Monday, August 29, 2005


TeamGOP: GOP "Waltzer" to resign in November

TeamGOP is reporting that State Representative Chris Newton, a Republican with close ties to Democratic Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh, will resign from his elected position effective November 1st. Newton was the lone Republican to date indicted in the FBI sting of corrupt Tennessee legislators dubbed "Tennessee Waltz."

It will be interesting to see if the pressure for further resignations on the Democratic side increases now that no current Republicans on Capitol Hill in Nashville have been saddled with indictments. If I had to make a prediction one way or the other, I would have to lean towards "no increased pressure."

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Changes to the Blogroll

I finally got around to making a few changes to the blogroll tonight. Besides lumping the few blogs that are on sabbatical together (until their triumphant return someday), a few new sites were added. In response to a request to add their site, I have added SouthNow, a blog project of the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill. If you are interested in political issues and races beyond Big Orange Country, I recommend checking out SouthNow. I certainly plan to keep tabs on their North Carolina coverage, as there are only a few congressional districts within the Tar Hill State with which I am familiar.

Liberal blogger Sharon Cobb has also been added. Sharon may be a liberal, but she has been quite collegial with us conservatives. We may agree on very little, but she has been a fantastic example on how to remain a political activist but not have the "other side" hate you. (The blogging minions of Harold Ford, Jr., for instance, could learn some lessons from Sharon.) That being said, she is very passionate about several issues, and that is a good thing in life.

If anyone has additional blogs to add, feel free to suggest them. I (as many of my fellow bloggers) have been spread ridiculously thin as of late, and making additions to the blogroll without prodding falls somewhere on the "To-Do list" between rounding up tailgate materials for UT's first home game and vacuuming the floor mats of my car.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Ford blames bloggers for his support of murdering rapist

Yep, it was all the work of that vast right wing conspiracy.

After all, it couldn't have been Harold Ford, Jr. Heck, it couldn't even have been the staff member that Ford also blames for sending out the letter supporting the release of murdering rapist hitman Phillip Michael Britt. (A staff member, by the way, who appears to still work for Ford, as there has been no announced firing.) Nope, it was TeamGOP, Blogging for Bryant, Bill Hobbs, VOLuntarilyConservative, and the other Tennessee political blogs, in conjunction with that GOP-controlled source, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, that are to blame for the idiocy surrounding Harold Ford, Jr. Right...

The campaigns of Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary have to be elated with the way this campaign is developing. Over the past 9 months, Ford has been supplying their campaigns with one great avenue of attack after another. Of course, I think that Ford's ridiculous campaign follies are really the result of a vast left wing conspiracy to hide Ford's liberal voting record and instead focus the issues on Ford's inept staff, his constant Kerry-like flip-flops, his exchanges with conservative bloggers, his insulting of American soldiers as "oil cops," his attack on the property rights of Tennesseans, etc.

Yep, it' all our fault. Yes, indeed.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Ford supporting convicted hitman?

From TeamGOP: U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. wrote a letter in support of convicted murderer Phillip Michael Britt's bid for parole, but then wrote another letter retracting that endorsement after news of his support for one of the men responsible for the murder, rape, and brutal torture of Deborah Groseclose was leaked to the media.

I guess Ford voted for Britt's release into society before he voted against it.


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)?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Alive and Kicking in Nashville - Part II

Yes, it's another week spent training in Nashville, so blogging will once again be light. Of course, if I have the time, I will post another link to a legal link and let all of the liberals with no legal training tell me how wrong the judges (and, vicariously, myself) are. That's been fun. Really.

The front page of the USA Today slid under my door at the Holiday Inn is complaining about the state of gas prices in America. It's sad that the national media may be more attuned to what concerns everyday Americans than our national politicians. Either those inside the Beltway 1) don't believe rising energy prices are hurting working Americans or 2) don't have any solutions. Both prospects are scary, but how about starting with suspending the gas tax for a period of time to provide some relief?

Saturday, August 20, 2005


The Absence of Religion is Itself a Religion

Sorry for the long absence, folks, but duties between Nashville and Knoxville have kept me extraordinarily busy.

If you are looking for something to read, though, try the 7th Circuit's opinion in Kaufman v. McCaughtry, decided Friday. The case reiterates a point that I have long argued with laypersons, attorneys, and law review editors but that no one seems to acknowledge - for the purpose of First Amendment analysis, atheism is a religion.

What are the ramifications of accepting this judicial finding? Well, it seems to me that it sends Establishment Clause cases into a tailspin, for if a public school official rules against a practicing Christian student's viewpoint, isn't that official basically establishing atheism as the official religion of the state?

Ridiculous? I don't think so, when considering federal decisions on the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. Clearly, the Supreme Court's unwillingness to settle the law in this area causes this sort of problem, and a solution will be required by the lower courts before chaos reigns regarding religious freedoms in America.

UDATE: It has come to my attention that the 7th Circuit site will not allow my link, so I have linked to the case cite here at FindLaw. My apologies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Thanks to all

First, I wanted to thank all of the bloggers who wished me a "Happy Birthday" this week. Especially touching was the recognition of The Undecided Philosopher, my friend of 16 years (over half of my life). All of the congratulations from y'all means more than you could possibly know (especially as I sit in Nashville sans family).

Blogging will continue to be light as I focus my efforts on the judicial training provided by the National Judicial College. Amongst other topics, today included a discussion of recent violence against judges. I have to admit that it was a bit unsettling, but not a complete surprise given the recent television models ("The Practice," "Boston Legal") for courtroom decorum.

Also of note - I had dinner this evening at Ted's Montana Grill. So who is Ted? Well, that would be Ted Turner. I managed to swallow my initial reaction not to provide patronage for Uncle Ted due to the unique menu. I have to give Ted's Montana Grill high marks. The service was a little disjunct, but the food was excellent and the atmosphere (complete with a Native American musician who played woodwind instruments that were surprisingly relaxing) innovative. I ordered the bison short ribs, which were tender and quite tasty. If you find yourself near the Vanderbilt campus on West End in Nashville, you could do worse than Ted's.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Thoughts from an Old Man

Nothing going on in the posting arena today, folks, because I decided to savor the first day of old age. Yes, I turned 29 for the first time today. I wanted to take in my new year for experience's sake, as I plan on turning 29 several more times over the next few years.

Toby Keith has it right - "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was."

Thanks to everyone for the feedback (both positive and negative) on my efforts at Justice Sunday II. It was a great chance to be reminded of the challenges of covering a high-profile media event, and I greatly enjoyed the opportunity.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Justice Sunday II

It’s about 4:00 P.M., and I am sitting in the Media Center at Two Rivers Baptist Church. At the table with me is Ken ‘The Photography Guy,” who is with U.S. News & World Report. Ken seems like a nice guy, especially for the MSM (mainstream media, for y’all normal folks). I have always had a fondness for media photographers, as they are usually laid back and somewhat normal. Writers, on the other hand, can usually make you uncomfortable with their stressful personalities that inspire coronary gridlock. Ken didn’t even sneer too hard when, at an inquiry to my identity, I revealed that I was a blogger. “The town crier,” he remarked. That’s pretty good for this room.

Let’s just say that it isn’t too hard to tell the bloggers from the MSM. The bloggers, for instance, aren’t complaining about the food spread (“those frugal evangelicals” – no kidding, that’s what she said), the technology at the church, or that they aren’t in D.C. or Las Vegas. In fact, I’m trying to make this update quick, as the reporter sitting behind me (the one who made the line about above about the “frugal evangelicals”) is starting in on bloggers and how she doesn’t “have time to read someone else’s opinions every day.” Well, of course she doesn’t. She’s probably too busy getting her own out in her “unbiased articles.” I won’t include her employer’s name, but let’s just say that it is a national publication.

At 3:00 P.M. (Central Time), Family Research Council hosted a press conference with several of the key figures involved with the implementation of Justice Sunday II, including Tony Perkins (President, Family Research Council), Bishop Harry Jackson (Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church, College Park, Maryland), and Dr. Jerry Sutton (Senior Pastor, Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee), amongst others. Since I am not a member of mainstream media (and because the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen ran long), I chose to show up fashionably late, walking in during the middle of the show. Besides, I wouldn’t want for the MSM to get nervous that bloggers were taking their craft too seriously. Bill Hobbs must feel the same way, because he has yet to secure his media credentials as of yet.

The opening statements were as expected and, thus, not overly interesting. However, the question-and-answer session that followed was pointed and biting – and dominated by the MSM. Most questions were aimed at Tony Perkins, and I thought that he answered them quite well. He did make sure to point out that Justice Sunday II was not just about Judge John Roberts and his pending nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. He indicated that this rally was forward-looking and aimed at future nominations, as well. I’m not sure if I take that on its face in relation to Chief Justice Rehnquist’s failing health or if there is secretly hope (as Robert Novack wrote last week) amongst conservative Christian groups that the next nominee will have a solid, known conservative record. Perkins also gave an answer that showed FRC’s backing of states’ rights in response to a rather liberal question about abortion regulations.

Dr. Jerry Sutton, senior pastor of the host church for the event, deflected criticism by a member of the MSM that Two Rivers Baptist was hosting this event by pointing to the church’s hosting of CNN’s “Crossfire” earlier this summer. I thought the exchange to be humorous, because the reporter should have done her homework before walking into that uppercut.

Also impressive was Bishop Jackson, who was basically accused of trying to have judges appointed who would strip civil rights from the Constitution, which would be hypocritical of him since he is black. Jackson was calm, cool, and reminded me oratorally of a young Alan Keyes (same mannerisms, strong voice). I imagine that he is quite the firebrand in the pulpit.

A few random notes… The coordination of the schedule is down-to-the-minute, and FRC should be commended for that. Also, security is extremely tight around the church. It’s not Capitol Hill-tight or Supreme Court-tight, but it would be difficult for someone to cause a disturbance. I didn’t see any protestors, although, even as I was late for a media member, I arrived early for the main show. Everyone with FRC has also been extremely courteous, as has been my experience with previous FRC, Heritage Foundation, and Eagle Forum productions. Also, I have been inundated with tons of information, including packets on Rebecca St. James, Bishop Jackson’s projects, and Fidelis (an organization dedicated to “Defending Life, Faith and Family”) – and that’s the information that wasn’t with the press kits prepared by FRC but was provided privately. That said, I should be able to blog about this event and its participants all night. Well, at least until I get tired.

Well, it’s off to the sanctuary, where the event is set to take place. My immediate plan is to sit in the “roving media” section, so that I am free to move around and update my posts at my leisure. I won’t be able to put these on-line until later, but my hope is that the time lag isn’t too great. Then again, the nice engineers here at Two Rivers are presently setting up some Ethernet connections. So far, so good…


It’s 5:30 P.M. – 30 minutes until the event - and the very large sanctuary is packed. I saw Ed and Cyndi Bryant as they made their way through security. They seemed to be glad to be here.

I would post more observations, but, frankly, that female reporter is starting to tell perfect strangers about losing her virginity and her various sexual escapades. I don’t need that now. Besides, the praise music is starting in the sanctuary.


The media reactions during the run-up of praise music and prayer prior to actual event are quite interesting. If I had to guess, I would say that it is for many of them the first time that they have been in a church, or at least they haven’t been in one in a long run of Sundays. Like a fish out of water, I would say, as they sit while thousands stand, talking while others pray as a group. I suppose that they would answer that they are trying to remain unbiased, but I suspect that if they were covering an event in a Buddhist temple and were asked to remove their shoes, they would probably show proper respect.


The speaking has started with Tony Perkins leading things off. His best line summarizes his first speech – “We do not claim the right to speak for every American, but we do claim the right to speak.”

Perkins was followed by new Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, who spoke about why the critics fear events like Justice Sunday II and why they are incorrect. Interestingly, the camera during Mr. Daly’s speech seemed fixated on Ed & Cyndi Bryant, staying on them for between 30 and 45 seconds in a shot one would expect at the Academy Awards. I don’t know if any other 2006 Senate candidates were present, but I would have seen them if they were, so…

Mr. Daly was representing Focus on the Family because Dr. James Dobson, who recently stepped down as FOTF's President, is in France. Dobson, however, did speak to the audience via videotape. He invoked the Gettysburg Address – “by the people, of the people, for the people” – and how recent Supreme Court decisions – those involving the Ten Commandments and the Kelo decision stripping private property rights – as justification for conservative involvement in the judicial process. Dobson said that the Supreme Court was influenced by the Left, while the Left was being influenced by the doctrines of Eastern Europe. Dobson admitted that even he didn’t know if John Roberts was an “originalist,” but he thinks that he may be. I found that to be interesting, because it really doesn’t jive with Focus on the Family’s official position on Roberts.

Again, I loved Bishop Jackson, this time because he showed no partisanship. He spoke about telling both parties that we – Christian conservatives – are not backing down. Amen, brother.

Tony Perkins had a wonderful demonstration regarding baseball and how a baseball game can be influenced by how the umpire views the size of home plate. He then spoke about how the Supreme Court has been changing the size of the plate for American citizens. As a former pitcher, I got this analogy greatly. It also makes sense about the frustration that Christian conservatives feel, because what the Supreme Court is doing is akin to an umpire deciding in the fifth inning that two strikes is an out.

Congressman Tom DeLay had a few interesting additions. Most importantly, he noted that Justice Sunday II was not a protest against anything. Rather, he stated that JS II was a call to action for the protection of the Constitution. In his words, he said, “We need to protect the Constitution, so that it can protect us.” DeLay also acknowledged that activist judges exist on both sides, but that most were products of the Left. His beef with the activist judges was their pushing of policies that were not endorsed within the elected branches of government. Overall, an adequate speech.

OK, I’m missing a few speakers as I run back and forth from the sanctuary to the Media Center and type this post. I think I’ll return to the event before Zell Miller hits the podium.


We’re in the homestretch now…

Bill Donohue, President of The Catholic League, wants more than John Roberts, who he believes is a “nice guy,” on the bench. He praised the unity of Catholics and Evangelical Christians in political issues, saying, “We are on the same side.” He also sees us winning the war. “The vector of change is moving our direction.” Again, Ed and Cyndi Bryant were on the screen for an extended time. I am starting to wonder if Jay Bush is directing the show…

The crowd erupted as Senator Zell Miller took the stage. In his tireless Southern drawl and strong tone, he derided recent Supreme Court decisions and the logic behind them. He asked why the government felt the need to post “No Smoking” signs near gas pumps so that people wouldn’t harm themselves but felt the need to remove the Ten Commandments from public places to remind us of the damage of a sinful life. The fiery Georgian issued a call to action. “Cover this confirmation process with a blanket of prayer. When they make it harder for us to pray, we just pray harder!”

Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum, also mentioned the Kelo decision. I found that extremely interesting, because the several references to Kelo were on the heels of Grover Norquist’s prediction at the blogger lunch that this could be as influential as Roe in uniting conservatives. Schlafly also spoke of how umpires can’t change the rules of the game of baseball. I was told in law school by more than one professor that judges were umpires. If that’s true, then judges should start acting more like umpires, using them as models of professional guidance.

A face I knew, Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund, appeared in a video bumper. He stated that the Constitution should be interpreted by judges in the same way that contracts are interpreted by judges. (Judge Bork said nearly the same thing via tape shortly thereafter.) Lorence also said that the Constitution is viewed by liberal activist judges as their own personal Etch-A-Sketch, to be erased by at their personal leisure. I’ve heard that analogy before, but I thought it beared repeating.

Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at Family Research Council, raised an interesting question: Have the pro-aborts ever had a landmark legislative victory? I can’t think of one off hand.

Because the applause had run long, Dr. Jerry Sutton, host pastor for the event, had to cut his remarks short. That’s a shame, because he spoke of results-based jurisprudence. It’s a philosophy I believed to be at work after my stint in law school and that was endorsed by a few of my professors. Results-based jurisprudence says that judges already have their mind made up before the case even comes before their court, and their only task is trying to find enough precedence to reinforce their judicial opinion (a task usually left to their unfortunate clerks). Sutton is a good speaker, and his remarks drew loud, emotional applause from the audience.

I left the sanctuary as Rebecca St. James, Grammy Award-winning Christian music artist, took the stage. The event has concluded, and I am off to the Media Room to see if any of the speakers will speak to someone who is “just a blogger.”


No luck on the interviews (I had prepared five questions for Zell Miller, but to no avail), as only those who were available for interviews after the press conference were available for interviews after the main event. I was able to speak briefly with Tony Perkins and Bishop Jackson, but there weren’t any revelations worth repeating here. I still haven’t seen Bill Hobbs. I was able to see Van Hilleary leaving the auditorium, and Ed and Cyndi Bryant spoke to me as they were heading out the door after speaking for nearly an hour after the event with dozens of audience members about such topics as judicial nominations and the role of the Senate Judiciary Committee. After it was apparent that everything had died down, I decided to head home. Well, at least to the hotel room that is functioning as home for the time being…


So, what immediate conclusions did I draw from Justice Sunday II?

1. Justice Sunday II was not about Judge John Roberts.
Justice Sunday II was about the need for Christian involvement in the nation’s political process with a particular emphasis on the conduct of the judiciary. Christians cannot be lulled into the political slumber the resulted in the rise of secular humanism through the schools and courts in the middle and late Twentieth Century. While no one minimalized the importance of Judge Roberts’ confirmation in the Senate, he certainly was not the focus, as many had predicted. In fact, the Kelo decision was mentioned more often by speakers than Judge John Roberts.

2. Because of the massive goals of Justice Sunday II (see No. 1), it will be a long time until we know whether the event led to successful change in the Christian community.
The speakers were convincing. The crowd was receptive. Will this event shake the millions of Christians who believe that they shouldn’t live as salt and light in their public lives (the workplace, through the government, etc.) to the point that they embrace their call to action? I’m not so sure. Family Research Council informed the press that over 79 million people viewed the telecast/webcast/live event. Surely some of those people will feel called to action, but will it be enough to see results?

3. The chasm between the MSM and the Blogosphere is larger than I realized, and I’m glad that I am on this side of the canyon.
Having not worked around the MSM in a while, I had forgotten how much I didn’t like working events with them. While some exceptions do exist, most members of the mainstream media that were covering this event hated – and I am not prone to use that word lightly – the amateur contingent in the room. They may not have said it to our faces, but they did say it to each other (hey, I can eavesdrop with the best of them) and showed it through some of their mannerisms. We’re not there yet, but I can foresee a power struggle coming that might get ugly. Again, we’ll see…

Overall, I was honored to attend the event. Thanks to FRC and Two Rivers Baptist Church for helping make my attendance possible. It was nice to dust off the journalistic skills that had been in safe keeping for so long. I did take some pictures, but they will have to wait until I return to Knoxville and my precious scanner. Other reports on the event can be found from Bill Hobbs (who apparently did show, although I didn’t see him), Blake Wylie (press conference here, main event here), Brittney (scroll down for several posts), and Red State Rant (scroll down for several posts). (I won't link to the Tennessee Guerilla Women since they have been erasing comments by conservative posters on their site. The day they decide to quit their disgraceful censorship is the day I will start linking to their site.)

There will probably be more on this tomorrow evening, but that's all for now.


Alive and Kicking in Nashville

I apologize for the lack of updates over the past 36 hours, but this morning is the first time that I have been on-line during that time. Since I last posted, I attended an outing with my wife's firm at the Tennessee Smokies game, drove to Nashville (leaving at 4:45 A.M. Saturday), worked the Christian Sportsmen's Fellowship booth at the Promise Keeper's event, participated in the PK event (hearing one of my favorite pastors, Wellington Boone, speak), tripped to the Bass Pro Shops store at Opry Mills with the Appalachian Chapter of the Christian Sportsmen's Fellowship, crashed at the Travelodge north of downtown, and have now changed hotels to the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. Whew!

It has already been a busy weekend, and it is about to get more hectic with the Justice Sunday II event. My attempts at healing my Wi-Fi connection have gone for naught, as have Bill Hobbs' attempts to procure me a loaner laptop for the event. Thus, I am unsure how this all will work out this evening. I will either work up some posts during the event with this laptop at the event and drive to the hotel to put them on-line, or I might jump on Bill's laptop to post them to this site. The route taken depends greatly on how I can be less of a nuisance to others. In any case, I dug some of my old journalists' tools out of the closet - reporter's notebook, digital voice recorder - in case the opportunity for interviews presents itself. But, as with life, who knows how things will go. For instance, no one could have predicted that this site - in only four short months - would have serviced nearly 14,000 readers, that it would have gained mention on Instapundit or, that its posts would be passed out on Capitol Hill (Nashville, not D.C.), that it would be my ticket to meet Grover Norquist and attend Justice Sunday II, or that, as happened Friday, it would be featured on CNN. Heck, several regular readers stopped by the booth yesterday and offered support for this blog. Really, guys and gals, I am blown away...

I think I'll rest my eyes for a little bit - the calm before the storm, if you will. I love the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. It's my favorite hotel in Nashville, and the entire wedding party and guests stayed here three years ago this August when the VOLConWife and I tied the knot. My room today overlooks the Parthenon in Centennial Park, and the Vanderbilt campus itself is just beautiful. Heck, I might heckle the Vandy football players later on in the week, if I can find the intramural fields. (Just kidding, Vandy fans. No hate e-mail, please. If y'all start playing better, I'll quit busting on you.)

More to come later...

Friday, August 12, 2005


Coming this Sunday to VOLuntarilyConservative

AUGUST 14, 2005 7:00 P.M.

At last week's meeting of bloggers with Grover Norquist, Jay Bush and I talked briefly about the possibility of attending the Justice Sunday II event at Two Rivers Baptist Church on August 14th. I hadn't really considered attending up until that point, but since I was slated to be in Nashville for other reasons (working the Promise Keepers event on Saturday and judicial training on Monday), the event fit right into a hole in my schedule.

After contacting Two Rivers and Family Research Council, I was dismayed to find that locals had the inside track on tickets. In my second call to FRC, I happened to mention that I was a blogger. Who would have thought that being a blogger would open such doors?! In any case, I have credentials as a member of the "working media" (boy, it's been a long time since I have been considered under that label), and I will be joining a litany of other bloggers who will be covering the event, both through live-blogging and conventional coverage. I am hoping to live-blog, as FRC has set up a media room with Wi-Fi and allowed for bloggers to freely move from the sanctuary to that room without problem. How I cover the event will largely depend on my technology and whether I can get my poor little laptop to once again heed my call.

I have no idea how many bloggers are scheduled to attend, but the list I have seen is quite impressive. Between the coverage by the bloggers, mainstream media, the webcast, and the broadcast on Sky Angel, there will be no shortage of stories - and opinions.


Roberts assisted Playboy in case before SCOTUS

Another day, another red flag for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. You have to wonder how long the good people who are having to defend him every day will finally give up the ghost - and whether that will matter at all.

UPDATE: Robert Novak says that it does matter - not with confirming Roberts, but that the final vote count will determine the next nominee. He has a point, but other factors will certainly play into Bush's decision besides the Senate roll call vote (such as Bush's horrid approval rating, for instance).


Curse of the VOLCon?

Yesterday, I begrudgingly picked Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship this weekend. It was the first time that I had ever conceded a major to Tiger. Perhaps I should do so more often. Thanks to the whammy I placed on ole Tigger, he went out and shot a five-over 75, placing him 8 shots off the lead and in a tie for 113th place. And, given that Tiger has never won a major tournament in which he didn't lead heading into the final round, he has to make up considerable ground in today's round.

Golf is in great shape, even with Woods struggling. The pairings that were featured on TNT's afternoon coverage - John Daly, Vijay Singh, and Davis Love III; Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott - provided electricity for the galleries and the television audience. I mean, how many times does Vijay play in a threesome where he is consistently the short man off the tee? (Incidentally, Daly shot much better than his +1 final score indicated. He was the victim of a few bad bounces and a few lip-outs.)

Ideally, I would stay glued to this event throughout the weekend. Alas, real life beckons...

Thursday, August 11, 2005


The 87th PGA Championship

Today marks the first day of play at the final of this year's major PGA tournaments, the 87th PGA Championship. This year, the pros will tee it up at Baltusrol, the nearly 7400 yard course in New Jersey that last hosted a major in 1993 (which resulted in an epic U.S. Open duel between winner Lee Janzen and runner-up Payne Stewart). It's hard to fathom a course this long being par 70, but that is the case at Baltusrol. In fact, there are only two par fives on the course, and those are the 650 yard 17th and the 554 yard 18th (pictured above). John Daly reached the 17th in two in 1993, but course redesigns may make that feat impossible this time around.

As I have posted prior to the other majors, I cheer against Tiger Woods, mostly because of the way he acts on the course. However, this course sets up for Tiger much in the way that St. Andrews does. I just can't see anyone else winning this weekend. Tiger would have to hit several wayward drives and have someone get hot with the putter. I will pull for Vijay, Lefty, and Retief, but I will be shocked if anyone can stand up to Tiger at Baltusrol, where long drives are such a tremendous advantage.


Hilleary continues to repeat bad decisions

Several people - including a few notable bloggers - have told me that Van Hilleary isn't that bright. In fact, some people have used the word "stupid." My experiences with Van don't indicate that. It's not like I've discussed the intricacies of the judicial system or energy policy with Van (as I did with Ed Bryant a few years back), but I didn't come away from our brief meetings with the opinion that Van was stupid.

However, one has to question a man's intelligence who continues to hire the same polarizing individuals that lost him the last statewide race in which he was entered and basically angered nearly every conservative in East Tennessee that tried to help out that Hilleary campaign. Adam Groves has noticed that the Hilleary camp has added Jennifer Coxe to its staff. Awesome, Van. Together with Brad Todd, you have the makings of one awful campaign.

I remember standing in the rain with Van on Election Day in 2002 in Cedar Bluff. Republican after Republican came up to Van and told him that they were voting Democrat - some for the first time in their lives - because of the negative tone of his campaign - an element that can only be attributed to the top levels of Van's campaign. I was listening then. It's a shame that Van didn't hear those voters, because it is they who will determine this race.


Mark Rose: Conservatism is a Youth Movement

Mark A. Rose has an outstanding unpublished (at least, unpublished in the Lebanon Democrat and instead published at Right Minded) column on how conservatism is striking a chord with younger generations.

One thing is for certain - I'm not one of the natalists that Mark writes about in the column. Who has the time for four or more kids? I can barely keep up with my dog. Considering that another year will bite the dust next week, I have a feeling that I will be lucky to raise one child, much less four or more.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


NRA to back Democrat against DeWine?

It was reported in The Hill that the National Rifle Association, of which I am a member and former employee, is strongly considering an endorsement of Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan in a possible 2006 showdown with incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine.

Memo to Ohio Republicans: If you don't want to lose the Senate seat in the Buckeye State, you need to talk John Kasich into running - and fast. If Ryan is endorsed by the NRA, Kasich might not want to enter the race, and Ryan will win. If DeWine doesn't get out of the GOP primary, he won't be a factor in the general election. Judging by this recent story in the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Republicans have their an uphill climb in convincing Kasich to run.

An aside: Why in the world did The Hill solicit quotes from Gun Owners of America? Why not interview more NRA staff and members instead of wasting time with one of the chihuahua groups that tries to nip at the heels of the big-dog NRA? GOA is kinda "out there." Heck, GOA gave Bill Frist a "D" in 2003. Of course, to GOA's credit, they gave Harold Ford, Jr. an "F-." I didn't even know there was such a thing as an "F-," but if there is, Ford would certainly deserve it for his putrid record of firearm defense (NRA ratings over the past 3 elections: F, F, and D-).


AEI: Little movement likely in Senate after 2006 elections

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research offers this article regarding the 2006 Senate races. For the most part, they are right on the money. Santorum is fighting for his political life. I think that they underestimate Chafee - simply for his bankbook and liberal leanings - as well as Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia. About the Tennessee race, AEI had this to say:

"In Tennessee, Rep. Harold Ford (D) is a young, impressive African-American, with an independent streak. But Ford’s overall voting record is too liberal for this conservative state. Republicans have a large, strong field, including former Reps. Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary."

For those who don't know, AEI is one of the nation's best and most influential think tanks. So, who loses most from this assessment - Harold Ford, who is "too liberal," or Bob Corker, who is polling so poorly that he doesn't even make AEI's radar?


Conservative Group Withdraws Support of Roberts

At 11 A.M. this morning on the steps of the Supreme Court, Public Advocate, a Virginia-based pro-family group, will hold a press conference in which the group will withdraw its support for President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts.

I can't say that I am too surprised. What will be interesting is to see if other conservative groups continue to make excuses for a nominee that is blanketed by red flags (Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association, Progress for America) or whether they will start questioning if they are fighting for a nominee that is worth fighting for.

I had questions about Roberts before he was the nominee. When the e-mail blitz from these groups started (literally) 30 seconds after President Bush introduced Roberts as his nominee, I was even more skeptical. This relates back to Justice Souter's confirmation, which had many of the same propagandists pushing him. I think I might just be with Ann Coulter on this one:

"Finally, let's ponder the fact that Roberts has gone through 50 years on this planet without ever saying anything controversial. That's just unnatural... Apparently, Roberts decided early on that he wanted to be on the Supreme Court and that the way to do that was not to express a personal opinion on anything to anybody ever. It's as if he is from some space alien sleeper cell. Maybe the space aliens are trying to help us, but I wish we knew that."

As Ann has said, Supreme Court nominees shouldn't be akin to playing Russian Roulette. Not when you have majorities in the Senate and the House. Not when most Americans are on your side.

MORE: This article comes from the Baptist Press regarding an interview that Roberts gave in 2000 that many interest groups are using to gauge his values and judicial philosophy. After watching the video, how can the ACLJ's Jay Sekulow (quoted in the article) believe this to be good news? I tell ya' folks, something stinks here...


Another blog death

It appears that John Walter has shut down Tennessee Rants, one of my favorite state political blogs. I hope it is only temporary, but I certainly understand his reasoning.


Back for more... and some changes

My apologies for the unforeseen hiatus. I had to clear out for the VOLConWife's use of the cable modem on Monday, and Tuesday was a bit too busy to work in blogging.

Under the subheading of "So you want to be an attorney?" goes the following statline - the VOLConWife worked 93 hours last week. Aside from some medical residents I know and a few attorneys in the major metropolitan areas of D.C. and New York City (who are certainly compensated for their time), her workload has exceeded most normal human beings and has become the source of some personal angst. I was grateful, though, that she took some time out of her busy schedule to help me with my new employment pursuit - Wedding Crashing. Just kidding, but Betsy Pickle was right - Wedding Crashers is one of the funniest movies I have seen this year. The movie was followed by an excellent meal at the Tennessee Grill. After all, combining all-you-can-eat ribs, Vol fries, flawless service, and a table on the Tennessee River makes for one outstanding culinary experience.

Now for some real news... There will be some changes to the blogging on this site. These changes will be a result of my new position with the State of Tennessee as a Special Hearings Officer (an administrative law judge within the Department of Human Services). Blogging will be moved primarily to the evening and nighttime hours (instead of the erratic schedule of late), and subject areas to which I am assigned (including TennCare) will not be discussed while I am in this position. I am extremely excited about this opportunity to serve Tennessee, and I certainly hope that I can be a fair and honorable judge.

In the short term, I will be attending training in Nashville next week, but I should be able to blog during the evening hours if time permits.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Friday's Post of the Day

Mark Rose is today's winner, in a response to Nashville Is Talking's Brittney regarding taxation in Tennessee. Mark's post is lengthy, well-reasoned, and should be understood by all.

Brittney and her liberal cohorts attempt to attack a sales tax based on the label that it is "regressive." In a nutshell - if a sales tax was actually "regressive," and the Left keeps trying to label itself as "progressive," then I say give me "regressive" every day and twice on Sunday.

Just kidding, folks. Mark's argument really puts the rhetorical one offered by the pro-tax crowd to shame. Read the whole post.



It's a great day here in Big Orange Country. Why? Because...


Yes, it's true that we have 29 days and 3 hours (or thereabouts, depending on when you are reading this post) until The University of Tennessee Volunteers grace Shields-Watkins Field before over 107,000 fans to battle UAB, but today is momentous because official practices start on campus. Much like National Signing Day in February, First Practice has become an official holiday for rabid Vol fans throughout the nation because this is the first real opportunity to see what kind of team has been assembled by Coach Fulmer and his staff. I know that I started celebrating early, viewing last season's season opener against UNLV at 12:01 A.M. this morning. (Fanatical behavior? No, not me...)

Brent Hubbs of contends that – after a long, hard summer in Johnny Long's weight room - this is the best looking team physically since the 1999 squad (a squad that went 9-3 on the year). We'll find out quickly if all of the hard work was enough; UT plays back-to-back games at "The Swamp" against Florida and in the newly-expanded "Death Valley" versus the Tigers of LSU before the calendar turns to October.

There are many interesting storylines coming into this season, including a QB battle (senior Rick Clausen or sophomore Erik Ainge), several preseason All-SEC selections (Jesse Mahelona, Jason Allen, Gerald Riggs, Jr., Arron Sears, and Parys Haralson), a punting legacy (Briton Colquitt taking over for his brother, Dustin), and Richie Gandy's possible return to action this weekend after surgery to replace his ACL only five months and one day ago.

However, the player I will be following most attentively is linebacker Kevin Simon. Simon came to Tennessee with huge expectations out of high school as the #1 rated defensive player in the nation. His speed and quickness were incredible on film, and he certainly made many UT fans ecstatic when he picked the Vols over several teams closer to his California home. However, Kevin's college career has been marred by one freakish injury after another. This year is Kevin's final year in the orange and white. He has worked incredibly hard to chisel his frame into a body that would make Michelangelo's "David" jealous. His work ethic, leadership skills, and determination in the face of adversity are all admirable, but it's only when you meet the man that you realize that you can't help but like him. He's a fine human being – the kind that don't make the pages of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, instead giving way to stories of assault and mischief. My prayer is that Kevin has an injury-free season this fall. In my eyes, he has earned it.

UT's Kevin Burnett (left) and Kevin Simon Posted by Picasa

29 days until the first tailgate. 29 days until I get to walk to Neyland Stadium for the first time from my new house. 29 days until The Pride of the Southland Marching Band forms "The T." 29 days until "It's Football Time in Tennessee."

I've got goosebumps just thinking about it...

Posted by Picasa

Voluminous has more, and I suspect that Big Orange Michael will have some thoughts on this as the day goes on.

EVEN MORE: For those of you who need a little help getting into gear, I suggest this compilation of "Florida Gator Highlights." Again, goosebumps...

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Supreme Court nominee worked for free to help gay rights movement

A few people have asked why I haven't endorsed or come out against Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. Well, the truth is that I am still reading information on the man (including the nearly 70 pages of responses to the Judiciary Committee), and more comes out everyday. This certainly added more questions than answers:

"Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case."

(From today's L.A. Times.)

I understand that most lawyers - especially when they start out in solo practice or are part of a big firm - have to take whatever cases that come through the door. That's not what happened here. You certainly have more freedom to choose who you do pro bono work for. Roberts' eagerness to help the gay rights movement win a landmark court ruling does not sit well with me, not only because of the homosexual protection issue, but because Romer v. Evans was a blow for states' rights advocates everywhere.

Every time I try to like the guy, something else brings me back to ground zero. I have to say, though, that I am starting to lean towards Ann Coulter.

UPDATE: Apparently Reed Heustis, a noted lawyer and member of the Constitutional Party, has come to his decision about Roberts. As is usual, Reed doesn't beat around the bush.


Kurita Wins Endorsement from Memphis Blogger

The River City Mud Company, a liberal Memphis blog, has endorsed Rosalind Kurita for the Democratic nomination for the 2006 U.S. Senate race. Apparently, Harold Ford, Jr. hasn't locked down Memphis like he (or I) thought. (Hat tip: Half-Bakered.)


Kay Brooks: Spotlight on Memphis Education Failures

Kay Brooks has an excellent (although not surprising) rundown of which Tennessee school systems have improved and which have not. (Hat tip: Bob Krumm.)


Post of the Day

Bob Corker's presence on the Internet may have picked up, but he has taken many hits this week. The latest comes from Steve Gill, courtesy of Blogging for Bryant. Read the whole transcript, because it is an outline of why Bob Corker will be sitting out the general election with all of his pro-tax, non-conservative buddies.

UPDATE: Blake Wylie has news of a new pro-tax group launching in Nashville. No word yet as to whether they have endorsed Bob Corker for Senate.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Coffee with Grover

(L-R) Grover Norquist, Nathan Moore, Me, and Matt White at Bongo Java Posted by Picasa

Well, technically, it was sweet tea on my part (me in a coffee shoppe is akin to Alabama football boosters at an ethics convention - in other words, a fish out of water), but the meeting of several Tennessee bloggers with Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform and one of the "masters of the universe" of American politics, was a high point in what is turning out to be a fantastic week. Bill Hobbs, Jay Bush, Bob Krumm, Nathan Moore, Matthew White, Ben Cunningham, Jeff Cornwall, and myself - or, as Jay has dubbed us, the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" - met with Mr. Norquist at Bongo Java in Nashville Tuesday afternoon to discuss a variety of topics, including coalition-building, the impact of blogs on politics, how to connect with voters, and how to obtain victory, both on a state and national level. (I hope this summation explains to Sharon Cobb as to why her invite was "lost in the mail," and that it had nothing to do with her gender, as she pondered in the comments section of a post yesterday.) Ed Bryant for Senate graciously organized the event.

While I can't go into everything discussed, Mr. Norquist provided some fascinating perspective as to how politics - and the Republican Party in particular - have evolved. He showed through examples how the Right is united through themes in individual issues, whereas the Left is united by one thing - money. That leads into how the Left can be defeated, because if their pursuit of money and riches is disrupted, the movement cannot remain cohesive. This is intuitive, as it explains why the Left is so against Social Security reform. As a 1999 Rasmussen poll showed, those Americans who owned at least $5,000 worth of stock heavily favored Republican candidates versus those voters of the same income bracket who did not own stock. A later Zogby poll showed a direct correlation between the size of an investor's stock portfolio and their allegiance to the Republican Party candidates. These trends were independent of race and gender characteristics, neither of which could be comforting to Democratic leaders, which is why it makes sense to see them (and the mainstream media) trying to derail President Bush's reform efforts. But that is a common theme of the meeting with Mr. Norquist - nearly everything made sense. From speaking on the importance of the recent Kelo decision - which Norquist believes could be to property rights advocates what Roe was for organizing the right-to-life movement - to how Pat Buchanan managed to keep his audience as a candidate but lose the election, Mr. Norquist made even one who was growing quite disheartened about the state of the Republican Party - which I have been - at least somewhat optimistic about the future of conservatives in the GOP.

I greatly enjoyed the afternoon, and I urge you to read what the other bloggers thought of the meeting. I do have a few other points, though. First, it was seemingly unanimous that the group believes Van Hilleary to have lost his marbles (or, at the very least, to have been the recipient of extremely poor campaign advice) for challenging a disgraced actress to a debate. Second, it was my first time meeting Mr. Moore, Mr. Cunningham, Professor Cornwall, and Mr. Krumm (I am pretty sure that Mr. White and I have crossed paths on the campaign trail, but I could be mistaken), and the pleasure was all mine. Third, yes, I drove all the way to Nashville for this one-hour meeting. The opportunity to meet Grover Norquist, with whom I had tried to speak while I lived in D.C. but wasn't able to corner due to his busy schedule with the 2004 elections, was too good to pass up. Fourth, no, I didn't ask him about CAFTA, of which he is a proponent and of which I am in opposition. However, I will be contacting him in the future to see if he can win me over. Fifth, and finally, Mr. Norquist was in our fair state to kick off Tennessee Tax Revolt's "anti-income tax" drive and for a ceremonial signing of Americans for Tax Reform's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." The state and local media should be ashamed of their coverage of these events. While the Knoxville News Sentinel had an article on the subject (which is better than its major counterparts in Nashville and Memphis), the author (Tom Humphrey) went out of his way to make the "anti-income tax" drive look foolish, playing up Governor Bredesen's refusal to stand against the income tax as almost heroic. There was no mention of Ed Bryant or his signing of the pledge - which Van Hilleary and Bob Corker have scoffed at, even though Senators Frist and Alexander have joined 44 other U.S. Senators and 222 U.S. House members in signing the pledge- which is quite telling. I was told by some people I have every reason to believe that the KNS will be heavily pushing Bob Corker for the GOP nomination, mostly for financial reasons. After reading Georgiana Vines' column on Corker a few months back (for which there was no equal time provided for the Bryant, Hilleary, or Harwell camps), I started to sense that neither Ed nor Van could count on the Knoxville paper for neutral coverage. I hope that I and my sources are wrong and that the KNS will be true to journalistic standards instead of financial considerations. In either case, below is a picture of Ed's signing of the pledge, standing with hard-working taxpayers in Tennessee.

Grover Norquist Observes Ed Bryant Signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge Posted by Picasa

UPDATE: After reading a few e-mails regarding this post, there is a clarification that I wish to make. I didn't say that Van Hilleary and Bob Corker did not eventually sign ATR's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." In fact, they have signed it - three months after Ed Bryant's campaign issued a press release citing his signing of the pledge as the first of the Senate candidates. To dig even further, all of the Senate candidates have signed the pledge - except Harold Ford, Jr. (Both Beth Harwell and Rosalind Kurita have signed the state version of the pledge.) My criticism is that they did so as a course of politics, not at the urging of conviction. As Bill Hobbs posted several months ago, Hilleary's support of the ATR initiative has been tepid, at best. In fact, Hilleary failed to sign the 2002 version of the pledge during the campaign that resulted in his loss to Phil Bredesen.

Food for thought: Americans for Tax Reform doesn't officially play favorites in GOP primaries, but where were Hilleary and Corker yesterday? Why wasn't Grover Norquist standing with Van for the memorialization of his fight against taxation? Don't tell me that he couldn't make it, because Norquist drove from the rally in Nashville to a location in the 6th Congressional District - Van Hilleary's own district - for the signing. It seems to this observer that Norquist made it easier on Hilleary to attend. Could Van not be bothered to make the short drive from Murfreesboro to just east of Lebanon? Or was he not invited?

More food for thought: Another topic that created a bit of a stir yesterday at the meeting was the possibility of conservative radio host Steve Gill quietly putting together a run for the Governor's Mansion. He was asked point blank whether he was a possible candidate, and he didn't say "no."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Kurita ads

I noticed for the first time this morning that Rosalind Kurita, Democratic candidate for the 2006 U.S. Senate seat held by Bill Frist, has placed some ads on the Knoxville News-Sentinel's site. The ads link to Kurita's website, which is not a bad campaign site.

So much for Harold Ford, Jr.'s hopes that she wasn't a serious candidate.

I know a few sensible Democrats (those who think that Dean is a maniac and that the Clinton's are a disgrace), and I am eager to see what they think about Kurita's bid to upset Junior.

UPDATE: I have now seen the Kurita ads on the sites of the Tennessean, Memphis Commercial Appeal, and even Instapundit. She may not have the financial resources of Ford, but a coordinated advertising blitz at this stage is a bold move by the upset-minded Kurita.


Something is amiss on the Right side of the Blogosphere...

Back in June, Michael Silence posted that a group of blogs from the Right - including this site - had formed a loose-knit coalition, posting about similar subjects and linking to each other at a regular clip. I am here to say that while that may have been the case at one time, it is certainly not the case now.

First, Doc B, who ran Right Justified, became sick of blogging. He altered his site's style for a short time, and now his site is off-line, possibly for good. That was a shame, because Doc had some interesting views that haven't been replaced in the Tennessee portion of the Blogosphere.

Second, Glen Dean, who runs Nashville Truth, became sick of blogging. He announced that he would greatly scale back his efforts if he didn't quit entirely. He still posts every now and then, but Glen was one of the most reliable posters and drew many links from all of us.

I can understand the first two happenings. There are some days when this feels like a job - a job for which I receive no pay. OK, that's not entirely true. So far, I have made $1.16 off of the Google Ads and nada off of the Amazon book/CD/DVD ads. In any case, it is nominal compensation, to say the least.

However, I can't understand what has happened recently in relation to other sites that were once commonly linked to VOLuntarilyConservative. To be precise, I am writing of Blogging for Bryant, South End Grounds, Bill Hobbs, Mark Rose, and Adam Groves. For whatever reason, the links have stopped from these sources. Perhaps I have written something that has turned those gentlemen from this site, whether it be criticisms of President Bush, the GOP, Lance Armstrong, or Senator Frist's presidential aspirations. I'm not sure why it happened, but it certainly did happen. According to Technorati, it has been over a week since any of those sites have linked to VOLuntarilyConservative, and my number of posts has actually been higher over that span. Traffic has been steady, so it isn't like I am pointing out this phenomenon for that reason. (I vowed early on - after a talk with Rich Hailey and SayUncle at a get together at Michael Silence's house - to only monitor traffic casually, and I have kept to that practice.) If I write an awesome post that only 80 people read, I am happier and more satisfied than if I write a snappy little quip that gets picked up by Instapundit and read by thousands.

In any case, I wanted to disclose that whatever loose affiliation that Silence noticed in the past apparently was too loose to keep me entangled. Maybe my writings have been dull or uninteresting. I suppose that is reinforced by the total lack of comments on this site over the past week. While I am not going to let this isolation bother me, I am going to make an effort - at least for today - to eliminate geography as a reason for not being noticed by the Nashville bloggers. It is my plan to attend a blogger-only get together this afternoon in Nashville, so there will be an update coming sometime tonight.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Federalist Society Under the Microscope

Jason DeParle has an excellent look at the Federalist Society in today's New York Times. The story looks at how those who are/were members of it are being tarred and feathered by the Left. I was a member of the student chapter of the Federalist Society in law school, and I very well may renew my membership with the group and attend their National Lawyers Convention this November in D.C. I can assure you that there is no secret handshake (at least, not one that rank and file members know) or secret rituals like with Yale's Order of Skull and Bones. However, I do know some conservatives who have distanced themselves from the Federalist Society simply because they want to serve on the federal bench or make a run at politics in the future. Judging from some of the data in DeParle's piece, the bold move might have been the better choice for those people.


Bolton to be sworn-in today

As expected, President Bush appointed John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations today. Bolton will be sworn-in this afternoon and make his way to his new residence in New York City at the apartment in the Waldorf-Astoria. Michael Silence has more here. As I have written in the past, this appointment is long overdue, as Mr. Bolton is just what the United States needs in the U.N. at this present time. Bolton's appointment will last through the end of January, 2007.

To hear Democrats tell it, you would think that Bush had invented the recess appointment, that it hasn't be a part of government for centuries, that it wasn't part of the United States Constitution. Of course, that would be ignoring the 140 recess appointments performed by President Clinton, as compared to the 106 brought forward by President Bush.


Corker as Reagan? I think not...

After reading Nathan Moore's post equating Bob Corker to Ronald Reagan (yes, you read that right) and Blogging for Bryant's response, I decided to leave a comment for Mr. Moore regarding his original post. However, the comment took on a life of its own, so I decided to post it here so that it could be more easily read.


Nathan -

I keep waiting for some evidence that you are a conservative, as the tagline on MooreThoughts suggests. All I found was this laughable comparison of Bob Corker to Ronald Reagan.

While I am no expert on Bob Corker (he raises taxes, quotes from Planned Parenthood when asked about abortion, got really rich building Krystal drive-throughs, has liberal Democrats and trade unions funding his campaign, favored a state income tax, didn't pay taxes to the IRS for 2 years, and made Chattanooga the worst major city in Tennessee to start a business or career (according to Forbes Magazine) - what else do I need to know?), I do consider myself well-schooled when it comes to the life and times of President Reagan. To compare the two is simply absurd. Blogging for Bryant has a nice start, but even more is needed so that readers aren't confused as to what can be learned from a solid conservative like Mr. Reagan and how that differs from squishy moderates like Mr. Corker. I don't have the time to fisk this thoroughly, but I do have a few quick points:

- Regarding your example of Reagan's pro-choice vote – and yes, it can be summed up to one signed bill as California Governor - Reagan claimed that to be the worst decision he ever made in his career. Do you really want to compare Reagan's single vote with Corker's multiple tax increases?
- You obviously don't understand Reagan's 11th Commandment. However, you do use it like RINOs have in the past by taking it out of context.
- Victor Davis Hanson is a brilliant military historian and extremely knowledgeable in matters of foreign affairs, including the global war on terrorism. However, I wouldn't place his knowledge of political history or ideologies on the same level.
- To second Blogging for Bryant's assertion, implying that raising taxes and supporting abortion is a road to making one "Reaganesque" is disingenuous. At the least, it doesn't seem to back up your claim that Reagan is your "personal hero," if that is what you think of Reagan and you are, as you state, a "conservative." Of course, maybe you think that is what Reagan was about, which would explain your support of Bob Corker...

Also, Nathan, I am worried that you don't see a connection between campaign funding and voting records. You are either kidding yourself or have broken with reality.

Finally, praising Corker for Chattanooga's relatively low taxes is like having George H.W. Bush take the credit for all of Reagan's economic policy. When you look at someone's record in public service, look at the snapshot. When Bob Corker left office as the mayor of Chattanooga, taxes were higher than they were when he arrived. True conservatives don't raise taxes. I have to think that true conservatives should already know that.

You probably believe this to be heavy-handed coming from one who has worked for Republicans all of his life. For that, I apologize, but I figure that this is probably better coming from me than from others who wouldn't be so gentile. You stated a few months back that you have never had your "Republican credentials questioned." I want to be clear that you still haven't. I am certain that you are a Republican. After all, you are the leader of the Davidson County Young Republicans and attended a law school, George Mason, that has produced many fine conservative attorneys (an accomplishment not many institutions can claim). However, I have to question your claim of following "conservatism." I sincerely hope that you do eventually come back to our school of thought, if you have strayed from the path. However, my optimism is stunted by your support of Bob Corker, a candidate that does not represent the values of conservative Tennesseans and who is not Ronald Reagan.



When I first got into the blogging business, I wrote that I wasn't in this venture to make friends. It's the same in my political involvement and in life. You get my honest opinion, and it is up to you how you choose to react to my perspective. If I end up friendless and alone but conservative principles has won the day, then it was all worth it.

And I was in a really good mood this morning. However, when someone is critical of Reagan (which is basically the jest of Moore's post when read from a conservative's point of view) and backs Bob Corker's campaign but still claims to be a conservative, it raises my ire.

I mean, he might as well have signed off with "Roll Tide!"

MORE: More on this matter from Matt White.


New Jersey University Student Disciplined for Objecting to Lesbianism?

Jihad Daniel, a Muslim grad student at William Paterson University, responded to an evite from a Women's Studies professor concerning a film about lesbian relationships by asking that his name be removed from any further mailings dealing with "perversions." The professor claimed discrimination, and the university reprimanded Daniel. An appeal was filed but was denied, and now a lawsuit may be in the works. Focus on the Family has more, with a whole slew of the original e-mails and media coverage by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) here.

Remember the good ole days when students were allowed - even expected - to add their own personal views to the melting pot of ideas that is a university campus? Yeah, maybe it was before my time, too.

This does beg the question, though - how do the liberals who refuse any dissenting voice on their campuses justify affirmative action programs? Those programs were only found constitutional by the Supreme Court because Justice O'Connor was convinced that students from a different background (in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, the difference was racial) have much to offer the free flow of ideas on university campuses and their contributions help all students to understand differing viewpoints. If dissent is truly not allowed at colleges and universities (and judging by how busy FIRE has been over the past five years, it can certainly be argued that the right to dissent is abandoned as one enters campus), then O'Connor's argument fails.

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