Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Newt schedule.

Newt Monday 3/5


11:15 wheels up to tri cities

12:35. Arrive into tri citiesr

1-2pm. Airport rally in tri cities

2:15-2:30 hold for media interview

2:45 wheels up to knoxville

3:30 arrive into Knoxville

4-5 airport rally in Knoxville

5:15-5:30 hold for media interview

6:00 wheels up to Chattanooga

6:45 arrive into Chattanooga

7:00-8 Airport rally in chattanooga

8:15-8:30. Hold for media interview

8:45 wheels up to Gwinnett county,ga

Newt in Knox

Newt Gingrich will be in Knoxville Monday 1:30ish he will stop at the sunsphere and talk about energy and policy for about 30 minutes. The details are still being worked out with Mayor Burchett. Possible second stop in the Oak Ridge area as well.

More to come...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Get back to politicking

My amendment to stop political lobbying for or against legislation during government paid work hours failed to be added to the TEAM bill today. It would have made lobbying for legislation by non lobbyists (during government paid work hours) covered the same way as political campaigning for a candidate is covered in the little hatch act now.

It was funny how the entire committee room today was pack filled by TSEA union government employees.

In the middle of the day.

On a Tuesday.

During work hours.

I wonder how much the state paid out to have all of them sit in the committee room for 4 and 1/2 hours and cheer when people spoke against employing people based on the quality of their work.

When it came out that my amendment would penalize them for politicking the same way as the little hatch act would for politicking for a candidate while on the job, a gasp went across the room.

Well, you don't have to worry if you are a government employee. Your ability to tell your boss you don't feel like doing your actual job you are employed and paid to do, that you instead want to sit in a committee room all day or call 132 legislators and talk about politics and legislation during work hours. You can. You are still protected by law.

By by Berke.

Andy Berke who replaced Convicted Democrat Ward Crutchfield will not seek re election to the state senate next year. He is the 7th Dem to call it quits as the thoughts of running with Obama at the top of the ticket is not too appealing. The district currently represented by Berke in the Chattanooga area has seen the percent of Republican leaning voters increase substantially after redistricting in a fair and legal way.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Five Judicial Myths

This is such a good article I had to post it in its entirety. If you want the footnotes and the original article you can find them here.


Despite what we hear today . . .

1. THE JUDICIARY IS NOT A CO-EQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT

A. Federalist #51: “the legislative authority necessarily predominates.1

B. Federalist #78: “The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither force nor will. . . . The judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution. . . . [T]he judiciary is, beyond comparison, the weakest of the three departments of power. . . . [and] the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter.2

C. Congress determines the operation of the Judiciary, not vice versa (Congress sets the number of judges and courts; what issues may come before the courts; judges’ salary and compensation; how often the courts meet and the length of their sessions; and just as Congress can establish and set the number of lowers courts, so, too, can Congress also abolish them; etc.)

D. Robert Wright, officer in the Revolution, Maryland judge, early U. S. Senator: “[C]ongress can establish legislatively a court, and thereby create a judge; so they can legislatively abolish the court and eventually annihilate the officer…the inferior courts are creatures of the legislature, and that the creature must always be in the power of the creator – that he who createth can destroy.3

E. William Giles, member of the first federal Congress under the Constitution: “Is that [the Judiciary department] formed by the Constitution? It is not…It is only declared that there shall be such a department, and it is directed to be formed by the two other departments, who owe a responsibility to the people….The number of judges, the assignation of duties, the fixing of compensations, the fixing the times when, and the places where, the courts shall exercise the functions, &c., are left to the entire discretion of Congress. The spirit as well as the words of the Constitution are completely satisfied, provided one Supreme Court be established….Congress may postpone the sessions of the courts for eight or ten years, and establish others to whom they could transfer all the powers of the existing courts.4

F. As Rep. Steve King correctly explains, “Constitutionally, Congress can reduce the Supreme Court to nothing more than Chief Justice Roberts sitting at a card table with a candle” – a power that the Judiciary cannot reciprocally exercise over Congress.

2. THE JUDICIARY IS NOT TO BE AN INDEPENDENT BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT

A. John Dickinson, signer of the Constitution: “[W]hat innumerable acts of injustice may be committed – and how fatally may the principles of liberty be sapped – by a succession of judges utterly independent of the people?5

B. Thomas Jefferson: “It should be remembered as an axiom of eternal truth in politics that whatever power in any government is independent is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass.6

C. Nathaniel Chipman, office in the Revolution, early Member of Congress, U. S. federal judge, Chief Justice of Vermont Supreme Court: “If the judges are made thus independent . . . they will become a dangerous body.7

D. Jonathan Mason, law student trained by John Adams and an early Member of Congress: “The independence of the judiciary so much desired will – if tolerated – soon become something like supremacy. They will, indeed, form the main pillar of this goodly fabric; they will soon become the only remaining pillar, and they will presently be so strong as to crush and absorb the others into their solid mass.8

E. Thomas Jefferson: “We think, in America, that it is necessary to introduce the people into every department of government. . . Were I called upon to decide whether the people had best be omitted in the legislative or judiciary department, I would say it is better to leave them out of the legislative. The execution of the laws is more important than the making them.9

F. Joseph Nicholson, early Member of Congress, successfully managed the impeachment of multiple early federal judges: “Give [judges] the powers and the independence now contended for and . . . your government becomes a despotism and they become your rulers. They are to decide upon the lives, the liberties, and the property of your citizens; they have an absolute veto upon your laws by declaring them null and void at pleasure; they are to introduce at will the laws of a foreign country…after being clothed with this arbitrary power, they are beyond the control of the nation. . . . If all this be true – if this doctrine be established in the extent which is now contended for – the Constitution is not worth the time we are now spending on it. It is – as it has been called by its enemies – mere parchment. For these judges, thus rendered omnipotent, may overleap the Constitution and trample on your laws.10

3. THE JUDICIARY IS NOT THE SOLE BRANCH CAPABLE OF DETERMINING CONSTITUTIONALITY

A. James Madison: “But the great objection . . . is that the Legislature itself has no right to expound the Constitution – that wherever its meaning is doubtful, you must leave it to take its course until the Judiciary is called upon the declare its meaning. . . . I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits.11

B. Elbridge Gerry, signer of the Declaration and a framer of the Bill of Rights: “It was quite foreign from the nature of [the judiciary’s] office to make them judges of the policy of public measures.12

C. Luther Martin, framer of the Constitution and Attorney General of Maryland: “A knowledge of mankind and of legislative affairs cannot be presumed to belong in a higher degree to the Judges than to the Legislature.13

D. John Randolph of Roanoke: “[I]f you pass the law, the judges are to put their veto upon it by declaring it unconstitutional. Here is a new power of a dangerous and uncontrollable nature contended for…The power which has the right of passing – without appeal – on the validity of laws is your sovereign.14

E. Thomas Jefferson: “O]ur Constitution. . . . has given – according to this opinion – to one of [the three Branches] alone the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others – and to that one, too, which is unelected by and independent of the nation. . . . The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.15

F. Rufus King, signer of the Constitution, framer of the Bill of Rights: “The judges must interpret the laws; they ought not to be legislators.16

G. John Randolph of Roanoke: “The decision of a constitutional question must rest somewhere. Shall it be confided to men immediately responsible to the people – the Congress, or to those who are irresponsible…the judges?....[a]re we [Congress] not as deeply interested in the true exposition of the Constitution as the judges can be? With all the deference to their talents, is not Congress as capable of forming a correct opinion as they are? Are not its members acting under a responsibility to public opinion which can, and will, check their aberrations from duty?17

H. Thomas Jefferson: “[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.18

I. James Madison: “[R]efusing or not refusing to execute a law, to stamp it with its final character. . . . makes the Judiciary department paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended and can never be proper.19

J. Federalist #81: “[T]here is not a syllable in the plan [the Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution.20

K. Thomas Jefferson: “You seem . . . to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions – a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. . . . [A]nd their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective.21

L. President Andrew Jackson: “Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others. . . . The authority of the Supreme Court must not, therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive.22

M. Abraham Lincoln: “I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court. . . . At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made . . . the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having . . . resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.23

4. FEDERAL JUDGES DO NOT HOLD LIFETIME APPOINTMENTS

A. The Constitution says that judges hold their office only during “good behavior” (Art. III, Sec. 1).

B. Federal judges may be removed by Congress for misbehavior, which, historically, did not include only criminal behavior but also other misbehavior.

C. Historically, federal judges have been removed from the bench by Congress for contradicting an order of Congress, for profanity, for rude treatment of witness in a courtroom, for drunkenness, for judicial high-handedness and a variety of other reasons.24

D. The Constitution provides six clauses on impeachment – the most often-mentioned subject in the Constitution.25

E. The Founding Fathers and early legal authorities were clear about the ground for impeachment:

1. James Wilson, signer of the Constitution, original Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court: “[I]mpeachments are confined to political characters, to political crimes and misdemeanors, and to political punishments.26

2. Justice Joseph Story, a “Father of American Jurisprudence” appointed to the Supreme Court by President James Madison: “The offenses to which the power of impeachment has been and is ordinarily applied as a remedy. . . . are aptly termed political offences, growing out of personal misconduct, or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests.27

3. John Marshall, Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court: “[T]he present doctrine seems to be that a Judge giving a legal opinion contrary to the opinion of the legislature is liable to impeachment.28

4. George Mason, the “Father of the Bill of Rights”: “attempts to subvert the Constitution.29

5. Alexander Hamilton: “the abuse or violation of some public trust. . . . [or for] injuries done immediately to the society itself.30

6. George Mason, “Father of the Bill of Rights,” and Elbridge, signer of the Declaration and Framer of the Bill of Rights: “mal-administration.31

7. William Rawle, legal authority and author of early constitutional commentary: “the inordinate extension of power, the influence of party and of prejudice32 as well as attempts to “infringe the rights of the people.33

8. Justice Joseph Story, a “Father of American Jurisprudence” appointed to the Supreme Court by President James Madison: “unconstitutional opinions” and “attempts to subvert the fundamental laws and introduce arbitrary power.34
F. Federalist #65: “[T]he practice of impeachments [is] a bridle in the hands of the Legislative body.35

G. Justice James Iredell, a ratifier of the Constitution, placed on the Supreme Court by President Washington: “Every government requires it [impeachment]. Every man ought to be amenable for his conduct. . . . It will be not only the means of punishing misconduct but it will prevent misconduct. A man in public office who knows that there is no tribunal to punish him may be ready to deviate from his duty; but if he knows there is a tribunal for that purpose although he may be a man of no principle, the very terror of punishment will perhaps deter him.36

5. THE PURPOSE OF THE SUPREME COURT IS NOT TO PROTECT THE MINORITY FROM THE MAJORITY, AND CONGRESS IS A BETTER PROTECTOR OF MINORITY RIGHTS THAN IS THE JUDICIARY

A. George Washington: “[T]he fundamental principle of our Constitution... enjoins [requires] that the will of the majority shall prevail.37

B. Thomas Jefferson: “[T]he will of the majority [is] the natural law of every society [and] is the only sure guardian of the rights of man. Perhaps even this may sometimes err. But its errors are honest, solitary and short-lived.38

C. The Judiciary is now regularly anti-majoritarian.

D. The primary purpose of the Supreme Court is not to protect the minority from the majority.

E. The primary purpose of the Bill of Rights is not to protect the minority from the majority; the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect every citizen, whether in the minority or the majority, from the intrusion upon their rights by government.

F. Congress is a better guardian of the people and the minority than are the courts.

G. Federalist #51: “The members of the Legislative department . . . are numerous. They are distributed and dwell among the people at large. Their connections of blood, of friendship, and of acquaintance embrace a great proportion of the most influential part of the society. . . . they are more immediately the confidential guardians of their rights and liberties.39

H. In 1875, Congress banned all segregation,40 but in 1882, the Supreme Court struck down that law.41 While the Court is often praised today for ending segregation in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, what the Court actually did in that case was only to reverse its own position that had kept segregation alive 70 longer than Congress’ ban.

I. Thomas Jefferson: “When the Legislative or Executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they are responsible to the people in their elective capacity. The exemption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them [the people] not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.42

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's a sexy bill

Yes, Rep. Joe Carr and I are going to try to pass the the "Porn not corn" tax swap bill this year. What the bill does is increase the tax on hard core pornography, escort services, strip clubs and other such products and the resulting income will be dedicated to lowering the tax on groceries. It is not a true tax increase in that it is revenue neutral for the state.

The fiscal study says the tax swap will generate $55,000,000.00 in Tennessee in the first year alone (and it looks pretty stable after that) and the income generated would be dedicated to lowering the tax on food by up to triple (or even possibly more) the amount the governor has proposed in the next year.

This will put one simple question out there to legislators. Why would you vote for cheap porn, escorts and strippers and against lowering the tax on food?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Its like they are taking "stupid" pills

It must be a bad sign from God. The last few days all signs have been pointing to one clear fact. People are now actually taking "stupid" pills.

That is the only explanation I can think of.

As I was sitting in my office a group of trial lawyers came in to talk about issues of the day. The latest idea they hate of mine is a bill that says in some legal situations a loser pays winners legal fees type scenario is reasonable to stop some frivolous lawsuits. I can see how some people may be against it at all levels, but some of the arguments used to fight against it make me want to ram my head into a wall.

As we debated the issue, one argument they used was the classic "lady who burned her crotch with hot coffee and got millions from McDonald's". This was supposed to show me how well the current system worked. That one alone about made my brain spin around inside of my head. Then the topper for the day was the case where someone had their car stolen and the car thief crashed it and killed someone in another car. One of the people who was hit by the car sued. Not the criminal, but the actual owner of the car because they left their keys in the car.....And (after multiple, multiple appeals) they won because the keys in the unlocked car were just too tempting for the criminal to overcome.

It put me in mind of the court room scene from the comedy movie "Idiocracy". By what logic do these judgements get made?

The next day I met the same two lawyers at a lunch reception for the trial lawyers. Just for fun I threw them two questions.

I said "I was thinking about your hot coffee case and I have a question. If I smoke two packs of cigarettes a day for 20 years and I read the sign on the side of the pack that tells me "smoking causes cancer" every day and then I do get cancer. Whose fault is it?"

The two lawyers looked at each other unsure how to respond. They pondered, argued back and forth for about 10 minutes before breaking down and admitting it was maybe, possibly, partly, just a little bit the smokers fault.... but not in all cases.

My gosh. we are in trouble! I thought. This is the future of the legal profession.

I then went to the assessment of blame question. I asked one of the lawyers (A pretty young girl)

"As to who is at fault for criminal activity, If you wear a mini skirt does that put you at fault if you are raped because you tempted the criminal?"

"Well!!! That's different!!!" She exclaimed.

Really? Well, maybe, possibly, partly, just a little bit. The more I thought about it the more it is like if a rapist caught a disease from one of his victims and then gave the disease to his girlfriend who later sued the rape victim for wearing a mini skirt.

Yes, I know, still totally ridiculous.

But that is what we are dealing with in the courts now and probably into the future. People having to pay thousands to defend themselves against these type cases. My hope is in common sense (like this person) will spring back into vogue and people will see the error of their ways. My last hope is the "brilliant" pills come on the market soon.

P.S. Stealing a video from a vendor at a trial lawyer reception to try and prove me wrong does not help your argument.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Debate rundown

Again I was working late at the office so I missed the first few minutes but here it goes.

Winner.
Newt. He looked stately, wise and sharp. He seemed limited in time or possibly it was just he did more concise responses but no slips and solid throughout. Good on education, abortion and attacking on Romney earmarks. Looked bad sitting down and leaning back.

Second
Romney. good answers. Took some hits on earmarks and Romney care but slick elsewhere and attacking Santorum. Terrible cocky closing.

Third
Santorum. Good finish but got bogged down on the minutia of Washington earmarks and Washington politics. It may have been justified but it was the wrong issues to argue on and too complex for Joe six pack. Bobbie Fisher didn't talk about the pawn push offence of chess. He spoke about beating the Russians and why he was the best....And then he went crazy.

Last.
Paul. Can we just get a recording of Paul's 2 points and just put them on a loop somewhere? It is just getting silly. Spending on the war. Yes. We get it.

CNN
Questions were tired and let candidates run off the track.

Joke of the week

A man in Topeka, Kansas decided to write a book about churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco and started working east from there. Going to a very large church, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign, which read "Calls: $10,000 a minute." Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to GOD.

The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. As he continued to visit churches in Seattle, Houston, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and many cities and towns all around the United States , he found more phones same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.

Finally, he arrived in. Knoxville, Tn. Upon entering a church in the beautiful state of Tennessee, behold, he saw the usual golden telephone.But THIS time, the sign read "Calls: 35 cents".

Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor, "Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to GOD, but in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads only 35 cents
a call. Why?"

The pastor, smiling broadly, replied, "Son, you're in Tennessee now - you're in God's Country. It's a local call."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anti litter bill killed

My bill to stop litter was killed today in the commerce committee. 2-7. The newspaper industry fought against it saying they thought they should have the right to throw their papers in your yard no matter if you wanted them or not.

Infuriating!!!

While I support the peoples right to protest their government something happened today that about sent me over the edge (I know, not such a far trip). Today a few minutes before I was to go to state and local government committee I started to receive calls on one of the governors bills. The bill would have changed criteria for keeping an employee from seniority based to ability based. When the calls came in one of the people on the other end of the line wanted to let me know they were a 25 year state employee in the department of human services. She wanted to let me know she was against the bill.

I interrupted her with one question. "Are you on the government clock right now?"

"Yes. Yes I am but I consider this part of my job".

Wow! that made my blood boil! I cant count the number of times I have heard from some departments how over worked they are. How they don't have time to do any more work. Then I get a call like this.

I let her know that while I appreciate her right of free speech on legislation I do not think the state should be paying her to do it.

I feel the same way about e mails supporting or opposing legislation sent from government computers. Send all you want but not from a government computer or government e mail address or on government time.

I will be bringing an amendment to the TEAM bill that will amend it so that sort of activity can not happen on government time or on a government computer or e mails. This sort of lobbying is getting out of control.

Impossible!!

Students shot on campus by outside criminal element? Impossible! Guns are not allowed on campus!! That would mean that criminals are not obeying the law and we all know that is not possible. The campus had assured us that all legal honest gun owners have been disarmed.

"We are doing it now, but it isn't happening."

The Tennessean has done an article on the classroom protection act saying it isn't needed. Although I have offered several examples of where it is and has happened in Tennessee they say it is not happening.

They then go on to say how the Nashville school system is having outside, Gay and Lesbian groups come in to train teachers on how to teach about homosexuality to young children.....


The bill also could affect training that dozens of Metro school staffers have taken part in since the start of the school year. Just Monday, about 100 staffers sat through training about sexual orientation and gender identity.
The session, part of a new training program the district put in place for counselors and social workers, was hosted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Adults were asked questions about their own knowledge and feelings about sexual orientation and were given recommendations for how to answer student questions. They also were given stickers and posters declaring “safe spaces” in schools.
Much of what they’ve learned could go by the wayside if the legislation passes, said Bagwell and GLSEN spokesman Brad Palmertree.
“I think we would be limited in our resources,” Bagwell said. “We would have to think differently about how we support those students.”
GLSEN provided a copy of its 48-page “Safe Space Kit,” which recommends that school staffers “ask questions that demonstrate understanding, acceptance and compassion” when a student discloses sexual orientation to them.
It also recommends that they offer referrals to other counselors, hotlines and youth groups.
In response to derogatory language and name-calling, the guide recommends addressing the situation immediately and trying to turn conflicts into lessons.
(Page 3 of 3)
Bagwell said such training has inched toward becoming standard ....

....High school counselors have called on Sheffer for advice about bathroom policies for transgender students and the formation of diversity-minded student groups.
“Young people want to talk about it,” she said. “They have questions. They want to process it.”
Clubs' fate unclearSome educators wonder what will happen to student clubs such as Gay Straight Alliances.
In particular, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet in Nashville enrolls students from seventh through 12th grades. The Gay Straight Alliance there includes about 15 seventh- and eighth-graders of the 45 who regularly attend, said faculty adviser Rita GoForth.
She said new rules could ban the younger students, since meetings often include sexuality discussions and guest speakers.
“We pretty much support kids to be whatever they are,” GoForth said. “We support kids to ask the questions about sexuality.”
At the elementary school level, GLSEN’s national office recently distributed a new curriculum about family and gender diversity. That too, Palmertree said, could become inaccessible.


And as for being contacted for information on this legislation, the reported says calls to the sponsors went unanswered. I had my publicly listed cell phone with me all weekend and at no time did I miss a call or leave a call unresponded to. If someone wants to do a one sided article that is fine but don't say the other side was not available for comment.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Joke of the week

*The Abbott and Costello Routine on Unemployment*

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good subject. Terrible times. It's about 9%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.
COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
ABBOTT: 9% unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right: 9% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 9%.
COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE! Is it 9% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.
COSTELLO: If you're out of work you're unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have
to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: But ... they're out of work!
ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who
look for work. It wouldn't be fair.
COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they're ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work... Those who are
out of work stopped looking. They gave up. If you give up, you're no
longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as
less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment goes down just because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it
would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?
COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to
bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier
of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.
COSTELLO: I don't even know what I just said!

And now you know why President Obama's unemployment figures are improving.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When openness leads to corruption

Shew! this is going to be a tough one but I will give it a try.

A lot is being made about a bill (SB2207) we are considering to open some information about contract negotiations for economic development. Some information will be made at least semi public. But not all.


What the governor has asked for is something Bredesen never did. Haslam wants to make sure the companies applying for state aid and contracts are strong enough to actually do what they are signing up for. Do they have cash reserves? What is their current cash flow? Do they have an organizational structure that can handle this type project? More or less can Company XYZ and Company ABC do what the state is about to give them money to help them do. Bredesen never asked these questions or for the information so now we are stuck with some dog companies that cant do what we gave them money for.

Haslam decided it was best to at least ask for some basic information of companies XYZ and ABC while in negotiations. Suddenly the Democrats got religion and jumped all over it. Why not let the people see all that information? The ownership of those companies should be known too. Otherwise it looks like a cover up shady backroom deal.

Where were they 3 years ago?

Why is it a big deal? A companies private cash flow information etc. is usually tightly held by a company. No one wants their competitors to know what kind of financial shape they are in or if they are planning a move. It could lead to hostile takeovers, stock volatility, employee panic and all sorts of bad things. To expose that information to the public, would be more a headache then most companies want for something that may not even work out. If no deal is made is an all downside type of thing and could squelch a company from entering negotiations about coming to or dealing with Tennessee.

The The big thing Democrats have keyed on is saying the names of the private ownership of a company now needs to be known and made public throughout negotiations and after an award of contract is made. Open, clean government right? Well, maybe. But maybe not so much. Lets look at a scenario. Two companies are negotiating for a contract. Company ABC and their competitor Company XYZ.

Lets for instance say Company XYZ is owned by a good friend of the person deciding the contract. Company ABC on the other hand is owned by you. Would you want the person deciding the winning bid to know before he makes his decision that his best buddy was a bidder or would you want them to do it blind and vote on the merits of your bid?

Post contract, lets say you own the company. Do you want to expose all the people who may have Lent you money to start your business? At what point would it stop? What if ownership was part of a performance contract? Would they have to expose to your competitors part of a performance contract of a top employee if that was part of their pay? That could start a bidding war for contractors and employees. What about companies who may have stock holders? Some companies may have thousands of stock holders or part owners. Some people may not even know they are "owners" as part of some 401K plan. Should the public know every single investment or investor you have ever made or have? Where do you draw the line?

We are working on it now.

No matter what, it will be more open then it ever was in the past. That is for sure. The hard part is drawing the line on what information is reasonable to give out as well as when and where you draw the line. Open government is good but too much could kill a lot of deals for Tennessee.

Now should we be making those deals in the first place? That is another question for another day....

Rep. Bill Harmon...OUT!

Democrat Rep. Bill Harmon has said he will not seek re election to the state house of representatives. He may seek the state senate seat or possibly a mayors race.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Calling Dr Wang. Dr. Ming Wang.....

As I am sure many people know, legislators go to a lot of receptions at night. The last of the 3 events I stopped at tonight was for the College Republicans. By the time I got to their event they were out of clean name tags. The girl at the reception table said I was welcome to take one of the pre made, but untaken, other tags and write my name on that over the old name.

Instead, I just picked up one of the name tags and slapped it on my jacket and went into the reception.

Dr. Ming Wang. AKA Senator Stacey Campfield.

I thought it was a little funny until a real doctor came up and actually thought I was the real Dr. Ming Wang.... Then I thought it was hilarious! I could only take a few minutes of him seriously going on and on about the groundbreaking work I did in the field of laser eye surgery. How I was a visionary, how he loved the things he read about me in the medical journals. How impressive it was that I scored perfect on the MCAT medical exams.

I told him how kind he was but I was just used to winging it and I guessed at about half the questions.

His eyes got huge for a second and he looked horrified but I could not hold back the laughter any longer.

No. I am not really Dr. Ming Wang....But I did stay at a The Comfort Inn last night.

HeHe :-0

Classroom protection act passes first committee

The bill saying talk of sexuality in grades k-8 shall be limited to natural reproduction only, passed out of the house education subcommittee today.

Another step.

Bass may quit Democrat party

Democrat Rep. Eddie Bass is thinking about quitting the Democrat party.

Sontany OUT!

State rep. Janet Sontany of Nashville will not run again for the state house of Representatives. in 10 years in the former majority party Janet was able to pass orders of protection for cats.

Haslam dumps class size bill

The bill to allow school systems to adjust classroom sizes is dead for the year. The governor saw there was limited support for the move and just killed it.

What I do.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Anti litter and crime bill

SB 2670 is coming up tomorrow. What that bill will do is cut down on the litter by people throwing non subscription newspapers in yards. It is also an anti crime bill because criminals see stacks of newspapers in a yard and figure the house is either empty or the owner are out of town. Ripe picking for thieves and vagrants. As amended, it will require people throwing the non subscription newspapers to put them within 2 feet of the door or in a newspaper box.
video

Sunday, February 12, 2012

To my buddy Dave

As you change the diapers of your first born at 3AM, remember...

And in his spare time....

Not only did Abe Lincoln free the slaves, keep the union together and kick off the Republican party but according to this new movie coming out he had another hobby.

That's right. Hunting vampires! This has to go right up there with "Snakes on a plane"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

silliness in government

And I thought we were done with silly revenue streams.

Not looking good.

The governors education plan is not looking good for passage. In fact I would say it is close to DOA. Half the bill has a chance. Allowing schools to set up incentive pay could pass.

His plan to allow school systems the flexibility to adjust classroom sizes has more of an uphill battle. I have seen little to nothing in the way of positive feedback on that part of the plan.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The no camping rule

In the senate yesterday we passed out of the judiciary committee the "No camping" rule for state property. It is a move to say you don't have a right to throw up a camp site on state property without permission. It is a move to clean up the occupy/homeless tent city that has taken over the peoples legislative plaza.

It was an interesting forum that let all sides be heard. My top concern was the fear that it might allow at some point in the future limiting of protesters for any reason. I was assured it would not. It would only limit camping. I was also assured it would not stop someone from setting up a tent if permission was granted. In the end it passed with all but Morrarro voting in favor of the move and Ford passing on it.

Ron Ramsey on the occupation

Dear Friend,

As you may be aware, a group known as Occupy Nashville has essentially taken up residence on War Memorial Plaza across the street from the Capitol. While describing themselves as protesters, they are actually something quite different.

Average protesters, usually on some defined day centered around a specific issue, march or congregate en mass to demand redress of a specific grievance. Normal protests can get loud and they can get rowdy. Frequently, they can last long into the night. On rare occasions, they can last a few days.

Occupy Nashville is quite a different animal. This protest is not really a protest at all. It is, as the name implies, an occupation. I value our constitutional rights — the freedom of speech most of all. Without the freedom to directly confront our leaders, our constitution isn’t worth the parchment on which it’s printed.

Whether from the left or the right, I appreciate people engaging their government.

However, to continue to ignore the reality of Occupy Nashville would be to shirk my duties as a public servant. I have to tell the truth and the truth is this: your War Memorial Plaza – a place dedicated to Tennesseans who paid the ultimate price in service to their nation and fellow citizens – is no longer a place for visitors. It is unsightly, it is unclean and, depending on the time of day, it is downright dangerous.

While the initial “Occupiers” may have started out with good intentions, their movement has been infiltrated and co-opted by the homeless in Nashville. Unsurprisingly, amongst the homeless population there is a distinct criminal element. In Occupy Nashville, this criminal element has found safe haven and justification for their lifestyle.

While the crimes committed in and around the Plaza run the gamut, several of the incident reports I have reviewed have alarmed me. From public sexual behavior to narcotics trafficking to assault, the criminal element surrounding Occupy Nashville has made a visit to our State Capitol more than unpleasant.

For example, a legislative employee standing in a bottom floor courtyard was recently urinated on by someone connected to the occupation.

This is disgraceful.

The Occupiers are not merely a nuisance with a blatant disregard for societal norms — they have become dangerous. I have reviewed paperwork from both Metro Police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol and seen reports that include threats of bodily harm by people with knives and other weapons.

One report I read particularly disturbed me because it affected young students here to learn about their Capitol: a homeless member of Occupy Nashville exposed himself in full view of students on a field trip.

A cursory glance at media coverage paints a very unsavory picture: a public brawl occurred on the Plaza on Christmas Day followed by a brazen act of arson in time for the New Year.

In essence, open acts of sex, drug use and violence you wouldn’t expect in an “R” rated movie are at times on full display on your War Memorial Plaza.

It saddens me because every year students from Tennessee schools visit our state capitol to learn about their government and see a very moving War Memorial dedicated to Tennesseans who died for their countrymen over the last 100 years. This year my advice to teachers looking to bring students here would be simple: stay home. I cannot in good conscience recommend the Capitol as a class trip destination at this time. I’m embarrassed to say it but it is the truth.

I hope and pray this situation will be resolved sooner rather then later and I can once again wholeheartedly recommend that visitors and students come to Nashville to learn how our government works.

Again, I support our constitution and embrace with open arms our rights of free speech and assembly. Liberal judges here in Nashville and on the federal bench can try and twist the law however they want but the reality is clear: this occupation has gone beyond speech and assembly and become an embarrassment — both to causes Occupy purports to support and the state of Tennessee at large.

Sincerely,

Ronald L. Ramsey
Lieutenant Governor
Speaker of the Senate

Latest dish on Newt in TN

Last week, the Hamilton County GOP gave Speaker Gingrich a straw poll victory at their Lincoln Day dinner. This week, I'm happy to report that a much larger group of over 5,100 readers of "The Chattanoogan" newspaper gave Newt another win. Here are the results:
Newt Gingrich = 31%
Ron Paul = 28%
Mitt Romney = 26%
Rick Santurum = 15%

Monday, February 06, 2012

Stack it up

Action Andy Sher drops the digits on who was good at fund raising this last year. Lets just say it was verrrrrry good for Republicans with at least a 3 to 1 advantage (But probably closer to a 4 to 1 advantage) in fundraising in a non election year. The caucus and top leadership pulled in about 3 million with Dems pulling in @ $700K. Rank and file R's and D's show similar disparities.

The funny thing I have realized about fundraising money it does not always go to the better idea. We had many of the same ideas when we were in the minority and Democrats still out raised Republicans by similar margins. It just goes to who ever is in power. As more Democrats seek other pastures expect more groups to flow support to those they expect to remain in power. Next years numbers could be even more of a stark contrast.

Haynes OUT!

Senator Joe Haynes (D Nashville area) is will not be running again for the state senate this next year. Citing the new district lines that are no longer specially drawn to favor a Democrat, the wish to enjoy some retirement with family, fishing and good books his announcement came on Friday.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Best super bowl comercial

Business Trip | CareerBuilder 2012 Big Game Commercial from CareerBuilder For Employers on Vimeo.



I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.

Power grab.

The governor this year is looking to take more control over many of the states boards and agencies. Currently, many boards are multi member panels with a internally appointed leader or in some cases no direct leader. In many cases The governor wants one central leader appointed by him with a board of people under his appointee. One question remains in my mind as to who would have the final power of decisions. The group or the leader.

Tennessee has traditionally been a state with a strong legislature and a weak governor. It kept the power closer to the people as the individual legislators are more responsive to the day to day wants and needs of its citizens then the governor is. It has been pretty good reasoning resulting in a fairly well run state. I see little reason to change that formula in most cases. While money and plans for dramatic change often come from the top down, the best ideas and leaders usually come from the bottom up. Most of the agencies mentioned are administrative in nature and in most cases one leader is not necessarily needed. One of the problems we already have in state government (probably at most all levels of government) is people in these groups trying to set up their own little fiefdoms with themselves as king. I think a central leader might only exacerbate this problem.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Komen caves

Susan G Komen has caved to the pro abortion on demand crowd and will continue funding the worlds largest abortion provider. Bad move in many ways. First they called attention to a fact that most people did not know. That they were funding the abortion industry. Bad, but not so bad when they told people they were stopping the funding. In fact I was hearing that funding flooded into Susan G. when they made the announcement.

Then the pro abortion crowd went nuts!! The money is the end all be all to them so they went all frontal attack to force SGK to flip flop and return funding to the abortion provider. Clearly it was not about funding to fight breast cancer. It was about Planned Parenthood getting the money because the money would not evaporate if PP did not get it. It would still go to cancer research, testing and awareness. In fact more would. Just not to that one provider.

In the end, they caved to the pro abort crowd. In the process they angered both the pro aborts, the pro lifers who gave money and now feel cheated and the oblivious who did not know they were funding the abortion provider until this story came out but now do (and they don't like it).

Do I need to provide the link that Rush Limbaugh talked about showing the tie between abortion and breast cancer for anyone?

Friday, February 03, 2012

UMMMM, about that little e mail list.

Well as you may know I was featured on a couple of national TV shows, CNN, MSNBC etc. Yea, I got a few calls. A few e mails from both sides but let me just say one call blew them all away.

This one caller (Who I did not even talk to) called and was telling my staff how he was a big fan of what I was doing. How he thought my bill on sex ed for young children was great but needed a better name (He suggested "The classroom protection act") and he went on about how he wanted me to be the vice presidential candidate.

Ah well. That's was all very kind of him to say. I get that kind of sentiment some times but I try to not let it go to my head. My staff thanked him and I did like the name.

Anyway, the caller went on saying he had a huge e mail list and was going to send it out to all his friends and let them know what he thought so I better be ready for some calls and e mails.

Heh, well I mean come on. We thought how big can his e mail list be? 50? 100 people? How many of them would bother to call or send an e mail off of that? 5? 10 at best? No big deal we thought.

Well it went out yesterday at about 3PM. At about 3:05 the calls started to flood in. WAAAAAAAY faster then my people could handle them. At the end of the day they just had to just walk out of the office with the phone still ringing non stop.

This morning when my people came in to the office they said the voice mailbox was overloaded and refused to take more messages. I checked my legislative e mail list and I have blown past 2000 unique e mails in support of my legislation and it is still growing.

Ummmm, yea, about that little e mail list. I guess it was on the plus side of 200,000 and the guy is some sort of pretty big player in the conservative movement. If I can ever sift through all the e mails I will try to send him one of thanks and try to get on his list. Till then if you sent me something it could be a while before I get to read and respond to it. The same for blog comments that are in the mix as well waiting for moderation. I will take them one by one but I have a lot of thank you e mails to read and send out.

I had a feeling

The worlds largest abortion provider (Planned Parenthood) has filed lawsuit for not winning the grant the state gives away from the money it gets from the federal government.

This mess all started and became a problem again because language was mysteriously put in the budget last year nullifying language I had put in the budget that would have had all the title X funds the state receives be used by government health care clinics.

When my wording was nullified, it allowed the money to go back out for bid to outside providers. This year Planned Parenthood lost that bid. Now they are suing because of that loss. Had the money been kept "in house" it would not have been an issue as nothing requires the state to give funds to outside providers.

In other pro life news, Susan G. Komen has also pulled their funding from the abortion provider as well. This is great news as so often there are charity events for Susan G. that I would like to attend or support but I had always refused because of their funding for Planned Parenthood.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

AIDS expert admits I was right.

Mom is that you?

Let me start by saying I have been getting a hand full of calls this last week from around the nation. Some good. Some bad. We appreciate the good ones (Mostly from Tennessee) and listen to the bad ones (they mostly seem to come from California and New York) when they are reasonable.

Unfortunately, most of the bad calls sound like the callers are coming unglued. They get deleted at the first curse word. Usually, they only make it about 5 words in to their rant that all seem to go some version of "You are a homophobic #$%^%..." And then my guys just hang up the phone or delete the message.

For some reason this one they played all the way through. In fact my staff listened to it again. Several times. Their laughter caught my attention and I heard it. I thought it was hilarious. They called in their friends and played it for them. I think half the capitol has heard it by now. Who ever this (Man/Woman you decide) is has missed their true calling. I couldn't rant like that if I wanted to. It is one of those things that is so bad it is good. I wish I knew who sent it because I would almost want to call them up, shake their hand and let them know how much fun we have had with it.

Where most hate callers paint their rhetoric in crayon, this person is truly the Davinci of diss. For a second there I thought they were going to start cussing in tongues.

You are forewarned there is some harsh language (they tell me how they want me to go on a permanent vacation some place warm... But lets just say it is not Jamaica). If you want to hear it, and you will have to cut and paste this.

www.davemanut.com/stacey.wav

It is limited to 2 and a half minutes because that is the limit for my answering machine so I probably missed the big finish where they ask where they can send a donation to my campaign. Who knows.

Joke of the week (Isnt that Al Gore's sign?)

Something new

video

Proven right

I was on WTVF (News Channel 5) this morning talking about AIDS and AIDS transmission with the host and A gentleman from "Nashville Cares" a group that specializes in STDs/AIDS transmission.

I don't think it would be a stretch to say this gentleman was pro homosexual agenda but to his credit, as I spoke and stated my facts on AIDS transmission, he completely agreed with my numbers, proof and assertions of facts. I will try to get the video up later (They told me they only record the first half hour) but it will re air at 3PM today.

In that regard I give him credit. Some of the other pro homosexual agenda "Facts" on AIDS transmission his group have advocated to Nashville school children I disagree with vehemently. Mainly that the cause of AIDS was low self esteem.



This is just one slide they use to teach sex ed in schools.