Monday, May 31, 2010

To our vets

Your service is greater then any a mere civilian can ever offer. By their sacrifice the dead have said more then the living could ever say.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just wondering

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I was thinking about the budget and the political games the Democrats are playing. I was thinking about how they are all jumping up and down about the infant mortality study money.

Do they really care about the babies or is this just a political game? How serious are they really? What are they willing to do to keep funding up for this project?

Would they be willing to vote for a $50.00 tax on every abortion preformed in Tennessee to keep funding up?

Would they be willing to impose a $10,000.00 professional privilege tax on abortion doctors for the "Privilege" of killing unborn babies with the funding going to the infant mortality study?

This will make things interesting

The federal money (Borrowed from China) that was going to go to the states is looking dead.

I guess this sticks a fork in the fish pond and a few other projects. Some people think this could bring a renewed look at the tax increase on drivers license to pay for the emergency radio communication towers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Quotes of the day

"Illegal immigration is ruining this country, First the White House, now Mandarin House."

Comment from this story

And...

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Build him a fish farm in his district and you re-elect him for a lifetime."


Mark Rogers from this story

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baby fish or baby humans? What is more important?

The Dems are trying to paint the general Republican objection to the Kent Williams fish pond as payback for Kent joining the Democrats to make himself speaker, but if you are objective the truth becomes more clear.

The fish pond idea has been around for a while. It is one of those possibly nice projects that governors string legislators along with to get them to do things. It has not received any big traction because there was not a huge return on investment for the state. It is something that will directly really only impact one district and a few people but will have a huge price tag. State wide not a lot of people are dieing for a 17 million dollar fish pond or the 22 jobs it might create.

Now that the state is in dire straights Kent has tied all his political capitol on getting it done. To him it will prove to his people he can really bring home the pork as speaker. He is lying down on the tracks and pulling all the Democrats and possibly a few Republicans onto the tracks with him.

Is Republican objection payback for Kents past actions? To prove that that theory the Dems would have to show where Republicans are giving out pork projects to others but not Kent. I honestly cant say there are a lot of small or medium sized type pork projects out there that one legislator is getting to bring home this year.

If you ask that question on the flip side though, It is clear Dems want the pork project as payback. They have made little to no argument as to the state wide merits of the project or how $17 million is a good trade for 22 jobs. Just a lot of "The mean Republicans are mad at Kent" type bellyaching.

Budgeting is all about prioritising. Republicans have been willing to negotiate and have given many concessions to the Democrats. Most if not all have had, or at least an argument can be made that they will have, wide positive application to the entire state.

Not so for the fish pond.

In fact, the Democrats are fine with cutting money to projects with large state wide applications just to get the fish pond as payment for services rendered.

One I can think of off the top of my head is funding to try and stop infant mortality. A lot of Democrats attack Republicans saying they are not as "Pro life" as they are. Yet cutting funding for the infant mortality is not a lay down on the tracks issue for them. The fish pond is. I guess they mean we are not as "Pro Fish life" as they are.

Breakdown

I have just received word that tonight after session negotiations broke down on the budget. The democrats have drawn a line in the sand on getting the fish pond for Kent.

This could take weeks.

The ancient arts



You don't see skills like this every day.

Close

The budget is getting close. It may be on the senate floor tonight. The problem is there is one difference in the house and senate versions.

The fish pond.

The employee bonus issue and disaster relief issues seem to be worked out.

Rumor mill

Word on the hill is the lobbyist for Knox county has just hired soon to be former Knox county mayor Mike Ragsdale and his right hand man Mike Arms to lobby the state legislature.

I thought I saw Mike Arms in the gallery about one hour ago.

UPDATE: I just talked with a county commissioner who verified they just renewed the contract for the county but they also said that the contract was going to be month to month.

Early numbers

The early state revenue projections are saying it looks like another good month for Tennessee. Expect numbers similar to last month breaking the 20 month trend of underproformance.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comment issues

The comment section of my blog is not working. Well, to be more clear, the free subscription to my comment moderator just ended and they want a hundred bucks to subscribe. Not going to happen. So until I find another free subscription you can send me your comments and I will read them but I will not be able to post them.

Quote of the day

"Those aren't illegal aliens, those are undocumented Democrats."

"Guns in bars"

The senate should over ride it by morning and send it to the house. The house should over ride it on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

My understanding is it goes into effect immediately upon override.

I wonder

I keep seeing previews of the Robin Hood film about to come out.

I am many times frustrated by the depiction of Robin of Loxly. The entire "He took from the rich and gave to the poor!" Myth.

In reality he took from the government bureaucrats who over taxed the people and gave it back to the people who earned it.

How do these things get turned around?

Any way, I am curious to see what direction they take the film. Anti government, anti excessive taxation or anti capitalist, anti organized church.

Two more weeks

That is what it is looking like. This week we are going home tomorrow. We will be back for what many hope will be our last long week next week but it could run another week or two....Possibly longer. Some big issues and numbers are still being batted back and forth. Fish ponds, disaster relief, state employee bonuses, reserve funds. Even if the budget was set tomorrow we would have a long week next week. Just the paperwork takes some time to get it right.

About 100 bills are "After the budget". Those are bills that cost something, or cost something to the state when originally drafted.

After the budget passes house budget committee will go through those bills and pass some of them. They then will then go to the house floor. If some of them pass they have to open up some senate committees and do the same for the senate.

I think some people are wishful thinking when they say we will be done next week. I expect two more weeks. Minimum.

Why Nashville had no looting

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quote of the day

"Why haven't we passed illegal immigration reform?

Republicans lobbyists want the illegals to work, but not vote.

Democrats lobbyists want illegals to vote but not work."

The fear of a Christmas tree

The state budget is hung up again. The key sticking point is guess what? The 17 million dollar fish pond. Kent and one other rep (Reportedly Dale Ford) are in lock down on getting it.

The big problem besides it being a pork project is many other legislators have said that if Kent gets his piece of pork then they are going to go after some pork of their own. If that happens, Katie bar the door. It will be a free for all. The limits on raiding the reserve funds will be shot to pieces. Other conservative legislators have said they they were for the senate plan will bail out on voting for the budget with the new pork.

If that happens the budget will end up looking like a Christmas tree with all the projects tacked onto it.

The Lumpy connection

What does this story of a criminal apprehension have to do with Knoxville county commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert?

A short time ago Greg lost his auto dealer license, license plate. Someone stole it off his car at his house. Lumpy reported it stolen and called me saying the state needs to increase the penalty for stealing license plates. He thought it should be similar to identity theft.

I can't say I disagree.

He called me back today saying the plate had been recovered.

The culprit?

The apprehended criminal in the story. When the police called Lumpy they said Lumpy was lucky that the criminal didn't try to rob him at his home.

Knowing Lumpys history and background I would say the criminal was lucky he didn't try to rob Lumpy at his home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Good forum, bad form.

Last night and today I went to the TEA party statewide convention. The highlight of the night was the gubernatorial forum. The indy candidates had their moment in the sun, were treated as equals and didn't let down. They came loaded for bare. All of the big three took a little heat.

At the beginning of the forum the TEA party organizer came up and announced to the entire crowd over the PA how he was quite upset about an alleged volunteer for the Wamp campaign stealing Ramsey signs. Photos of the culprit were produced and threats of a felony were made if the signs were not returned. OUCH!

Wamp said he knew nothing about it and said if it was someone on his campaign they were gone.

I would say that was Wamps hit and it was pretty big.

Ramseys hit was a set up beautifully by Wamp. A few weeks ago Wamp took a whack at Ramsey about the growth of state government. Ramsey had the good comeback then. He said that while the state budget grew, at least at the state level they were paying for it as they went...Unlike the federal government that has been growing on deficit spending.

It was a great comeback two weeks ago but this time Wamp was ready.

Wamp threw out the hook (the same straight line), Ramsey bit with the same comeback. Wamp shot back how he was only one vote of hundreds of representatives and to think he had control over the entire US budget you had to be as dumb as a boot!" Ouch!

Haslams hits came from the audience, one of the indy candidates and even the moderator.

One of the indy candidates questioned Haslams non open investment records. Did he have investments in casinos? private prison corporations? red light camera companies or other companies that might have interest in state contracts? Haslem did not look comfortable.

One of the questions was on gun group affiliations and the second amendment. Haslam gave the pat "I support the second amendment and the NRA" type response.

Someone in the audience yelled out "Bloomburgh!" The moderator picked up on it and ran. He asked if Haslam would like to explain his membership in the anti gun Bloomburgh gun coalition, the failure to allow guns in parks in Knoxville and the Knoxville chief of police supporting Bredesen when he vetoed guns in bars.

Haslam stumbled around and spit out a some mediocre response. Ouch!

While it was interesting to see Haslam respond I must say I did not feel it was a fair question. When you go to a forum like that you expect the questions and the moderator to be equal and fair to all participants. Most every candidate has some political flaws. Bad steps, votes, history, associations. To ask one candidate to respond to that type question and not the others I do not feel is a fair question of the moderator.

All in all, with that exception, there were some of the best questions I have seen at a forum and they held feet to the fire.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's about to go into lock down

Having talked to several legislators on where things are and where they think things are going, it looks like we are about to go into lock down.

With the shortage of money in the budget people are about at the point where they can not find middle ground on what to do and ideology is kicking into overdrive. Democrats are about at the point where they will do anything to give more money out for raises and bonuses. They think they need it to get re elected by their base.

They are about at a lock down point.

Republicans are about at the point where they are saying they will not increase taxes and they want to keep the rainy day funds at 5% to keep our bond rating up. I have not heard another Republican say they care about the fish pond in Carter county but some have said they will not vote for the budget if that "Bridge to nowhere" boondoggle is part of it.

They are about at a lock down point.

Kent Williams has said he is willing to stay until October to make sure he gets his 17 million dollar fish pond. Kent can say we are posturing for political reasons all he wants but he sure seems unwilling to compromise on his pork for his own political reasons.

He is at a lock down point.


The Dems don't want to offer any ideas for cuts. I don't think they have any ideas in them. They just want to sit back and carp about our plan and wait for Republicans to cave in and raid the rainy day funds. The longer Republicans put up with it the worse we look. I see only one immediate option with a few limited variations where we get out of here any time soon.

1. Republicans in the senate force their version over to the house and we might have 50 Republicans just go for it. I think a few reasonable Dems might even buy in on the floor if they don't get locked down.

The problem with that plan is the split committee system. There may not be the votes to pass it out of the house committee like it is. Kent wants his fish pond.

2. Republicans could offer the Democrats the budget and say "No new taxes, Rainy day stays at 5%. Show us what you would cut to get money for raises."

Really put it to them to "Put up or shut up!"

The Dems wont come back with anything. Republicans then can force the budget as it is and go home.

A contingency for Kent or a willing Democrat might be to say "Help pass the Republican budget. If revenue comes in at a higher rate then expected then we will spend it on X,Y,Z project." If not we are where we are.

Short of that we could be looking at the middle to the end of June.

My TV spot. Sorry, no horse, no rifle.

Quote of the day.

Fish....Its the new pork."

Rep. John Lundberg.

The talk of the town.



This commercial is all the rage at the state capitol. Half the people think he is completely crazy. The other half want to vote for him twice and wishes he was in Tennessee.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Well if you question the source

Some people are all fired up over a comment I made about reporter Erik Schelzig already being banned from the senate.

The source?

Kent Williams said it last night in front of about a dozen people. Of course we all know Kent is well known for his honesty.............

FLASH!!!

The governor just vetoed the "Carry rights for non drinking gun owners" bill from China. I guess he didn't want to be around for the backlash when he did it so he waited until he left town.

Expect an override to come soon.

You still here?

Eric Schelzig is still allowed on the floor of the state house. It came up today at lunch with some fellow members that Schelzig has already been banned from the senate chambers for a year for some different negative activity there.

To me it was never a big issue if he was allowed on the floor or not.

Some people think lobbyists should be allowed on the house floor. They are not. Some think secretaries should be allowed on the house floor. They are not (with the exception of Jimmy Naifeh who gets to have his Secretary on the floor). Some think interns should be allowed on the house floor. They are not. Some people think regular people should be allowed on the house floor. Without special invite, they are not.

Even though I did not like what he was doing I understand he was doing his job. Similar to the paparazzi who were chasing princess Diane or other famous figures. They too are just doing their job.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quote of the night

"I am as healthy as a horse!"*

*Kent Williams

If only Frank Nicley had passed his bill.

American owned red light cameras

Red light cameras still are alive. I brought an amendment that says if a red light camera is contracted for in Tennessee it should be with an American owned Red light camera company.

I think the cameras are a form of law enforcement and while I hate that we are contracting out our law enforcement if we are going to do it then it should at least be done by American owned companies.

It failed. 27-58

The legislature supports racism

Early in the night we had a huge presentation for people who helped fight against the segregation of lunch counters many years ago. Long speeches decrying the evils of segregation, separation, discrimination.

I couldn't agree more.

Later in the night I brought an amendment that says Tennessee shall not fund any organization that discriminates based on race.


Guess how it went.

Failed 27-63

Later a bill that would give preferential treatment in state contracts to some races over others passed 53-38.

I guess that resolution honoring all those civil rights pioneers was just a bunch of empty words.

English only DL test dies on floor

I brought an amendment on the house floor to a bill to say that drivers license tests should be in English only EXCEPT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE LEGALLY IN THE COUNTRY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES.

The language is a safety factor to make sure people could at least read the word "STOP" or "BRIDGE OUT AHEAD" on street signs. The highlighted section was added to my amendment to get rid of the claims that English only would kill jobs and economic development.

Still the amendment failed 40-51

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Matlock goes mad dog!

As you may have read the Republicans are pushing a no new taxes, no raiding of the reserve funds below 5% budget.

While many would like to cut the budget deeper it is not a bad budget. I don't think it is a big secret we will need almost every Republican vote to pass it as it is.

In a caucus meeting Kent Williams stood up and said our cuts were nice but we should be open to raiding more of the rainy day funds to pay for more programs. Not a popular idea among conservatives who think we aren't cutting nearly deep enough.

Supposedly after the meeting one of our most quiet members, but also most conservative members, Jimmy Matlock got up close and personal with Kent to the point of almost having to have the two separate.

The bone of contention was and is how Kent wants to raid the rainy day funds but is unwilling to give up the $16 million in the budget for a fish pond in his home district. An amount of money that could take care of many of the social programs that are being cut back that Kent thinks we need to spend rainy day funds on.

Kent says that his district needs the 22 jobs it might create even at a cost of $16 million for other programs.

Commercial wars

The big three Republican candidates have all put out a political commercials. Where do they rank? It depends on what you are looking for.

Zach Wamp

Strong for

Production. Well done with color and graphics The book and images are great. Starts with the jobs theme that may become hot.

Weak for

Script. What Republican should brag about closing a military base? Not one who wants to win primary elections. Bringing in foreign companies instead of standing with current employers? Not much better.



Strong for

Building on first add.

Weak for

It is the first add without the problems.

Bill Haslam


Strong for

Production quality. You can tell it is a done by a major high dollar production company. The red Umbrella seems to catch the eye.

Weak for

Production quality. "What? You just said it was a strength!" I know. It is and it isn't. In a way it is a little too polished, a little to formulaic. It is just an intro piece but it does not show any original personality of the candidate or take any chances.



Strong for

I guess getting ready for the deluge that is upcoming. Not much else.

Weak for

Telling people to think about his issues when no one even knows what the details of his issues are. Bill looks tired.

Ron Ramsey

Strong for

Catch Fraze. Give them the boot! has caught on. It taps into the mood of many people. It also takes a not so veiled whack at competitor Wamp for being from DC.

Weak for

Production quality. It looks like something I would produce for about $50.00 or less. The dark shadowy interior of the state capitol is a disaster for all but the most insider of insiders. Not on Youtube that I can find.

UPDATE

Here is the Ramsey video (Still not up on Youtube)


UPDATE #2
Weston Wamp sent me a message on my FB account and wanted to make clear a few details about their first spot.

"While I hear you about the word choice in the opening line, I will remind you that he says he helped close "an old military site" ...certainly not a base. And it didn't cost anybody their job.

Fred Thompson and my dad helped close the Volunteer Army Ammunition's Plant that was there, but had been abandoned. No missions were being carried out there. But in order for the site to be used for econ development it had to go through the BRAC process of decommissioning.

In other words he's not bragging about closing down a base and killing jobs, he bragging about turning an abandoned military site over to the private sector for major job growth."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A moment of weakness

When the call went out that Kent went down I was one of the people who ran up to help. Being Red Cross trained in CPR I feared the worst and went to help. When I got to the podium Dr. Joey Hensley was there and it appeared to be a sugar issue. I got some chocolate from one of the clerks and gave it to Joey who was fed it to Kent.

About the same time to the right of the speakers podium is the media box. Eric Schelzig was standing on a chair trying to get over the wall to take pictures with a digital camera of the fallen speaker while he was down.

I must say that while the speaker and I have had our differences I found it quite distasteful that someone would try and get a picture of someone while they are down in a weakened state like that.

Yes, I tried to block the pictures from being taken.

A few seconds later the capitol security showed up and ordered Eric Schelzig to stop taking pictures and leave the chamber. He tried to fight about it but they were ready to carry him out if he did not go, so he walked out, escorted by the security.

I did not hear any cussing or threats. I heard a lot of No,no, no!, Stop that! Sort of thing but that was about it. There was no real physical contact other then possibly capitol security had him by the arm.

Down goes Williams

Speaker Kent Williams about passed out at the speakers podium a few minutes ago after a drop in his blood sugar.

In the insuring Malay reporter Eric Schelzig was forcibly removed from the chamber for trying to get over a wall to take pictures of the fallen speaker.

All was better after Kent got some sugar back in his system.

Two more weeks, minimum

We are setting up for the final wind down of session. Two more weeks of session is expected if all goes "smooth". The odds of "smooth" 50/50 at best.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's all about 5%

It is funny how much the state budget is working out like it does for a household. Just like when you go to get a loan for a car or a credit card, when you have a crappy spending history and no money in the bank then the only loans you will get are high interest.

The Republican budget is going to come down to that one issue.

5%

That number is what the big rating players (Moody's, Standard and Poor's) all say a state should have in reserves for a good rating. We currently have a little over that. If we go much below the 5% then there is a good chance they will drop our AAA bond rating.


If we lose the AAA rating, the interest rates on a lot of our loans will go up, costing the taxpayers big money down the line.

Democrats are trying to put the entire budget on Republicans if we don't pass their tax increases. Right now the Republicans have a budget that is balanced with no tax increases and no serious cuts (other then to previously planned government expansion and raises). We will be spending part of the rainy day funds for disaster relief but not so much as to go below the magical 5%.

It is looking like the technical corrections bill (The bill with all the governor's tax increases in it) is about die in the senate. If it does that will only leave one immediate area for people to jump in and try and raid money from for their special pet projects.

The 5% rainy day fund.

If Republicans ALL hold onto the budget as it sits, it will all work out. If we don't. Katie bar the door. It will be a long, wild and expensive ride for our state.

The video

The video of the English mostly drivers license bill can be found here the vote is at minute 43

English only DL test sucked into black hole

The requirement for the drivers license test to be taken in English failed in the black hole (Budget sub committee).

Former Democrat speaker Jimmy Naifeh, always doing all he can to reach out to illegal aliens, said the bill sends the wrong message some people. That Tennessee is not welcoming to illegal aliens.

I guess he sent out the message that safety on Tennessee roads is not important either.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Al Gore UT Degree

The Thursday protest against Al Gore and his UT duh ploma is getting a life of its own. All the finest deniers will be in attendance.

Drop and roll

After waiting about a month past the promised date of presentation for the governors supplemental budget (a more detailed version of his budget plan) the governor has finally presented it to the legislature today at about lunch time.

Now the governor is talking about skating out of town to China on Thursday. Not a lot of people are liking the thought of him running out of a town that is still bailing out of the largest natural disaster in a lifetime just as the hard part of the budget negotiations are about to kick into play.

Budget news

A budget could be passed by the senate as early as Thursday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The budget

The Republicans put forward their budget cut proposal to the governor. Cuts to most of the governors proposed taxes, A lot of cuts to growth in government and bonuses, a little dip into the rainy day fund for flood damage in Nashville.

Hours later, word came forward the Democrats were planning a new budget with increases in spending to match many of the Republican cuts. It seems they want to keep the spending up and dip deeper into the rainy day funds.

More details later.

Veto in the next few days

The bill to allow legal permit holders to Carry in an establishment that sells alcohol is expected to be vetoed by Thursday before Bredesen skips town to go to China.

After passage the senate had the bill on Bredesens Desk in 37 minutes (No slow walking for that bill). Bredesen has 10 days from then to sign, let pass into law or veto the bill. If he doesn't do it by Thursday then he won't be able to do it when he returns. He has made inferences to leadership of his plan to veto the bill so expect it to happen in the next day or two.

Faces in the news

Rep. Frank Nicley was in the national enquirer (Or one of those national tabloid papers that no one buys but somehow sell millions) for his bill to sell horse meat. The quote was "The worms can eat the an old dead horse or we can sell it overseas for thousands".

Rep. Richard Floyd's background checks on ice cream truck vendors was the topic of conversation on Saturday Night Lives Weekend Update. I didn't catch it.

"NRA Flip flop" or just what it took?

I was talking to a few legislators today about the "Flip flop" on the guns in bars 50% amendment.

One member said she was never for the amendment. The reason for the "flip flop" support was really just to get the bill to the floor. The thought was A failure of the 50% amendment would have been used as a reason by some members on the finance committee to vote against the bill and to possibly kill the bill in the finance committee.

By passing the amendment in committee the bill was able to get the votes to make it to the full house floor where the amendment could be stripped off (Bringing it back to it's original form) with support of some members who had voted for the amendment previously and then pass the bill as originally intended.

In reality, they voted for it so they could vote against it and pass it.

If the shoe fits

Rep. Vance Dennis just passed the bill to repeal insurance coverage for felonious legislators who were convicted dealing with their official duties (See bribery and the Tennessee waltz). Unfortunately it does not cover former legislators.

One democrat legislator complained it could be profiling some legislators.

If the shoe fits.

Interlock passes

Rep. Tony Shipley just passed state wide vehicle interlock for convicted drunk drivers. This is A huge step to cutting down on repeat drunk drivers.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Timeline check

August 29, Katrina makes landfall. Water overflows levees.

August 31, Bush surveys damage from Air force one.

September 2, Bush visits New Orleans and aids in disaster relief.

Bush is later chastised for "slow response" and showing he "did not care" by not visiting sooner.

Compared to.....


May 3, Over 13 inches of rain hits Nashville and surrounding areas. Water overflows the banks of the Cumberland river.

May 9, Still no fly over by Obama.

May 9, Still no visit by Obama.

Feel free to justify if you can.

"I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV"

The ivory tower brain trust in the UT Sociology department come out for Al Gore getting an honorary degree from UT. They think man made global warming is all but fact. Well, sort of.....

From the article....

"there is not absolute certainty about any scientific "fact."

What can I say to that besides "Nuff said"

My opinion? They should stick with sociology.

One thing my sociology professors always talked about when I was in school was not Al Gore, but how many people are followers and how they are easily swayed by the movements and actions of the crowd around them.

I just wonder how big was the crowd when they went and saw "An Inconvenient Truth"?

Not so fast my friend

Tom Humphrey's takes note of a "Tax/fee/voluntary assessment" on hospitals that passed the senate and house this last week. He noted that all who were opposed the "Tax/fee/voluntary assessment" (except Rep. Bill Dunn) were in political races this summer and fall.

While many, myself included, are in political races, my reason for voting against the "T/F/V" were not political but more theoretical.

If I had voted as a purely political move I would have voted for the tax increase. The tax increase side of it has been covered up to the point of not even noticeable by the average taxpayer and the "no" vote will probably give one of my political opponents (Former hospital lobbyist Steve Hill) an avenue of traction to use against me to raise money.

If you look back at my vote history over 6 years I think someone would have a difficult, if not impossible, time finding a place where I had voted to increase government taking of taxpayer dollars.

I think government has enough taxpayer money. Probably too much. Some of the cuts that are hopefully coming this year and next have been needed for a good long time and are welcomed by me.

Money at the state and federal level does not just fall from the sky, as was the talking point of this tax increase. At the state level it comes from Tennessee taxpayers. At the federal level it is coming from China.......to be paid back later by us and our children as taxpayers.

Tax and borrow is no more effective then tax and spend. Sooner or later it all comes home.

Another way to look at it might be "Those who are conservative and consistently vote against taxes and fee increases draw well funded political opponents who are supported by people who want other peoples tax dollars."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

They bought freedom

Some people continue to make the claim that legislators are "Bought and sold" by the NRA.

It all evolved around legislation from last year that was struck down as unconstitutionally vague by an appointed activist judge. The result was new legislation that would not leave it up to a judge to decide what was a clear and what was not.

The legal team at the capitol said the 50% amendment was fraught with vague terms that could get the bill thrown out by a judge again. It was not well crafted. We were given a list of about half a dozen ways it could be possibly called unconstitutionally vague.

Was the NRA lobbyist in the room at our caucus meeting? Yes.
Did she speak on the bill? Not directly.

Joe McCord was on a tear about the "evil" NRA even before she spoke.

To my recollection I don't think the lobbyist even talked at all, except to respond to questions about endorsements by Joe McCord. I don't think she would have said anything had Joe had not brought her up. She was just sitting quietly in the back row of seats in the corner ready to respond to questions on the bill if needed.

To my recollection the grand sum of what she said was the NRA was not in support of the amendment, they would be scoring the vote and a vote the wrong way could hurt your score or rating.

Well duh! They are the NRA for Pete's sake! Of course they are going to score a vote on gun owner rights! And what would you expect them to do if you voted against their goals? Give you a higher score? Come on.

No threats were made. No bribes were offered. The lobbyist never came into my office to lobby the bill. That was it. When people voted they voted their conscience. If they didn't they violated their oath of office. If anything was "bought" they "bought" freedom for gun and restaurant owners with their vote.

At least with the NRA they tell you before the vote what to expect. With most every other group you have no idea until they send out a mail piece on you or it ends up in the paper.

Funny how that works. Some little environmental groups with virtually no membership sends out a press release and it is major news. Every year they get huge coverage from the press on their ratings. When someone scores well on an environmental score or survey are they considered "Bought and paid for"? No. They are hailed as a hero by the press. Bad score you are evil.

Meanwhile the NRA, Right to life and their millions of members get virtually no positive unpaid press from the media on their ratings. If they mention ratings it is almost as if they are shaking legislators down.

As I have often said, there is no reason to fear a vote or a rating if you are doing the will of your constituents. The only fear comes when you vote against what your constituents expect.

Dunlap, Inspiring the youth

Yes it is true, Dunlap (of Jackie and Dunlaps "Red State Update" fame) seems to have inspired the youth of America. Of course the schools don't like it much.

Where is the ACLU?

Knoxville school board has decided to keep the science book that called creationism a "Biblical myth".


I guess that separation of church and state argument only works when you are fighting to stop people of faith from having any input on education. Now when education wants to take shots on the church, well, that is another matter.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Guns owner righs passes........Sort of

The bill allowing hand gun carry permit holders to carry guns in places that serve alcohol passed 66-31 (Without the 50% sales of food requirement for the establishment).

Sort of.

The bill has passed but if the they slow walk the bill to the governor and then the governor holds out for for as long as he can and then veto's the legislation we probably would not be present to over ride his veto.

The will of people could be held back for another year on this legislation.

Red light cameras

Live to ticket for another year after the bill to put on some restrictions dies in the senate transportation committee.

Guns in restaurants

Is up tonight on the house floor. The 50% alcohol to food sales limit may be thrown out. Seems there are some legal issues with it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

Flooding

After having checked multiple times if we were going to have committee meetings and session today I drove to Nashville.

As I was coming across the bridge I was blown away by the damage. Flooding all around the low lands near LP field. 18 Wheelers flooded 6 or 7 feet up. Most roads well under water. The hotel many legislators stay at is on that road and may be under water. Huge gas tanks under water. Stores, restaurants the salvation army, all under water. Roads coming into Nashville From out west are closed or nearly impassible.

I was starting to look for animals walking down the street two by two until I saw the Titans field.

God must love the Titans because LP field seems to have been the limit of the flooding.

The tunnel going to the capitol is flooded. The vent system for the cafeteria is flooded. There is no hot water in the capitol.

Still we were on.

I get to the capitol just in time to learn they are just now cancelling session for today.

Quote of the day

"It makes sense that President Obama would dislike Arizona’s new immigration law. He would naturally oppose any discussion about having to prove citizenship. "