Thursday, December 28, 2006
Sweet Home Chicago...
It's off to Chicago for a few days of fun, food, and football. If the mood strikes, I will post from the hotel this weekend. If it doesn't, then I will see y'all in 2007!
The ABA - No Friend of Mine
"Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples"
"Representing Same-Sex Adoption Clients"
"Tax Issues Affecting Same-Sex Couples"
"Domestic Partnership Agreements"
"Being Edith Bunker" (regarding how tragically unhip it is not to embrace the homosexual lifestyle)
The ABA is already on record as being against the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Apparently, they want to take sides in other matters, as well. Not surprisingly, they are coming down on the side of all things liberal. Imagine that...
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
President Gerald Ford, Dead today at 93
Gerald Ford, the 38th and only unelected President of the United States, died today at the age of 93.
Ford fought several medical conditions over the course of 2006, including pneumonia and blockages in the arteries of his heart. He was in and out of the hospital throughout the year.
Ford lived longer than any other U.S. President.
Because of his intense love for solitude and privacy relative to other politicians, it is unlikely that we will witness the kind of outpouring of affection that usually accompanies the passing of a U.S. Commander in Chief. Ford was more comfortable carrying out the orders of others than giving the orders himself. That being said, he played an important part in U.S. history as he showed a steady hand in taking the reigns of the country after Watergate.
Our prayers go out to Betty and the rest of the family at the news of his passing.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Thinkin' about Chi-Town...
Well, on the bright side, it is supposed to be 17 degrees above normal in Chicago for New Year's Eve. That's a heck of a lot better than I've experienced there in the past.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Have a Merry Christmas! Remember why we celebrate, how much He has given us over the entirety of 2006, and that what is to come is glorious all because of Him.
MORE: I would also like to thank the good people of Central Baptist Church of Fountain City for their hospitality during last night's wonderful Vesper Service. Between that service, hitting Dollywood for their Christmas shows on Saturday night, and all of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Smoky Mountain Strings Christmas music I have been playing lately, it is easy to see why I am in the Christmas spirit.
Friday, December 22, 2006
A Christmas Message from al-Zawahiri
We may be having trouble bringing democracy to Iraq, but, daggone it, we've brought one pagan to Jesus Christ!
"Bear Down, Chicago Bears..."
First of all, I want to say congratulations to the Packers for der win earlier tonight over da Vikings. I was cheering for you's. Really, I was. It will just make it sweeter when Da Bears kick your teeth in on New Year's Eve, extinguishing all playoff hopes from your Lindberger hearts. Prediction for next Sunday: Bears without Mini Ditka 72, Cheeseeaters -4.
Secondly, I think I may have to add a new room to da house, because I might need to adopt dis kid.
He sure sounds perfect to me. It seems that he has been raised in a home dat reinforced traditional values and stressed da need to support goodness (da Bears) over evil (all other lesser teams).
Now that the work year is for all intents and purposes finished, I can concentrate on my impending return to the Windy City. I haven't been back to Chi-town since 2001, so needless to say that I am ecstatic to be returning, even if only for a few days. I haven't had a real slice of pizza pie in five years, so a trip to Giordano's will be made, along with planned stops at Coach Ditka's and Mother's. Plus, we get to see da Bears play...
I can't wait.
MORE: OK, a few other points. Some people have given me some heat over the past few months for being too fanatical about football. Fair enough, you are entitled to your opinion.
I am passionate about football. I have no argument there. However, to write it off as "only a game" or some nonsense like that is shortsighted. Football is much more than that. As baseball has declined with the revelations that everything we thought was pure and right about America's pastime was really nothing but a fraud the size of Barry Bonds' gigantic steroid-enhanced head, football has grown to be a great unifying force in America's cities. It knows no racial boundaries. It knows no gender limitations. It does not take a backseat to traditional political rifts. It is what unites us, what binds us. Elitists will say that I am oversimplifying the issue. Let them, because they are probably saying such things as they sit in their luxury boxes at the games.
Football is a reflection of life. The breaks in life - what determines success from failure - are fragile, and one small step in the wrong direction can alter ones life forever. The same is seen in football, often referred to as a "game of inches."
The lessons that sports in general teach last a lifetime. When in interviews, applicants are usually asked about their strengths and weaknesses. My paramount strength is my determination, my drive, my perseverance. I can tell you right now - I didn't learn that from academics. Like many people, academics didn't become challenging until I was an upperclassman in college. By then, my character traits were already in place. If it hadn't been for sports - for being the smallest kid in my class for most of my life but having no problem throwing my body around as a middle linebacker or free safety, for being told that I was too small to compete with bigger, faster guys - I wouldn't be who I am today.
I found this video (which is one of the better Bears videos on YouTube right now), and it has a quick intro piece by Robert DeNiro. I think the monologue is from the box office bomb, "Any Given Sunday," but that's beside the point. The words still ring true, and the entire piece is reflective of what I am talking about here.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
EVEN MORE: OK, let's hit on a few pigskin-related miscellaneous notes:
1) It's no wonder that I am such a football fan. My Mom went to the same school (Powell Valley High School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia) that Thomas Jones - the Bears running back that is shown breaking the ankles of a Minnesota Vikings defender in the video above - and Julius Jones (of the Dallas Cowboys) attended. Heck, I used to wear an old Powell Valley jersey as pajamas when I was a kid.
2) Later on today (3:00 P.M.), Knox Catholic's Harrison Smith will announce his choice of college, and all indications are that it will be the University of Notre Dame and not the hometown Vols. Many people will overreact and wonder why we can't keep kids in-state. Fear not, Big Orange Nation.
First off, Harrison Smith isn't making this decision. His father wants him to go to Notre Dame, and Dr. Smith is more than a factor here. Second (and I have been saying this for months, well before it became apparent that Coach Fulmer was getting more than idle resistance in his recruiting efforts from Dr. Smith), Harrison Smith isn't even the best player in Knoxville. That would be Dennis Rogan out of Fulton, who has already committed to UT. Harrison is a decent safety prospect, but I wouldn't trade Eric Berry (#1 CB in the country by Rivals.com) or Art Evans or Chris Walker or B.J. Coleman or Brett Vinson or Kenny O'Neal or Gerald Jones or Cody Pope or Darius Sawtelle or Tyler Maples or - well, any of the young men who have verbally committed to give their all for The University of Tennessee starting in Fall of 2007 - for Harrison Smith. Don't get me wrong - I would love to have Harrison at UT. However, no amount of talent in the world would coerce me into saying that I would rather have that kid at UT instead of another young man who wants nothing more than to wear the Orange and run through the "T" for four years.
Fulmer is putting together one incredible class. If he can land Chris Donald (#1 middle linebacker in the country and #1 player in Tennessee according to Rivals.com), Lennon Creer (outstanding RB from Texas), Renaldo Melancon (DT from Louisiana), and one more defensive tackle, this could go down as one of Fulmer's best recruiting classes. Given his track record, that's saying something.
Just remember that when the doom-and-gloomers come out of the woodwork today after Harrison Smith's announcement.
3) There are simply too many bowl games. The only people who care about these lesser bowls are the fans of the schools that are playing in them and gamblers. That being said, I am 2-for-2 on my ESPN.com picks in the bowl games thus far. Let's hope that I stay perfect through UT's Outback Bowl appearance with Penn State.
4) There has been a bit of discussion about the NFL Network carrying games on Thursday and Saturday nights, mostly centered around the majority of the nation not having access to the NFL Network. Bottom line: I believe in a free market, and the NFL is just making good financial sense by carrying games on its own networks - for a variety of reasons. Now, I have the NFL Network, and I think it's great. Their Sunday wrap-up show is by far superior to the cheap version over at ESPN, and Rich Eisen as a host is a reminder of all of the talent that has left ESPN's Sportscenter and been replaced by no-talent hacks.
However, one place that the NFL Network needs work is in who it has calling live games. Bryant Gumbel is just awful. I'm one of those guys who tends to like most pro announcers, so it's safe to say that I have a pretty long fuse when it comes to this type of thing. However, Gumbel is just plain bad. You're the NFL Network, guys. Get someone who knows something about the NFL. Just a suggestion...
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Iraq Bringin' the Noise
Well, the Iraqis have already fixed their system of capital punishment to where it is better than ours here in the United States.
Perhaps there is hope for the nation, after all.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
White Christmas? Hardly...
Monday, December 18, 2006
My New Baby
I purchased this 2001 Ford Explorer SportTrac off of ebay from a Tennessee dealer on Dec. 10th, and it is currently my primary vehicle for both business and pleasure.
(As if I had any leisure time to speak of...)
Not that you should care about what I am driving, but I have pictures and thought I would share.
Glad I'm not on Phil Bredesen's Christmas card list...
Read A.C.'s thoughts on the matter, as his post is quite interesting. If you so desire, he has amassed a fantastic list of links at the conclusion of the post.
Heck, it must be a big story - Powerline and Captain Ed are writing about it, then it's news.
Romney in Tennessee
The Music City Oracle sees problems for both Romney and McCain as they attempt to redefine themselves as conservatives in spite of their previous actions. MCO has a good analysis, but I think McCain also has other problems, too, one being his attack on the First Amendment. I know that several key people at many of the conservative interest groups (you can assume that one of those would be the NRA) still consider him an enemy of the First Amendment and your right as an American citizen to be involved in the political process.
As well they should.
Labels: 2008 GOP Presidential Primary
Knox County Republicans - Just One Big Mess
While I'm flattered, I don't think that would be too good of an idea at the current time.
You see, as a County Chairman, you have to defend the actions of the Republican officeholders. In Knox County, that seems like a difficult task.
I previously joined others who have called for an independent investigation into Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's involvement in apparent criminal activity involving Tyler Harber.
Now, I also see the need for another TBI investigation, this one involving the South Grove center in South Knox County. As outlined by this Knoxville News-Sentinel editorial from Sunday, the circumstances certainly seem to call for one. Not only is the office of Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam involved in this one, but the taint of impropriety extends into Knox County government, as well, including the alleged actions of Republican County Commissioner Ivan Harmon.
Whether it is the reality or not, I don't remember an election cycle where I have been so disappointed with my party's officeholders immediately after the election - on both the local, state, and federal levels. (Obviously, this is painting with broad brushstrokes - there are a few Republicans out there who are still fighting the good fight.)
MORE: Michael Silence has a good round-up of posts from East Tennessee bloggers. One of his commenters poses the question:
"Is it time to hold Mayors Ragsdale and Haslam accountable for their actions?"
My answer to that is the following: "as with any elected official, when it is not time to hold them accountable?"
Labels: TN GOP
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Presser from Lamar
Alexander Named to U.S. Senate's Powerful Appropriations Committee
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will become the first Tennessee Republican ever to serve on the Senate's Appropriations Committee, widely considered to be its most powerful committee because of its jurisdiction over federal spending.
Newly-elected Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who named Alexander to the Appropriations Committee, said, “This appointment demonstrates the respect our caucus has for the extraordinary contribution Lamar has made during his first four years in the Senate, and it is intended to make it possible for him to be even more effective during his next term.”
McConnell also appointed Alexander to the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee which has jurisdiction over Tennessee Valley Authority, clean air and transportation issues. Alexander will also be the third ranking Republican member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Alexander said, “These appointments could not have been better for Tennessee. The appropriations appointment gives me the best possible opportunity to help control spending and to help Tennesseans receive our fair share of federal funding. The other committee assignments allow me to work for Tennesseans on the issues I care most about: education, energy, the environment, job creation and helping the new TVA board of directors keep electric power reliable and reasonably priced. I am grateful to Sen. McConnell for this show of confidence after just four years in the Senate.”
Alexander, a former governor and President of the University of Tennessee and United States Secretary of Education, was elected to the Senate in November, 2002. During his first four years he has served as chairman of the Senate's Energy Subcommittee and Education Subcommittee. He has also served as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, as Cochairman of the Science and Technology Caucus and as Chairman of the TVA caucus.
He has spearheaded efforts to develop competitiveness legislation cosponsored by 70 senators “to keep our brainpower advantage so our good jobs will not go to China and India.” He has proposed bipartisan legislation imposing stricter clean air standards.
Congress enacted his legislation establishing new summer academies for teachers and students of American history and civics, and creating the first permanent ‘conservation royalty’ from off shore oil and gas drilling to build city parks, soccer fields and greenways.
During the last four years Sen. Alexander has made 450 county visits including all 95 Tennessee counties.
The Rep Opines in Spades
It may be the best post The Rep has authored this year. Check it out.
Labels: General Assembly
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Stress Relief from the Buffet
Today's stories include an ode to America's most famous teeny-bopper (alleged) lush not named Paris or Britney.
The ACLU's Ties to the "Independent" Judiciary
The Discovery Institute noticed some, uh, similarities between Jones' 139-page opinion and literature produced by the ACLU, so they performed a statistical analysis of how much of the opinion was original and how much had been the focus of a cut-and-paste from the ACLU's amicus brief in the case.
It turns out that 90.9% of the opinion was actually written by the ACLU and lifted directly into Jones' opinion. It may not be unusual for judges to rely on amicus briefs for finer points of argument, but copying 90.9% of your opinion from the ACLU's brief?
It appears that liberals only bring up an independent judiciary when referring to intrusion by another branch of elected government; infiltration by the American Civil Liberties Union is apparently OK.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Dunn, Sargent Ousted
Again, I ask - why should I care if Republicans are in control of the General Assembly if they shaft conservatives when they get there?
MORE: Adam Groves points to another reason besides ideology that conservative Republicans should be upset about Mumpower's McCain-like coup d'etat - money.
Terry Frank reports that Donna Rowland (an honorable conservative) was defeated for the #3 post in the House GOP by Harry Brooks. As Terry says: "Conservative sandwiched between two moderates."
A.C. examines Ken Whitehouse's analysis that this will be a more combative leadership team. A.C. is right - while Casada might take the fight to the Democrats, anyone that thinks a pure politician like Mumpower will be more of a warrior than Bill Dunn is dealing in fiction.
David Oatney, Roger Abramson, and Bill Hobbs also show their displeasure. (Yes, that's two links to Abramson today - like I wrote earlier today, I blame Christmas spirit...)
EVEN MORE: Michael Silence asks:
"Does this mean the General Assembly will now cut spending, eliminate waste and lower taxes? That'll happen about the time my Cubbies win the World Series."
That spurs the question: which will happen first - John Wilder not being Tennessee's Lt. Governor, or the Cubbies winning the World Series?
Don't think too hard on that one. It's liable to make your head hurt.
Watch Your Wiki
Yeah, one has to be careful with that site. Tends to be too many agendas, too many skewed facts for me.
Labels: Internet Issues
Should we care about Mary's baby?
This all comes down to the central rule of political conflict - knowing when to expand conflict and knowing when to let it die its natural death.
Mary Cheney's baby could be the equivalent of Terri Schiavo, so why not let this one go right now?
MORE: Roger Abramson (no friend of mine, of course) invoked the name of Carol Gilligan against Dr. Dobson, who is one of those Christian conservatives that feels obliged to opine on Mary Cheney. Abramson's right on this one - I don't see how Gilligan can be cited by a conservative in good conscience.
Did I just write that Abramson was right about something? Egads. It must be the Christmas spirit...
Santa ain't the only one with a list of who's Naughty or Nice...
The moderates love to mock these lists and the practice of using personal morality as a factor in determining where to spend a person's hard earned money. Let them do so.
I must admit that I do let such things creep into my mindset. Whether its movies (where I don't pay to see movies with people I see as being against our country, such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Gwyneth Paltrow), television (Rosie O'Donnell), music (the Dixie Chicks, Moby, Barbara Streisand), or shopping, I do make every effort to support those companies and individuals that have made efforts to support the same causes (including this country's sovereignty as a "cause") that I believe in and to avoid those on the opposite side.
Now that does constrain entertainments options a bit, but I believe that it's worth the effort.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Update on Georgia's Discriminative Policies
It seems that the officials at UGA have had a change of heart after they were approached by the lawyers of the Alliance Defense Fund.
Proving once again that there are some lawyers working for just causes out there...
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Good Bye, Tiger High...
Oh, what a fun time to be a Vol last night at TBA!
My question - Jeff Ward made Senator Jamie Woodson wear some disgusting Memphis sweatshirt last year when Memphis lucked into a win against the Big Orange, so what, pray tell, will Jeffy be wearing this year?
Photo: Associated Press.
Labels: UT Basketball
BREAKING: Tax Relief Agreement Struck
It appears that a deal has been agreed upon, and it's about time.
I guess this is interesting?
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
UGA discriminates against Christian students?
It's been a tough year for UGA. First you get beat up by Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Then you try to smack around a bunch of Christian students, only to find out that they can fight back.
More from the Alliance Defense Fund.
Saturday's GOP State Executive Committee Meeting
Angela Huddleston with fellow new SEC Member John Dance
As expected, the SEC elected Bob Davis to another term as Chairman of the TN GOP. Of course, he, along with Vice Chairman Robin Smith, certainly deserve their unanimous re-election bids for the positive results in Tennessee while the rest of the country was undergoing a purging of Republican officeholders.
Myself with GOP Executive Director Chris Devaney
I had a great time talking to many of my friends from around the state. Devaney, myself, Brad Smith (whom many of you know through his travels with Senator-elect Bob Corker but I know as Tennessee's most recent Rhodes Scholar), and several of the GOP staff were in the back of the room during the meeting. Van Hilleary referred to us as the "peanut gallery," which was only the second funniest thing he said that day.
(I probably shouldn't tell this story...) When referring to current RNC General Counsel Mike Duncan, Van said that Duncan was a native of Scott County and a member of the "Duncan clan." He then repeated most of what he said - but he left out the word "Duncan." Give that a think for a second. The room began to murmur, and Van was perplexed as to what people were talking about. It provided a good chuckle on the way back to Knoxville.
Others who I had the honor of speaking with Saturday were Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander, Mike Faulk (of course), Steve Buttry (although all we talked about was the one area of politics I refuse to delve into - the school board - where Steve's wife, Cindy, currently serves), David Leaverton, John Ryder, and many others.
Overall, a good time with my fellow Republicans.
Labels: TN GOP
Will tax relief be extended by the lame-duck Congress?
While I am watching this for ideological reasons, I also have a vested interest here, as well. On top of the sales tax deduction in which all Tennesseans have a stake, I am also quite interested in the extension of the small business deductions that have yet to be extended this year.
It is always possible that the next Congress could take up this issue if the current version fails at extending the tax cuts, but it would be terribly complicated, as some Americans will have already filed prior to the extension being granted.
It's easier to get the job done now, and I urge everyone to contact their representatives in the House and Senate to make sure that these tax cuts are extended for the next couple of years.
A tough start to the week
That being said, I can empathize with Michael Silence's position. I have been approached by several different blog syndicators, but I have failed to sign on with any of them because I worry about how or if this blog could continue under certain circumstances - such as the weight of one's work like Mike is experiencing or conflicts of interest surrounding employment (such as I experienced when I was working as a State employee with the TennCare debacle).
This week has been tough on blogging, as it has been everywhere. My Mom called at the crack of dawn just to make sure that I was alive. When that's happening, you know things have gotten a bit too hectic.
I think I am in court on 17 different cases this week - and that doesn't count the ones I have picked up on the fly while I was in court working on another case. It's difficult to keep up with current affairs when so much is going on.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
TN GOP State Executive Committee Meeting on tap for today
Elections will also be held for officers, although it appears that Bob Davis and Robin Smith will easily win re-election to the Chairman and Vice Chairwoman positions, respectfully.
I'll be sure to keep my speed down as I head towards the state capital. With Deputy Governor Dave Cooley leaving the public sector, the chances of getting a ticket fixed just decreased dramatically.
Labels: TN GOP
Alcoa Wins State Football Title
And good luck to the Maryville Rebels tonight in their quest for its fourth State title since 2000 and ninth overall.
It's amazing to think that Blount County has such a dearth of football talent, but the proof is in the pudding.
Labels: Knoxville Sports
A Belated Thank You to a Pro-Life Activist
While most of our talk centered around politics, I was eager to learn more about CBR. The group seems a bit different from National Right to Life in its approach to the abortion issue. CBR seems more directed at showing the public what an abortion entails. I think this could be an effective approach, as most people have never witnessed an abortion. (Funny, but I dare say that millions more people have witnessed a "boob job" over the past few years on one of the cable television networks like E! than have ever seen video of the procedure that spurs one of the great social debates of American history.)
CBR's website can be accessed here, but I do warn you that you should be prepared for many graphic images.
UPDATE: I neglected to comment on this Reuters story earlier this week, but the survey by the Guttmacher Institute referenced in the piece yielded some interesting results:
"Nearly half U.S. abortions are repeats for women"
Supreme Court to hear case on "faith-based" financing
The interesting thing about Hein is that the basis of the appeal is not the Establishment Clause, as one might suspect. No, this case involves taxpayer standing - the ability of any citizen taxpayer to bring suit against the government for spending their money in an unapproved way, which in this case is through the funding of organizations with a religious bent that perform social work within communities.
SCOTUS hasn't traditionally looked kindly towards taxpayer standing. I would be surprised if it did so in this case.
MORE: SCOTUS Blog
Friday, December 01, 2006
Was Norris the victim of a Tennessean attack?
It's tough to tell what happened since it's mostly hearsay. However, one thing is for sure - judging by the public response to the reports of GPS monitoring of innocent citizens as a way of raising tax monies, any member of the General Assembly who brings up this idea next may be lynched.
Tennessee Politics Blog
What's that about the gas tax?
Republican Senator wants to track your movements
A.C. then questioned whether such a thing existed. While it is important to read the whole thing, I wanted to re-post my reply here:
"...they are defending a big government, war mongering conservatism..."
Uh, who is? If 2006 taught us anything, it's that conservatives are not going to be the slave class of the Bush White House anymore. Big government and war mongering has nothing whatsoever to do with conservatism. Those campaign chameleons who ran as conservatives and then let D.C. change them into anything but conservatives represented themselves, not conservative values.
I understand your point about "mainstream conservatives" because political junkies have created these new breeds of conservatives (neocons, paleocons, Deceptacons - no wait, that last one is a Transformer). Those of us who never bought into all that still see mainstream conservatives.
Interesting thought - why no subdivision of the liberals? What would a paleoliberal be, anyway?
What's that about the gas tax?
Say Uncle weighed in through an excellent post - he supported kicking members of the Senate Transportation Committee in the - well, uh - crotchular region.
Blue Collar Republican was shocked - until he found out that Norris was involved.
Now Terry Frank says that Norris is backtracking like Michael Jackson having passed a Toys 'R Us.
So, should we celebrate Norris' reversal? I guess, but it doesn't change the fact that he proposed the idea in the first place, or at the very least was mulling it over. That alone should be worth some sort of public shaming, doesn't it?
A Milestone for Hobbs
When I was first contemplating joining the Blogosphere, I asked Glenn Reynolds for an example of a Tennessee-centric blog. He pointed me to Bill Hobbs, which is why I remain a loyal reader of BillHobbs.com.
Around the Horn
With 0% of the votes being cast, Sean Braisted is ready to declare a winner for the 2008 Presidential race. But not so fast, my friend - A.C. focuses on the issue of Obama's middle name. It's interesting to read this, because a prominent Democratic attorney spoke to me yesterday in court about that very thing. Obviously, the Democrats are a bit worried, and I suspect that if Obama does choose to run, you'll hear "Hussein" daily from the RNC.
Another Ford gets indicted?!?! That's quite remarkable. The Ford family collects indictments like most families collect tax deductions around this time of the year.
The Conservatore has some advice for elected Republicans about working with the Democrats.
Don't mention "getting along" to the gang over at Six Meat Bufffet. They have an interesting story about a Texan who was told by a Muslim organization that he needed to sell the family farm. The Texan's answer? Oink, oink.
John Norris Brown has the story of the campaign to end - yes, folks - bathroom segregation at Appalachian State University. I had no idea that I had been a victim of segregation all of my life. I'm off to see my therapist to undo all of the emotional trauma I must be experiencing.