Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The End of the Road
As of Tuesday afternoon, Pinkston and Clark endorsed the candidacy of Tim Greene, a South Knox florist who had made a total of zero appearances to answer to the already disenfranchised South Knox voters and has still to this moment refused to make public his letter of intent or resume to those same voters.
Therefore, I am withdrawing my name from the list of those asking for appointment to the Knox County Commission for the 9th District.
I do this not because of Tim Greene and the apparent impropriety that has earned him the endorsement of Pinkston and Clark (note: if you want to know more, follow the trail of flower petals and see which Knox County Commissioner it leads back to), but because of my own integrity in that I said publicly that I would not go against Pinkston and Clark. I am a man of my word - which may disqualify me from serving on the Knox County Commission, but I digress.
I thank all of those who have called, e-mailed, voted in straw polls, and left comments on VOLuntarilyConservative and other sites encouraging my candidacy. I did this more for the citizens of South Knox County as myself, as I have always declared that my interests lie elsewhere when it comes to seeking public office.
I thought that I could help out the deep-seeded corruption that is Knox County politics. (At this point, I must say that, after this little junket into local politics, that Knox County government is more along the corruption scale of 1930s Louisiana and makes the dealings in Washington, D.C., seem like the bastion of integrity by comparison.)
I publicly stated over the past few days that my first act as Commissioner would have been to propose a special election so that the people could popularly choose their elected representatives instead of the despots that felt it better to do such for them. As those in power would have most likely voted that down, my second task would have been to have taken a hatchet to the overfed, pork-laden Knox County budget in the effort of unloading the unnecessary and unreasonable tax burden from the shoulders of Knox County's residents.
It's a shame, but it is obvious to this observer that this corrupt system of government in Knox County has not improved through this appointment process that will result in the fathers, sons, and business associates of sitting Commissioners being appointed to serve. The names may change, but the people making the decisions have not.
I bid adieu to Knox County politics for now. I'm not sure there is a place for anyone with integrity within its current system of governance. The Tennessee Sunshine Law does not exist in Knox County (as reported in Wednesday's News Sentinel), so it cannot provide disinfectant to those who are brokering the deals.
I will not attend Wednesday morning's meeting. The newly appointed Commissioners having all been anointed by their friends and family in power, I see no reason to do so. (I suspect that Brian's Blog will have coverage. As an aside, I can't wait until Brian Hornback is done as Knox GOP Chairman so that he can stop toeing the party line and begin to start telling us what he really thinks...)
Again, thanks to my supporters. Another time, perhaps.
Labels: Knox County Politics
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Tuesday Morning Knox County Commission Update
That being the case, I did attend the Candidate Forum hosted by Commissioner Mark Harmon on Monday night. Most of the activity there focused on the appointments for the 2nd and 1st Districts, but everyone was given a chance to speak their mind. I would say by the time that we rolled around to the 9th District candidates, there might have been less than 45 people present, most of whom were candidates themselves. I did get to finally meet Matt Myers and Josh Lowe, two of the other candidates for the 9th District seat. Both seem like fantastic gentlemen that could proudly represent South Knox County if selected.
Some people have asked me about Randy Hinton. I really don't know much about the gentleman except what I have read on other blogs regarding his connections to Sheriff Tim Hutchison. Incidentally, I am not positive that he has put his name in the mix, to tell the truth. The News Sentinel's site is the only one that lists Hinton as a candidate, and even with that does not link to his letter of intent. With the Knox County Commission site and other sites not listing Hinton as a declared candidate, I really don't know if he has any interest or not. He was not present at the Candidate Forum, so I couldn't ask him then.
One item of note for Tuesday - Attorney Herb Moncier has asked a federal district court to step in prior to the Wednesday appointments. Moncier's arguments were heard before Judge Varlan on Monday morning, and it is possible that Judge Varlan could issue an injunction to stop the whole appointment process prior to Wednesday morning's meetings. I would expect some kind of ruling by Judge Varlan today.
Moncier is asking for special elections to fill the seats. I'm not sure if he has the best of arguments as to the means, even if I do wish that the democratic ends were obtainable.
Labels: Knox County Politics
For the 1000th VOLCon Post...
For my 1000th post, I thought we would come back around to a subject that has always been near and dear to my heart (as well as my former employer) - the right to keep and bear arms.
The NRA put the following alert out a few days back:
SENATE VERSION OF NATIONAL RIGHT-TO-CARRY BILL INTRODUCED
U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) recently introduced S. 388--the Senate version of H.R. 226, a national Right-to-Carry reciprocity bill that would provide national reciprocity for state carry licensees. This legislation would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state if they meet certain criteria. The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would simply require the states to recognize each other's carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses.
For more information on these bills, please visit www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=189.
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Senators and Representative and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 388 and H.R. 226! You can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121, and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121.
Obviously, this is long overdue. I have spoken previously with both Tennessee Senators in 2006 about the need to support such a bill. I'm a little surprised that it has come up this early in the new Democratic reign of Congress, but how S.388 and H.R.226 are handled in the Congress should be a sign of where pro-Second Amendment advocates stand at this present time.
On a similar note, I want to spread the word for readers in the local area that the Knox County Chapter of the Tennessee Firearms Association will be meeting at Bob's Mountaineer Restaurant in Seymour Tuesday evening. A pre-meeting social hour occurs from 6:00 until 7:00 (at which time you can order from the menu or eat from the buffet), with the meeting beginning at 7:00 and usually lasting about an hour.
Our speaker for this meeting is Larry Self from Bass Pro Shop in Sevierville. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A MEMBER OF TENNESSEE FIREARMS ASSOCIATION TO ATTEND.
So come on out, eat some good grub, and spend some time with other Tennesseans who believe in the right to keep and bear arms.
MORE: If you haven't already read it, check out Professor Reynolds' New York Times op-ed from a couple of weeks ago. He writes about the kind of local government that is needed in America.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Update on Knox County Commission
I have received a few phone calls from well-wishers that were of the "I hope you know what you're doing" variety. I appreciate those, and I know that I've stepped out on a limb here by refusing to campaign for a job at this time where only 19 Knox County voters comprise the electorate.
In reading the "Letters to the Editor" in the News Sentinel Sunday, it seems that public sentiment towards this process is as I expected - full of contempt, anger, passion. It almost makes one wonder if the new commissioners should once again vote on whether a special election should take be authorized to take place by the General Assembly.
Other than that, I have heard nothing. I have yet to hear who was selected as the finalists presented to Commissioners Pinkston and Clark, or if those Commissioners have come to a decision regarding their choice for the 9th District seat after receiving the list of finalists. As soon as I hear something, I will post it here.
Having looked at the list of those who have thrown their name in the hat for the 9th District seat, it doesn't appear that I would have a hard time endorsing many of the other candidates if Commissioners Pinkston and Clark choose them. Josh Lowe, Matt Myers, Robert Norton, Chuck Ward - they all seem like qualified candidates from reading their letters and bios on the KNS website.
As for the candidate forum tonight at Whittle Springs Middle School, it is my current plan to attend, providing that court does not run seriously over the normal close of business or that I hear negatively from Commissioners Pinkston and Clark.
I know this doesn't seem like an in-depth update, but the truth is that not much has happened on the Knox County Commission front over the weekend.
(That was actually not too bad of a thing, though, as it allowed me time to plan out and make reservations for the Super Bowl party that is being hosted by The Undecided Philosopher, the VOLConWife, and myself. Hey, the way I look at it - I might be too old to celebrate the next time that the Bears make the Super Bowl at their present clip of once every 21 years.)
Labels: Knox County Politics
Friday, January 26, 2007
A Different Approach to the Knox County Commission
My fear (as was documented previously in this post from earlier in the week and this post from last week) is that the backroom nature of this selection process may erode the faith that the Knox County citizenry has in its legislative body. I don't believe that I am alone in having this fear. In today's News Sentinel, Jim Andrews is quoted as saying that this process "stinks to high heaven," is "backroom politics," and "is a coronation." Strong words, but they cut to the heart of the matter.
I believe that this is a serious problem, and that is why I am blazing a new trail with my candidacy, one that is certainly not the one that people who know much more than I about obtaining office (because most of them are currently in or have previously held public office themselves) have advised.
My candidacy for the 9th District seat is going to be open to the public. Nothing that I do in it will be out of sight from the voters of South Knox County.
There will be no kissing of any rings, no kissing of any babies, no backroom deals or handshakes, no lobbying, or no endorsing of one warring faction over another in exchange for an appointment on the Commission.
To do those things would most probably help my candidacy. It would also be choosing pragmatism over principle, and I have been openly critical on this website of others in politics who do the same thing. I will not be hypocritical on that front.
That being said, I want to update the voters of South Knox County as to what has transpired thus far to get us to this point. On Wednesday, I fielded several calls from various people - some Republicans, some attorneys, some South Knox County residents - asking if it was true that I was interested in the 9th District seat currently occupied by Larry Clark. At the time, I had not planned to get involved with the race (my focus has been documented as being elsewhere), but I started to take notice that so many others were in favor of me serving the community in which I live.
At that point Wednesday evening, I decided to ask the opinion of two people who really matter to our 9th District - Commissioners Paul Pinkston and Larry Clark. I know Paul and Larry through various campaigns that I have worked in South Knoxville and through my involvement with the South Knox Republican Club. I spoke with Paul first, and all that we talked about was the process for getting my name before the Selection Committee that he and Larry had appointed as a clearinghouse for those interested. Paul made it clear that he didn't want to get involved until finalists were presented by the Selection Committee. Larry Clark and I spoke later on Wednesday night, and we spoke of how the process was evolving. He urged me to throw my hat in the ring, but said that I needed to make a decision soon.
My wife, the Republican State Executive Committeewoman for the 6th District, and I then went about the process of deciding whether or not I should announce my candidacy. After looking at the Knox County budget for the past few years, I made the decision to make myself available to the citizens of the 9th District if it was decided that I would be the best to serve as their representative on the Commission.
I cobbled together a letter of interest and made sure that my resume was updated in the wee hours of Thursday morning. A bit after noon, I faxed in my paperwork to the Selection Committee, the Knox County Commission, and the News Sentinel, which is compiling a website of all of the candidates.
Throughout Thursday, calls and e-mails flooded my law office with advice as to how I should go about winning the approval of the Commissioners. I don't feel that I need to get into these conversations because, for better or for worse, I've chosen to take a different path.
Late Thursday night, I received a call from Larry Smith, Knox County Commissioner for the 7th District. We talked for about 10-15 minutes about the process, and he asked me several questions about my agenda for the 9th District. He also cautioned that while he was being proactive in calling all of the potential new members of the Commission, he did not expect others to follow in his stead. He recommended that I make contact with the other Commissioners prior to the January 31st meeting. I greatly appreciate his making contact with me and enjoyed speaking with him in frank terms about what was occurring.
That pretty much has y'all up to date. As we stand now, I am going to let Commissioners Pinkston and Clark make their decision of which candidate they wish to endorse. As of this time, it appears that there are three confirmed candidates with the Knox County Commission's office, with the January 29th deadline fast approaching. If Paul and Larry choose to endorse my candidacy, then I will go about contacting the various Commissioners to introduce myself and ask for their vote on January 31st. Because of my respect for Paul and Larry and the process that they have instituted for finding the best representative for the 9th District, I will not "put the cart before the horse" by organizing a candidacy without their support.
One aspect that I have not mentioned yet are the many inquiries by South Knox County residents regarding my stands on certain issues. As Michael Silence wrote on his site, I'm kind of an open book, with this being my 998th blog post on this site, plus my posts on Blogging for Bryant, the Jim Bryson Blog, and my many newspaper columns. It's hard to find an issue that I haven't taken a public position on at some time.
However, if you have any specific questions, feel free to post them in the Comments here at VOLuntarilyConservative, call my law office (579-9177), or e-mail me (UTLegalEagle-at-Yahoo-dot-com).
While the entire process may be shrouded in secrecy, my particular candidacy will not be. While this may not be the way to win the office, it is the best way for me to remain true to the ideals which I espouse.
Thanks for reading this entirely too long post, and have a wonderful weekend.
Labels: Knox County Politics
Thursday, January 25, 2007
On the heels of RedState's rant on the apparent lack of quality candidates in 2008, one has to notice a theme developing in the commentary concerning our side of the aisle.
Labels: 2008 GOP Presidential Primary
Update on Knox County Commission
As of 12:58 P.M. today, I am seeking the appointment to my good friend Larry Clark's seat representing my fellow citizens of South Knox County. My paperwork was faxed to the 9th District Selection Committee this afternoon.
Labels: Knox County Politics
Webb's Rebuttal Was Good?
This is closer to what I heard from Webb:
Thus, to keep our promise for a new course in Iraq, we will continue to oppose whatever this president says. Whatever course he says, ours will continue to be anywhere between 120 and 240 degrees in the other direction. First, we will offer a non-binding resolution to oppose sending more troops. As my colleague Senator Levin has noted, “the worst thing” of all that could happen here would be the failure of this symbolic act, so let’s hope we can at least agree on something meaningless.
Second, we will continue to harp endlessly about whatever happens.
Read the whole interpreted Webb response at One Free Korea. (Hat tip: Instapundit)
Labels: U.S. Senate
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
An Answer on the Knox County Mess
Would I be interested? Perhaps. I know Larry Clark, and whomever is appointed to his seat has big shoes to fill.
I have three concerns.
1) I, like many people in Knox County, am of the opinion that the-powers-that-be already have their people in place for the appointments. This is a problem on two fronts. First, if you're not that person, you are going to have a hard time being appointed. Second, one has to wonder what kind of public support an appointed commissioner would have if the overwhelming public sentiment is that he or she was put there by inappropriate means. Which leads me to my second concern...
2) I'm not sure that I would want to be part of something that wretches of impropriety. There's no telling how many times Tennessee's Sunshine Law has been violated during all of this mess. Does a person who follows all of the necessary disclosures and works properly within the system risk being swept up with the general discontent aimed at those who have worked against democratic ideals? That's a tough question to answer.
3) I'm not sure if South Knox County would want me on the commission. Basically, I agree with most if not all of what Larry Clark has done during his service on the Knox County Commission. In that sense, I wouldn't be much of a change. However, Larry is much more of a politician than I am when it comes to dealing with the commission. I'm not sure if people want someone who is going to "stir the pot" as much as I might.
Basically, I am undecided right now.
I understand that David Kiger is extremely interested in the position, and I think that David is a nice guy and could be a decent commissioner. However, I have three concerns regarding David. First, I have not seen him at various political functions in Knox County (such as the South Knox County Republican Club meetings) where commissioners would need to be present so that they are accessible to the public. Second, if he still owes the massive tax debt that was alleged against him in the GOP primary in 2006, then he doesn't need to be serving. Period. He needs to focus on getting his house in order and then come back to public service. Third, I am concerned about David's connections to the County Mayor's office. While I have no confirmation of this, I have been told by numerous sources that Kiger is very close to Mayor Ragsdale. I would like Mr. Kiger to be forthcoming with such ties, if they exist, before he sought appointment.
Those are my thoughts as of the morning of January 23rd. We'll see what the future brings.
Labels: Knox County Politics
Losing a Partner
Any managing partner of a law firm will tell you that it's tough to lose a hard-working partner from his or her firm.
It's especially difficult when that partner is your spouse.
Yes, this is the trouble when you have an exceptional attorney in your small firm. All of the other firms and organizations want to hire her away from you.
That's just what happened here. Angela was headhunted by the Department of Children's Services and will begin doing the good work of DCS Legal in protecting Tennessee's children starting February 1st.
So, if you want to know the real reason that I've been a bit scarce lately (and not the fake one), I have been scrambling to help Angela transition out of The Huddleston Law Firm while keeping my own personal caseload moving forward.
That would be tough in itself, but other pro bono services and my recent acceptance as coach of the Austin East High School Mock Trial Team are keeping me rather busy.
For the record, I don't fault Angela at all. Isn't that the dream of most lawyers - to put in the blood, sweat, and tears of private practice and then manage to parlay that into a cushy government position? Heck, I'm proud of her.
I've had my share of offers and feelers to leave for other, larger pastures, but while my workload now is scary (particularly to Angela), I do love one thing that is a bit tough to give up - freedom. Unfortunately, that freedom seems to be more of an illusion than anything. My court schedule is chocked full, to the point that veteran attorneys are aghast at how much time I am in the courtroom.
(One very well respected Blount County attorney today commented that I had become a "court warrior." The last time someone called me that was back in college and related to my tennis career.)
In any case, this post has nothing to do with politics (which, it seems from comments and e-mails, is what most of you want me to write about) or football, so it is probably boring the bejeezus out of most of you. I thought it needed, though, just to let y'all know what was going on "behind the scenes" here at VOLuntarilyConservative.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Hagel to Run as an Independent in 2008?
(I'm not belittling these candidates themselves, mind you, just their chances of success. Actually, the better presidencies would come out of this list and not the top two of Clinton or Obama. The problem is that the Democrats aren't smart enough to nominate anyone outside of the two worst choices. But how is that new news?)
The blurb at the end of the story in the Washington Post was what caught my eye. It stated that Senator Chuck Hagel (R - Neb.) would not rule out an independent bid for the White House.
Hagel could cut an interesting alternative to the two party nominees, especially if the Democrats nominate Clinton. Hagel could lump Clinton's support for the War in Iraq in with the rest of the Republicans that stood by Bush.
I'm not saying that it's going to happen, but it could be an interesting twist on the way to Election Day in 2008.
Labels: 2008 General Election
Sunday, January 21, 2007
My New Career?
Joe Theismann: 2-4
Sean Salisbury: 3-3
Merrill Hoge: 4-2
Ron Jaworski: 2-4
Mark Schlereth: 3-3
Eric Allen: 1-5
Chris Mortenson: 2-4
Mark Golic: 3-3
Why do I bring this up? Well, because someone else was picking games over the past two weeks:
Rob Huddleston: 6-0
Trust me, I'm bringing this up when I submit my resume to ESPN this week...
In the AFC Championship, everyone seems to like the Colts, which very well may spell doom for Manning's team. They have played well this year while the underdogs. Now that they are the favorites, I am having concerns.
In this game, it comes down to one thing for me (as it has the past two weeks) - can the Colts run defense stop the Patriots ground attack? I am of the opinion, especially after the past two weeks, that they can. Corey Dillon looks like he's running in a pit full of molasses, and Lawrence Maroney has been a bit banged up over the past few months. Kevin Faulk, the third down back, scares me more than those two right now, but I have faith in the Colts in this game. Plus, the big stat of this game - the Colts are undefeated at home in the RCA Dome this year. It's one of the loudest places to play in the NFL, and as long as the refs don't allow for the traditional mugging of the Colts receivers by the Pats corners, I think Peyton finally reaches the promised land.
Colts over the Patriots.
Now to the big game...
First of all, I have tuned into weather.com more this week than I ever have in a seven day period. The weather could have a huge effect on this game, as no team that plays in a dome has ever gone on the road to an outdoor stadium for a NFC or AFC Championship Game and won. Those teams are 0-8 lifetime. My good friend Ryan, who is originally from Louisiana and a Saints fan, called me Saturday and said that he, too, has been watching the weather reports all week. So what's the latest from weather.com as of 5:09 A.M. on the morning of the game?
...SNOW ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM CST /4 AM EST/ TO 6 PM CST /7 PM EST/ SUNDAY...
SNOW WILL DEVELOP IN THE PONTIAC... PERU...AND DIXON AREAS AROUND 3AM. THE SNOW WILL SPREAD NORTH AND EAST... REACHING LAKE MICHIGAN AROUND SUNRISE. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS NORTHERN ILLINOIS AND NORTHWEST INDIANA WITH A FEW AREAS OF 5 INCHES POSSIBLE BY SUNDAY AFTERNOON. THE MOST STEADY SNOWFALL WILL OCCUR DURING THE PERIOD FROM AROUND SUNRISE TO MIDDAY. THE SNOW SHOULD BECOME INTERMITTENT DURING THE AFTERNOON.
A SNOW ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Yep, there's a 60% chance of snow during the game, with temperatures not reaching freezing all day. One has to wonder if the cold won't hurt the play of Drew Brees (who played in San Diego before heading to New Orleans), Deuce McAllister (from Ole Miss), and Reggie Bush (a Southern Cal kid).
The Bears weakside run defense is a concern, as McAllister loves to run to the weakside and Hunter Hillenmeyer has had trouble lately filling the gap on that side. Hillenmeyer, an outstanding Vanderbilt product that the dumb Cheeseheads let go for nothing, has had a good season, but he needs to take on the fullback in order to allow backside pursuit to tackle the bruising McAllister. I think that's the key to the game, because if New Orleans can't run the ball, then our front four can get after Drew Brees in bad weather.
As for when the Bears have the ball, I would look for a steady diet of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. The Bears have a great interior line anchored by perennial Pro-Bowl center Olin Kreutz, and poor weather will suit the Bears gameplan fine as they look to pound the rock inside. If the game does come down to Rex's ability to put the ball in the air, I think Chicago is still OK as long as the protection holds up. The Saints have an excellent front four and could terrorize Rex in third-and-long situations, so it is important for the Bears to earn positive yardage on first and second downs.
The ESPN pundits (who have all picked the Saints to win) downplay homefield advantage, and with the weather conditions I believe them to be wrong in doing so. Soldier Field is a tough place to play, and dome teams have traditionally been worse on the road in the playoffs than the average (ask the Colts about trips to Foxboro). Brian Urlacher (whose jersey I will be sporting today) believes that the Soldier Field crowd will be the difference:
"Playing at home, our fans are loud. They’re excited right now, just like we are, so I think that’s going to be the biggest difference in the game.”
Homefield is huge here, and I think it means the difference in a nailbiter.
Bears over the Saints.
Enjoy the games!
Football over Blogging
This, of course, is a tribute to the real Superfans of SNL fame.
(OK, that's not me in the Superfans Shuffle. No, really, it wasn't. I swear. Although, I have eaten several bratwurst and Polish saaasssages this week...)
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Saturday Headline Outrage
Here are just some of the headlines that raised my blood pressure this weekend from the "Local" section:
"Foreign dependents have rights to to workers' comp aid" - Gee, thanks, liberal Tennessee Supreme Court. Is it even worth the General Assembly attempting to fight illegal immigration when the Executive Branch does nothing to solve the problem and the Judicial Branch grants rights to nationals of other countries? Also, I could have guessed that Justice Connie Clark wrote this opinion. She's Bredesen's 2005 pick to the Supreme Court who was probably picked for the High Court due to her longstanding service on the Tennessee Democratic Party's Executive Committee. Expect more of the same as Bredesen continues to appoint Democrats to all open judicial slots.
"Ford says that he can't afford lawyer" - As many of you know, I work in the state courts of East Tennessee. Most of my clients are indigent, and I represent them through appointments by the courts. To receive indigent counsel (either in the form of the Public Defender's Office or a private attorney), a defendant has to first qualify by filing an Affidavit that lists one's assets, debts, employment, etc. This story states that former Senator Ford earned nearly $100,000 last year. I have personally witnessed Tennesseans denied court-appointed attorneys who earn 1/5 of Ford's take from 2006, much less his $207,285 in reported income (and God knows how much unreported income is there regarding the alleged bribes and kickbacks). He doesn't deserve an appointed lawyer, and the Court is making a grave and wasteful decision if it allows him one. Heck, let Harold Ford, Jr. defend him. He says he's a lawyer, after all...
"Berrong takes issue with citizen's complaints" - Am I the only one who wonders why the Blount County Sheriff's Department thinks that it has to replace police cars every 100,000 miles? I surely can't replace my car every 100,000 miles. Why is the government any different?
"Wilder still gets free plane parking" - OK, why did he ever get free parking?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Colbert & O'Reilly - Together at Last
This should be fun. Don't miss it,
Funny Headline of the Day
Now that's a judicial edict that most husbands can probably get behind...
AP Story on Ramsey Nothing but Pathetic
The Associated Press really outdid itself this time. Their "study" showed that Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey's PAC made completely legal contributions to 1) Republican candidates and 2) other Republican PACs. But - and here's the kicker - ALL OF THIS WAS DONE LEGALLY! Gasp! The horror!
Bill Hobbs has an excellent accounting of the "story."
I guess the unearthing of nothing is still newsworthy in the eyes of the mainstream media.
Democracy Falls in Knox County
That should be the text of the road signs welcoming new residents to our fair county. Democracy has failed, much in part to a short-sighted Tennessee Supreme Court decision that was long on law and pragmatism but short on solutions. Maybe they could scroll those words into the new "Gateway Bridge" that TDOT erected over I-40 that cost Tennessee taxpayers so much money.
The Supreme Court left the power in this case to those who have been squabbling over it for years. These same power players have protected their offices (for the most part - I hate to lump everyone in together, because then good men like Larry Clark get swept in with others who are not so just) and now will appoint their successors to protect their own interests.
Quotes by people like Randy Tyree that this process will be open and honest show that those in power think that the average Knox County resident is as dumb as a stump, or perhaps those in power have lost touch with reality and lack the competency to serve.
Take a look at Michael Silence's excellent posts regarding what is happening here in Knox County. Mike is all over this story, but even that is just the tip of the iceberg. This government is being set up through phone calls, text messages, and e-mails that no one in the public will ever see. Everyone involved is producing the same drumbeat, that this process is "open" and will be decided in forums. Since all of these names are out there - and not by happenstance, mind you - and no forums have been convened, these claims of openness and honesty appear to rival the used car salesman's claims of "good condition." Gene Patterson is also posting heavily on the subject.
The whole process is sickening. There's Mark Cawood reportedly trying to get his wife appointed to his seat. That's a bit amusing, especially since it has been alleged that it was pure nepotism that got her the current job she now holds at the Knox County Juvenile Court Clerk's office. Then there's Lumpy Lambert acting as kingmaker, all but endorsing the Cawood family spot on the Knox County Commission.
Then comes word that a plan is being floated that would have Tim Hutchison with the Sheriff's Office in some capacity until he has enough time in to collect his $80,000+ annual pension that was recently narrowly approved by Knox County voters.
Praise the Lord for Herb Moncier. He saw the problems coming and filed suit in federal court earlier this week to have special elections for sheriff set so that we can end the republic/aristocracy that currently exists in Knox County and return us to the democratic form of government that most of the country enjoys. Moncier believes that the same provision that he is citing in his suit would include the other offices, but he didn't include them in his suit because his clients are not parties to that particular suit.
I wonder who has been anointed to serve my Ninth District on the County Commission. I'm sure it will be decided prior to any "open forum."
What a mess.
Labels: Knox County Politics
Monday, January 15, 2007
Something to think about for the NFC Championship Game
Dome teams are 1-9 on the road all-time in NFC/AFC Championship Games.
The only win?
Atlanta over Minnesota in 1999 - which was one dome team beating another dome team. So no dome has ever gone on the road to win a Championship Game against a non-dome team.
In addition, the 'Aints have 6 total playoff games in franchise history. Two of those games have been played outdoors, four indoors.
The 'Aints lost the two outdoor games by a combined score of 52-26.
Finally, there is another weather system headed towards Chicago that will dump some snow on the Windy City. There's some debate as to whether it arrives on Sunday for the game or perhaps Monday.
You know when I hope it hits...
Sunday, January 14, 2007
I wish we could be dumb like Europe
BRUSSELS -- A European Commission proposal to slash greenhouse-gas emissions by the end of the next decade has highlighted a growing trans-Atlantic split over global warming that is further stressed by a recent poll that shows Europeans are more concerned about climate change than terrorism.
Perhaps Europeans don't mind being in a graveyard as long as there is a healthy supply of grass six feet over their heads.
Google - Tool of Terrorists?
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Glenn Reynolds was talking about this sort of thing in our Space Law class 6 years ago.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
What time is it? It's gametime!
Only seven more football games left this year!!! Enjoy these while they last.
Last week was nice with the Bears not playing, for the simple reason that I could enjoy the games without becoming a nervous wreck. In all honesty, I have been nervous about this week for days, not because of who we are playing (the Seabags) but because of who we are. We are Chicago, and that doesn't usually bode well when the chips are down.
That being said, I will be holed up tomorrow afternoon with The Undecided Philosopher (a fellow Bears fanatic) in an undisclosed sports location in the 1st District to watch the Bears-Seabags game on Sunday. The weather forecast has gotten worse all week, so hopefully we can show the pansies from the Northwest some real Bear weather.
Angela still can't believe the level of hysteria that exists in Chicago for the Bears. Honestly - saying this is a huge college football fan - there isn't anything at any college that compares. Take a look at some of these fan videos with original audio to get a sampling of what I mean:
Now to this weekend's picks:
Colts over the Crows - Everyone is focusing on Manning's match-up with the Ravens' corners, but no one seems to be talking about how Freeney abused Ogden last year when these teams tangled. Ogden is a year older, and Freeney is a year better. Unless Jamal Lewis remembers how to be Jamal Lewis (and that hasn't happened this year), I think the Colts have a legitimate shot at the upset.
Saints over the Eggles - The Eggles barely beat the G-women. I'm not sold on the Saints, but its the weakness of the opponent that is driving this pick, along with a noisy Superdome.
Patriots over the Bolts - I have picked against the Patriots for years in the second round of the playoffs. This year should be no different. They have a poor running game with slow-as-molasses Corey Dillon and a banged up Maroney carrying the load. Their receivers are retreads. The defense is old. They shouldn't win this game against LT, Gates, and Merriman. Which is why they will. Belichick is everything that Schottenheimer isn't, and when the chips are down, I'm not picking against a clutch coach and a clutch QB against a rookie QB and a coach with a history of playoff choke jobs.
Bears over the Seabags - Word is that everyone in Chicago is worried about the game to the point of nausea. But that's the thing with this Bears team - much like Phil Fulmer's UT teams, they play better when no one gives them a chance and victory looks to be an impossible goal. Alexander is still dinged for the Seabags, which will make it tougher for Seattle to expose the gaping hole that Tommy Harris' injury left. If the Bears can keep Seattle out of 3rd and shorts, I think we could be looking at a fairly convincing win with Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson shouldering the load on what looks to be a poor weather day in the Windy City.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Knox County Government Thrown Into Turmoil
My immediate reactions:
1) I didn't see this one coming, and, as per norm, I disagree with our learned liberal Supreme Court.
2) I REALLY didn't see this one coming regarding the so-called "constitutional offices." While I don't bemoan Hutchison's exit, for example, I thought his legal argument - that his office was protected from term limits due to its roots in the Tennessee Constitution - to be novel and eventually dominant. Apparently not.
3) Chaos reigns in Knox County now, but this, too, will pass. A plan will be formulated that will lead to the selection of new officeholders, and everything will be back to normal in no time. The time between now and that resolution, however, will be full of fireworks and backroom deals.
4) It's a shame that South Knox will lose Larry Clark to term limits. Larry is an outstanding representative of our part of the county, and whomever is selected to finish out his term certainly has big shoes to fill.
Labels: Knox County Politics
Poison Pill to begin the Senate?
Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what that means either, but I have a bad vibe here. Several of the conservative membership organizations like American Family Association are extremely nervous that the bill's language may make it impossible for anyone but the federal government to comment on federal legislation. If that's the true effect here, then obviously we have cause to worry.
In checking on things today, it appears that the bill is being loaded down with bizarre amendment after bizarre amendment, and the names "Kerry" and "Reid" keep on popping up on the amendments.
Are we about to lose yet more First Amendment rights while we sleep? It certainly wouldn't be the first time...
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Pro-Life Candidates Voting as Pro-Life Congressmen?
I'm proud of Heath Shuler, because he was one of those 16. That might be the best performance by a UT Vol thus far in 2007.
Also voting against the bill were Tennesseans Lincoln Davis, David Davis, Jimmy Duncan, Marsha Blackburn, and Zach Wamp, while the rest of the lot (Gordon, Tanner, Cooper, and Cohen) went with the pro-abortion Democratic herd.
One good thing - the 253 aye votes aren't enough to override President Bush's promised veto. In fact, this bill only gained a mere 15 votes from where it was passed last year.
Democrats and their Loss of Power
This is akin to what happened in 1994 when the Democrats lost control of the Congress at the federal level. There will be much moaning and complaining about partisanship coming up, because that is code for "the other party that hasn't been in control in several generations now has control and we ("we" being the Democrats and the media) don't like it."
The Rep's post is well worth the read. There are many contentious days ahead for the General Assembly.
Labels: General Assembly
ABA Continues to Lose Face
Of course, you shouldn't care since the ABA is only a "professional organization for lawyers."
They have no agenda. None whatsoever.
Take a look and let me know if there is anyone I missed who needs to be added.
Images of Chicago
More on the Minumum Wage Debacle
Catch the latest from John Norris Brown.
Also check out the symposium over at National Review Online, where several people with PhD's in economics and fancy titles explain in layman's terms why jacking up the minimum wage is an awful idea and hurts the disadvantaged workers most of all.
Is that Harold Dean's new DNC slogan? "The Democratic Party - Politics Over Poverty."
Nothing like a little political grandstanding at the expense of America's working poor, huh, Speaker Pelosi?
Labels: Minimum Wage
A Little More on the Lt. Governor Vote
"And to my Republican friends, you don't really think Williams is with you, do you? He told Wilder he would be voting for him. I hope you don't buy that "change of heart" bull he said he had during the night."
I'll answer. No, I don't for one second believe that Mike Williams is with us. That not only comes from his commitment to Wilder, but it mostly stems from what he told (and didn't tell) Republicans around the state that were lobbying him for the past few months. I won't reveal more here, but he's certainly not "with us."
As for a "change of heart," my only response to that is what I heard a defendant say to a respected judge after the judge did not buy the wildly imaginative excuse the defendant provided earlier this week:
Labels: General Assembly
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
House Democrats Declare War on Small Business
If the Democrats are against small businesses, are against large corporations, and are against people who make minimum wage (every worthwhile study has shown that a good number of minimum wage earners will lose their jobs because of this ridiculous bill), who exactly are they for?
Notre Dame Should Have to Join a Conference
Ramsey as Lt. Governor
Since some like Sarah Gentry of TeamGOP thought it necessary to blame Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Bob Davis when it appeared that Wilder would be elected to yet another term as Lt. Governor, will those same people now give him the praise now that Wilder is just another senator?
Looking Back to Go Forward
John Beckwith: Have you ever looked at your life and felt that it's gone a direction that you hadn't planned?
Claire Cleary: Yes. Yes, I have.
- From Wedding Crashers
I am empathetic to Russ Greene, the defense attorney in this case. One has only to handle a few of these demanding cases of alleged child abuse or aggravated child abuse to start to question his own occupation.
(As an aside, there is an interesting evidentiary note in this case, as the KNS story reports. Apparently, the accused's blog is about to be introduced into evidence.)
On an equally sad note, I was in Knoxville's City-County Building yesterday researching a case for a colleague when word started to filter out that a body had been found in North Knoxville. I found a few good sources who told me that it was indeed the body of Channon Christian, 21-years old and the boyfriend of 23-year old Christopher Newsom, who was found deceased the previous day.
I pray that the Knoxville Police Department is successful in their pursuit of Christian and Newsom's killer. I pray that he is brought to justice. I pray that this episode is brought to an end.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
What? No editorialization on the Tennessee-Penn State game? No pithy commentary on how vastly superior the SEC still is to the Big 10 even after the Vols and Razorbacks both got stymied by Penn State and Wisconsin? Or are you holding out hope for a Gator victory next week to justify the SEC's continuation as a BCS conference? I feel jipped...
Rob Huddleston said...
Patrick -Wait - you're crowing about a 2-4 bowl record for the Big 10? That's funny.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Kudos to Oatney
As A.C. points out, David has more than just a mild talent for radio interviews. If David had the morning spot on WNOX, I would consider going back to local radio and giving up my new Sirius receiver (for the morning, at least).
A few notes:
- Mumpower doesn't believe that he ran against Bill Dunn for House Minority Leader. Now that's some spin...
- Mumpower doesn't read blogs. Perhaps Stacey Campfield can work on that.
- Mumpower says that he hasn't talked to any bloggers other than Campfield. Uh, well, I've talked to Mumpower. In 2006, in fact. In our own home county (Sullivan). Maybe I wasn't memorable enough.
- Mumpower all but admits that he is a pragmatist on issues. That pretty much backs up a great deal of the criticism that has been lobbed at Mumpower throughout his career.
- Mumpower pushes the idea of passing a separate educational budget prior to the regular budget. On that, I think that Rep. Mumpower has found a valuable tool in combating Governor Bredesen's out-of-control spending, and I support him in this procedural maneuver.
- Mumpower's answers to the gun rights' questions by Oatney were a bit light on the details, if you know what I mean. I thought Oatney's question was straight forward. Mumpower responded by giving his NRA rating. That's not what David asked.
- Mumpower is all for "Blog Day" on the Hill, but there is no mistaking that he is anti-blog and doesn't trust bloggers as far as he could throw one. There's no real problem with that; it's just there.
Excellent work by David Oatney - a wonderful example of how to conduct an interview and share it with the masses.
Labels: General Assembly
Interesting Remarks from David Fowler
Would Republican Leader, Rep. Jason Mumpower, be willing to lead a coalition effort?
Interestingly, the current Republican Leader, Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol, who has now said publicly that he will "work with Naifeh") was historically one of the Republican House members most critical of the Republican "alliance" in the Senate. But his recent election as Republican Leader, defeating last year's Republican Leader, Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), has left some wondering what kind of leadership Rep. Mumpower will provide.
Is the Republican Caucus "conservative, and bent on becoming the majority" or will it "moderate" and take what it can get as a minority party?
When Rep. Tre Hargett stepped down as Republican Leader in 2005, conservatives pushed for Rep. Dunn over Rep. Mumpower, both of whom eventually withdrew (Rep. Casada is now the Caucus leader). Rep Dunn was pushed for leader because conservatives believed he would stand his ground with Speaker Naifeh, which he did, even according to his critics. But Rep. Dunn's defeat as Leader has left some wondering aloud what kind of leadership the Republican caucus wanted and what kind of leadership he will provide. There was credible talk that Speaker Naifeh preferred Representative Mumpower for Leader over Representative Dunn. But, the Caucus did elect as Caucus Leader Glen Casada who is known to be one of the more aggressive Republicans anxious for a Republican majority. This seeming difference in personalities and methodologies has left some perplexed as to where the caucus stands philosophically. I guess time will tell.
Indeed, time will tell...
Labels: General Assembly
Moore on the Minimum Wage
Moore is right, of course. Every credible study out there shows that such a minimum wage increase has two predictable effects:
1) A certain percentage of people will lose their jobs as their employers financially juggle wage costs.
2) Small businesses suffer.
The entire episode by Pelosi is full of sound and fury to create the appearance that the Democratic Congress is doing something. The truth is that a great percentage of those earning the minimum wage are teenagers on their first jobs who contribute to an average household income much greater than my own.
You don't cure poverty with a minimum wage increase. It simply is not the solution, but the Democrats can't do anything about the problem, so they will at least make it look like they are doing something about the problem by getting some people laid off and hurting small business.
Gotta love that Democratic leadership...
Labels: Minimum Wage
Just about sums it up
"As far as the GOP nominee goes, it’s still too early for me to even venture a guess. I miss Reagan."
- Terry Frank
Me too, Terry. Me too.
Labels: 2008 GOP Presidential Primary
Bobby Hamilton - R.I.P., 1957-2007
Mediocre Governor wants to reward Mediocre Students
But that's the deal with Tennessee politicians - mostly the Democrats but also some Republicans who appear to care deeply about education in this state. They want to increase graduation rates at high schools and colleges just so they can have diplomas at the end, not even bothering to see if the students learned anything or not.
No one wants to hear it, but Tennessee schools are failing at a massive level. One only has to look around to see the problems. More parochial schools are springing up. Homeschooling is increasing by leaps and bounds as concerned parents refuse to trust the State with the education of their children. Ask recent college graduates. You're going to hear a great deal of them state that they stuck around to get their diplomas, but most of them didn't gain actual college-level knowledge on a daily basis.
Now people like my good friend Senator Jamie Woodson will point to some success with magnet schools, and those are unarguably success stories. However, I'm talking about the big picture here, and on that level Tennessee schools are behind the curve.
Bredesen's proposal to send everyone with a 19 cumulative ACT - over 2 full points below the national average - to a community college on the State's dime is asinine. Students who earn a 19 on the ACT shouldn't be paid to go to college; they surely shouldn't even be going to a four-year college. Community colleges or tech schools like Northeast State Tech and Pelissippi State are more along their academic levels, because sending them to a supposed "institution of higher learning" is either going to result in their personal failure or the dumbing down of the system. These community colleges are extremely affordable already, and when compared to what a person can earn as a ratio of what they have to pay in tuition and fees, community colleges are a much better deal that their four-year counterparts. But Governor Bredesen thinks its just what Tennessee needs - a new educational Welfare program. That shouldn't be surprising, since he has continued the medicinal Welfare program we already had (TennCare), started another one (CoverTN) to drain more taxpayer dollars, and then set forth what will be the biggest Welfare program of all in decades to come in the Pre-K program.
Everyone's favorite new Congressman, Steve Cohen, had an equally destructive proposal to lower the GPA requirements.
This all leads back to the philosophical purpose of government (which I have been reading about a great deal lately due to my acceptance as a reviewer for the University of Chicago Press). Why does government exist? People like Bredesen and Cohen believes that it is there to provide assistance. Other people like Michael Polanyi (the subject of a book I hope to have reviewed by the weekend) believed that government's roll was to inspire greatness but to practically stay out of the way.
Which type of government do we have in Tennessee - a "nanny state" or one that is inspirational?
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Bittersweet Football Weekend
It's tough for all football fans this weekend, as the realization that we only have 11 more NFL games left this year before we slip into the coma caused by the thuggery known as the NBA and the pharmacological marvel known as Major League Baseball begins.
It's especially tough for fans of good football teams, because all we have are these weak teams playing this weekend - teams that couldn't qualify for the bye week.
So, for those people who demand excellence out of their football teams, I once again bring you yet another Bears video, since Da Bears will not be on television this week. Instead, they are at home - as they were last year on Wild Card weekend.
As for predictions this weekend:
Chefs over the Colts' pathetic run defense
Cowpokes over an injured Seabags team
Eggles over the G-women
Patriots over the J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets!
UT fans may also want to keep an eye on the U.S. Army High School All-Star game. UT commit and the #1 CB in the nation Eric Berry will be playing, as will Gerald Jones (#3 Athlete in the country). UT targets Chris Donald (#1 LB in the nation) and Ben Martin (#3 DE in the nation) will be announcing their college choices, and the latest I have heard is that both will pick The University of Tennessee as their home for the next 4 years.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Big Day for Senator Corker, Congresswoman Blackburn
Congratulations to Senator Bob Corker, who yesterday had the Senator-elect tag removed when he was sworn into the U.S. Senate by Vice President Dick Cheney.
The eyes of the state (and indeed the nation) are fixed upon Senator Corker as the nation's only new Republican in the Upper Chamber. He is putting together an excellent staff, and I suspect that he will be more than up for the challenges that lie ahead.
In addition, a hearty congratulations goes out to Marsha Blackburn for being selected as a Deputy GOP Whip yesterday. It is an honor to be selected as such and shows how Marsha is held in high standing by her colleagues.
Wilder Says He Has Williams' Vote
My favorite line in the article is the following:
"Noted for his bipartisanship, Wilder has manned the Senate's helm for 36 years."
I would have written that another way, like perhaps:
"Noted for being the punchline of the Tennessee Senate for the past decade, Wilder has manned the Senate's helm for 36 years."
I wonder if the Tennessean thinks that Mike Williams is noted for his bipartisanship, as well.
Labels: General Assembly
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Congratulations, Bama! Since your boosters have been buying and selling players ever since Bear's death, you should have no problems with Nicky Saban, a man - ur, person - who preached commitment and loyalty to his players and then left them high and dry at every opportunity. Which players am I talking about? Well, all of them, from Cleveland to Lansing to Baton Rouge to Miami.
Mike Shula was too much of a good human being for your team and your university. Nicky Saban (as some of the guys on ESPN Radio were saying yesterday, he deserves to be called "Nicky" because "Nick" is a man's name) fits perfectly.
Enjoy the wins while you can, Bama fans, because Nicky is always just a Gulfstream ride away from his next job.
The Fighting Irish will end the postseason losing streak that dates back
to 1994 because next season they'll be playing in some second-tier bowl game
in a non-descript place like Shreveport, La., which is where they should
have been playing during much of the last two decades.
ESPN's Mark Schlabach
Read the rest of Schlabach's article, because it tells the truth about the state of Notre Dame football. They have some sort of Pope card that allows them special status in the polls, BCS, and bowl selections that is completely unwarranted, and that is why they continually get their butts handed to them every bowl season. Do you realize that I was graduating high school the last time that Notre Dame was celebrating a bowl victory?
That's a good thing for Phil Fulmer. He can always point to South Bend for an example of postseason futility to mask his own.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Return to Dixie
For now, though, I have to assist in getting the firm cranked back up for 2007. As has been the norm for the past few months, blogging has to take a back seat to "real life."