Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holy BCS Batman!!!

With Arkansas' loss to LSU yesterday, the BCS has the potential to become a perfect mess, and to do so in a way that would virtually guarantee an Ohio State-Michigan rematch in the National Championship Game. Many have talked about the possibility of a rematch, but I do not favor the idea-largely because I believe the issue of which of those two teams should be allowed to play for the national championship has already been settled on the field.

Prior to the Arkansas loss yesterday, I was prepared to say that if Notre Dame defeats USC tonight, the winner of the SEC Championship Game next week should play Ohio State in Arizona on January 8th. However, that now only applies if the winner of the SEC Championship Game happens to be Florida-and there are those who can point to Florida's strength of schedule as a problem in arguing for allowing Florida to appear against Ohio State.

Instead, the SEC will be left holding the bag and the "perfect storm" that would virtually guarantee an Ohio State-Michigan rematch could happen beginning this weekend, and if the scenario I am about to describe unfolds, then a Buckeye-Wolverine Championship Game would be the only fair solution (and I can't believe I am saying that). Here is the scenario that I am certain would guarantee an Ohio State Michigan rematch at this point:

Notre Dame defeats USC, giving USC two losses and putting them out of contention for the National Championship. Because Michigan trounced Notre Dame in a head-to-head matchup earlier this season, the advantage goes to Michigan to stay ahead of Notre Dame in the BCS rankings.

Two-loss Arkansas, out-of-contention for the national title, defeats one-loss Florida in the SEC Championship Game next week. Arkansas goes to the Sugar Bowl and puts Florida out of contention in the BCS title race.

In that scenario, #2 Michigan is left with only one loss-to #1 Ohio State-the only team ahead of them in the BCS rankings. The only fair solution in that scenario would be to allow the two to play again. If Michigan should win by less than 21 points in such a contest, I would vote Ohio State #1 in the AP poll and split the national championship.

I don't like this scenario in the least, but it is very possible. If USC wins tonight, it is all moot.


Friday, November 24, 2006

The day after

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when people hit the malls and the stores to find the best Christmas bargains because stores often run sales the day after Thanksgiving that can scarcely be topped. I have no problem with this custom generally, though my wife likes to occasionally spend too much money on the day after. This year, however, I noticed a trend that I personally find quite alarming.

The Christmas rush this year in many places did not begin the day after Thanksgiving-it began on Thanksgiving itself. People rushed to stores on Thanksgiving morning to find bargains, many of which were open for business, with employees giving up the holiday with their families to work that day. How much do you want to bet that those employees weren't getting paid extra to be there? Many of them were not able to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families or friends because they were working. I went to the Bass Pro Shop in Sevierville with my in-laws yesterday morning, and all fully expected to beat the rush that we were sure was coming today-we were looking for bargains on jeans which the Bass Pro Shop has on sale this week. No such luck beating the rush-the people were wall-to-wall and there were so many cars in the parking lot that you would have thought that Thanksgiving was the Grand Opening. I felt sorry for the employees who had to deal with the madness on a day when I am sure a few of them reckoned for a fairly easy time of things-I know I mistakenly did.

I understand that some places have to be open on Thanksgiving. Hospitals and long-term care facilities need to be staffed-even Nicole had to work yesterday (in her line of work, someone always has to be there-unless she moves to another facility before next year, she'll have Thanksgiving off and work Christmas), but she got off work early enough that it didn't interfere with our plans, we were still able to have a family Thanksgiving the way we always do. If you are a small store owner or manager, you'd be a fool not to be open at least half the day on Thanksgiving-somebody will forget the butter, the rolls, or the pumpkin pie.

Generally speaking, however, we have strayed away from the idea that the holidays are sacred and need to be respected. I am as pro-business as the next Republican, but I do believe in responsible business and in the idea that business owners need to respect the people who work for them, because (God forbid) this is the Christian thing to do. These people have families and lives and they deserve to spend the holidays with the people they love as much as possible. The trend toward turning our most sacred of holidays into just another shopping day is one that I find deeply disturbing for our culture.

One of the things that I love about living in White Pine is that for the most part, this town shuts down on Sundays and holidays. Yes, the Food City is still open, but you don't find heavy crowds there on Sunday so the employees are not overworked on what was once a sacred day. Most of the other businesses in town: Hannah's Cafe, the drugstore, the hardware store, the two banks-these are closed on Sunday and were closed yesterday.

While there should be some places open, that general idea is that as much as can be done to avoid regularity on a holiday like Thanksgiving so that people can spend it with their families should be the practice.

As much as it can be done, shut the town down.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Mayflower Compact-1620

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

Mr. John Carver,
Mr. William Bradford,
Mr Edward Winslow,
Mr. William Brewster.
Isaac Allerton,
Myles Standish,
John Alden,
John Turner,
Francis Eaton,
James Chilton,
John Craxton,
John Billington,
Joses Fletcher,
John Goodman,
Mr. Samuel Fuller,
Mr. Christopher Martin,
Mr. William Mullins,
Mr. William White,
Mr. Richard Warren,
John Howland,
Mr. Steven Hopkins,
Digery Priest,
Thomas Williams,
Gilbert Winslow,
Edmund Margesson,
Peter Brown,
Richard Britteridge
George Soule,
Edward Tilly,
John Tilly,
Francis Cooke,
Thomas Rogers,
Thomas Tinker,
John Ridgdale
Edward Fuller,
Richard Clark,
Richard Gardiner,
Mr. John Allerton,
Thomas English,
Edward Doten,
Edward Liester.


I am thankful

As it is the season of Thanksgiving, I thought it might do justice to the holiday to reflect on a few things that we can all be thankful for.

We can be thankful that we live in a land of such abundance that our tables will likely be adorned with a dressed turkey and probably some other meat dish, and there will be so many side dishes and desserts at family dinners tomorrow that we may not know all that there is. There may be more than will fit on our plate. Indeed a few of us will delight at not one but two such meals. While we invest ourselves in this annual festival of prayer, gorging, and football, there are people who will go to bed hungry in the world the same day that we fill ourselves with vastly more food (much of it made especially for the occasion) than we would normally eat. We are blessed beyond what we truly deserve.

We can be thankful that we live in a country where we are free to write and free to blog exactly what we think, feel, and believe. In China they can only see and use as much of the internet as the government allows-a practice that even Google and Yahoo have gone along with. In North Korea, they cannot see the internet as we know it-use of the media is tightly controlled. Meanwhile, in America we write away and blog away regardless of our political, religious or social views. We do so without fear that someone will beat our door down.

We can be thankful that we have endured four vote-rich and vote-close national elections in the last six years, including two extremely close, contentious, and contested Presidential elections. Yet at no time during these voting and counting exercises were there riots in the streets or troops called out to maintain order. At no time during the processes were political leaders hunted down and assassinated by the opposition, nor was the need for martial law ever realized or asked for. Instead, people protested peacefully and then accepted the outcome-ever ready to use the democratic tools at their disposal to change the result at the next election.

We can be thankful that we woke up this morning, and we have families and friends who love us, significant others who care about us, and a meaningful and worthy existence. Everyone has at least one of those things I mentioned, and if they do not have the others, they all have the last thing. I try to see the value in all people and in every life, and I am thankful there are a few others out there who do the same.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Williams follies

State Senator Mike Williams voted for Wilder in the last vote for Senate Speaker-now he hints that he may do it again. That landed him in some serious hot water with constituents and with fellow Republicans (such as myself). Indeed, there is some question as to whether Williams will run again now that he faces serious opposition within the Party.

Now we learn that the turncoat Williams may have misused campaign funds on NASCAR tickets for himself as well as gifts for his former girlfriend Denise Davenport. How do we know this? The ex-girlfriend told Nashville's Channel 5 in a sworn affidavit.

Mike Faulk may not need to worry about a serious Senate campaign-more of these sorts of revelations, and Mike Williams may end up resigning. I eagerly await more to come, and somehow I don't think we will have much problem finding more improprieties where this came from.


Reconstruction marches on at MTSU

The controversy is on at MTSU over whether Forrest Hall, the ROTC building at the university, should continue to bear that name, as it is named for the late General Nathan Bedford Forrest, General of the Confederate States Army and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

I agree with Kleinheider that the name should remain.

In explaining why let me admit my biases so that the reader will understand my prism of view. My third Great Grandfather on my mother's side fought in the Army of Northern Virginia. My family were Virginia people, and always had Southern sympathies and Southern leanings. It wasn't a matter of slavery for my anscestors or for a lot of people who fought for the Southern cause or believed in it-it was a matter of home and self and pride in what you were. People of that day had an understanding that the ground they lived on and the place they were from meant something in a way that I do not believe we can fathom today.

My Grandfather is a person that I count as a personal political mentor-he taught me much of what I know about politics even though he never served in public office-he was the only one of his brothers who did not do so at some point in their life. Like his brothers, my Grandfather was a born and bred Democrat, and he would tell you that in his younger days he was proud of that fact. But he was a conservative who believed in States' Rights, and when the Democratic Party decided it didn't believe in that anymore, he quit believing in the Democratic Party-he became a Republican and as a result of his conversion, his children and grandchildren (especially me) became Republicans too. He wasn't a racist who hated black people, and wasn't opposed to the idea of equality...he just wanted Washington to stay out of local affairs everywhere, and he was not ashamed to say that.

Because of my obvious background, it would be easy for the reader to say "David thinks the name should not be changed because he is obviously biased in favor of the Confederate cause." While it might be easy to make that assumption, and while I admit that it pisses me off makes me very angry when some group or other tries to erase all traces of the heritage of the South or the Confederate past in the South, this is not the only reason that I think Forrest's name should remain on that Hall and Forrest's bust should remain in the Tennessee State Capitol.

Yes, Forrest was a slave owner and a slave trader. If we start changing names based on that criteria our country would look very different. While we are at it, we should tear down the Capitol, the White House, and much of what is left of the original structures in Washington-they were built with slave labor. From what I can ascertain in reading many sources about the General, Forrest was a brutal slave trader. He was, however, a brilliant military tactician and he was one of the greatest Generals outside of Lee and Stonewall Jackson that the South ever produced.

Forrest was also an enigma in his own time. The man who was before the war a slave trader, and after it founded the Klan, ordered the group he had founded disbanded because it had become too violent. He would later become a respected citizen of Memphis and make several rather public condemnation of violence against African-Americans.

Southern history is what it is, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the in-between. Often, I think that people like Mike Faulk, whose family was from Tennessee and had Union sympathies, understand the paradoxes of the Southern history better than those on the Left who simply repeat the standard rediculous textbook lines about the war and about the South, showing little understanding of the conflict or the people who fought in it (to be fair, some of the folks who make such statements never had an anscestor who fought in the war).

Reconstruction marches on at MTSU-what the campus crowd decides it does not like, it shall merely erase like chalk on the blackboard of America.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

O.J. project died mercifully yesterday

It is good to know that sometimes a negative public outcry can still produce results in a day and age when the press and the media often ignore public outrage. The scheduled O.J. Simpson book and TV special has been cancelled after not only family members protested, but the public at-large let News Corporation know that the project was in incredibly poor taste. Rupert Murdoch on the now-dead deal:

"I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said. "We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."

In an ironic twist of fate, some of the harshest critisism of the project came from various hosts and presenters on Fox News, which is-like the Fox Broadcast Network, also owned by News Corp. I think it is fair to assume that the very public criticism from inside one's own quarters stung the News Corp. operation at-large.

In an age when the media often finds itself immune to public criticism, it is good to see agents of the press react so quickly to a negative public outcry and do something about it. In saying this, I don't want to give the impression that I am advocating censorship-had the book and television program gone ahead, I would think them in very poor taste and would not buy the book or read it, or watch the program-but Fox has a right to air it. Just because Fox has that right does not mean they always need to exercise that right.

The very concept of freedom operates on the assumption that people can have said freedom and can have limited government because they will act responsibly of their own accord and use those freedoms wisely-an idea that many folks in the modern era have yet to grasp. News Corporation has chosen to react to public scrutiny and use the freedom of the press in a responsible manner. The rest of the media should pay attention.


The Haslams and power

My fellow blogger Terry Frank appeared on Tennessee This Week Sunday, and the prime topic of discussion was the late incidents of East Tennessee political leaders Lumpy Lambert and State Sen. Tim Burchett defending themselves with firearms against attacks and theft. Let's be clear here: Both Lambert and Burchett had the unquestioned Constitutional right to defend themselves, and they both did the right thing in defending their persons and property.

These incidents were discussed in light of Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam's membership in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun group, yet Haslam is telling people that he is pro-gun or pro-Second Amendment. All of that is typical political backpeddling, and would scarely be news at all if it weren't for the fact that Haslam is seriously floating the idea of running for Governor in 2010. I am no fan of the Haslams, as regular readers are quite aware, and I do not think that Bill or Jim Haslam can remotely be called conservative-they are after the only thing that matters in their scheme of things-power.

Rest assured, Bill Haslam is very much aware of what has happened to anti-gun politicians in this State, or those who change their position on the issue to suit the prevailing political wind (Terry cited the example of Al Gore, who once claimed to be both pro-life and pro-gun, and changed his stance on these things when he became Clinton's second. He then proceeded to take Tennessee for granted in 2000, to his ultimate political peril.). I predict he will change his position three or four more times before the 2010 State Primary, so that he can ascertain just how much he can "get away with" in terms of selling Republican voters a bill of goods.

The good news is that I don't think Haslam can win Statewide in a Primary. If he is faced with a prominent conservative from another part of the State such as Marsha Blackburn, I believe Haslam will be defeated in the Primary-all money aside.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Anniversary thoughts

I was reminded over the weekend that this past Thursday marked the second anniversary of this weblog-it was our "Blogaversary." In two years, we've gone through some thin times-there was a period where I posted only voice blogs for awhile. No matter what happened, though, I was determined to keep this blog going and to contribute in some small, meager, and perhaps insignificant way to the marketplace of ideas on the internet. I saw that the net was becoming an increasingly valuable political and social tool and I wanted to be a part of what was happening.

IN the last two years, my life has seen a number of dramatic changes. I started this blog off the cuff one day in the wake of the divisions still rattling the country after the 2004 Election. Since that time, Nicole and I have returned to Tennessee together to settle and live, I flirted seriously with the idea of running for public office (I even filed), and that is something I am still contemplating doing, we bought a home, and the little blog I thought would be nothing more than insignificant drivel has gotten me something of a reputation, both good and ill, in the blogosphere. None of that could have happened if not for those of you who take the time to read my thoughts on a daily basis.

I want to thank loyal readers and listeners over the last two years for giving me the opportunity to grace your cumputer screen with my thoughts and ideas. I hope that I am somehow as much a blessing to you as you have been to me.

For those in the mood for nostalgia, here is the first post to this blog, made at Cincinnati November 16th, 2004.


The Juice is probably guilty

I remember back when the O.J. Simpson trial was going on, sentiment as to O.J.'s guilt or innocence was sharply divided along racial lines. Polls overwhelmingly showed what I witnessed firsthand: Whites overwhelmingly believed Simpson was guilty (the numbers were even higher among white women), while African-Americans believed that O.J. was innocent in equally large numbers. Fortunately for me. I was undecided at the time, so when a person of a different race asked me what I thought of whether Simpson was innocent or guilty, I could honestly say that I was unsure, thus avoiding unwanted and unintended racial tensions.

Nowadays, I've changed my tune and I am not afraid to say it: I think O.J. Simpson is guilty as sin, and it is a shame that he cannot be tried again (Granted, I believe in the Constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy). Simpson is now acting in the same way that guilty people act, publishing a book called If I Did It. Simpson's publisher at HarperCollins, Judith Regan, said she considers the book to be "O.J.s confession." This has to make a person wonder if Simpson has lost his marbles, because if I am in my right mind I wouldn't be writing and publishing a book that might single me out as guilty.

There may be another explanation for Simpson's behavior-if he did kill his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, he may finally be doing what guilty people often do: He may be having an attack of conscience and be ready to spill the beans because he can't hold it in any longer. By and large, I think the racial divisions surrounding this case are no longer so sharp-now people just want the truth.

Attempting to profit off of the crime he may have committed simply proves that if nothing else, O.J. Simpson is certainly a sociopath.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

My college football rankings this week-11/19

Here are my votes in this week's IRACF College Football poll.

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

One word about this week's action-wow.


Note to Catholics: The Second Coming is real

Mark 13:24-32:

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. And the stars of heaven shall be falling down, and the powers that are in heaven, shall be moved.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Now of the fig tree learn ye a parable. When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves are come forth, you know that summer is very near. So you also when you shall see these things come to pass, know ye that it is very nigh, even at the doors. Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, until all these things be done.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away. But of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father.

We have come collectively to that point in each year when the Church begins to signal the end of a Liturgical Year. The last Sunday of the Church Year 2006 is next Sunday, culminating with the feast of Christ the King. All of our other feasts and celebrations as Christians celebrate something that has already taken place but is central to our belief, such as Christmas, Easter, or Pentecost. Christ the King is a uniquely Catholic feast that celebrates a future event-the triumphant return of our Lord in glory.

Each year at around this time Catholics the world over will hear readings like this one in Sunday Mass, yet when one of our evangelical brethren talks to a Catholic about the end times or the return of Our Lord, very often the evangelical in question will get a blank stare in return.

It may come as news to some in Catholic quarters that one of the things Catholics have in common with evangelicals and all orthodox Protestants is a belief in the real and bodily return of Christ and a real and bodily ressurrection of the dead-albeit both in glorified form. Christ is returning one day to raise his people up to new life-if you are a believer, that isn't a matter of speculation, it is a hard fact. Rather than give our evangelical brothers and sisters blank stares and bumbling answers when the topic of Our Lord's return is raised, Catholics should embrace the reality of the Lord's return and study the Church's teaching about the Lord's coming. In this way we not only can discuss the Second Coming of Our Lord with our friends in a rational way, but we can live each day as though that day might be the day the Second Coming actually happens.


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