Thursday, August 25, 2005


Thursday Morning Rumblings

Since I am up at 3 A.M. and watching Bill O'Reilly take apart some New Hampshire newspaper publisher for his publication's lack of responsible journalism (apparently, it doesn't take much intelligence to run a newspaper) isn't holding my attention, I thought I would take the opportunity to post about a few items that had crossed my path over the past day.

Wednesday's USA Today (the free newspaper of choice at the Holiday Inn) didn't have too many noteworthy stories. An editorial by Edwin Chemerinsky, noted constitutional scholar and author of the text used in my Constitutional Law course at UT Law, makes me grateful that I was able to study the Constitution through other texts and that my understanding of the law is not limited to Chemerinsky's liberal viewpoint. If one wants to grasp why many lawyers have little understanding of constitutional limitations on the judiciary, they need look no farther than Professor Chemerinsky and his ilk. Also, according to a study released by Trust for America's Health, Tennessee has the fifth highest rate of obesity in the U.S. at 25.6%. In fact, all of the top 10 states are traditional "Southern" states except for Michigan, which is tied with Texas and Kentucky for sixth. The study has been attacked for its methodology, but I find enough anecdotal evidence to believe that the study may have some merit. Just take a look at the number of folks at the local Wal-Mart or at a theme park like Dollywood who can't handle the exertion of shopping due to their weight, instead having to rely upon motorized carts to retain mobility. If the purpose of the study was to encourage readers to work-out, it worked for me (at least, it will once I finish this post). I can say that there doesn't seem to be much of a problem with obesity on the campus of Vanderbilt University, where I have been housed for the past two weeks. Running students are commonplace every morning and evening in numbers that are quite remarkable.

While the sports radio scene here in Nashville is woefully pathetic (thanks to the moronic callers, not the hosts, who are actually pretty good in the face of their listener/contributors), I have found one other free media source, The City Paper, quite an enjoyable read. In Wednesday's print version, for instance, there was a front page story on Tennessee politicians using on-line mediums to rally support. Included in the story were references to Rosalind Kurita's campaign for U.S. Senate and criticism of Governor Bredesen's dormant blog. The story carried a good news/bad news development for the Kurita campaign. On one hand, her on-line advertising campaign on blogs and a few MSM sites resulted in donations from 22 states. That's pretty impressive this far from the primary. However, one sign of trouble for Kurita is the resignation of her campaign manager, Kimberly Wood. I'm interested in why someone would leave a campaign that certainly has gained early notoriety as being imaginative and inventive. If anyone has any more information on this story, I would certainly welcome your input.

In today's edition of The City Paper, Senators Frist and Alexander have declined to join Governor Bredesen's suit aimed at stopping the dismantling of the 118th Airlift Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. The lack of Tennessee GOP involvement in this issue is a real shame. While I am lax to endorse lawsuits as a solution for anything, something needs to be done here, and Bredesen's approach is if nothing else novel. Senator Frist's answer for saving the unit was to fly to Nashville and tell the Guard members that he supports them. With all due respect to the Senator and his staff, I don't think that is going to elicit any meaningful results. On the other hand, Senator Alexander appears to endorse the base closings proposed by Rumsfeld. It appears to me that this move only makes hypocrites out of the GOP. They blasted President Clinton for base closings back in the 1990s (as they should have), but now - since we are living in a world where we are no longer ignorant to the threats to our domestic security - believe we should shut down bases that can be strengths as first responders to a domestic threat. I was against the Clinton Administration's base cuts in the 1990s. I am against the Bush Administration's base cuts this decade. I may be incorrect on this issue, but I will at least be consistent.

Check out U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Moder's comment in Tuesday's post regarding the lack of political leadership as gas prices continue to fleece middle-class America. I welcome Mr. Moder's grassroots candidacy and admire his willingness to engage the political process, even if I would be surprised if he received more than 1% of the primary vote. But, you know, as my Mamaw says, sometimes it's about the journey and not about the destination. I hope that Mr. Moder finds the political arena invigorating and not draining, as it sometimes can be.

I saw U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. leaving the First Tennessee Building in Nashville on Monday evening as I walked to my car. Ford was surrounded by his minions - ur, I mean, staffers - but I am unsure what he was doing there. Perhaps Ford was lecturing Tennesseans on how they are responsible for terrorism.

My time in Nashville is almost finished. Wednesday brought a trip to the last day of training camp with the Tennessee Titans (photos of Adam "Pacman" Jones being hazed during a dizzy bat race to come when I return to Knoxville), which isn't something that one can do everyday. I have to second most of Jeff Ward's recent comments regarding Tennessee's current capital. Although I wouldn't say that Nashville is one of my favorite places (as Jeff does), I have to admit that I have a greater opinion of the city after this stint on West End Avenue. After all, it was nearly three years ago that Nashville hosted my wedding at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. How could I hold a grudge against a city that meant so much to the course of events in my life (even if the traffic is horrible)?

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