Saturday, April 22, 2006

Southern Woodstock Saturday

I've decided to take a break from the overtly political today and have Southern Woodstock here at the World this weekend. Let's begin with Buck Owens and Don Rich giving a little advice to novice political candidates who may be appearing on television for the first time this campaign season.

Now from Nashville, by way of Asheville, here's The Del McCoury Band and Steve Earle.

Marty Robbins is Singin the Blues

Friday, April 21, 2006

As the Election Turns-the ever-expanding lawsuit

The Knox County Election Commission has decided to join the suit, or more precisely to welcome the suit, of the five term-limited County Commissioners-at least in two critical respects:

1. The Election Commission asks the Chancery Court: If the charter is valid, do its term limits apply to all county commissioners, as well as the county trustee, sheriff, register of deeds, school board members and the various court clerks?

2. If term limits apply to those offices, does the Commission have the authority to remove the names of those incumbent officials from the August ballot?

This could very quickly turn into the never-ending lawsuit, and the situation is rapidly developing.

Suing Commissioners may have a point

Today’s News-Sentinel actually had a pretty good article about what would happen if Chancellor Weaver ruled that the Knox County Charter was invalid. Many County Ordinances passed under the authority of the invalid Charter could be made null and void. For those who don’t know, without a Charter, the County Commission would have to wait on the General Assembly to pass a “private act” before it could take final action on many ordinances. This is, however, the procedure for most counties in Tennessee.

I agree that Knox County needs an effective Charter, but I think the Plaintiffs in the suit before the Chancery Court may actually have a point: Based on what I have read of the Charter, it seems to me to be an extremely flawed legal document. As Chancellor Weaver has pointed out, the Charter does not even spell out the responsibilities of most County officers, which means that it is relying on the Tennessee Code to do this instead. As a result of that, questions can be raised as to whether the Charter, which is supposed to be a kind of Constitution for the County to give it autonomous local government, is even valid, because it fails to do one of the key things constitutions should do-delineate the responsibilities of government officers.

Regardless of your opinion on term limits, the suing County Commissioners may have inadvertently done a tremendous public service by pointing out the blatant flaws in this document. Regardless of the outcome of the suit, perhaps we should consider drafting a new and more thorough Charter that actually does what such a document is supposed to do.

County Charter invalid?

Five of the twelve term-limited County Commissioners (including my own Commissioner David Collins) filed suit in Knox County Chancery Court Wednesday to have Chancellor John Weaver declare the Knox County Charter null and void. Not part of the charter, the entire charter.

Now, this is an obvious attempt by the term-limited Commissioners to get around the term limits referendum. To be fair to these particular five Commissioners, it is worth pointing out that the theory under which they are operating is based on one of Chancellor Weaver's previous opinions, namely the opinion in which he declared that the term-limited Commissioners could not be removed from the ballot in the May 2nd Primary.

Let us put aside my opinions on term limits for a moment (I am against them), if Chancellor Weaver rules the County Charter to be not constitutionally sound, what happens then? Clearly, we would return to the basic law for county governments as provided in the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 5. Beyond that, however, what do we do? Do we call a convention after the Charter is ruled invalid to write an entirely new charter to put before the voters? If so, when do we call this gathering? When do we vote on the new document?

If the Commissioners' suit is successful, they will have opened an entirely new can of worms.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

An error duly noted

Joe public writes:

I know it's tough to keep track of all the Fords, but just a note of correction here: Ophelia is John's sister, not his wife.

Joe public is quite correct, and this error of fact was mine. I apologize for it. I do believe I was correct in noting that she is Harold's aunt.

Also, the other Waltz-indicted Senator who voted against the ouster was Kathryn Bowers (D-33).

Yes-I believe that should be noted in the photograph of the vote in the Senate on the original post.

I apologize profusely to regulars for this error.

Ophelia out

Photos: The Tennessean

The Senate voted yesterday to oust Ophelia Ford, the woman most known for her constant lobbying for the voting rights of the of the recently departed. She "won" the special election that put her in office by 13 votes. It was then discovered that 12 of the 13 voters had either become residents of the Precinct of the Pearly Gates, were convicted felons, or were not residents of the district.

The fact that Ms. Ophelia replaced her brother John, who was convicted of bribery as part of Tennessee Waltz, put the final vote in question. The Senate ruled her election "incurably uncertain," and she now has an opponent in the Democratic Primary in August. Already, the departed are lining up at the polls to give their support to Ms. Ophelia.

In addition, Ms. Ophelia's nephew, Dirty Harry, will undoubtedly be campaigning for the support of the Room Temperature community in his race for the United States Senate.

As an aside, do you think there is something going on there between Wilder and Ophelia? Do they not look to be hatching some dubious plot?

Note that Senator Crutchfield, also implicated in the Waltz, voted not to expel Ophelia. Birds of a feather flock together.

Democrats' eminent domain deception

I had the opportunity to speak with State Rep. Stacey Campfield yesterday, and he informed me that, fortunately for us, the State Senate is hearing testimony from representatives of the Institute for Justice on eminent domain abuse, and will hear more next week. As a result of this testimony, the Senate may consider an entirely separate eminent domain bill, one that has real teeth.

At least we can all hope so. One of the things that pro-property rights Republicans in both the House and Senate are concerned about is a possible plot by Democrats to use the failure of House Bill 3450 as a campaign prop to say “we tried to do something about eminent domain abuse, but the Republicans blocked the bill and refused to pass it.” H.B. 3450 does absolutely nothing about eminent domain abuse and the Democrats know this-it is an election year stunt to allow legislators from both parties to lie to their constituents and say that they did something about this extremely important issue. The Democrats know that Senate Republicans will not likely agree to the bill in its present form, largely because it has no teeth, and as Stacey and I agreed, no reputable Republican worth their salt will vote for this bill. Hence, the Democrats will attempt to campaign under another big lie-that they are the party of property rights.

The proponents of H.B 3450 tried to say that the Institute for Justice supported (and helped to craft) 3450, but as we learn from Stacey’s conversation with an I.J. official from East Tennessee, this is also another bold-faced lie.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A year ago today...

One year ago today an event happened that first won this weblog widespread notoriety in the blogosphere. Our multi-week, point by point coverage of the Interregnum came to a close with the election of Benedict XVI.

What kind of conservative are you?

As conservatives, we tend to use the word "conservative" with a broad brush. There is a difference between conservatives, however. So-called "neoconservatives" aren't really conservatives at all, but are displaced liberals thrown out of the Party of George McGovern, yet these people dominate the thought process in the White House.

I am a paleo-conservative, literally "old conservative." My conservatism is the same conservatism of my parents and grandparents and their parents before them, an America First conservatism that believes in small government, protecting our borders, and putting America's domestic interests first.

The Democrats are not interested in catering to paleo-conservatives, the GOP, once our party exclusively, is still our only hope. The problem is that the people of our country are rejecting neoconservatism and embracing paleo-conservatism, and the Republican Party needs desperately to follow suit or pay politically.

Pat Buchanan further expounds on that reality in this article.

Beware of Red China

I don't think that an informed American can normally believe everything that they read about our country in the foreign papers, but when one of the most reputable and fair news publications on the other side of the water begins to talk about America's inevitable decline and eventual loss of superpower status, it is time to take notice.

The Independent, one of Britain's most agenda-free news publications, predicted in an article yesterday that the United States would lose its status as an economic superpower to China by 2045. China, the article points out, is seeing double-digit economic growth rates every year, and while Japan remains Asia's largest economy, China will soon overtake the Land of the Rising Sun. If China's growth rates continue unabated, by mid-century the Chinese will surpass America.

This would not be the case had the United States long ago recognized Red China as the threat that it really is. China may have a more westernized economy, but it is still ruled by the Communist Party with an iron hand-and these guys may conduct business with America, but in no way is the Beijing government our friend. You wouldn't know that, however, because every U.S. President since Nixon has done everything but kiss the rear-end of every Chinese leader from Chairman Mao to Hu Jintao. We abandoned our friends in the Republic of China on Taiwan to recognize the Communists and trade with them. In doing so, we have literally sown the seeds of the demise of the Pax Americana.

Some are saying "but Oatney, we needed to do that at the time to make a play against the Soviet Union." China and the USSR were already at each other's throats, and the U.S. getting involved wasn't going to make Beijing any more of a threat to Moscow than they already were.

We as a nation should be far more careful who it is we get into bed with economically or politically-it could be a power that later proves to be a threat beyond anything we can imagine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Welcome Father Martin Fox

I'd like to take the opportunity to welcome yet another new blogger to my blogroll. Father Martin Fox is pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Piqua, Ohio. I discovered Father Fox's fine blog through my dear friend and old college buddy Charles "Chuck" Mountel.

Father Fox is the second clergyman to be added to my blogroll, although he is the first Priest of the Church on the list. I added him because I found his blog to be full of the kind of inspiring, spirit-filled messages that we all need. On top of that, the snippet on his sidebar about his conversion story left me wanting to hear more!

Welcome Father Fox.

Elections and conventions

If you haven't voted in the May Primary yet (early voting will be underway until the 27th) the News-Sentinel reviews the rules for using a write-in ballot in Tennessee in today's edition. By now, even the world outside of Tennessee (at least those who read blogs) are aware of why this after-thought of an election question is now required information for most Knox County voters.

The confision brought about by the State Supreme Court decision was preventable, however, because the Court could have issued an order (it can do that) staying enforcement of the ruling until the next applicable election cycle. It would have prevented confusion and left Election Commissioner Greg MacKay with a much easier job. As it stands now, most of the write-ins do not stand a chance at absolute victory, though they might get nominated at their District Convention (I was going to gun for this).

That's another issue. I am a firm believer that the convention/caucus system (as opposed to Primaries) is the right way for both parties to choose candidates to begin with (as opposed to the Primary alone being the determining factor) so the parties ought to hold these conventions every single election cycle. However, as we all know, this isn't the way things work-these conventions are a rarity, and my guess is that the parties were unprepared for the cost of putting them on or finding places to hold them.

Aside from holding District Conventions more frequently (which is solely a prerogative of the two political parties), perhaps we need some sort of constitutional change to prevent this sort of confusion from ever happening again in the wake of a strange Supreme Court decision. If you think it won't happen again, remember that we did not think it would happen to begin with.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Corker must be beaten

The continually unimpressive Bob Corker was on 1180 The Voice last week, and as Terry Frank was quick to point out, Corker repeatedly tried to dodge real questions from callers as well as from Tennessee Conservative Union Chairman Lloyd Dougherty and Executive Director Kelvin Moxley.

One thing Corker was keen to tell the people listening was that "no one in this race is more pro-life" than he is. That's great to know, Mr. Corker. You might want to go out of your way to convince Tennessee Right to Life of this previously unknown reality, because they have given their endorsement to Ed Bryant. Perhaps TRTL became a bit suspicious after reports that Corker voted in Democratic Primaries while serving in Nashville as a member of the Sundquist administration were confirmed.

I've been around the pro-life movement longer than I have been around any other political movement. I know from some experience that the pro-life movement does not give its endorsements to lightweights. Pro-life endorsements are also, contrary to the belief of some on the left, completely non-partisan. Hence, this explains how the late Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey (whose son is running against Rick Santorum and stands to split the pro-life vote in that State this fall) and former Ohio Congressman Tony Hall, both Democrats, could get unwavering pro-life endorsements for years on end.

However, the Democratic Party as a whole has not demonstrated itself to to be friendly to the pro-life cause at all, even though individual members have been saintly toward the cause. It is easy to see, then, just why it is that Right to Life will not endorse Corker-especially since he seems so uncomfortable confronting the issue, and we don't know what he means when he says he has "Republican support." Is it Howard Baker/Bill Frist Republican support, or is it State Senator Jim Bryson (re: more conservative) Republican support?

I'm not buying any of Corker's story. In fact, because of Corker's refusal to really stand up strong for anything conservative, I am not even sure I could vote for Corker in good conscience in the General Election. I am really praying Ed Bryant is our Republican nominee against Dirty Harry-anyone but Corker.

New additions to sidebar

I wanted to announce some new blog links on my sidebar that won't be so new to some in the Tennessee blogging community. First, check out Adam Groves' Tennessee Politics. Adam gives a good run down of the latest daily political news from all around the State and tells us what is happening in the General Assembly in a way that few can. I thought that in an election year, it would be good to spread the word by including TNPolitics in my sidebar.

I'm also going out on a limb and adding "Blogging for Bryant," in support of real conservative Ed Bryant for U.S. Senate, and the Bryson for Governor blog, in support of Republican Gubernatorial candidate State Senator Jim Bryson.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter thoughts on Bill Hobbs and academic Sodom

I have to admit that I do not know Bill Hobbs in the way that many others in the Tennessee blogging community know him, I was not a regular reader of his before he suspended his regular blog in January, I just peeked in from time to time. I am more familiar with his present endeavors over at Blogging for Bryson. However, as much of the rest of the Volunteer blogosphere have something to say about the fact that Bill Hobbs abruptly "resigned" from his position at Belmont after publishing a controversial cartoon depicting Muhammed in a negative way.

Belmont was once very much a Baptist institution, and as Rob Huddleston points out, when the Baptists get pushed out of the leadership of that institution, people like Bill Hobbs, who is, so far as I can tell, a good Christian man, get fired (that's what really happened) for expressing details of their beliefs on their own time-that is the same sort of thing that would happen at a secular liberal state school.

Let me share something with my good Protestant (and especially Baptist) brothers and sisters: This thing that has happened at Belmont, sad as it is, is old hat to orthodox, traditional Catholics. Fifty years ago, you could not teach at a Catholic institution unless you were loyal to the Catholic Church, to its doctrines, and you professed to believe in the Scriptures as we understand them. When Catholic colleges began to allow non-Catholics, or more precisely, non-Christians, to teach there, the poison of Lucifer came into the Camp of the Saints. It is hard to find a professor at Notre Dame, Loyola, Xavier, the University of Dayton, or Georgetown that is a truly loyal Catholic. They are out there to be had, but they are still few and far between. This problem began because we allowed unfaithful people to teach and hold positions at our colleges and universities. Welcome to our world.

Of course, this slouch toward Sodom has brought about a counter-movement and the creation of new schools where orthodoxy is the expected norm, such as Ave Maria University and Christendom College, where if you try and teach the anti-Gospel of the Devil you will be run off campus post-haste.

What happened to Bill Hobbs should not have happened, but there needs to be such a strong reaction to it that it provokes people who care about Christian education to begin to create places of learning where such a crime cannot occur.

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