Saturday, April 30, 2005


Only two types of Conservatives?

If you are a big fan of philosophy, have a political science degree, or love great writing (I would end up in the latter category), Jonah Goldberg has an excellent column that responds to Andrew Sullivan's analysis of conservatism. Sorry, Andrew, but Jonah's argument carries the day (of course, he seems to have an advantage being that one always has a leg up writing about what he is), as can be seen here in Andrew's responses that show the relativism that props up his theoretical yet unrealistic categories of conservatism. Like Jonah, I am uncomfortable with Andrew's blurring of conservatism and the Republican Party:

"I agree with Sullivan that Republicans are straying a bit too much from conservatism and that conservatives are letting it happen too much and I think he offers important insights and useful suggestions on this score. But republicans are politicians and politicians promise to do things. Conservatives are people who — ultimately — explain why many things shouldn’t be done."

Sure, I can understand those in the mainstream media making such an error, but I would honestly expect more from Andrew Sullivan. Nevertheless, a great debate for a Saturday morning.

Friday, April 29, 2005


Boortz exposes the Left's Agenda

While driving home from watching over my 14-month-old nephew today while my poor brother-in-law had his wisdom teeth removed, I heard Neal Boortz talking about the motivations of the Left. Boortz really got me fired up, because this is the first time that I have heard a member of the radio elite eloquently articulate the desires and motivations of the Left while subscribing to my own personal theories (now in the public domain for 8 years) of why they do the things they do. Boortz is right - they want to be powerful and they want you to be powerless and, therefore, reliant. I found this post by Boortz from earlier this week that is along the same lines.

While Michael Savage is good for entertainment and Rush and Hannity have their moments, Neal Boortz takes the cake in my book. While I may not agree with him on every point, the guy analyzes the Left better than anyone. And he isn't afraid to blister a few un-conservative Republicans along the way, which I suppose makes us cut from the same cloth (if I should be so bold), as I may have showed earlier this morning.

MORE: It seems that Professor Reynolds and Ann Althouse are tired of all of the radio hosts. I suppose there is something to this, because it seems as if the news media has been in a rut since the Terri Schiavo incident (which some may argue was a rut all itself).


Nothing like a little Filibuster for a Midnight Snack

Ann Coulter blasts the Democrats for their views and the Republicans for letting them get away with it. Nice to see that I'm not the only conservative giving Republicans a hard time today. Now, Ann, tell me how you really feel...

MORE: I wonder how Ann feels about Frist's further attempts to broker a deal with the Senate Democrats? I would bet that she is none too pleased.


Knoxville Budget Grows by $2 Million

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam is acting as expected, growing the Knoxville budget by another $2 million. I would expect nothing less from a "moderate Republican." I guess it should be no wonder why he and Bob Corker, Chattanooga mayor and GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, are such good friends and why Haslam has been instrumental in Corker's fundraising efforts. Neither moderate has a hard time spending taxpayer money - that's for sure.


Pre-K fallout in the House

Thursday morning I singled out 23 Republicans who serve their respective districts in the Tennessee House because they voted to continue to spend the State's money recklessly - even if it means spending us straight into an income tax. Since we have already had to raise taxes on sales and property in just about every corner of Tennessee over the past few years, it is accurate to say that those who voted for the Pre-K boondoggle appear no better than tax-and-spend liberals that have little staying power in this new era of Tennessee politics. At least that is true in the enlightened parts of the state. That Bredesen's Frankenstein passed the House is not surprising. It was a way to needlessly spend money and was backed by the teachers' organizations, so of course the Democratic majority was passing this bill on to the Senate. That it passed with so much Republican support is disappointing.

I was wrong in saying that these men and women don't deserve your vote. My purpose on this site isn't to tell you who to vote for and who not to vote for. That is between you and God. However, I don't foresee assisting any of these candidates in their future campaigns and will endorse true conservatives that run against them. I have no problems with that because a true conservative would have never have voted for that miserable bill. It's Tennessee's education version of TennCare or the federal prescription drug benefit - a monster that will consume tax dollars like a Northern Snakehead and eventually grow to enormous proportions through the fertilizing of TEA and NEA. I predicted much the same thing about TennCare during the dark days of Sundquist, and I can't see this coming out differently.

In particular, I have to express my extreme disappointment with Beth Harwell. Beth was a good leader for the Tennessee GOP through the last election and is currently readying herself to receive the butt-whooping of a lifetime in the 2006 GOP Senate primary. Beth has zero name recognition amongst the electorate and was probably going to use this race as a springboard for future statewide elections. However, many, as posted on Blogging for Bryant, have urged Beth to challenge Bredesen. I have been one of those who felt that it best served the GOP and Beth herself to put her eggs in the other statewide nest in 2006. However, unless I am convinced otherwise at a later date, her conservative credentials are seriously in question after this vote. It's a shame that Beth didn't realize what a great way this was to distinguish herself from a suddenly weakening Bredesen. The way I see it is that if I want someone with little fiscal responsibility in the Governor's Mansion, let the Democrats have it. They are probably more efficient at spending the State into bankruptcy, given all of their experience.

Another sad example can be seen in the Knoxville contingent that seemed to lose the conservative principles they touted during the 2004 campaign. Harry Brooks and Parkey Strader - such a shame, guys. Of course, when Tre Hargett is supposed to be your leader and is voting outside of traditional conservatism... Given this vote and Hargett's inactions during Wednesday's power grab by Naifeh, it seems that strong leadership is once again lacking in the House. That may be too strong of a statement, given that there are some excellent leaders from East Tennessee in the House. They just don't seem to garner leadership positions (as Ron Ramsey has recently accomplished in the Senate.) All was not doom and gloom for the Knoxville contingent, though. Strawberry Plains' Frank Niceley was strong in his words to The Tennessean and Knoxville News-Sentinel, lending support to the theory that freshmen legislators are sometimes closest to their conservative roots than those who have been legislators for several election cycles.

It's a tough pill to swallow for Tennessee taxpayers. Let's hope for better results in the Senate, although, from my talks with some GOP Senators and their less-than-enthusiastic responses, I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


No Blogging Until the Evening Hours

As I promised, I am taking my nephew to Dollywood today. I will resume blogging this evening and explain why the Republicans below are not worth your vote:

William Baird, Jacksboro
Harry Brooks, Knoxville
Chris Crider, Milan
Tom DuBois, Columbia
Jimmy A. Eldridge, Jackson
Tre' Hargett, Bartlett
Beth Halteman Harwell, Nashville
David Hawk, Greeneville
Joey Hensley, Hohenwald
Phillip Johnson, Pegram
Russell Johnson, Loudon
Brian Kelsey, Germantown
Judd Matheny, Tullahoma
Steve McDaniel, Parkers Crossroads
Bob McKee, Athens
Richard Montgomery, Sevierville
Chris Newton, Cleveland
Doug Overbey, Maryville
W.C. Bubba Pleasant, Arlington
Dennis E. Roach, Rutledge
Charles Michael Sargent, Franklin
Park M. Strader, Knoxville
Eric H. Swafford, Pikeville.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Now that it looks like Frist will push for the Senate rules change...

Frist is looking like he has the guts to deploy the "nuclear option." Now the big question has to be - does he have the votes? Here is an analysis of 10 Republican Senators that have yet to commit.

An interesting brood...

UPDATE:'s PAC certainly has focused in on its targets.


Jonah Goldberg weighs in on Bolton Nomination

Goldberg writes that Bolton is mean and tough - and that makes him perfect for the U.N. job.

I agree, especially since the latest attacker says that Bolton "has all the qualities needed to harm the image and objectives in the U.N." Either way, the vote will occur as scheduled on May 12th.


Explosion of Tax Revenue for Tennessee

Bill Hobbs has a post on the new revenue forecasts. Two things concern me about this report. First, Bill Fox is the source. All of my dealings with Bill Fox have led me to the conclusion that a) he is rarely correct on his predictions and b) his predictions nearly always favor whomever is footing his bill. For those who have forgotten, he was the source of misinformation for much of Sundquist's income tax effort (as opposed to William Ford at MTSU and J.R. Clark at UTC, who were my economic sources during that time due to their independence). The second problem I have with this study - is it a double-edged sword? It's long been proven that - no matter which party is in control of Nashville - all tax money will be spent regardless of need. Isn't this type of forecast just what Bredesen needs to point to during the stretch run of having his Pre-K plan approved?


Is the GOP propping up a theocracy?

The Democrats and the media are very good at below board campaigns that alter the way Americans think about issues. (What I mean by a below board campaign can be seen in Howard Stern. Stern called himself the "King of All Media" for several years. After a while, everyone forgot who gave him the moniker, so now everyone calls him the "King of All Media." Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones are also excellent examples.) The latest version is the notion that Republicans in America are simply puppets of Falwell, Robertson, et al, and that we are moving towards a theocracy in America. A deluge of stories appear on the subject and - voila! - it seems to be taken as fact by everyone. Such a thing is worrisome to me as a political strategist, but you have to assume that most people see through the mirage to see that there isn't anything to such actions.

But today there is proof that such labeling of a theocratic state is gaining ground - in the Blogosphere, no less. Professor Reynolds on Instapundit writes that "people (who in this case, means anyone who voted for Bush that doesn't consider themselves a part of the Religious Right) worry that (the Republicans) are the party of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson." On that, I see his point, as many Bush-backers are not fans of Falwell and Robertson. However, Glenn then goes on to say that "(Republicans are) now acting in ways that are giving those fears new life." I challenge Professor Reynolds on this point - exactly what are the Republicans doing? Social Security reform, Senate Rules changes, and Energy bills don't really have a religious source.

The only issue I see that might be relevant is the Terri Schiavo debacle, but that was bi-partisan (although the media seems to have forgotten that fact). Professor Reynolds sees this being "broader than" the Schiavo actions. I can also see the talk of religion as a litmus test for judges, with judges of faith being excluded from the federal bench, but that is merely a GOP talking point being tried now because all other lines of attack have failed to resonate with a significant percentage of the public. I fear that perhaps the below board campaign by the Left to make the public think we are heading towards the United States of the Vatican and will select our leaders in 2008 through a conclave (there, I said that word again) is taking hold.


More Proof That the Idiots are Still Running the Asylum...

The asylum being, of course, The Tennessean. This editorial is the proof.

One could spend all day hammering this editorial, but that would prove to be an exercise in futility as many have done such a thing before and it only seems to make the editors of Al Gore's paper lower their standards rather than raise them up. You have to wonder where some of this stuff is coming from, though. Judges do speak out - particularly the "Nine Horsemen of the apocalypse." Sure, they don't give press conferences on the Senate floor, but they do speak regularly on college campuses (see Justice Scalia's remarks at NYU two weeks ago and the resulting controversy) and at policy group roundtables (see Justice O'Connor's remarks on the judicial activism controversy and Justice Ginsburg's speech on the Court's use of International Law). (It should be noted that the above examples of judicial speech all are recent; it wasn't like I had to Google them in order to find obscure events to back my claims.) Also, what is the intended point of this paragraph:

"The current court-bashers should take a lesson from history. Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt tried to stack the Supreme Court when he didn't like its New Deal decisions. President Thomas Jefferson got angry with Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence he wrote, and Congress tried to have him impeached. Both efforts failed."

I suppose that the esteemed editors of the "Great Deceiver" want to place emphasis on the last line - that both efforts failed. However, that was not how I took the passage the first time I read it. I saw efforts by two very different Presidents politically that were constitutional in nature but whose failure did not in any way diminish their actors' leadership or their place in American history. In such case, wouldn't Bush and Frist want to continue with their efforts, to become part of the tradition reaching back to such luminaries as Jefferson and FDR?

That's probably not the message that the editor was trying to get across, as it seems a bit too thought out for The Tennessean...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Frist as Monty Hall

Glen Dean at Nashville Truth is hot about the possibility of Frist making a deal with the obstructionists in order to avoid the "nuclear option." (I will continue to use the "nuclear" part instead of "constitutional" or any other phrasing because there isn't anything wrong with all things nuclear. Nuclear power is the best form of power, and nuclear warheads save lives on our side of the equation.)

I agree with Glen that if Frist doesn't show admirable leadership qualities here, he might as well go back to medicine after 2006. His presidential candidacy in 2008 could look a great deal like Elizabeth Dole's sorry effort in 2000 (did she actually reach 2000, or did she withdraw in 1999?) if he doesn't show that he has some Reagan or Nixon in him to insure majority rule in the Senate.

UPDATE: Frist says in this AP story that there will be no compromise. However, I'm not convinced that Bill's definition of "compromise" and my definition of "compromise" are the same.


Campus Speech Codes

Mark A. Rose has a good summation of recent works aimed at campus speech codes on Right Minded. I have long been involved in the fight against campus speech codes, mostly at The University of Tennessee (much to my avail, as those in charge of advising the SGA on campus were dangerously ignorant on the subject but fascist enough to support a speech code), but also through the works of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. David French is their current president, and I regularly corresponded with their past president, Thor Halverson. One of the men who started FIRE is Alan Charles Kors, who, with Harvey Silverglate, authored one of the books that led to my gravitation towards the law, "The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses." It's great to see that some people are still watching the liberals campuses, because that is a place that conservatives can't afford to lose any more ground.


Harold Ford says that Bush's judicial nominees do not "deserve to serve"

Blogging for Bryant has the blow-by-blow from this morning's Teddy Bart Roundtable in which Harold Ford, Jr., laid out an interesting litmus test. According to Ford, if the GOP can't convince "a few Democrats" to support a judge's nomination, that nominee "doesn't deserve to serve." First, the obvious - we can't be sure if a few Democrats or even if all Democrats aren't convinced because not one vote has been held on Brown, Prior, Owen, etc. Why hasn't a vote taken place? Because the Democrats don't allow up-or-down votes under the absurd current Senate rules. Second, if this is the test Ford wants to advocate - convincing a few members of the opposition party to see things your way leading to automatic passage - is this a two-way street? Can such a test be applied to, say, restrictions on abortion? Somehow, I have a hard time believing that the slick Congressman from Memphis, who, with this morning's remarks, makes this AP report of his conversion to conservatism look as foolish as Ford's reasoning on this matter, would agree to that fair application of his own test.


Pre-K receives big push from Nashville's "Great Deceiver"

I write, of course, of The Tennessean's editorial that supports Bredesen's Frankenstein, the Pre-K program.

To Al Gore's friends at the major Nashville newspaper - I do not take issue with you endorsing everything Left, liberal, and Democratic. In fact, I would expect nothing less. However, to endorse the Pre-K program while blatantly removing key pieces of information, intentionally misrepresenting the legislation and its potential consequences, refusing to provide even the appearance of equal time for those who dissent to your own views, and then pigeonhole everyone who disagrees with you into two irrational categories shows that you, editors and reporters of The Tennessean, are not journalists. I have worked with journalists, been a journalist myself, and understand what that means. No, staff of The Tennessean, you are nothing more than propagandists - pushing your own view under the cover of being a media outlet. Not trying to sound like my Mamaw, but y'all should be ashamed of yourselves. If you want to pick sides, then do so and obtain jobs with Bredesen, Howard Dean, and on Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign. Partisans take sides; journalists are supposed to be unbiased. Your handling of this matter is nothing more than a disgrace. No wonder fewer people read newspapers these days and are turning elsewhere for their news coverage.

Think I'm fired up? Check out Bill Hobbs and his feelings today about his hometown propaganda machine. While what The Tennessean is doing is despicable, it isn't, as Bill states, slanderous in a legal sense. However, I do get the point he is trying to make. My favorite line: "You get more balance from a biased blogger than from the supposedly objective newspaper."


Monday, April 25, 2005


Dick Morris: GOP filibuster stance could be disastrous

Dick Morris, whose political opinions I respect about 80% of the time, wrote in The Hill that Bush and Frist have everything to lose by supporting the Senate rule change.

We'll safely say that this column by Morris is in the 20% with which I disagree. Firstly, Morris seems to lack an understanding of the proposed rule change. We're talking judicial confirmations here, Dick, not an end to all filibusters. This bastardization through procedure of the original filibuster wasn't even around during the debate of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Secondly, Morris thinks that it is OK to leave out these facts when conducting a poll question. Apparently, only including a few facts is enough to make a question "fairly worded" by Dick's standards.

For the record (since he hasn't said anything about it since the election, and who can blame him), it was Dick Morris that, in a column in The Hill in late 2003, wrote that George Bush needed to distance himself from Christian Conservatives, embrace leftist issues like gay civil unions, and ignore so-called "value voters" in order to win another term. You nailed that one, Dick. But, like I said, I do like Morris about 80% of the time. It just seems like he is much better at analyzing the Left than advising the Right.


The ACLU - an organization without principles?

Naw, that couldn't be...

Or maybe it is. It seems that the ACLU reads legal precident differently depending on how it affects the outcome of its cases. Who is running the anti-liberty show at ACLU HQ in New York City?


Speaking of libs who are taking up space in the gene pool...

Arianna Huffington is threatening to take the Blogosphere to a new level with her new site - a celebrity blog designed to compete with Drudge. We can only hope that this venture comes off a little better than her last - her campaign for Governor of California. (I only mention her last effort because she was polling so poorly that many may have been unaware that she was in the race.)

After watching her lately on Bill Maher's "Real Time" show on HBO, I have to wonder if the smackdown that Arnie gave her may have caused some brain damage. She was incoherent at times, making actors Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg look more credible than the babbling Huffington. Ian McShane, the actor who plays Al Swearengen on HBO's "Deadwood" and native of Blackburn, England, showed significantly more knowledge regarding America and politics on that episode of "Real Time" than fellow immigrant Huffington, so much so that I remember wondering at the time as to which one was more qualified to dabble in American politics and which one should have been the grotesque character actor.


Latest sign that the Apocalypse is upon us...

The New York Times is bashing on my least favorite of the liberal "journalists" - Katie Couric. I have despised Couric with a passion for over half a decade now, so anyone piling on the "Today" demise is usually great in my book. However, being on the same side as the NYT makes me feel uneasy. I had better lie down for a bit...


EC Measure voted out of House Subcommittee

Lest this slip through the media cracks - The Health and Family Assistance Subcommittee of the Tennessee House approved a measure late last week that would require a hospital to inform and, if asked, provide "emergency contraception" to all rape victim survivors. Of course, if you take a look at the composition of this subcommittee, one can see why this didn't make much news. (How are some of these people elected to state office? Truly baffling...)

I'm not convinced that this law is constitutional - either federally or in regards to the Tennessee Constitution - as it seems to trample on religious freedoms. Why should Baptist Hospital be forced by the state to deal in medication that is against church teachings?

As someone who has been in the hospitals, I have never been for anyone telling a doctor or nurse how to do their job - whether it be a MBA, JD, or a legislator - who doesn't know one thing about the practice of medicine. As the law stands now, actions involving emergency contraception are left to the discretion of the healthcare provider. How is this not the best method of dealing with the problem? Enough to make one wax libertarian...


Pre-K Update

The Nashville City Paper has an editorial endorsing Bredesen's Pre-K Frankenstein. Bill Hobbs points out that the reporting on Bredesen proposals still shows bias (and he's nailed the reporter for The Tennessean on this one by her own admission). Of course, isn't this what we have come to expect from the press in their treatment of Bredesen?

MORE: Matt White sees some progress by The Tennessean in its reporting on the General Assembly. In particular, "The Groundskeeper" points to articles on the new ethics bills. I'm not so optimistic.

UPDATE: Maybe some newpapers are coming around, though, and Matt may be on to something. The Kingsport Times-News - often decried as one of the worst papers in Tennessee over the years - ran a recent editorial calling for the permanent execution of the estate tax (or "death tax," for those that like the moniker). To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, "What is the heck is going on around here?"


Good tennis results in Tennessee

As an old tennis player, I still love the sport (and, as my recent trip to Hilton Head reminded me, can still play it at a pretty decent level). I was thrilled to see that ETSU's Men's Tennis Team won the Southern Conference Tournament this weekend, while the Vol netters from UT made their way to the SEC finals before falling to a tough Florida squad. Both squads are headed to the NCAAs, so the season continues in a few weeks.


Apologies for the lack of blogging this weekend

I suspect that blogging will be a normal activity on Saturdays, but that was not the case with the golf tournament this past Saturday. How did we do? Well, one of our team members called off about 11 P.M. Friday night with a family emergency, so my wife filled in - her having played all of 4 rounds of golf in her life. We did our best to stay warm and play well, but neither was in the cards. My inadequate play (easily the worst I have ever played) helped push us into 16th place out of 18 teams with a +3. Because of the sub-arctic weather, my wife now has a cold, and I am a bit under the weather myself.

As for Sundays, I don't plan to blog much on that day of the week. I make a sincere effort to take that day as a day of rest, with God, NASCAR, and the NFL doing their part to make sure I stick to the plan.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Blogging hiatus

Due to a charity golf course, blogging will be light until this evening. It's a good thing that this is a links-style course, because the weather in East Tennessee strongly resembles a typical day in Great Britain. I would hate for everyone not to receive the full effect.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Blogging will be light for the rest of the day

I would like to say that, in honoring "Friday Afternoon" by The Floating Men, I am taking the rest of the day to relax, but that would only be partially true.

The true story is that the list of successful applicants on the most recent Tennessee Bar Exam was just released, and whether it is the first, second, or even tenth successful passage, such a victory deserves some sort of respite. I think I'll take mine at the driving range, as I have been lax to prepare for a charity golf tournament that I am playing in tomorrow at Eagles Landing in Sevierville. Actually, I probably would have made it to the range one way or the other today, but with this result I will probably spend more time on the putting green and less time on the range crushing drives into the great beyond.

Now if the weather will just cooperate...


Judicial filibuster showdown next week? Perhaps not...

Bloggers and news stories alike have signed off on the notion that the showdown in the Senate over the "nuclear option" should go down next week. However, this story in The Hill says that may not be the case, with Senator Rick Santorum not liking what he is seeing in the internal polling numbers. As Manuel Miranda, formerly of Bill Frist's staff and currently head of the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters, says in the article, Santorum has played and will continue to play a big part in this effort for the GOP. If he doesn't like what he is seeing, then there is a good chance that this fight might have to be rescheduled for mid-May, as the Senate is not in session during the first week of May.

The decision will ultimately rest with Bill Frist, and he has to be extremely careful with how he handles this process. Rightly or wrongly, the changing of the Senate rules is the legacy that Bill Frist will leave as Senate Majority Leader. If he fails, he will not garner enough support for a presidential bid in 2008 no matter how much money he can bankroll. The conservatives will feel that he let them down, while the moderates will see him as weak and ineffectual - a crushing combination. Santorum has a great deal at stake, too, but it remains to be seen how this issue will play in his 2006 re-election bid. More than likely, whatever happens will be the wrong outcome in the eyes of his opponent, but it's how the people of Pennsylvania view the result that matters.

It is disappointing to see this dragging on like it has, but the Democrats have been extremely effective at pushing or at least assisting other issues (Terri Schiavo, Tom DeLay, oil prices) to the forefront and at controlling the language of the debate. They seized upon the Republicans' poor choice at labeling the rule change as the "nuclear option." After all, everyone knows that anything "nuclear" is bad - even if it is the best energy source and the best military deterrent in our arsenal. Maybe Frist and Santorum would be best served to wait until the season of "24" is over so that nukes are off of the American electorate's mind before bringing up the rules change...

MORE: What's worse than "nuclear?" Did Democrats support the "apocalyptic option" only a decade ago?

STILL MORE: Bob Novak of the Chicago Sun-Times recalls how liberal Democrats have flip-flopped on filibusters over the years, with specific accounts of Senator Robert Byrd changing the rules during debate on actual legislation - not just judicial nominations - while Senate Majority Leader.


Blog story makes the cover of BusinessWeek

This story is pretty interesting in that it goes outside of the box by showing the important business implications of blogging. At least I found it interesting because I hadn't explored the issue in depth previously and was unfamiliar with GM's efforts.

Of course, I am still trying to figure out whether I belong to the "yakkers, hobbyists, (or) political mobs." Probably a little bit of each, I suppose.


More bloggers weighing in on the Bolton nomination

Glen Dean at NashvilleTruth says that enough is enough on the Bolton witchhunt. He believes that the truth behind all of the Bolton criticism has nothing to do with whether Bolton is a nice person or with his tactics and everything to do with his previous opposition to international efforts. This is certainly the case. My view is that anyone who opposes the International Criminal Court can't be all bad.

Doc B at Right Justified is also strongly behind the Bolton nomination, pointing out his endorsement by former Senator Jesse Helms. Indeed.


Kind words and VOLuntarily Conservative added to another blogroll

Bill Hobbs posted some very kind words today regarding this little blog, even going so far as to predict its further success. I certainly hope it will live up to expectations (but I guess that is at least partially my own fault for dropping the name of Glenn Reynolds in the Blogosphere). He also blogrolled the site, which, along with monitored traffic over the past 24 hours, shows that this site may just make it after all.


Bredesen's Pre-K Frankenstein continues through the General Assembly

Sadly, one of the only newspapers "reporting" on the Pre-K monster's progress through the General Assembly is the Tennessean, which is akin to saying that no one is reporting on the biggest threat to the Tennessee budget since TennCare. This story is the extent of the coverage, and to say that it leans substantially to Bredesen's side of the argument is an understatement. I guess it's a good thing that Staff Writer Claudette Riley bothered to mention Drew Johnson and Tennessee Center for Policy Research, but all that was provided on their behalf were quoted opinions with absolutely no mention of Republicans on the Senate Education Committee - Jamie Hagood, Jim Tracy, Jim Bryson, Rusty Crowe, and Bill Ketron - for letting the Bredesen proposal travel onwards to the full Senate without even one dissenting vote. I am not going to be too harsh at this point, because, having been there and done that, I understand that certain pieces of legislation can be swept through committee with the plan of having them ambushed on the floor. I suppose that the theories behind such treatment include a false sense of security for the opposition and keeping the methods of verbally attacking the bill secret until the last minute. I hope that is the case here, but I am not convinced that it is.

UPDATE: OK, I swear that I had all of the above set out before Bill Hobbs had this to say about the same topic and the same Tennessean article. I certainly credit Bill with spearheading this effort.

MORE: Mark A. Rose at Right Minded predicts how the Tennessee Education Association will use this to their advantage in the future.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


VOLuntarilyConservative added to another blogroll

Those who visit the site Blogging for Bryant may notice that this little fledgling blog has been added to the rolls of Tennessee blogs and even received a mention in the main body. I haven't written much at all about the 2006 Senate race yet, but I figured that I would save that for a slow news day on which I had oodles of spare time and preferably rain for my poor dogwoods and cherry trees. (My trees aren't doing as well as those seen on Instapundit, which are only about a mile from my new house.) So, rest assured, there will be much more to come on the race.

Blogging for Bryant has received a great deal of attention from Tennesseans in the Blogosphere lately. Matt White, Bill Hobbs, "Chrystal" (who is surely former Hilleary campaigner Jennifer Coxe), and several others have commented on it, with much of the debate centering on whether this is an "Astroturf" campaign, where the campaign establishes the blog and trumps up the candidate, therefore looking like a grassroots effort but really isn't such. However, I can say that isn't the case with Blogging for Bryant. I came to the same conclusion about the site in much the same way that Adam Groves did - by reading the posts and talking with Ed - before I found out who was running Blogging for Bryant. B4B is a group of young Tennesseans who believe that Ed Bryant should be the next U.S. Senator from Tennessee - period. Jay Bush, who I worked with in D.C. and is currently attending law school in Nashville, is in charge of the site, which probably explains why it is one of the best (if not the best) site for news on the 2006 campaign.

I guess I wouldn't be surprised, given my ties to Ed, if this site is accused of having "Astroturf"-like qualities someday. Of course, jumping to that conclusion ignores the fact that I have ties to Van Hilleary, as well, or that I have never discussed this blog with Ed. Those who know Ed know that he is a traditionalist when it comes to campaigning, preferring face-to-face contact. As Adam Groves notes, Ed is a skeptic of how much blogs can influence a political campaign. I certainly don't think that Ed is alone in that regard, even if I do not share that opinion (especially in relation to new voters and those who are now a few years younger than myself - a new revelation for me as the big 3-0 approaches).

Bottom line: Check out Blogging for Bryant for information on the 2006 Senate race. They have linked to several obscure media sources that aren't frequented by many mainstream bloggers and are a worthy blog for those interested in what is shaping up to be one of the most interesting and lengthy statewide elections in recent Tennessee history.


"Tip jars" and Blogs

Glenn Reynolds found an article from Knight Ridder on tip jars and their use by bloggers. It is interesting to read the different viewpoints expressed in the article. I suppose that it is a decision that each individual blogger must make at some time. For the time being, I don't plan to place any tip jars or ads on VOLuntarilyConservative until such time as the site becomes too traveled and I have to move to my own domain. Right now, the main costs involved with blogging can be shown with time and effort. Once dollars are added to the mix, the issue changes.


TDOT contractor raided by the FBI

Nashville blogger Blake Wylie brings light to a TDOT contractor who was installing illegal guard rails, an act that combined in costing the state millions of dollars while also making the state's roads less safe.

Bill Hobbs goes the extra mile. He sees this as another example of Bredesen's failed major campaign promise to reform TDOT. Kudos to Bill. Without him and Steve Gill (and, to a lesser extent, myself), Bredesen's lack of performance might go unnoticed. What is somewhat more disturbing is that Bredesen has dipped into both the gas tax revenue fund (once considered the "sacred cow" of Tennessee piggy banks) and the lottery fund in this latest budget. Where is the General Assembly on this?


Xanax, beer, guns, and McDonald's - A recipe for disaster

This story from the Kingsport Times-News pretty much speaks for itself. While service at McDonald's has been lacking lately and could thus necessitate the gun (just kidding, folks - I love anyone who can make a burger that has a 30-day shelf life without the need for refrigeration), what was the purpose of the binoculars?


New Census projections - 7.4 million Tennesseans by 2030

OK, now I am for putting a Pat Buchanan-like wall around Tennessee, because I wonder if the changes that this kind of population growth would make the state that I love more like the states where I have lived that I, well, didn't enjoy.

The figures do seem to make sense based on everyday observances. For instance, the surge in Latino immigrants quoted as a 278% increase can be seen everyday here in Knoxville. A great deal of these new residents (as is my understanding) work on large farms in counties surrounding Knox County and venture into the city for shopping purposes. The issue of bilingual education - once foreign to Tennessee but encountered by Southwestern states and others such as Florida - will be a challenge for a future Tennessee governor.

Of course, Bredesen could campaign on that issue for 2006 and then do nothing about it for four years, just like he did with TennCare and TDOT funding in 2002. I doubt many would notice, because there sure isn't a groundswell of misgivings about his failure to deal with his two main campaign promises from the previous election. There is no reason to believe that as a lame duck governor that anything would be different the next go around.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Beautiful Spring day in Tennessee

For those of you reading in Tennessee, I hope you are doing so outdoors. Spring days don't come much prettier than this one, with 75 degree temps, not a cloud in the sky, and light breezes. I hope you all enjoy today, as the next few are not supposed to be as kind. Perhaps (in the spirit of fellow baseball connoisseur Matt White) take in the UT DiamondVols game against Tennessee Tech in Cookeville or the Tennessee Smokies against the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx tonight in Sevierville.


Vietnam vet spits on Jane Fonda at book signing

OK, I love to rip on Fonda as much as the next guy, but spitting a wad of 'baccy in her face and then running away doesn't sound like the brightest thing to do.


Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist - Reynolds and Volokh?

No, this does not mean that Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh are heading to the Supreme Court (but those would certainly be interesting confirmation hearings). Instead, all of the above have been named to Legal Affairs' "Top Twenty Legal Thinkers in America." The polling was not scientific, but it is hard to argue with the results. Well, except for Cass Sunstein. Overall, though, it is an honor for those selected to know that they are held in such high esteem.


Eat more for better health?

I just wish that the government, researchers, and medical community could come to some sort of consensus on how to be healthy and quit releasing contradictory reports like this latest offering.

Half Sigma is fed up with all of the lies and guesses, too. I agree with the chart included in his analysis, too, because, well, I fit in the range. And I was just thinking yesterday that I could stand to drop a few pounds...


Communists for TennCare?

Who knew that Communists were so passionate about healthcare? Or that they could organize into this group? My only suggestions are 1) that Don Sundquist's picture be added right next to any pictures of Lenin or Stalin on the site, 2) that the Commies reassess whether Bredesen is an enemy of TennCare or simply trying to act like he is doing something (ala President Bush with the expiration of the "Assault Weapons Ban"), and 3) that I be counted as part of the Neo-Con Capitalist Swine, with all rights and privileges that accompany such a distinction.


Bob Clement says he is not retired

Blogging for Bryant, a blog dedicated to the 2006 Senate campaign but not directly connected to Ed Bryant's campaign, cites Congress Daily (of the National Journal site group) as reporting that Bob Clement, failed Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in 2002 and former Congressman, still has interest in running again for public office. Blogging for Bryant seems to think that Clement is waiting to see if Harold Ford enters the race, as Ford sure is taking his sweet time in doing so. Quoting Clement:

"The sun doesn't shine on the same dog every day, and if lightning strikes again, I'll be ready to move."

Sigh. That brings back such fond memories of Clement's debates against Lamar Alexander in 2002 where Clement looked uncomfortable with the format, telling the truth, and finally with the English language altogether.


Bredesen's Pre-K Frankenstein

Bill Hobbs has an excellent analysis of Bredesen's Pre-K monster on his front page. It will be interesting to see how newly-elected Senator Jamie Hagood handles this one. I campaigned for Jamie, although it was more of an incident to campaigning for Bush/Cheney in her district.

As I wrote Jamie this morning, it is easy to see where Bredesen is taking us with the Pre-K proposal. Revenue will certainly be needed for this new boondoggle, and with a higher sales tax unfeasible, property taxes already raised recently, and Bredesen's promise not to support a state income tax IN HIS FIRST TERM...


Bolton hearing delayed

The Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee - in a move that would have made Richard Nixon squirm - delayed a vote on the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Allegations have surfaced that he may have thrown something at a subcontractor in a hotel lobby during a disagreement, which is an interesting form of diplomacy but may be the kind sorely needed in the UN.

I hope that Bolton does throw a few things if he makes it to the UN, particularly at anyone having to do with UNSCAM. Maybe then people would take more notice of a line of dirty tricks, backroom deals, and resulting cover-up that makes Watergate look like "The Dukes of Hazzard."

MORE: Powerline lands a few haymakers against the GOP members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, particularly Voinovich and Lugar.

STILL MORE: Roger Simon slams the partisan politics involved.


A loss for Big Orange Basketball

I apologize for the lack of blogging over the past 14 hours. I had to run up to Sevier County, where I help out with the baseball games of the Tennessee Smokies, the AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Smokies lost last night to the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, the AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, in front of an announced attendence of 1,929 that was more like 850.

Keeping with the sports theme, I thought a rare post regarding University of Tennessee basketball might be in order. For those who don't follow the team, Buzz Peterson was fired as their coach in a rather blundered manner by Athletic Director Mike Hamilton shortly after the season ended. Bruce Pearl, formerly of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was named the new head coach, and fan reaction was very optimistic. However, Pearl shortly made curious decisions regarding the hiring of his assistant coaches, and, in doing so, has lost out on what would have been a fantastic recruiting class for UT. First, Jamont Gordon refused to sign with UT and ended up at Mississippi State. Then, yesterday, Tyler Smith announced that he will not be attending UT and has asked out of his Letter of Intent (LOI) in order to attend another school. This is devestating for the UT team, as it was already talent-poor and now will be one of the least talented teams in the SEC and possibly all of college basketball.

However, the real damage may be coming down the road. It seems that Pearl and (in-over-his-head) AD Hamilton are not willing to let Smith out of his LOI, which basically means that Smith will waste at least one and perhaps up to two years of his basketball career (yes, I use the word "career" because Smith is good enough to make a living at this game). Many scorned UT fans are of the opinion that this is "just desserts" and Smith should be made to honor his contract or face the consequences. I think this power play by Pearl and Hamilton is a poor move on two fronts. First, it is poor in theory because the LOI is on the verge of unconscionable (at least, if the case came before Judge Huddleston). By signing an LOI and being admitted (notice, not enrolled) at a university, a student-athlete can lose two years of eligibility under current NCAA rules even though the student-athlete never once stepped on the campus of the university. However, the school doesn't have to keep that student on scholarship for - well - any time. In this sense, the NCAA LOI is the perfect example of what Ralph Nadar refers to as the "non-bargained-for contract" - one side of the deal creates the document, while the other has no choice but to sign the contract or not play the game, buy the car, etc. The second reason why this is a bad move for Pearl and Hamilton is that is political suicide with other recruits. Tyler Smith is well-liked by many players in the mid-state and in Memphis - two of the hotbeds for talent in the Class of 2006. By playing hardball with Smith, UT can expect no interest from the likes of Willie Kemp, Branden Wright, and Thaddeus Young. Without talent being infused into UT's lineup for the next few years, Hamilton had better hope that Pearl is the next Bobby Knight...

Rumor has it that Tyler Smith will end up at the University of Florida when things are all said and done. I guess that will be "just desserts" for UT - watching three native Tennesseans starting for a Gator team that is up by 50 on your own talentless team. Bruce Pearl might be a great guy, but his performance with recruits over the past few weeks has been nothing but a failure.

UPDATE: Looks like Tyler Smith's father is doing as I predicted - ruining UT basketball by providing damaging press for the school. I don't blame him, because, as he says, this move by Mike Hamilton is designed only to hurt Tyler Smith, not to help UT. I would probably do the same thing, truth be told, if it was my son involved.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


House (and Senate) of Horrors

I would love to say that I am surprised by this from "The Hill," but I'm not. The buildings in general (Hart Senate Office Building being an exception) are shockingly hazardous in places. If I had a nickel for every time that I thought the only elevator that goes to the fifth floor of Cannon House Office Building wasn't going to make it...


The Pope and environmental policy?

By far one of the strangest stories I have come across in months is this one from Reuters that hit the wire a few hours ago, prior to the announcement from the Vatican as to the new Pope's identity. Frankly, I can understand the writers and their originality for looking at new angles on a story that threatened to last for several days as black smoke continued to billow out of the most watched chimney since Mary Poppins was released at the theaters, but the connection between the Pope and environmental policy is a real reach.

The whole article is a bit strained, as if religious peoples all over the world are engaged in a strenuous debate over the use of the planet. Perhaps the need for the appearance for such a controversy is the reason for this statement:

"The Bible has passages that suggest humans have free rein to dominate the earth and exploit its resources. But others stress a responsibility to safeguard the planet."

Maybe I am a bit rusty on my Bible knowledge (we discussed "speech control" during Sunday school this past weekend at Immanuel Baptist), but I don't remember any references to "exploiting" Earth's resources in the King James translation. In fact, I don't believe that domination is used - seems that I remember something about "exercising dominion" over all of the Earth. While this may seem a trivial matter, the lawyer in me says that the difference in the text speaks to two different images - one of man as the dominant master irrespective of the rights of his subservient planet, the other of man using a gift given to him by the Almighty as an apprentice carpenter would use a tool given to him by his mentor. It seems this is yet another glaring example of journalists coloring an article by controlling the language.

UPDATE: I have been told that Rush Limbaugh commented on much the same thing earlier this afternoon on his radio show. And I promised that this wouldn't be a regurgitation of the GOP party line...

I'll try harder next time.


BREAKING NEWS: New Pope Chosen

I have to say that I am surprised that this happened so quickly. Although I am not Catholic, this is certainly an important development, given the large number of Catholics worldwide and how important strong leadership can be at at the global or national level for a faith (see the fall of the Methodists and their declining membership numbers).

Of course, I am just giddy that the word "conclave" will quickly disappear from all newscasts...

UPDATE: The new Pope is Germany's Joseph Ratzinger, who, at age 78, is only 6 years younger than his predecessor. Ratzinger is a traditionalist, so it is unlikely that there will be any dramatic changes in Catholic doctrine during the near future.


A new era begins...

Welcome to my latest venture - my very own blog. Having been substantially influenced by Glenn Harlan Reynolds during my tenure at The University of Tennessee College of Law, it was only a matter of time before I stepped into the Blogosphere in more than a contributory role. As this is only my second attempt at website creation (my first being my family's website), I certainly expect a learning curve, but I am a decent writer (with experience at The Daily Beacon and The East Tennessean, where I was Executive Editor) and figured that this was certainly worth the shot.

First, I want to introduce myself so that readers are aware of who is posting all of these rants. I was born in the East Tennessee city of Kingsport during the country's bicentennial. My parents were not particularly wealthy - as could be evidenced by calling a trailer "home" for several years of my early childhood - but through hard work, determination, and a scholarship, they have been able to do quite well for themselves. I was raised in many geographic locations - Knoxville, TN; Orlando, FL; Bluff City, TN; Cockermouth, England; and Johnson City, TN, to name a few. I turned down some of the more prestigious schools to attend East Tennessee State University as a member of their Honors Program. Besides the scholarship, it was the opportunity to play tennis at an NCAA Division 1 school that sold me on ETSU. I had intended on studying medicine after graduating from ETSU, and I did just that for nearly 2 years in Chicago. However, after being elected President of the student body in my second year, I was exposed to the ugly side of medicine - the big business of HMOs, Medicare, and doctors determined to protect their turf by "eating their young." It shocked me, and, after a particularly harsh meeting one night, I walked past my rented condo and into Lincoln Park. It was then that I decided to leave the medical profession. Eventually, that led me to the place where my Mom always said I would end up - law school. Having spent a good deal of my childhood on the campus of The University of Tennessee, there wasn't much of a decision as to where I was going to attend school. Law school, as those who have experienced the two can tell you, is not as rigorous as medical school, so I was able to rekindle my passion for politics in my spare time while at UT. My first experience with campaigning had come while I was at ETSU, working campaigns for Bill Jenkins and Bob Dole in 1996. Arriving at UT in 2000 was perfect timing in the election cycle, resulting in my working for George W. Bush that year and again in 2004. In between, I spent time on Capitol Hill with Ed Bryant and Fred Thompson (in the Governmental Affairs Committee), worked Ed's Senate primary bid in Tennessee, and took a position with Van Hilleary and Lamar Alexander during their general election bids in 2002. After passing the bar at the conclusion of law school, I moved with my wife, Angela (a Vanderbilt alum - although she is responding to the reeducation in a wonderfully Big Orange way) to Washington, D.C., where she had previously completed law school at George Washington University. After working for the National Rifle Association in their Office of the General Counsel, I returned to Tennessee as part of Bush/Cheney 2004. While in the state, I started to question why I ever left. Angela and I now reside in Knoxville.

So, now you have my life in a nutshell. I have always been a big fan of blogs, having first been exposed through Instapundit, but having since graduated to Bill Hobbs, South End Grounds, and hosts of others that I won't attempt to name for fear of leaving someone out. While I agree with Professor Reynolds much more than I disagree with him, I should note that we are not politically aligned. As he has noted, I am farther Right than the Instapundit's brand of libertarian thought (although, I believe that I am beginning to gravitate more towards Neal Boortz's latest views, which seem to be an intermixing of libertarianism with a strong dash of traditional conservatism, but more on that later). This will not be a GOP lovefest, by any means. For instance, I only jumped aboard the Bush campaign this time around because of his opponent and having met persons that Mr. Kerry had personally injured. In my dealings, I honestly believe President Bush to be a conservative at heart, but the party continues to eschew a traditional conservative approach to government in favor of "compassionate conservatism," which seems to be conservatism without the messy conservative convictions, ideologies, beliefs, and standards that get in the way. While I will be quick to criticize GOP blunders, that won't mean the Democrats are off the hook. The Republicans may have a hard time staying conservative, but that certainly doesn't mean the Democrats are right about much of anything. In any case, I wanted to be perfectly clear about where I was coming from so that readers will know my biases and preferences without any misrepresentations.

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