Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Gotta Love Change

In my Inbox this morning...



Blount County Meet & Greet

For those of you who would like to meet the new Blount County General Sessions Judge, Robert Headrick, there is a meet and greet scheduled this evening from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at the Blount County Public Library. Refreshments will be provided.

Judge Headrick has taken to his new position quite well, having only recently been appointed by the County Commission. Headrick was previously served as an Assistant District Attorney out of Mike Flynn's office in Maryville.

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Monday, September 29, 2008


UT Football Rocked by Students


That's the problem with having the students pay for tickets - they have expectations like all of the alumni that are forced to pay for the privilege of being in attendance at UT games.
When you fail to even come close to meeting those expectations... Well, students start adding layers of paint to The Rock.



So Who is Responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's Demise?

Remember that Obama and the Democrats are saying that they were warning us about "this crisis years ago" (Obama's words from the debate Friday night). Now watch this video and tell me which party was sounding the alarm.

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If You're Into Art and in L.A....

One of my classmates from my undergraduate days is having an exhibition of her latest work.

The opening of Jennifer D. Anderson's "Belligerency Suite" will be at the JK Gallery in Los Angeles. The time is Saturday, November 1st at 6:00 P.M. through 8:00 P.M.

The exhibition will run until December 20, 2008, so, if you're in Cali over the holidays, stop by and check it out. Jennifer's work has been featured throughout the world, including the Royal Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp, Belgium.

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Now What?

OK, so the bailout has failed. Now what?

I can see where House Republicans came from. If you believe in small government and acting as a responsible steward of the taxpayers' money, then voting to spend $700 billion on what can only be labeled as private corporate greed is ideologically difficult to stomach.

However, if you don't like that solution, then what solution are you trumpeting? Seriously. The idea put forth this weekend by House Republicans like Tennessee's own Marsha Blackburn which would have generated revenue from per-transaction fees was ridiculous. It has no chance of working in reality and made little sense theoretically.

But don't believe the media sources that are laying this at the feet of the Republicans. My message to those like Michael Silence: hey, buddy, last time I checked, the Republicans can't pass jack by themselves. This was a bipartisan shelling of the bailout bill. If you want to blame someone, blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If she could have exhibited some strong leadership and convinced her rank-and-file to support the bill, then it would be on its way to President Bush's desk for his signature. When you get 94 Members of the majority party - that's a whopping 40.34% of the Democratic Members of the House - to revolt against Speaker Pelosi, then you have a real question about who is running the show in the lower house of Congress.

Zach Wamp said last week that this would be the toughest vote of his political career. I can see why.

What would I have done? Well, the bill in its current form is probably unacceptable, so I would have probably have voted against it. However, with the proper safeguards to make sure that the money was being spent for its titled purpose and with some punitive measures (removal of certain CEOs without golden parachutes, corporate restructuring, etc.), I probably could have been persuaded to vote for a different version of the bill. I really do fear what is ahead for our economy without this bailout, because so much of our economy is based on perception, confidence, and fear. The thought planted by academics, politicians, and the media that our economy cannot survive without this bailout becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In a particular case I handled several months ago, I was brought in as a guardian ad litem for a child. This case had been going on in its various forms for nearly 13 years. The Department of Children's Services had proposed a solution that was unappetizing, at best. At worst, it went specifically against what they had been pleading for years before the court. I didn't feel right about the proposed outcome and told the judge so. He took me aside and said that he understood where I was coming from, but if I didn't want to go along with the agreement that I had to find another answer to the problem.

Those House Members who voted against the bailout bill today are in the same position that I was in. Perhaps they voted their conscience, and that is all well and good, but the problem still remains. Since they didn't want to go along with the agreement, it's now their turn to find another answer to the problem - preferably while there is still a stock market and while the American dollar is still worth more than the paper that it is printed on.



Red State Update: Low Expectations for VP Debate

Jackie can't wait to see Sarah Palin, and Dunlap goes off on one of the classic rants of all-time. Those making appearances in today's RSU are loudmouth Yankees, Marv Albert, Cliff Clavin, Christmas Jones, Voltron, drunk clowns, talking ponies, eye lice, Charlton Heston, Spiderman, and meth addict hookers.

Whoa. Try working all of those into a single conversation. (I bet Joe Biden could, Jackie...)

I'm still on the fence about whether I will be attending the Red State Update Town Hall Meeting in Nashville next Monday night. My attendance greatly depends on my court schedule for Tuesday morning, which I am attempting to thin out with the District Attorney.


Friday, September 26, 2008


Yep, That's Kinda How It Feels...

From Tennessee's own Chattanooga Times Free Press:

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Thursday, September 25, 2008


Red State Update: Denied Debate Credentials by the Secret Service

Well, since Red State Update has been denied press credentials by the Secret Service, I've decided to protest tomorrow night's debate by not watching. If you support Jackie and Dunlap like I do, do the same.

Yep, I bet hundreds of millions of people will protest the first McCain/Obama debate. I'm sure that will be the reason, and not that the debate is set on a Friday night when no one watches television and those that do are watching horrible Big East football match-ups on ESPN. Millions won't watch the debates, voter education and turnout will be down, and it will be all the fault of the Secret Service.


Saturday, September 20, 2008


This is... TENNESSEE!!!

I've saved the best new YouTube for UT's game against the slimy filth from Florida for today.

Well, we won't dine in hell tonight after a win, but we sure might dine at Calhoun's.


Friday, September 19, 2008


Bourbon Boys Pick the SEC

Another week of picks from the Bourbon Boys. As always, don't click over if you have a problem with adult language.

As everyone in the country has done this week, no one is picking UT to win this game. Make no mistake about it, Volunteers - our manhood has been challenged in this game. The direction of our program may very well come down to what happens in the next 24 hours. A win and the UCLA game is erased from memory as we strive for SEC glory. A loss - heaped on top of the losses to Florida and Alabama last year - and we may be looking at Shreveport in December. We need this win badly.

But, then again, that seems to be when Tennessee Volunteers are at their best.



Getting Close to Gator Grillin' Time...

Time for this golden oldie. You gotta love that great Gators fan at the end of the video.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


Gators Trying to Make Me Miss Saturday's Game

At least, I am blaming Florida fans.

I got a call yesterday from my son's daycare, saying that he had contracted the stomach flu that was working its way through his class. I'm sure that a Gator planted it in Knoxville as a way of using biological warfare to take Vol fans out.

Within minutes of getting him to the doctor, I was puking my guts out. I have gone on a diet of Powerade and chicken noodle soup to try to recover by Friday. I have a ridiculous trial that day (over a broken Masterlock that was worth all of $3.24) and figure that if I can make it through a trial, I can make it through the game on Saturday.

I won't give those homeauxsexuals from Florida the pleasure of having me sit this game out. I will give my all for Tennessee this week.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


New Links on the Sidebar

Due to the hard work of a few friends of VOLCon and a few formatting changes, links to most of the Republicans running for the Tennessee House can now be found on the sidebar.

A few sites were intentionally omitted. Robert Ramsey showed last week that he doesn't support other Republicans, so he can expect for other Republicans to look the other way when he asks for support. In fact, I can almost guarantee a 2010 primary challenger for Mr. Ramsey. Kent Williams, who also has chosen to war with his party, has also been left off of the list. Due to issue positions that border on socialism and embrace expansion of government interference into the private sector, I have left off Basil Marceaux of Tennessee's 29th District. Davidson County's Tim Lee was also excluded, as his website is too thin on policy for me to ascertain if the apparent animosity towards conservative is real or imagined.

Overall, the websites are a far cry from the General Assembly websites from the last election cycle. Even state races are producing quality candidate websites. Nothing can replace face-to-face contact with the electorate, but these type of candidate websites are a good resource for voters who want to learn about their voting options and want the information immediately.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Break out the jorts! It's Florida week.

In an effort to make all of the Florida Gator fans migrating to God's country this weekend feel proud of their fashion heritage...


Friday, September 12, 2008


It's Almost Time...

Gas crisis be damned. I'll walk to Neyland Stadium over a hot bed of coals tomorrow if I have to.

None of this talk about reasons not to show up 100,000 strong tomorrow because our coaches - as they are prone to do - forgot how to coach to win two weeks ago. As long as those young men who wear the orange and white show up to play football and the band marches down Peyton Manning Pass to Neyland Stadium, I will be there.

Have a problem with the 12:30 start time? Then don't go to sleep. When I lived in Chicago, the Bears kicked off at noon. Nothing a little caffeine and watching some football-related DVDs won't solve.

See you at the stadium tomorrow, and GO BIG ORANGE!



Bourbon Boys Picks

The Bourbon Boys are at it again, issuing their SEC picks this week despite Florida having a bye week. Incidentally, they all pick UT to win this weekend, but none of the boys see UT covering the massive spread.


Monday, September 08, 2008


Red State Update: Obama the Muslim

Jackie and Dunlap, who were too hungover to join me in St. Paul last week, chat about that tricky George Staphylococcus and how he got Barrack Hussein Obama to admit that he is a Muslim:



Republican National Convention - Day 5 (Part Two)

(Part One of Day 5 was written previously and provided an account of Wednesday morning's breakfast through a late afternoon reception with Senator Corker and Senator Alexander. This post picks up from that point to the conclusion of Day 5.)

I spent much of the early parts of the Wednesday session roaming the Xcel Center. I was able to speak with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, actor Jon Voight (whom we saw every day of the RNC), former Senator Bob Dole, Tennessee Republican Party Communications Director Bill Hobbs, The Daily Show's Jason Jones, and several members of the Pajamas Media crew. When I finally took my seat in Tennessee's alternate section (which provided a better, more comfortable view of the events than Tennessee's seating on the convention floor), what drew my attention were the superstars of the Republican Party working the floor, shaking hands, posing for photos, and giving interviews. Mitt Romney (somewhere in the crush of people above), Mike Huckabee, and Michael Steele were all seen repeatedly during the convention, sometimes spending hours at a time accommodating requests of the delegations and media.

Conventional wisdom stated that both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee were unofficially launching their 2012 presidential bids with their speeches without showing any pessimism towards John McCain's chances in 2008. If that was the idea, then neither really delivered, as their speeches were pretty flat and unassuming. I've seen both men much better on the stump (especially Mitt), but Huckabee was probably a bit better than Mitt on this night. Neither man was up to the standard later set by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (pictured above). Rudy brought the heavy artillery out against Barrack Obama. Much like Fred Thompson the night before, you had to wonder where these great, inspiring, vigorous speeches were when these men ran for President beginning last year.

Even with Giuliani's outstanding performance, he was merely setting the stage for the moment of the convention, when Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin took the stage to speak to the nation for the first time. Even those of us familiar with her ideology and background had to have been a little nervous as Palin came though the door. Electricity was certainly needed in the arena, as the Governor of Hawaii had run long, erasing all energy from the Xcel Center with her neverending monotone introduction of Sarah Palin. That bumped the video introduction of Palin (which was played the following day and was quite good), which was unfortunate. But even the boring Governor of Hawaii and immediate teleprompter problems didn't phase Palin or prevent her from making an address that has to qualify as historic.

After Sarah Palin's incredible address, country superstars (and our fellow roomies at the Ramada Mall of America) John Rich, Cowboy Troy, and Gretchen Wilson took the stage and sung a touching version of the Star Spangled Banner intermixed with the Pledge of Allegiance. John Rich then fired up the crowd by performing his acclaimed anthem for the McCain campaign, "Raising McCain."

The roll call vote followed, with a round of most states passing so that Senator McCain's home state of Arizona could have the honor of putting him over the top. The vote wasn't nearly as interesting as I thought it would be. It was probably wrong of the RNC not to allow for the Ron Paul delegates to have their votes for Dr. Paul recorded in the record. Several states, including Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska, cast some of their votes for Dr. Paul, although the numbers were quite paltry and were more of a symbolic gesture. Also of interest to me was Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey's auction-style announcement of Tennessee's votes. We had talked Ron into doing so, although it might have been our hubris that caused Ron to cast our votes for "George S. McCain." That being the case, most people didn't even notice because Ron said it so fast.

There was another major party that night put on by ONE, a bipartisan group. Angela and I were simply too tired to attend and instead went back to the hotel to hang out with the members of the MuzikMafia.


Saturday, September 06, 2008


Hitler Reacts to UT's Loss to UCLA

We interrupt the blogging of the Republican National Convention to bring you this special update of how noted football fanatic Adolph Hitler reacted to the loss by the mighty Vols to the talentless, putrid UCLA Bruins:


Thursday, September 04, 2008


Republican National Convention: Day 5 (Part One)

Wednesday morning began with speeches to the Tennessee and Alaska delegations by Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Bob Corker, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Bob Corker touched a little on his recent trip to Georgia to view the unrest in that nation. Lamar Alexander showed a strong states' rights streak with his hammering of the need to stop unfunded federal mandates.

Governor Huckabee (pictured above with Chip Saltsman and Susan Williams) spoke mostly about Governor Sarah Palin. He pointed out that Palin received more votes while running for Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden received in two presidential bids. Huckabee predicted that value voters will not turn from Palin due the recent pregnancy discussions, citing that she will become "like family" to the American people, and families stick together and offer forgiveness when needed. He pointed to Obama's meager record, and Huckabee hammered Obama when he said that the closest Obama has ever come to dealing with a terrorist is when he met with William Ayres. Huckabee closed a strong speech with a proposal that the nation's energy problem could be solved if the hot air could somehow be harnessed from Nancy Pelosi's speeches.
In the afternoon, an event was held with Senators Corker and Alexander at the Minnesota Science and Energy Museum.

From the veranda of the museum, several of us from Knox County were struck by how similar St. Paul and Knoxville were. The picture above greatly resembles the view off of the South End Zone seats at Neyland Stadium. We were also able to speak with Lamar Alexander about new historical exhibits in Tennessee, the importance of knowing one's genealogy, and how Tennessee's history is shaping its future. It was an intriguing informal discussion that I enjoyed greatly. Lamar is a great student of history, that is for sure.

During his program remarks, Bob Corker told details of his trip to Georgia. He also told of an interesting aspect of John McCain's foreign relations experience, of how world leaders to whom Corker has spoken don't speak of "Senator McCain," but of "John."

Lamar also addressed the crowd. He told of specific goals and predictions regarding energy, which is without a doubt the biggest issue being discussed here in the Twin Cities. Lamar believes that within 15-20 years that 50% of our cars will be electrically powered. He believes that this help our national dependency on foreign oil, but he realizes that 50% of our cars at that time would still be dependent on gasoline. In order to help all Americans and not create economic hardships based on what people could afford, Lamar believes that we need to increase American drilling. He pointed out that Republicans are the only party with a two-pronged approach - conservation, but also finding more and better energy sources.

From there, we went to the convention for the best night of speakers thus far. I will have to provide my notes, pictures, and thoughts on those at a later time, as my schedule here in Minnesota demands that I be at one function or another for the remainder of the day. I will attempt to add Part 2 (at the least) before I board my plane for Atlanta in the wee hours of Friday morning.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Republican National Convention: Day Four (Part Two)

As the convention speeches went though out the night, there, admittedly, was little electricity in the air. Various video tributes were played, including ones for President Gerald Ford, President Abraham Lincoln, President George H.W. Bush, President Ronald Reagan, and President Theodore Roosevelt. It has been quite interesting to see all of the references to Roosevelt. In the past decade or so, Ronald Reagan has been the theme and archetype for all Republicans to evoke. It's been fairly clear from this convention that McCain/Palen is aiming more at the roughriding, tough-as-nails Teddy Roosevelt and less at Reagan.

The early speakers were not very entertaining. House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a shout out to Rep. Thad Cochrane, who was holding down the fort in the House of Representatives as House Republicans continue to protest Nancy Pelosi's recurring need to recess instead of dealing with American problems. Jo Anne Davidson mortified the crowd by forgetting the name of our Vice Presidential nominee. Senator Norm Coleman gave a decent speech, but there wasn't much gravitas in it. (More than if Al Franken had given it, but not what I was expecting from the Minnesota Senator.) Coleman's speech must have struck a chord with someone, though, as it led to outbursts of idiocy amongst the Texas delegation, who, for some unknown reason (Tourette Syndrome?) feel the need to treat the Republican National Convention like a high school pep rally.

The first real touching moments of the convention came when Cindy McCain's foster child was introduced, and the story of how that came to be was told for the delegates. It is a moving story, and it provides a great narrative for this campaign about how they were rescued by Cindy McCain from near-certain death in Bangladesh.

Electricity entered the Xcel Center when President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush took their seats. This led to a short speech by First Lady Laura Bush, who focused on the role of women in the Republican Party and in American culture. It was one of her better speeches, to tell the truth.

President Bush then addressed the convention by satellite. Perhaps it was those who came before him, but Bush's speech was actually delivered in a better voice and with more enthusiasm than previous speakers had shown. Bush told us that it was McCain's life experiences - the trials and tribulations that he has endured and overcome - that provide the most important criteria for ascending to the presidency. He closed with something to the effect that if the Vietnamese couldn't break John McCain, that the angry Left never will. That was a good line, and the convention started to get fired up for the first time this week.

This set the stage for Tennessee's own Fred Thompson. Surely most of you were able to catch his speech on television or on the Net, so I won't go into it much. However, I will offer this - it was the best speech of the week thus far. I couldn't help but think, though, that Fred should have been speaking on Thursday night, accepting the nomination of the GOP for the White House. I haven't given much thought to Fred's campaign over the past few months, but tonight brought back some of that passion, even if it was only an ember that hadn't quite died out. Fred Thompson would have made one hell of a President, folks. Fred did get me fired up for John McCain, but he also got me wishing for more of Fred Thompson, too.

Instead of listening to non-Republican Joe Lieberman speak, a few of us decided to leave on a high note, basking in the glory of Tennessee's native son's keynote address. We were bussed to the Tennessee Tuesday event, which was sponsored by several Tennessee entities, including CMT, Pilot Oil, Eastman Chemical, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Corrections Corporation of America, amongst others. Angela, as well as some of the other female members of the Tennessee delegation, had been looking forward to this event for some time now. I'm not sure, but it could have been something about country stud Trace Adkins performing. Senator Lamar Alexander took the stage to say a few kind words (I had requested that he play piano and perform with Trace, but he declined), and then the show started.

Trace was fantastic, and he put on a great show to an audience that was a small fraction of the size of the arenas that he normally sells out. We all had a great time.

Afterwards, several of us made our way over to another party, where we were able to take in Robert Earl Keen, whom I had never heard of but apparently has one heck of a following. Arriving back at the hotel, we sat around until nearly sunrise talking with members of the delegation, telling stories about what we had seen or heard that day. It was a heck of a day, and it certainly made the trip to Minnesota worth it.



Republican National Convention: Day Four (Part One)

(My apologies for not posting this sooner, but waking at 5:00 A.M. to write these lengthy posts on only a couple hours of sleep has started to catch up with me.)

Tuesday was slated to be the busiest day of the Republican National Convention for Angela and I due to our participation in several non-convention forums throughout the Twin-Cities. The Tennessee Republican Party started our day on the right foot by bringing California Congressman David Dreier, Colonel Tom Moe (former POW with John McCain), and Joe McCain, the feisty brother of Senator John McCain. I personally found Moe's testimony enlightening, as it supplemented what I knew about the Vietnamese prisons (particularly "the Hanoi Hilton") from my former co-worker, Jim Warner, who was also with McCain and Moe as a POW, enduring torture at the hands of their captors. It was great to speak with Moe and with Joe McCain, who both graciously provided time after their speeches to talk with me. Mr. McCain eagerly shared John McCain's flight jacket, pictured above, which was hanging in his locker when he was shot down in the skies of Vietnam.

From the breakfast, Angela and I traveled by light rail from the Mall of America to downtown Minneapolis for an event focusing on education. One of Angela's pet issues is education, her mother being a school teacher in the Kentucky school system. This event, called "Time to Choose: Children or the Bureaucracy?," was hosted by several education groups, chief amongst them American Solutions, Ed in '08, Education Reform Now, and the Education Equality Project. Several speakers were on the agenda, but most noteworthy were Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (whose state has the best schools in the nation by most indexes) and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Pawlenty spoke of the need to eliminate seniority in the school systems, saying that teachers were the only profession with such a protected slotting of salaries and tenure, and that compensation should be connected to results in the classroom. He believes that this, as well as his desire to have pay connected to demand (where physics teachers get paid more than physical education teachers due to there being fewer high school physics teachers) can be accomplished by working with the labor unions. Pawlenty warned that not acting on this soon and in a cooperative fashion would see the deaths of us all before reform occurs.

Then there was Al Sharpton. I didn't expect actual content or sense to come from Reverend Sharpton. I was amazed at what I heard. I heard what could have been conservative talking points coming from Sharpton - the need for parents to be challenged and engaged with their children, the realization that government cannot be charged with the children if parents are not taking time or making the sincere effort at home to have their children educated, individual accountability on all people but especially teachers and their labor unions. Sharpton called for comprehensive reform, saying that there are no sacred cows in the room and that reform could only be achieved if all parties are willingly at the table. He closed with the following: "Who will care what party we were a member of when we are all dead and gone if we do not stop the downward spiral of educational achievement?"

Folks, Al Sharpton got no less than 3 standing ovations from a packed room of nearly 600 Republicans. His ended up being the second best speech I heard all day. It really caused me to remark that if we all agreed on the problems and that solutions were apparent, what exactly are we - as Republicans and Democrats - arguing about?

Angela and I next zipped over to St. Paul for a panel discussion entitled, "Politics & the Media: Bridging the Political Divide in the 2008 Election." Hosted by POLITICO and the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication, the panelists included Roger Simon (chief political columnist for POLITICO), Nina Easton (Washington editor of FORTUNE and Fox News on-air contributor), Catalina Camia (political editor of USA TODAY), Mark McKinnon (former chief media advisor for the Bush and McCain campaigns), and Jim VandeHei (executive editor of POLITICO). Admittedly, this event was for my interests, and it delivered. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit would have loved it. There was much talk about the change in media due to technological advances, but McKinnon also hit heavily on how technology has changed campaigns and how information is distributed. Blogs were not demonized (as has been the latest trend by many outlets), although the need for some standard of proof in reporting was emphasized. Genuine disbelief was exhibited by Roger Simon in regards to the reported vetting of Alaska Governor Sarah Palen, and that sentiment was backed up by sources of Nina Easton. According to Easton, the McCain campaign had gone by an old rule - to let the media successfully vet the candidate on political terms - that has passed us by. I could go on about other topics discussed, but I think I should probably save them for another day.

Angela and I then made our way over to a Salute to Veterans event just down the street. The event was sponsored by the Circle of Friends for American Veterans, a bipartisan group that tries to pass various measures in support of our military veterans. We didn't stay long, but we did manage to speak with Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, who has been everywhere during this convention. I never knew he was so outspoken about his belief in his country and interest in politics. One thing is certain - Voight is not shy in expressing his belief that Barrack Obama would lay waste to America's economic strength with his flawed economic plan that includes tax hikes and pie-in-the-sky industrial expansion. I gained a new respect for Voight, that is to be sure.

By the evening, we had finally arrived at the convention site for business. Several recognized conservatives were on the floor, including Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (pictured above), former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

This day's events will be concluded in a second post.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Republican National Convention: Day Three

Monday started with a breakfast with the Tennessee delegation, which was the first time in Minnesota that we have all been together as a group. Congressman Zach Wamp, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, and Tennessee GOP Chairman Robin Smith all addressed the delegation, with most of the talk aimed at Tennessee General Assembly races and changes in the RNC schedule. We also hosted the other delegation here, the Alaskan delegation, for the breakfast, which was sponsored by AT&T. Alaska is reciprocating, as they make attempts to secure their Governor for an address later on this week.

Having some free time, Angela and I walked over to the Mall of America for a little shopping for little Leo back home and a bite to eat for lunch. Above is pictured some of the amusement park inside of the mall. We also ate at The Magic Pan Crepe Stand upon the recommendation of Sevier County attorney Jeff Stern, which turned out to be a good piece of advice.

It was then off to the Xcel Energy Center for an abbreviated first day of the Convention. Security was striking, as all cross streets and exits were blocked by a massive police effort that protected the delegate buses. Security also moved everyone who was supposed to be inside of the convention into the arena quickly and safely.

Angela and I hooked up with John Duncan, III, his lovely wife, Lindsey, and Susan Williams as we made our way around the convention. I remember how Tennessee Democrats complained about their floor placement last week at the Democratic National Convention. Tennessee Republicans have an equal right to complain, having probably the worst placement imaginable at the back of the arena. I suppose that it has everything to do with the McCain campaign not feeling that Tennessee needs to be placated due to McCain's 24-point lead in Tennessee, but I still feel that this is ridiculous. While not official, the RNC is a reward for many people. To shaft one of the only states that has proven that it can send Republicans to victory (in 2006, the ONLY state that elected a new Republican to the U.S. Senate) is asinine. And this isn't someone whining because my seats are bad (and, yes, they are), because I don't sit with the Tennessee delegation. Perhaps Lamar stole Mitch McConnell's pudding in the Senate cafeteria, because Kentucky is up front (as Convention Chair Mike Duncan assigned, I am sure) and Tennessee needs binoculars.

The abbreviated convention activities were boring but necessary. As someone who was observing only, it was five hours of my life I will never get back. I had heard from many former convention attendees that the first day was one with a high rate of absenteeism. I can see why.

Convention dress ranged from professional to comical. Some delegates thought themselves as human pincushions, covered head to toe with buttons from current and past conventions. One gentleman, above, dressed as Uncle Sam. Some states, like Florida and Texas, coordinated their dress as a group (Texas in denim and cowboy hats, Florida in tropical shirts). I will say this - no where did I see some of the evolutionary wonders that seemed to fill all of the television cameras last week in Denver.

We were kept fairly safe from the protesters that made national news by attacking police officers in the name of peace. In fact, some of the protesters that we saw were actually Ron Paul supporters, who also clashed with police (above). Some Ron Paul folks were soliciting delegates inside the RNC to attend the Ron Paul rally at the Target Center that occurs on Tuesday. The whole thing is a shame for Ron Paul. He's an intelligent man who has contributed much to the national discussion and given much to this country. His "fans" now who won't let the election results sink in are from the lowest common denominator of American politics. They knew that the Democrats wouldn't let them have a voice in their party and couldn't organize a third party that was viable, so they turned their attention to grabbing a foothold in the Republican Party. It is apparent that they are not Republican in their thoughts or beliefs.

The Tennessee delegation was set to attend an event at Medtronic, a company that started out of a man's garage and now employs over 40,000 people in Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, California, and Indiana. However, with the plea from Senator McCain to curtail activities due to Hurricane Gustav, the party's time was moved back - conflicting directly with the University of Tennessee's football game against UCLA. With Medtronic refusing to put a television within watching distance despite both California and Tennessee delegates being scheduled to attend, most of the Tennessee delegation instead chose the game. We took over the restaurant here at the Ramada Mall of America and painted it orange. Congressman Zach Wamp, Senator Frist, Ted Welch, Steve West, former Congressman Van Hilleary, and many others were in attendance to watch UT's new offensive coordinator, quarterback, starting running back, and old defensive coordinator show that they are going to make Vol fans suffer through a long and horrible football season that should spell the end of the Philip Fulmer era. (How can any UT fan expect anything better than a 6-6 season now? Oh, the disappointment...)

There was only limited discussion throughout the day on the Palin pregnancy issue. My feeling is that it is a limited issue that, if pressed hard by either the Democrats or the liberal media, will backfire with American women and potentially become a plus for the McCain/Palin ticket. (I will explain later.) The topic that is getting plenty of discussion is the Tennessee gubernatorial race in 2010. I will have more on that later, too, as many of the players (Wamp, Ramsey, Frist) are here in Minnesota.

Tuesday's docket is packed with meetings and events, so I should have an even longer, more interesting report for tomorrow.

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Monday, September 01, 2008


Republican National Convention: Day Two

Sunday was mostly a day of uncertainty for convention participants as we all deal with the arrival of Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana. It's apparent that most of CNN's reporters (like Anderson Cooper) are rooting for a disaster, causing more stress amongst all Americans who are rightfully worried about the prospects of another Katrina or Rita. Angela is worried about Grand Isle, Louisiana, which is catching the brunt of the storm. While she was a rising Junior at Vanderbilt, Angela served on a mission trip to Grand Isle and formed a connection to that small island off of the Louisiana mainland. She knows that it is a poor area that is constantly vulnerable to hurricanes.

From what we are hearing, the events of the day have been greatly truncated. Outside of the business of the day that has to occur, we won't do much on Monday. Nearly every speech has been cancelled, and the parties that were planned have either been postponed, cancelled, or abbreviated.

Back to the Sunday's report...

Angela and I arrived at the Ramada Mall of America via shuttle from the Staybridge Suites on Sunday morning. We shared the shuttle ride with members of Al-Jazeera, which was interesting to say the least. The Tennessee delegation has a large block of rooms at the Ramada, but we're not the only ones here. The Alaska delegation also has set up camp at the Ramada, which has made for some excitement with the media due to a certain Alaskan Governor who has seen her profile raised recently. There are also hundreds of whacko protesters who have been providing much entertainment for all of the other guests. As Angela and I awaited our room to become available, we collected our credentials, paperwork, and other goodies from the Tennessee Republican Party officials. The room was apparently sponsored by Pfizer, although I have no idea why because there didn't seem to be anything related to Pfizer or food or drink there. (Perhaps there was later, but not while I was in the room.)
Angela and I hooked up with delegate Donna McDermott and her friend Lanita, who had a car with them after driving up from Crossville, Tennessee. We all traveled into St. Paul for the premier of the David Zucker film, "An American Carol." The reception prior to the film was headlined by Lee Greenwood and elegantly catered. We had the chance to speak with other members of our delegation, including Van Hilleary and Oscar Brock, as well as former Governor of Wisconsin Tommy Thompson.
The movie itself was quite funny, producing many laugh-at-loud moments. Several of the actors, including Jon Voight and Kevin Farley, were on-hand for the premier, and Kelsey Grammer, who has recently been ill, had a taped message played for the thousands in attendance. We sat with members of the Memphis brigade, including Senator Mark Norris and John Ryder.
After the movie, we attended the Convention Delegation party, where we observed several exhibits about the presidency and munched on finger foods and beverages. We spoke with several friends and delegation members, including House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower and Scott Farmer, a member of Senator Lindsey Graham's staff who had attended Vanderbilt with Angela.
Like the old geezers that we are, we headed back to the Ramada at the end of the Convention Delegation party instead of going to the post-party. Back at the Ramada, we hit the indoor pool, although we probably could have swam outside given the unseasonably warm weather that Minnesota is experiencing.

All in all, a relaxing day with an eye back towards the South and the impending storm. Our prayers are with our Southern brothers and sisters and may God help them to make it through what is sure to be a trying Labor Day.


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