Saturday, July 01, 2006

Abramson goes off on yours truly

A full legion of conservatives are after Roger Abramson because of his endorsement of Bob Corker, and with good reason. Rather than give himself an adequate defense, he continues to attack Stacey Campfield and to attack me, with at least one of his ramblings not making any sense whatsoever (which, by the way, he says the same of me).

Let’s move now to David Oatney, who writes what ACK calls a “very good post,” which can only indicate that ACK’s standards have momentarily slipped, because the post really doesn’t make much sense.

The only reason Abramson really thinks my post makes no sense is because I criticized him. If he is going to take absurd positions a la Corker and then call it conservative, he can expect similar criticism from all quarters-even from those who do not agree with me.

If I attempted to claim that every post on the internet that was critical of me or made light of me made no sense, I would be reading very few blogs and have few allies in the blogosphere. That's an incredible cop-out, and I would expect much better from someone of Mr. Abramson's calibre and background.

If this is Oatney’s brand of conservatism, then, yes, I’ll freely admit that I am not a David Oatney conservative, inasmuch as I can discern a palpable difference between an organization of black legislators that declines membership to white people and an organization of white people best known for hanging black people from tree limbs.

Stacey's point (which was far more logical than Roger's rant attacking me) was that the Black Caucus is racist. He is right-they are. It may be that members of that group do not personally intend to be racist, but that group is exclusive to blacks only and advocates policies that are not only anti-conservative but are designed to favor one racial group over another. That is racism. Representative Campfield sought to show us just how racist these so-called black "leaders" actually are. Did Roger Abramson talk to Representative Campfield about his motivation in this matter, or did he simply embrace the mainstream media version of events?

Abramson then goes off on a sarcastic tirade attacking Stacey, and me for supporting him:

I think the most laughable part of Oatney’s post (well, other than the part where he compares my not hitting a space bar hard enough in a blog comment once to two years worth of excruciating Campfieldese), though, is where he compares Campfield to Davy Crockett. Oatney says that Crockett, too, wouldn’t be winning any spelling bees, but that he served in political office “with great distinction.” Well Dave, I would take your point, except that it seems to assume that Campfield also serves “with great distinction.” Campfield serves with distinction all right, just not the kind of distinction any reasonable citizen cares for. When he starts serving us with this “great distinction” you speak of, give me a buzz.

I'd venture to say that Stacey Campfield serves with greater distinction than Mr. Abramson could. Why? Stacey cares about upholding his oath of office, and thereby defending the Constitution. Representative Campfield upholds the oath he took, and he fights corruption and abuse of power. In exposing his own hatred of Campfield, Abramson shows himself to be a so-called "moderate," meaning that he sides with the Haslam/Howard Baker/Mike Ragsdale crowd. The real reason the "establishment" hates Stacey Campfield and is doing everything in their power to destroy him is because he stands up for the property rights of ordinary people, and routinely "fights the power" of both parties. It is no small coincidence, I think, that most of Campfield's chief local detractors are supporting the liberal Bob Corker for the United States Senate. Who is Abramson supporting? You guessed it-birds of a feather flock together.

The Campfield-Crockett comparison is a valid one because Crockett was committed to defending constitutional principles in his legislative career, even if it meant losing an election.

Finally, Abramson (who is at this point in his discussion of yours truly grasping at any straws he can find), unable to take the discussion to any level that might be deemed as substantive in the civilized world, decides to use a new tactic and pull up an old post I made about the Left Behind series from about a week ago-only he is clearly hoping that visitors to his blog won't bother to click on the link he posted and read what I actually wrote. He didn't discuss the subject of the post, he rued over a side remark I made about the Harry Potter books:

In other news, it appears that Oatney shares the ludicrous conviction that the Harry Potter series is influenced by the occult. Wow. Never saw that one coming.

First of all, what any of that had to do with the subject at hand (Abramson's endorsement of Corker and/or trashing of Stacey Campfield) is beyond me. The fact that Abramson dug to find this seems to me to indicate that his goal is not to answer his critics but merely to defame them. Of course what I said in the post was that the Harry Potter books were more well-written than the Left Behind series despite the fact that many Christian religious leaders think them (the Potter Books) to be influenced by the occult. Now, would someone care to tell me what that has to do with anything I have said about Abramson's ideological inconsistencies? Answer: It has absolutely nothing to do with it-it is simply Abramson choosing to make himself look desperate. I actually would care to think that he is a better person than that, and I find it to be both sad and disheartening that he has chosen to stoop to that low a level. I also prefer to think that at some point in the near future he will return to his senses and debate with a bit more dignity.

Abramson now tells us that at some point next week he will give us all a glaring justification for his position. He apparently had just enough time at the dinner hour to take yet another jab at me at Volunteer Voters:

You're probably right, Dave. [I had said he was "awash in inconsistency"] I think it's all those Harry Potter books I've read. Now, if you'll excuse me I have some five year old boys to sacrifice in my basement. I don't know what's compelling me to do that. Must be the occult.

If the goal was to give me a good laugh, Abramson did succeed in doing that.

Roger, here's a suggestion for you. Rather than simply spending your energies saying how bad your critics are in a single post, wouldn't it have been far more time-efficient (and logical) if you had taken the opportunity to use that post to give the explanation that we are all waiting on, and even Kleinheider demands for the sake of consistency?

Friday, June 30, 2006

The debate charade

Last night's Republican Senatorial Debate on WATE-TV was one of the most entertaining electoral charades I have ever watched. The format was not friendly to discussing the issues and I felt that it lent itself to chaos, with no candidate being forced to stay on topic or on message. Instead of having a strict format of either townhall with audience questions or media panel with strict topics, the debate organizers tried to combine the two. None of the candidates stayed on message as a result. Both Van Hilleary and Ed Bryant actually tried-by the end of the debate Bob Corker did not care.

Bob Corker was never able to put to rest the notion that he is not really pro-life. I have to hand it to Corker, he actually put some effort into trying to make himself look more like a respectable conservative. He even said he'd be interested in looking at the possibility of implementing the Fair Tax Plan. I was beginning to think "man, Corker is really turning over a new leaf with all this." Then Corker blew it all to Hell when he began to refer to Hilleary and Bryant as "my Washington friends," clearly suggesting that Van and Ed are Washington "insiders" while he, Davy Corker, will bring good old fashioned Tennessee values to the U.S. Senate. Give us all a break, Bob. Jim Haslam is running your campaign, you were Don Sundquist's Director of Finance, you've been to Washington for big K Street fundraisers from Haslam's buddies there. You of all people have the unmitigated gall to try and insinuate that Van Hilleary (an Air Force veteran of Desert Storm) and Ed Bryant (an Army veteran and former West Point instructor) are somehow more "insiders" than you are is a disgusting indictment of your lack of worthiness as a candidate. It is nothing short of sick. Bob Corker ought to consider it a great honor to breathe the same air as these two Tennesseans who have given more to their country than Bob Corker has ever done. I wish to God that I could have the opportunity to serve my country in the way that either Hilleary or Bryant have done. They are "insiders" alright-in ways Mr. Corker cannot even fathom.

Van Hilleary was-I must admit-in rare form last night. I expected Ed Bryant to lead the attack on Corker, but Hilleary did that quite effectively, blasting Corker for his anti-life record and putting him on the defensive about both abortion and taxes, and causing Corker to declare "everyone around me knows that I am pro-life." In a moment of blunt honesty about the general nature of politics, Hilleary said in closing "politicians will all tell you what you want to hear, but in the end, all you have to go by is what they've done before."

Ed Bryant did as I expected he would do-he embraced the pro-life cause wholeheartedly and he said he was all in favor of the Fair Tax Plan. What most intreagued me was that Bryant is taking a stand which I support, but which is unpopular with some conservatives-the idea that we as a nation need to seriously invest in alternative fuels and means of transport. Bryant's reasoning for this is pragmatic in nature-"we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," he said. He is correct, of course, because if we as a nation are ever going to be energy independent, we will need to replace petroleum-based fuels with other means of running our automobiles-that is just the hard reality.

From a raw debate point-of-view, I'd say that this one was a draw-there was no clear winner. How it will effect the polls will likely be known today.

A personal note: Nicole and I had every intention of attending last night's debate in person. However, in recent days and weeks there have been some very hurried developments in our personal lives-things have been quite hectic. I have done little campaign work this summer (something that is not normal for me) and at the rate we are going, I may not be able to do much of substance (except write this blog) until after the Primary. There is a very good reason why, and when things begin to settle down I will explain here everything that is going on and I suspect you will understand why I have been relatively quiet during this time. I wanted you to know this because I know quite a few of you were at the debate last night and we wanted to be there to participate with you. I wanted those of you who are friends and supporters of my work to know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth-or out of the arena-and God willing I never will.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

On fixing what's broken

Federal Judge James H. Jarvis asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to rule on whether or not the Knox County Charter is invalid in a certified question yesterday.

Chancellor John Weaver also agreed that granting Knox County a 180-day stay in implementing his ruling that the Knox County Charter is "invalid and ineffective" would "do no harm." Since Weaver's original ruling was constitutionally correct, and he has granted a stay of that ruling, I think it is fair to wonder whether the State Supreme Court will overturn Weaver's decision. I do not believe they will.

However, since the stay is in place for the next six months, there is plenty of time to fix the existing document. If that is Mayor Ragsdale's true intent, why not drop the case now before the Supreme Court and simply focus on fixing the Charter?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

In defense of Stacey Campfield-(a.k.a. the sad case of Roger Abramson)

If there is one thing I have grown tired of in the last few weeks, it is unwarranted attacks on State Representative Stacey Campfield, or more specifically, attacks on Campfield by so-called "conservatives." One in particular that I can think of is Roger Abramson who said in the comments to a post at Volunteer Voters:

If you don't think conservatives can do better than Stacey Campfield then I think you're the one who lacks the high opinion of conservatives.

Abramson was responding to Terry Frank who commented:

Maybe if Mr. Abramson explored Campfield's bills, his efforts in the legislature, and his honesty, he might appreciate his efforts on behalf of conservative issues in the legislature--no matter Campfield's spelling errors.

Instead, I'm assuming this serves as Mr. Abramson's second anti-conservative endorsement in just a few days time.

What's really embarrassing is that the GOP is still a minority party in a conservative state like Tennessee.

Terry is right about the GOP still having minority status in an incredibly conservative State. In fairness, part of the reason is what my grandfather used to call "the bloody shirt." My anscestors were Virginians and they fought for the Confederacy. We can say what we like about so many people in East Tennessee fighting for the Union, blah, blah, blah...but a majority of white Tennesseans statewide supported the South, and that was the case in just about every Southern State. What's more, even in those States where Union support ran in the majority (Kentucky, for example) Northern treatment of the locals during Reconstruction was so bad that sympathies changed very quickly. As the Republicans were seen as the party of the Unionists, the Democrats were the only other option. I am a conservative-I was brought up to be that way by my conservative parents. My conservative grandfather was once a Democrat who voted for Strom Thurmond and George Wallace for the Presidency-he became a rock-ribbed Republican when the Democrats sold out in full, and so it was with all of us. Part of the reason for the minority we are in is still the bloody shirt all these years later in Tennessee. The other reason, however, are actions just like those of Roger Abramson.

I don't question Abramson's past conservative credentials. He was really leading the way for modern conservatism before the so-called "conservatives" of today ever came on the scene. However, so was Barry Goldwater, and as we now know, he sold out to the left faster than butter melts on a hot potato when he thought it would be politically advantageous. I fear that Mr. Abramson may be headed down the same path. He has endorsed Bob Corker, who is simply not a conservative (no reputable conservative thinks that he is) and then attempted to justify himself by giving a long, rambling explanation as to why-knowing that Corker is a phony and that he would have to justify supporting a man who is a tax-hiking abortionist. I think it is fair to ask whether Abramson is fast going the way Barry Goldwater went in his old age.

In response to a brief defense of Campfield, Abramson responded with a cheap shot:

I guess I just expect a little more fromour folks. I wasn't aware that illiteracy was something to be proud of.

While criticising Stacey for his often flagrant typos and mis-spellings, Abramson made one of his own, typing "from our" as one word.

I'll be the first to admit that I often think Stacey needs a serious spelling and grammar lesson when I read his blog, but he isn't illiterate. Davy Crockett was a notoriously bad speller, and he served the First District and Tennessee with great distinction in the federal House. I wouldn't call Crockett illiterate.

If you disagree with Stacey's politics, that might be a good reason to denounce and vote against him. If you are a conservative, however, you should be proud that Stacey Campfield has shown himself willing to take the heat to stand up for things that are right. Campfield has shown more intestinal fortitude than many so-called "conservatives" that I know. This is a man who does not merely say "I believe such-and-such." As Stacey believes, therefore he acts in the Tennessee House. While Roger Abramson expends his energies endorsing fakes and frauds like Bob Corker, knowing full-well that they are phonies, people like Stacey Campfield are actually fighting for conservative ideals where it matters most. If Mr. Abramson thinks he can do a better job and be more of a champion of conservatism than Campfield has been, why doesn't he seek a seat in the House? Oh...sorry, that's right, he's too busy writing up lengthy explanations for his support for Forker.

Stacey Campfield may be a rotten speller, but he's a real conservative, and he is a genuinely good and decent public servant. If we could have Nashville full of good and decent men like Stacey, our State would be a better place. While Roger Abramson is busy trying to justify selling conservatism short with his endorsement of Corker, the rest of us are marching on in persuit of the conservatism we still hold dear-bad spellers and all.

(Hat tip: Rob Huddleston)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New York Democrat: "Faith is dead"

I don't do this often, but I am compelled to repost a portion of an exchange I had with another blogger at Where I Stand. After a rather lengthy explanation and defense of the Catholic faith (after Nick asked if I really believed the things the Church taught), I responded to this statement:

As far as I'm concerned, I live for the day when all Democrats can rise up and do a Howard Dean scream, "Faith is Dead! YEEEHHAAWWYYEHHAHAWYYYWAA!!! "

I responded with:

Hey, from a raw political point of view, I'm all for it! As soon as such a public declaration were made, the Democratic Party as we know it would be completely destroyed politically. Better yet, let's replace Howard Dean as the Democrat Chairman with Nick-it would expedite the demolition.

On a personal level, though, that isn't funny-for Nick. That he so completely lacks faith in anything would be such a wry and worthless existence for me. I find that my life is better because I have faith, and I can't even comprehend life without it, just as Nick doesn't seem to understand life with it. If this explains anything, it merely explains why it is that our worldviews are completely irreconcilable.

Now clearly, not all Democrats lack faith in God. However, there are many people who have a lot of influence in that Party-particularly in the Northeast where this blogger is from-who have little or no faith, while others act as if they do not. I find it sad, really, that faith now plays so little a role in one of our great political parties in this country that a Democrat from a heavily Democrat State (New York) can make a statement to the effect that he hopes the Party will one day declare that "faith is dead."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Issues for Bryson

Senator Jim Bryson's campaign has been called "late-blooming," but he has been seen in East Tennessee quite a bit of late. A lot of folks have criticised Bryson for not yet naming his complete campaign team. However, since Bryson is a sitting State Senator, Tennessee law forbids him from raising any campaign funds prior to May 16th. In this State, it is hard to organize any reputable campaign for Statewide office without first raising money. People seem to forget that until mid-May, Bryson had a legal impediment from doing just that.

I do think that Bryson has a couple of issues to harp on that could prove to be effective the rest of the campaign season. The Tennessee Highway Patrol scandal is still on the minds of many voters and potential voters, and even among those who strongly support Bredesen there seems to be a feeling that the situation at the THP won't change significantly until Bredesen is gone. This is a major weakness that Bryson could really take political advantage of if he has any desire to actually win.

The other issue that Bryson says is on the minds of many voters is illegal immigration. Bredesen talks a good game, right up to offering to send the National Guard down to the border even without being formally asked. Trouble is, inside Tennessee he has yet to take a proactive approach to dealing with illegal immigration. If Bryson can successfully broach this issue, and then provide an alternative to Bredesen's lack of action on this important issue, we might still have a Governor's race in the fall.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The new (old) Order of Mass

A great many people are making a big deal out of the so-called "changes" coming to the liturgy at a Catholic parish near you. To hear some folks talk about it, these are drastic changes that are some sort of progressive plot to take control of the Mass. As readers have likely figured out by now, I am the great anti-progressive where worship is concerned, so I would likely be skeptical of any so-called changes that were going to give our worship the dreaded "hippie effect."

However, the new Order of Mass that will likely be approved by the U.S. Bishops and the Vatican for the United States is only a change if all you know is the present system, or if you've never attended a traditional Latin Mass. The new Ordo Missae is actually a reversion back to standards that were held as common in the early days after Vatican II, but fell out of favor in the effort by some people to use lanquage that was "dynamic equivalent" as opposed to translating the Mass directly from the Latin language. Let me put it more plainly: Rather than translating the Mass from Latin into English straightaway, our U.S. and Canadian Bishops allowed liturgists to translate the Mass in a way that sounded good as long as the "spirit" of the original Latin was maintained.

Rome has finally stepped in and said "enough" to that whole mentality, and has demanded that American and Canadian Bishops adopt a translation that is more literal and true to the universal Latin Mass used by the Church all over the world (you go B16!). For Catholics in America, that means that the Church is saying "worship in English is just fine-as long as the liturgy you are using is more like what the rest of the Church everywhere is using." Rome forced the U.S. Bishops' hands to finally deal with this issue after years of trying to gently prod them. Many (but by no means all) of our American bishops are stubborn and stiff-necked men who will only listen when they are finally slapped on the hand rather firmly-and Benedict has apparently given a great thud.

Some of the changes:

Whenever the priest says “The Lord be with you,” the people will respond “And with your spirit.” (Translated direct from the Latin et tum spiritu tuo.) The current response is “And also with you.”

In the first form of the penitential rite the people will confess that “I have sinned greatly . . . through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” (Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.) In the current version, that part of the prayer is much shorter: “I have sinned through my own fault.”

The Nicene Creed will begin with “I believe” instead of “We believe”—a translation of the Latin text. (Credo in unum Deum...etc.)

During the offertory prayers the priest will pray that “the sacrifice which is mine and yours will be acceptable” (more theologically correct) instead of the current prayer that “our sacrifice will be acceptable.”

Before the preface when the priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” instead of saying, “It is right to give him thanks and praise,” the people will respond, “It is right and just.” (This is a more literal translation.)

The Sanctus will start “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts.” The current version says “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might.”

Very often, Catholics in America fall into the great trap of thinking of themselves as "American Catholics," and perceiving there to be an "American Catholic Church." In spite of the wishes of certain so-called progressives, there is no Amercan Catholic Church-there is just the Catholic Church in America. I am not an "American Catholic," I am a Catholic who happens to live in America.

What I am about to say may offend some of my evangelical Protestant brethren, but in advance of saying it I want to tell them that no offense is intended-I say it to illustrate a point.

Many so-called Catholics in this country forget what it really means to be Catholic. When you are truly Catholic, there is no American Church, Canadian Church, Latin American Church, European Church, or Asian Church. There is no First Church or Second Church, and there is no Southern Church and Northern Church-there is just one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. We are all a part of the same Body, and we obey the same Church and believe the same doctrine in service to the same God-Jesus Christ. In our arrogance, many Catholics in the U.S. think they can have their cake and eat it too-they can call themselves Catholic, and even go to Mass on Sunday, while openly disobeying Church teaching all the while. At least in Europe they got the message-they can't be found in church on Sunday anymore, and a majority don't avail themselves of most of the sacraments. The only people left in Catholic parishes in Europe are those who want to be there because they believe in it.

Europe, however, is very slowly beginning to awake from its religious slumber, with many realizing they can't get through life without God. It has taken decades, however, of decline in attendance in Europe's churches to get to this point-but the Church has held fast to what is true and refused to budge an inch, and that will very quickly sort the wheat from the chaff.

These reforms in our liturgy are meant to remind us that we are part of one spiritual family, one Body, and whether that Church is great or small, it is One.

Cross-posted from Where I Stand)

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