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

Monday, November 30, 2009

"I'm not red yet!"


Andy Sher recaps a few of the ideas floating around on the red light cameras including extending the yellow lights for one second. How has it worked for safety issues elsewhere?

When Dalton’s first full year of red-light enforcement began in 2008, the Georgia city, using a private contractor, issued 6,906 red-light camera citations, according to figures provided by Dalton police. In February 2008 alone, 624 camera citations were issued.

In February 2009, after the new law took effect, photo-enforcement citations plunged. Just 125 of the citations were issued — almost an 80 percent drop from the previous February.


Of course if revenue is the goal.....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Now we are talking

I love it when the legislation I am thinking about gets done before I bring it. This puts us half way there. Now we need some help for people who want to get into the nursing profession.

From my goals for the new year from march, 09...

Lower standards to keep lottery scholarships in difficult or needed majors and give more scholarship funding to students in these majors to encourage people to enter the sciences, math, nursing, teaching majors. Add in loan forgiveness for students in these fields if they stay and work in state.

From today's KNS...

The goal is to enroll 200 students in four years, beginning in fall 2010. UT currently graduates around 14 students with licenses in math or science each year. VolsTeach students will have opportunities for paid internships and community outreach activities.

"Students are going to be treated extremely well in this program," Susan Riechert, co-director of the grant and biology professor at UT, said.

"If they need to work, we'll find them potential places to work, and we'll find the money for them to do that. They'll have their own student work room and resource room and commons area, all in Greve Hall."

Friday, November 27, 2009

God speed lil' Larry

Rep. Larry Turner (A.K.A. Little Larry) has passed on to the great reward this morning after an extended illness. May he rest in peace and his family find happiness in the memory of their time together.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving


The tradition introduced by European Americans of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back well over four centuries in America. For example, such thanksgivings occurred in 1541 at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas with Coronado and 1,500 of his men; 1 in 1564 at St. Augustine, Florida with French Huguenot (Protestant) colonists; 2 in 1598 at El Paso, Texas with Juan de OƱate and his expedition; 3 in 1607 at Cape Henry, Virginia with the landing of the Jamestown settlers; 4 in 1619 at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia; 5 (and many other such celebrations). But it is primarily from the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving celebration of 1621 that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving Day.

The Pilgrims set sail for America on September 6, 1620, and for two months braved the harsh elements of a storm-tossed sea. Upon disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they held a prayer service and then hastily began building shelters; however, unprepared for such a harsh New England winter, nearly half of them died before spring. 6 Emerging from that grueling winter, the Pilgrims were surprised when an Indian named Samoset approached them and greeted them in their own language, explaining to them that he had learned English from fishermen and traders. A week later, Samoset returned with a friend named Squanto, who lived with the Pilgrims and accepted their Christian faith. Squanto taught the Pilgrims much about how to live in the New World, and he and Samoset helped forge a long-lasting peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford described Squanto as “a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . and never left [us] till he died.” 7

That summer, the Pilgrims, still persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Indians, 8 reaped a bountiful harvest. 9 As Pilgrim Edward Winslow (later to become the Governor) affirmed, “God be praised, we had a good increase of corn”; “by the goodness of God, we are far from want.” 10 The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends 11 – America’s first Thanksgiving Festival. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days of feasting (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), of play (the young Pilgrim and Wampanoag men engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and of prayer. This celebration and its accompanying activities were the origin of the holiday that Americans now celebrate each November.

However, while the Pilgrims enjoyed times of prosperity for which they thanked God, they also suffered extreme hardships. In fact, in 1623 they experienced an extended and prolonged drought. Knowing that without a change in the weather there would be no harvest and the winter would be filled with death and starvation, Governor Bradford called the Pilgrims to a time of prayer and fasting to seek God’s direct intervention. Significantly, shortly after that time of prayer – and to the great amazement of the Indian who witnessed the scene – clouds appeared in the sky and a gentle and steady rain began to fall. As Governor Bradford explained:

It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in abundance, as that ye earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith, which did so apparently revive and quicken ye decayed corn and other fruits as was wonderful to see, and made ye Indians astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. 12
The drought had been broken; the fall therefore produced an abundant harvest; there was cause for another thanksgiving. The Pilgrim practice of designating an official time of Thanksgiving spread into neighboring colonies and became an annual tradition. 13 And just as those neighboring colonies followed the Pilgrims’ example of calling for days of thanksgiving, so, too, did they adopt their practice of calling for a time of prayer and fasting. The New England Colonies therefore developed a practice of calling for a day of prayer and fasting in the spring, and a day of prayer and thanksgiving in the fall.

The Thanksgiving celebrations so common throughout New England did not begin to spread southward until the American Revolution, when Congress issued eight separate national Thanksgiving Proclamations. (Congress also issued seven separate proclamations for times of fasting and prayer, for a total of 15 official prayer proclamations during the American Revolution. 14)

America’s first national Thanksgiving occurred in 1789 with the commencement of the federal government. According to the Congressional Record for September 25 of that year, the first act after the Framers completed the framing of the Bill of Rights was that:

Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:
Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. . . .
Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving on any single event not only as a laudable one in itself but also as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ. . . . This example he thought worthy of a Christian imitation on the present occasion. 15
That congressional resolution was delivered to President George Washington, who heartily concurred with the request and issued the first federal Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring in part:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection. 16
That same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church (of which President Washington was a member) announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.” 17 Following President Washington’s initial proclamation, national Thanksgiving Proclamations occurred only sporadically (another by President Washington in 1795, one by John Adams in 1799, one by James Madison in 1814 and again in 1815, etc.); 18 most official Thanksgiving observances occurred at the state level. In fact, by 1815, the various state governments had issued at least 1,400 official prayer proclamations, almost half for times of thanksgiving and prayer and the other half for times of fasting and prayer. 19

Much of the credit for the adoption of Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a popular lady’s books containing poetry, art work, and articles by America’s leading authors. For nearly three decades, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, 20 contacting president after president until Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of that November. The Thanksgiving proclamation issued by Lincoln was remarkable not only for its strong religious content but also for its timing, for it was delivered in the midst of the darkest days of the Civil War, with the Union having lost battle after battle throughout the first three years of that conflict. Yet, despite those dark circumstances, Lincoln nevertheless called Americans to prayer with an air of positive optimism and genuine thankfulness, noting that:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, Who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. 21
That remarkable Thanksgiving Proclamation came at a pivotal point in Lincoln’s spiritual life. Three months earlier, the Battle of Gettysburg had occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. It had been while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he first committed his life to Christ. As he later explained to a clergyman:

When I left Springfield [Illinois, to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. 22
The dramatic spiritual impact resulting from that experience was not only visible in Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation (and also his 1864 call for a day of prayer and fasting) but especially in his 1865 Second Inaugural Address.

Over the seventy-five years following Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day (but the date of the celebrations varied widely from proclamation to proclamation). In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of each November, and in 1941, Congress permanently established that day as the national Thanksgiving holiday. 23

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, remember to retain the original gratefulness to God that has always been the spirit of this – the oldest of all American holidays. (Below are representative examples of the scores of Thanksgiving proclamations penned by various Founding Fathers.)

[Congress] recommended [a day of] . . . thanksgiving and praise [so] that “the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and join . . . their supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, to forgive [our sins] and . . . to enlarge [His] kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” 24 Continental Congress, 1777 – written by SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION SAMUEL ADAMS AND RICHARD HENRY LEE

[I] appoint . . . a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God . . . to [ask] Him that He would . . . pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would . . . spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; . . . and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue. 25 GOVERNOR THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1779

[I] appoint . . . a day of public thanksgiving and praise . . . to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us . . . [by giving to] us . . . the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation. And [to] present our supplications...that He would forgive our manifold sins and . . . cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth. 26 GOVERNOR JOHN HANCOCK, 1790


Hat tip: David Barton

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hill on education

Rep. Matthew Hill talks education and some possible pre k changes that may be coming.

Education and jobs or independence and growth?

George Korda does an interesting article on the need for education in being the lynch pin to get good paying jobs. While he makes many great points (As usual) I tend to see the need in areas bigger then education.

What? Impossible you say? Education is the end all be all for a good future and life. Right?

Well, lets do some math. In the article it talks about how 40,000 people had already applied for a job at the new VW plant. 100,000 were expected to try and fill the 2,000 positions. Probably the known stipulation that a two year diploma was required to get a job kept some away.

Fine. Lets just say at least half of them knew and fit the requirement going in. No, Lets make it even harder then that. Lets say only one in ten had the requirement. Even though Tennessee has a much higher college graduation rate then that (it is in the mid 20's) we still have at least 4,000 well educated and qualified people to fill 2,000 job openings and that is an absolute minimum. I would expect it is more like half to two thirds knew and have the education and qualifications to fit the bill. That is more like ten people trying to fill every position. If we double the number of college graduates or even tripled it, would that suddenly in and of itself produce more jobs? No. You would just have 8,000 or 12,000 qualified and educated people trying to fill those same 2,000 jobs. Lack of a good education is obviously not the only thing holding people back from a good future.

The problem is clearly more a lack of jobs no matter what the qualifications are. Not the lack for educated people to fill those positions. What are we competing against? places like India, China and Japan who have an innovative, educated workforce willing to work at the same type job for pennies on the dollar compared to US employees.

This leaves us a few alternatives. Raise barriers to foreign imports? If we do that a few things will happen. The world will do the same thing to some of our goods. We would loose the high end products we have been selling overseas but would gain back the low end textile product manufacturing we lost. A mixed bag.

Increase taxes on foreign owned companies or products sold in the U.S.? We would loose some of the foreign owned employers who employ large numbers of people such as VW, Toyota and others, but it would probably allow the US owned companies to bounce back a little. Expect the same thing to happen back to our world wide brands as well. a mixed bag.

Lower our standard of living, minimum wage and regulation to compete with the foreign factories over seas? (not something most politicos want to put on a mail piece for their next election) A mixed bag.

Lastly. The one many people seem to never talk about is creating or growing our own market and brands. America is full of independent, intelligent, hard working people. The problem is we have gotten into a mind set of thinking we need someone else to give us a job. That having a job in a big factory is the American dream. That is the ultimate goal now.

When did that happen? It used to be owning the factory, being the employer or the boss was the American dream!

I think all this talk about "Evil profits", class warfare and the "terrible big boss" have made us think that achievement is somehow bad. That, heaven forbid we ever start a company and succeed we might make money and have employees! What would the world think of us then? "Better not climb too high or dream too big. Might have people attack you and call you names. You'll get taxed and regulated more. Better just get an education and hope to get on at some factory job."

That kind of negative talk has to stop or we are in big trouble as a nation. What has to happen more then anything, is just like what happened when baseball became a battle of the "haves" and the "have nots". We need to look to starting up or reinvigorating our farm team system. We need to incentivize business ownership and entrepreneurship. Reward it. Let it profit, champion those who work, innovate, succeed and grow. Remove barriers and the stigma of starting businesses.

Education is great and yes, it is an important part. But if we do not start developing our own next generation of inventors or business people like Henry Ford (who they say couldn't print his own name) then no matter how educated we are, we will be in trouble. Our governors and presidents will forever be recruiting factories overseas. We will forever be begging for scraps off another mans table instead of dining at our own banquet of success.

I wish our guber candidates, instead of always talking about how with a new super educated student what a great foreign job recruiter they will suddenly be, would once in a while talk about how they will start motivating, incentivizing our own people and companies to start, expand and stay here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The cuts so far

Tom Humphrey's does a good little rundown of the potential cuts and what they would mean. These are just some so far proposed to the governor and his staff. Some I think could go deeper and some I would hazard to cut at all but we are still early on in the process.

Some people are advocating flat, across the board cuts where everyone takes a equal cut in percent to their budget. To me, I don't get that. Any monkey could come in and say "We all cut 7%" or whatever. It looks lazy. Who does it punish the most? Those who have been efficient with what they have been given so far, those who have and do a desperately needed mandatory service over those who do a service that may not really be really needed or mandatory.

When running for office I hear candidate after candidate say how they would go through the budget, line by line, and cut out the fat, pork and useless programs to get us down to where we need to be. Here is that opportunity.

So far the only hard stand is for money going to an under-producing corn cobb / switch grass factory.

What is the benefit of being governor if you can not set forward a budget to fit your desired goals for the state? If you are not going to take hard stands on difficult decisions?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who is for a forced insurance plan?

It is funny how people are willing to fight against a forced health insurance premiums done by the government in the Obamacare plan.

"Government going too far".

Many say that such a thing is unconstitutional (I find it hard to argue the point). But sadly, not as many people will stand up for the private business owner who has ever increasing unemployment insurance premiums forced on them.

As I said in a post a few days ago, increasing the unemployment insurance tax on the employer causes job losses. Guess what has just come out?

A report on employers having to cut employees and pay so they can cover their forced unemployment insurance premiums.

Same type ideas, same theory. Make someone else pay for a benefit you get. It does not work. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Sooner or later we all have to pay the bill.

I am thinking of running for congress

In Tennessee's imaginary 11th congressional district. Yes, I know I have already announced for the states real 7th senatorial district but I figure I can do both jobs. I am sure the imaginary primary will be tough but look at all the imaginary jobs and imaginary stimulus I have created just by thinking about it!

I mean how often does an imaginary opportunity like this one come along? So let me be the first to imagine announcing and ask for your imaginary vote.

Least I forget, You can still make a real donation to my campaign at the paypal "Make a donation" box on the left side of this blog.

Not the lower 48

Rep. Joe Carr has a blog.

NY Times talks "Baby Daddy" bill

The New York Times talks about the issues surrounding my "Baby Daddy" bill.

A suporter of DAD of Tennessee sent his opinion of exerps, includeing...


Over the last decade, the number of paternity tests taken every year jumped 64 percent, to more than 400,000. That figure counts only a subset of tests — those that are admissible in court and thus require an unbiased tester and a documented chain of possession from test site to lab. Other tests are conducted by men who, like Mike, buy kits from the Internet or at the corner Rite Aid, swab the inside of their cheeks and that of their putative child’s and mail the samples to a lab. Of course, the men who take the tests already question their paternity, and for about 30 percent of them, their hunch is right. Yet as troubled as many of them might be by that news, they are even more stunned to discover that many judges find it irrelevant. State statutes and case law vary widely, but most judges conclude that these men must continue to raise their children — or at least pay support — no matter what their DNA says. The scientific advance that was supposed to offer clarity instead reveals just how murky society’s notions of fatherhood actually are.
By not exercising his “due diligence” and getting a DNA test early on, the court put the burden on (Carnell) Smith for not unearthing the truth sooner.
THERE IS A STRONG cultural imperative that a man should never abandon his offspring: that a man who impregnates a woman should be responsible for their child, and that a man who acted as a child’s father should continue to nurture her. But what is the cultural standard when those roles are filled by two different men? Judges, legislators and policy makers have floundered trying to reconcile the issues — a tangle of sex, money, science, betrayal, abandonment and the competing interests of the child, the biological parents, the nonbiological father and the state itself. No matter how they decide, the collateral damage is high because fairness for one party inadvertently violates fairness for another.
Some judges have even rebuked nonbiological fathers for trying to weasel out of their financial obligations. “The laws should discourage adults from treating children they have parented as expendable when their adult relationships fall apart,” Florida’s top court held in a 2007 paternity decision, quoting a law professor. “It is the adults who can and should absorb the pain of betrayal rather than inflict additional betrayal on the involved children.”
Once a man has been deemed a father, either because of marriage or because he has acknowledged paternity (by agreeing to be on the birth certificate, say, or paying child support), most state courts say he cannot then abandon that child — no matter what a DNA test subsequently reveals.
Courts, of course, deal with paternity cases only when there is a legal dispute. Many men don’t sue because it is expensive or because they suspect they will lose anyway. And then there are those who never even discover the biological truth. How many fall in that category is impossible to quantify. The most extensive and authoritative report, published in Current Anthropology in 2006, analyzed scores of genetic studies. The report concluded that 2 percent of men with “high paternity confidence” — married men who had every reason to believe they were their children’s father — were, in fact, not biological parents. Several studies indicate that the rate appears to be far higher among unmarried fathers.
The law that (Carnell) Smith helped to pass in Georgia, like a similar one in Ohio, sets no time limit on using DNA to challenge paternity. The premise is that a man shouldn’t be punished for entering a paternal relationship that he would have avoided had he known the truth. It is, Smith says, a correction to a double standard that allows mothers and caseworkers to use DNA to prove paternity but prohibits men from using that same evidence to escape its obligations. But child-welfare experts counter that a child shouldn’t be punished by losing the only father she has ever known — or the financial security he offers — just because he’s upset that she doesn’t share his genes. In 2002 the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws — an influential body of lawyers and judges that proposes model laws — drafted a compromise. The proposal would allow the presumed father, the biological father or the mother to challenge the paternity until a child turns 2. The proposal had two goals: to balance the rights of children with those of their presumed fathers and to encourage parentage questions to be raised early in a child’s life, before deep bonds are formed. Several states, including Delaware, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, have adopted that model or a variation of it. But men’s rights groups complain that most putative fathers don’t discover the child isn’t theirs until after the two-year window closes — at which point, they have little or no recourse.
Three and a half years earlier, at a federally convened symposium on the increase in paternity questions, a roomful of child-welfare researchers, legal experts, academics and government administrators agreed that much pain could be avoided if paternity was accurately established in a baby’s first days. Several suggested that DNA paternity tests should be routine at birth, or at least before every paternity acknowledgment is signed and every default order entered. In 2001 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court urged the state to require that putative fathers submit to genetic testing before signing a paternity-acknowled gment form or child-support agreement, arguing that “to do otherwise places at risk the well-being of children.”
In other words, the same care that hospitals take ensuring that the right mother is connected to the right newborn — footprints, matching ID bands, guarded nurseries, surveillance cameras — should be taken to verify that the right man is deemed father.
Mandatory DNA testing for everyone would be a radical, not to mention costly, shift in policy. Some advocates propose a somewhat more practical solution: that men who waive the DNA test at a child’s birth should be informed quite clearly that refusing the test will prohibit them from challenging paternity later. Yes, the plan would reveal truths some men might not want to know. Yes, it would raise administrative costs, lower the number of paternity establishments and blow apart some families. But far fewer children would be entangled in traumatic disputes in which men they call Daddy suddenly reject them.

States have the power

Where will Naifeh get his votes from?

10,000 strong potential Democrat voters have had their voting privlages striped from the voter rolls. This is looking like another major setback for Democrat re election plans state wide. Rumor of contesting the non eligibility of these voters is rampant as director of elections Mark Goins says he may suspend thousands more.

Developing....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No guns in bars could mean guns in ALL bars.

As you know, a judge has overturned the guns in restaurants bill. Rep. Vance Dennis sent this opinion on what could happen from here.


it appears that Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman decided today that the guns-in-restaurants-that-serve-alcohol bill we passed this year is unconstitutional. It appears from news reports that she told the parties of her decision in Court today, so there won't be a written decision for at least a few days, if not weeks.

From what she is reported to have said in Court, it seems that the Chancellor has decided that the definition of "restaurant" is such that a permit holder cannot know whether an establishment that serves alcohol meets all the requirements of the definition, and therefore it cannot be enforced because a statute must be written in a way that is "sufficiently precise to put an individual on notice of prohibited activities". I copied an excerpt from a recent Supreme Court case at the end of this email if anyone wants a reference.

This is a bit of an unusual situation, because statutes are usually challenged for vagueness when someone who has been charged with violating the statute argues that it is too vague to know what is prohibited and what isn't. The permit holders who were Plaintiffs in this suit are challenging the statute before anyone is ever accused of violating it or raising the permit holder exception as a defense.

It is pure speculation, but I see two possible choices for the Chancellor, with the 2nd choice being more likely.

1. The Court declares the entire statute, T.C.A. 39-17-1305, unconstitutional and unenforceable. This would completely eliminate the Class A misdemeanor of carrying a firearm where alcohol is served, so permit holders could carry in any restaurant, tavern, bar, resort district, etc., that served alcohol. This would be a good thing for those who want permit holders to be able to carry in more places, and would be the complete opposite of what the Plaintiff's want.

2. The Court declares paragraph (c)(3) of T.C.A. 39-17-1305 unconstitutional, thereby eliminating the permit holder exemption from the statute, but leaving the rest of it in place.

I think the AG will have to appeal this decision, which will allow the Tennessee Court of Appeals to decide whether the Chancellor is correct. I seriously doubt there will be a decision from the Court of Appeals before we are out of session in 2010.

Special session in December

It is looking like we could be having a special session in December to fix or stop enactment of the workers comp bill for sole proprietors (public chapter 1041). It is looking like it could run for three days around the 13th, 14th, 15th or 16th.

Friday, November 20, 2009

" Tax the employers for the non working"

More taxes on small employers. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse for people trying to keep jobs. Now Phil wants to increase taxes on the people who actually employ people to prop up people who aren't working.

Backwards logic at its best.

The claim last year was we have to have this new tax increase to get the stimulus money. Now they want another tax increase on employers to prop it up. How bout we stop mandating insurance payments onto employers and instead allow the beneficiary of the insurance to make the payments in advance if they want. You know, sort of like regular insurance works. A minimal amount is required by federal law but it is a fraction of what we are doing now.

As it is now unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders. The employee has no "Skin in the game". If the business goes under the employee still gets paid for not working. The only person who looses is the employer and the business community.

Word from Israel

I am on vacation in the Amazons of Peru but I thought I would just pass on an interesting story. I was talking with a fellow traveler from Israel. I had not passed on any of my political beliefs and I thought I would ask him what he thought Israel was going to do about Ahmadinejad. He just shook his head "It is terrible" he said. "Our hands are tied. We have lost so much power." I asked why, He said "Obama and the Democrats took over. We have to have support from America to do about anything and Obama is a fence sitter." He went on "Bush may not have been perfect but at least he took a stand for us. He knew the difference between good and evil. Obama wants everyone to be his friend. With some people and groups that does not work. Obama could be the worst president for Israel since Jimmy Carter. "

" How so?" I asked

"Carter did not support the Shah of Iran. When he fell, the radical extremists took over. They now fund almost all the worlds terrorism. He was a disaster for Israel! Now Obama is sending the same messages"

I mentioned to him that in America most Jewish people are Democrat. He said they must be crazy or have no clue as to what is going on in the world. "The American Democrats will end Israel" "That is if they don't end America first."

That is when I told him I was a proud Republican! To that I received a warm "Thank you!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is huge

Memphis accepts 100 million to improve schools. Why is that a big deal? It is something Republicans have been fighting years to get. Accountability from bad teachers and reward for good ones. For years, any sort of accountability was killed by the TEA/NEA because some of their union members might be exposed as bad teachers.

Now with the Bill Gates $100 million the temptation became too sweet.

This ranks up there with charter schools as far as victories for education and Tennessee school children go. Of course the TEA and NEA are probably fit to be tied.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Oh lord! Not the golf courses!"

Lets see, what can we do? Put more felons on the street or cut more of the golf courses and swimming pools

Tough choices in the legislature for some.....

Why an armed populace is necessary

When the governor wants to release 3,300 to 4,000 felons back on to Tennessee street and parks (as is suggested in this Richard Locker article) you have to wonder if keeping limits on honest legal carry permit holders is such a good idea.

The cuts are coming, Who get the ax?

The cuts in k-12 education funding look to be coming. Bredesen said he wants to cover the projected $82 million in inflation and growth costs for K-12 education costs, but warned that cuts remain possible even there.

Why we can't at least move the 50 million of additional pre K money added from the regular budget to k-12 BEP is beyond me. Pre K was always supposed to come from lottery surplus money. Not the regular budget.

When the cutting comes people are going to have to decide what is a nice want and what is an absolute need. Pre K at its best is an optional experiment with mixed results. It is a nice want, not a need. K-12 is an absolute need. You can't just end K-12.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Interesting

10 famous homeschoolers.

I think I have heard that idea before

Now even regular people are calling out for more parental accountability with their child's education. I love it. I suggested this idea for all the people who want free state daycare or Pre K. Why not. All studies show parental involvement is the top way to gauge the potential outcome for a child's educational success.

From my april 2005 post...

In one case, before the child was admitted to school, the parent had to attend classes where they were instructed how to read to their children (faster, slower, point things out in pictures). In some cases the parents had to sit in a class and pick out a teacher. If the teacher ended up with too few students, then he/she didn't teach that year. Obviously teacher tenure was not in effect in this example.

Also, in some places, PARENTS get a report card on such things as attending meetings, volunteering at school, calling teacher about student progress, sitting in on a class, etc. Do these programs sound good? They usually cost a little more than half of what the Governor is proposing to spend and have proven to have effective results. And regarding vouchers (did I say a bad word?) to be used for these pre-K programs, they are off the table......

.....All of these ideas are low cost and involve changing the way things are currently done. At some point we have to start looking at the process instead of just adding another layer of bureaucracy. But often times the things that are logical aren't listened to by the powers that be. If we must go the state run road why not make the parents come to classes or be forced to pay for the pre K?

A matter of trust

The home town paper comes out against Kent Williams being reinstated as a Republican.

It should not be forgotten that no one forced Rep. Williams to sign a pledge that he would support his party’s nominee — then widely understood to be Rep. Jason Mumpower of Bristol — for speaker. Williams did that of his own free will. To publicly make that pledge, only to break it for his own personal aggrandizement, was, and remains, a dishonorable act for which Williams has never apologized.

Indeed, it is Williams who unaccountably continues to affect an air of victimhood for being shunned by the colleagues he betrayed.

His conduct reminds of the story about the boy who murdered his parents, then threw himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

Rep. Williams has already bartered away the trust once placed in him when he cynically plotted to advance his personal political standing at the expense of his colleagues and the Republican constituents who elected him.

It’s exceedingly clear that the only allegiance Kent Williams has is to himself.

Some Tennessee Republicans may be inclined to forgive or ignore Rep. Williams’ duplicity in the past in exchange for his vote in a closely divided House. But they need to know that by doing so they are not merely excusing bad behavior, but elevating expediency over experience.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Home school hope

As many of you know I have been working for months (Years?) to set up some sort of program where home school students might get to play in TSSAA sports beyond the limited level they can participate in now. The idea was able to have a victory this last week. Last year I was able to get TSSAA to add these questions to one of their survey of small schools regarding home school and sports.


1. Would you be in favor of allowing students under their
preexisting home school umbrella for at least one year to
be permitted to participate in sports programs at your
school?

2. Would you be in favor of a pilot program of the same?


Two thirds of the schools responding to the questionnaire were in favor of these ideas!

As you may know Tim Teabow was the product of a similar but much larger program in Florida. Seemed to work out OK for them. One step at a time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Peru

Blogging will be limited for the next week or so. I am in Peru and internet is limited (unless I want to pay about a buck a minute).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

"The best job stimulator"

I keep hearing Democrats and even some Republicans fall into the trap saying how road building is the best job stimulus investment we can do.

In the short term that may be true, but in the long term I think a strong economy with many thriving, small and mid sized, free market, private businesses is the best job stimulator there is. Without that, the economy will not turn around, long term, no matter what we do.

Selling that message is one of the great challenges conservatives have under the current administration, but we need to keep reminding people of that as the debate continues.

Strategery

Tom Humphrey reports on some of the strategery going on behind the scenes of the GOP primary.

In the current Republican gubernatorial campaign, Ron Ramsey said the other day he is positioned to appeal to both wings of the party's Tennessee electorate - the "conservative activists" and the "pro-business Republicans," to use his terms.

In the Ramsey view, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam is the moderate in the race and thus may have some appeal to the business wing - not to mention a lot of money, including a big chunk donated by business


It is starting to come out now that Haslam skipped the Tennessee Conservative Union dinner to be at a fundraiser hosted by long time Democrat fundraiser David "Ace" Harrington whose next fundraiser is for Democrat Joann Graves. Not what the hard Republican party people or TCU regulars want to hear.

Another step

Any one wonder why it is difficult to trust some people to be in the party? Here is another reason.

The e mail went out a few days ago inter caucus. It was a trial balloon. These things get put out some times to gauge response of the members before it is put out to the mass media. Sometimes it is a good idea and sometimes it is bad. When it is good, we move forward and we look unified in our response. When it is bad many times the idea just goes away. No harm, no foul.

This one started out strongly worded but was losing steam fast. Several members had voiced displeasure with the idea. Some of the main objections were that by doing this they were going to drive a wedge between the caucus and Tennessee Right to Life. It also brought up stories that made some of our caucus members look anti life. The story just needed to go away.

I had personally spoken with leadership a few days ago and they had said it was probably not going to go out. I spoke with another person who had contacted our caucus leadership after I did and they were told it was definitely not going to go out.

No harm, no foul right?

Wrong.

Someone decided to go ahead and send copies of e mail exchanges to the media. Why would someone who supposedly didn't like the idea or tone of the letter release it to the media when the idea was going away? Simple. To try and climb a micro smidgen higher for themselves, to divide our caucus between those who might have wanted to send the letter and those who might not, to try to make our caucus leadership and some of our members look bad to TRL members and make themselves look good.

Mission accomplished.

Now, there is no reason to not to send the letter. It is already out. The wedge has and will grow between some of our members or between our caucus and TRL but that one person looks a smidgen better at the costs of the team.

The party plan for reform

According to Phil Valentine its goals should be real simple. Get the old time (political) religion.

Does any of the Republican leadership remember Reagan? Ronald Reagan didn't run as a conservative during the primaries then rush to the middle in the general election like McCain. Reagan staked out his positions and stood fast. The mountain came to Reagan. Many in the Republican Party seem to have lost their ability — or their desire — to sell their ideas and principles to the American people. Backing Scozzafava is clear evidence of that. All they care about is racking up numbers on Election Day. It doesn't mean squat if someone has an "R" after their name and that "R" stands for RINO (Republican In Name Only). There needs to be a double-R after those names, for "Reagan Republican.".....

.....If the Republicans want to regain power in Washington they need to focus on the things that matter to most Americans. Stop spending like drunken sailors. Really start to dismantle that beast in Washington. Get back to the founding principles of limited government and decentralized power. Get yourself a bracelet that says WWRD (What Would Reagan Do).

Concentrate on being conservatives instead of Republicans and, for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary, stop trying to out-liberal the liberals.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Josh Evans nails it

What would it take for Kent Williams to get back in the party? Real simple answer and Josh Evans nails it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Cutting down the money tree

It seems Phil is upset about the responce to the report on the switchgra.....corncobb refinery.

After legislators were made aware of the refineries diminished capacity and potential loss of revenue other then state dollars ( a non surprise to readers of this blog) many legislators were let down at original promises not being followed through on and are questioning continued funding.

A reasonable response.

Phil is upset because he says he may have another similar type project looking to come on line and he might lose them because they fear similar type oversight.

Knock, knock.... Hello? Is anyone out there? We don't have money to keep propping up our current non productive research facilities! Why would we want any more? We are about to be billions in the red!

While I support job recruitment and I understand tax incentives and infrastructure investments, to say we are going to keep a company afloat costing millions a year for a few research jobs, well that is simmilar to federal government logic where the average "stimulus" job costs between $92,000.00 and $160,000.00.

Tennessee can't just go out and pick money off the money tree or print it. We can't deficit spend. We have to balance our budgets year after year. If the companies being recruited are so afraid of oversight that might expose this type of abuse then possibly they aren't the type of company we need to be recruiting.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Money in, Money out.

As you may know, the fed gave back the state about $5 billion in "stimulus" money. Most of it went as a carrot to start or expand social programs to push their social agenda.

Of the $5 billion only about $500 million actually went into projects that might stimulate the economy by creating shovel ready type jobs. Mostly all road and bridge type projects that we had to mortgage our future to get. Well guess what? While the state got $500 million up front "stimulus" money to create jobs in transportation infrastructure the fed is now cutting Tennessee's federal road funding by $190 million.

The deal is getting less and less sweet all the time. The next "deal" up is the Obama health care plan.

Well no friggin kidding!! / the Maginot line

One of the states top boondoggles for the last few years has been the switchgrass plant. I knew and reported early on that this was going to be a feel good do nothing project that the taxpayer got stuck on the hook for. Guess what?

It is. I hate how they keep proving me right time after time.

From the latest report....

In 2007, officials said the pilot project would produce 5 million gallons per year using switchgrass. Plans now call for just 250,000 gallons and the initial production of ethanol will use corn cobs.

The 2007 projections were that Tennessee farmers would grow switchgrass — on 6,000 acres — to be used in producing ethanol. Only about 2,700 acres are now under contract for growing switchgrass, with farmers paid $450 per acre per year. Most of the crop will go for research purposes other than ethanol production.

In 2007, officials projected that the pilot plant would become self-sufficient within five years, in part by selling 5 million gallons of ethanol per year, and require no more state funding. White’s report says the project cannot be self-sufficient and “production capacity is not large enough to generate revenue to pay its operating costs.”

The plant has run up costs of $55 million so far for construction and equipment, with $36.7 million coming from the state and the rest from DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC, a private partner in the project, the report says.

The state has covered other costs, including staff salaries and payments to farmers for growing switchgrass, as it moves toward expending the $70 million total. The state pays $5.3 million per year for operating expenses with two more years of those payments scheduled.


Next up? Solar.

In some ways I am glad the state government is in a money crunch. When we are in flush times the state just blows the money on these type projects. We can run the list, switchgrass, party bunker, fixing up the plaza, solar panels, fish ponds, road side flowers, the list goes on and on.

In political arguments the Dems say we call them "Tax and spend liberals" but to them, they are the responsible ones. They add the taxes to pay for the projects they pass. They argue some Republicans will vote to spend the money but not vote for the taxes to pay for the projects.

There is some truth in that. When legislators vote for the budget they are voting for the projects.

But what I am realizing more and more is that these are the kind of projects we are really paying for with the increases in tax dollars. Not the services you always see get touted out in the paper when it is crunch time (Schools, roads, bridges, kids etc.).

The libs refuse to prioritize and they always want another big show project. They have no ability to limit themselves. None. The only hard limit they have is the constitutionally required balanced budget. Stopping tax increases is the only line in the sand we can draw that some will stick to. If we limit the taxes we limit the money going into the budget, stop the boondoggles and force them to prioritize better.

Once the taxes pass, it's over.

In the other national pass time

The New York Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games to win the World Series. Mark Rose's favorite team may be beaten but he is not discouraged.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Brooks clears the road for Bell

Kevin Brooks has announced he will not run for the state senate to be vacated by Sen. Dewyne Bunch. While K.B. and Eric Watson would have made a good senators they decided timing wasn't right this time around.

This announcement clearly eases the way for and makes the odds on favorite Rep. Mike Bell to become the next State Senator from the Chattanooga area.

The latest results of pre K

In Knox county the results are not just unimpressive, the students seem to be regressing. From the Knox News Sentinel....

"The district regressed in the area of elementary and middle school, missing federal benchmarks in math for black students, poor students and students with disabilities, and not making enough progress in reading for black students, Hispanic students, poor students and students with disabilities.

Knox County met all those benchmarks last year."

Up to 9% cuts to state government

Phil is bracing for the worst. While I agree with him that the cuts will probably be necessary and deeper cuts will probably be coming. I question why we did not start doing the dirty necessary work of cutting costs last year. It would have saved us having to go as deep this year and by his own admission it could have been done relatively easy.

From Phil's own mouth in the Tennessean article....

"The political problem is that last February, I probably could have passed any known cut because everybody knew we were in the middle of a major crisis," Bredesen said. "The stimulus has kind of concealed what's been going on."....

And by not passing a slimmed down budget things are now having to be and will be cut worse.

"....There's no alternative to it," Bredesen said. "Hopefully, the economy is coming back. … But we're a long way under water."

As the state starts its budget-writing process, Bredesen says Tennessee's fiscal situation is worsening. Tax receipts are not expected to rebound to pre-recession levels until 2014, and the last of the federal government's nearly $5 billion in stimulus spending is set to come by the end of 2010
.....

Just as was predicted by many legislators in a call to pass what Phil called the "Stupid budget". I hate to say it but the lack of "stupid" is now forcing "Painful" on the "short sighted".

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Go vote!

If you haven't then today's the day for a lot of local elections.

For the wonks

I have amended the last paragraph of the questions I sent to the AG. Here they are....

If a full term was served by a judge by what constitutional authority does the legislature have the power to call off a scheduled election? If a full term was served by a judge by what constitutional authority does the legislature have the power to call off a scheduled election, and to give the governor the power to fill the vacancy created by the retirement (as the Tennessee plan provides), If a full term was served by a judge by what constitutional authority does the legislature have the power to create a partial term and fill a partial term instead of holding a scheduled election as is required by the constitution for the full term? By what constitutional authority can the legislature set additional qualifications in a statute (other then the ones already set out in article 1 sec 3 and 4) for judicial offices? What provision of the constitution gives the legislature the power to deprive constitutionally qualified judicial candidates the right of running for public office at a scheduled election?

Monday, November 02, 2009

This could be HUGE!!!!!!!

I just got back responses to some of my questions regarding the constitutionality of "The Tennessee Plan". Opinion 09-174

One of my key questions was asking by what constitutional authority does the legislature have to fill full terms of office for judges?

The AG responded that they DO NOT have the constitutional authority!!!!!!

Unless I am mistaken this means that if the legislature does not have the authority then they can not give that authority to the governor through the Tennessee plan.

If that is the case, then I wonder about supreme court judges Koch and Wade were they unconstitutionally appointed?

I am not sure of the next steps but unless I am wrong (and I may be) they and their previous decisions may be invalidated.

More on this later.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The more things change.....

It seems these arguments were made a few days ago....

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?......

......A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.


Ronald Reagan

Some don't want to get past it

Rep. Jimmy Matlock does an excellent piece calling for the end of the attack of "Racist" when ever someone disagrees on an issue.


Racism creates hard feelings. It causes people to get defensive, and before you know it, we are not even discussing the real issues anymore. There is a lot of shouting going on but very little talk about the actual issue.

We must debate only the facts. Humans were given the gift of reason, but I do not think we have been demonstrating it lately.

I am a small-business owner, running a family business that has operated in East Tennessee for more than 57 years. I also serve as the state representative to Loudon and Monroe counties and humbly serve more than 66,000 people.

But this issue is not about me; it is about me speaking for a large group of people who are tired of defending themselves against accusations of harboring racist thoughts. They are just families who live in small towns and large cities across this state, working hard, taking care of their families, and enjoying their time together.

Occasionally, they read or hear something through the media with which they disagree. This doesn't mean they must immediately be labeled - many of these folks have voted for both parties through the years. These are average Americans, and they are simply scared. Terrified, in fact!

When I talk to people in my district, they are genuinely worried. They are concerned about heath care or if they can continue to provide for their families in this dismal economy. They do not feel like all of their questions are being answered, and they feel distrustful of statements coming out of Washington and Nashville.

So they go to local town halls, and they write their congressmen and legislators, and they attempt to have their voice heard. That doesn't make them racists - it makes them American.

Like most people I come in contact with, I have tremendous concerns about the direction we are taking as a country; the coarseness of our language, the disrespect toward each other and the lack of personal accountability. Our communities, our state and our nation can only be as good as the people who make up our citizenship.

I am reminded of a statement with which I will close: "Ridicule is the argument of last resort."

My hope and prayer is that our culture will move towards being able to look past the color of one's skin and create a tone of civility which fosters respect toward all our neighbors.



I couldn't agree more.

Sadly, for his effort he is attacked as, well, need I say what? It is unfortunate that some people instead of pointing out their side or the fallacy of the opponents arguments rely on the tried and true personal attack.

I have seen it in many forms of media as well, as if an effort is being made to make political discussions all about personality and no longer about issues. I was watching a political TV show this morning and two candidates were on for city council. One was being picked apart for "Going negative" in a mail piece. I received one of the mail pieces in question. It was contrasting where the two candidates stood on a local issue. One was openly in favor of city funding for a downtown hotel the other was openly against it.

More and more lately I have seen the silencing and assault of an opponents honest objections as a creeping vine choking out the tree of freedom that both parties have been able to pick life sustaining fruit from.

Politics is the battle of contrasting ideas. Strong opinions and voices are needed to present contrasting points of views. America has always been a place where different individual points of view are welcome if not glorified. When ideas fail and differences in points of view are shut out and silenced we are in trouble.

Folks, if talking about an issue and where you stand on it versus your opponent is "Going negative" (to be looked down upon) or the person speaking is personally attacked then we are not far from removing all debate on issues. We will be heading toward beauty and popularity contests for the rich and famous only instead of elections where ideas and innovation from our best and brightest keep us moving forward.

While some people may think this will work out for them, in the long run, no ones interests will be served by feeding that root.