Thursday, August 31, 2006


Dirty Ragsdale

There has been much talk amongst the Knox County blogs (especially David Oatney (here and here), who I still count as "one of us" despite his move to White Pine, and Terry Frank (here, here, and here)).

So why haven't I been on this story? Well, there are a few reasons:

1) Foremost, I don't feel the need to give any press coverage to Tyler Harber. He is about as helpful to the Republican Party as rabies.

2) Unlike others, I don't think that Mike Ragsdale has a prayer of rising to higher office. Yes, he has some people who carry his banner, but he doesn't dare cross the Haslam's, and that means much more in the long run.

3) It appears that this story is a bit too easy. Some of the tales regarding Ragsdale's campaigning are legend here in Knox County, and don't even get me started on the attempted shooting of Steve Hall while he ran against Ragsdale for Knox County Mayor. Yes, his campaigns pierce the veil of unethical electioneering; why should anyone be surprised that this behavior extended beyond the campaign trail?

Until criminal charges are brought, this is a yawner to me. I guess Adam Groves' involvement was a bit of a surprise, but that's about the extent of my interest thus far.


Center of the Universe Shifts from Bristol to Knoxville

Last week, it took a miracle to make your way around Bristol due to the NASCAR races.

This weekend, Knoxvillians have much of the same to look forward to.

According to an article in today's Knoxville News-Sentinel, over 300,000 people will make their way to the downtown/campus area for the Boomsday and football activities.

Columnist Sam Venable has a few interesting ideas of how to deal with the traffic.

At least with this having been one of the hottest summers on record, the weekend weather looks comfortable. While that's good for fans and fireworks watchers, it isn't the best news for the Vols. I have to admit that I was praying for some Dixie heat and humidity to welcome in those hippies from California...


Four Great Years

Happy Anniversary, Angela!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


IRA-CF Rankings: Preseason

Here are the preseason rankings from the Internet Ranking Alliance of College Football (IRA-CF). My apologies for not posting these on Tuesday, but it turns out that the calculations are a bit more than anticipated, and my abacus was rusty...

1) Ohio State
2) Southern Cal
T3) Notre Dame
T3) Texas
T3) Auburn
6) West Virginia
7) LSU
8) Florida
9) California
10) Oklahoma
11) Miami (FL)
12) Florida State
13) Louisville
14) Georgia
15) Iowa
16) Michigan
17) Penn State
T18) Tennessee
T18) Clemson
20) Virginia Tech
21) Nebraska
22) Oregon
23) TCU
24) Georgia Tech
25) Alabama

Others receiving votes: Arkansas, Arizona State, Texas Tech, South Carolina.

Thank you to all of the pollsters who contributed. We are still accepting applications for anyone else who wants to assist with the rankings (just reply in the Comments section or shoot me an e-mail).

Look for Week 1 rankings next Tuesday.

Monday, August 28, 2006


New Poll, and Tweaking the Site

A new blogpoll is up. With the first UT game set for this upcoming weekend, I am curious as to what your expectations are for this season. How many wins do you think that The University of Tennessee will manage to tally in the 2006 season?

Also, there have been a few additions to the blogroll over the past few weeks. Music City Oracle, Six Meat Buffet, Blogging for Corker, VOLPAC, Existential Space, and Ben Cunningham (of Tennessee Tax Revolt) have all been added.

Welcome, all!


Weekly Blogpoll Results

Here are the results of the poll on which Democrat you would vanquish from Tennessee politics:

Phil Bredesen 8%
Harold Ford, Jr. 11%
Al Gore 12%
Willie Herenton 25%
Jimmy Naifeh 22%
Bob Rochelle 6%
John Wilder 8%
Mike Williams 9%

In a surprising upset, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has edged out Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh.

A new poll should be up this evening.


Wild Weekend

Some (including the VOLConWife) were saying that I was looking a bit overworked by Thursday of last week. As much as I have done the past few months, I would be obliged to agree.

This weekend was just what the doctor ordered.

I took off after court on Friday (which ran into the afternoon thanks to picking up multiple new cases Friday morning) to take the VOLConWife to a (very) late lunch and a movie at the Regal Pinnacle 18 at Turkey Creek. At lunch, I started to receive an avalanche of phone calls. It seems that Shirley Ward had been arrested for voter fraud.

My reaction to that is not the shock that most have had. In my extremely limited dealings with the woman (after this oh-so-benign post sparked this public reaction and more malignant private ones), this doesn't surprise me. Given the manic reaction of her son back in March, I did call Shirley Ward to make sure that she had read the post and saw that no allegation was being lobbed her way. (Unlike what her son Jeff later posted, I did not call to apologize, which I am not prone to doing in cases where I have done nothing wrong.) While I will not get into the specifics of the exchange, I will say that Ms. Ward struck me as irrational, egotistical, and not at all gracious. (Please understand - these are my opinions, not factual allegations. The opinions of others may differ greatly.) I have disagreed with many people in politics - including, for a time, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist - but they have always acted with the grace and nature that brings people together. Ms. Ward showed none of that in my opinion.

Is it fair to judge someone on one telephone conversation? Probably not, but that (and a plethora of stories provided to me since that date) is what I have to go on. So am I surprised? I guess not.

After I fielded several phone calls (and I apologize to those who I didn't get to talk to during that stretch), we finished our meal and hit Invincible at the Pinnacle 18. It was OK, but nothing fantastic. Despite the claims that it is over two hours long, it felt about as long as an episode of "Deadwood." The ending is abrupt, and that is kind. On the positive side, Wahlberg gives a strong performance, and the football action scenes are extremely well done. I give it a 7.7 out of 10. (Apparently I wasn't the only one to see the movie - it was #1 at the box office with $17.2 million in ticket sales.)

Saturday morning brought the long-awaited fantasy football draft for the ninth season of the Confederate Football League. The VOLConWife is the defending champion, and the league champion cup has resided in the Huddleston household for all 8 years. However, I am not optimistic after this year's draft. The Undecided Philosopher has a killer team this year, as he posted on Sunday.

After wondering what went wrong at the draft, I hopped in the Firebird and headed for Bristol. The Undecided Philosopher and I ate like kings (thank you, Food City), played games like kids, and watched the Winston Cup race (hey, it will ALWAYS be the Winston Cup to me, pardner) from Turn Four of the World's Fastest Half Mile. Check out his post here (along with a picture of the incredibly unphotogenic VOLCon), as I would not be able to equal his efforts. He did allow me to lift the pics, though, so they are included below.

Sunday was a day of rest, as it should be. I am pumped after this weekend, but it was actually only the appetizer for the upcoming weekends of UT football and a trip to D.C.

It is truly the most excellent time of the year.


The Internet Rankings Alliance of College Football

I would like to introduce The Internet Ranking Alliance of College Football, or IRA-CF for short. This is a loose organization of college football fans that have dedicated themselves to providing college football fans with a rankings system free of coaches that have no time to watch games, media types, and the politics of ESPN.

Each Tuesday during the college football season (starting tomorrow, when the preseason rankings are released), the IRA-CF will release its rankings.

Any bloggers or college football fans who would like to apply for inclusion as a pollster should contact me in the comments section of this post. We are confident in our numbers, but we will accept others, particularly from the West Coast so that we can't be accused of the mythical "East Coast bias."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Final Laps of the 2006 Bristol Day Race

Any guesses as to where I will be Saturday night?

Boogety Boogety Boogety! Let's go racin'!


Steele Picks Up Unexpected Endorsement

Michael Steele - one of my favorite candidates this election cycle, who just so happens to be running in my grandfather's state of Maryland - picked up an unexpected endorsement from a Democratic rap mogul yesterday.

The Mason Conservative has the lowdown.

No word if a def comedy jam followed the endorsement announcement.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The Santorum Strikes Back

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has a new ad out (Hat tip: Save the GOP):

Not a bad ad, really. It certainly questions the fitness of Casey to serve for public office.

Meanwhile, Terence Jeffrey over at Townhall opines that Casey's pro-homosexual connections will be the issue that sinks his campaign.

Jeffrey concludes by writing that he wouldn't bet against Santorum.

That's interesting, because other pundits who think little of Santorum's chances won't bet against him either, no matter how much I goad them into doing so.

This is Tennessee

It's only 9 days, 11 hours, and 15 minutes until it's officially...


After those speeches by Majors and Fulmer, I think I might run some wind sprints or tackle something...


Around the Horn

The Undecided Philosopher, my best friend and a Democrat, has an excellent review of Pat Buchanan's State of Emergency. You'll be surprised at his conclusions.

Brian Hornback has the lowdown on the Sugar Nazis that run the Knox County schools. People have asked me why I don't get involved in local school board politics. This is why, as well as the bloated Knox County Schools budget that intentionally hides administrative spending. Knox County schools are a great argument for homeschooling.

Blake Wiley, Tennessee's premier vlogger, experimented with traffic vlogging this week. Not enough road rage for me (just ask the VOLConWife). I would normally say that Blake should be considered for the "Weekend Update" anchor position on SNL, but he's probably too funny for SNL in the modern era...

Michael Silence has the round-up on Governor Bredesen's health issue, which appears to be more serious than anyone was giving it credit for a few days ago. I don't tend to come down with those who believe that Vanderbilt was somehow slighted by Bredesen's decision not to seek treatment there, but since when is the Mayo Clinic the place for tick bite therapy? Something seems rotten in Denmark...

Stacey Campfield has some thoughts on the First District, as well as the double standard for conservatives and moderates after competitive primaries.

Bill Hobbs has an obvious headline - "Harold Ford Jr. is a Liar." Future headlines reporting other indisputable truths might include "Sky is Blue," "George Bush is President," and "Life is Not Fair." (Note: I am not ribbing Hobbs here, which apparently is one way that this can be read. My point is that if you don't know that Harold Ford, Jr. is a liar, you may need to seek some sort of commitment at a local mental health facility.)

AlphaPatriot comes down hard on the NRA for its support of national reciprocity with concealed carry permits. On this issue, I vehemently disagree with AP. I am for national reciprocity because 1) while I agree that the bureaucracy makes CCW permits a slap at civil liberties, the program itself isn't much of an inconvenience for law-abiding citizens, 2) the current puzzle of state-by-state reciprocity leads to gun owners being prosecuted for nothing more than their status and state legislative politics, and 3) anything that keeps law-abiding gun owners from being locked up by liberals is a good thing. I guess if you see CCW as a good thing (and I tend to fall that way), then you probably see national reciprocity as a good thing. However, if you don't see CCW as a good thing, well, you probably think felons should be allowed to own guns, too, that pedophiles should be allowed to live across from elementary schools, and other premises of libertine thought that end up getting people hurt or killed. Sorry for the rant, but there are many other legitimate issues that the NRA should be held accountable for (reasons why many hardcore gun owners are leaving the organization), but this isn't one of them.

Terry Frank takes a look at Jimmy Naifeh's wasteful upgrades to the Tennessee Capitol. Warning - it might make you ill...

Voluminous takes a shot at California's mascot. I agree. What the heck is that thing? It looks kinda like the old Marshall Thundering Herd mascot after a close shave.

Finally, Commonwealth Conservative gives Snakes on a Plane the highest praise he can muster. (It should be noted that one of Chad's fellow Hoyas started the site, Snakes on a Blog, which many are crediting with bringing the movie such acclaim.) I really want to see this movie come Friday, but the VOLConWife wants to see some football movie. What's up with that?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


An Endorsement for Corker?

Blogging for Corker has a teaser regarding a major endorsement for their candidate's campaign later on today.

I'm not sure who it is, but I can guarantee that it will make more of a splash than the primary endorsements that Bob carried. I wonder if a candidate has ever won a primary so handily without any significant endorsements to speak of.

This should be interesting, that's for sure. In addition, it will be more significant than the ridiculous "internal" poll that Ford crowed about earlier in the week.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



I want to send my condolences to the Trail family of Rutherford County on the death of Larry Trail. Trail, a former State Senator and employment lawyer, was recently elected to serve on the bench of the Circuit Court. Trail died suddenly from liver complications on Sunday.

While I was not aligned with Senator Trail politically, I did attend law school with his son, Matthew. We also both wrote during the same period for the Daily Beacon. I hope that Matthew's famous sense of humor is serving him through this tough time.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Blogpoll Results: UT Quarterbacks

Here are the results from last week's blogpoll on who should start at QB for the Vols this year:

Erik Ainge - 24%
Jim Bob Cooter - 22%
Jonathan Crompton - 39%
Bo Hardegree - 12%
Nick Stephens - 2%

After two scrimmages and two weeks worth of August practice, a few things have become clear in the QB derby:

Based on what is probably best for the program's long-term goals, Crompton should start.
Based on performance thus far in August, Bo Hardegree should start.
Based on Coach Fulmer's decision, Erik Ainge will be the starter at UT.

Ainge had a good scrimmage Saturday night under the lights at Neyland. So did Crompton, who showed that he isn't afraid of getting hit in some of his daring runs out of the pocket. Hardegree once again showed the best touch on the deep ball and produced the best stats.

Tuesday evening brings UT's final full scrimmage before they strap 'em on for real against California on September 2nd. Let's hope that the offense continues to show signs of life. That isn't a cream puff coming into Neyland Stadium Labor Day weekend...

UPDATE: This week's poll will center on which Democrat - for the good of the Great State of Tennessee - you would "vote off the island" if you were the great and powerful Oz.

This is a toughie. Do you vote on who has a long track record of derailing our state's progress (Wilder, Naifeh, Gore)? Do you vote to oust someone who could potentially do even more damage than his predecessors (Ford, Bredesen)?

Maybe I should have put an "all of the above" button on the poll...


Waltzer Hooks Likely To Collect County Pension After Guilty Plea

Ah, the putrid stench of the Memphis corruption machine - what a way to begin the week!

It seems that Michael Hooks, who is expected to plead guilty to charges of government corruption in the near future through the FBI's "Tennessee Waltz" investigation, can claim early retirement status and be eligible to collect his county pension.

You gotta love that.

In related corruption news out of Memphis, many of the sources that I have spoken to from West Tennessee are expecting Ophelia Ford - Queen of the Dead Voters and Possessor of the Race Card - to be elected by a combination of dead and alive voters this time around against Terry Roland.

I propose an exit poll in November for that race. Those who vote for Ford should be given a can of the appropriate product depicted below.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


A Year Under Kelo

It has been one year since the U.S. Supreme Court opened up eminent domain as a governmental weapon against its citizens with its decision in Kelo v. New London.

Jonathan Last in The Weekly Standard has an interesting look on how some states have reacted for the good, some for the bad, and most with nothing at all.

Here in Tennessee, we were one of the states that saw its state government do nothing in the way of meaningful reform to keep power-hungry governments from seizing the property of ordinary citizens. In our particular case, it was the Democratic leadership in the House (read: Jimmy Naifeh) that refused to stand for private property rights.

This is just another example of how the people of Tennessee could benefit if Jimmy Naifeh was no longer in charge of our House.

MORE: Rep. Stacey Campfield, who has been one of the leaders on the need for eminent domain protection in the Tennessee General Assembly, has a post on a session at this past week's NCSL in Nashville that is certainly worth a read.

EVEN MORE: Mark Rogers posted his ideas for a Kelo compromise about a month ago. I'm not too high on the product, but, then again, I'm not much of a fan of compromising.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Democrats Tell States: "Our Party Politics Is More Important Than You"

One of the greatest assets for the Republican Party - Howard Dean.

Thanks, Howlin' Howie, for managing to piss off states, their election committees, and their citizens by hijacking the primary process and including the provision that candidates who don't play by your rules can't play at all.

The best thing about it is that the states who likely will lose the most under your system have traditionally gone Democratic in national elections. Thanks for opening the door to their inclusion as Red States this time around.

Why does Dean hate New Hampshire? Well, take a look at this report from Fox News (and a freezing Major Garrett) from three years ago.

Kinda seems like Dean is trying to get back at the state that officially derailed his campaign in 2004, now doesn't it?

This has nothing to do with race or campaign finance or any of the other explanations for the screwy decision by the DNC floating around in the MSM. This has everything to do with Harold Dean. It's all about the lunatic running the Democratic Party.

Sorry, pundits, but y'all think THIS GUY is going to orchestrate a takeover of Congress?

MORE: Check out The Bullwinkle Blog.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Just Call Me Willie Nelson

I'm on the road today, so blogging will be light. First, I have a breakfast meeting with Grover Norquist in Nashville. As with our blogger meeting with Grover many moons ago, I have no problem traveling the distance between KnoxVegas and Nashville to meet with one of the great political minds in America today.

The rest of the day is slated for Only, Tennessee, where I will try to convince an appointed client that it is in his best interests to appear in an East Tennessee court instead of fighting a transport order. I'm not too thrilled about my prospects, as better men than me have tried to accomplish this task and not been met with success.

In the meantime (and I apologize for not posting more this week on Bob Corker and such matters, as this has been our busiest week at work this year), I suggest the following reads:

The Undecided Philosopher takes on Wal-Mart

JIM Bryson for Tennessee Governor is happy that the candidate is podcasting

Music City Oracle posts on the class of Jimmy Naifeh

Terry Frank has some inside baseball on the lobbying for Lt. Governor.

Finally, Donna Locke submitted the following letter to the editor to the Tennessean. I'm not sure when or if that paper will publish it, but I will do so here.


The Editor:

One cannot grasp the full cost of illegal aliens to our health care system from testimony at congressional hearings, though U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, and the others should be commended for trying. ("Illegal immigrants up ER costs, panel finds," Local News, Aug. 11)

Aside from emergency care to illegal aliens, hospitals provide emergency and other care to illegal aliens' U.S.-born children, who are counted as U.S. citizens and are potentially eligible for all government programs. Those kids are not counted as part of the care to illegal aliens but are a major consequence and cost of illegal immigration.

Additionally, many federal and state dollars, in every state, go to special medical clinics and other programs that may serve only or mainly illegal aliens and their children. Those programs include President Bush's faith-based initiatives.

We cannot deny that some hospitals in the border states have gone bankrupt and have closed because of the costs of treating illegal aliens. The hospital reps have said so. That situation has spread to the nation's interior. Hospitals that receive federal dollars are required to treat people regardless of legal status or ability to pay. Private hospitals that forgo federal dollars can turn people away, though they may treat a token number of uninsured or underinsured patients. In the end, uninsured or underinsured U.S. citizens end up the losers as the public hospitals go under because of this situation.

Donna Locke
Columbia, TN 38401

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


New Polling Good News for Santorum, Burns

As I stated here not long ago (and was ridiculed on other sites for my analysis), I believe the loss of GOP seats in the Senate is overblown.

New polling data shows that my patient approach versus the panic others have exhibited may have been the prudent choice.

A Quinnipiac poll released late Tuesday shows Rick Santorum trailing by a mere 6 points (putting him within the margin of error) to Bob Casey, Jr. Santorum has closed the deficit by fourteen points in a matter of weeks, he has a substantial advantage in funding, and a Green Party candidate qualifying for the ballot, which could pull a few points off of Casey's total in the end. Santorum' momentum has been remarkable, and it seems to be growing in Pennsylvania.

Another poll (this one from Rasmussen) shows Montana Senator Conrad Burns even with Democrat Jon Tester. Perhaps the good people of Montana are starting to realize how out of his depth Mr. Tester is. In any case, Burns has erased all of the 7 points he was down only a few weeks ago. As with Santorum, positive momentum by an incumbent with only weeks to go before Election Day spells trouble for the challengers...

Now the GOP needs to pay attention to key House races, too. I am not as optimistic about the GOP's chances of retaining that body. I see a few losses in the South, but the Northeast could get ugly for Republican incumbents. Given the House's power on spending bills, we need to keep that in the fold, as well.


News Headlines

Idaho Supreme Court Paves Way for 1st American Voter Initiative on Ten Commandments

Uh oh. Sounds like democracy has started to flourish in America. Someone better notify the U.S. Supreme Court so we can quash this uprising before it spreads to other states!

President Bush Signs Law to Save War Memorial Cross

An interesting use of eminent domain to save the Mount Soledad cross, to be sure. Not to worry, though, my Leftist friends - ACLU-backed atheists have already filed suit to declare Bush's actions unconstitutional.

Support for Stem Cell Research Up in U.S.

First, the headline is a bit misleading since it doesn't differentiate between embryonic stem cell research and those stem cells taken from other sources. This poll is directly dealing with embryonic stem cell research. It also goes to prove the old adage: "You can't fool all of the people all of the time, but you can apparently fool 63% of them."

Defeat of Bush’s judicial nominee traced to S.C.’s Graham

Nice to see the kind of "real conservatives" that supported Van Hilleary. What happened to Lindsey Graham? He used to be such a rising star for the conservatives, and then he got bumped up to the Senate. Now he hangs out with Chuck Schumer and his crowd. I wonder if a well-funded primary opponent might be waiting in the wings to expose Graham come the next election cycle.

I Drove All Night

One of my favorite videos (Jennifer Connelly makes up for Jason Priestly) from one of my favorite artists of all time.

That might be a decent future blogpoll - Who is the better supergroup - the Traveling Wilburys or The Highwaymen?

You can't go wrong with either of those choices.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Greatness Starts Now

Only 18 days until kickoff!

It was dismaying to read the accounts from Saturday's first scrimmage. While the defense and running game appear to be headed in the right direction, Erik Ainge does not seem to have progressed at the rate needed to lead this Tennessee team against the toughest schedule in the nation.

If Ainge doesn't rebound in the second scrimmage this Saturday night, Coach Fulmer has to consider inserting Jonanthan Crompton as the starting QB. Too many people have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to have one player sink the ship.

On the bright side, the defensive secondary (especially Jonathan Wade) may be the best in the SEC, and the slimmed-down offensive line looks to have worked out the problems from the 2005 campaign. The return of JT Mapu has also been a welcome addition to a thin but exceptionally talented defensive front.

Optimism is still present in Knoxville, but concerns about the QB situation have dampened the mood a bit compared to last week.

MORE: I have added a poll to the sidebar regarding UT's QB situation. Just to make it interesting, we'll follow the Ford family motto out of Memphis - "vote early, vote often, vote dead or alive!"


The Big 3-0

It's amazing some of the stuff that you receive on your birthday, such as this little ditty that Pepsi sent me. Very odd...

Looking on the bright side of life - as of this very moment, I am eligible to serve in the United States Senate, as well as the Tennessee Senate. Yippee!

Again, I want to send out a sincere thank you to all of those who have made this birthday one of my most memorable. I'm not one for self-inflicted celebration, but everyone has made this an extremely fun time. Thank you all!

Monday, August 14, 2006


Confession Time

I do not have the time to post about it right now, but I met with Republican Senate nominee Bob Corker Friday for lunch.

I know that I will be skewered by some of my conservative colleagues for doing so, but I promise to give a full rundown of what has occurred as soon as the time becomes available.


The Last Weekend of My Youth

I want to thank all of the people who came together to make the past two weekends such a success. I know that my brother-in-law, Todd Fulks, and I are quite lucky to have so many wonderful people in our lives as we enter "old age." (That's probably a good thing, since we'll probably need the help more as our memories fade, motor skills deteriorate, etc.)

Todd and I were born on the same day in the Tri-Cities back in 1976 (yes, we are both "bicentennial babies," born on our country's 200th birthday). While Todd was born on 12:01 A.M., just barely making it into August 15th, I was born a few hours later at 3:48 A.M. Of course, I am considering calling Todd in the wee hours tonight to remind him that he has crossed the threshold of the Big 3-0 while I am celebrating my remaining moments of youth at 29.

In any case, this weekend was outstanding. My best friend and I hit the golf links on late Friday afternoon, playing Lost Creek Golf Club in New Market for the first time. Ben crushed me on the course, channeling Phil Mickelson (the good Phil, not the one that gives away the U.S. Open by pulling driver on the 18th at Winged Foot) through his lefty strokes around the greens to shoot a legit 81. I was awful from the start, shooting a 51 on the front nine. I bore down to recover on the back, though, and finished with a 94. It certainly won't help my handicap, but we had a great time anyway.

After an excellent meal in Maryville with Ben, the VOLConWife, Ryan Holloway (a South Carolina prosecutor), and Jason Oraker (an attorney for Sidley Austin in D.C.), we played a little Texas Hold 'Em into the wee hours of the morning. To show how much my friends cared for me, they even let me win. In all honesty, I have never seen such a great run of luck before. Pocket aces. Pocket kings. Unbelievable.

We were joined the next morning by Jon & Lezlee Dice (two of my good friends from my days at ETSU who currently live in Farragut) for a whitewater rafting excursion down the Ocoee River. We met up with Todd and two of his friends down in Polk County. All 10 of us survived, and we even helped others in that area, as well. In the rapid known as "Double Suck," we pulled person after person out of the undertow after their rafts capsized. We ended up with double the people in our raft for a time, but the rescue mission was a success as only paddles and not lives were lost. Jason (who swam for Williams College in undergrad) showed off his butterfly technique down the Ocoee, which is probably tough to do in tennis shoes. Ben went overboard twice, although one time was a direct result of me slamming into him. I tried to pay him back by grabbing Ben as he was falling out of the boat another time, but I still probably owe him one. At least it wasn't this bad.

After returning to KnoxVegas, I threw on several pounds of cheeseburgers and put on the Braves game. After some digestion and conversations about sports, politics, and law, the VOLConWife and I introduced Jason and Ryan to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The neon at light leaves an impression of Tennessee mountain life with out-of-staters. Keeping with the theme of the weekend, everyone let me win at mini golf, too.

An outstanding weekend, I want to sincerely thank all of my friends for making it so. Specifically, I want to thank my wife, Angela. She put forth great effort to pull this weekend off, and I love her for it.

My actual birthday will probably not be so fun. I have nine court cases that day (my present from the judges, I guess), so it's a good thing I had so much fun this weekend.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Marriage and Gender Matters

A few items caught my eye lately on the subject of marriage and gender.

First, a new study published by the British Medical Journal states that people who have never married run the highest risk of early death. The study tracked 67,000 American adults over an eight year span.

After taking into account age, state of health, and several other factors likely to influence the findings, those who had been widowed were almost 40% more likely to die between 1989 and 1997. Those who had been divorced or separated were 27% more likely to have done so. But those who had never been married were 58% more likely to have died during this period than their peers who were married and living with their spouse in 1989.

You can read the study for yourself here.

Second, Maggie Gallagher has a disheartening read about gender - particularly how men are becoming the less-educated sex. I have been posting anecdotal evidence of this for years, and Gallagher provides some empirical evidence for my position in her op-ed:

Men now make up only 42 percent of college students. For every 50 women who earn a bachelor's degree, only 37 men get a college degree. As recently as 1980, only one out of 20 men without college degrees in their early 40s had never married, compared to almost one out of five middle-aged men today.

Gallagher continues:

The decline in marriage comes with a weakened inclination to work. Between 1979 and 2003, the earnings of male high school graduates without any college dropped 8 percent, while women high school grads' earnings grew by 12 percent. The proportion of American men age 30 to 55 who are not working and not looking for work has tripled: 4 million missing men.

Gallagher also comments on the number of Americans drawing disability, which has more than doubled since 1990. I can testify to that from working with the NRA's Office of the General Counsel and through my work in the courts of Tennessee. I would estimate that 1 out of every 6 litigants I currently come across in the courts are drawing some sort of disability and will not work. As I have stated on many an occasion, the disability system is greatly abused, broken, and in need of repair. It is my generation that needs to fix this problem before we slip further into the morass as a socialist welfare state (a path that so many of our European brethren already have trod).

Overall, both items above paint a sobering picture of marriage and gender equality in America today. We cannot afford to hide from these problems anymore. They must be addressed, on both an individual and national level.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Looking at the Big Picture?

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, Evolution, Mastication, Flagelolation, Regulations.
Integrations, Meditations, United Nations, Congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

- John Lennon

I've been thinking a great deal over the past week regarding whether it is better to wage war or turn to diplomacy, knowing that you aren't going to get what you want but might gain a portion of what you are fighting for in return. In particular, I have been looking to my political heroes, Ronald Reagan (through his writings) and Ed Bryant.

Maybe I should give peace a chance. I am going to try to do so today. I'll let y'all know how it goes later on.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Ford Spineless on Support of Independents

Stop the presses!

The Tennessean has an article worth reading this week. Apparently, Bonna de la Cruz teamed up with Bill Theobald to put forth a collection of Harold Ford, Jr.'s inconsistent thoughts regarding Joe Lieberman and Jake Ford, who both are registered Democrats but will be running as Independent candidates in their races for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, respectfully.

Look, I don't care who Harold Ford supports in these races. I expect him to back Ned Lamont in Connecticut purely because all of the people in the Senate like Ford - from John Kerry to Chuck Schumer to Harry Reid - have already thrown their liberal support behind Lamont.* In the race for Tennessee's 9th Congressional seat, I would expect him to support his brother, Jake Ford, because families should stick together in such things (unless, of course, the Ford camp is trying to distance themselves from his family for whatever reason, in which case he should support Cohen).

My point is that Ford can't take a stand. He can't show support without first taking a poll, much like his good campaign buddy, Bill Clinton. What happens when time is of the essence and decisions must be made without the benefits of public opinion polls, focus groups, or PR firms? Could Harold Ford, Jr., make the tough decisions when it mattered?

* On a side note, I heard a speech from Ned Lamont yesterday. Guys and gals, that ain't a liberal. Back when I was in school, we called that a communist. Be assured that this is not name-calling or the like. His views were simply in line with other communists like Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. In another time, Lamont's remarks would have also triggered charges for acts of sedition against the United States. To my Democratic friends, I know you didn't like Joe Lieberman, but is this the direction you want your party to go heading into 2008?


Pro-Polygamy Rally Set for Next Weekend in Utah

If you feel shackled or confined by having only one wife or one husband and find yourself near Salt Lake City, Utah, next Saturday, you might want to join a rally for those who think that polygamy is the way to go.

It seems that several organizations have sponsored the rally in an effort to show that the youth are down with their polygamist families and want to give polygamy their uncoerced stamp of approval.

Right or wrong, it's wacky stuff like this - happening in Utah, inspired by a Fundamentalist Mormon Leader's fugitive status - that many Southerners link with the Mormons. I have gone on record as saying that Mitt Romney's Mormon background wouldn't be as big of a factor in the race for the White House as most people think, but headlines like this one make me reconsider that statement.

Also posted at Tennesseans for Allen.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Tennessean Comes After Tennessee Tax Revolt

In its feature article today, the Tennessean attacks the report by Tennessee Tax Revolt and its spokesman Ben Cunningham that states that Nashville has a high rate of exodus amongst cities and that exodus can, at least in part, be connected to the high property tax rates in Davidson County.

On its face, Cunningham's argument is highly intuitive. However, you would have thought that Tennessee Tax Revolt was advocating the dismissal of gravitational theory in the way that the Tennessean article hypes their story. An average reader would think that all of the world's economists were united in attacking TTR's analysis.

Of course, one has to ask how many economists were involved in this alleged repudiation. That number would be: two. And they were not nearly in disagreement with TTR's analysis as the headline would make it seem.

TTR's conclusion - that people don't like to pay high property taxes and that is a factor in their decision to either locate within or, in the alternative, nearby a city is supported by my own observations.

Look at Chicago or Washington, D.C. Perfectly good residences are available in both. However, families go out of their way to locate far away from these cities - in the case of D.C., as far away as West Virginia and Pennsylvania - and face a daily commute which can last over 2 1/2 hours.

Look to Knox County and the growth of Seymour. Seymour is one of the hottest real estate markets in East Tennessee. Why? Well, if you buy a home in Sevier County, the taxes are nearly 1/4 of what it costs to live in the City of Knoxville. Seymour's location right over the Knox and Blount County lines is highly desired, which anecdotally explains the growth.

As is usual, the Tennessean article doesn't live up to the promise of its headline.

MORE: Bill Hobbs has more on this story - writing from his vacation, no less.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Calling the Race in Georgia

Cynthia McKinney has been defeated in her own party's primary.

With 98% of the votes tallied, Johnson leads, 59% to 41%.

I have divided emotions here. On one hand, one of the biggest embarrassments in American democracy has rightfully been returned home. On the other hand, no more "Extreme McKinney Makeover," "Have you hit a Capitol Hill cop today?," and Buckwheat jokes. It's kinda like when the House voted to expel James Traficant. You lose the miserable liberal, but you lose the joke material, as well. That's a tough trade.

In any case, I am off to watch her concession speech. I wouldn't miss that for the world.

UPDATE: As one would expect, McKinney was fiery and refused to take none of the blame for the loss. Typical.

Also, The Daily Whim has an exceptional post on what it has been like to watch the rise and fall of Cynthia McKinney from the perspective of one of her 4th District constituents. It is a bit long, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing, entitled "Voters Deck Officer McKinney."


Calling the Race in Connecticut

After crunching a few numbers, it appears that the Democratic Primary in Connecticut is over.

With 93% of the precincts reporting, it appears that Ned Lamont has won the nomination for United States Senate in Connecticut.

We'll see later on if Lieberman announces the continuation of his campaign as an independent.

UPDATE: Buddy's Bemusings has called the race for Lamont.

UPDATE: The Raw Story has also called the race for Lamont.

UPDATE: Lieberman has conceded and - for all intents and purposes - launched his campaign as an Independent. Will the Republicans cross over to vote for Lieberman to put him over the top against the liberal menace? We shall see. Pat Buchanan said tonight on "Hardball" that he didn't see it happening, and he may be right. I wonder how Connecticut residents feel about out-of-staters like Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters, and Al Sharpton invading their borders on Election Day to promote Lamont.

The real fun would be if Lieberman won the General Election with support from both Democrats and Republicans. How would Independent Lieberman vote? Would he possibly switch parties after the election and join the Republicans if they supported him, coming out in force to beat back Lamont when it really mattered?

Connecticut politics have rarely been so interesting in my lifetime.


McKinney Closes Gap; Lieberman Still Trails By 4 Points

Despite charges of voting fraud by Cynthia McKinney (now that's the pot calling the kettle black), she is still hanging around in her run-off against Hank Johnson. With 66% of the precincts reporting:

Johnson - 58%
McKinney - 42%

Lieberman has seemingly trailed by 4 points for hours. With 84% of the precincts reporting:

Lamont - 52%
Lieberman - 48%


McKinney Trails Early; Lieberman Closes the Gap on Lamont

As of 9:45 P.M. Eastern Time, Cynthia McKinney is trailing big to challenger Hank Johnson in the Democratic run-off for Georgia's 4th Congressional District. At this time, the scoreboard reads:

Johnson - 76%
McKinney - 24%

Only 18% of the precincts have reported, so it is still early.

In Connecticut, things weren't looking so hot for Joe Lieberman. Early word out of the state is that not as many older voters turned out, and with a turnout expected to be near 50%, one has to feel that Lieberman may be in trouble. With only six percent of the precincts reporting, he trailed millionaire Ned Lamont by just over 2,000 votes. However, Lieberman is cutting into Lamont's lead with each precinct that reports.

Lamont - 52%
Lieberman - 48%

54% of the precincts have reported. It's gonna be close...


Primaries Across the Nation

It's finally D-Day for Joe Lieberman, as Connecticut is one of five states that host primary elections today.

You have to worry about Lieberman's chances against multi-millionaire Ned Lamont, since it has been proven that every election can be bought. If Lieberman were to lose, it would be interesting to see if he does indeed run as an independent, as he has threatened to do for several weeks.

Could this be the last day of Cynthia McKinney's political viability? I doubt it, since I fully expect voting irregularities that would make the Ford family of Memphis proud. One can always hope, though...

In Colorado, it will be interesting to see who replaces my friend Bob Beauprez, who is running to succeed Bill Owens as governor. I nearly went to work for Bob in 2003. He is a real fighter, and I'm sure that being neck-and-neck in his current race just means that he has his competition right where he wants him.

UPDATE: Six Meat Buffet argues that we need Cynthia McKinney to win. It certainly would provide more fodder for us bloggers who love to use her as the posterchild for morally bankrupt Democrats.

I think her picture is exactly what this post needs...

Monday, August 07, 2006


Latest WSJ/Rasmussen/Mason Dixon Poll Numbers

Here are the latest poll numbers for various U.S. Senate races across the country:

Democratic Seats

(D) Bill Nelson - 51.5%
(R) Katherine Harris - 33.6%
MOE: +/-3.5%

New Mexico
(D) Jeff Bingaman - 53.9%
(R) Allen McCulloch - 31.5%
MOE: +/-4.3%

(D) Maria Cantwell - 49.4%
(R) Mike McGavick - 41.7%
MOE: +/-3.2%

(D) Debbie Stabenow - 48.0%
(R) Michael Bouchard - 41.8%
MOE: +/-3.4%

(D) Amy Klobuchar - 49.4%
(R) Mark Kennedy - 42.9%
MOE: +/- 4.2%

(D) Kweisi Mfume - 44.0%
(R) Michael Steele - 45.0%
MOE: +/-4.1%

New Jersey
(D) Bob Menendez - 44.8%
(R) Tom Kean, Jr. - 39.0%
MOE: +/-3.9%

Republican Seats

(R) Mike DeWine - 36.6%
(D) Sherrod Brown - 45.2%
MOE: +/-3.2%

(R) Jim Talent - 49.0%
(D) Claire McCaskill - 45.2%
MOE: +/-3.5%

(R) Jon Kyl - 50.2%
(D) Jim Pederson - 42.4%
MOE: +/-4.1%

(R) Rick Santorum - 39.0%
(D) Bob Casey - 45.0%
MOE: +/-4.0%

(R) Bob Corker - 42.5%
(D) Harold Ford, Jr. - 43.6%
MOE: +/-3.8%

(R) Conrad Burns - 43.0%
(D) Jon Tester - 50.0%
MOE: +/-4.0%

(R) George Allen - 48.0%
(D) Jim Webb - 32.0%
MOE: +/-4.0%


Much of the talk of the Democrats taking back the U.S. Senate seems greatly overblown. First, so many of these races are within the margin of error, and with three months until Election Day, it seems awfully premature to see this "perfect storm" playing out. Second, it's hard to see the Democrats holding all of their seats, much less winning six currently held by Republicans. While the Democrats may win three of their targeted seats (Montana, Tennessee, Ohio), they certainly may lose three, as well (Michigan, Maryland, New Jersey). The only have to lose one of their own to see their dreams of majority status destroyed.

Someone may comment about Santorum. Folks, I think Rick is going to be just fine. His fundraising efforts have been beyond exceptional, and he has closed the gap in each poll since the campaign began in earnest. He can outspend his opponent, as can Michael Steele in Maryland, and that might be enough for both of those seats - which looked to be heading to the Democratic side - to appear a beautiful shade of red in November.


Is Conrad Burns Cracking Under the Pressure?

Read this account of how Senator Conrad Burns spoke to Virginia firefighters that were trying to keep his entire state from burning to the ground that ran in the (Hampton Roads) Daily Press and judge for yourself.

I have already surmised that the stooge that the Democrats are propping up in the Montana race, John Tester, isn't qualified to lead a middle school JV football team, much less represent the Big Sky Country in the United States Senate.

Burns has a sizable financial advantage, and Montana is strongly Republican. However, he can't afford any missteps like this one. The latest polling (which is over one month old, mind you) shows Tester with a 7-point lead, and candidates with connections to Jack Abramoff (Reed of Georgia, Hilleary of Tennessee) aren't exactly performing well during this election cycle.

It seems that Burns is cracking under the pressure, because no rational human would act this way, much less a United States Senator. If that's the case, he has little chance of catching Tester as the campaign becomes more of a referendum on Burns and less of a choice between the two candidates.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Final Thoughts of Albertini

Here are the final thoughts of gubernatorial candidate Mark Albertini. From his press release:


Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Mark Albertini shared his thoughts today on his time in the Governor's race. He is deeply thankful to all those who voted for him, contributed financially and supported him during the Primary.

"This race has been a tremendous opportunity. As I traveled from one end of Tennessee to the other during my ten months in this race, I logged thousands of miles, made numerous friends and put up over nine hundred signs

Although final numbers are not yet out from the Tennessee Election Commission, from what I have read, I do not believe I won the Primary.

Losing is always bitter to some. But I think it really depends upon why you enter a race to begin with. If you enter a race for the right reason-to serve God and help others- you can never go wrong, because you always win, so long as you run to win.

When I got into the Governor's race, I did so because I saw a cause. I still see this same cause today. I am back to giving attention to my work, picking up my signs and spending time with my wife. I will continue to seek God's direction for politics in the future. Wherever He wants me is where I will try to be. I have learned many things during this campaign. I will try to put these into practice in the future.

Again, I say Thank You to those of you who stood with me and loved my wife and me through your actions and words. We, that is, you and I, stood for a cause in a way that is not being copied. We stood for a cause to save Tennessee and America. We did what was right. We stood for what it means to be truly free as Americans-to seek our highest but not to place ourselves above our neighbor. You are in my prayers. I shall forever be grateful and indebted to you. I guess an easy way for me to say it is just to say, May God Receive the Glory."




Food for Thought

"...I have never lost sight of the fact that this cause is not about my service; my service is about the cause."

- Van Hilleary (from his concession speech Thursday night)

While this quote may be in direct contradiction to his actions, the words themselves still have great meaning for those of us who continue to fight - not for personal gain - but for what we believe to be right for America.

Friday, August 04, 2006


A Little Time

To all of the well-wishers, friends, and family who have called and e-mailed, I thank you for doing so, but I need a little time before I come out of the bunker and transition back into "real life."

I have been with this campaign since November of 2004. That's 22 months. Certain faiths have been strained, and I am going to need a little time to digest what has just happened before I resume normal activity.

Yesterday is just a blur. Angela and I got up at 4:00 A.M. (after going to sleep less than two hours earlier), placed signs at the polls, worked the polls for twelve hours in heat indexes that were over triple digits, drove to Nashville after closing down our respective polling places, attended Ed's party at the DoubleTree, tried to make sense of everything with other people who have bled for this campaign while listening to bad Nashville karoeke, and then drove back to Knoxville for Angela's court hearings this morning.

The night was a crossroads for so many people. Ed Bryant, who has some political viability left in Tennessee if he chose to wield it, voluntarily leaves Tennessee politics. Van Hilleary, who has no political viability left, is already preparing to physically leave Tennessee. Harold Ford, Jr., who every conservative pundit worth his salt sees as having the greatest night of his political life, raises tons of money, raises his national profile, and without a doubt picks up the opponent he is best prepared to defeat in November on his way to the United States Senate.

And then there is me. Like a few of the radio conservatives in Nashville, my faith in the people of Tennessee is now tested. I see David Davis barely squeaking out a victory in the 1st District, which is probably a good thing as long as he doesn't try to stay in the seat for three decades. So I can look to my district as one place of sanity, right?

Well, not really. East Tennessee was the region most fooled by a political charlatan from Chattanooga that it knew nothing about except that he made good commercials and had the money to run them 24/7. In that respect, South Knoxville, where I have concentrated a good deal of my time during this campaign, looks from the precinct reports I have seen to have been more enlightened, voting for the better man in Ed Bryant at a higher clip than the rest of the region than the blatant fraud Bob Corker.

Finally, there is conservatism in Tennessee. Where does it go from here? It certainly is an ideology in trouble. Republicans just nominated a moderate as their Senate candidate, and the electorate will vote to send a softened liberal from an infamous political family to the U.S. Senate come this November. Democrat Phil Bredesen is more than likely headed to his second term in the Governor's Mansion. With the exception of the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004, this "red" state has selected the less conservative candidate every time in the last decade.

Conservatism is at a crossroads in this state. Last night, a few of the major "behind the scenes" conservatives in Tennessee quietly called for a leader, to claim back what has been lost in recent years. Who takes the reins and leads us into the coming election seasons is crucial to our political ideology's relevance in this state.

I have ranted on much longer than I had intended, and I apologize for that. I would like to say congratulations to Bob Krumm, who easily won his primary last night, as well as Stacey Campfield, Frank Nicely, Larry Clark, Paul Pinkston, and my better half, Angela Huddleston, who all destroyed their opponents at the ballot box. I would also like to say how honored I was to meet bloggers Sharon Cobb and Blake Wylie last night in Nashville. As usual, the honor was all mine.

More to come later, folks...

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Re-run Post: Endorsements

Here is my post from July 17th providing my endorsements for this election season:


To begin with, we will repeat the official policy of this website regarding endorsements:

Many pundits on the Republican side are lax to make endorsements in primaries because it makes good political sense to stay neutral until the general election. That being said and admitting that to be true, it will be the policy of this site to endorse candidates at all stages of the election process because it is as important that we choose the right candidate in the primary as in the general election. In all cases, conservative candidates are sought for endorsement, and those with a proven record of conservative activism will be favored over candidates that undergo campaign conversions for the purpose of being elected.

Below is a list of candidates that are officially being endorsed by VOLuntarilyConservative. Some of the races are not included because there is simply no preference at this time or because there is no anticipated opposition. Unlike with previous endorsement announcements, some races where we see fit not to endorse candidates will be specifically noted.

These endorsements are directly related to the August elections, for which early voting began on July 14th and runs through Thursday, July 29th. The decisions as to which candidate to endorse were made based on personal knowledge, website content (blog, campaign sites, and otherwise), and responses to questionnaires, including the Knoxville News-Sentinel's Voter Guide,, and VOLuntarilyConservative.

Endorsements are also generally listed in the order they will appear on the ballot in Knox County. When appropriate, some commentary may follow some endorsements.

So, without further adieu, VOLuntarilyConservative endorses the following candidates for office:

Governor - No Endorsement.

This may surprise some people, but there is some disappointment amongst us regarding Jim Bryson's various abstentions during the legislative session and some of the people he has invited into his campaign "inner circle." Meanwhile, there are many concerns about Mark Albertini. One of them, however, is not his work ethic. He has been a one-man campaign force over the past year. Because of this, a consensus could not be reached.

U.S. Senate - Ed Bryant.

A true conservative, Ed Bryant may be the only chance for Republicans to hold Senator Frist's seat in November.

U.S. House, 2nd District - Ralph McGill.

While few can fault Congressman Duncan's constituent services, he may be taking this primary campaign for granted. Mr. McGill has fought a good fight, trumpeting his conservative values as differences between himself and Congressman Duncan.

TN Senate, 5th District - No endorsement.

TN Senate, 7th District - No endorsement.

TN House, 14th District - Parkey Strader.

TN House, 15th District - No endorsement.

The Republicans have no candidate against Democrat Joe Armstrong, who, despite being caught up in the Tennessee Waltz scandal, will be re-elected. Feel free to write-in Rob Huddleston if you wish, as he lives in the gerrymandered 15th House District.

TN House, 16th District - Bill Dunn.

TN House, 17th District - Frank Niceley.

TN House, 18th District - Stacey Campfield.

Stacey is facing an uphill battle against the well-funded Gary Drinnen. Gary is a friend of VOLuntarilyConservative and admits to being a reader of this site. However, Stacey has been a consistent vote for conservatives in the Tennessee House, and we see no reason not to send him back to Nashville for another term. We join Representative Bill Dunn, Dick Armey, Tennessee Right to Life, and the National Rifle Association in their support of Stacey Campfield.

State Executive Committeewoman, 6th District - Angela Huddleston.

It isn't every election that one of our own runs for election. We give our uncompromised endorsement of Angela. The 6th District is fortunate to have people of Angela and Jamie Woodson's quality representing them in Nashville.

State Executive Committeeman, 7th District - Steven Buttry.

Steve and Cindy Buttry are two of the best people you can ever have on your side in a campaign. Any time you get to vote for one of them, you can do so with confidence.

Judicial Retention

We support the following judges in their retention votes:
William M. Barker
Michael Swiney
William C. Koch, Jr.
William B. Cain
David Farmer

Circuit Court Judge, Division Four - Bill Swann.

Chancellor, Division One - John F. Weaver.

Chancellor, Division Three - Mike Moyers.

Jim Andrews, the Democratic nominee, has plastered Knox County with signage, which could make this race closer than one would have thought. In our view, Moyers, through his experience as Knox County's Law Director, will make an excellent chancellor.

Criminal Court Judge, Division Two - Ray L. Jenkins.

Ken Irvine, the Democratic nominee, has run a campaign based solely on why Judge Jenkins - a Knoxville legal institution for decades - is no longer fit for the bench. Irvine has failed to provide reasoning as to why he should be elected to the bench. It appears to us that Jenkins runs an efficient court, and he should be allowed to continue in that capacity.

Knox County Mayor - No endorsement.

There are no conservatives in this race, so feel free to write-in whomever you choose.

Knox County Commissioner, 1st District, Seat A - Nick Della Volpe.

Knox County Commissioner, 3rd District, Seat A - Tony Norman.

Knox County Commissioner, 4th District, Seat A - John Schmid.

Knox County Commissioner, 6th District, Seat A - Chuck James.

Knox County Commissioner, 6th District, Seat B - Greg "Lumpy" Lambert.

Knox County Commissioner, 7th District, Seat A - No endorsement.

This is a turn from our previous endorsement in the May primary, at which time we endorsed R. Larry Smith. At that time, we were advised that Mr. Smith was not as he seemed. Since that time, we have confirmed certain behaviors that make it impossible to endorse Mr. Smith in this race. Mary Lou Horner, who suspended her campaign earlier, has backed write-in candidate Faith Tapp as an alternative to Smith. We do not have enough information to endorse Ms. Tapp, but we encourage voters to learn more about her to see if she deserves your vote.

Knox County Commissioner, 8th District, Seat A - Phil Ballard.

Knox County Commissioner, 9th District, Seat A - Larry Clark.

Steve McGill, the Democratic nominee, has plastered South Knoxville with signage, but the main theme of his campaign in newspaper interviews seems to be that Mr. Clark should be term-limited. As Clark did not protest Chancellor Weaver's decision nor campaign until it was for sure that he would be on the ballot, we find Mr. McGill's arguments moot. Mr. Clark has served South Knoxville well, and it would be our preference that he be allowed to do so for another term.

Knox County Commissioner, 9th District, Seat B - Paul Pinkston.

General Sessions Court Judge, Division IV - Andrew Jackson, VI.

Knox County Sheriff - Greg Cox.

Admittedly, we know little about Mr. Cox. However, the scandals that seem to constantly plague Tim Hutchison and the failures of Randy Tyree's campaigns (from failing to pay off debt from 1982 to failing to meet the deadlines related to this campaign) make Mr. Cox the only viable alternative. Hutchison's inability to show up at his own debate last week was the last straw.

Register of Deeds - Steve Hall.

School Board, Sixth District - H. Lee Martin.


Early Morning Risers

It's a sad state of affairs when so many people for the Ed Bryant for Senate campaign have to be up and at 'em in the wee hours of the morning to put up signs at polling precincts due to the dishonest and unprofessional actions of sign theft by Bob Corker's campaign.

With all of the campaigns that I have worked, I have never seen anything quite like their behavior.

After tonight when it is announced that Ed Bryant is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, we will have to teach them proper campaign etiquette so that they can jump on the Bryant bandwagon for the general election.

Ultimate Warrior Video - I Need A Hero

Many people ask where you get the energy to sleep only a few hours on Election Week.

The answer is that you find the energy from whatever source you can (although no energy drink or pill could ever allow you to finish what pure will power alone can do), and you don't ever let anyone outwork you.

You never give up.

You never let up.

You push through the finish line.

You find the inspiration everywhere.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Did I Mention This WSJ Poll?

I can't recall if I mentioned the latest Wall Street Journal Battleground poll:

Ed Bryant - 47.6%
Ford, Jr. - 46.3%

Bob Corker - 42.5%
Ford, Jr. - 43.6%

When you go to the polls tomorrow, you're not voting for Ed Bryant vs. Bob Corker. You're voting for Ed Bryant or Harold Ford, Jr., because one of those two men is going to be your next United States Senator.


Reminder - Ed Bryant Victory Rally in Knoxville Today!

Join Ed and the Bryant Brigade for the Countdown to Victory Campaign Rally on Election Eve!

Wednesday, August 2
5:00-7:00 PM
Ed Bryant for Senate Knoxville Headquarters
1637 Downtown West Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37919

Come find out how you can help Ed push through the finish line of this primary race!


Mamaw Knows Best

One problem that political consultants have is trying to figure out what plays well with the average voter. If political consultants think that an ad or an issue is going to play with average, blue-collar Tennesseans just like it does in their own political-consultant-head, then they will soon be unemployed, friendless, and generally shunned by society.

I spend most of my time asking people what they think of this and that, and if one takes careful notes and checks one's ego at the door, you can learn more from this sort of study than any focus group study or internal poll could ever provide.

Two of my most precious "political sounding boards" are my grandparents, Bob and Anita Wilson. (That's them in the picture above from Christmas, 1995, with my uncle, Jim Ripley, and father to the right.) They live in Greene County, where Granddaddy has owned a farm for decades. (I'll post more about the incredible life he has lived at a later date.)

I have a close relationship with my grandparents. I used to spend time during the summers of my youth working on their farm (it was cows and tobacco at that time, but the prime crop now resides with chickens). I call Mamaw several times a week, often just to get her opinion on the latest political ads or to catch up on news stories I have missed while in court.

So, when I spoke to Mamaw Tuesday night on my way home from a Tennessee Firearms Association meeting, I knew that Ed Bryant had hit a home run with his latest effort just by the excitement in her voice.

She had received a call from Darryl Waltrip, and he had asked her to vote for Ed Bryant. She loved it.

If these calls from the former Winston Cup Champion play the same way with the rest of "NASCAR Country," Ed Bryant will be your next United States Senator.


If You Didn't Have Enough Reasons to Vote for Frank Niceley...

Frank Niceley is one of the most genuine men you will ever meet, both inside and outside of politics. He more than deserves to be re-elected to represent the 17th District in the Tennessee House.

If you didn't need more reasons for vote for Frank, I will give you some more. His primary opponent is Jim Bletner, the Director of Concessions for UT who has been propped up to run for this seat by a combination of forces that don't like Frank Nicely's conservatism - Democratic Speaker/Slimeball Jimmy Naifeh, Governor Phil Bredesen, and the typical cast of RINOs in and around Knox County.

Bletner loves to crow about his position as Director of Concessions at UT. Well, actually he has Heywood Harris do it for him on the radio. (Anal readers may have noticed that all Heywood Harris books have been recently removed from the sidebar.)

But here's the rub - when I think of UT Concessions, I think of complete and total incompetence. I think back to the 2003 game against Fresno State, when Neyland Stadium was devoid of water for people to drink. People were passing out left and right. I think back to the 1993 game against South Carolina, when there were no cups in the upper deck for hot chocolate or coffee despite the snow that was driving down for most of the game. I remember several games in Thompson-Boling for "Buzzball" when students were unable to find hot dogs at halftime.

This is the record that Bletner is running on?

Of course, you can look at his website and make up your own mind. (No, I don't find it humorous that he has "Fresh Water" as part of his campaign slogan, because his inability to make sure that people could buy friggin' water during the Fresno State game put some people's lives at risk.)

Citizens of Knox and Jefferson Counties, are you going to elect this man to the General Assembly?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Vance Cheek: Secure Our Borders NOW

This from Vance Cheek, 1st District candidate for Congress:

Securing Our Borders NOW

Conservative Vance Cheek supports National Guard troops on our borderand the strict enforcement of our immigration laws.

Our nation is at war and our borders must be secured.

One study stated illegal immigrants use $2,700 a year more in servicesthan they pay in taxes, creating a fiscal burden of nearly $10.4 billion on the federal budget in 2002.

This must end. We must require that employees are legally in our country before they begin work.




Fun with Corker

I don't tend to link to the Van sites, but this piece of humor by Charles Badger is certainly an exception.

Is it funny though? Or is it tragic?


Ralph McGill

I received two personal e-mails from 2nd District Congressional candidate Ralph McGill yesterday.

He is in Washington, D.C., attending a meeting on biofuels.


Is it me, or do we need more people who attend D.C. meetings to share new ideas (McGill is an engineer and has worked in engine technology for decades) in Congress and less people who go to Washington purely for fundraisers?


Tennessee Headlines

The Nashville City Paper: Corker says campaign trying to be "100% truthful"

Well, if that's the goal, Bob, then you've been a complete and total failure.

The Daily Beacon: Few students plan to vote in primary

Yeah, that's news. Campaigns that tend to put their faith in college students tend to get kicked to the curb come election day.

Kingsport Times-News: Waitress gets own ID when carding patron

That shows that even stupid criminals can commit identity theft.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Suspect flees, ends up in river

I'm sure that the order appointing me in this case is sitting on my fax machine...


Early Voting Statistics

Here is a short comparison of early voting totals from this year's early voting period and the 2002 Primary. Keep in mind these are total votes cast - a blend of Republican and Democratic voters. Also remember that some counties did not have early voting in place during the 2002 election season; thus, there is no data set to compare this year's statistics.


Shelby - . . 78,899 . . . . 59,465
Knox - . . . 23,936 . . . . 22,780
Sullivan - . . 8,310 . . . . 3,321
Hamilton - 16,136 . . . . 9,488
Anderson - 6,779 . . . . . 6,379
Washington - 6,009 . . 4,489
Sevier - . . . 3,308 . . . . 2,204
Blount - . . . 3,861 . . . . 2,490
Madison - . 8,956 . . . . 8,486
Davidson - 20,182 . . . 19,212
Rutherford - 9,447 . . . . 8,148
Greene - . . 3,770 . . . . . 3,754
Hawkins - 4,185 . . . . . . 1,932
Coffee - . . . 3,464 . . . . . 3,542
Maury - . . . 7,154 . . . . . 5,853
Rhea - . . . . 3,464 . . . . . 1,934
Roane - . . . 6,534 . . . . . 5,147
Williamson - 4,089 . . . . 7,762

Total Early Voters in 2002 Primaries - 403,000
Total Early Voters in 2006 Primaries - 447,910
Total Voters in 2002 GOP Primary - 548,482
Total Voters in 2002 Dem. Primary - 508,875

Clearly, early voting picked up during the last three days of early voting, which may show a late-breaking electorate. (Basically, people may not be deciding for whom they are voting until the final weeks of the election at a higher rate than normal.)

Regionally, early voting numbers are higher in East Tennessee, although not as high as many pundits expected giving the Congressional race in the 1st District. Middle Tennessee, as a region, was a bit depressed, particularly in Davidson and the "collar counties" of Williamson and Rutherford but also in counties across the plateau. West Tennessee is quite a bit higher than normal.

One would expect for all regions to be higher, of course, because there have been substantial increases in the number of registered voters in each region of Tennessee since 2002. Also, as people get more familiar with the idea of voting on a day other than Election Day, early voting should see a natural number of converts. I note this because even if 2006 numbers for a county are close to the 2006 numbers, it still may mean that numbers for that county did not meet expectations.

One thing is clear from these numbers - the statewide candidate that invested in the "collar counties" of Nashville may have wasted valuable resources that could be been put to better use elsewhere.

The big question now relates to Election Day. Do counties with healthy early voting continue to have the same type of response traditionally observed on Election Day, or have people made the choice to Early Vote, leaving turnout stagnant?

I predicted between 582,000-590,000 Republican primary voters early in the year. I didn't think we would reach that midway through early voting, but I do believe we have a chance if turnout is heavy Thursday. The weather is supposed to be a bit oppressive, with heat indexes over 100 degrees across the street, so we might not reach that level.

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