Thursday, May 31, 2007


Thursday Government Lagniappe

Too many government programs and candidates to expose, too little time...

So today I am forced to provide a few helpful links that I thought worth reading. Enjoy the thoughts of -

Ron Paul on the sham Senate immigration compromise and how he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would actually help our immigration crisis;

Judge Roy Moore on the budgetary Frankenstein known as Pre-K that now has a willing servant in eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton;

Pat Buchanan on why the Democratic Party was wise to throw the anti-war Left under the bus with an eye towards victory in 2008;

Ed Whelan on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's political activism regarding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; and

Carla Howell on how Mitt Romney is no friend of conservatives through his fiscal actions as Governor of Massachusetts.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The "Do-Nothing Congress"

Ronald Cass, formerly of both the Reagan and Bush-41 Administrations and Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law, breaks down the Democratic Congress' first quarter. Needless to say, he isn't too impressed.

After all, things looked very different last fall, when Nancy Pelosi was promising a Democratic Congress that within its first 100 hours would pass laws that would raise the minimum wage, bring the troops home from Iraq, expand health benefits, reform immigration laws, make college affordable for all, secure energy independence, and address broad taxing and spending issues. She also promised to "drain the swamp" - changing a Congress that failed to address ethical problems of individual members and that used "earmark" provisions to give pork to constituents and favors to lobbyists. Harry Reid and colleagues on the Senate side had similar, though more muted, messages.

After 140 days, however, congressional Democrats left town with no significant accomplishments, one long-delayed bill finally enacted into law, and lots to make fun of. There was no increase in morality, no magically bipartisan era, no sweeping enactment of a coherent agenda for change, akin to what Republicans promised in their Contract With America in 1994. Instead, the 110th Congress has been a combination of "now I'll get mine" and "now you'll get yours!"

Cass writes a great piece, and it certainly is worth the read. Where my blood started
to boil, however, was when the subject of earmarks came up.

Ms. Pelosi has been eager to make a show of raising ethical standards, but not at the expense of her colleagues' or her own ability to bring home the bacon. She tacked an earmark for $25 million for California strawberry farmers onto the emergency appropriations bill for US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill, which the President just signed into law, ultimately was stripped of every significant Democrat initiative on Iraq but still became a wonderful Christmas tree decorated with provisions giving special favors - and $17 billion in extra spending - for the pet projects of dozens of Democrats. In addition to something for Ms. Pelosi, it has a $23 million earmark for Mr. Murtha's district. When criticized for that earmark, Mr. Murtha responded with a choice four-letter curse, and a threat to prevent his Republican critic from ever getting anything for his district. So much for civility and bipartisanship!

If the practice of earmarking hasn't ended, it has changed a bit - for the worse. House Appropriations Chair David Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin, says he has so many requests for earmarks to add to major legislation - over 30,000 in five months - that he has no choice but to tack them on after work on the bill is complete and won't reveal them until after both Houses vote. The other real change is that not all earmarks are put in writing - now Democrats who don't want anyone to know what they're doing can simply phone in the instructions on where to send the money (a practice Washington insiders now call "phone-marking"), as Harry Reid did in a call to the Energy Department.

Far from draining the swamp, Democrats have been wallowing in it.

(Emphasis added.)

All of this as the Democrats propose the largest tax increase in American history.

These people have no shame as they gut the democratic process and feed on a bloated government like so many leeches. If we as an electorate cannot remove some of these parasites from office - and soon - then I fear for our future as a sovereign state.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Conservatives Against Candidates?

By accident, I have found three blogs in a matter of minutes that all seem to be related:

Conservatives Against Rudy
Conservatives Against Romney
Conservatives Against Brownback

Gee, I wonder who the authors might be supporting as their most conservative candidate?

Nevertheless, why Brownback? Sure he's been squishy on immigration, but he's certainly more conservative than Rudy and Romney. Why not "Conservatives Against McCain?" That wouldn't be too hard, would it? Of course, you could shoot fish in a barrel and have "Conservatives Against Bloomberg" if one favors easy prey...



2007 Statesmen's Dinner

A special thanks to U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander for the invitation to attend the Tennessee GOP's Statesmen's Dinner this upcoming Saturday in Nashville. As I indicated previously, if not for Lamar's generosity, Angela and I would have been staying home due to cost issues (purchasing a new house, baby on the way, etc.). Also, I would like to send a special thanks to National Committeewoman Stephanie Chivers for coordinating the tickets.

As always, I look forward to posting about the event, including the address of keynote speaker Mitt Romney.



Catching Up

I wanted to catch up on what I had missed while I was on vacation, so I turned to the Red State Update. That was good and bad news. The bad was that it was a flashback to a few campaigns that I have worked on. The good news is that the boys showed some love to Fred Dalton Thompson.

Of course, you have to wonder about someone who would pick Val Kilmer as the best Batman over the likes of Christian Bale and Michael Keaton. At least he didn't pick George Clooney...

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More Vacation Photos

Horses as Sea Pines.

The VOLConWife showing off her second-place mini golf skills at Legendary Golf.

Angela and her father awaiting lunch at The Wreck of the Salty Dog (on the dock at Land's End).

My nephew, Conner Fulks, fishing his ball out of the hole at Pirate's Cove.

Conner and I "doing hard time" in the stocks at Pirate's Cove.



Vacation Photos

There were a few days with strong winds at Hilton Head this past week, so there were a few impressive exhibitions of parasurfing to be witnessed.

One of the VOLConWife's favorite activities - besides shooting down my imaginative baby names - is riding bikes on the beach at Hilton Head.

Since I had to have my picture taken with the parrots at Land's End last time, it was Angela's turn this time around.

Since each couple had to prepare one dinner while we were in Hilton Head, I was able to show off my grillmaster skills.

And here are some of the results...


Saturday, May 19, 2007


A Little R&R

I'm going to be taking a few days off, as I am headed to the beautiful paradise known as Hilton Head Island in a matter of minutes. (As mentioned dozens of times in the past, just mention that you saw a post about my Dad's Hilton Head condo on VOLuntarilyConservative and receive a discount on the quoted rate. Then you, too, could be heading to South Carolina for a little R&R.)

To save time and energy, I thought I would re-run my post beginning my last vacation (and the vacation before that). Enjoy.

Too many fools
Lost on the highway
What could we do today
that we can't do tonight?

Pull off the road
Roll down the windows
Lie back and doze
to the song of the wind in the pines.

Too many fools
Crammed into that city
What could we do in a crowd
that we can't do at home?

Damn I feel young
My, you look pretty
What have we ever done worth doing
we can't do alone?

It's always springtime
In the Low Country sunshine
They sunbathe away every cold winter day
just like the Fourth of July.

I'm driving my new bride
from here to the ocean
Imbibing the sweet life
from Eden to goshen.
Gathering souvenirs. Hallelujah.

These lines are from "Gathering Souvenirs," a song by The Floating Men. The group is out of Nashville, but songwriter/lead vocalist Jeff Holmes is from Enoree, South Carolina. I always play this song on my way to the Low Country of South Carolina, which is where I am headed today to recharge my batteries.

So, if posting seems a bit slow over the next few days, well, that's all part of the plan...


Friday, May 18, 2007



From blogger Karen DeCoster:

"Of course, as Sean (Hannity) told everyone he "wouldn't just stand by," what he meant is that he will gladly cheer on the sons of the middle and poor classes as they die for neocon glory, while he, Sean Hannity, stands by on the air, daily, safe in his luxurious, chauffeured, catered FOX offices with reserved parking, reporting on those glorious heroes who "died for our freedom" while he waits for some undocumented immigrants to come along and pick up his dry cleaning and bring him his bagel and lox."

Yeah, Hannity looked foolish the other night, for sure.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007


Tennessee General Assembly Shopping Spree

One word reaction - despicable.



My E-mail is Full of Ron Paul

I'm being inundated with Ron Paul due to his performance at the GOP debate in South Carolina, which, as I posted yesterday in my debate review, is exactly what his campaign needed.

Some of the better commentary I have received:

- Ron Paul Said It - A column by Lew Rockwell that accurately calls Giuliani a liar. (By the way, if Giuliani is a liar, then so is Ted Olson, our former Solicitor General, who parroted his master's inaccurate portrayal of Paul's remarks. Olson's fall from grace is reminiscent of Jim Brady's.)
- Ron Paul Violated the Rules - An explanation of why the GOP establishment will try to push Ron Paul to the fringe by Thomas Woods.
- Giuliani's Attack on Ron Paul Falls Flat - A column by Jacob Hornberger of The Future of Freedom Foundation that backs up Paul's claims regarding Iraq.
- Rethinking Ron Paul's Answer - From The Liberty Papers blog.
- Michigan GOP Leader Wants Paul Barred from Future Debates - Yep, now there's the GOP establishment that I loathe. Go ahead and silence Paul, GOP leadership, and say hello to Democratic control of the nation.
- In Defense of Ron Paul - Mark Radulich says in this blog post that the problem isn't with Ron Paul, it's with a dumbed down American electorate that doesn't like to think about difficult issues.

Quite an interesting list - and all of this was what arrived from 5:30 A.M. to 6:30 A.M. this morning from several different sources, including readers.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Rise of the Upstarts

I managed to catch the entirety of the GOP Presidential Debate last night from South Carolina, and, in my view, the candidates who performed best in the event were not the ones who are leading in the polls. (Perhaps that is why FoxNews didn't want to invite the upstarts, as they frequently stole the stage from those considered to be in the "first tier.")

Here are my winners and losers from last night:


1) John McCain - If I were McCain, I would be furious as to how last night turned out. While I guess it should have been expected that he would be in the firing line of the other nine candidates, it seemed to this pundit that McCain was the target of the FoxNews moderators, as well. It got to the point to where I almost felt sorry for John. On top of the attacks, McCain's body language oozed an uncomfortable, rigid posture, his answers were consistently moderate to Left of moderate, he looked weak at times on the national defense issue, and he allowed Romney to bait him on an immigration issue that Romney himself has no business questioning anyone else. All in all, a really bad night for McCain.

2) Jim Gilmore - The former Governor of Virginia failed to distinguish himself from the field, and one has to wonder why he got into this crowded race to begin with. His answers weren't exactly truthful on the issue of taxes, and his failure to answer a question because he wanted his staff to handle it on his website after the debate was unfathomable. Gilmore needs to exit this race soon, and the Ames Straw Poll should be enough to clear him off of the ballot.

3) Mitt Romney - Several of the talking heads after the debate last night were of the opinion that Romney was the big loser last night, and I could see how one could be of that opinion. He looked even slicker than in the first debate, when several fence-sitting political friends of mine all bristled at his style and political aura. His responses to the questions of the panel (and veiled references by McCain, Huckabee, and Tancredo) to his conversion on dozens of issues leave Romney as the flip-flopper of the group. Coming so close in time to the Kerry loss in 2004 in a race where he carried the same label, Romney has issues there. Plus, he referred to his faith when answering a question on abortion. Given recent polling, Romney might be better off leaving his "faith" out of the equation. Finally, Romney probably delivered the worst line of the night: "I support the Second Amendment, but I also support the Assault Weapons Ban." You can't have it both ways, Mitt, and you are as anti-Second Amendment as they come with statements like that. Perhaps you need a hunting photo op with John Kerry to boost your campaign.

4) Rudy Giuliani - Some have praised Giuliani's emotion regarding 9/11 and Ron Paul's position that it was U.S. meddling that brought about those terrorist attacks. I don't see it that way. Giuliani looked irrational, non-presidential, and quite frankly one has to wonder if he lives in a cave if he truly believes that Ron Paul was the first to utter that theory as to why the Middle East hates the U.S. Giuliani also failed to answer nearly every question that was put to him last night, almost to the point to where I thought Al Gore had made his way onto the stage. (Kudos to the FoxNews moderators for reasking several questions after Giuliani failed to answer even the simplest of questions the first time, even if the former NYC Mayor avoided answering the questions again on the second time around.) Giuliani also tried to make this primary about electability through bringing Hillary Clinton into the fray, but after last night, one has to believe that even a poor debater like Clinton could eat Giuliani's lunch in a series of debates. Non-presidential, trying to win on electability, failing to answer the questions put to him - it's almost like we're back in 1999...

5) Tommy Thompson - His answer to the question regarding which three government programs he would cut if elected was baffling. This Thompson looked ill-prepared and, like Gilmore, not ready for the rigors of this campaign. Barring shocking results out of Ames in a few weeks, one has to wonder if Thompson or Gilmore will the first to halt their campaign.

6) Sam Brownback - Brownback's performance wasn't awful by any means, but he failed to distinguish himself. I thought his answer on the alternative fuels question was fairly good, but I certainly would have liked to have heard more about short-term fixes to the high oil prices rather than long-term solutions like biodiesel and ethanol. Sam just needed more - a breakout performance - so that his campaign could gain some traction in a crowded primary field. I don't think that he accomplished that.


1) Mike Huckabee - Much like with the first debate, several pundits feel that Huckabee once again took the victory. Huckabee answered the questions before him, showed enough emotion and fire to satisfy the average viewer (without going all WWE like Giuliani), and - perhaps most importantly - looked the most presidential on a stage of wannabe presidents. His answer to the "gotcha" question regarding his use of his pardon powers as Governor of Arkansas was measured and seemed sincere. On top of everything, Huckabee had some of the best lines of the night, chiding John Edwards' "beauty shop" bill and likening the campaign conversions of his opponents to a Baptist tent revival. If Huckabee can weather the storm financially, he could be a player with each passing debate, because he is outperforming the supposed "Big 3" in this arena.

2) Tom Tancredo - I thought that Tancredo made up the most ground Tuesday night, and he was helped that immigration was one of the big topics of the night. He showed knowledge and competency on other issues, though, and his answer to the question first posed to Tommy Thompson on cutting government programs showed the vast differences between a real candidate and one who is pretending to be a candidate. Because Tancredo showed that he can hang with the big boys on a variety of issues, I would have to rank him even with Huckabee as co-victors tonight.

3) Ron Paul - Ron Paul would have won this debate hands-down if he had better anticipated Rudy Giuliani's bizarre reaction to the 9/11 theory and took out the NYC Mayor with a sound bite for the ages. However, Dr. Paul will have to settle for the attention that being linked with Giuliani through the exchange will bring his campaign. The problem with Dr. Paul's answer was that he didn't link the religious component into the reasoning for 9/11, which just seems obvious (perhaps it was too obvious for Paul to mention it?). On the positive side, Dr. Paul also distinguished himself from the other nine candidates on Iraq, which may well benefit him as war fatigue grows with the electorate. The supposed second-tier candidates need name ID and recognition to maintain viability, and going after Giuliani (who may be Paul's ideological polar opposite in this field) is a great way to do it. Dr. Paul isn't as polished as Huckabee, Romney, or other GOP candidates, but his answers were still impressive, nonetheless.

4) Duncan Hunter - Hunter gave good, concise answers and showed strength on the national security issue. Not a bad night for the California Congressman in a state where he has considerable grassroots support.

All in all, most of the pundits thought that the big winners weren't on the stage last night. Talking head after talking head spoke of the vacuums present in both major parties that none of the current crop of candidates could fill. If that is the case, then the big winners last night may have been a pair of Tennesseans - Fred Thompson and Al Gore.


Monday, May 14, 2007


"Southern-fried Reagan"

Politico's Mike Allen has the inside scoop on Fred Thompson's remarks to the Council for National Policy, a network of some of the nation's most influential conservative leaders, this past weekend.

It sounds like those in attendance were pleased with, as the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land called him, the "Southern-fried Reagan."

In piecing together some of what Thompson said, it sounds like he may have endorsed natural law theory in his speech, as well. Again, this is just another reason why I will working for Fred Thompson to be the President of the United States when he announces next month.

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Buchanan Takes On Giuliani

In his latest column for WorldNetDaily, Pat Buchanan lays out the bottom line on Rudy Giuliani. On the Giuliani campaign's latest decision to take a pro-abort stance:

If true, it marks either the beginning of the end of the Giuliani campaign – or the beginning of the end of the Party of Ronald Reagan.

Strong words, for sure, which Buchanan backs up.

If Rudy were to be nominated as a pro-choice Republican, millions would stay home or vote third party. For it was the life issue that brought them into the party, or kept them there when they disagreed with the party on almost everything else.

Some will undoubtedly criticize Buchanan for this, as CNN polls tend to show the abortion issue as not being as important to voters as short-term issues like Iraq. I'm of the opinion that those polls are inaccurate and fail to connect with the type of voter (especially in the South) that isn't going to vote for nominee Giuliani (or nominee Romney, for that matter) for the main reason being his tried and true support of abortion on demand in this country. I doubt those voters stay home, because they see voting as part of their duty as Americans. However, I could certainly see them supporting a Ron Paul Independent candidacy or a Constitution Party candidate in the general election.

But Buchanan doesn't just see Giuliani's pro-abortion position as troubling. No, Pat lays all of Giuliani's cards on the table:

A Rudy nomination would bring the culture war right down onto the floor of the Republican convention. For Rudy is not only pro-choice on abortion, he has supported affirmative action, favored amnesty for illegals, turned New York into a sanctuary city where the NYPD was forbidden to ask arrestees their immigration status, has championed gay rights and marched in gay pride parades – once not all that far behind the big float of the North American Man/Boy Love Association.

He is thrice married, and he used to bring his main squeeze into Gracie Mansion while still married to the mother of his son. When she threw him out, he was taken in by a couple of gay friends.

Read the whole thing, as Buchanan believes that the longer that Giuliani shows strength in this race, the more this primary season will become about the abortion issue and whether Giuliani will be excommunicated from the Catholic church and denied Holy Communion.
MORE: And the hits just keep on coming. Paul Craig Roberts exposes Giuliani's unethical (and possibly illegal) behavior as a prosecutor that sparked his rise to power. I had read about Giuliani's questionable connections to organized crime during his prosecutions of some of the mob leaders, but I wasn't as aware of his tactics involving Milken and Helmsley.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007


Happy Mother's Day!

What gift is worth more than the musical stylings of the legendary Mr. T?


Friday, May 11, 2007


Democrats Sneaking Earmarks into Bills?

Red State and CongressDaily (subscription required) are writing about the House Democrats passing midnight earmarks that they've hidden in the Intelligence Appropriations bill.

As if House Democrats refusing to disclose most of those earmarks to the public weren't bad enough, they have even refused to disclose them to other Members of Congress.

While the following YouTube clip is mostly procedural in nature (and anyone trying to follow the inquiry from Rep. Westmoreland from Georgia will certainly agree), it goes to the heart of the matter that the Democrats are indeed surreptitiously including earmarks in important pieces of legislation in the hope that in doing so they will not be called on the carpet by those of us who actually care how the government spends our money:

Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor's office had this to say about the new Democratic practice:

This is the most abusive and potentially the most damaging trick the House Democrats have tried this Congress. For all those who oppose earmarks and want to restore fiscal discipline to the process, I simply cannot stress how damaging this will be if it goes unchecked.The House Democrats' Earmark Sham is a disgrace – so much for the"most honest and open Congress in history."


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Thursday, May 10, 2007


BREAKING: Junior Leaving DEI

I just finished watching Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s press conference, at which he announced that he would leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc. at the end of the 2007 NASCAR season.

Dale didn't say where he would end up racing next year, and it's pretty obvious that he doesn't know right now. It won't be for Jack Roush, who is full on drivers. It could be Hendrick Racing, which will probably be looking to axe Casey Mears after his awful start to 2007. However, it's hard to see Junior meshing with Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, and Kyle Busch. It's just hard to picture the personalities meshing. (Since I am no Hendrick fan, I certainly hope that Junior doesn't end up there.)

There is one place that makes perfect sense - Richard Childress Racing. RCR has a spot open, and one could see Junior getting along with Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer better than with the Hendrick guys. Racing for the team that his father raced for some of the best years of his career also has to be a selling point. Heck, Goodwrench might return as a Cup sponsor for RCR. It would be something to dig that black #3 Chevy out of the mothballs and see it racing around the track again...

If I had a bet, I would think that Junior drives for RCR next year. If not, then at Joe Gibbs Racing, where his friend Tony Stewart races. Those two have to be the frontrunners for the newest and most sought after free agent in NASCAR.

MORE: Dan Wetzel has an excellent analysis, including:

The Boston Red Sox once sold Babe Ruth so its owner could fund a play. The Portland Trail Blazers once passed on Michael Jordan. The Minnesota Vikings once traded five players and six draft picks for Herschel Walker. None of those moves were as disastrously bad as the one Teresa Earnhardt made when she thought she could call Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s bluff about leaving his late father's racing team.


Junior had asked for a majority stake of DEI to stay. No one yet knows how negotiations between Junior and Teresa broke down – maybe Teresa really did all she could, but it doesn't seem like she was willing to give Junior the 51 percent control he wanted. Now she has 100 percent of a company in ruin.

The truth hurts.



Libertarianism and Conservatism

A.C. has an outstanding post over at Volunteer Voters regarding the differences between libertarians and conservatives that stemmed from libertarian John Stossel's speech last night in Nashville for the conservative Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

(I had very much wanted to attend the event, but a) I live in Knoxville, not Nashville and b) a high-profile Blount County case in which I was heavily involved came to a head yesterday.)

A.C.'s post gets to the heart of the matter - libertarianism and conservatism are certainly different, with both having common enemies (liberalism, communism, socialism, anarchy, etc.). Where A.C. and I differ is whether each "Right" entity could carry the day on its own. Perhaps I am too optimistic - formed by reading too many of Ronald Reagan's writings and my salvation in the Holy Trinity - in believing that conservatism could save America from the bureaucratic nightmares that stifle freedom, innovation, and growth in the rest of the world. I certainly agree with A.C. and Stossel that libertarianism cannot win out on its own.

But that begs the question: does each group have to go it alone?

The answer all boils down to whether conservatism and libertarianism have enough common threads to bind the two to victory. It is my position that they do if each side can make a few concessions in regards to ticking off each other. Conservatives have to realize that the core of libertarianism - freedom from all, especially institutions like government - is not that different from conservative values. The problem with libertarianism from the conservative perspective is that it doesn't know where to draw the line - because there is no line. Libertarianism breaks down in the eyes of conservatives when the question is presented as to who has the greater right, the habitual rapist's right to rape or the victim's right to be free from rape? Conservatives solve this type of problem by instituting values (as seen through legislation or social mores) that maintain social order.

However, the point is that one only runs into these problems with libertarianism when one arrives at the fringes of libertarianism. The core is still solid and attractive to conservatives.

A similar problem lies with conservatism from the eyes of libertarians, and that problem is where the beliefs tend to come from - religion. Libertarianism doesn't find much purpose with religion, as liberty and desire trump restraint and social conscience. The conflict comes with religions that are evangelical (which would be the majority of religions and nearly all cults that sometimes get lumped in with valid religions) and wish to apply their values on society - even at the basic level of "murder is wrong." Thus, libertarians like Neal Boortz constantly pick fights with Christians, as libertarianism feels threatened by any restriction in personal liberty, whether well-intentioned, for the purposes of social order, or not well-intentioned, through the desire for power and world domination.

Therefore, in order for a marriage of libertarianism and conservatism to work, conservatives have to realize that libertarianism works most of the time in the same manner as conservatism, until you arrive at fringe situations through a slippery slope. Libertarianism has to realize (as Stossel does) that it is at this point that libertarianism loses public support and gets marginalized. Thus, it greatly assists the cause of libertarianism to focus on its core and not on the fringe hypothetical situations (decriminalization of behavior, not limited to but including drug use, for example), not only for keeping conservatives as an ally but for public acceptance as a legitimate ideology, away from the "scary margins."

By the same token, conservatives have to tone down the rhetoric that directly insults libertarians. As with the above concession for libertarianism, this should help conservatism with the public, as well. Speaking as a conservative Christian, where conservatism loses ground with the middle of the political perspective is when it tunes up the rhetoric that spawns whispers of a growing movement towards a theocracy. A great deal of the problem here is that the wrong voices are being heard the loudest, and those voices are being labeled by a liberal media as the voices of conservatism. (In much the same manner that we paint liberalism with the faces of their worst elements - Ted Kennedy, Al Sharpton, George Soros - liberals do the same with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who are both good men but sometimes deliver sound bites that are indefensible to nonbelievers and only hurt the cause of conservatism.)

The blueprint for success for conservatives, as with so many other items, has been laid by Ronald Reagan. Go back and watch his speeches during his presidency. Read his writings. The man spoke of God and the Almighty, of divine Providence, regularly. However, no offense was taken as it is when some current politicians speak of faith. Conservatives need to actually learn from Reagan, not just throw out his name every election cycle in the hopes of winning brownie points with the base. (An analogy would be actually receiving an education compared to being granted a diploma. There is a difference, although the two are not mutually exclusive.)

If libertarians can stick to their core, mainstream beliefs while eliminating the fringe that marginalizes their movement, and if conservatives can realize that they need to be more like Reagan and not use their faith in an offensive manner, and if both sides realize that they are stronger together with a greater chance for success than they are apart working individually, then the marriage of conservatism and libertarianism could work.

If that doesn't or can't happen, then libertarianism will maintain its status on the margins of American politics and conservatism will continue to rally against the growing tide of socialism and liberalism in this country.

Unlike some, I don't see certain doom for conservatism if the marriage with libertarianism failed. I still think conservatism can win in the long run because it meshes with what is believed to be the founding values of America - freedom from tyranny, the power to make your own destiny, an economic environment that allows for success, leadership, strength in our people and not in our government, liberty to worship God, a strong work ethic, a bit of arrogance and jingoism, and an innovative spirit that knows no bounds on Earth or beyond.

But again, the question arises - why should conservatism go it alone if it needn't travel that solitary path?

Only time and logistics will tell.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Guam Reparations Bill Passes in the House

By a vote of 288-133, the Guam Reparations Bill - potentially the first piece of legislation of its kind where a sovereign nation pays for the damage done by another sovereign nation to a third party when those nations are opposing each other in war - passed the House yesterday. (I've posted this week on this horrible piece of legislation here and here.)

By the numbers, you can tell that some RINOs went with the Democrats. However, only two Democrats voted against the bill, so (despite the protestation of some liberals) this was a Democratic bill.

Where did the Tennessee delegation come down on this unjust piece of legislation? As one would expect. The Democrats - Cooper, Gordon, Tanner, Cohen, and even the pseudo-conservative Lincoln Davis - all thought that the U.S. should start paying for the actions of other countries. The Republicans - David Davis, Duncan, Wamp, and Blackburn - all saw the bill for the illogical mess that it was. (For those keeping track, pseudo-conservative and unofficial chairman of the Nancy Pelosi fan club, Heath Shuler, voted for the bill with his fellow Democrats.)

Let's hope the Senate has the sense to deal with actual problems in America - like our energy policy and securing our borders - instead of dealing with this nonsensical issue.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Jacoby: Lawful Incest May Be On the Way

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote an interesting column in the May 2nd edition of the Globe entitled "Lawful incest may be on its way."

The column vindicates the reactions of former Senator Rick Santorum and Justice Antonin Scalia to the landmark Lawrence v. Texas decision that struck down American sodomy laws. In part, Jacoby writes:

Your reaction to the prospect of lawful incest may be "Ugh, gross." But personal repugnance is no replacement for moral standards. For more than 3,000 years, a code of conduct stretching back to Sinai has kept incest unconditionally beyond the pale. If sexual morality is jettisoned as a legitimate basis for legislation, personal opinion and cultural fashion are all that will remain. "Should Incest Be Legal?" Time asks. Expect more and more people to answer yes.

It's an interesting read, and it goes to prove that the slippery slopes that conservatives speak of and that draw laughter from the liberals do exist when logic and deductive reasoning are extended.



Tennessean Targets Law-Abiding Gun Owners

Pretty easy action-reaction in this case:

1) Tennessean decides that it wants some attention.

2) Tennessean assembles database of concealed carry owners, as such information is public record.

3) Tennessean pisses off SayUncle, who is already looking at other public records (arrests, divorces, tax liens, financial statements, motor vehicle records, etc.) involving Tennessean employees, publishers, etc., so that he can publish that information, because at least in those cases it will probably involve some wrong-doing, unlike the CCW database, which will only serve to create more wrong-doing.

4) Bloggers (A.C., Blogger Blaster, yours truly) who believe in the Second Amendment cheer on SayUncle.

UPDATE: Uh oh. Add Instapundit and Blake Wylie to the list of bloggers who aren't too complementary of the Tennessean. As Professor Reynolds notes, Steve Gill has answered the call against the database. When the #1 blogger in the nation meets up with the #1 talk radio host in Tennessee...

Now you're in trouble, Tennessean...



UPDATE: Guam Reparations Bill

Just a quick update on the bill I wrote of yesterday in which the Democrats would have Americans would pay reparations to Guam for the bombing they faced at the hands of Japan in WWII.

RedState has picked up on it, and they see the bill as a slap in the face of the American soldiers who died defending Guam in the War. In fact, they name each one of the soldiers to make their point.

Despite the outcry, the Democrats (who don't care what you think anyway) are bringing the bill to the floor today.

Here's to hoping that the GOP and a few non-lobotomized Democrats can end this farce so that actual business (like, I don't know, an energy policy that will bring gas back below $3 a gallon) can commence in the House.

Michelle Malkin
Pirate's Cove
Neal Boortz
Ben's Blog

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Monday, May 07, 2007


Democrats Want America to Pay Reparations for Japan's Actions in WWII

This is the what you can expect from Democratic leadership.

Today, House Democrats are bringing legislation to the floor that will pay reparations to the people of Guam for the actions of Imperial Japan during World War II.

That's right - American taxpayers will cut checks to the people of Guam for atrocities committed by the Japanese.

I can't say this for sure, but this could be the first time in recorded history that a government has seriously considered paying reparations for the actions of another government. It should be noted that thousands of Americans gave their lives to bring said actions to an end.

We shouldn't be paying reparations to those countries that we war with, much less paying for the actions of our enemies.

But should we expect anything less from the Democrats?

You can read the text of the bill here. Take a look at those co-sponsors, too. There are a few members of the Congressional leadership there, yes?

If this is the kind of leadership you want in 2008 and beyond, keep voting Democratic.

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Knox County Young Republicans Hosting Blogger Forum

I have agreed to participate in the Knox County YR's Blogger Forum, which is to be held at their next meeting on Tuesday, May 8th, at 6:30 P.M. The meeting is set for Green Hills Grille off of Kingston Pike.

I know that Mike Faulk will be there, and Brian Hornback has also said that he will try to make it. Feel free to show up if you can make it.

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Giuliani on Abortion and Firearms

Here is Rudy Giuliani against abortion but for public funding of it (in a nuanced sort of way).

Here's Rudy in 1989 supporting using your money to fund the killing of the unborn (and blasting the former President Bush for vetoing the Democrats' attempts to federalize taxpayer-supported abortion).

And here's Rudy in 2008 talking about constitutional rights and how the government should fund all constitutional rights for its citizens.

Now that's an interesting concept, Rudy. What about the Second Amendment? You know, the constitutional right that is actually in the Constitution, unlike the right to an abortion or the fictitious right to privacy. Is it your position that the federal government should buy everyone a firearm? You want to give "poor people" abortions. What about guns? Can you find it in your liberal genes to fund that constitutional right?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

So if the unfortunate episode were to play out where Rudy Giuliani is the GOP nominee, please know that my vote will not be with the Republicans for the White House.

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Knox County Lincoln Day

Senator Lamar Alexander speaks with Harold and Virginia Mann

Congressman Jimmy Duncan converses with constituents

Brian's Blog has an excellent blow-by-blow of Saturday night's Knox County Lincoln Day Dinner.

I would like to add a few snippets of my own:

As I have said previously, the political environment here in Knox County is toxic. The poor turnout at the Knox County Lincoln Day is just a sign of the mounting problems in this county. Lincoln Day attendances have been strong in other counties (except for Washington County, which inexplicably had its Lincoln Day on Easter weekend) thus far this non-election year. Knox County has problems, and it remains to be seen if a group of people will take the reigns of leadership, drive out the corruption that permeates every corner of our county, and restore the people's faith in their government.

Only time will tell.

UPDATE: A reader opines:

"I was told by more than one person that Mike Ragsdale wasn't in attendance due to his wife being very sick from her cancer treatments. Also, as the dinner was getting started, I saw Lumpy come in and sit down at a table in the back (front of the stage, very back). Oddly, I didn't seem him afterwards. Maybe he was looking for a county commissioner to confer with in private? We may never know."

As for the part about Lumpy, I would wager that the only circumstance under which he would have been looking for a fellow County Commissioner to confer with would have been if there was a great possibility of the Sunshine Law being violated. Apparently, Neyland Stadium casts such a huge shadow over Knox County that we don't even recognize the Sunshine Law here. (Or maybe the Sunsphere is supposed to be our equivalent of the Sunshine Law?)

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Saturday, May 05, 2007


Pass the Mint Juleps - It's Derby Day

I love the Kentucky Derby. It brings back memories of watching the Triple Crown races with my grandparents in Maryland. We'd all pick horses to cheer for and let the trash talking commence. Fun times...

In any case, this race, which might be run in muddy conditions, is wide-open. Only seven of the 20 colts in the field have any experience racing in the slop, so without a true mudder, there's no telling who could win.

I have a rule of thumb when picking my horse - it has to be a longshot. (Where's the fun in rooting for the NY Yankees when you can cheer your heart out for the Devil Rays?) What's a longshot in my book? Well, it has to be at least 25-1 odds or more.

If you're wanting the longshot, my picks are Bwana Bull and Teuflesberg. Bwana Bull won the California Derby and El Camino earlier this year, but is going off at a tempting 50-1. Teuflesberg has won before in the mud and hasn't finished outside of the top 4 since last November, winning 3 races during that time. Teuflesberg is going off at an ever-so-nice 30-1.

If you don't want a true longshot, something tells me that Scat Daddy (10-1) and Any Given Saturday (12-1) are excellent choices to win today's Kentucky Derby. Neither has finished outside of the top 4 in any race that they have run, and Scat Daddy has a win in the slop to his credit.

If I was really betting, I would look to Scat Daddy. As I have to pick a longshot (through my own rules), I will go with Bwana Bull.



Fred Thompson's California Remarks

I really enjoyed reading my former boss' speech delivered Friday night at the Orange County (California) Lincoln Club Annual Dinner. You can read the text of his remarks here.

A few excerpts that I thought noteworthy, with my comments to follow:

I'd say cash flow to the government is already going quite well. Over the past year our current tax structure generated record levels of revenue for Washington. In fact it's time to seriously consider what we're getting for our "investment" in government.


The growth of government is not solving these problems; it's causing a lot of them. Every level of new bureaucracy that is created develops a level of bureaucracy beneath it, which creates another one. Pretty soon there is no accountability in the system. A new head of a department or agency comes in from out of town and, after a protracted confirmation fight, wants to spend his or her few years in Washington making great policy and solving national problems, not fighting with their own bureaucrats. So they just let well enough alone. Then you start seeing the results. Departments that can't pass an audit, computer systems that don't work, intelligence breakdowns, people in over their heads.


The government could start by securing our nation's borders. A sovereign nation that can't do that is not a sovereign nation. This is secondarily an immigration issue. It's primarily a national security issue.


People say the programs are going bankrupt. They won't go bankrupt. Even as these programs sap every dime of the government's revenue, the folks in Washington will raise the taxes necessary to cover the problem. At this rate the federal government is going to wind up as nothing more than a transfer agent -- transferring wealth from one generation to another. It will devastate our economy.


I am going to quote my friend, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I don't think he'll mind, even though it was a private conversation. He said, "People talk a lot about moral issues, but the greatest moral issue facing our generation is the fact that we are bankrupting the next generation. People talk about wanting to make a difference. Here we could make a difference for generations to come."


One can see Fred's platform forming through this speech and his previous remarks over the past few months. Fred is going to campaign against the federal government, as an advocate for state and local government, against the current tax system, and as a true "small government" conservative. This is no doubt shaped by his experiences in the Senate, and before the cynics start doubting Fred's sincerity, I can say that this speech is entirely consistent with where Fred was when he left the Senate. It doesn't reek of frustration with government, but it does show one's concern about a system of government that is imperfect from the perspective of someone who has been there. It also exhibits Fred's belief that this system can work with a strong Executive. I find it hard to read this speech and not acknowledge that Fred has the fire in his belly and will be running for the White House in 2008.

Now, for one take that is totally based on personal desire and not on any inside information - running with Fred's mention of Senator Coburn - wouldn't conservatives just love a Thompson/Coburn ticket? With all due respect for our current U.S. Senators from Tennessee, I have more respect for Dr. Coburn than anyone else in the Upper Chamber. I would love to see him included on any Republican ticket. Combining with Fred would be a dream ticket for me.

If Thompson/Coburn becomes a reality, just remember that you saw it here first.

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Friday, May 04, 2007


DiamondVols in KnoxVegas

Just a reminder - the UT DiamondVols are hosting Ole Miss this weekend in a three-game set. Tonight's game starts at 7:00 P.M. I plan to attend the game if the weather cooperates.



KUB - An Awful Utility

KUB, the local utility servicing parts of Knox, Jefferson, and Sevier Counties, has announced that it will seek yet another rate hike in the near future. I reiterate - KUB could be one of the worst run utilities in the country.

First, it is amazing that KUB has the gumption to give their excuse for this particular set of rate hikes. It seems that its customers have been too responsible in keeping their bills low, not wasting precious resources and generally being better stewards of the planet. How does KUB reward them? Why, raise their rates, of course! Al Gore would be proud.

Second, this rate hike means that we are only one or two more small rate hikes from having the average residential customer in Knox County see their utility bill double over the past 3 years. I don't see many other conclusions except that there is gross mismanagement of resources at KUB.

Sigh. Yet another reason to leave the County of Corruption...



Meeting the Baby

Angela and I had our first appointment with Dr. Kathleen Edmunds, our OB/GYN, yesterday at St. Mary's. The due date is still at Christmas Eve, with a range from December 23rd to December 30th. With the ultrasound, we were able to see the heart beating, which is just astounding at only 6 1/2 weeks.

It's all a little overwhelming, but when you actually see the little guy/gal on the screen, it gets a whole lot more real.


Thursday, May 03, 2007


Mountain 'publishin'

Congrats to Mike Faulk, the Mountain 'publican and future Tennessee Senator, on his recent article in the Tennessee Bar Journal.

It's not filled with legal jargon, so the general public would benefit from giving his article on intoxication and dram shop actions a good read.



Tennessee Pro-Gun Bills Heading to Bredesen; More Votes on Pro-Gun Bills to Come

According to my friends at the NRA, two pro-gun bills are heading towards Governor Bredesen's desk for signature.

House Bill 1285, sponsored by State Representative Dolores Gresham (R-94) and its companion bill, Senate Bill 1597, introduced by State Senator Mark Norris (R-32), unanimously passed both the House and Senate. HB 1285/SB 1597 would protect our Second Amendment rights during a state of emergency by prohibiting any government agency from regulating the lawful sale, possession, transfer, transport and carry of firearms, such as occurred following Hurricane Katrina.

It is unclear as to whether Bredesen will sign this bill or not, as he has already voiced his opinion that he would clearly exercise the power he believes he has to confiscate firearms if need be. Of course, Governor Bredesen never has been that familiar with the Tennessee Constitution that he swore to uphold and defend, because those actions would clearly be unconstitutional (as per the interpretation of Professor Reynolds, who was one of the scholars that put together one of the first interpretations of the Tennessee Constitution back in the 1990s).

House Bill 145, sponsored by State Representative Michael McDonald (D-44), and its companion bill, Senate Bill 135, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (D-25), were also passed by a unanimous vote. HB 145/SB 135 require land managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to have a base line number of public hunting acres that are always open to hunting, guaranteeing that future generations have the same hunting opportunities that are enjoyed today.

HB145/SB135 is partly a reaction to the David McMahan-led corruption of the TWRA, an episode that proved that it really is who you know when it comes to a set of rights for the elite and a different set of laws for everyone else.

You can call Governor Bredesen at (615) 741-2001 to let him know that he needs to sign these bills.

My sources with the Tennessee Firearms Association have indicated that HB132 (Mike Bell's bill which would allow for a citizen with a handgun carry permit to carry on all public hunting lands) and HB2184 (which is Frank Nicely's bill that would allow carry within the boundaries of any state park) have been rolled to next week in order for all members of House Judiciary to be present.

The fate of these two bills lies with Democratic Representatives Henry Fincher and Eddie Bass. They have shown support for the bills in the past, but it is likely that they will face significant arm-twisting by Speaker Naifeh and his minions (Briley and Sontany in this case) over the next week.

If you feel so inclined, give Rep. Fincher (800-449-8366, x 11875) and Rep. Bass (800-449-8366, x 11864) a call and ask them to continue to support these bills.

With the General Assembly doing next to nothing about illegal immigration (or many other important issues), it would be nice to come out of this session with some quality pro-firearm legislation.

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Work and Family Before Politics

I received a few calls at the office yesterday regarding yesterday's screed over Knox County politics, one of which was from County Commissioner Lumpy Lambert. Due to court demands and my goal of eating dinner before 9:00 P.M. at least once per week (which was spent at Kingston Alley, by the way, and was a nice change of pace for the VOLConWife and me), I haven't been able to return Lumpy's call.

From the sounds of message, he may have been misquoted or not fully quoted in the Knoxville News-Sentinel story. I've been a victim of this many times, so that could be entirely possible. If I am able to talk to Lumpy today, I will give the full rundown here.

Another reader e-mailed and asked (paraphrasing here) if I was an idiot for attacking all of the local political power in Knox County (Mike Ragsdale, Scott Moore, Paul Pinkston, Tim Hutchison) only a couple of days before the Knox County Lincoln Day. My answer to that reader is that the timing is never wrong when fighting against government tyranny. I will address the problems at the Lincoln Day with those folks if the opportunity presents itself. All my post did was put them on notice.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Liberals Pushing Taxes Up North, "Republicans" Pushing Taxes Down South

The headline in the Washington Times reads:

Barry urges worker tolls:
D.C. Council member Marion Barry says that if the District wants to be a big-time city, then it's time to tax like a big-time city

Apparently, Marion Berry (the posterchild of the liberal Democrats, he of crack smoking with hookers fame) wants to put up toll booths around our nation's capital as a way of taxing those who don't live in the District. Just like a Democrat, you say?

Well, Republicans are great at raising taxes, too.

Knox County Republicans, including County Mayor Mike Ragsdale (who is no stranger to raising taxes), County Commissioner Lumpy Lambert, and other Republican officeholders have been pushing various tax-raising schemes in the name of funding an ill-conceived pension plan. A few remarks can be found in today's KNS.

(It's funny how Paul Pinkston couldn't be reached for comment in that story. He's probably undecided as to which plan to support and is taking his time to figure out which one would benefit him the most financially.)

The political corruption and breakdown of representative government in Knox County will be what causes me to relocate. I can see it happening in the next few months, to tell the truth. No county is perfect, but the political system that exists in Knox County may be just as bad as the debacle that can be found in Shelby County. I look at Blount County and Sevier County and I see better situations, better tax rates, and a semblance of ethical behavior that cannot be found in Knox County.

I used to think that it took Democratic rule to make a city's tax burden beyond the pale of what its citizenry could sustain. After living in Knoxville for several years, I am learning that there is no partisan monopoly in poor, inefficient, pork-laden government.

So I will keep looking elsewhere. Perhaps D.C.'s Marion Berry can advise Mike Ragsdale and County Commission Chairman Scott Moore as to whom could install toll booths for them on all roads leading into Knox County. That's one way to keep me paying into the Knox County coffers even if I move away from the corruption that is Knox County. Maybe Marion Berry's liberal vision will catch on with Republicans of Ragsdale's ilk.



Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Tennessee Firearms Association Meeting Tonight

Just passing this along...



May's meeting will be held on Tuesday evening, May 1, 2007.

Guest Speaker: Tom Wiest

Tom writes “Outdoors” articles for some local newspapers and will speak on various subjects related to hunting including remedies for the national decline in hunting.
Monthly meetings are held at Bob’s Mountaineer Restaurant, 10321 Chapman Highway (Rt. 441) in Seymour, TN. A pre-meeting social hour is from 6 PM to 7 pm during which you may wish to eat dinner either from the menu or from the buffet. The meeting will begin at 7 PM and end at 8 PM. Participation by those in attendance is always encouraged.

Gun owners, persons involved in the shooting sports, Second Amendment supporters and interested public are urged to attend, YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A MEMBER TO ATTEND.

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