Friday, July 29, 2005
BREAKING NEWS: Firearm Manufacturer Protection Bill Passes
Might be a great start to a fantastic weekend...
UPDATE: I have confirmed that the Kennedy amendment was resoundingly defeated, despite the best efforts of Hillary Clinton, who voted for the amendment but against the final bill passage.
I guess Hillary's attempts to look moderate for 2008 can only go so far...
Gun bill debate on the Senate floor
Of course, as the BATF reported to Congress in 1997, "no law enforcement officer has ever been killed or even injured because an armor piercing bullet penetrated a bullet-resistant vest." Sorry, Ted.
If you've already seen "Wedding Crashers" and are in the mood for some comedy this weekend, see if you can get your hands on a copy of Kennedy's floor speech pushing his amendment. Apparently, Ted thought he was proposing an amendment to ban the NRA, because that is really all he talked about. It started about 2:55 P.M. Pop some popcorn, pull up a chair, and enjoy the drama, because it is great entertainment.
Important Firearms Bill Set for Vote Today
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has lived up to his word, delivering S. 397 to the Senate floor in the effort to force a vote on it prior to the August recess. S. 397 is also known as "The Protection Of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act," and basically it protects gun and ammunition manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits brought by municipalities in an attempt to bankrupt the firearms industry. Although the municipalities would love to win in court (because one win would establish a precedent that would bring the knock-out punch for firearms manufacturers), they realize that they don't have to convince one jury in order to bring about the slow death of the gun manufacturers through litigation costs. It's the death-from-a-thousand-cuts approach. The Democrats started their efforts on Thursday to gut the bill by attaching poison pill amendments, as they successfully did last summer. The NRA anticipates amendments today banning .50 caliber rifles, certain types of ammunition, gun shows, and semi-automatics. S. 397 was successfully amended Thursday to require federally licensed dealers to provide a "secure gun storage or safety device" (which means a trigger lock, cable lock, or lock box in most cases) with all handgun purchases (but not long guns, of course). The NRA isn't too concerned with that amendment, as most new handguns come with some sort of safety device. I just wish that one of the Republican Senators would have offered an amendment that would make former Governor Paris Glendening come to every new gun purchaser's home and put the trigger lock on his/her gun for them. (If you don't know what I am writing about in regards to the illustrious Glendening, read the story here.)
SayUncle has more on some interesting media coverage of S. 397. As you can expect with mainstream media, the coverage is a bit biased.
Tennessee politicians have strongly supported this bill and H.R. 800, its counterpart in the House. In fact, every Tennessee Senator and Representative has signed on as a co-sponsor of this legislation - EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS EXCEPT ONE. Can you guess who it is? Well, that would be the Democratic Representative who is trying to paint himself as a moderate in order to hijack Senator Frist's seat, Harold Ford, Jr. Like my Mamaw used to say, "the proof is in the pudding."
It will be interesting to see what happens today in the Senate. Last time around, the Democrats were so successful in making the bill detestable to everyone - with extensions of the Brady Bill and requiring background checks at gun shows - that at the end of the day the NRA had to work to kill its own bill. It doesn't appear that will happen here, but one never can tell.
Senior White House Reporter Vows Suicide if Cheney Runs in 2008
Helen Thomas, long time White House wire reporter, has vowed to "kill herself" if Vice President Dick Cheney announces that he will seek the higher office in 2008.
I don't think that Cheney had any plans to run, but one has to wonder if he'd at least announce a bid for the White House in the future, just to see if Thomas is true to her word or a "liar," as Thomas called Cheney during her diatribe. Cheney's a tough guy. I wouldn't tempt him, Helen...
MORE: John Walter isn't exactly cheering for Cheney to run... or is he?
Belmont Small-Business Blog Praised
South Knoxville Waterfront Update
South Knoxville Redevelopment Area
Knoxville's effort to renovate the waterfront area on the south banks of the Tennessee River is an issue near and dear to my heart, simply because I live there. OK, technically I am about 100 yards away from the renovation area, but that's practically in the renovation zone. At least it is a great deal closer than South Knox Bubba, who didn't even live in Knox County but was quite concerned about the city's undertaking. I am, too, because TDOT's closings of James White Parkway and I-40 will - in my opinion - stifle any growth that the area has seen in the past few years. Renovating the south riverfront may not be enough, especially if the area between the riverfront and John Sevier Highway becomes nearly inaccessible as TDOT expands I-40.
Yesterday, the city evaluation committee narrowed the list of contractors to three, including one Knoxville firm, Bullock, Smith & Partners. The Knoxville News-Sentinel has provided all of the contractors' proposals in PDF format, and some of the ideas are quite interesting. I am certainly a novice when it comes to these sorts of dealings, but some of the ideas seem quite attainable. If anyone has any thoughts on the specific proposals, I would love to read them.
Bush taps Mattice for Federal Bench
Thursday, July 28, 2005
What is going on with Rick Santorum?
I think all of that campaigning for the RINO Specter in 2004 has altered Santorum's mental state. He's starting to sound as wishy-washy as a liberal.
2006 Senate Webpoll
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Buchanan: GOP, Do Not Pass CAFTA
"As for Mexico's major exports to us, they appear to be two: narcotics and Mexicans."
I never understood the Republicans' support of NAFTA over a decade ago, and I find their apparent support of CAFTA to be even more surprising. And sad.
An Eye Towards 2008
But don't tell that to Hillary Clinton. She has toned up the rhetoric while avoiding committing to anything that might offend anyone (much like her husband in 1992 and 1996). For reference, read her speech to the Democratic Leadership Council from earlier this week. (More here.) Also speaking at the event was Virginia Governor Mark Warner, another Democrat eyeing a 2008 bid, who offered specific plans that he would like to administer if elected to the White House. However, it has become apparent that Democrats don't like specific plans. Bill Clinton didn't have one, and he won two terms. Warner seems to have one, and his poll numbers are nearly non-existent. Hillary doesn't have one, either, and her poll numbers have risen nearly 5 points in the past month. Dick Morris (who, as has been written here on many an occasion, is great at analyzing Democrats but poor at figuring out us conservatives) was on The O'Reilly Factor last night, trying to explain how this could happen to a perplexed O'Reilly. The host couldn't believe that Hillary could be making such headway with speeches that are heavy on flowery imagery about bridges and tunnels but substance deficient. Morris didn't say this exactly, but I could tell he wanted to - "No one cares what she says right now. It's all about the image and appearances. We are living in a "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire," VH1-type of culture, and people are either too busy or too simple to understand the specifics, anyway." Morris is too much of a politician himself to say that, but it was obvious that he wanted to blurt out something to that effect. I don't necessarily agree with Morris there (because I see the dumbing down of the discourse to be as much for the comprehension of the media that loves her as anything else, which is a view reinforced by Mickey Kaus related to Hillary and what he terms her "Cheap Dates"), but Morris' assessment that Hillary is beating the tar out of everyone on "the campaign that hasn't even started yet" is dead on accurate. Her campaign has been multi-faceted as she appeals to her liberal base, raises money from national sources, and attempts to look moderate at photo ops. She has been seen recently speaking with Bill Frist, Newt Gingrich, and Larry Craig - not exactly her normal company of Kennedy, Kerry, and Schumer. The bottom line is that Hillary should be leading right now. With her name recognition and excellent campaigning so far, it would be a shock if she weren't setting the pace. However, the election is over 40 months away, and the beauty contest can't last forever...
An anonymous GOP source has also leaked that New York Governor George Pataki will announce today that he will not seek a 4th term, instead opting for a 2008 White House bid. Pataki, Giuliani, McCain - how many RINOs constitutes a herd, anyway?
Congressman Tom Tancredo is also hinting at running. I have to admit that I am surprised, only because I thought that the Colorado Republican would retire soon, having butted heads with so many members of his own party that he finally would tire of the pragmatic GOP. Most analysts don't believe Tancredo has a chance (especially after the poor remarks he made last week about bombing Mecca), but they - like the GOP leadership - are underestimating Tancredo. Tancredo has one of the most important conservative issues - immigration - cornered. He has made that issue his own ever since he arrived in D.C., and his plans actually look good on paper, unlike President Bush's disastrous plan that amounts to whistling through the graveyard at midnight. Immigration is a topic where Republicans are divided, and the most powerful men in America - like Grover Norquist - are generally wrong on the issue, selling out national security for a possible share of the elusive Hispanic vote. Pat Buchanan effectively used immigration as a resonant issue over a decade prior to 9/11. Could Tancredo do the same?
Finally, Mitt Romney is doing everything he can to redefine himself as a conservative who can win nationwide. He blatantly broke his campaign pledge backing the so-called "morning after pill" when he vetoed a measure that would have provided that pill on demand in Massachusetts. He offered an explanation in Tuesday's Boston Globe. Well, it was supposed to be an explanation, but there isn't much substance there. I wish Romney would just be who he is. His attempts to redefine himself only increase my distrust in him, which is already present based on the fact that he is an elected official in the communist state of Marxichusetts. The attempts to run to the Right or the middle during elections by these politicians sickens me. (In Tennessee, it's Bob Corker trying to run to the Right that he doesn't understand (according to State Rep. Chris Clem) and Harold Ford, Jr.'s weaving from the middle to the Left and back again, depending on the crowd.) Run as who you are, be proud of it, and let the chips fall where they may. Winning is important, but so is being able to live in your own skin.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
One commenter asks why there are no Bob Corker T-shirts. Well, you've just got to look...
Monday, July 25, 2005
Also, there is a poll being administered at Patrick Ruffini's site regarding the 2008 GOP Presidential nomination. The choices are an interesting cross-section - two conservative Senators (Allen, Frist), two leading RINOs (McCain, Giuliani), and one Northern Senator who is all over the map (Romney). Depending on the results, I might run a poll of my own here soon with all conservative candidates, as I feel the RINOs have no chance for the nomination under normal circumstances. We'll see.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Re-run post: Vacation destination
I spoke to my father this past Saturday, and he told me that many of the weeks at his condo on Hilton Head Island are already spoken for from now until the end of 2006. The condo is in Shipyard Plantation on the 6th fairway of the Brigantine course, and there is no other place that my wife and I vacation. With Van der Meer's tennis, Wild Wings Cafe (where my father, brother-in-law, The Undecided Philosopher, and myself still hold the all-time four-man team wing eating record), several rounds at Legendary Golf mini golf, and a trip to Harbour Town, there is plenty to do on the island. Yes, there are some very nice golf courses both on and off the island, but that's just the problem for me. I would hate to tear up those beautiful courses. I'm not sure what would suffer the most damage - the course, my handicap (which the computer program says is an 18, but I'm not buying it), or my pride. Hilton Head is great, though, because with all of that outstanding food on the island, one needs as many activity options as possible.
Anyway, the weeks that my father still has available are:
September 24 - October 1
October 1 - October 8
February 4 - February 11
February 11 - February 18
May 27 - June 3
September 16 - September 23
September 23 - September 30
Let him know that you found his website through VOLuntarilyConservative. His rates are already below the average Hilton Head fare, and he might cut you a discount if you mention the site. (It's worth a try, right?)
Wave of Terror Attacks Spreads to Egypt
Syd and Vaughn over at The Asylum have this message for the terrorists:
"The more innocents you bomb, the more this world will turn against you. Britain is not going to wilt under your attacks. Nor will the US. You are losing the war in Iraq, and you continuously show your desperation when you attack civilians. You cannot win this war by taking such actions. It will only reinforce the resolve of nations that stand for freedom, or those that are embracing freedom... The US and her allies are going to finish the job that we joined on 9/12. We will not waver from our job, which is to put an end to this menace now before it becomes a larger plague for future generations. But until that day comes, we will have to endure the cowardly, barbaric acts perpetrated by a group of people that have refused to evolve past the Seventh Century."
Here, here. Kinda gives me goosebumps, guys.
Friday, July 22, 2005
- Hickman County Reagan Day Dinner - Friday, July 22 at 6:30 P.M. - East Hickman County Community Center, Lyles, TN
- 25th Annual FunFest Balloon Race - Saturday, July 23 from 6:30 - 9:00 A.M. - Fort Henry Drive, Kingsport, TN - No cost to attend.
- TeamGOP.org Middle Tennessee House Party - Saturday, July 23 at 2 P.M. - Alice Algood's home, Columbia, TN - No cost to attend.
- Claiborne County GOP BBQ and Auction - Saturday, July 23 at 5:00 P.M. - Heavy's BBQ on the Powell River, New Tazewell, TN - Ed Bryant and Ron Ramsey are slated to attend - Tickets are $10 per person.
The Fox guarding the Henhouse
Mark Rose also has comments on the story.
Suspected terrorist killed in London Underground station
It will be interesting to see how the British people react and how the British media spin this death. Will they play up the outrage and horrors of the commuters who had to watch a man die, even if he had a bomb strapped to his belt (as one report has stated)? Or will they trumpet that a terrorist was killed before he could kill innocent people, that the police that are supposed to protect and serve did just that? I fear that Americans would have both reactions, with the extreme Left believing the former and the rest of us praising the latter.
MORE: John Walter has an excellent post on the terrorist's demise.
Frist active in D.C.
"This is an organization -- the Boy Scouts of America -- whose motto reads (in part): "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country ..." They gather -- as I once did, as my three sons did, as more than 40 members of the United States Senate and 150 members of the House of Representatives did -- to talk about principles. Principles like honesty, integrity, and character. My friends, the Boy Scouts of America produce good kids ... the true leaders of tomorrow. They've been doing it proudly since 1910. And it's a sad day when we need to enact legislation to enable them to keep doing it ... particularly at a time when we face such unprecedented challenges at home and abroad."
Senator Frist also vowed on the Senate floor yesterday that he would bring Senate Bill 397 to a vote prior to the August recess. S397 is the measure that protects gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits brought by municipalities looking for a scapegoat for their own inadequacies in dealing with criminal activity. It is an important bill because one irresponsible jury verdict could lead to the worst form of gun control - where no one is able to make firearms for fear of a lawsuit. Hopefully, Senators Kerry, Kennedy, Durbin, and Clinton won't be able to torpedo the bill with poison pill amendments like they did last summer.
And even more random thoughts
- Curse of the Sam-bino? It was no secret that Kerry Wood was one of the main reasons that Cubs veteran slugger Sammy Sosa was traded to Baltimore. It was Wood who destroyed Sammy's clubhouse stereo and constantly bashed Sosa to the media over the winter. While Sammy has struggled with the Orioles, at least he has been able to stay in the game. Wood has only managed to pitch 54 innings for the boys from Wrigleyville (with an ERA of 4.67), and today comes word that Kerry is hurt again. I said back in Kerry's rookie year of 1998 that the Cubs should have traded him then because his stock would never be higher. His mechanics and overuse of his curveball will force regular trips to the disabled list, and his occasional wildness is one of the reasons that he has never won more than 14 games in a season. (Compare that to Greg Maddux, who has won at least 15 games per season for the past 17 seasons and is on pace for his 18th straight season in 2005.) Combine his lack of performance with his team-high salary of $9.5 million per year and you have nothing but trouble. I hope that Kerry Wood doesn't start bad-mouthing Mark Prior or Carlos Zambrano, who are ten-times the pitcher that he is, in the same manner that he bad-mouthed Sosa. Maybe if Kerry concentrated more on the mechanics of the game and less on the actions of his adult teammates, he could manage to stay on the field.
- Are there any other athletes - or even people - than can manage to offend nearly every sports fan like Terrell Owens can? Let's take a look at his comments over the past week. First, he threatens to not play the 2005 NFL season if his contract - signed last summer - isn't restructured. Second, he insults his current teammates and Philly fans by saying that his talents aren't appreciated by them. Third, he compares himself to Jesus as a fellow persecuted figure. Finally, today, he cries about his paltry $49 million contract, saying that he won't play for that figure because he "is doing this for (his) family," and if the Eagles won't pay him, he wants to be traded. For his family? How big of a family is that, TO? I know this may come as a shock to you, TO, but some of us actually make it by on less than the $7 million average salary that you rake in from your NFL job, much less the millions of dollars that you receive from Right Guard, Gatorade, and other product endorsements. TO, you're a moron, which makes your relationship with your agent, Drew Rosenhaus, a perfect match. But since you're struggling with making ends meet, blogger Chris Gretton has an idea for a product that is sure to make you tons of cash. After all, it looks like you're having a tough time of it...
- From the "Why Isn't Anyone Talking About This" file: New York Yankees First Baseman Jason Giambi admitted to using steroids in testimony to a federal grand jury. He says he's clean in spring training. Giambi then proceeds to look a shell of his formal self. His batting average is at .195 on May 9th. The Yankees are thinking of demoting Giambi to the minors or possibly looking to void his entire contract, which pays him over $13.5 million for this year alone. Giambi holds on to the majors and languishes in mediocrity for nearly two more months, hitting at a .251 pace with only 5 home runs. Suddenly, on July 4th, Giambi turns into Superman. Since that time, he has hit over .400 with 10 HRs. Am I missing something? A known steroid user is sucking like a bilge pump and suddenly is the best hitter in baseball - and no one makes one comment that this new-found ability might be attributed to Giambi's return to steroid use?!?! I can certainly understand Major League Baseball's reluctance to test Giambi - they need the Yankees in the postseason for ratings at a time in October when they are consistently struggling to pull numbers from college football and the NFL - and I can see ESPN, CNN/TBS, The Chicago Tribune/WGN, and Fox's stake in this as the contractual partners carrying MLB live on television, but surely someone else has noticed that Giambi doesn't even carry himself like the same human being from earlier in the season. Heck, the veins in his arms look as if some mad scientist replaced his normal veins with garden hoses. Of course, no one has been able to nail obvious steroid-user Barry Bonds, so why should I expect any less in the case of Mr. Giambi?
- The line-up: the Patriot Act, the World Series of Poker, the NHL, the Rocky Top Brigade, and the Air Force Academy football team playing The University of Tennessee Volunteers in 2006.
Will those of you whom we are glad to see return step forward?
Not so fast, NHL...
- On the bright side of life, I would like to give kudos to Mike Hamilton and The University of Tennessee Men's Athletics Department. I have been tough on AD Hamilton recently, because I feel that he was dishonest with former basketball coach Buzz Peterson, bungled the hiring of Bruce Pearl, is making a huge mistake in reducing Neyland Stadium's size by nearly 10,000 seats, and made a poor decision in turning down a night game on ESPN in favor of a 12:30 time slot in the heat of the day on regional television. However, I want to be fair in acknowledging a good move by Hamilton and his recent additions in the UT Ticketing Office. Not only did the staff at UT make every effort to let fans purchase individual game tickets several weeks earlier than in previous years, but technology improvements on the UT website allowed for purchasers to see which seats they were buying. Plus, much to my amazement, the tickets this VOL acquired were ordered on Monday and in my hands via U.S. Mail on Tuesday. I was very impressed, and the seats (6th row for the UAB game, 13th row for Ole Miss) are fantastic. (Also, thanks to the VOLConWife for the tickets. That present may take the sting out of my upcoming birthday and the forest fire on the cake.)
Thursday, July 21, 2005
- I had the misfortune of watching "The Day After Tomorrow." I feel sorry for those who had to watch this at the theatres. Ghastly. Sure, I expected it to be a Leftist work meant to sully Americans everywhere (and it was), but it's ironic that a movie that exploits and trumpets science would have so many scientific flaws. Of course, why should the laws of thermodynamics and the irrational connection between climate and a tsunami-spawning earthquake get in the way of Hollywood's fun? Everyone associated with that movie should be banned from working on another film for a decade.
- What in the name of Harry Potter is going on here? I'm not that familiar with the enforcement of intellectual property rights in China, but this would not be tolerated in the West.
- More intolerance from the Liberal Left against anyone who doesn't agree with their views, this time in a school system near Long Island, New York. Apparently, the teacher's offenses that justified her firing were displaying a picture of President Bush and campaigning for the GOP on her own time. Of course, it is interesting in itself that the principal who did the firing is married to a Democratic New York State Assemblyman, Frank Seddio. I hate politics in the school systems, but it is the location of some of the worst, dirtiest form of politics in the country. And the NEA wonders why conservatives are abandoning the public schools more and more each year...
More to come later...
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Multiple sources: Bush taps Roberts for Supreme Court
My initial reaction is that Bush has made the same mistake as his father in appointing a relative unknown with little judicial history to the Supreme Court. However, Roberts has what - in the language of the NFL draft - is termed "high upside." The guy could be a reliable conservative, or he could be a complete bust. I'll have more on this later after I've had some time to chew on the reality of this appointment.
RedState: Are we on a SCOTUS goose chase?
But things seem to have changed. RedState is now posting that we - bloggers and MSM alike - have been the victims of a bail-and-switch, that Clement was the name leaked but that it is her 5th Circuit associate, Judge Edith H. Jones, who is the nominee. This makes sense as a tactic, because I was not happy with Clement but am much more supportive of Jones, who was nearly nominated to the Court by the elder President Bush. If you need any convincing that Jones is the better pick, read this article regarding Jones' speech to the Federalist Society at Harvard Law in 2003.
Now this is a nomination that I can get behind...
UPDATE: Contradicting the above, Senator Specter's office has just circulated a memo on Clement, according to the Supreme Court Nomination Blog.
UPDATE on the UPDATE: This indirectly from Senator Specter's office:
"We're helpfully advised that a committee staff member sent the email around because of the large number of requests received for information on Clement, no more."
So maybe we shouldn't read too much into the Clement memo. Also, Hugh Hewitt has been told by someone "in the know" that he is collecting the wrong judge's opinions.
MORE: ProLifeBlogs (Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin) has some interesting background, including the following quote from Judge Edith Clement regarding abortion:
"(The Supreme Court) ‘has clearly held that the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to have an abortion' and that 'the law is settled in that regard.’"
Message to those who are trying to quash my fears about Judge Edith Clement by saying that she is "99% pro-life" - you are wrong, convicted by the judge's own words. And if you are wrong about that, what makes me think that you know any more about her being a "conservative" than you do about her pro-abortion record?
Meanwhile, Hadley Arkes has a fantastic column up on this subject at National Review Online (although he mistakenly links being anti-partial birth abortion with being pro-life), and Power Line sounds as worried about the Clement possibility than I am.
BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court nominee announcement tonight
MORE: Glen Dean seems to be OK with this since Clement is a member of the Federalist Society, which is a legal group dedicated to originalist thought (and of which I was a member in law school). Of course, just because Michael Moore is a lifetime member of the NRA doesn't mean that he is lockstep with their goals of Second Amendment protections. As Moore has proven, sometimes joins a group for credibility, as Moore has done.
I'm quite astonished, really. This is the best that the Bush Administration can do with 55-months of prep-time?!?! As I have written before, this is my last dance with Bush if he steps on my toes again. Plus, the groups that have been touting their involvement in the process - including ACLJ and Heritage Foundation - will be held just as culpable. Of course, I am really starting to wonder if there will be anyone in a position of power inside the beltway during the last two years of Bush's second term who didn't have something to do with the oil industry (as Clement did).
EVEN MORE: Hugh Hewitt says that I am wrong, that Clement is a conservative. Yes, some of her opinions seem to suggest that, but she is RINO-squishy on pro-life issues, which is generally a tell (to use poker slang) on other inconsistencies with conservative thought. Also, I found some rankings from the Washington Legal Foundation (mentioned in this CNN Money report)that scored the potential SCOTUS nominees on their friendliness to corporate America. The top two on the list? John Roberts and Edith Brown Clement.
Heath Shuler running for Congress
I know little about Congressman Taylor, my contacts to North Carolina's congressional delegation being limited to current Representative Sue Myrick and Vernon Robinson, who lost in a run-off last August to current Representative Virginia Foxx. From my understandings (and reiterated by Ashvegas), Taylor is a man of considerable wealth and a vicious campaigner. I have had some dealings with Heath Shuler, though. He was nothing but helpful to recent conservative campaigns in Knox County. He allowed campaigns to use his offices when additional space was needed, and I never heard of him turning down a request from a GOP candidate in recent election cycles. From my dealings with Heath, he seems like a great guy and not at all like the typical, bitter Democrat that has become the stereotype for the party here in East Tennessee. Having no problem with Heath personally, my only worry is how a good man can be led astray by his party. My preliminary fears are reinforced by several sources (including the Roll Call article) which give accounts of Heath cajoling with Democrats that many in this area would consider nefarious (Clinton, Dean, Soros and the gang at MoveOn.org). Everything I know of Heath tells me that he is a good guy, but many times in politics you are defined by the company that you keep (see Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer). Taylor will make sure that the voters of the 11th District - which trends Republican - know who is mentoring Heath. That alone may be enough to sink his chances in that district.
Return to action
Life hasn't been all work, though. The VOLConWife and I attended the free "Moovies By Moonlight" presentation of "The Wizard of Oz" outside of the Knoxville Coliseum Friday night. Sponsored by Chick-Fil-A, Star 102.1 FM, and Food City Video, the event was quite impressive. Most of the 400+ attendees were families with young children, but there were also a few of us "big kids" that showed up, too. The technology was excellent, as the portable screen revealed a crystal-clear image from all angles. The party moves to Sevierville's City Park for a showing of "Shrek II" this Friday night. Admission is free, but you are asked to bring a few cans of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank (a request that was more than welcome at our household, because we needed to tend to the pantry).
It was also a busy weekend in other respects. We had two BBQs on the schedule. We skipped out on the first one - hosted by the Knoxville Young Republicans - due to one of the many thunderstorms that have hit Big Orange Country over the past week. The second BBQ was hosted by the VOLConWife's firm at one of the partner's farms near Townsend. I had a good time, if for no other reason than my BBQ baked beans were well-received. I do nearly all of the cooking at our house, and I owe my skill in that area to my father (who does likewise in his household) and my Mamaw (who lives on a farm in Greene County).
Thank you to all of the kind readers and fellow bloggers that e-mailed over the past few days. Although I am a bit fuzzy on where the path goes from here, I am certainly intrigued by the journey ahead. I have read several interesting posts in the Blogosphere lately, and I hope to comment on a few of them today as I get back in the swing of things.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The Open Championship begins...
Yes, it is very early in the morning here in the States, but the only "major" golf tournament not played on American soil has begun. The Open Championship is at The Old Course at St. Andrews - easily one of my favorite courses on the planet. I have a tam-o'-shanter and visor from St. Andrews - both of which are commonplace when I have the time to play 18. I wasn't able to play the course while I lived in Great Britain (I was a bit too young at the time), but I walked a few of the ocean holes (including the "valley of sin" on the historic 18th) during a day when play was suspended. There is nothing in the States that compares to St. Andrews.
Coverage doesn't start on TNT for 2 1/2 hours, so I will have to be content with the occasional peak at the scoreboard on ESPN.com. Although only a few groups have played many holes, it appears that the Americans are not as dominant as they have been in past decades. My main focus is on one American, though. I just want to see Jack Nicklaus make the cut. He's currently at even par, only three shots off the lead, so I am cautiously optimistic. Jack is my second favorite golfer of all-time, right after Payne Stewart and ahead of Lee Trevino. If this really is Jack's last hurrah, I want him to go out in style.
After that, as long as Tiger Woods doesn't win, I'll be happy. I'd rather one of those pompous Euros won it than Woods, if for no other reason than I wouldn't have to hear the talking heads at ESPN drool over Woods like they did at The Masters. Wasn't it great back in the good ole days when it was only the fans that chose sides?
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I have often wondered why the GOP hasn't targeted Gordon in the increasingly Republican 6th. He hasn't faced real opposition since 1996, and that was a rematch of the fight with Steve Gill. Given Gordon's 0% rating on immigration issues by the Federation for Immigration Reform and the resonance that issue has recently shown with Tennesseans, I imagine that Gordon would be fairly vulnerable against a name candidate with a conservative record and decent fundraising capabilities.
More on this to come...
Photo of the Day
Special thanks to my brother-in-law for nabbing a postcard of the above scanned image during his recent trip to California. It was a relief to know that he was able to make it to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley late one day and that the whole trip wasn't spent in depositions.
Given our need for bold conservativism in these trying times, I thought it fitting that we meet the middle of this week with a reminder of what true leadership was about.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Lance Armstrong beats down the Alps
Lance is obviously a great story, but he perplexes me. Victories over cancer, the world's toughest bike race, and peers that have sought to disparage his reputation by linking him to drug use should make a man thankful for his wonderful life. Lance is thankful, but only to himself. If any man should recognize the divine intervention in his life, it is Lance Armstrong. Yet he remains to this day an atheist. He believes in "I"dolotry - as in "I can do this," "I am powerful enough to do that," and "I can save myself." It baffles me that one of God's most gifted creatures can't even acknowledge that He exists.
I suppose I shouldn't be so naive. Armstrong is very much anti-Second Amendment, pro-abortion, and against the liberation of Iraq. Heck, he dates someone who is radically to the Left in Sheryl Crow (who once showed remarkable maturity when she told a stunned group of 13-year-old girls, "If you want to turn on your boyfriend, get naked and strap on an accordion"), which is a far cry from his ex-wife (you know, the one who comforted him through cancer, bore his beautiful children, and assisted his return to cycling), who is a devout Catholic. I pray that Lance realizes that the gold crucifix that hangs around his neck isn't just a piece of jewelry, and that the gifts he is blessed with don't come from human sources.
Vanderbilt finally admits defeat, keeps "Confederate Memorial Hall"
That's funny. Picking a fight with the UDC over this naming issue didn't make anyone more aware that slavery was one issue about which the North and South differed during the War of Northern Aggression. The only thing that this made people aware of was that Vanderbilt is home to several politically-correct twits running the school and a bunch of students (that you can't help but feel sorry for) who are overpaying for a non-education.
Glen Dean has more on this story. For earlier posts on this embarrassing issue for Vanderbilt, check here and here.
From pre-war to present
FEC hears from bloggers on the "media exemption"
The article at least gives me the impression that the government will uphold the First Amendment rights of bloggers to post freely without unnecessary oversight. Of course, the cynic in me wants to see the final decision before I declare victory, as the government has been quite fond of trampling constitutional rights lately.
Miranda: President Bush, Do Not Nominate Gonzales
This is an excellent example of a principled argument for conservatism and against pragmatism. The Left has managed to distill this debate over who the next justice should be down to one issue - abortion. Some on the Right have taken the bait. While I agree that ending the tyranny of Roe is extremely important, abortion isn't the entirety of this debate. Being pro-life doesn't make one conservative. As Miranda points out, this is a rare opportunity to shape the laws of this nation for an entire generation or more. Much more is at stake here than one mere issue. While Gonzales is wrong on the abortion issue, there are many other issues where he fails Bush's conservative base. The debate should focus on those issues, as well.
UPDATE: Just for review - Manuel Miranda is a friend of conservatives. Arlen Specter is not. In fact, in reading his latest comments on who he wants as Chief Justice and his endorsement of a backdoor coup d'etat in secret meetings with O'Connor and unnamed Democratic senators, I have to question Specter's sanity. Or at least Bush and Santorum's for helping his re-election campaign.
MORE: Fred Barnes agrees with Miranda in The Weekly Standard - Bush has a promise to keep that has nothing to do with Democratic whining. These are the types of articles that I pray are making it to the President's desk in the Oval Office.
New Amazon links
MORE: I have also corrected an error by adding Cole Stinson's Strange Things Afoot to the blogroll. It should have been added long ago.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Hillary at it again
If you aren't into hurricanes or stalking Chief Justice Rehnquist to see if he has retired, there hasn't been that much to talk about. Heck, even Lance Armstrong had the day off.
I mean, is it really headline-material that Don Sundquist is crooked or that Harold Ford will say and write anything to appease voters? (More here.)
I guess these are the dog days of summer.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Novak: Source says retirement still coming today
Yes, it could be inaccurate, but that's a great deal of detail to only be a rumor.
Hasen: Rehnquist should retire now and Gonzales should replace him
In any case, Hasen believes that the "West Wing option" is the best scenario. Why? Well, as he puts it:
"Democrats probably would not block a deal that preserves the Court's current balance of power. Indeed, preserving the status quo is about the best deal they can realistically hope for."
I agree with that. It is the best-case scenario for the Democrats. But what about conservatives? Hasen thinks we're pretty stupid.
"For their part, conservatives would probably be happy with another Scalia or Thomas on the Court, even if that came at the price of a more moderate justice in the other seat."
That's right, Dave. Just throw us a bone every once in a while and we're quite content. After all, we'll just be glad if we get through this whole nomination process without Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton on the Court. I mean, it's not like we are the political base for the President of the United States, the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and the majority of the states' governors. If that were the case, then we might expect to see conservative judges confirmed, because then the argument could be made that conservatives were mainstream America. Heck, we should just be lucky to be included in the debate, right?
(Hasen's thoughts should come as no surprise. Just a few months ago in Roll Call - when faced with the possibility of no filibustering of judicial nominees - Hasen suggested that the entire Senate be "nuked." Very nice.)
I tell you what I do feel lucky about. I feel fortunate that not every law professor thinks the same way as Richard Hasen.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Bob Novak: Rehnquist to retire within the week?
Senator Bennett: Nuclear option "has the votes"
Of course, the only filibuster that Gonzales would face would be from conservatives.
MORE: Meanwhile, Gonzales says that he isn't a candidate for the Supreme Court. Could have fooled me...
Denver judge gives serial rapist 1,319 years in prison
"This sentence will be unlike any sentence I have imposed in more than two decades on the bench. Your relentless pursuit of these victims - daily, hourly - was nothing less than an ongoing horror... It's the task of this court today to ensure you will never be free again."
I guess that is one way of eliminating early parole.
Al-Queda attacks London
As I have mentioned on this site before, I used to live in Great Britain. I have visited many of the locales that today are the scenes of tragedy. My prayers go out to those who have been directly harmed by the cowardice of these murderers. Efforts should be focused on recovery, rescue, and damage assessment. After that is complete and after we have mourned for those who have perished, we will again bring this fight to Al-Queda and those who lie with that weakened organization. Their time is on this earth is almost up.
MORE: Josh Trevino (of RedState) is currently in Scotland on his way to London. Josh and I have differed on the state of the GOP, but we are in total agreement on what is going on in London, who is responsible, and what must happen to right the wrongs that were afflicted this morning.
EVEN MORE: An excellent account of the "terror" of "terrorism" from 2L Columbia Law student Anthony Rickey, who is spending the summer working in London. (Hat tip: Dark Bilious Vapors.) It brings back anxious memories of 9/11, when my wife-to-be (then only a friend) lived between the Pentagon and White House.
Supreme Court nominee rodeo
In any case, here are some of the more interesting takes on the topic:
Fred Barnes believes that Bush is in a no-win situation. He can either move the Court back towards the Right, or he can broaden the Republican Party. In a rare turn of events, I disagree with Fred. Nominating Gonzales doesn't broaden the party. It simply moves it Left, which is where it has been leaning since the November elections. A Gonzales nomination doesn't broaden the party because the GOP will lose conservatives from the Right. If anything, it will shrink the party, not grow it. At least Fred believes that Bush will choose the road less traveled (and more politically courageous) and reject moderate choices like Gonzales.
Terry Eastland, publisher of The Weekly Standard, believes that Alberto Gonzales should withdraw his name from the short list of potential nominees. As Bill Quick writes, Gonzales' disbelief in the Second Amendment is especially troubling. (Hat tip: SayUncle.)
Former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork takes issue with how the media is portraying judges as "conservative" or "liberal." The entire CNN transcript is interesting to me, mostly because of how Bork views O'Connor as having no judicial philosophy. In the summer of 2002, I challenged Justice O'Connor with nearly the same words. Not surprisingly, she did not agree with my point of view. It's nice (in an ego-boosting sort of way) to read that Judge Bork has the same perspective that I did.
Brandon Miniter believes that nominating Judge Janice Rogers Brown is the solution. Glen Dean agrees. It's funny that Miniter closes by talking about Souter, because nominating Brown based on her skimpy track record - that would lead to an easier confirmation - is exactly the same process that elevated Souter to the High Court. The lesson here should be that if you want another Souter, choose a nominee that has a slight paper trail that the opposition can't attack during confirmation. Personally, I think that there is a better chance that Blake Wylie's choice - Judge Alex Kozinski - is the nominee than Brown. Of course, I could be wrong, as Senator Joe Biden has already promised a filibuster of a Brown nomination, per Mark Rose. That at least shows the Democrats view Janice Rogers Brown as a possibility. That, or they're baiting another Bush into another Souter appointment.
Southern Appeal has an outstanding post that must be read in its entirety. Of particular interest are the reports of Rehnquist's retirement. My fellow conservatives, if Rehnquist does retire and two nominees are confirmed - one Conservative Nominee X and the other Alberto Gonzales - we have gained nothing. (This is the portion of this post where I want to rant about how the GOP will be taught a lesson in 2006 if it supports such a position by the White House, but I will save that rage for another day. Heck, even the guys over at RedState - whom I have had a hard time trusting lately - are willing to pack it in and head for political retirement if Gonzales is confirmed.) Certainly, the White House must see the red flag that is raised when a possible Gonzales nomination is given the OK from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, right? Of course, when viewing this transcript of remarks made by Gonzales in 2004, it is easy to see why the liberals are willing to endorse a Gonzales appointment. After all:
Question: Many of us feel that the Constitution does not speak to permissive abortion. Would you comment?
Gonzales: The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is.
That sounds like the "living, breathing Constitution" that the liberals all love. Forget the Supreme Court. How was this guy a high-level advisor in the Bush White House? Wow...
Matt Drudge had one of Wednesday's more interesting scoops regarding a cellphone call made by Senator Chuck Schumer on a D.C.-NYC Amtrak commute. (Also see the press release from Progress for America.) It is debatable what was more interesting - Schumer's slip as to the obstructionist tactics the Democrats planned to use in the upcoming confirmation hearings, or that Schumer's next chummy call was to his good buddy Lindsey Graham. Of course, it seems that Schumer and Graham have been connected at the hip lately. I am so disappointed in Lindsey Graham. He has to be one of the five biggest political disappointments in my voting lifetime. He doesn't appear to be half the man he was when he swept into the House or as he served as one of the House Managers during the Clinton Impeachment. So sad...
Finally, much has been made of Fred Thompson's surprise acceptance as Bush's "shepherd" for the confirmation hearings. Blogging for Bryant thinks that this could lead Thompson to the Supreme Court or possibly the Governor's Mansion. I am inclined to think the opposite. Whenever I cross the paths of others who used to work for Fred, the common theme of every communication is that Fred is so much happier now that he has left the political arena. Michael Silence - no stranger to Senator Thompson - knows this. Even this simple dabbling with politics is likely to remind Fred of why he prematurely left the arena and quash any doubts deep in his mind as to whether he should serve again. (For the record, I wish this wasn't the case. I miss Fred Thompson. Even if we didn't agree on everything, he had a personality that was infectious and a persona in Tennessee that rivaled Elvis.) This position with President Bush's nomination team will not require heavy lifting for Fred. Some have assumed that it will, but Fred's position (as seen in this NewsMax report) is as the front man. Ed Gillespie will be handling the coalition building, arm-twisting, and trailblazing. No, this isn't Fred suddenly feeling the need to scratch a political itch. Instead, it is serving the country one last time at the bequest of his President- as long as it doesn't interfere with his filming of "Law & Order."
For those looking for a vacation spot...
Hilton Head is great, though, because with all of that outstanding food on the island, one needs as many activity options as possible.
Anyway, the weeks that my father still has available are:
September 24 - October 1
October 1 - October 8
February 4 - February 11
February 11 - February 18
May 27 - June 3
September 16 - September 23
September 23 - September 30
Let him know that you found his website through VOLuntarilyConservative. Maybe he'll give you a special discount. (It's worth a try, right?)
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
An exhausting weekend
Saturday brought an all-day trip to the Tri-Cities for a family outing, including tennis in the heat of the day and a BBQ at Bays Mountain in Kingsport. Sunday was spent in church, doing household chores, and shopping. On Monday, I took the VOLConWife to Atlanta for our annual trip to see her beloved Atlanta Braves play at Turner Field. I objected none, though, because my lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs, were in town to put the beatdown on those Tomahawk Choppers. Alas, no one informed my Cubbies of this plan, and they were shutout, 4-0. However, the free Braves caps, postgame fireworks, and excellent food at Jocks & Jills before the game more than made up for my team's miserable performance and the ignorant Braves fans that sat behind us. (An aside that will get me in trouble- I have attended baseball games - majors, minors, college - all over the country, and no fans are as clueless about the game of baseball than Braves fans. I should clarify that - Braves fans in Atlanta are clueless. Braves fans that live away from "The Ted" seem to know more about the game. In any case, I keep telling my wife that she knows too much to be a Braves fan, but she's sticking with her team.) We highly recommend Jocks & Jills; they even have several pieces of UT memorabilia signed by Peyton Manning, Phil Fulmer, Pat Summitt, and Peerless Price amongst their impressive decor.
All in all, a fantastic weekend. I just wish I was a bit younger so that I wouldn't be reminded of it until midweek.
Friday, July 01, 2005
More reactions to the Supreme Court vacancy
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: "Reproductive rights and religious liberty are basic Constitutional rights. As is well known, people have varying views about abortion, views that are often strongly held... We urge the nation's leaders to avoid a confrontation over this deeply private issue and refuse to have a litmus test on abortion or any other single issue. We simply ask that the next Supreme Court Justice be a person who will uphold our fundamental Constitutional rights and is distinguished by a record of fairness and integrity, respect for both legal traditions and contemporary needs, and the ability to weigh competing considerations." So, in putting all of that together, 1) killing babies is a constitutional right, 2) but we aren't using abortion as a litmus test, 3) however, the next justice must uphold our constitutional rights. Say what? Isn't that the definition of a litmus test on abortion? Sounds like the RCRC is taking the high road - and the low road - all at the same time.
The ACLU: "The ACLU is preparing to hold a board meeting in the coming weeks to decide whether to oppose the Bush administration's nominee. As a matter of policy, the ACLU will only oppose nominees to the Supreme Court that are fundamentally hostile to civil liberties and will do so upon a vote of the board of directors. The national board of the ACLU has voted to oppose only two nominees in its history: Justice William Rehnquist and former solicitor general and law professor Robert Bork." Anyone willing to bet on the ACLU's opposition? I didn't think so...
ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow: "President Bush has been very consistent in his view of judicial nominees. He believes in nominating people who understand and interpret the constitution, not legislate from the bench. That is exactly what we expect President Bush to do now - put forth a nominee for the high court who will embrace the constitution, not re-write it."
Concerned Women for America Chief Counsel Jan LaRue: "The President has the historic opportunity to keep faith with the promise he has repeated numerous times, which is to name justices who are like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The Democrats have shown that their filibusters and condemnations of the President's circuit court nominees were baseless. They will threaten more of the same unless he names a clone of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example."
NOW: "These are the faces of women who died because they could not obtain safe and legal abortions. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, these pictures could include your daughter, sister, mother, best friend, granddaughter... Don't let George W. Bush and the U.S. Senate put another anti-abortion justice on the Supreme Court." More fear-mongering by the liberal Left. You're goina lot hear alot of this coming up. The truth is (as Jonathan Turley and C. Boyden Gray have pointed out) that Roe can't be overturned by replacing O'Connor. You're not going to hear that from the liberals, though, because to suggest otherwise would mean having to - gasp! - focus on a nominee's qualifications.
Vision America President Rick Scarborough: "The president has a God-given opportunity to change the balance on Supreme Court. On issue after issue -- abortion, sodomy, public display of The Ten Commandments -- O'Connor has sided with the court's liberal bloc. Time and again, Justice O'Connor and her colleagues have used the Constitution as an excuse to force weird social experiments on the nation... Did Bill Clinton consult with conservatives before he appointed ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court? It's hard to imagine a nominee more outside the mainstream than Ginsburg. But Clinton exercised his prerogative to nominate a justice who shared his judicial philosophy. Bush has just as much right to put a conservative on the bench."
Former Professor of Constitutional Law at West Point, Federal Prosecutor, and Current U.S. Senate candidate Ed Bryant: "Justice O'Connor's opinions throughout her historic service on the Supreme Court made her one of the most important judicial voices of our times, and her resignation leaves a big vacancy on the highest court in the land. However, despite the importance of confirming qualified judges who will honor the Constitution in their rulings, the Democrat minority in the United States Senate has blocked the confirmation of well-qualified nominees to the lower federal courts, and I fear a continuation of their partisan tactics will impede the functioning of the Supreme Court when it opens its session in October. With the issue of a Supreme Court vacancy before the nation, we must ensure that our next Supreme Court Justice be one who we can count on to honor the Constitution in his or her opinions and won't legislate from the bench. The Supreme Court ended its session this week with a number of controversial rulings on property rights and on religious freedom. To ensure that the Supreme Court begins its next session with a new Justice in place, I urge all senators to honor their constitutional responsibilities and provide an up-or-down vote on whoever President Bush nominates to follow Justice O'Connor." (In the interest of fairness, neither Bob Corker nor Van Hilleary released an e-mail statement or posted anything on their websites about the importance of choosing O'Connor's replacement or her long service in the Supreme Court.)
Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy: "We're likely to hear a lot about the future of Roe v. Wade in coming weeks and months. The common wisdom, assuming no shifts in votes from past cases, is that the 8 remaining Justices include 5 votes for Roe (RBG, SGB, DHS, JPS, AMK) and 3 against (AS, CT, WHR). On the constitutionality of partial-birth abortion bans, the common wisdom is that the 8 remaining Justices split 4 to 4, with Justice Kennedy switching as seen by his vote in Stenberg v. Carhart."
If you want more reactions, take a trip over to No Silence Here, where Michael Silence has been rounding up responses like a true cowboy all day.
Harold Ford, Jr. on Steve Gill this morning
Lots of folks like to describe Ford as "likeable" and "charismatic." From the moment I first met the man (many, many years ago), one word came to mind - "slimy." Junior is the kind of man that brings a bad name to politicians - the kind of man that tries to be all things to all people, never taking a stand, always trying to be the great appeaser. John Kerry did that poorly. Bill Clinton did that well. Ford also does that well, but if it will lead to success - and the United States Senate - remains to be seen.
BREAKING NEWS: Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retires
The Supreme Court Nomination Blog is reporting that President Bush will be making a statement shortly. The statement has surely been crafted for quite a while, for, as I wrote earlier, it was easy to see this one coming.
UPDATE: No doubt who FoxNews wants as the new justice. They are pushing Edith Jones and Janet Rogers Brown ad nauseam, most assuredly because they want to see a female replaced with a female. (Surely some must see the irony in a "conservative news source" pushing what amounts to affirmative action in the judiciary.) I have no problems with Jones, but Brown has no experience as an appellate judge. If this process really is about placing the best judge on the Court and not about ease of confirmation, Brown shouldn't be considered.
Blogpoll: 2006 TN Governor's Race
Considering the extensive amount of time that it will take to lay out the myriad of failures that Governor Bredesen has laid on this state, it is about time that the GOP got around to picking a candidate.
Lindsey Graham - Supreme Court Justice?
No, Senator Graham, we already have enough ideological flip-floppers on the Court in Justices Souter, Kennedy, and O'Connor. Go back to playing with your Democratic friends in the Senate.
Justice Scalia assailed by atheists
"I think that all of the above critics are right. Justice Scalia likes to pretend that he is fair and principled; in reality he is about as unprincipled and unfair as a judge can get - at least some of the time. Given the reasoning he has presented in his dissent, though, I am inclined to think that the cases where he is principled and fair are more a matter of good fortune than the product of any virtues on Scalia's part."
makes me laugh and think of classic pot-kettle jokes. Heck, secular humanists can't even adhere to their own Humanist Manifesto, which has to be rewritten every couple of decades so that theprincipless better fit the recent actions of its worshipers. Again, pot-kettle jokes come to mind...
America's Christian Heritage
The best part of the whole experience was the fellowship with my fellow church members. To be more specific, I especially enjoyed roaming the outfield next to my brother-in-law. He is a real ballplayer - not the weekend warrior as I have become - and it was an honor and a privilege to play on the same team as him. This might be my last season of competitive softball (my "play for blood" attitude that was so beneficial in high school and college doesn't translate very well to this particular church league), but if it is, it was nice to go out with a true positive experience.