Saturday, October 21, 2006

Merle fills in

Firstly, I want to apologize to regular and faithful readers for my lack of serious commentary for the past couple of days. As I mentioned yesterday, Nicole and I have family visiting this weekend and I know you understand that I feel compelled not only to entertain our guests, but to visit with them as much as possible.

With that in mind, I want to everyone to enjoy the Third Saturday in October (Go Vols).

A great many people have asked me if there is a song that best characterizes my philosophy. Actually, there are several of them, but I want to share one of them with you today and I hope you enjoy it-I'd say it sums up my feelings about the world quite nicely.

Tomorrow I'l have a football wrap-up for you, and then we'll be back to your regularly scheduled election cycle programming.

Take it away, Merle!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Should I stay...?

I just wanted to let regular readers know that I may be a bit late getting a good hard piece in today. We have some out-of-town guests (my aunt and her significant other) visiting today.

In the meantime, I leave you with something hilarious I picked up from Kleinheider the other day. A few of you may be aware that in addition to following local and national politics voraciously, I also enjoy British and Canadian politics. I got a real hoot out of this.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pettigrew: Ashamed of Naifeh

This morning, Stacey Campfield and Schree Pettigrew debated on Hallerin Hilton Hill's morning program on WNOX. Two of Mrs. Pettigrew's opening shots caught my attention because they show that she either thought the listeners were ignorant boobs or that she is completely unaware of regular affairs in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

When asked if she would pledge not to support the House's resident falsifier and income tax prop, Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, for a leadership position, she said:

"I am not going to speculate on a race where I don't know who the candidates are going to be."


Is Schree Pettigrew asking us to believe that she is so ignorant of the regular procedures of the House that she is not already aware of who the candidates will be in the official vote for Speaker-one of the first votes that she would cast if elected?

Well, Mrs. Pettigrew, let me educate you.

As things stand now (assuming the Democrats retain a majority, no certainty by any means) the candidates will be Jimmy Naifeh, who you apparently don't know is running, and House Minority Leader Bill Dunn of Knoxville. The choice will be between the man who presided over the House as perhaps the worst scandal in the history of our State unfolded (who also happens to be a big income tax supporter), and a shrewd political operative who knows how to craft acceptable compromises without selling out who is also a decent, quiet family man. If I had a vote on the question, I know what my choice would be, party aside. I also happen to know where Stacey Campfield stands, and where his officemate Frank Niceley stands, and we are all of one mind on the matter.

If what you said is true and you really don't know who is running for Speaker of the House come January, then you are utterly clueless and have no business serving even a millisecond in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

However, I don't think that's the case at all-you are an intelligent lady, and you are not clueless. What's more, you know darn well who is running for Speaker, and you know where your allegiance lies, because Jimmy Naifeh came to Knoxville campaigning on your behalf. If that's true (and I strongly suspect that it is) than you got on the radio this morning and lied through your teeth.

Oh, you'll cover it up by saying that we don't know for sure whether Naifeh is running again, but if that's the case, you are the only person in the State who is unaware of that reality.

Then you said: This race is not about Jimmy Naifeh...

Apparently you don't read the papers much. The Republicans are only four seats shy of a majority, so this race is very much about Jimmy Naifeh, and it is about whether we want the kind of corruption that Naifeh presides over to continue-if you don't understand that you'll be asked to cast a vote of confidence on Naifeh's leadership straightaway, you don't understand the very first issue you will confront as a member of the House.

What is the problem, Mrs. Pettigrew, are you ashamed of Jimmy Naifeh? Do you want to bury the fact that he and his cronies are some of your biggest backers (along with the trial lawyers who love Naifeh too)? Its alright-I understand...I really do. I would be ashamed to take support from such a character too, let alone cast a vote in his favor on the floor of the House-but that is what you will be doing. I would be very ashamed of that, and apparently you are. This shows that if you have nothing else, you may have a conscience that bothers you about this-people whose consciences bother them try to avoid the issue that is troubling their conscience.

Lots of Tennesseans are ashamed of the Speaker of the House. I am, and I know Stacey Campfield is too. The difference is that you have taken support from that which you are ashamed of, but Stacey Campfield has not. What's more, Stacey Campfield is ashamed enough of the disgrace that Naifeh and his pack of wolves has made of our House of Representatives that he wouldn't vote for Naifeh even if he were a Democrat.

You can't be honest about your support for Jimmy Naifeh because you know that he may not be an issue for you, but he is an issue with a lot of honest East Tennesseans, and such open support of Naifeh would doom your chances for election. You are in Naifeh's pocket-you know this, I know this, and the people of East Tennessee who are informed-they know it, too.

At least be honest-tell the people you'll be voting for Naifeh...oh, I forgot, if you did this, you would not only be beaten-but badly beaten.


The Congress

The latest polls are in for the national Congressional outlook and the situation as far as the numbers go looks worse for the Republicans now than it did for Democrats during the same period in the run up to the 1994 General Election, when the GOP first took control. If trends continue the way they are going and I happen to be in Knoxville on election night (I have been invited and Nicole and I are hoping we can be there), I hope that somewhere there is a free and open bar, as I may have a serious need for a very hard stiff drink.

Liberals and Democrats need a reality check, however. If some major liberal bloggers like the Daily Kos are to be believed, some of these people are naive enough to think that a major seat gain for Democrats means that the national mood has suddenly shifted radically to the social and political left. I couldn't disagree more with that kind of assessment. Giving big gains to Democrats is the only way people have to punish a Congressional leadership that spends as if they were the New Deal Congress, continues to allow the White House to wage war with virtually no oversight and no victory strategy, and conducts daily business like...well, like the Democrats did before 1994. The present Congress has forgotten the kind of abuses that brought the Republican Party to power in Washington to begin with.

Democrats also need to remember that the Foley scandal (which as we wrote here yesterday, some Dems in Nashville may have had a hand in for all we know) was a gift to them, because had it not happened, the GOP would likely have maintained control of Congress without a problem, albeit with a one or two seat majority. Nancy Pelosi may be a left-wing loon, but I suspect she is pretty shrewd politically. If she indeed does become Speaker of the House, she will not take unlimited license with the Congressional agenda precisely because red States are still plenty red enough that a hard left Congressional turn would meet with as much public outrage as Congressional incompetence has met with in this Congress. In other words, if you are a really liberal Democrat and you are thinking that a change in Congressional leadership will mean a fundamental change in national policy, you are not only dreaming but you are in cloud-cookoo land.

If the Democrats take control of Congress, that outcome may barely register in East Tennessee. David Davis, Jimmy Duncan, and Zach Wamp, all Republicans, all stand to win their races with such ease that I wouldn't even do them the dignity of being called races if that weren't the accepted political term. What's more, the GOP stands a very real chance, if an outside one, of taking control of both Houses of the General Assembly. If such a thing were to happen (which is not at all outside the realm of possibility), it would be as though Tennessee were some miniature parallel universe inside the United States.

If you are thinking that a Democrat victory will suddenly make America a giant living Woodstock museum, you've smoked too much Mary Jane. We're still as conservative as we ever were here in the Heartland, or else Junior wouldn't be trying so hard to sound like one of us.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Au H2O

State Representative Stacey Campfield has been called "crazy" and "extremist" by some.

They called this guy a crazy extremist too.

I like being an "extremist."

You tell 'em Brother Barry


Ragsdale: Guilty of something

Today we learn from Betty Bean via Terry Frank just how hateful and vendictive Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale can be.

“Quite frankly, I was surprised,” Cawood said. “He just wanted to tell me his side of things – there was no pressure. Dr. Stewart made very few comments and only when asked.”Cawood said Ragsdale told him he was preparing a document to refute Harber’s claims and that an investigation “would embarrass people.”

Let's get this straight-Mike Ragsdale is a liar and he is apparently a vengeful, vendictive human being. Why do I say this? Because no matter what the results of any investigation might be at this point-even if an investigation does clear his name-he is lying like Pinocchio when he says that he "welcomes" an investigation. Mike Ragsdale is less interested in clearing his own name and more interested in taking other people down. That is usually the reaction of corrupt administrations when the legitimacy of their government is brought into question. Knowing this, it forces us to ask: Even if Mike Ragsdale is innocent in the Harber affair, what is he guilty of? He is guilty of something, and we can almost pin that much down...because he is acting guilty.

“I saw the mayor and Mark standing outside the pastor’s office like they were leaving. The mayor told me he didn’t miss dealing with zonings, and we left it at that. Then, Mark and I met across the street at Ingle’s and he filled me in. I was shocked that he (Ragsdale) wouldn’t want to clear his name.”Lambert said he is expecting his commission colleagues to support his call for an investigation.“I’m really expecting a unanimous vote. I would think that the only people who would oppose it would be someone who thought the mayor was guilty and wanted to sweep it under the rug – or someone who’d rather see him smeared and tarnished by never-ending gossip and innuendo.“I’m really surprised that Mayor Ragsdale is lobbying against this. There is a dark cloud on county government, and I want to lift it. And clear his good name.”

At this point, the notion of whether Mayor Ragsdale has a good name is very much in doubt. The willingness to smear the good names of other people is a common reaction of people who are losing their own good name.

I would urge all good Republicans and conservatives to run away from Mike Ragsdale as far and as fast as they can. Regardless of the outcome of this investigation, he is nothing but trouble-an albatross around the necks of many good people.


Crooks, thieves, and threatmakers

These are the sorts of people that certain Democrats rely on for victory. Wade Till was man enough to admit to Stacey Campfield that he stole a Campfield sign, just as Campfield had said. Yet many of you (anonymously, mind you) commented both here as well as at Campfield's blog that Campfield was lying and "dragging [Till's] name through the mud." Yet Stacey was telling the truth, which is why certain Democrats want rid of him-they don't like the truth about the Democrat establishment on the Hill being broadcast not just to Tennesseans, but the whole world.

Now these lowlifes have sunk to yet a new low. The same consulting firm that is running Schree Pettigrew's campaign have threatened blogger Terry Frank because Terry insinuated that these people may have had some of the infamous Mark Foley e-mails (since they are running the campaign of Foley's opponent, now the frontrunner in that Florida District) and they held them on purpose to spring as an "October Surprise" just as it began to look as if Republicans would retain control of Congress. These people do not deny that they had the e-mails or that an "October Surprise" was their intention.

I know the news of the threats against Terry have been all over the blogosphere for a couple of days now, and I haven't said anything out of respect for Terry-but I think it is time to speak up. Yes, Terry is a past Chairwoman of the Anderson County Republican Party, but right now the only position she holds of any importance in that of a blogger and columnist. If Terry's insinuation was/is untrue, then these folks really didn't need to say anything, because it would all blow over. The fact that Terry was threatened tells me that she may be on to something or these people wouldn't want to shut her up so badly. It all raises a number of questions:

If FRCR had graphic Foley e-mails, how long did they have them and how long did they sit on them if they did?

If they did have graphic e-mails from Congressman Foley, their failure to turn these over to the authorities in a timely manner is a crime in itself-did someone else have these e-mails and turn them over to FRCR instead of law enforcement authorities in order for political gain to result?

If Terry's insinuation is untrue, why threaten her-further, why did these folks never deny it? A post on a weblog in Anderson County, Tennessee doesn't hurt a big-money political consulting firm-unless there might be some truth to it.

Terry is a pretty good investigator-my guess is that she is on to something.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I still like Ike

At a very personal level, this has been one of the toughest campaign years I can ever remember. It has been so rough seeing people who I consider dear friends lied about and threatened that the thought has occured to me from time to time to withdraw myself from politics. Nicole says I enjoy it too much to go away from it, and the truth is that she is right. Why this is the case I cannot even begin to know, except that I must somehow enjoy torture, and I have been involved in more losses than wins.

Sometimes I wish we could go back to a simpler political time.

By the way, today is Nicole's 25th Birthday


Harbergate: One more step to investigation

The Intergovernmental Affairs Committee of the Knox County Commission voted yesterday to recommend an investigation into the Tyler Harber Affair to the full County Commission. The resolution was sponsored specifically by Commissioners Moore (R-Chairman), Lambert (R-a Commissioner who was endorsed for election by this website and who made the formal request for the probe), and Cawood (D). It is fitting that the formal resolution should be brought forward by two Republicans, the effective leader and a freshman Commissioner, and seconded by a well-respected Democrat.

From the News-Sentinel yesterday:

Earlier, Dwight Van de Vate, spokesman for Ragsdale, said the mayor's office has "no problem" with the commission looking at the mayor's office or his employees.

That's good to know, because that is all anyone who ever pushed for this investigation was asking for: If Mike Ragsdale is innocent, let his office be opened and the proof be given.

It would seem to me to be accepted political wisdom that those with nothing to hide submit freely to such probes, sometimes even as a matter of public routine. With that in mind, here is some sage advice to Team Ragsdale: If you don't want to be suspected of wrongdoing, do not act in a way to make people be suspicious that you may, in fact, be doing wrong.

I heard a quote from Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert this morning on WIVK: "Someone [in the County Mayor's Office] must be doing something wrong, or they wouldn't be trying so hard to leave doors unopened, but surely no one is guilty of everything that [Tyler Harber] alleges." I don't know, Lumpy-it doesn't look good to me at all when Ragsdale is continually trying to dodge being investigated by using the old "move forward" line. Rumors now abound that people close to the investigation, such as former GOP Chairman Chad Tindell, have been threatened will more embarrassment. Just a week ago, Ragsdale denied he was under that it is ubundantly clear that he is, he is trying to dodge the truth by accusing investigating Commissioners of "playing politics," and calling the actions of the Commission "distasteful."

Apparently, anything that might make Mike Ragsdale look bad is distasteful. I wonder what propaganda Joseph Goebbels Dwight Van de Vate will spew today?

Ein volk, ein Reich, ein Ragsdale!


Monday, October 16, 2006

You know them by their fruits...

You can tell a lot about a candidate based on who endorses them and contributes to their campaign. In the race for the seat in the Tennessee House for the 18th District, Schree Pettigrew tells us that she is a "moderate Democrat," she's not all that liberal, she says-she even agrees with Stacey Campfield on eminent domain reform and opposes an income tax, just like her opponent Campfield.

Yet Schree Pettigrew has received the vast majority of her now-bursting campaign warchest from fat-cat trial lawyers who want rid of Stacey Campfield so they can replace him with someone who will oppose tort reform, so that they can line their pockets and healthcare costs (and the burden to taxpayers) will continue to skyrocket.

Schree Pettigrew says she supports traditional marriage, yet Pettigrew is openly endorsed by the gang at Out and About magazine because she is "pro-gay." We all know that for many of these folks, "pro-gay" means "I support 'gay marriage,'" not merely "I respect people's sexual orientation or choices." I should add here that Pettigrew's campaign manager is a fellow by the name of Johnny Dobbins. I'll quote exactly what Out and About says about Mr. Dobbins:

"Her campaign manager, Johnny Dobbins, is a GLBT community member. He and his partner, David, are welcome additions to our local community."

Now, to be fair, I have met and talked with homosexual persons who believe in upholding the traditional definition of marriage-they are out there, and perhaps Mr. Dobbins is one of these people. Considering the article quoted from was partly about who might support gay marriage, I somehow find that possibility a very doubtful one.

Mrs. Pettigrew says she is against the income tax, yet she has met with Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, the group leading the fight for the income tax on more than one occasion, and they have endorsed her. What are we to take this as, a case of "do as I say, not as I do?"

I'll bet Mrs. Pettigrew is pro-life, too...right?

Who endorses Stacey Campfield?

Congressman Jimmy Duncan
, a man of impeccable principles and who is far more representative philosophically of the people of Knox County than Schree Pettigrew, has endorsed Stacey Campfield.

State Representative David Davis, the presumptive future Congressman from the First Congressional District, a man who has worked with Campfield and knows his character, has given Stacey Campfield his endorsement.

Former Congressman and U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a man who knows what it means to be a real conservative, has endorsed Stacey Campfield.

The National Rife Association has endorsed Stacey Campfield because they know he will stand up for our right to keep and bear arms.

Tennessee Right to Life has endorsed Stacey Campfield because they know he will defend the right to life of the most defenseless-the unborn.

Unlike so many others, including his well-funded opponent, Stacey doesn't take PAC money or corporate money because his votes are not for sale.

It is pretty black and white, folks-trial lawyers, gay marriage advocates, and income taxers endorse one candidate, and people of faith, commitment, and character endorse the other one.

Vote for courage and character-If you can vote in the 18th District, vote to re-elect Stacey Campfield on November 7th.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Welcome aboard

I'd like to take a moment to welcome Mike Faulk, the "Mountain 'publican," to the blogroll here at the World. Though his blog is relatively new, Mike's activity in GOP circles certainly is not. I welcome such wisdom and deep political insight to the roll of superior weblogs to be found in our sidebar, and I hope Mike visits us often and is an active commenter.

I also want to take a moment to note that we have added a new section to the sidebar-Other Blogs of Interest. This section will be dedicated to non-political blogs that are just as well worth reading as any of our American and Tennessee public interest fare. The first entrant in that category is Jocelyn Hainsworth. I first encountered Jocelyn's work on the CBC website some years ago when she wrote a regular column there called "Life On the Farm" about her family's life on 1,000 acres in Redvers, Saskatchewan. When her stint with CBC ended, she started a blog to continue writing about her experience-one which I read with great interest. Many of our Tennessee readers who are involved in agriculture, agribusiness, 4-H, FFA, and/or are, like us, members of the Farm Bureau, might find Jocelyn's insights interesting, especially since we don't hear much about farming North of the Border in this part of the U.S. Welcome aboard, Jocelyn


College football this week

Here are the votes that I submitted in this week's IRACF college football poll.

1 Ohio State
2 Michigan
3 Southern Cal
4 West Virginia
5 Texas
6 Louisville
7 Tennessee
8 Auburn
9 Notre Dame
10 California
11 Florida
12 Clemson
13 Georgia Tech
14 LSU
15 Arkansas
16 Oregon
17 Nebraska
18 Boise State
19 Rutgers
20 Oklahoma
21 Wisconsin
22 Boston College
23 Texas A&M
24 Missouri
25 Wake Forest

The news of the college football world was Auburn's spectacular defeat of Florida. The result of that game, coupled with USC's struggle against a terrible Arizona State team significantly altered the rankings this week.

Because Michigan beat Penn State in relatively convincing fashion (the 17-10 score is deceptive), they are placed at #2 in my IRACF votes this week. If Michigan moves up to #2 in all the polls before next month, the third Saturday in November could beckon memories of Woody vs. Bo.

Tennessee is now solidly in the Top 10 and has a legitimate shot at making the SEC Championship game (and most likely will if Florida loses another game.


The charity gambling double standard

Last night I was able to assist at the fall edition of the Knights of Columbus charity spaghetti dinner at my Morristown Council. The funds from this event (and we raised over a thousand dollars) goes to the myriad of charities that the Knights support in Upper East Tennessee. The spaghetti, biscotti, and chianti that was served were all delicious, and it should come as no surprise that our K of C charity cooks did a phenomenal job.

One of the charities that is served by the Knights' charitable work is the Knights of Columbus Home for Mentally Challenged Men in Morristown, Tennessee. The home is one of the few of its kind remaining in the country, in the sense that it was established by the K of C and continues to be sponsored by a local K of C Council and overseen by a board of directors made up entirely of local Knights of Columbus. The "Knights' Home," as it is known locally, provides a more independent living option to seven adult men who might otherwise be forced into far more undesirable living conditions. Because the men served by the home are able to live there, most hold down a job of some kind, earn their own money, however meager by our poor standards, and are able to be as independent as their situation in life might allow them. At these spaghetti dinners, the men of the home are our honored guests.

The Morristown Council of the K of C holds various fundraisers throughout the year, but could raise more money if State law allowed for the simple means to raise more funds that are proven to be effective.

Under current Tennessee law, raffles are illegal unless you get a one-time $500 permit, something that eats up profit margin. Yes, I know lots of establishments hold raffles, but in all truth they are violating the law-local law enforcement simply turns a blind eye in most cases. The difference between the Knights and many other groups is that as a Catholic organization, we will follow the directives of our Bishop, who has declared that we are not to do anything in violation of the law even if local law enforcement turns a blind eye to the activity.

A change in the law would be a just alternative.

Charity raffles and charity bingo provide the kind of income for the work of societies like the Knights that simple dues and dinners could never provide. If the Knights raised their dues to the level required to maintain our charity work, the Knights would become not merely a Catholic Order, but a society of the wealthiest of the Catholic elite. It is not in our mission to be an organization that promotes elitism.

I realize that many of our evengelical Protestant brethren have a terrible aversion to amending our State's gambling laws. I could see maintaining this position in regards to State law if the lottery had not passed. Now that it has passed and is in effect, our State operates based on a double-standard: It is alright for the State of Tennessee to run a massive and multi-faceted gambling operation in which the money is supposed to go to education, but it is illegal for an organization which devotes the vast majority of its existing income to charity to run a regular raffle or bingo. I daresay that the Knights of Columbus are far better when it comes to charitable distribution than the State of Tennessee-our people are in the community addressing its needs each and every day.

Consider this double standard...and then consider collectively addressing it.


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