Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Sadness on Christmas Eve

It's just short of four o'clock in the morning on Christmas Eve, and tears are running down my cheeks.

I know that what I do - the personal sacrifices I make for abused and neglected children that I assist in East Tennessee - is a worthwhile cause.  It's sometimes difficult, often emotionally draining, and, on rare occasions, tragic.  Folks in my position often work without much fanfare, as juvenile courts are closed to the general public in Tennessee.  Our rewards are often in the relationships with the children, but that comes at a grand price of the one resource that we cannot replenish - time.

And it's that which has me saddened right now.  Because, in my haste to do so much for so many, I missed out on something that I never should have.

A friend, competitor, and all around fantastic human being tragically passed away at the age of 37.  And I just found out.

Jamie Broach and I were friendly rivals back in high school.  Jamie played for Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, while I captained the tennis team for Sullivan East.  We both played on an all-star team that Bristol's Bob Helton put together that played (and beat) the local colleges.  As time went on, Jamie and I became friends, and, while we really wanted to beat the tar out of each other on the court, we respected each other - both athletically and personally - so that we were still friends afterwards.  For a kid as competitive as I was, this was a rare thing, indeed.

Jamie went on to play at Division III powerhouse Trinity in Texas.  He was more than successful there, both athletically and academically, and then went on to earn his MBA at Texas (the "fake UT") and went on to a successful career as an investment banker.  It looked like Jamie's life was in all ways perfect.

I lost contact with Jamie for a few years as I grew busier and busier with my law practice.  Then, a couple of years ago, I found out that my old friend had been diagnosed with brain cancer.  The kind that doesn't inspire hope in oncologists.  This husband and father of three boys was given a very short time to live.

But what I drew strength from - still draw strength from - is what Jamie then did.  He threw everything he had into charitable giving.  He established a foundation that has raised millions for brain cancer research in Texas.  He fought this horrible disease all the way to the end.  That end came a few months ago.  And, apparently, I was too busy to have recognized it.

Jamie was one of the best men I have ever known; he was a better man than me.  His faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, did not waiver.  He wrote to his sons:

"You are never too young (or old) to have a relationship with Christ; Don't be overly focused on worldly treasures and accomplishments - you don't get to keep them in heaven; Everyone sins, but you need to ask for forgiveness; And always remember you can't earn your way into heaven, it's an incredible gift from God."

This is supposed to be such a happy day.  A day that my boys have been looking forward to as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  And Jamie, the eternal optimist, would not want anyone mourning him ever, much less on the eve of Christ's birth.  But this is a tough way to begin, because it reveals a few things that I have been worried about - that life is passing me by.  And I see the same thing happening to so many of my friends and colleagues that I am not the only one who can learn from this tragic circumstance.

Finally, as we enter the end of this tax year, if you find yourself looking for a charity to support, consider The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research.  Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas as you cherish this time with your loved ones.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Jon Voight on Obama

I'm not one to be hyping much of Fox News, but this is simply too good to pass up. Love me some Jon Voight. Of course, Angela's the one who was hanging with him at the RNC in 2008.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Eight Days to Super Tuesday...

... and I am still undecided.

And I'm not alone. I spoke with several of my good Republican friends - folks who are ultra-active in campaigns in terms of their time, support, and money - who were all undecided as of the end of last week. For folks that usually have their candidate a year or two before the primary, we all are in uncharted waters.

As was documented on this blog (and others), I was supporting Herman Cain before allegations of an extramarital affair proved to be too much to overcome. I even stepped up as his county chair here in Blount County. I loved Cain's straight talk, his outside-the-Beltway background, and his promise to reform the tax code. But, alas, that was not meant to be.

With the field whittled down to four, I still find myself undecided at this late hour. After the last debate in Arizona, I managed to narrow down my personal choice to two candidates. Ron Paul may have a great understanding of economic issues, but his views on foreign policy would likely get us all killed and his ultra-libertarian views eventually collapse upon themselves when freedoms eventually abut each other. I also think that Dr. Paul would have a hard time winning over voters in a general election against Obama because of his presentation. So Dr. Paul will not be getting my vote.

Neither will Rick Santorum. I really want to like Santorum. He says several good things that I can support. I even had him on the shortlist of candidates for the White House back in May of 2005. But lots has happened since then. Santorum says some strange things that even have conservatives scratch their heads, all of which could be overlooked by a conservative voter if not for all of the times that Santorum has compromised his conservative principles when it has personally benefited himself or those close to him. For example, Romney's crushing of Santorum in the Arizona debate on the Arlen Specter issue, where Santorum supported the liberal Specter over conservative Pat Toomey. I very much remember that episode, and Santorum's explanation was inadequate in parts and downright untruthful in parts. His debate performance in Arizona (I scored it last, even below Dr. Paul's) was crippling. If he were to perform similarly in a general election debate against Obama, the GOP would be looking at a double-digit loss at the top of the ticket and quite possibly losses down ticket that could take the Senate out of play. I think Rick's a really nice guy and appreciate much of his service in the Congress, but I can't pull the lever for him this time around.

That leaves Mitt Romney - the former frontrunner who tried to sit on a lead and run out the clock but instead showed weakness by allowing for one upstart candidate after another to temporarily pull ahead of him - and Newt Gingrich - the debate master who is trailing in the polls in several key states and has allowed Santorum to pull much of the conservative base by default after such bizarre talking points as building a base on the moon. I've met both men - Romney is a really nice guy, while Gingrich really isn't. I am obviously concerned that Romney has such a hard time connecting with the middle class (even if the middle class under Obama is almost non-existent). His past statements when running for Governor of Massachusetts are very tough to swallow. Of course, they won't be in the general election. In the current political climate, I told a Romney operative several months ago that Romney would have been better served to have no elected office on his resume - particularly in Massachusetts, where he had to take positions that are toxic with the GOP base.

Meanwhile, I'm also worried that Newt's campaign has been mismanaged and unorganized. (How does one not get on the ballot in major states like Virginia? Folks like myself who are, for the most part, out of the game but still know how to run campaigns and get things done regarding ballot access, aren't that hard to find. Sure, campaigns are either for the energetic young like Austin Walne and Ted Boyatt or the learned sages like Tom Ingram and Bob Davis, but there are plenty of us middle-aged folks who could have been asked to help.) Given Obama's enormous money advantage, there is no room for a disorganized campaign in the general election.

Both candidates have endorsements from folks that I very much respect - Fred Thompson, Herman Cain, and J.C. Watts for Gingrich, Nikki Haley, Jan Brewer, and Bill Haslam for Romney.

I don't plan on waiting to Super Tuesday to vote. I can't recall the last time I voted on an actual Election Day. Besides, I like the idea of voting at the old Blount County Courthouse instead of at the high school. I can see the merits in waiting - we'll know what has happened in Michigan and Arizona by then. Romney needs to win both states, and I can see him doing that. Gingrich has to win Tennessee and Georgia to remain in the national conversation, particularly given that he likely would have won Virginia but failed to make the ballot there.

I remain undecided, but I hope to make up my mind in the next 24 hours.

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Monday, February 06, 2012


Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Our greatest President would have turned 101 today.

It's hard to believe that nearly eight years have passed since the VOLConWife and I said good bye to him with so many other Americans in the Rotunda of the Capitol.

It's equally as hard to believe how far we have fallen from achieving the goals that President Reagan wanted our nation to accomplish. I don't imagine that he would be too happy with where we are today, do you?

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Terry Frank for Anderson County Mayor

Take a look at our good friend and fellow blogger Terry Frank's new ad in her campaign to become the next Mayor of Anderson County.

That's a good, clean, simple ad there, folks. Terry would make a great mayor for Anderson County, and we wish her the best of luck in that pursuit. While Terry and I haven't agreed on everything through the years, I've known Terry for a good portion of my life and consider her one of the smartest, most passionate conservatives out there. Anderson County would be fortunate to have her as its leader.

I do note that Terry says that she will not raise taxes when she is elected, and, knowing Terry, I believe that will be true. I just hope that Terry and the rest of my friends running county and city governments recognize the difficulty that they are going to face if Governor Haslam's new crime bill passes. For whatever reason, Bill Gibbons - himself a former District Attorney - wants to pass the buck to local governments when it comes to crime. Well, that's not quite right. He wants to pass along significant added responsibility to local officials; there just aren't any bucks attached. Given how this is likely to play out, you might want to say an extra prayer for these folks (Tim Burchett, Ed Mitchell, Larry Waters, and, God willing, Terry Frank) as they do their best to steer our counties through some choppy budgetary seas.

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What Happens in Vegas...

The MSM has become all too predictable, and Sunday's overreaction to Mitt Romney's win in the Nevada caucuses really goes to prove it.

As I've said here and on other media sources, Nevada did not matter in any way to this primary season. Romney had Nevada locked up months before Iowa. Besides the high Mormon population there (over 25% of the registered voters, which means that we could be talking about 40% of Republicans), Romney's crew had already struck deals with the unions in Nevada, including the very powerful SEIU. Nevada was even more of a sure thing for Romney than any other state.

So why the sudden need by the MSM to declare this primary season over? Romney is certainly in the lead, but he doesn't have 8% of the delegates that he needs to secure the nomination. Can we at least wait until Missouri to see what happens there, to see how Santorum does with no Gingrich on the ballot? We're a month from Super Tuesday, so it would be nice to get that far...

Why are the liberals in such a hurry to fast forward to an Obama/Romney showdown? You can be sure that it's not so that they can talk about the Democrats unwillingness to pass a federal budget in 1100+ days...

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Sunday, January 15, 2012


Blount County Young Republicans Hosting Debate Watching Party

The Blount County Young Republicans will be hosting a Republican Presidential Debate Watching Party on this upcoming Monday, January 16th. The event will take place at the Court Yard Grill on Alcoa Highway, and guests are encouraged to arrive by 8:45 P.M. The debate starts at 9:00 P.M. and will last until approximately 11:00 P.M.

I plan on attending (providing that I can get at least one of the boys to sleep by then). As with most YR events, it will be a casual evening with informal discussions by Republicans under 40 who are concerned about our nation. For those not familiar with Court Yard Grill, it is on the right as you head south down Alcoa Highway just prior to entering the Alcoa Motor Mile. It's a big restaurant with green neon highlights.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Is the Sacrifice of Kerry Roberts a Sign of Bigger Problems?

One could fill a book with the nuances of the redistricting plan put forth by GOP National Committeeman John Ryder and the Tennessee Republican Party - why lines were drawn here, how subtle differences impact voters there. It's chocked full of interesting decisions and - likely - more political favoritism and money than any of us will ever know.

The one decision which jumped out to me and a few others in the blogosphere is what is being done to Kerry Roberts. Roberts, a Tea Party favorite, persevered and eventually was elected to replace moderate Diane Black when Black moved on to the U.S. House. Now with redistricting, Kerry Roberts is being treated worse than any of the Democrats, basically ousted from the Senate by being drawn into another Republican's district that doesn't come up for election again until 2014. That means that Roberts' term will end when this session ends and, if he so chooses to run for the Senate again, he will have to do so in a contested GOP primary in 2014 against a sitting incumbent.

This sends a very dangerous message to the grassroots. Ken over at Blue Collar Muse is none too pleased, and the GOP needs to be clear with the Tennessee grassroots as to why this was done. I don't think I would want to disrespect the grassroots when, in all likelihood, the top of the ticket is going to be represented in 2012 by a candidate that the grassroots does not care for in Mitt Romney. And Ken might be the most important grassroots leader in Tennessee politics at this juncture, having worked over the past couple of years to strengthen the networking in the Volunteer State.

Lots of questions, and very few answers thus far...

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Thursday, January 05, 2012


Obama's Appointment of Cordray was Illegal

Lots of Republicans are angry at President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). One argument being used that Obama's action was illegal is that the Senate is not in recess, instead being brought into session for a few minutes every few days.

I believe that the argument above is with merit. However, there's one that is just as good contained within the text of the Dodd-Frank Bill itself, the legislation that created the CFPB. That legislation states that the board needs a director to exercise its designated powers, and that director can exercise those powers once he or she "is confirmed by the Senate."

That obviously didn't happen here, and it is a reasonable interpretation of the law that the Congress specifically was stating through its legislative intent that the director not be subject to a recess appointment.

So, even if a judge found that the Senate is for all intents and purposes in recess, that doesn't win the day for Obama. He still doesn't have a director, as per the terms of the legislation that created a need to have one in the first place.

Someone needs to challenge Cordray's appointment in federal court - and soon - before the CFPB starts making a mess of things through actions that will be difficult to undo.

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Red State Update: Iowa Caucus Report

Well, who could have foreseen those results from Iowa a couple of weeks back? Despite average to below average debate performances and having done nothing of real note except for participate in Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats' pay-for-pay scheme that "earned" Santorum the endorsement of several Iowa Christian religious leaders, Rick Santorum rolls out of Iowa with the most personal political relevance since he turned his back on Pennsylvania conservatives and worked for Arlen Specter's re-election.

Meanwhile, Bachmann does something that I can't remember ever happening - going from Ames Straw Poll winner to last amongst the active Iowa campaigns at the caucuses. Sure, her debate performances were uneven, but they weren't significantly worse than Santorum's - surely not worth twenty-points worse.

Perry comes out of Iowa not only disappointed, but significantly confused. Why on earth did he seem to signal his exit from the field Tuesday night, saying that he was returning to Texas instead of continuing on to South Carolina? Maybe it's just this experienced guy's opinion, but if it had been my call, I would have put a contrite but strong Rick Perry out in front of the cameras, shown that my candidate was a fighter and that he was going to carry the fight to South Carolina. Go all-in in the Palmetto State. Fight for Bachmann's supporters while courting Gingrich's unorganized crowd in the hopes that he straps on a figurative suicide bomb in his anger and tries to destroy Romney in a quixotic charge in New Hampshire. Stem Santorum's rise in South Carolina, where Santorum has no organization and has not campaigned with regularity. Come out of South Carolina in the top-two, marginalize Paul, and say that you are the candidate for the Anti-Romney movement. But what do I know...

I'll let Jackie and Dunlap from Red State Update take it from here on the Iowa wrap-up:

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