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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in review

The top ten things, people, issues and non issues that made 2010.

#10. The Carter county fish pond and Kent Williams.


"Fish, the other white meat" It was the line of the year, the waste of time of the year. It almost caused the budget to fall apart and force tax increases but...

#9 Republicans in the house won a 50th seat (Pat Marsh) making Kent Williams insignificant to any budget negotiation. Not a lot of play on this issue but one race made a huge difference on getting things done for Republicans.










#8 Guns in .....Who cares? It was a media ginned up story that the legislature spent less then 3% of our time passing. Tennesseans by in large seemed to approve. The media lost credibility by over playing this story while leaving behind or under reporting others (TEA any one?)







#7 was where the action was in the "Race to the top (trough)" federal education money. It was the bribe that got some positive change to occur in education. One of the few positive things Obama achieved. Too detailed for many people to understand but it was a step that may have a long term impact for our state.













#6 unlike the moves to address the red light camera issue. All the substantive reform bills were killed in committee. When a bill with an open caption hit the floor it was a free for all showing how many legislators want change on this issue. It was the hidden issue of the year.

#5 Hey! I won my race for the senate!






I know its not a big deal for everybody and some people about chipped a tooth putting a shotgun barrel in their mouth, but I am digging it and it is my blog, so its in my top 10.



#4 May Beavers quits senate, runs for mayor, quits, re enters race for senate against Susan Lynn. What a web of intrigue and back room personal politics. Total inside baseball, but interesting.



#3 Mumps quits. and gets a different job.

Jayson Mumpower, the top Republican and man expected to be speaker of the house decides not to run for office again.

#2 Republicans STOMP a mud hole into the Democrats. I know several prominent Tennessee Democrats were predicting a long run for their party with the momentum from 08. They knew the implications of redistricting and thought it was in the bag. Instead, it was the epic beat down we all saw. This could have effects into the next generation.

I could say we owe it all to the growth of the TEA party movement but that would only be partly true. The man who made it all possible, is the number 1 with a bullet, most influential person in Tennessee or Tennessee politics. The one we all talked about, had to be...

#1 Barack Hussein Obama (Barry Soetoro).



Sort of like the "Gun salesman of the month" posters you see at some gun shows with his picture on them. The conservative movement/explosion would not have been possible without his election. McCain would have been more of the same and people would have stayed in a slumber. Obama lit the fuse and made it easy. People woke up and got mad and not just a little mad. SCREAMING MAD!!! If one person can be credited with collapsing the Democrat party and reviving the Republican party with fresh new conservatives nation wide it has to be him. Thanks Barry!

Why dont they want elections?

Despite what the constitution says, the members of the supreme court do not want to run for office. They are above the process. The common excuse is fundraising from people who they may be deciding cases in front of might compromise their shaky ethics (or some thing along those lines).

The solution?

Fundraising from people who they will be deciding cases in front of so they don't have to follow the constitution.

More from John Jay Hooker who give them the facts.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

For gun owners, this could be big

If court rulings like this continue nation wide it could have huge implications for gun owners in Tennessee.

I question where a ruling like this would leave local laws that are limiting gun possession in some parks but not others across Tennessee. It could render them void. This could be interesting. I would like to see the full ruling.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quotes of the day

The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it has to be done, whether you like it or not."

~Aldous Huxley


"The common denominator of success - the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful - lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do."

~Albert E.N. Gray

A billion here, a billion there.

Action Andy lays out how Bredesen raised taxes by a billion dollars and also got "lucky". First, by coming in after Sundquist raised taxes and then with the Obama bail out money.

He is also inferring the Haslam pledge to not raise taxes may be under "adjustment"

During Bredesen's tenure, the administration each year pitched a "technical corrections" bill that included measures aimed at shutting down what officials called "loopholes." They also included flat-out tax hikes, and some lawmakers complained about the process.

State Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said the annual "technical corrections" legislation brought each year by Bredesen "in some ways closed some loopholes and in other regards it was, you know, I guess you could call it tax increases, fee increases."....




....Haslam said he would work to shut down tax loopholes but "not use this as a backdoor means of raising taxes."

He steered clear of an outright no-new-taxes pledge"

Looking back, looking forward

Jeff Woods looks to the possible legislative future for Tennessee with a peak back at the past.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Guns are not needed on campus for safty"

Except if you are at MTSU and are a police officer. Then it is time to upgrade. If it is good for the police then why not legal upstanding trained citizens?

Hat tip: Say uncle

Just because

When a friend called to tell me about the 60 minutes piece and Chris Cristie I said I had long been a fan of his and had blogged about him in past posts. I went back and did some checking and I guess I never put them up. Here is a good taste for those who don't fear strong words in tough times.

Budget backlash

60 minutes does a pretty good piece on the deficits some states are facing. Tennessee is not quite in the same boat thanks to some hard ball being played at the senate level in years past (You can thank Ron Ramsey for that). We have some problems but they are laughable compared to many.

My favorite governor (Chris Christie) has a major part in the show and talks about some of the tough choices he is now having to make for his state.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The key issue for Chuck Fleischmann

When I look for in depth reporting on the important, key issues that will shape and change America for the better I know I can turn to the Knoxville News Sentinel and Georgiana Vines

From the article...

Fleischmann announced he has been assigned to the Small Business Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.

For the latter committee, he's going to have to check the spelling of one of the area's natural resources. Several of his press releases said the 3rd District and East Tennessee have many natural treasures, including the "Smokey Mountains."

It's Smoky Mountains, short for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


End of article.

Like in the "DREAM" act or gays in the military?

Ken Whitehouse comes out and makes his case saying US Senate Republicans (namely Lamar! Alexander) are already in the majority (46(R) to 54 (D+I)? Must be public education) and can pass legislation to fix the economy the way Democrats were in the process of.

Cutting off their balls

Many new state governors facing budget cuts are not looking to taxpayers to foot the bill for their partying. Instead, they are looking to fund inaugural events and balls by raising donations from private donors.

I like it. While it may not balance any budget it shows that a new governor is looking out for the taxpayer from day one.

From the USA Today article...


Incoming Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, rejected $50,000 in state money and instead is raising up to $50,000 each from private donors for his inaugural and transition expenses. Deal has not disclosed the names of his contributors, but will do so after the inauguration, spokesman Harris Blackwood said....

...Other governors planning inaugural parties include:

• Florida's Scott, who has collected nearly $2 million. The donations will help pay for two days of festivities, including a military appreciation event, a tribute to incoming first lady Ann Scott, a parade through Tallahassee and a ball.

Scott has set a $25,000 cap on donations and releases his list of donors weekly....

...•South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley is selling sponsorships for her inaugural events. "Platinum" sponsors who give $25,000 get eight reserved seats at the inaugural ceremony, two tickets for a lunch with the Republican governor and other top state officers, along with admission to the inaugural gala and eight private reception passes, according to a sponsorship form on her website.

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said donors would be disclosed.

"we're caught in a trap. There's no way out......

A true hard look at revenue cameras may get some play this year.

So many things can be done and this year I think many have a good chance.

On the table:

Limiting where they can be used (No speed traps on highways). Limiting right on red tickets to only be issued by officers. Making it so revenue from cameras be used to study traffic calming options in the area or for drivers education in schools. Requiring traffic study for a light to see if other options could limit the problem previous to camera installation. Limiting how short or how long a yellow light can be or should be made. An outright ban is also on the table.

So many ideas out there. Last year they never got out of committee. This year I think many will.

States right of repeal. Has its time come?

The movement for giving states the right to repeal federal law is gaining steam. 12 states are already on board.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Awaiting the headline "TNIvesco investigation begins"

In the legislature we are sometimes asked to do things on faith. Sort of like at the federal level where legislators were asked to vote for the "Obamacare bill" without having read it.

In the state legislature, the big bill this last year was for TNIvesco. A shady deal for hundreds of millions of dollars going to unnamed businesses for unknown reasons with unknown expected returns. A situation ripe for corruption. The more I looked the more trepidations I became. I voted against it, but it was given little to no coverage and passed with little fanfare. Since that time I have been waiting on the headline "TNIvesco investigation begins"

The Tennessean is starting to look into the cover up. Like bad pennies, some of the same old names keep popping up. With a large chunk of the money going to solar start ups, I have concerns of a possible TNInvesco direct, or indirect, link to the new Bredesen Kisber-Farr solar start up.


From the article...

Farr's role in economic development also included designing TNInvestco, which channeled cash from insurance companies into venture capital firms through the sale of state tax credits.
Farr and Kisber reviewed the 25 business plans submitted for TNInvestco funding themselves, grading and ranking each one. They selected the 10 finalists less than a week after the application deadline, all of which would eventually receive $20 million in tax credits.
One of the losing applicants filed a public information request asking for the release of the scoring matrix that Farr and Kisber used to arrive at their decision. State lawyers have fought the request in court, saying that the matrix includes confidential information and that its release would embarrass the losing applicants.

"The state is spending roughly $200 million, and the questions is, 'How did they select the people they selected?' " said Larry Coleman, the Franklin venture capitalist who has pressed for the records' release. "This was a contract-bid situation, so there wasn't really anything (confidential) in there."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We need her more.

A major pick up for a governor looking to make a real impact on education might want to check the long term availability of this woman. Anyone who can make a dent in D.C. schools needs a good long second look and a hard sell to come to Tennessee. If Michelle Rhee could be pulled away from a Florida transition team and a program already improving it could be huge pick up for our state.

The last interview I could find of her from the first of the month can be viewed here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bless their heart!

California is about to pass cap and trade on their employers. All I have to say is thank you!!! This will be great news for Tennessee. With California already collapsing economy, states like Tennessee are set swoop in and pick up even more of their employers as they look to escape the high tax and regulation state.

Our states job recruiters have to be licking their chops.

When will they learn?

Fresh thinking

Florida is where Tennessee needs to be on education. Ahead of the game and moving forward.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Democrats support closed primary.

There is a good chance that Democrats could elect a new house minority leader tomorrow. Although I, nor any Republican will have a vote in their primary (What? a closed primary? Why do you think Democrats would do that? I guess they support closed primaries.) I will give my two cents.

I have served under and with all three candidates, they all have pluses and minuses, but to me one candidate stood above the others. I like John Deberry (I don't know anyone who doesn't for that matter) and hope he gets the position. I have always gotten along well with John. He is firm as a leader and or as a chairman and gracious to all no matter party affiliation. He is cognisant of what has happened at the last election, understands why it happened and what it means to Democrats. He will work for his members where and when he can but is not the sort of person to burn the bridge to get the one time hit.

I think it is his time.

On the flip side of the picture is Gary Odom. Gary is a fighter, who has a history of leaving burned bridge after burned bridge in his wake (on both sides) in his rise to power and his attempt to hang on. Although he has a way of firing his people up, with that, he also has a way of burning people up. At times that skill serves well, say when you are within striking distance of control or trying to hang on to control.

That time is not now.

In fact it could be quite a while before that time comes again for Democrats in the Tennessee state house. If he does hang on he will only make it easy for Republicans to become angry or still feel vengeful toward him and other Democrats. Not a good long term plan.

The third candidate is Craig Fitzhugh. While possibly thought of by some as a numbers guy I just don't see him as the prototypical leader. He is just too quiet. I don't see him taking control of any real situation, being ready to make hard decisions or stands, or being willing to pull a fellow member into line. Nothing personal, I just don't think it is in him. Some have it, some don't. He could still win it, but it would probably lead to more inter party squabbling. Not necessarily a bad thing for Republicans though.

The two that got away.

While they are not in the mix I will throw two names in there that would have made things quite interesting. Charlie Curtiss or John Mark Windle. Clearly what Democrats stand for and are doing is not selling in Tennessee. The flip side of that would be someone like either of these two non candidates. They are both cut from the same cloth but at different points in their political carrier.
A more seasoned version of the two would be Rep. Charlie Curtiss. He has already has a long history in the legislature, served in the military and is well known as a conservative Democrat. He is from a more rural area where Dems are lacking representation, he is sharp, knows how to work the system and both sides of the fence. It could have been quite interesting if he got in the race but for some reason he did not.

John Mark on the other hand is a great example of an anti Democrat, Democrat. He may be out of the running because he might be called up for active duty at any time but still, someone like him could really have helped change things up and put a new face on the party. He is young, in the military, more conservative, smaller government and also sharp as a tack. In fact, if I were in charge of the Democrat party I would do anything I could to keep him involved and up front. Instead he is relegated to be a back bencher who occasionally gets trotted out when the party needs him (But for the most part Democrats just ignore him and his ideas).

G.O.P. stands for Great Opportunity Party for someone like him. He is still young enough to switch parties and would fit right in as an (R). In fact, he would probably be more conservative then a few members we already have. Serious courting should be going on now. As a Republican he could write his own ticket (for himself and his district). If not, he will probably stay about where he is for a long, long time. Respected, but stuck at mid, bottom level of the minority party, being shunned by the libs who now run the Democrat party and out of the inner loop with the Republican party.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It will be a cold day in.....

The new Republican state house members are a conservative bunch (I hear 18 of the new members claim to be strong conservatives) and they just passed some new caucus bylaws changes. They say if you don't vote for the caucus nominee you are out of the caucus without 4/5 of the caucus vote to let you back in.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

HOME SCHOOL VICTORY!!!


Starting next year home school student athletes will be able to participate in state school team athletics.

This is a huge victory myself and other legislators have been working toward for years. While this may not be all things to all people (There are 10 basic limitations or rules) it is a great kicking off point.

For those interested the rules are listed below...

A home schooled student wishing to participate in extracurricular athletics at a member school shall be eligible if the following qualifications are met:

1. The student shall be enrolled in a home school study program in compliance with Section 49-6-3050(b)(1) and be registered with the local director of schools (or head of school, if a private school) by August 15 of the current school year.
2. The participating student must have a legal residence within the school district where he/she is registered, if registering with a public school. If registering with a private school, the student must have a legal residence within 20 miles of the private school and meet all tuition and financial aid requirements.
3. By August 15 of the school year, the parent or guardian must make application to the principal of the member school in which the home school athlete wishes to participate.
4. The home school athlete shall meet the same academic standards required of a member school student athlete to participate in the athletic program; however, the Director of Schools for public schools (or the head of school for private schools) in which a home school athlete wishes to participate shall work with the parent or guardian to ensure that the home school athlete is academically eligible. If a home school student’s course of study does not include five (5) academic subjects, then the Director of Schools (or head of school, if a private school) and the parent shall develop an alternative measure of academic progress and submit the same to the TSSAA for approval. Proof of academic eligibility shall be provided by the member school to the TSSAA each semester.
5. The home school student must provide proof of basic medical insurance coverage and both independently secured catastrophic insurance coverage and liability insurance coverage which names the TSSAA as an insured party in the event the school’s insurance provider does not extend coverage to students enrolled in home school programs. The insurance must be in place before the home school student practices or participates.
6. The LEA may impose a participation fee for each athletic sport in which a home school athlete wishes to participate. Such participation fee shall not exceed three hundred dollars annually for each sport and shall be paid in full prior to the first regular season contest. A home school student participating at a private school shall be subject to full tuition and financial aid rules.
7. The home school student must meet all other TSSAA eligibility requirements.
8. All eligibility issues may be appealed in accordance with the Bylaws of the TSSAA.
9. The home school athlete must adhere to the same standards of behavior, responsibility, performance, and code of conduct as other participants of the team.
10. This rule gives a home school athlete the opportunity to try out for a member school’s athletic team. Ultimate decisions on the roster are left to the member schools and are not governed by the TSSAA. No student is guaranteed participation, but only the opportunity to try out for a position on the team, subject to the other provisions of this rule.


Transfer:


1. Eligibility will be established at the first member school the home school athlete decides to participate. After participation at the first member school, any changes within member schools shall be governed by the transfer rule.
2. Any student who withdraws from a regular school program, which for the purpose of this policy is defined as a member school, to enroll in a home school education program and who is ineligible at the time of withdrawal from the regular school program due to his/her failure to meet academic or behavioral eligibility standards shall be ineligible to compete in interscholastic athletic competition as a home education athlete until such time as he/she has satisfied this home school bylaw as well as all other eligibility bylaws of TSSAA

I caught a possum

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

He showed!

Just got back from the GOP caucus fundraiser. What can I say. HUGE!!!! I mean REALLY HUGE!!! I have been in years past and it could be, and was, held in small venues about the size of a cosy restaurant. This year was different. This was so big it probably was close to a thousand people. Possibly more. It was held in A big house (the country music hall of fame) and it was packed! Roaming around the crowd beside congressmen, former governors and the Nashville political crowd was George Jones (Yes, he really showed!), Fred Thompson and Darrell Waltrip.

Earlier in the day (at lunch) was the Ron Ramsey, RAMPAC fundraiser. Lots of politicos and lobbyists. One face that was a shock to me was former State Democrat party chair Randy button.

I guess the old saying holds true. If you can't beat them...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Turner comes out against The Med in Memphis

Democrat leader Mike Turner has come out against the traditional earmark spending that goes to The Med in Memphis. I wonder how the black caucus will handle this measure.

Democrat leader Rep. Mike Turner has come out against the traditional earmark spending that goes to The Med in Memphis. I wonder how the black caucus will handle this measure.

As I recal it was Democrats siding with Kent Williams for the Fish pond last year.
Hat tip: TN Reports

Friday, December 03, 2010

For my jewish friends

I like what I am hearing

One of my big frustrations with the last governor was when things were good he would continue to increase spending. If we had held the line on just a few spending projects (the bunker, the switchgrass refinery, etc.) we could have really moved to cut down some small taxes like the Hall income tax or the sales tax on food. Neither of these two taxes really accounts for much of the overall budget but cuts to them could really be rewarding to the taxpayers in our state.

Now as revenue is slowly on the rebound, governor Haslam is not caving right in and saying spending should go back up as well.

From the Chas Sisk article...

"The blueprint is there," Gov.-elect Bill Haslam said in November. "(But) one of the things a new governor starts is (he) goes back and goes through department by department … to make certain that's the best way to use it and to ask the question, 'If we were starting over again, would we be spending money that way?' "

I hope his resolve stays strong. People are ready for a leader that will take charge and cut government programs and spending. Imagine a state government that will not penalizing people for buying what they need to live (food), and will reward people for doing what they should do and have done (working, saving and investing) instead of a government that rewards people for partying and doing what they might do or invent.

The opportunities are there for the taking and the reward could be great.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I will not just stand over there!

From what I am hearing from other legislators, some big things could be coming down the pike for next year. I don't think many legislators are of the "Sit tight and wait" philosophy. We were given a mandate for a reason and many people expect big things. From what I am hearing some bold initiatives are still coming forward. Good to hear there has not been a lot of support for fear monger theories.

Who is the party of fear? Well to hear Dems and the media say it, it is the Republicans but the funny thing is the Republicans have not even taken control of one body of the US legislature and the left is already pushing a national campaign of fear saying there is going to be a huge backlash because Republicans may follow their political promises and work on the lefts sacred cow social issues.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs and only jobs". That is all Republicans can ever talk about or else it could be a problem in the next election the left claims.

It is not getting traction.

Why we would ever listen to our enemies on what we should or shouldn't do politically is just crazy to me to start with.

Yes, there will a handful of what the left call "Jobs bills" but those bills will be carried by a few senior Republican members who Democrats can't or don't want to beat. If the left has their way the rest of the legislature will sit on their thumbs, stay silent and do nothing.

There is a ton of truth in what was said by defeated "fiscally conservative" Democrat Lincoln Davis. "When you champion moral issues that are repulsive to Southern Baptists or to devout Catholics, it's hard to convince them they ought to vote for you." Notice he didn't mention the budget, the economy or jobs.

Legislators like Lincoln were exposed to their voters when the Democrats pushed social issues that exposed how he/his party really feel.....And the voters did not like it. Lincoln got beat.

By his own logic, when a person champions moral issues that are supported by Southern Baptists or devout Catholics, It will be hard to vote against them. The thought of having a record voting on social issues terrifies many Democrats.
The more Democrats are exposed for how they really are on those issues, the more Democrats will get beat.

Incumbent Democrats are hoping that the wind will be blowing in another direction in two years. They hope there will be limited change in the economy. They will say Republicans had control of the legislature and the economy didn't miraculously turn around, or if it does, it could be better with a Democrat who will offer more goodies or aren't so mean or made such evil cuts.

They want to limit the issues.

In that race, what issues will the Democrat run on? Well, traditionally it has been "I am a conservative, pro life, pro gun Democrat with a big heart who will find a better way to do whatever." "My opponent is a do nothing legislator (or challenger) who will cut granny off of whatever, or did nothing to stop it from happening. Vote for me."

What will the Republican run on? What will be the difference? If the Dems have there way the only visible difference in that race will be one candidate hates granny. The other seems just as good but doesn't seem to hate granny. The issues that moved people in the last election will not be touched.

What will the left say if we run on "third rail" issues? "That evil Republican voted to save the unborn, stop illegal immigration, supports second amendment and property rights!"

I don't think thats a winning campaign mail piece for Democrats.

Republicans have nothing to fear pushing conservative or social issues. Democrats do, and they know it.