Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The Vanderbilt Commodoobies?

Chancellor's Honors Seminar at Vanderbilt?

Gordon Gee, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, has a long history of lecturing the other SEC schools on their moral duty of educating the youth of the South.

Apparently, that "morality" includes out-of-control spending and smoking marijuana in the chancellor's mansion.

The story was first carried by the Wall Street Journal's print edition yesterday, but reactions around Middle Tennessee have been swift over the past 24 hours. The Tennessean and Nashville Scene both have commentary today.

Reactions from the power players at Vanderbilt have ranged from the apathetic to the truly pathetic. I guess this is what some of the cultural elite have come to expect from their institutions of higher learning these days.

Vanderbilt should be ashamed. I'm just glad that I have dibs on the best thing to come out of that university.

More from the blogs:
Not So Confidential
Where Most Needed
Truman Bean

MORE: Can anyone confirm that this is person is delivering Vanderbilt's commencement address this December?


Bredesen and the Tennessee Supreme Court

Mike Faulk over at Mountain 'publican has an excellent read on Bredesen's fight with the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission over the selection of a replacement for Adolpho Birch on our Supreme Court.

Mike, who, God willing, will replace RINO Mike Williams as State Senator during the next election cycle, believes that Bredesen is playing politics with the judiciary. It does make sense that Bredesen wouldn't want to deal with this issue (or resuscitating the income tax) until after the November election.

I have added Mountain 'publican to the blogroll, as well. It's a move long overdue.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Remarks on Week 4 Poll

Ohio State remains the unanimous choice of the Internet Rankings Alliance of College Football, as it has been since Week 1. With the Buckeyes visiting #13 Iowa this weekend, it's likely that Ohio State only needs to keep winning to retain the top spot, since Auburn and USC haven't exactly been playing actual competition on a week-in and week-out basis. (Buffalo, Auburn? Y'all should be ashamed...)

The Big 10 continues to look strong with the pollsters, as Michigan leapfrogs Florida and West Virginia to the #4 spot.

The big news this week are the tumbles taken by Notre Dame and Georgia after barely winning games against ridiculous opponents that they should have blown out. Georgia, by all rights, should have lost to Colorado, a team that lost to D-1AA Montana State a few weeks back. The national media, which protects Notre Dame like Greg Anderson protects Barry Bonds, tried to build up Michigan State in the week preceding the contest with the Fighting Irish in East Lansing, but savvy football fans weren't fooled. Notre Dame will continue to roll against the likes of the Girl Scouts, Idaho School for the Blind, and the Coast Guard, but that won't change the fact that this is not a very good football team. On top of that, callers to national radio talk shows are beginning to question whether Charlie Weiss can coach defense. Based on the results thus far, I have to side with "No."

Their struggles saw undefeated Georgia fall from #8 to #11, behind two teams (LSU and Texas) that have one loss. Notre Dame took a tougher slide, landing at #17 from #13 last week and #4 two weeks ago.

Last week saw what many believed to be as a lackluster weekend of college football produce several good games. Let's hope the same happens this week, as only a few games (OSU/Iowa, Alabama/Florida, Oregon/Arizona State) look promising.


IRA-CF Rankings - Week 4

Here are the Week 4 rankings from the Internet Ranking Alliance of College Football (IRA-CF).

1) Ohio State
2) Auburn
3) Southern Cal
4) Michigan
5) West Virginia
6) Florida
7) Louisville
8) LSU
9) Texas
10) Oregon
11) Georgia
12) Virginia Tech
13) Iowa
14) Oklahoma
15) Tennessee
16) TCU
17) Notre Dame
18) California
19) Clemson
20) Rutgers
T21) Florida State
T21) Boise State
23) Nebraska
24) Georgia Tech
25) Connecticut

Others receiving votes: Missouri, Washington.
Schools receiving 1st Place votes: Ohio State.
Fell out of the poll: Arizona State, Boston College.

Thank you to all of the pollsters who contributed.

Past polls:
IRA-CF Rankings - Week 3
IRA-CF Rankings - Week 2

IRA-CF Rankings - Week 1
IRA-CF Rankings - Preseason

Monday, September 25, 2006


Bredesen's Failure on Illegal Immigration

Just in case you missed it last week, you need to read Bill Hobbs' post on Bredesen refusing to debate his illegal immigration failure.

This is one issue where Jim Bryson can wipe the floor with Bredesen.


Following the Money

In between daily doctor's appointments for the VOLConWife and more football games than most people could stand, more than a few people spoke with me this weekend about the U.S. Senate race. My conclusion?

Harold Ford is galvanizing Republican support for Bob Corker.

Two areas that each voter mentioned in regards to their newfound support for Corker were 1) Ford's poor choice to film one of his negative ads against Corker in a church and 2) Ford's money pipeline from out-of-state sources.

On the former issue, I wasn't sure at first how Ford's use of a church to attack a political opponent would play in the Bible Belt. After recent discussions, I think it's safe to say that it has turned many people off, and many of these people were confirmed "Undecided" voters and fence-sitters.

On the latter issue, the same people who felt that Bob Corker was trying to buy the Senate seat in the primary by dumping huge amounts of personal cash into his campaign coffers are now flocking to Corker as Hollywood and New York liberals continue to fund Ford's general election bid. It's a well-known fact that Appalachians - which would include East Tennesseans - find little more offensive than the notion that someone is attempting to buy someone's actions. In this case, that action is walking into the voting booth in a few weeks and pulling that lever for Harold Ford. From a recent Corker press release:

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Bob Corker has raised 93% of his campaign funds from inside the state of Tennessee, while Congressman Ford has raised a paltry 32% in state.

When traditionally Republican voters see that statistic and others that show Harold Ford as the #2 most-prolific fundraiser in Hollywood behind only the current U.S. Congressman representing the district that includes Hollywood, it strikes a nerve. Certain voters who might not have joined on with Bob Corker's earlier attempts at party unification may be finding their way into the Corker camp simply by the actions of the Ford campaign.

I suppose this isn't entirely unpredictable. The more that Harold Ford tries to make conservatives think that he's one of them, the harder they look at his record and motivations. In the end, they cannot come to any other conclusion than this - Harold Ford is not one of us.

MORE: Although it isn't an issue that resonates with many Tennessee voters, I do like to read about Bob Corker paying attention to issues like the one below, one that Harold Ford dares not touch for fear of angering his trial lawyer friends:

Brownsville, TN - Corker expressed his concern about the lack of specialized doctors, including no OB/GYNs in Brownsville and Waynesboro and numerous other rural counties in Tennessee.

"I have talked to many doctors and patients across the state and the one thing they all agree on is that we need to get commonsense medical liability reform passed as soon as possible," stated Corker. "Excessive lawsuits have caused many physicians to stop practicing, and today in many rural counties across Tennessee, there are no residing OB/GYNs providing patient care in places like Haywood and Wayne Counties, or are seriously underserved as I learned in Hardin."

Friday, September 22, 2006


Vol Fans - The Friday Skinny

No. 15 Tennessee vs. Marshall

Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville (capacity 104,079)

Surface: Tifway Bermuda grassed mowed at ¾ inch height which drains 12 inches an hour thanks partially to a 16 inch crown in the center of the field.

Time: 4:00 P.M.

VolWalk: The Vols will make their way to the stadium at 1:45 P.M. from the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex.

Pride of the Southland procession: The band makes their way to the stadium at 2:20 P.M.

Vol Network's Kickoff call-in show: Starts outside of gate 21 at 2:30 P.M.

Tennessee legends of the game: Former Vols Travis Stephens and Kevin Mays will be honored.

Weather: Click here for the latest game day forecast

Traffic: Click here for the latest traffic information from WBIR television

Television: The game will be shown on pay-per-view Randy Smith (play-by-play), Pat Ryan (analyst), and Mike Stowell

Radio: Vol Network in Knoxville, WIVK 107.7 fm,
Bob Kesling, play-by-play
Tim Priest, color analyst
Jeff Francis, sideline reporter

Last time out:Tennessee lost to Florida 21-20; Marshall lost to Kansas State 23-7
Last meeting: Tennessee beat Marshall in 2003 34-24

The coaches: Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee 1972) At Tennessee: 130-38 (.774/15th year)Versus Marshall: 1-0
Mark Snyder (Marshall 1988) Overall: 5-9 (.357/2nd year) At Marshall: 5-9 (.357/2nd year)Versus Tennessee: first meeting

Injuries: Tennessee: Inky Johnson-shoulder, out for the year
Arian Foster-ankle, doubtful
Jared Hostetter–knee, out
Austin Rogers-shoulder, doubtful

Thursday, September 21, 2006


A Hectic Week

My apologies for the lack of blogging this week, but life has been quite chaotic. Colds for myself and the VOLConWife have not helped issues. Neither have important court dates in Sevier and Blount County (one of which goes to hearing today).

On the bright side, I became an uncle for the second time Wednesday afternoon, when my sister gave birth to a 6 pound, 9 ounce beautiful baby boy. "Bubba," as he will be known in my house, joins two-year-old "Spike" as the focus of my influence on the next generation. If pictures are forwarded my way, I will post them here.

Back to the chaos...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


IRA-CF Rankings - Week 3

Here are the Week 3 rankings from the Internet Ranking Alliance of College Football (IRA-CF).

1) Ohio State
2) Auburn
3) Southern Cal
4) West Virginia
T5) Michigan
T5) Florida
7) Louisville
8) Georgia
9) Texas
10) LSU
T11) Oregon
T11) Virginia Tech
13) Notre Dame
T14) Tennessee
T14) Iowa
16) TCU
17) Oklahoma
18) Clemson
19) Florida State
20) Arizona State
21) California
T22) Boise State
T22) Rutgers
24) Boston College
25) Nebraska

Others receiving votes: Alabama, Penn State, Texas Tech.
Schools receiving 1st Place votes: Ohio State.
Fell out of the poll: Alabama, Texas Tech, Miami.

Thank you to all of the pollsters who contributed.

Past polls:
IRA-CF Rankings - Week 2
IRA-CF Rankings - Week 1
IRA-CF Rankings - Preseason

Monday, September 18, 2006


More to come today

I hope to post more about my latest views on Bob Corker, as well as the contents of telephone discussions I have had with the brass at NRA over their actions in the Great State of Tennessee, later on today.

Unfortunately, work and fighting the illness that has whipped me pretty good (and nearly caused me to pass out at the UT/Florida game - just ask the VOLConWife) have to come first.

I urge all to check out the "Comments" section of last week's post on Lincoln Chafee and the RNC. It seems that a small skirmish in the battle for Tennessee conservatism can be seen up in the positions taken there. And as I vacillate on my support of Bob Corker, I see both sides of this argument.


George Allen

New posts are up over at Tennesseans for Allen on the latest political rankings out of Political Derby and Sunday's Allen v. Webb debate on "Meet the Press."

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Why no Gameday for UT/Florida?

Several people have wondered why "College Gameday," the hit ESPN show that forecasts that weekend's action from a particular college location every Saturday morning, isn't in Knoxville (or, in the alternative, at Auburn for the visit by LSU). Chris Fowler, one of the three stars of the show, had the following to say in one of his columns on, an interesting perspective that many believed to be the case:


Great memories

Of the 10 regular-season SEC games matching top 10 teams, we've had the privilege of watching seven from ringside, reveling in the drama. The Tennessee-Florida wars of 2000-02; Auburn's pounding of the Vols, with big Tiger-lover Sir Charles standing next to us on the sidelines at Neyland Stadium; and LSU's heart-stopping OT triumph at Tuscaloosa last year … those are memories that will last.

This is why I believe an explanation is needed for why GameDay won't be in Auburn for LSU's visit this Saturday.

For 13 seasons, the locations of the GameDay road shows have been editorial decisions based on the college football landscape. The basic principle was to (almost) always come from the site of the "biggest game," or occasionally, "the best story." Several times, we have visited the edge of the radar screen to pay tribute to the Mid American Conference's rise (at Bowling Green), the service academies (Air Force and West Point) or the tradition of the Bayou Classic.

Now, the philosophy has been rethought by upper management. For the first time, the competitive landscape of football programming is a frequent consideration. Serving the needs of ABC's new prime-time package of games is often a priority. The decision on GameDay's site is less a clear-cut "best game" philosophy now and is more complicated, made on a landscape where terms like "synergy" and "branding" live.

Please know this: Lee, Kirk and I have no say in decisions on GameDay's location. But as host of the show for 17 years, I am mainly concerned with the show's specific legacy, not the global college football landscape.

The first two weeks of the season were no-brainers. It made sense to follow Notre Dame to Georgia Tech and sit ringside for the first 1-vs.-2 regular-season game in 10 years last week in Austin. This week, the decision was made to come from the Los Angeles Coliseum, where ABC will be set up.

Executive vice president Norby Williamson asked me to relay his reasoning: Nebraska and USC, both visible programs with storied pasts, are colliding for the first time in 35 years, and this might be one of the few chances to showcase a Pac-10 location, keeping the show regionally balanced.

The SEC should feature a lot more big ones in the coming months.

This is important: Williamson said fans still can expect to see GameDay return to the SEC or to Notre Dame for games televised on CBS and NBC. That's a relief to me. LSU's visits to Florida and Tennessee loom large, as does Auburn's trip to the Swamp. Georgia versus the winner of the Vols-Gators clash will be huge.

Any of those games could carry national title weight.

So, who knows? I am hopeful. But just in case we don't make it there quite as often, I would truly miss broadcasting from Gainesville, Knoxville, Athens, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Baton Rouge and Columbia. SEC campuses have consistently provided the most passionate, colorful and, uh … "spirit"-ed backdrops for the show.

Hands down. No other conference is close.

Even if we don't visit you as much, please don't stop visiting us Saturday mornings. We will continue to give teams from America's strongest football conference, and the Fighting Irish, their due any way we can.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Gator Grillin'

With The Undecided Philosopher and others tailgating at my house, I felt obliged to continue my tradition of preparing some actual gator for the Florida/Tennessee game.

If any of you are thinking about doing the same, the KNS staff have compiled some great recipes for fixing the reptile. I am leaning towards an actual gator grilling, which is a change since I usually end up frying the gator.

In honor of my fellow Chicago Bear fan, The Undecided Philosopher, I have also commandeered some wonderful cheese bratwursts and maple sausages.

Just a typical Vol tailgate, with enough food for the entire Vol Navy.


Vol Fans - The Friday Skinny

No. 13 Tennessee vs. No. 6 Florida

Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville (capacity 104,079)

Surface: Tifway Bermuda grassed mowed at ¾ inch height which drains 12 inches an hour thanks partially to a 16 inch crown in the center of the field.

Time: 8:00pm

VolWalk: The Vols will make their way to the stadium at 5:45 pm from the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex

Pride of the Southland procession: The band makes their way to the stadium at 6:20 pm.

Vol Network's Kickoff call-in show: Starts outside of gate 21 at 6:30 pm

Vol legends of the game:Former Vols Dale Carter and Tom Myslinski will be honored.

Weather: Click here for the latest game day forecast

Traffic: Click here for the latest traffic information from WBIR television

Television: The game will be shown on CBS Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), and Gary Danielson (analyst).

Radio: Vol Network in Knoxville, WIVK 107.7 fm,; Bob Kesling, play-by-play; Tim Priest, color analyst; Jeff Francis, sideline reporter

Last time out: Tennessee beat Air Force 31-30; Florida shut out Central Florida 42-0.

Last meeting: Florida beat Tennessee in 2005, 16-7.

The coaches: Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee 1972) At Tennessee: 130-37 (.778/15th year) Versus Florida: 5-9; Urban Meyer (Cincinnati 1986) Overall: 50-11 (.820/5th year) At Florida: 11-3 (.786/2nd year) Versus Tennessee: 1-0.

Injuries: Tennessee: Inky Johnson-shoulder, out; Arian Foster-ankle, game time decision; Ramon Foster-ankle, will be available; Jared Hostetter–knee, out; Jakouri Williams-ankle, out.


Ford is not doing his "job" in Washington

Bob Corker recently hammered Harold Ford on never having had a "real job" in his life. Ford, speaking on WNOX radio, was quite literally enraged at the allegation, saying that being a Congressman was certainly a "real job." Corker, of course, is right in this case, as service in the Congress is not a "real job" as most Tennesseans qualify it. The truth is that Ford has never worked a real job outside of the position of privilege that was handed to him by his corrupt father.

Now, in a story in Friday's Knoxville News-Sentinel, the Corker campaign has issued a statement that chides Ford for missing votes in Congress. Not only has Ford never worked a day in his life, but he doesn't see the need to represent the people of Memphis through his position of privilege in the U.S. Congress. The Ford campaign's response:

Michael Powell, senior adviser to Ford's campaign, said, "Ford did exactly what he should have done, which is spend time with first responders in Knoxville rather than be in Washington to vote on a meaningless nonbinding resolution."

Wrong. Ford's duty to the people of Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District is to be in Washington - not Knoxville - and vote in their interests. If Ford wanted to avoid his responsibilities and become a full-time campaigner, he should have resigned his seat in Congress many moons ago.

Junior, you can't campaign as Congressman Harold Ford if you don't want to live up to your duties in Congress.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Harrell to Play Against Gators

When I first heard this, my thoughts were of Alec Baldwin's character in Pearl Harbor, where he speaks of his pilots being from Tennessee, and how you can't underestimate "the heart of a Volunteer."

Justin Harrell's playing with a torn biceps tendon, running through the "T" for one last time wearing the orange and white?

That's the stuff of legend.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Chafee Wins Primary

I watched closely last night as the returns poured in from Rhode Island's precincts. As I had predicted, Lincoln Chafee survived, much to the chagrin of conservatives like Save the GOP who supported his opponent, Steve Laffey.

I have a couple of comments. First, if conservatives want to challenge moderates (which might be generous in the case of Chafee), they need to present actual conservatives as opponents. Laffey was not exactly a conservative, as I have pointed out on several of the national blogs over the past few months. He has a record of raising taxes, and that does not represent a conservative philosophy of governance. I didn't support Laffey because he looked like a moderate to me. He might have been more conservative than Chafee, but that still doesn't make him conservative. We could argue over whether Hillary Clinton or John Kerry is more conservative, but that still doesn't make either a conservative.

Second, Laffey's record isn't stopping the media from framing this as a major conservative defeat. Of course, that's what they want. Whatever...

Third, any conservative who ever gives a dime from this point on to the Republican National Committee is a traitor to the very ideology that makes him or her a conservative. The RNC's involvement in this primary was disgraceful. The White House, Elizabeth Dole, the NRSC - they all should pay for specifically targeting what they believed to be a conservative challenge to a man who proudly refused to support the War on Terror or the Bush tax cuts. Whether Laffey is a conservative for this argument is irrelevant; the RNC thought he was one, and we saw how they made every effort to take him out.

Am I mad? Extremely. It makes me think that conservatives might have to suffer short term losses to free ourselves of the shackles that the RNC has placed on us. The only way that the RNC can be taught a lesson is through the loss of political power, and that starts with the balance of power in the Congress in 2006.

Funny. RNC involvement in Rhode Island might be the tipping point as to where my vote is cast in Tennessee in November.

Defeating the liar Harold Ford is an important cause. Ousting the establishment that has corrupted the Republican National Committee and made conservatives the slave class of the Republican Party may be a more important goal.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


IRA-CF Rankings - Week 2

Here are the Week 2 rankings from the Internet Ranking Alliance of College Football (IRA-CF).

1) Ohio State
T2) Auburn
T2) Southern Cal
4) Notre Dame
5) LSU
6) Florida
7) West Virginia
8) Georgia
9) Oklahoma
10) Florida State
11) Louisville
T12) Texas
T12) Michigan
14) Virginia Tech
15) Tennessee
16) Miami
17) Nebraska
18) Oregon
19) California
20) TCU
21) Rutgers
22) Boise State
23) Alabama
T24) Texas Tech
T24) Arizona State

Others receiving votes: Penn State, Boston College.
Schools receiving 1st Place votes: Ohio State.

Thank you to all of the pollsters who contributed.

Past polls:
IRA-CF Rankings - Week 1
IRA-CF Rankings - Preseason

Monday, September 11, 2006


Guest Post from Vance Cheek

Vance Cheek, a dear friend of VOLuntarilyConservative, submitted the following piece on 9/11. I am grateful that he did so, although I apologize for not posting it sooner due to a full day in criminal court.

After reading the post, I am sure that it is worth the wait. It interestingly taps into my own frustration today, which peaked when a caller to a sports radio talk show blasted the hosts for not buying into the phony-baloney hoo-ha that the rest of the media was passing off as true patriotism and loyalty to country.

Without further adieu...


"September 11, 2001 - Five years of frustration"

Not so long ago, ABC and Ted Koppel defended their right to read the list of names of those heroes who have died in the War on Terror. Today, on the 5th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, no primary media service would hold for the entire readings of the names of those who died in the World Trade Center. Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and their cable subsidiaries all cut away for macabre discussions with talking heads or for ramblings of retired evening news anchors who talked about how their coverage of 9/11 padded their resumes.

This is my problem with the instant gratification, 7 minute sketch comedy, Woodstock-ish, ADD-like attention span of the Baby Booming controlled media. 364 days out of the year, attention is focused on the failure to find WMD's, Bush's "abuse of power" by tapping overseas calls and atrocities committed upon our Nation's enemies on the battlefield in the Iraqi Theater and/or at Gitmo. However, on September 11th every year the media has to squeeze the misery of thousands into a 24 hour period.

As I watched the memorial services in frustration today, I was stunned sadly at the lack of patriotism in the broadcasts. There were no comments of "This is why we are at war." or "This is why we must fight the War on Terror overseas rather than here" or even "Thank God the Bush Administration has made America and the world safer". Rather, there were interviews with 5 year old children asking "Are you sorry you didn't get to know your Daddy?" or discussions with women cloaked in the beauty of strength and determination forged from the fire of tragedy being asked "Do you miss your husband? Has it been hard without him?" Ridiculous!

I remember this day because it stokes my passion for this Country. This is why I offered myself for public service and this is why I will do it again. The media may blur the line between what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil; however, my parents raised me (as I am certain your parents raised you) to know that there is good and evil in the world. 5 years ago, evil spawned from the mouth of Hell killed over 3000 innocent people in evil's name. Today we must remember that we have done what we have done and we do what we continue to do and we will do whatever we must do in the name of that which is good.

Philippians 4:8 says "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, dwell on these things." This is what is good. This is for what we are fighting. Let no one confuse us, let no one blur the lines. We fight for freedom, we fight for peace, we fight for the victims' names read today but not broadcast.

Let us never forget. Let our resolve never waiver. Let us always serve that which is good and may God always bless America.


Pro-Life Group Takes Swipe at Romney

I posted on this subject over at Tennesseans for Allen.


Stop Shuler?

I admit that I have been watching the race in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District with some interest. In that race, former UT hero/Washington Redskins disaster Heath Shuler is running as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Chuck Taylor. Taylor has significant connections to the Jack Abramoff scandal, which makes his vulnerability understandable. The latest polling in this race was completed in early July, so there's not telling who is leading now (the race was within the margin of error at the time).

I know Heath through his help with some of the past Republican campaigns here in Knox County. I wouldn't have much of a problem with him if his first acts as a Congressional candidate weren't to run to Barbara Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, and the rest of the liberal establishment to kiss their rings and gain significant financial assistance. Even if I thought well of Heath during his time in Knoxville, his actions showed where his votes were aligned. You can be a good person and still be bad for the country.

In any case, I received several e-mails last Friday asking for my opinion on the StopShuler website and their faux political ads that had made their way to YouTube. Well, here is the latest one for your own perusal:

Shuler's people are reportedly irate with the videos. They need to relax. It's humor, people! No, Heath Shuler wasn't responsible for the murder rate in D.C. or for Juwan Howard, but it does seem interesting to the casual observer that he can be connected to the bad ole days of D.C. Other ads from StopShuler even connect Shuler with that nasty "L" word. No, not "liberal." I'm talking about "Leaf" - as in, Ryan Leaf.

It will be interesting to see how this one turns out. The liberal money in Asheville is seemingly hellbent on seeing Shuler back to Washington. Given the passions of NFL fans (especially in Washington), it might be safer for Heath to move back to Knoxville.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Realty Blogging?

Within the past week, at least two Tennessee bloggers have posted about selling their homes. Even more interesting is that both homes are "craftsmen cottages" and look eerily similar.

If you are in the Knoxville area, perhaps you should talk to Katie about her house for sale in the Oakwood/Lincoln Park area.

If you are in the market for a home in Kingsport near Sullivan South High School, give Ben a call about his place.


Vol Notes

The Vol Walk, UT vs. California

A few notes regarding Saturday night's game versus the Air Force Academy:

One final note regarding a request on how to treat our guests Saturday night. Normally, we let the opposing team and, to a lesser extent, opposing fans have it at Neyland. With the Air Force Academy, many diehard Vol fans have proposed some slight changes. In particular, I urge Vol fans not to "boo" the Falcons when they enter Neyland. Normally, most fans erupt as the Vols run through the "T" and then lustfully "boo" the visitors as they run on the field. Let's not do that Saturday night. Let's applaud these young men. They aren't going to the NFL after 4 years of college football - they're going to fight in battlefields around the world.

Greg Amsler - one of the best fullbacks in UT history - sent an e-mail my way that said the following:

"Cheer them when they take the field and when our band plays their fight song, and at the end of the game, as these young men are our future defenders and deserve the recognition."

I agree. Now I'm not saying to make Neyland the mausoleum that it has been over the past few years. Cheer during the game, by all means. The Air Force guys will be using a cut block scheme that may result in several of our guys getting hurt and possibly missing the Florida game (or worse). From whistle to whistle, treat this like a normal game. Just bring some perspective into the pre-game and post-game festivities. That's all I ask.

Should be a fun weekend! Enjoy the game, the tailgates, and the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans!


Vol Fans - The Friday Skinny

No. 11 Tennessee (1-0) vs. Air Force (0-0)
Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville (capacity 104,079)

Surface: Tifway Bermuda grassed mowed at ¾ inch height which drains 12 inches an hour thanks partially to a 16 inch crown in the center of the field.

Time: 7:00 P.M.

VolWalk: The Vols will make their way to the stadium at 4:45 P.M. from the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex

Pride of the Southland procession: The band makes their way to the stadium at 5:20 P.M.

Vol Network's Kickoff call-in show: Starts outside of gate 21 at 5:30 P.M.

Tennessee legends of the game: The Vols will honor Tennessee's original four retired jersey numbers. Nowling, Klarer, Fuson and Tucker will be honored on the field.

Weather: Click here for the latest game day forecast.

Traffic: Click here for the latest traffic information from WBIR television.

Television: The game will be shown on pay-per view with Randy Smith (play-by-play) and Pat Ryan (analyst).

Radio: Vol Network in Knoxville, WIVK 107.7 fm,
Bob Kesling, play-by-play
Tim Priest, color analyst
Jeff Francis, sideline reporter

Last time out:
Tennessee beat California 35-18
Air Force is opening their season Saturday night.

Last meeting: Tennessee beat Air Force in 1971, 34-13

The coaches:

Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee 1972)
At Tennessee: 129-37 (.777/15th year)
Versus Air Force: First meeting

Fisher DeBerry (Wofford 1960)
Overall: 165-101-1 (.620/22nd year)
At Air Force: 165-101-1 (.620/22nd year)
Versus Tennessee: First Meeting


Jared Hostetter–knee, out
Jakouri Williams-ankle, out
Bret Smith-concussion, doubtful
Dan Williams-ankle, questionable
Jerod Mayo-ankle, probable, but how much is unknown.

Vols Looking to Give Air Force the Cal Treatment

Here are a few different angles on the Cal game.

At least, they're different to me since we were sitting two rows from the top of the stadium.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


A Glimpse of the Future?

The RNC has released a new website, America Weekly, which is designed as the "newspaper of the future" - the future that would be if the Democrats took over both the Senate and House in the 2006 elections.

Lord knows that I have been critical of the RNC and its Net efforts, but I'm not so quick to hammer this one yet.

Give me some time to think and explore before I offer my editorial.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Judge Wilkinson Goes Off the Reservation

Last year when names were being tossed about regarding the vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court, J. Harvie Wilkinson, Judge on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, was one of the names that received a good deal of attention.

Thank God that didn't come to pass.

Take a gander at Wilkinson's missive in Tuesday's Washington Post. I would love to tear apart his argument, but it would honestly take too much time, as it is wrought with errors and "straw men."

From the op-ed, one has to wonder if Wilkinson even understands the democratic process that most states use regarding amending their respective state constitutions. Heck, a reader has to wonder many things about this jurist after reading his passionate plea.

One has to suspect that, should any same-sex marriage or civil union case come before the 4th Circuit, the AG defending the state or commonwealth would certainly move for Wilkinson's recusal. He certainly voiced his opinion on an issue that may come before his bench - a judicial no-no - and should not be allowed to sit as an unbiased arbiter of same-sex matters.

Also, if a Supreme Court vacancy comes open over the next few years, I doubt that Wilkinson receives a call from the White House.

I have been quite the critic of the Bush Administration, but I do have to give them credit for steering clear of Wilkinson and instead going with Roberts and Alito. Maybe it was luck, but perhaps Bush knew what he was doing. I guess I will give the White House the benefit of the doubt on this one.

MORE: Chris Stovall at Constitutionally Correct, the Alliance Defense Fund's new blog, has more on Judge Wilkinson.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


IRA-CF Rankings - Week 1

Here are the Week 1 rankings from the Internet Ranking Alliance of College Football (IRA-CF).

1) Ohio State
2) Texas
3) Southern Cal
4) Auburn
5) Notre Dame
6) West Virginia
7) LSU
8) Florida
9) Oklahoma
T10) Georgia
T10) Florida State
12) Tennessee
13) Louisville
14) Iowa
15) Michigan
16) Clemson
17) Penn State
18) Miami
19) Virginia Tech
20) Nebraska
21) Oregon
22) TCU
T23) California
T23) Texas Tech
25) Alabama

Others receiving votes: Arizona State, South Carolina, Rutgers, Georgia Tech.
Schools receiving 1st Place votes: Ohio State, Texas, Southern Cal.

Thank you to all of the pollsters who contributed.


Santorum-Casey Debate

Judging from the vast majority of blogs and media accounts surveyed, it appears that Rick Santorum won his "Meet the Press" debate with Casey quite handily. (Of course, if you are a regular reader of this site, you already knew that was going to happen.) Remarks like these from Save the GOP seem the norm.

Momentum is a powerful thing, people. Santorum might be the hottest Senate candidate in the country right now. He's made up nearly 20 points in 2 months, and he's in a statistical dead heat with 2 months to go.

Unless something unforeseen occurs, Santorum will retain his seat for another 6 years.


Labor Day Blast

What a fantastic weekend!

Obviously, Saturday was the highlight, with the euphoria from the Vols' spanking of the pretenders from the West Coast casting everything this week in a different light. The VOLConWife and I walked to the stadium in time to catch the Vol Walk. Due to some buses being in the way, we were able to stand between two of them and greet every player and coach as they made their way into Neyland Stadium. I should have pictures by the end of the day. It was the most fun I have had at a Vol Walk ever.

We were also able to mingle with the political heavyweights before the game. "Big" Jim Bryson had his tailgate running at full steam, as did Bob Corker. Jim provided the VOLConWife and I with some much needed pizza and Coke, which was greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, Bob had some major guests at his tailgate - Lady Vols Coach Pat Summit and Vols Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl. Rep. Stacey Campfield and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam were also spotted at Corker's tailgate tent.

For Jim, this was a good event to help raise his name ID, particularly because the Bredesen campaign team must be suffering from sympathy tick bite symptoms given their lack of presence at UT Saturday. Bob Corker, in the meantime, already has that "rock star" appeal. He appeared to be mobbed from the time of his arrival until I traveled into Neyland.

The VOLConWife and I really enjoyed the game - even if we were in the second-to-the-top-row in the southwest corner of the stadium (Section PP). As usual (and I have sat in every section of Neyland Stadium save the North End Zone in the Upper Deck), the breeze made these seats extremely comfortable, and you can tell what is going on from the "nosebleeds" quite well.

With that said, here are a few of my grades for the game:

Quarterback - B+
Erik Ainge played quite well. He made several good decisions within Coach Cut's offense. However, the interception was his fault, and he needs to gain more confidence in his cannon arm so that he can zip the ball to his receivers, especially on routes in the flat. He throws several more INTs against an SEC defense. Probably his best pass was his read on Swain's TD. Crompton flattening the Cal safety on the QB draw in the 4th quarter was a sign of things to come from him.

Running Backs - A-
This grade is an "A+" if you take out David Yancey's ill-fated run. Of course, one can fault the coaching logic of putting the 4th stringer (Yancey) in before the 3rd stringer (Coker). Foster ran with power, Coker ran with speed, and Montario Hardesty showed plenty of both. These three harken back to the days of Garner, Stewart, and Hayden in the early 1990s.

Wide Receivers - A
Routes were crisper. No real drops (although the TEs had one or two). Robert Meachem looked like no one on Cal's defense could bring him down.

Offensive Line - A+
When your starting QB doesn't hit the ground once and your RBs gain over 200 yards rushing, you can't ask for much more from this unit.

Defensive Line - B+
The front four did well in stopping the run, but UT had trouble pressuring the QB without sending blitzers. This unit will look better if Demonte Bolden and Dan Williams can provide depth. Xavier Mitchell had his best game at DE.

Linebackers - A+++
Chavis may have been right in saying that his unproven linebacking corps was better than his experienced starters from last year. Mayo was awarded national defensive player of the week, Karl led the team in tackles, and Mitchell played his best game ever for Tennessee.

Secondary - A-
Their only markdown here was for a few dropped INTs, but this group has the potential to be one of the best defensive secondaries ever for Tennessee. Morley seemed to be everywhere.

Special Teams - A
Britton Colquitt's 59-yard punt that turned into a better spiral than Casey Clausen ever threw was a thing of beauty. Perhaps more important was the lack of mistakes in receiving punts. Robert Ayers' effort on the opening kickoff - which left Cal's starting TE unconscious - was cited by Cal Coach Tedford as significant in setting the tone for the game.

Coaching - A-
My only beef is taking the foot off of the accelerator too early. Yancey's fumble in the 3rd quarter killed UT's momentum. Besides that, Fulmer, Cutcliffe, Chavis, Taylor, and the rest of the staff completely transformed last year's debacle into a thing of beauty.

Pride of the Southland - F
What can I say - when you have 10,000+ fans waiting on you after they were just pumped up by the Vol Walk, you don't show up 24 minutes late. Some were wondering if they had forgotten where the stadium was. Then the halftime alma mater was so quiet that no one could hear it. Much room for improvement.

Concessions - A-
I only bought one Coke (which was probably a contributing factor to my lack of voice Sunday and Monday), but it didn't seem that they ran out of anything (as has happened in the recent past). One small markdown due to a few cost increases, though.

Crowd - A-
In terms of noise and being into the game, this crowd was the best since the national title year of 1998. Two markdowns, though, for 1) the "overrrated" chant and 2) the wave. Guys, you don't chant "overrated" because it demeans your own team. It amounts to, "you guys are so bad that even we beat you." It's a slap at your own team. As for the wave, leave it to sports that can be boring. Soccer, NASCAR (at times), cricket - those sports NEED the wave. Football doesn't.

Officiating - D
It's a good thing that Cal wasn't even in UT's class on the field, because this officiating crew could have tipped the scales if the game had been close. Several dubious pass interference calls against UT, as well as several missed personal fouls against Cal.

"The Strip" After the Game - B-
It's been a while since I made the trip down to Cumberland after a game. It really is sanitized now. Tame. Honestly, it was a bit of a letdown. If it wasn't for the outstanding wings that we took home from Wing Shack, it would have been a total bust.

Sunday brought Boomsday, a Huddleston family tradition since a few days after our wedding day in 2002. We thoroughly enjoyed the best fireworks show in the nation, and we had some excellent conversation with our friends, Ben and Jennifer Farmer, whom we just happened to meet up with in the sea of humanity (crowd estimates were 355,000).

Monday was a visit to the 1st District, although it was more of a feast than anything. The rain cancelled the outdoor festivities, but we drowned our longing for activity in BBQ, conversation, and tennis.

A great weekend - and football season has just begun...


IRA-CF Rankings

The IRA-CF rankings will be released around lunch time today. Voting members are being given a little more time due to the late Miami/Florida State game on Monday night.

Stay tuned...


Last Week's Poll Results

Here are the results from last week's UT-themed poll question:

How many regular season games will UT win this year?

10 or more - 18%
9 - 18%
8 - 15%
7 - 26%
6 - 5%
5 or less - 18%

Most of the votes were cast prior to Tennessee's woodshed beating of California in Neyland Stadium on Saturday. I have to believe that the 49% of voters who thought that Tennessee would have 7 or less wins this year might have a different answer now, especially with a 5-0 start a possibility before the first real road test in Athens.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Intoxicated Lawyering?

I am quite pleased with my court performance this week. And to think that I did it all without the assistance of tequila.

Apparently, not everyone can function in court unless Jack Daniels or Jim Beam is second-chairing their hearing.

There is truly stunning video of a Las Vegas lawyer trying to weasel his way out of being caught with a .075 blood alcohol level - while representing a client in court who is facing life imprisonment!

I really am stunned at this. Part I of the video is here. Part II, along with some commentary and links to other aspects of the case, can be found at TaxProf Blog. (Hat tip: Ben Cunningham.)

I'm not sure what is worst - showing up for a major trial intoxicated, citing past multiple head traumas on the record in front of your client, dictating your previous trial experience as proof that you're not drunk, making up some moral objection to calling 911 after you have reportedly been in an auto accident, or bringing up your dead grandmother as a reason that you showed up for court smashed.

That could be a poll question, but I'm afraid that "All of the Above" might win in a landslide.



Vol Fans - The Friday Skinny

#23 Tennessee vs. #9 California

Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville (capacity 104,079)

Surface: Tifway Bermuda grassed mowed at ¾ inch height which drains 12 inches an hour thanks partially to a 16 inch crown in the center of the field.

Time: 5:30 P.M.

VolWalk: The Vols will make their way to the stadium at 3:15 P.M. from the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex

Pride of the Southland procession: The band makes their way to the stadium at 3:20 P.M.

Vol Network's Kickoff call-in show: Starts outside of gate 21 at 4:00 P.M.

Tennessee legends of the game: The Vols will honor Marcus Nash and Lee North.

Weather: Click here for the latest game day forecast

Traffic: Click here for the latest traffic information from WBIR television

Television: The game will be shown on ESPN with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Bob Griese (analyst) and Bonnie Bernstein (sidelines).

Radio: Vol Network in Knoxville, WIVK 107.7 FM, with Bob Kesling, play-by-play; Tim Priest, color analyst; Jeff Francis, sideline reporter.

Last time out: Tennessee beat Kentucky 27-8 to finish the 2005 season; Cal beat BYU 35-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Last meeting: Tennessee beat Cal in 1987, 38-12.

The coaches:Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee 1972) At Tennessee: 128-37 (.776/15th year); Jeff Tedford (Fresno State 1983) Overall: 33-17 (.660/4th year) At California: 33-17 (.660/4th year).

Injuries: Tennessee: Jared Hostetter–knee, out; Jakouri Williams-ankle, out; Jerod Mayo-ankle, will start, but is limited. California: Tony Dixon-knee, out.


Not Every Californian Likes Harold Ford

Ozarks Conservative, a political scientist from California, lays the wood to Harold Ford and his attempts to be a "mainstream Tennessean."

Nice to see that it's not just conservatives here in Tennessee that aren't fooled by the ridiculous attempts at the privileged Ford to trade his silver spoon for a blue collar.


"What time is it? You know what time it is..."


If you have about five minutes to watch the above video, I highly recommend it. It's a good introduction to this post. (There is something a little more contemporary at the end of this confessional.)

Tomorrow at 5:30 P.M., a team from an inferior conference will invade Neyland Stadium - the California Golden Bears. Many, including Jimmy Hyams, John Wilkerson, and Brent Hubbs, have picked Cal to win.

We cannot allow that happen. I'm now writing to those who will be attending the game on Saturday. It's time we take our stadium back. Neyland has been a house of horrors for our beloved Vols lately, and while there is plenty of blame to go around, some of that lies with us, the fans who attend the home games.

Some have blamed that lack of crowd noise on those in "grandfathered season tickets." Others blame Mike Hamilton for raising ticket prices so that the common fan has been priced out of the stadium, leaving the "country club set" in their place, people who wouldn't want to stand and make noise because it might be uncouth.

I don't care about the cause. What we need is the solution.

If you have tickets for Saturday's game, come ready to give your all for Tennessee - just like the sign says in the Tennessee lockerroom. If you don't want to do that and would rather watch ballet or opera, then find a deserving person to go in your stead.

Am I asking for too much? Maybe, but you have to understand what UT football means to the city of Knoxville in general and me personally.

How deep is my love for the Vols?

My love of the Vols is so great that I disclosed such to my future wife early on (think Fever Pitch, but replace the Red Sox with the Vols). My home office is clad in orange. My work office is filled with orange. A good deal of my wardrobe is orange. A good deal of the VOLConWife's wardrobe has been transitioned from the gold and black of Vanderbilt to orange and white. I decided to buy the house in which we currently live because it is within walking distance of Neyland Stadium. Before I lived in Knoxville, I would play The Pride of the Southland's "Rocky Top" when entering the city. I have taken off of from work/school for every Signing Day since 2000. I have over 7,400 posts on discussing Tennessee football and basketball.

Obsessed? Absolutely. But I am certainly not unique in any sense. There are thousands of others in East Tennessee and beyond with the same obsession.

I approach gameday with the fun and enthusiasm that it demands, but I also see the experience as one of participation. I put out the "Power T" flag early in the morning. When tailgating with friends (which I will not be for this game, as I will be for the next two weekends), menus are planned well in advance and coordinated so that everyone can safely be in position for the VolWalk and band processional. The planning is essential because games are an emotional experience for me, and I don't want to have disorganization interfere with my enjoyment of the game.

It is an emotional experience. I have talked to Pride members who say that - when the "T" opens up, the crowd lets loose, and the fireworks erupt in the sky - they cry. I admit that I often shed a few tears then, too. (The VOLConWife may be convinced to spill the beans on me here, because I might be downplaying this a bit...)

It's the pride in being a Tennessean. It's the honor of having attended this great university, of being called an alum of the The University of Tennessee. It's the common thread that unites those of us who dreamed of running through the "T" and can think of no better place on Earth to be on a Saturday afternoon. It's the memories we have of Al Wilson, Peyton Manning, Heath Shuler, Willie Gault, Anthony Hancock, and so many others.

If you think you might know what I have been writing about in this post, please come to Neyland Stadium on Saturday ready to give it your all. The members of this football team give so much of themselves, risking their health and livelihood for UT. Try to help them in their pursuit.

Have fun, be safe, and cheer to the Vols to victory.

Give your all for Tennessee - today and every day.


GOP Gaining Ground in Senate Polls

Check out the latest poll numbers over at The American Thinker. Of the five most-vulnerable Republican Senators, only two are now trailing, and those two (Santorum: down 4 points; DeWine: down 3 points) are easily in the margin of error.

Like I've been saying - the Democratic optimism oozing out of the mainstream media this election season is identical to that of 2004. They were shocked that Kerry lost. They will be shocked when they wake up on November 8th and the Republicans are still in control of Congress.

I'm hearing that Santorum is making major headway against Casey in Pennsylvania on the immigration issue. It appears that Casey is a big fan of amnesty, while Santorum is one of the strongest advocates of fixing the illegal immigration problem in the Senate. Their first debate is set for this Sunday. Expect a poll about a week or two later showing Santorum in the lead.

My only question is whether Kleinheider and Abramson will come around before Election Day and admit that Casey is not going to win this race.


Agassi's Last Stand

I know that most of you were probably sleeping while the match was being played.

I'm sorry for that.

In one of the better matches of my lifetime, Andre Agassi beat back a cramping Marcos Baghdatis and the hands of time in five grueling sets to remain alive in the U.S. Open, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6. 5-7, 7-5.

I didn't think that Agassi could top his performance against Pavel in the First Round, but this was reminiscent of Jim Courier's war against an emotional Pete Sampras in the 1995 Austalian Open Quarterfinals. Incredible shotmaking turned to pure guts by Baghdatis to come back from 0-4 down in the 4th set, which turned to a war of attrition in the fifth as the 21 year-old Baghdatis saw his body systematically break down while the 36 year-old Agassi managed to find enough to keep on going.

I had hoped that Agassi could beat Pavel. I didn't think that he had much of a chance against the 8th seeded Baghdatis. Now he faces a German named Becker (no, not that one) before possible match-ups with Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt.

Could this be another magical run like Connors in 1991? If Andre makes it through this gauntlet, it might be even more impressive than Jimbo's run to the U.S. Open Finals in 1991 based purely on the level of opposition.

I hope there's more in Andre. I hope there are more matches. I wasn't a fan of his starting off; I didn't think that "image was everything." As Andre has matured, he has shown that he is so much more than image. He has a heart of a champion, and he proved it tonight.

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