonder how much he cost the state total now in failed lawsuits and goofy policy like the tobacco agents across state lines.

Step two to sovereignty

The AWESOME! Rep. Susan Lynn (Who just happens to be running for the state senate in middle Tennessee) was named chairwoman on a committee to push forward the state sovereignty issue.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tennessee Right to Life dinner

Tonight at 6:30 is the annual Tennessee Right to Life dinner at Rothschild's catering 8807 Kingston pike Knoxville Tennessee.

Featured speaker is Mathew Staver Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, a national nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization established in 1989. One of the nation’s preeminent constitutional attorneys, he also serves as Dean and Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law.
Mr. Staver holds a Bachelor’s, a Master’s, a Juris Doctorate, Doctorate of Law and Doctorate of Divinity degrees. He has written ten books, most of which focus on constitutional law, including the most comprehensive book ever written on religious freedom called, Eternal Vigilance:
Knowing and Protecting Your Religious Rights.
Mr. Staver hosts Law & Justice, a 30-minute weekly TV program discussing religious liberty issues, Faith & Freedom, a 15-minute daily radio program, Freedom’s Call, a 90-second daily radio program, and Liberty Live, a weekday 1-hour, live, call-in radio program and interactive webcast focusing on topics of cultural and political interest from a Christian worldview.

You can get more info here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bigger then health care

When talking with people I often hear their fears of how Obama is going to bankrupt America with his health care plan and how it is important to stop him. While I agree, I think a bigger thing to fear is the White House taking over the census. While health care plans can be changed in the next administration, cooking the books in a census can keep bad things going for a decade or more.

That is truly scary. It would be like putting ACORN in charge of voter verification for the the next 10 years. How and why this is not getting more attention is baffling to me.

Ya notice who never gets mentioned?

When talking about a gas tax increase there is one group that seems to continually get left out of the conversation. That group?

The gas tax payer.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Joke of the week (House duty)

A husband and wife repeatedly argued about who's job it was to cook breakfast and make the coffee. The husband argued it was the wife's job. The wife argued the husbands. Finally after one particular fight the wife said.

"If I can prove to you in the bible it is your job will you do it from now on?"

"What? Impossible!" Shot back the husband.

"No!, No! Countered the wife there are entire sections of the bible written about it."

Being a bible scholar and thinking about hot coffee and biscuits for life the husband doubted his wife and agreed. Grabbing a nearby bible the husband handed it to his wife and said he will be ready for his hot coffee in 20 minutes.

The wife shot back. "You need to read this section of the bible. It tells you clearly it is your job. In fact, it was named for your future"

The title?


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Listening tour stop

I am having a listening tour stop at 10 a.m. today, Knoxville Expo Center AKA the I-75 expo center , 5441 Clinton Highway. Everyone is welcome to come by and share ideas, thoughts and concerns for the next legislative session.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Victory has many fathers.

Defeat on the other hand.....Well, this video shows the difference

David Oatney is calling an end to Jimmy Naifeh's reign as "The man" in the Democrat party. I am not so sure. He has been down and expected out before.

Word from the hill was before the election Jimmy was walking around calling Ty Cobb the lock for victory. He was all over the place saying it was a shoe in. Smiling and flexing the political muscle as if he made it all happen.

Election night and the next day was another story. The tune from Naifeh changed to Turner Fu@%$& it up! Turner Fu@%$& it up!

Was the loss Turner's fault or was there some blame shifting going on to protect position?

With the Democrats dropping numbers a reach across the aisle is their only hope to keep power. Most Democrats know this.

Naifeh has been pretty good at making a comeback. Odem stuck the knife in him at the beginning of this year and and became the top dog for a while but then it got out and Odem fell from grace inter party. He still has the title, but where he goes in 2010 is not looking good. His friend list across the isle is all but non existent and its not like he hasn't been given chances. His partisanship has a real nasty personal feel to it. Most Republicans feel his warm cuddly side is a cross between a mad porcupine and a dead blow fish. Naifeh looked to be making a B line back to being the man who would negotiate for power for sure.

While others have the ability, The top two warm cuddles that look to be making a move are Mike Turner and possibly Fincher who has had a rather sudden shift in styles.

Of those two, it looks as if it is Turner who has started to climb into position first. He was working it hard. He turned down a top paying gig as a potential lobbyist, he has been building coalitions and working as an intermediary between the parties. To Turners credit, in that, he has a real gift. While I and many other Republicans disagree with him on about every issue. Most everyone gets along with him. Democrat and Republican. He is the Democrat Reagan talked about. Not evil. He just knows so much that isn't so. Last year he did the dirty work of backing up Odem for the party and he worked on the Cobb campaign long and hard.

All that work puts Naifeh back out in the cold. Or at least the cool. Could the blame shift be to help Naifeh get back to the front burner? Could be. Will it work? Depends on if the blame will stay all on Turner and if Fincher doesn't make a run.

Missing the horn honkers

Speaker emeritus Jimmy Naifeh and Speaker pro tem Lois Deberry talk tax increases and we all know what that means.

While I doubt IT will come back this year this little spiel could be a stalking horse for other tax and fee increases to come.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Keep the streak alive!

Some times baseball players get on hot streaks. A 56 game hitting streak. Not missing a game for years. In other sports it could be a long winning streak over a competitor or possibly a long streak of touchdown passes or completions.

In politics, there is one streak I would love to keep going. That is Phil Bredesens winless streak in campaigns for open house and senate seats. It is a running joke in the house that the "Kiss of death" for a Democrat is when Phil Bredesen comes to campaign for them. It is like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated before the season starts. When Phil shows, they lose. I love it.

I am not alone on this. When talking with other Republicans about campaigns I don't know how many times I have heard "Boy, I thought I was in real trouble in my race. No, Really, I was nervous. Then Phil showed up for my opponent and I knew I was in the clear!" A good story teller might add on how after seeing Phil they went on vacation or started watching "I Love Lucy" re runs or something like that.

This is usually followed by huge belly laughs all around. I don't care how much it gets told. It is always hysterical to us.

Lets keep the streak alive in 2010!

You talk. We listen.

I am inspired by the next two posts. Both stories were activated and impacted by actions brought forward by citizens. I would like to think you will see more of this sort of thing as we continue to push for a more open and responsive government.

Anyway Big hat tip to them.

Democrat funny money

Tennessee registry of election finance is about to go after two Democrats for questionable financial disclosures Joe Towns for not reporting where his money went and Sen. Tim Barnes for not disclosing services received while in his court fight to unseat Rosoland Kurita after she clearly won the Democrat primary. The Barnes vote is a second tentative victory for David R. Nemirow of Clarksville, who filed complaints against Barnes earlier this year.

Taxation by ticketing

Tom Humphrey gives a rundown on some proposed rule changes for revenue cameras, A.K.A. Red light/speed cameras. Tona Monroe-Ball one of the citizens pushing for change at the meeting was a candidate for state office last year.

Among the proposed changes in state law:

-Require that the yellow color remain for at least four seconds before changing from green to red at intersections with cameras monitoring red lights. Longer periods of yellow would be allowed in accord with national standards in areas with higher speed limits.

-Giving motorists one second of leeway after the light changes to red. Monroe-Ball said many tickets are now based on a half-second of red time, while research shows the worst accidents occur after nine seconds of red time - indicating the motorist is deliberately ignoring the signal.

-Prohibiting tickets when a motorist turns right on red after appropriately slowing and yielding to any oncoming vehicles, rather than using the current rule of issuing a ticket if the motorist fails to come to a complete stop.

-Requiring that at least a portion of revenue generated by camera tickets be spent on public safety, driver education or law enforcement.

Under full disclosure I have received a red light ticket. The third proposed change would have negated it and I was against the red light cameras before I got the ticket.

Quote of the day

"Eskimos have over 40 ways to say the word "snow". None that I can say here.

I have over 40 things I would like to call Olimpia Snow. None that I can say here."

Tip of the hat to S.C.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Indictments coming

Voter fraud in upper east Tennessee?! Wow. You expect the stories from Memphis or Shelby county. They are legendary. But upper east? No way!


It is now coming out this is a state wide problem that will show as more and more rampant as investigations are complete. This is one example of why it is important Republicans lead. Republicans have yelled and screamed about this for years but the old Democrat leadership had a lock on the election commission officials. We got nowhere. With the switch in power, Republicans took over the leadership for about half the county election commissions and started cleaning house. This is one story from one small county but it wont be the only one.

Or the last.

From the Bristol Herald Courier....

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. – Sullivan County elections officials are building a case against a group of 25 to 75 people they claim committed voter fraud during last year’s election cycle.....

Booher said local election commissions have a duty to ensure their voter roles are up to date. That means purging the lists on a regular basis of people who have died, moved – or lost their voting rights.....

So over the summer, his office compiled a list of people who were convicted of felonies in state and federal courts since the 1990s, but who have not yet had their rights restored. Comparing the lists to voter roles, Goins said, they found 13,000 people who had similar names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth.
“When I first came in to office [February], this is something that I’ve wanted to do,“ Goins said.
In July, Goins sent his list to local election officials, and told them to focus their efforts on what he called “hard matches,“ registered voters who had the exact identifying information as convicted felons....

...He is focusing his efforts on the third group of “hard matches” – the 25 to 75 people he said lied on their registration forms when they failed to check the box indicating they were convicted felons and then cast ballots anyway......

...If Wells does decide to file charges, he won’t be the first. Goins said a grand jury in Lauderdale County, Tenn., has indicted nine people on voter fraud charges based on the information on their voter registration forms.

“I expect there will be more,“ Goins said.

I also expect more. A LOT more.

Hundreds of felons voting. Guess where?


Winners and losers

Last nights results were sweet for some, bitter sweet for others and probably just bitter for a few.

The big win goes to Pat Marsh. He gets the double chocolate cake. A lot of times it just comes down to the candidate. Pat is a good one who worked hard even when he didn't want to. Politics can be rough and mean. Pat sucked it up and did what he had to do to win. He finished the deal and closed out strong.

A big piece of cake goes to Glen Casada, Jason Mumpower and Ward Baker who helped recruit and guide Pat. They also coordinated volunteers for the campaign after the primary and helped raise money. I know for our caucus retreat it was, Learn info, Make calls for Pat, learn some more, Make calls for Pat. When you are done making calls, you can make calls for Pat. After the retreat we were all strongly encouraged to go and help knock on doors for Pat.

What can you say. It worked. We won. Great job. Those who eat well usually like to share so I would say a lot of that cake will go to the voters and the caucus team.

The bitter sweet goes to Tennessee Right to Life. Possibly some rhubarb pie. For them it was a mixed bag. While their candidate did not win this one and they probably lost a little credibility in their argument that they can sway a big race. They also won in that they were able to do what many said they wouldn't or couldn't do. They showed that a person does not automatically get the endorsement from them just because they have an (R) by their name. They showed they could make a choice based on what they thought was best for their cause based on the information they had on hand at the time. They also won in that I am sure Pat will step up and do what is right when the time comes. I think most voters knew that and unfortunately the Dems have a bad history on this issue that hurt their candidate.

The going hungry award goes to Kent Williams and his supporters for his leadership run. They gave lip service to Marsh but they can count. They knew what this race meant and they know this makes it extra difficult. Pat has locked in for the Republican nominee. That won't be Kent. They lost Cobb's vote and are back big when the time comes.

The wind is blowing.

The nasty sandwich goes to the Democrat party. They worked hard but made some key mistakes. Some were obvious, others not so much. A lot of the big ones are already being or have been discussed. Am I going to tell them what their little mistakes were that made a big difference? NO! I want them to make them again and again. They have a history of doing that. I will say I have seen them do it on every campaign I have worked on for the last few years and they have lost about every single one. When I am out campaigning and see them do it I just shake my head and smile. I think to myself.

Dig in boys! Eat all you want!

I look into my Crystal ball and what do I see?

First, Al Gore lost his home state in his presidential bid. Then the Democrats lost the state senate. Then the Democrats lost Al Gore's home district (badly). The same year Democrats lost a clear majority in the state house. Now they lost another Democrat stronghold that has NEVER been held by a Republican (Badly again). At least three other seats were well within striking distance in 08 and their Republican opponents are coming back. As I said earlier, a year ago was a hugely up Democrats, down Republican year. This next election will be the other way around, but worse.

Think just those three are in play for 2010? Think again.

More potential Republican candidates are being searched out for possible pick up districts. This next election could be BIG for Republicans in Tennessee.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Separated at birth

Mayor Bill Haslam

Comedian Dana Carvey

For those of thin skin, this post is not meant as any sort of insult. I just saw Carvey last nigh on Leno and thought the resemblance was uncanny.

Ward Cammack interview

As Promised here is the Ward Cammack interview. I had been working on putting it up on Youtube this last weekend but was having problems with the sound. Conveniently the Cammack campaign put it up on another video provider. Here is the un cut video. Wards interview was little shorter, while he responded to the same number of questions as the Republican candidates his responses were more brief. The questions were similar but some had a more Democrat slant.

Although all candidates were asked I give credit to Ward for being the only Democrat candidate having the guts to show up and respond to tough questions.

Devaney on the block

A lot is being made out of one state house race in district 62. Is it really Pat Marsh Versus Ty Cobb on the ballot or the new state Republican leadership of Chris Devaney Vs. Robin Smith and Bill Hobbs that is up for a vote?

Some could say the two races are the same.

Former state party chair Robin Smith and Media man Bill Hobbs took a bunch of unknown, underfunded Republican candidates in a hugely down Republican year and won a (Temporary as it was) Republican majority for the first time ever. Shocking, unbelievable, yet hugely effective.

Robin and Bill never missed an opportunity to tout their candidates talking points as well as point out flaws in the oppositions viewpoints in creative ways. They were masters at it. They could strike and move like Muhammad Ali. They motivated the base, informed, schooled and guided candidates away from pitfalls, created a great campaign plan and kept everyone fired up all the way to victory. It wasn't just talk and adds. They were willing to work it. Robin was well known as a warrior at the clubs and rallies, she did the hard work that helped get us 4 seat.

With Robin Smith stepping aside to go for a congressional seat, it is now time for the Devaney administrations turn. Chris came in with a lot of expectations to live up to. The party's "old guard" went to the mat to get him the position. They were tired of the Smith and Hobbs attack machine and wanted someone more in their image. More reserved and laid back, less confrontational, more moderate and willing to coalition build. Out went the Smith and Hobbs machine in one fell swoop. Back in came the old guard with Devaney.

A lot is riding on this race as far as Devaneys credibility goes. One thing promised by the old guard was the building of a solid house majority coming out of 2010. While Robin did "OK" just wait and see what Devaney could do. This could be a bell weather for him and his leadership.

Devaney has a great well funded candidate in Pat Marsh. Probably better funded then any Republican state house candidate in my memory. Pat is sharp, willing to work and an all round nice guy. It is a Republican leaning district that went huge for McCain. It is a hugely Up Republican, down Democrat year and Democrats don't traditionally come out in special elections. All Marsh needs is guidance.

His opponent is and has been a pinata looking for a baseball bat. Dodging debates, questionable ability to serve and just riding on family name.

This time the Dems don't have the money or the candidate but they are not sitting back. They have worked hard at turning the tables on Republicans. They have struck and moved like we used to. They touted this race at their events and on their website like no other and featured Ty Cobb like he was the second coming. They are working it.

This is a golden opportunity for Republicans to put number 51 in the bank. An easy pick up with a little work and creativity. A lot is riding on this election and yes, it is more then Marsh vs. Cobb.

It is to show if Devaney can keep the mo' going.

What will happen?

We will see on Tuesday night.

Lynn sways Lamar!

A letter highlighted here and by the Wall Street Journal may have helped sway Lamar! on his vote for cap and tax legislation. Good job Rep. Susan!

Bredesen expects to follow current spending plan

As I figured a few months ago the budget for the next few years is going to be tight. Bredesen is going to raid reserve funds spend, future project money now and go out of office looking like Santa Clause leaving the next governor to look like Ebeneser Scrooge. I never thought he would admit it. In fact I took some heat for suggesting it was possible that he would even think it.

Well, here it is. He admits it when talking about the future and what future governors will have to clean up from his mess.....

" we will have not given state employees or teachers a raise for five years, our pension plans will need shoring up, our cash reserves ('rainy day fund') will have been considerably depleted and in need of restoration, and we will not have made any substantial new investments for years," the letter says.

Also at that point, he said, the next governor - Bredesen's term ends in January 2011 - will have dealt with "major cuts" to state programs.

"It's going to take at least a full decade to dig our way out and back to where we were prior to the recession," he said.

While I admit the recession has hurt the states income will he at least acknowledge state spending has grown wildly under his budgets? Don't bet on it. Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to recovery. I give him credit for at least admitting the problem. Now lets do something proactive about it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gubers tout issues, pepper attacks

A run down of some gubernatorial rumblings.

At one forum they talked issues for economic development. Jimmy Kyle put a twist on an issue I have touted on this blog...

Kyle also said people think “merger” when the word “restructuring” is used to streamline Tennessee’s higher education governance, consisting of the Board of Regents, University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

“I think the technology centers should be pulled out from the Board of Regents, and I’m inclined to put them under ECD (Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development),” Kyle suggested.

Ramsey agreed change was needed in higher ed but said was still studying options.

Wamp, the Chattanooga Republican who has Oak Ridge in his congressional district, suggested new jobs could emerge out of a growing defense sector fighting the War on Terror.

Wamp was later later criticized for being co sponsor of a bill that would force states into arbitration with unions. This is an issue the unions desperately want in Tennessee. At the state level, so far, we have been able to stop it.

Meanwhile Wamp comes back and tries to carve into Ramseys home base of Unicoi county after Ramsey called Wamp a non factor saying...

Wamp and Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, the final Republican, are good men. But he said Haslam is the only one that could keep him from moving into the governor’s mansion.

He said he is the most qualified person in the race and that the only thing that made Haslam a factor was the amount of money he could infuse into the campaign.

Wamp retorted...

I’ve got the best experience, tremendous fundraising tempo, the biggest grassroots political organization in the state,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of momentum. We’ve got as much momentum right now as anybody in either party. And I actually believe I’m going to win.”

He said he could be the victor even if he is outspent 3-1.

Meanwhile, Haslam was not quoted and failed to appear at the forum but has been spotted lately wearing cowboy boots while out campaigning. Things must be getting serious.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Just curious

Now that Obama has won his Peace prize will he increase the number of troops in Afghanistan? I know he has been putting off the decision for about a month.

I would hate to think the president put our undermanned troops in the field in danger just so he could win a prize but it does sound a little fishy.

The battle of ideas and money

A rundown of ideas, arguments and news being thrown around with higher ed.

The state wants higher and faster graduation rates Currently the state funding system is based on enrollment. Not graduation. That may change. The lottery may also be opened up to summer courses to speed graduation. The kicker with this is there is usually a cost cut for courses taken at or over full time level. This may not be the case for summer school. In the end if the universities don't adjust costs for lottery scholarship students it could end up hurting the number of people eligible to enroll and the viability of the idea.

UT wants about 800 million more dollars for building projects, travel, etc..

UT pulls in a new high of $200 million from increases in science research funding. Although some students I have talked to are not such big fans of all the research. Seems the teachers end up spending all their time doing the research and the students end up being taught by grad students.

Fed cuts funding for ICE detention

This excellent article by the Tennessean details the cut funding for holding of illegal aliens caught in Nashville by about a third. Now instead of illegal aliens being kept in jails awaiting deportation they will be kept in nursing homes and hotels.

Does anyone besides me see a problem with this?

What is there to keep them from just walking away to avoid deportation?

I guess that is governments way of decreasing costs. When they are back out on the street the short term costs go away. The report state over 3,000 illegal aliens have been deported from Nashville last year. All were apprehended while being investigated for criminal activity.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Is government closer to the people more responsive?

To make local decisions, it is usually best to leave it up to the locals to decide. On the gun issue, the state turned over the decision power to the locals. Some liked guns in parks, others did not. With the states action at least the locals were allowed to make a decision. Government closer to the people. While some want preemptive law I don't see the votes to do it this next year. Many legislators voted not for the guns in parks but more for the law because it allowed the locals to decide.

One more decision I think should be turned over to the locals is the decision on if they would like to elect or appoint their local school superintendent. I am sure some communities would say no and some would say yes but it would be a decision that would be decided locally. The people who would be closest to the result would have the ultimate power to decide. Government closer to the people. No preemption by the state.

The current system is appoint only (State preemption). While this may be a fit for some, other small school systems find they are turning into training systems for big school systems and people who want to be big system administrators. The people get appointed the title, stay a short while and jump to a bigger better paying school system. With an election system it is more likely that a local person may win the job and stick around for a while.

There is a lot of prejudice against local people gaining position in some cities. It is like some people think it is impossible for a local person to have good ideas or care about a local school system as much as someone from far away. It is crazy. I don't get it, but as Jesus lamented sometime a prophit is least recognized in his home town. In some towns it is the other way around. They desperately want the locals to get a real chance.

I think this year could be a year to let the locals decide this issue as well and remove the states preemption.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Listen to the chicken and get plucked

Ty Cobb is chicken to debate Pat Marsh on any issue. This is getting embarrassing for Cobb. What is that now? 0 for 3?
What is Cobb so afraid of? His handlers love to take pot shots from the bushes but when it comes time to talk about the issues people care about where is the candidate?

Why can't Cobb speak for himself? It is not like he is walking into the lions den. He is even dodging events that are being co-hosted by Democrats! Pat Marsh was not afraid and personally showed up and presented his views for all to see and hear.

Possibly someone showed Ty Cobb Pat Marshes latest campaign head shots featured below

People of house district 62 should be weary of any candidate who won't personally tell you how he feels and refuses to stand up to any competition. What will he do if he were to get into the house? Take a powder every time a tough issue comes up?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lynn puts Lamar! into the wall

Rep. Susan Lynn fires hard at Lamar! Alexander in the Wall Street Journal for considering Cap and Tax legislation.

Killing the top 10

I find it interesting how people are all up in arms about getting Mark Sanford and any other politician who has an affair to step down from office as quickly as possible. But I wonder how many of these same people can't wait to see David Letterman do his latest top 10.

What is the difference? How many of these screaming, jumping up and down mad people will never watch Dave again? How bout a boycott of products advertised on his shows or sending a letter to the editor about what an embarrassment he is and how he should step down?

Just a thought.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Turner following in John Fords footsteps

Rep. Mike turner is looking to possibly taking a big job with the Tennessee State Employees union.

From the Andy Sher article...

The chairman of the state House Democratic Caucus said he sees no conflict of interest if he becomes the paid head of the Tennessee State Employees Association, a group that frequently lobbies the General Assembly.

Rep. Mike Turner, D-Nashville, confirmed he is interested in the 16,000-member association's vacant post. If he were to be hired by the association, Rep. Turner said, he plans to continue serving in the House where he represents the Old Hickory area.

"I don't think it's any conflict," Rep. Turner said.

While previous association chiefs have registered as lobbyists, he said he "would not do that ... I would not be lobbying."

Mike has been a long time strong arm for the unions in Nashville who has not been afraid to throw the unions considerable weight around as he works to pass their legislative package. But if he thinks he can take a paying job that has always involved lobbying for the unions, well I think he ought to confer with former Senator John Ford and Doral dental on that first. Rep. Gary Moore as I recall stepped down from a similar high union position when he joined the legislature. For Mike to want to step into a position like that and stay in the legislature... it just doesn't pass the smell test.

Besides, there is a one year cooling off period before a person can officially start lobbying after retiring from the legislature.

Members have gone down the road of quiting the legislature, joining a group that lobbies (But not actually lobbying themselves for a year) but in a year begin lobbying. It would not be new ground.

Although he would probably say no, Could that be Mikes path? Could the legislature be looking at another open seat? Could the big gun for the unions and the Democrat party actually be looking at hanging up his legislative spurs to settle into some big paying union lobbyist gig? It would be a good fit, but not right now. Not if he stays in the legislature. Mike should know you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I found the cheese!

This story completely cracks me up. "Fugitive couple hide from law in corn maze. Can't be found for hours!" I just can't get a live version of Pac-Man out of my head. It is just hilarious to me.

I can see it all now. As the fugitive couple is being taken away in the police car the man saying "Heck yea! This completely counts as taking you out on a date!"

If you are so inclined to go to a corn maze here is an easy way to find one in your area.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Quote of the day

"There is nothing more unamerican then a "nonprofit". You show me a "nonprofit" and I will show you a bunch of overpaid executives with huge expense accounts flying around the country in fancy jets, staying in the finest hotels, eating the best meals and patting each other on the back talking about how wonderful they are." *

*Legislators name withheld to protect the legislator.


When people ask me about being a legislator and what it's like I often say it is very rewarding but can also be very frustrating. It is rewarding in that you can bring attention to problems but it can be frustrating when you can't make the needed change as fast as you want.

Yesterday and this morning were just such situations. I started yesterday morning at breakfast with a constituent. He is a social worker from Knoxville who works with physically and sexually abused children in Scott County.

I don't think I have to draw you a lot of pictures. It is bad. Things that make your stomach turn. Kids with drug addicted parents who sexually abuse and or physically abuse their children on a regular basis or just neglect them to the point of starvation. Only about 25% of the reported abuse cases are ever even investigated in Tennessee. Why? No money. No money for enough social workers who do investigations and no money to keep the children when abuse is found.

As a member of the children and family services committee I see the problem and the solution. The long term problem is a chain of abuse that that goes parent to child for generations. Kids growing up in filth and squalor with no one who cares about them and in many cases abuses them. They run away to get away and fall into the same trap. Drugs, prostitution, abuse, poverty and the cycle repeats.

While the goal to keep kids in a unified family is admirable, many times in abuse cases it is not realistic or helpful to the children. Unfortunately many times it is a forced situation. Children are forced back into situations where it is all but known the abuse will continue. Again, No money to continue care.

There are some places for these children that have given a good result. Children's homes (orphanages) have gotten a bad rap over the years, probably leftover from old b movies that painted them as terrible places, but in most cases they are way better then where these kids are coming from and they have a pretty good history of breaking the cycle. Churches used to do a lot of it, but the separation of church and state crowd have worked hard to kill that avenue.

We are now left with the state option. Why doesn't the state have more children's homes to help these abused children? Again, no money to build or staff them. That is why when I see things like the governor having a party for his 18 million dollar party bunker my blood about boils. The bunker is just one symptom of the problem. The problem is the confused priorities I see over and over that we don't quite have the votes to change yet. That to me is the bad part of the job. That, to me, is frustration.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Joke of the week (liberal or conservative quiz)

If a *conservative* doesn’t like guns, he doesn`t buy one.
If a *liberal *doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a *conservative* is a vegetarian, he doesn`t eat meat.
If a *liberal* is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products
banned for everyone.

If a *conservative* sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how
to defeat his enemy.
A *liberal *wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a *conservative *is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a *liberal* is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a person of color is *conservative*, they see themselves as
independently successful.
Their *liberal *counterparts see themselves as victims in need
of government protection.

If a *conservative* is down-and-out, he thinks about how to
better his situation.
A *liberal *wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a *conservative* doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches
Liberals* demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a *conservative* is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A *liberal *non-believer wants any mention of God and religion
silenced. (Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)

If a *conservative *decides he needs health care, he goes about
shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A *liberal* demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a *conservative *slips and falls in a store, he gets up,
laughs and is embarrassed.
If a *liberal *slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like
he's in labor and then sues.

Are all gun ban's moot?

Are all of these city and county bans on legal gun owners about to be shown as unconstitutional? It could be decided soon. I have been wondering about this. I knew after the Heller supreme court decision it would only be a matter of time. I thought we might see more lawsuits at the local level to overturn the local gun bans in city and county parks. Some speakers even brought it up at the Knoxville city council workshop on guns in parks arguing a ban could set the city up for such a lawsuit. I guess people were already on it at the federal level. Expect a supreme court decision around June.

When you dont elect judges.....

Illegal immigration control specialist Donna Locke has contacted me with a closer look at the people who keep our judges in office since we are not allowed to elect them. Do these people who review judges bring a bias or are they completely neutral and better then the average voter as some suggest? You decide.

The following is a guest piece by Donna Locke.

Let's look at those recent court-panel appointments in Tennessee,

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090921/NEWS03/909210339/Latinas++appointments+bring+diversity+to+TN+judicial+commissions .

We see that Renata Soto, co-founder and executive director of Conexion Americas in Nashville, http://conamericas.com/, has been appointed to Tennessee's Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, which evaluates appellate-level judges up for re-election.

Conexion Americas, we see via its aptly named URL, http://conamericas.com/ContentPage.aspx?WebPageId=17791&GroupId=4197, is a "proud affiliate" of the National Council of La Raza, http://www.nclr.org/, a major, heavily-funded champion of illegal migration from Latin American countries into the United States. NCLR, which I consider a truly subversive, hateful endeavor, has never met a U.S. immigration law it didn't try to undermine and subvert.



"The National Council of La Raza bills itself as a 'Latino civil rights organization…[that] works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.' In reality, the organization has long been at the forefront of the effort to stop all meaningful immigration enforcement measures and has been a powerful lobbying force for amnesty and expanding immigration." -- Federation for American Immigration Reform,

What exactly are they doing over at Conexion Americas? Their overt mission could be summarized as assisting the integration of Hispanics into Tennessee. The org provides a number of services to that end. On the "Our Guiding Values" page on Conexion's Web site, we read:

"We believe that the process of integration demands our diligent effort to understand, participate in and contribute to our host community while embracing, sharing and maintaining our cultural heritage." Hmm.


"We believe making services available to immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, is not only desirable in terms of human and social development, but also is a fair response of the host community in recognition for the contributions of immigrants." Got it.

We know from news reports that Renata Soto has organized and spoken up in solidarity with rallies by and for illegal aliens in Tennessee. For example, according to those reports, in 2006 Soto helped organize participation in Tennessee for "A Day Without Immigrants," a day of nationwide work-walkouts, rallies, and marches for immigrant "rights" (or "demands" as the case may be).

A May 2, 2006, Shelbyville Times-Gazette story headlined "Little impact seen locally from Latino walkout" supplies this information:

"Still, organizer Renata Soto, a native of Costa Rica, said, 'We are appreciative of our host community that we have adopted as our new home, and all we ask is the right to work legally and be recognized as workers that are essential to this economy.'

In Chattanooga, City Council member Manuel Rico, a son of Mexican parents, said he disagreed with the event. He said illegal immigrants should not be creating a spectacle.

'They are here illegally ... If they are going to be here they should just mind their own business. It hurts all the brown people,' he said. 'Everybody paints us with the same brush.'

Rico, who said he was born and raised in Texas, said immigrants 'need to learn the language and learn our laws.'"

-- http://www.t-g.com/story/1151015.html

According to its Web site, Conexion Americas provides "information and referral" services to immigrants. I wonder if this is like the services provided to fresh illegal arrivals by an Atlanta-based Mexican consul general, who secretly (though recorded by off-duty INS officers) advised fresh illegal arrivals on how to evade our laws and how to tap into every freebie, taxpayer- and/or corporate-funded and otherwise -- with plenty of innocuous-sounding assistance agencies to back him up.

Information and referral. Services like that. We discovered that illegal aliens and the Mexican government know our welfare system and other "services" better than we do. After all, we are only the "host."

Well, let's look at federal law. We may be the only ones doing that. Specifically, Section 274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C. 1324].

Sec. 274. [8 U.S.C. 1324]

(a) Criminal Penalties.-

(1) (A) Any person who-

(iv) encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law, shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B); or

(v) 1/ (I) engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or

(II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts,

(B) A person who violates subparagraph (A) shall, for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs-

(i) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i) or (v)(I) 2/ or in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), or (iv) in which the offense was done for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, 3/ be fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned not more than 10years, or both;

(ii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v)(II), 4/ be fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both;

(iii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) 5/ during and in relation to which the person causes serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18, United States Code) to, or places in jeopardy the life of, any person, be fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned not more than 20years, or both; and

(iv) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) resulting in the death of any person, be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined under title 18, United States Code, or both.
That's from http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-8305.html#0-0-0-322. Some footnotes and references to amendments linked to in the document on that site and showing up as numbers in the copy-and-paste here may not show up as links here.

-- Donna Locke