Saturday, September 30, 2006

College football preview for today

0:36 1st Qtr
(15) Tennessee (3-1, 0-1 SEC)
Memphis (1-2, 0-1 C-USA)
1 2 3 4


Tennessee leads this one 3-0 as the second quarter begins. Typical of Tennessee, they start slow but expect a blowout in the late minutes of this one. (Update: Tennessee now leads 10-0 at the half).

3:30 PM ET
(24) Georgia Tech (3-1, 1-0 ACC)
(11) Virginia Tech (4-0, 2-0 ACC)

Georgia Tech may be better than their ranking indicates, so expect a closer game than what might otherwise appear-especially since neither team has lost an ACC game yet.

2:30 PM ET
Purdue (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
(12) Notre Dame (3-1, 1-1 home)

After last week's remarkable comeback victory over Michigan State, Coach Charlie Weis and quarterback Brady Quinn look to blowout Purdue at home today. Notre Dame actually needs a blowout in order to move up in the polls and hope for a longshot at the national title. One more loss and Notre Dame's title hopes are finished.

8:00 PM ET
(1) Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
(13) Iowa (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

This is the prime time game on ABC tonight and they couldn't have picked a better contest. Not only is it a battle of undefeated teams, but it is a battle of two of the best quarterbacks in college football right now; Ohio State's Troy Smith, a Heisman contender, and Iowa's Drew Tate, a Texas native who has had a stellar career for the Hawkeyes. This game will decide first place in the Big Ten, but it will also likely determine whether Ohio State plays for a national title. Make plenty of your favorite snack foods, because this one just might go into a late night overtime.

Its all a "personal vendetta"

Mike Ragsdale says that the expose of the Harber Affair is part of a "personal vendetta" on the part of Betty Bean to defame him. I suppose he also thinks that those of us who have been relentlessly pursuing this story seeking answers have a personal vendetta against him also. The truth of the matter is that this is merely an excuse Ragsdale is using to deflect attention away from this story.

I certainly don't have a personal vendetta against Mike Ragsdale, and I know that Terry Frank doesn't either. All we've ever asked-and all anyone has ever asked who has pursued this story, is that Mike Ragsdale come forward and be completely open to an investigation into this entire matter. If the Mayor is as innocent as he claims to be, he would welcome that and would say "I am not guilty of wrongdoing and that will be proven." I can't speak for others, but I know that if that were proven in an investigation, I'd be the first one to declare it here and embrace that reality.

Rather than be open in an attempt to prove his innocence, Ragsdale continues to look guilty-or at least look like he has something to hide. Come on Mike...if there is nothing to this, open your office to a full investigation and let us see that there is nothing to it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

I managed to get Steve Mule in a tizzy yesterday when I posted about Naifeh and his mafia coming to Knoxville in support of Democratic Tennessee House candidate Schree Pettigrew. (The truth of the matter is that Naifeh and McWherter came here less in support of Pettigrew and more out of opposition to her opponent. Naifeh wants someone in the 18th District seat that he can manipulate and use like a ragdoll the way he does so many other members of the House. Mrs. Pettigrew ought not think it complementary that Naifeh came to her event and supported her so publicly because should she win, Naifeh will believe that she owes him and he "owns" her.) Steve Mule said that I was spreading an untruth. I reject that notion, because if there is untruth to the story that Schree Pettigrew was recruited to move into the district and given a job with a promenent law firm and that her husband was also given a job in return for her agreeing to run, blame the MetroPulse for perpetuating the story. I will note that the biggest leftist toilet paper roll in the South did manage to spell Mrs. Pettigrew's first name wrong.

If I find that the story is completely untrue, I'll be the first to retract it here-it wouldn't be the first time I have retracted something on this blog. Apparently, however, Mrs. Pettigrew's supporters do not hold such high standards for themselves. Apparently some supporters of Mrs. Pettigrew have set about perpetuating outright lies about who has given money to Stacey Campfield's campaign and that he has changed his position on the income tax and now favors it. For the record: I know Stacey-he has taken no money from Don Sundquist as these apparently dishonest people have alleged. Further, if Stacey Campfield has changed his opinion on the income tax, then I am an aging Woodstock hippie. I am a walking tax protest, and Stacey is even more anti-income tax than I am!

The truth does not seem to stop the smoke of Satan and the cloud of falsehood from weaving their way into this campaign. Boss Hogg, who has gone out of his way to defame Campfield for standing up to the mountain of lies that is Naifeh, got on WNOX and turned a routine interview into a tirade against Campfield, telling such foul untruths as to say that Stacey Campfield was an obstruction to eminent domain reform. Perhaps only Representative Frank Niceley has been as outspoken an advocate of true and comprehensive eminent domain reform as Stacey Campfield has been. Meanwhile Naifeh threatens to stop debate on the House floor when questioning isn't going in a direction he likes on eminent domain. What erstwhile proponents of openness and freedom of speech Mrs. Pettigrew has chosen to associate herself with...what a team to join, a team of dishonest backroom dealers and stiflers of public debate-oh joy!

I have no reason to believe that Mrs. Pettigrew isn't an honorable human being. That said, it might behoove her to remember that people are often judged by the company they keep. If you want people to think that you will truly stand up for them and not merely with the establishment which has done and continues to do wrong by the people of this State, allowing the epitome and the walking advertisement for that corrupt establishment trash your opponent on the radio is not very convincing. Sitting by and doing nothing to stop apparent supporters of yours from telling total falsehoods about your opponent does you no justice personally or professionally. Is your goal victory at any price, or is it to be remembered with honor? I cannot speak for Mrs. Pettigrew, but I can say without any reserve tthat it appears that the goal of her Party is victory, and honor and dignity be damned.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The case for Stacey Campfield

All the usual Democrat suspects came out of their lairs and were in Knoxville a few days ago. Napoleon the Pig Jimmy Naifeh was there. Ned McWherter was there. All the Democrat leaders were squealing about like a bunch of fat hogs in a pen of wet mud. They came to Knoxville to inform 60 people (most of whom it can be assumed were Democrat die-hards) that Stacey Campfield was "on the wrong team" and that his Democrat opponent, who was given a plum job (along with her husband, who may have even been given a State job) to move into the 18th district and run against Campfield was on the "right team."

Attempting to buy a seat in the State House by setting someone up (job and all) is not a new tactic but it is pretty low-down. Ms. Schree will owe quite a few people should she win her election bid. She'll owe Naifeh, she'll owe McWherter, she'll owe the people who got her and her husband those nice plum jobs and all that campaign money, but I'll bet she won't serve the people the way Stacey Campfield has done and is doing.

I won't speak any further ill against Ms. Pettigrew, though I think her actions and the actions of those who support her speak for themselves. I can only speak of my personal experiences with a man who has become not merely a political source, but a dear personal friend. The first time I met Stacey was on one of his "listening tour" stops at Norwood Library. We talked for half an hour or so, and his humility deeply impressed me. In the months ahead, Stacey would impress me even further as I observed firsthand his dedication to serving his constituents, and even folks that really weren't but might as well have been.

When Nicole and I still lived in Knoxville, we lived right on the district line-literally, Stacey covered the houses across the street. I could never get my crooked represensative to listen to anything, and when I would call his office, I always would get his secretary "leave your name and call again-fax the info..." etc., but I'd never hear anything. One day I called Stacey's office, and answering the phone was a man's voice uttering three simple words-"this is Stacey." If Stacey had time to talk, didn't have a committee meeting, wasn't at a hearing or on the House floor, he made time to talk to me, and I know he did the same with any constituent to call his office as well. On the rare occasion that I did get his secretary or one of the other folks in his office, they would actually bother to tell me where he was and if possible when he might return. If Stacey gives you one of his business cards, the local number on there is his cell phone number. When Stacey isn't in Nashville, his cell phone is always on, and he will answer calls at all hours of the day and night.

I learned this firsthand the other night. Stacey took the time to put in a personal call to me as he is sometimes known to do since we struck up a friendship. I was at a Knights of Columbus meeting and could not take his call right away, and I got home at nearly midnight. I thought that his phone would be off and he would be in the bed-"I'll leave him a voicemail and let him know I got his call" I thought. In the dead of night, Rep. Stacey Campfield's phone was on and he answered it (no, he didn't know it was me calling), and he was not on the road. I won't be bothering him that late at night anymore, but that speaks volumes about the kind of representative of the people Stacey is-if you need Stacey he is there for you day or night, he is there when other legislators are not.

So the next time you hear people say that he isn't representing his district, you can tell them to pick up the phone and call him with their concerns because unlike some others, he will be there to listen to them. Stacey Campfield not only represents his district, he never stops representing them, he is doing it even as I write this, and he is there for his constituents and for all East Tennesseans whenever we might need him.

If you live in the 18th District and you don't want a representative in Nashville who takes the job of representing the people that seriously, then you might consider a vote for Ms. Pettigrew. After all, the leadership of Animal Farm the Democratic Party all support her. If you want a representative who will be there for you in ways that personify what "being there" really means, I would encourage you to support the campaign of State Representative Stacey Campfield and give him your vote on November 7th.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Possible reason for no Harbergate action

The World has received information as to why there was no vote at the Knox County Commission meeting on whether to investigate Harbergate. Apparently, among the Commissioners who supported an investigation, there were only eight solid yes votes. There were several Commissioners who were considering votes in favor of an investigation, but were either undecided or were waffling on the matter. It was determined that it was better to postpone bringing up the whole matter than it would have been to bring it up and possibly not get the 13 votes needed to proceed.

Does that mean the issue is dead? No. For one thing, local bloggers such as myself, Terry Frank, and others will keep pushing until this is investigated in some fashion or form by somebody. Beyond that, I don't think that Gene Patterson has completely given up in his efforts to investigate the story, it is merely a matter of any one of us who is trying to get to the bottom of the whole mess getting the right people to talk and let their names be mentioned.

In addition to pressure from a local blogging community that is becoming more widely read, those who do favor investigating the Harber Affair are determined to try and bring the issue to a head at some point, and there is a rumor circulating that some of these Commission members may be waiting to see how the State Supreme Court rules on the Knox County Charter and-as a result-the related term limits provision. If the Court should rule that the Charter is valid, that would undo much of the Commission itself and may change its face in the very near future.

We shall see...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Big Jim's big problem

By now most of you have probably seen State Senator Jim Bryson's new television ad in which he (rightly) accused Governor Phil Bredesen of being at the head of a "corrupt and scandalous administration." Unlike some, I didn't think Bryson's ad was overly negative and I actually thought the ad gave a good, though cutesy first impression of the Republican nominee.

Bryson has a huge problem, and believe it or not it is not name recognition. I think it is reasonable to presume that even though few have heard of Bryson right now, he'll have enough money to put up a respectable campaign and if circumstances were different, I believe Bryson would win.

So just what are "the circumstances" of this race? Yes, there has been a scandal in the Highway Patrol involving promotions for contributions to Bredesen's campaign. That is serious business and may need to be investigated more thoroughly, but no one has ever been able to tie the promotions-for-cash scandal directly to the Governor. Meanwhile, the State has a huge budget surplus and revenue coming out the rear end, all with no income tax and no attempt to pass one in an unconstitutional manner (yet).

What is the public perception? I don't exactly live in an area crawling with liberal Democrats, and in any other year this area would vote solidly Republican in a Gubernatorial election. Yet I've heard comments from people at morning coffee like "I didn't vote for him last time, but this time I am voting for Bredesen," or "Bredesen is one of the best Governors that I can remember." People do not form such opinions because they are brainwashed. Much of the reason people like Bredesen is precisely because thus far, Bredesen hasn't made major changes even when they've been needed. On top of that, he has kept silent when the militant Left of his Party has all but demanded that he cave to their desire for "fair taxation" (code for an income tax) and take a harder line against the Constitutional Amendment defining marriage that is likely to pass in November by a massive margin-he has had little to say about it.

Does all that mean I will support Bredesen? Not on your life. I think that he likely was tied to the scandal in the Highway Patrol, and his first term has been eerily similar to that of his predecessor Don Sundquist, who attempted to ram an income tax down the people's throat just as soon as he was a safely re-elected lame duck-something that ultimately led to Bredesen's election. Not only is there no guarantee Bredesen won't try the same stunt, many a Democrat in the House would love to pass an income tax themselves.

As long as the Senate remains in Republican hands however, an income tax is far less likely to happen, and if the House goes to the GOP it won't happen at all. Bryson's big problem is not that he is a bad candidate, but that the public does not believe his opponent is a bad Governor.

Monday, September 25, 2006

And that's the way it is...

A few folks have wondered to me privately whether I was just blowing hot air this past Friday when I wrote that the Knox County Commission would soon launch an investigation into Harbergate. As an anonymous poster at Terry Frank's blog pointed out, neither Scott Moore nor the Commission did anything in their meeting today regarding Harbergate. Yet I stand by my original report as well as the reliability of my sources-so some of you are saying "Oatney, what's the deal...?"

If Moore (or any of the other Commissioners) decide not to act, I have no control over that. If they decide not to act after initially taking the decision to act, I can't control that. If I could control any of this, we'd be in the throes of an investigation into this entire mess right now. I agree with those who have said that this is far from over, because the Feds are looking into it. It is true, however, that by the time the Feds get to the meat of the matter, Ragsdale could be nearing his natural political end. If Harbergate has done anything, it has insured that we will not be subjected to the Sundquist-esque torture of Governor Ragsdale.

The only thing that I am really disappointed about is that since the Commission did nothing today, a certain Commissioner who I have a lot of respect for was among the do-nothings. I still greatly respect him, of course, but I am sorely disappointed that he may have elected not to take the lead in pushing for justice since no one else apparently would. Perhaps if a few of us refuse to let the story die, he may push for that investigation if no one else will.

Be careful where you leave your kids

Normally I don't write about too many personal situations on this weblog, because I know that readers want to read about my take on what is happening in our State, our country, the Church, and the world and how that might affect my life. You have come to know a bit about me and my wife from things I have mentioned here, but nothing too deep-largely because Nicole is very much aware of the fact that people read what I write every day, and she wants to keep a veil of privacy between our home life and my public involvement for as long as that is humanly possible.

I'm going to break those rules a bit today, however, because Nicole wants people, especially parents concerned for their kids, to be made aware of her recent experience.

Nicole recently worked at a daycare in Dandridge called ABC Dayschool. She took a job there because she loves children and has plenty of experience working with kids. Anything to do with children is right up her alley, especially since she dealt with children with problem behavioral issues in her previous role with Knox County Schools. Nicole expected her first few days to be difficult-she did not expect to work between ten and eleven hours a day, often without a break.

In her very first day on the job, she worked six and half hours and received no break. She got one the next day, but worked over ten hours-she was only supposed to work eight. In six days of work, Nicole only received the break that is mandated by State law twice. That wasn't the worst of it, however. She witnessed her supervisor falsifying her timecard to say that she got a lunch break, right down to writing Nicole's initials on the card. Nicole put in days that were well over ten hours and would return home exhausted.

How is that dangerous to the children at ABC? While Nicole was there, two new people were hired. At least one person began work their first day at 6am, and left the daycare well over twelve hours later. Nicole doesn't know whether that person (or the other new folks) got breaks as prescribed by law, but if her experience is any indication, they likely did not. Employees were exhausted, and many simply walk out. I would encourage parents in Jefferson County not to leave their children at ABC Dayschool. The place is badly understaffed and the employees are overworked to the point of exhaustion. When you are dealing with papershuffling, that is a hassle that can be overcome. When you are dealing with other people's kids, it can be dangerous to the safety of both the children and the staff-mistakes and work left undone from such a state could cause injury or worse.

Nicole didn't want to walk away. She showed up every day and stayed until she was told to leave. She did so even believing that she was eing taken advantage of. When she did get a break one day and had to leave because of a family emergency, she did the right thing and notified her supervisor-who wasn't going to let her leave-despite the fact that she had done everything that was asked of her. Nicole told her that she had to go, she had no choice, so her supervisor would simply have to fire her. "I will not fire you" she was told, "but if you go don't come back tomorrow." Nicole intended to return as normal the next day-and her tenure ends in a dispute over whether she quit or was fired. I'll take her side in the latter, because I happen to know that she has never quit a job in her life.

ABC exploits the labor of hard-working employees to an unfair degree and does so in a way that is dangerous to the children under their care. The appropriate authorities have been notified, and nothing may ever come of it-but Nicole wants people to know that if they need to keep their kids in a daycare, they should insure that the establishment is well-staffed and the employees are well-respected. ABC is not that place.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My college football rankings this week-9/24

Here are the rankings I submitted as my votes in this week's IRACF college football poll:

1 Ohio State
2 Auburn
3 Southern Cal
4 West Virginia
5 Michigan
6 Florida
7 Texas
8 Louisville
10 Virginia Tech
11 Notre Dame
12 Iowa
13 Georgia
14 Oregon
15 Oklahoma
16 Tennessee
17 TCU
18 Clemson
19 California
20 Florida State
21 Nebraska
22 Boise State
23 Rutgers
24 Georgia Tech
25 Missouri

After struggling in the first half, the Vols were able to pull away with a wide open 33-7 win at Homecoming. Ohio State struggled mightily in their first three quarters, scoring only a single touchdown before breaking open for 21 points (including an interception returned for a touchdown) for their 28-6 win over a flu-ridden Joe Paterno and Penn State.

Notre Dame deserves a lot of credit for the 19 unanswered fourth quarter points they scored after Michigan State scored 17 unanswered in the first quarter. The Irish downed the Spartans in what may be remembered as a miaculous 40-37 comeback victory, one that may mark the Charlie Weis era for years to come.

For a while I thought Kentucky was going to pull off the surprise of the season and upset Florida in the swamp. No such luck-a combination of rotten officiating and poor Kentucky play in the second half handed the game to the Gators.

Next week things really start to get interesting...

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