Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pearl jam

I knew of Bruce Pearl when he was head coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he took a nothing program from a nothing conference and brought them national recognition. I knew when Tennessee hired him what he would be able to do here, and I told everyone I knew…I don’t think anyone believed me.

Well, skeptics, the laugh is on you. Tennessee is doing so well that if they keep winning they could get a top-five tournament seed. What’s more…people in this town are actually interested in basketball for a change. The words “basketball” and “Knoxville” used to be an oxymoron. No more is that the case, nor will it be, I suspect, for many years to come. The college basketball world is beginning to take notice: “By the way, have you noticed what’s happening at Tennessee?” If this continues, in a couple of years that will become: “We play Tennessee this weekend? Oh boy…”

What a difference the right coach makes. What a difference it also makes to have an athletic department and a fan base that supports men’s basketball as well as it supports women’s basketball and football. I hope the trend continues, and I am sure Coach Pearl does too.


Friday, January 13, 2006

WBIR should learn from others

WBIR should take an example from its Nashville counterpart and pull The Book of Daniel from its lineup because, in the words of the station manager:

"It would have rated very poorly. But that's not the reason we chose not to air it," Hale said. "We chose not to air it because we did not think it was appropriate for broadcast television in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Our viewers told us."

Channel 4 did suggest to the network what I consider to be an acceptable compromise: The station offered to air the blesphemy in the wee hours of the morning, not during family viewing time. The network refused this the station pulled the show.

WBIR's viewers have told that station much the same thing. Will they listen?

The great tea debate

Nicole and I are great lovers of tea. This plant, native to the Himalayas and China, yields some magical power over those who partake of it in drink-they can’t ever get enough. My grandmother, a British subject by birth, always took tea three times a day and made sure to have tea every day at four. She grew up in Newfoundland when it was still a colony of the Crown, and the custom there in her day was to take your tea with Carnation evaporated milk. I take my hot tea with half and half most of the time…and no, I don’t drink Lipton-especially hot. I would rather drink horse pee than Lipton hot. We drink real tea in our home.

Iced tea is the preferred way to drink tea in the South-with good reason. The climate is too hot for tea about six months of the year. In the summer months, drinking tea in the prescribed manner would mean that, in the days before air conditioning, you might dramatically increase your chances of a heat stroke.

Like most good things in America, iced tea was invented in the South. (The vast majority of our collective culture was either invented or perfected in the South.) In Louisiana they claim they are the inventors of the beverage, and that it happened around the turn of the last century. This has never been proven, and I don’t believe this myself, because the French and Spanish (the biggest influences on Louisiana culture) were and are not big tea drinkers. The English, Irish, Scots, Germans, and Scandinavians are all bigger tea drinkers than the French and Spanish, and the English, Scots, and Irish are all tea-drinking cultures.

Certainly tea drinking spread to all parts of the South, but I have always believed iced tea was probably invented in the home of some low-country planter, probably in South Carolina or Georgia, and probably in the late 18th or early 19th Century. I imagine that one day someone in the house was taking supper at around 4 or a little later, and they figured that it was too hot for tea, so they sweetened some and put it on ice-and the custom stuck.

One of the great debates in the South, unknown to outsiders, is how sweet the tea should be. In South Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana they make iced tea so sweet that in some quarters it ceases to be tea and becomes brown syrup instead. With due respect to our Deep South brethren, I have come to prefer the Eastern Kentucky/East and Middle Tennessee/North Carolina way of making iced tea: Still plenty sweet, but you can actually taste tea in all that sugar.

For iced tea, I prefer loose tea leaves to tea bags…if you can’t find loose tea, Luzianne is probably the next best thing.

Sorry for typos

My wife brought to my attention last night that there were a couple of typos on my tirade about the need for a gubernatorial candidate. I have since corrected those, and I sincerely apologize.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Ophelia Ford, sister of indicted former Senator John Ford, may have her election voided by the State Senate after the Attorney-General's office ruled that it would only take a majority of Senators (17) to overturn the electoral result. There are 17 Republicans in the Tennessee Senate.

Ms. Ophelia simply wants to ensure that convicted felons and those who have attained their eternal reward are given an opportunity to exercise their franchise.

Liberals and Alito

By now, many of you are aware of yesterday’s episode before the Senate Judiciary Committee in which the Democrats grilled Judge Samuel Alito about his membership in a group called the Concerned Alumni of Princeton University. If Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer are to be believed, this group wanted to exclude women and minorities from Princeton.

(All they really wanted to do was make sure there were no quotas…and if they did want to exclude women, that may not have been discriminatory at all. Perhaps they were not believers in coeducation. Some people are not. Certain liberal women seem to think the single-sex education at Wellesley College suited them quite well.)

Let us not deceive ourselves. These Senators’ problems with our future Supreme Court Justice have absolutely nothing to do with what groups he joined in association at Princeton. Their problems with Judge Alito are that he is:

A.) A practicing Catholic

B.) A pro-life practicing Catholic

C.) A conservative

The prospect of the Supreme Court having a conservative Catholic majority (Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Thomas, Alito) scares these people to death, especially since one of the aforementioned, namely Justice Kennedy, feels he was sold out on the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, and it has been rumored for many years now that he has been looking for an opportunity to reverse himself. The Left is in trouble, they know it, and they are running scared.

No candidate=Making Oatney fighting Irish mad

In the wake of adding Rob Huddleston to our blogroll, I have to say a few words about his post yesterday which, if it proves to be true, has my Irish temper flaring and has for a good 12 hours or more.

The rumor mill has been churning in Republican circles for some weeks that the GOP might not field a candidate to oppose Governor Phil Bredesen-no one wants to run, it is said. I had thought that surely someone might step forward, especially considering the four years of scandal, graft, corruption, and cronyism that seriously make the Clinton people look like saints. If anything, Bredesen has been proven to be a liar and a fraud. It takes a lot for me to say that about someone...I am willing to concede that he may not be telling mistruths on purpose, and I am even willing to concede that he may not intend to be fraudulent. I didn't intend for a lot of things, but that doesn't make them not so.

Knowing full-well that his administration wreaks of corruption to the point that the stench has been reported to reach nearly to the Third Heaven, the Republicans will not run a candidate against Bredesen-so reports Huddleston.

This makes me so angry I could spit nails. It would be one thing if Tennesseans equated Bredesen with Andrew Jackson, William Blount, or Sam Houston. The polls would indicate, however, that Bredesen is not exactly Mr. Popular-they seem to show that if he has an opponent on the ballot and agrees to a public debate, he's as good as whipped.

To our State Party leaders: You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. If you don't put a candidate on the ballot to run against Nashville Phil, every last bloody one of you needs to resign your party posts. You will have disgraced our party and done a terrible disservice to our great State. Look, one of YOU ladies or gentlemen could file and run. One of you County Chairmen out there, you could run, any of you. SOMEONE...anyone-someone to give us a real choice. I know you can find someone, party leaders, and if you can't find anyone else, one of you should run. I know you'll have at least one vote-that's me-and probably many thousands upon thousands more. Think of it as your patriotic duty.

I feel so strongly about this that if none of you are man enough or woman enough to step forward and do your duty to your God and your country to preserve a free vote, I'd be willing to offer myself up as a write-in candidate to give the people of Tennessee some small modicum of choice.

Look, I am an unknown, I'm a nobody, I'm the new kid in town, and if it looked like I'd be any threat to Phil Dirt, I am sure he and his boys would dig up every piece of dirt on me to run me into the ground. I am just a little blogger from Knoxville with no money and no law degree, and if none of you out there will show you love Tennessee enough to stand up and oppose this man who has done so much harm to so many, I love Tennessee enough to say that I would oppose him, if I am the only person in the State who does. This is my home, and I sure as Hell don't want to see this crop of Cain run my home into the ground. I love Tennessee enough to say that we don't deserve this-and I was not even born here. You who were-you don't even love Tennessee enough for one of you to run against these people?

To quote Samuel Adams:

"Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

I hope you are happy, you who were considering running but won't. History will remember that your laxity may be what gives Tennessee over to income tax and bureaucrats. I am ashamed to count you as Republicans. Don't use the name, do great dishonor to the rest of us.

There is still hope: Someone out there can still (in the name of God) do your duty.

VOLuntarily Conservative

I wanted to take a moment to welcome Rob Huddleston and his blog VOLuntarily Conservative to my blogroll to the right. Discovering Chairman Hornback's blog is how I discovered Rob's wonderful weblog as well. If you haven't discovered Rob's work yet, you are in for a real treat. I've already found in such a short time that Rob is a reliable source for "inside" info you can't find anywhere else. I have a lot of readers outside of East Tennessee, so I want those of you not from the area to check out some of what Rob says, you'll learn quite a bit about East Tennessee politics. I have learned much just from parusing his pages.

I also admire Rob's commitment to conservative thought in general. We need more conservative bloggers with original ideas, not just those who "tow the party line." Rob is no RINO...I don't link to RINO's.

Rob, thanks for agreeing to be part of the blogging family here at the World.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Former NSA agent reveals the obvious

Former NSA agent Russell Tice came forward yesterday with allegations that the National Security Agency has been illegally wiretapping Americans’ phone conversations for some time now, and according to him, millions of Americans have been listened in on, not just potential terrorists.

Already the cat calls have begun for the man’s head. Many loyalists of the President have accused him of having an agenda, and have already questioned his patriotism. Well, somebody at the White House take this down: I am a Republican. I voted for George W. Bush twice, and I have never voted for a Democrat, and I do not believe this fellow was motivated by anything other than concern for his country and respect for the Constitution of the United States.

Tice's revelations are nothing new to me. In fact, I may have mentioned in a previous audio post that I have been aware for years that the government had the ability to listen in and watch everything we do, and were already using these kinds of technologies to spy on Americans. In fact, I am quite sure that I am watched-I know I have been in the past. I have no way to prove it, but I believe relevant federal-types probably monitor this blog to see if I will say something outrageous or incite rebellion. I don’t care…Here I stand, I have nothing to hide from anyone. Unlike our federal government, I have respect for the law.

Unfortunately for Republicans, most Americans are just now learning that their government spies on them, even though the more informed among us were already aware of that reality. The President had best get his head out of the sand and quit pretending that there will be no political consequences for some of these ridiculous unconstitutional charades. If not for yourself, than at least for the sake of the Party, quit questioning the patriotism of the people who question the wisdom of your policies, Mr. President, and put and end to things that you know are not constitutionally right.

Let me fix that ticket for you

From The Tennessean today comes a story about a State Trooper who apparently "fixed" a speeding ticket for Duputy Governor Dave Cooley, and the subsequent call for a federal investigation into the matter by State Rep. Judd Matheny.

To be fair, such stories are not new. In fact, by my knowledge and reckoning, this sort of thing has gone on in Kentucky and West Virginia for years...all you have to do to have a ticket "fixed" in several states is know the right people, or have a friend in the right place. This is not something that one party or political group is guilty of while another is goes on. Anyone who has ever had anything remotely to do with politics will tell you it goes on. A lot of people are shrugging their shoulders over this one asking "yeah, what's news about that."

Yes, I know that just because something has been done ad infinitem does not make it right, good, or in any way "okay."

The problem is that this is coming to light just a day after our Governor called the General Assembly into Special Session to deal with the issue of ethics in State Government. The media's reaction to the Governor's call has been nothing short of a canonization. The press is treating Bredesen like he is a Saint who has come to rescue Tennessee from the clutches of nasty politicians.

Phil and his boys have had their fingers just as deep into the pie as anyone in Tennessee Waltz ever did. The only difference is that Bredesen and his entourage have been smart enough not to get caught by the federal government.

NOTE TO REP. MATHENY: Don't get into the habit of calling for a federal investigation every time the Executive Excrement stinks...State Democrats producing smelly crap is no new development. Call for the feds every time it happens and they'll have their grubby noses into everything about our State's business. Remember, they have a nasty habit of doing that around once led to a shoot-'em up fight in these parts.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

So NOW he tells us...

You know, you have to wonder why, if ethics reform is so important to the Governor, did it take the arrest of five current or former members of the General Assembly, not to mention his own office getting into hot water, for him to say that we need to "act clearly and convincingly" to prevent public mistrust of government in Tennessee?

News-Sentinel shows bias

A few days back, readers will recall that I called for the boycott of WBIR-TV because it persisted in showing The Book of Daniel despite multitudinous objections from local Christians, clergy and others.

Now the News-Sentinel is showing where its biases are on the matter. On January 7th, the paper published a series of letters sent to WBIR General Manager Jeff Lee in support of the station's decision to run the show. By his own admission on television, Lee received numerous letters and phone calls demanding that the program not be run here in Knoxville, far more against Daniel than in its favor. Note that Lee chose not to submit those letters so that the people of East Tennessee might read them in the paper.

Indeed, I examined Letters to the Editor all the way back to January 1st, and could not find a single letter in the paper regarding the controversy about The Book of Daniel that was opposed to WBIR running the show. As emotional and as public as this issue has been locally, I have a hard time believing that the News-Sentinel got no letters from concerned readers denouncing WBIR's decision.

I did find one interesting letter, though, on January 7th. Danny Evans of Knoxville wrote a letter denouncing "liberal" Christians for their moral laxity. I agree with Mr. Evans' argument from a moral point of view, but his letter does not argue his case well from a logical point of view. However, the letters from the people in support of blasphemous television were logical and well-argued, even if wrong.

The well-informed reader is forced to ask: How much of that was by design?

No small amount of flack

I have taken no small amount of flack from my wife after calling the Wicked Witch of the East an “Ambassador of Hell” in one of yesterday’s entries, not because she is fond of the Wicked Witch, but because, she pointed out, calling the Witch an Ambassador of Hell would be saying that she is a demon. Demons cannot, by their very nature, be reformed-they are evil perpetually. Therefore, reasoned Mrs. Oatney, calling the Wicked Witch of the East an Ambassador of Hell is the same as saying that she is bad beyond help and that Christ cannot save her. Christ can save her, said the Mrs.

Shortly after this discussion, the Wicked Witch could be found on Good Morning America railing about how our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve better body armor and other protections. On this matter the Wicked Witch and myself are in complete agreement, and Nicole, ever astute, said “see, there is hope for her.”

Indeed, there is hope for her and for everyone, so let me clarify: I believe the Wicked Witch of the East does the work of the Devil and his minions. I don’t know whether she realizes she does the bidding of Satan or not…For the sake of her immortal soul, I hope not. I do believe, however, that the Wicked Witch has the potential, like everyone else on the planet, to be saved by the sacrifice of Our Lord.

Advertizing, brought to you by FEMA

Nicole and I went to the grocery store last night, specifically to Food City. This is not unusual, we regularly shop there, especially since there is a store less than a mile from our home. While we were there, however, I saw something I never thought I would see: In the canned goods aisle, there was a yellow arrow pointing to the Chef Boyardee canned pastas with the notation:

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends having a supply of this item in preparation for an emergency.”

Since when is FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security mandated by the Constitution to be concerned about whether or not Americans have an ample supply of beefaroni in an emergency? I suppose the President should declare a national emergency for the ravioli supply.

Some of you are saying “Oatney, that’s just a stunt by Food City…the FEMA lists aren’t that specific.”

True enough. However, FEMA/Homeland Security makes the mistake of assuming that all Americans are clueless about what to get in case of an emergency. The problem is not that the people don’t know how to supply themselves, the problem is that many don’t know they need to.

Shame on Food City for attempting to profit shamelessly off of our need for preparedness. Yes, stores need to keep preparedness lists and distribute them. When you point to specific items in the floor (as opposed to other equally important items, that is an attempt to con a buck. If that is the intent, it would be perfectly fine to put an arrow in the floor with the words “makes a great Saturday lunch for the kids.”

Monday, January 09, 2006

The moral authority to govern

If the current climate created by the Abramoff Affair(s) persists in Washington, it threatens to undermine the future of the Republican Party as the party of national governance and/or the party of Middle America.

I have real issues with Newt Gingrich, largely because his personal morality is bankrupt, and he is an illustration of the very problem he is speaking out against. However, Gingrich is right when he says that the GOP is allowing itself to lose its mandate to govern the country because it has allowed the very same culture of corruption that infected the Democrats’ tenure in Congress, and took 50 years to cement itself, to eat away at the Republicans moral authority in only 12.

We live in times of tumult and uncertainty that require moral clarity, rather than moral cloudiness from our leaders. America does not need a leadership that comes into power on a platform of ending corruption, bribery, and obstruction and then practices the very same things that they (the leadership) preached against when not in a position of national leadership.

Moral clarity cuts both ways, also. Just a few short months ago, I completely dismissed the idea that the Wicked Witch of the East could ever be elected to the White House. Surely, I thought, no one with a sane mind will vote for the Wicked Witch. Indeed, I found myself hoping the Democrats would nominate the Witch, in order that we might all have great fun on election night watching the inevitable landslide that would occur. We would get a damn good belly laugh watching Brian Williams and Tim Russert (and his erase board) call the election within an hour of the broadcast beginning.

{Undetermined Republican} has utterly destroyed the Wicked Witch of the East at the polls tonight Brian,” have been the words I believed I might hear a little over two years from now.

I have to wonder, however, if that will be the case. If people en masse come to determine that the Republicans cannot be trusted to maintain moral clarity while in office, many might be inclined to give their vote to the Wicked Witch in 2008. If she represents anything, it is moral clarity…the wrong kind of morals, but moral clarity nonetheless.

I believe most decent people are fully aware that the Wicked Witch of the East is evil. They understand that she does the work of Lucifer. People who keep track, even minimally, of the political goings on in our country know that the Wicked Witch is an Ambassador of Hell. At least, however, we know where the Wicked Witch is coming from. The American people know that there will be no hypocrisy in the administration of the Wicked Witch of the East. She will promise to bring evil and sin upon the land, and evil and sin is what she will bring. Every act of the Old Deluder that comes out of her office will be fully expected and anticipated, for she promised to do the bidding of the Evil One. At least people know what they are getting with the Wicked Witch.

The problem is that the Republicans promised they would do the bidding of a just and all-powerful God. If the Abramoff scandal proves to implicate prominent Republicans in large numbers, they will have done the opposite of what they had promised in a heinous and grossly inappropriate way.

People may shrug their shoulders and say “well, if we are going to get evil either way, we might as well go for the Total Package.”

For the sake of our country, I pray it doesn’t turn out that way.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tridentine Mass

I was able to enjoy my first Tridentine Mass this afternoon at St. John Neumann Parish in Farragut. I've been to liturgies where either portions or most of the liturgy was in the Latin tongue, but this was my first authentic Tridentine experience.

I really enjoyed it! The only downside is that the crowd, and it was sizable, knew their responses very well, while I was new at it and was struggling to keep up. That's alright, though...I felt a tremendous sense of peace and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. You could really tell the folks there were grounded in their faith and they believed (and understood the meaning of) the words they were saying and reading in their missals. In reading the English translation of the Latin from the 1962 Roman Missal, I have to say that the prayers and invocations of the "old Mass" were so much more beautiful , so much more meaningful, and contained greater theological depth than the English translation of our modern liturgy. I have to wonder why, when deciding that Holy Mass could be said in the vernacular, the powers that be did not simply translate the beautiful Mass of the 1962 Roman Missal into English, and use that as the source for Mass in English.

I am happy with any reverent worship, so this shouldn't be seen as a complaint about the Novus Ordo Mass. It does seem, though, that our more modern worship is significantly "dumbed down." Perhaps we need to bring some depth back into our worship in 2005.

If you are in the area, this Tridentine Mass is said on the second and fourth Sundays of every month.


Something happens today that hasn’t happened in 15 years, the Cincinnati Bengals are playing a game today-Wildcard Sunday in the AFC. The Bengals aren’t the Wildcard, they won the division, but they play the Wildcard, in this case their old rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bengals were still fighting for a possible first-round bye a couple of weeks ago, but that possibility went by the boards when they lost their last two games in a row. They lost their last two games because Coach Marvin Lewis decided to play everyone over the last two games to gauge the team’s progress and abilities. I can’t really blame Coach Lewis for trying such a stunt since, after all, the playoffs are unfamiliar territory for this team, most of them have never played in a playoff game.

I don’t know what will happen in today’s game-it is unpredictable because these teams split the season series and have identical records. I do know that after 15 years, its great to see the Bengals back at the playoff ball.

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