All at the same table, folks-talk about a collection of East Tennessee conservative blogging heavyweights-I am unworthy to be in such company! Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and First District Congressman David Davis will be the speakers.
I'll show you a hundred feet, you land-grabbing pigs
White Pine is a railroad town. It came into existence very much by accident, when the railroad built tracks through what is now Main Street-an area that was already part of an established stagecoach route. Before the tracks were built, the area was even more sparsely populated than it is today, mostly by people (or their decendants) who had run from fighting during the War Between the States in the valley just to the west-the fact that the coach ran through made a boarding house or a restaurant or two pop up here and there, but nothing to indicate that many lived here (and many did not). When the railroad came, the stagecoach route and the rail line intersected. Hungry and tired engineers, conductors, and in those days passengers, needed a place to eat, sleep, or relax. Some, no doubt, would take the coach as far as White Pine to catch the train at the small depot the railroad constructed here. The town came into being when the people who lived at "the crossroads" asked the federal government for a post office and were forced to give the place a name.
Because the Town of White Pine exists in part because of the railroad, folks here have traditionally had a good relationship with "railroad people." Your neighbor or friend might work for them. Even though I am still relatively new in town, you have to get along with the railroad when it runs right through your back yard and your dog howls at the train whistle. Yesterday, the Norfolk and Southern Railroad severely tested the good relationship between White Pine and the railroad.
About 3:30pm yesterday, I heard my dog barking loudly and the sound of chainsaws. Daisy barking is nothing new-she's part beagle and part husky and she barks at anything she thinks is a boogar. This was not, however, a "I'm going to scare away the boogar Daddy!" bark-it was a "let me at 'em, I am going to kill them" bark. You don't hear that often out of Daisy, but you know the sound. Then Nicole comes through the door and says "does Cathy [our neighbor] know these men are cutting down her maple trees..."
I couldn't see Cathy and Vic's yard out of the window I was looking at, but I could see what looked like railroaders roping off a huge easement for themselves. Not ten minutes after Nicole questioned me about Cathy and Vic's trees, the doorbell rang and Nicole beat me to the door. A rather tall, bulky man then looked over Nicole's shoulder and pointed over her head and said "I need to talk to him."
Now my wife is not a woman to be talked over. Those of you who have met Nicole know that she is quiet and shy and tends to be withdrawn. People mistake this for a pushover attitude-trust me, it is not. We both have Irish and Gaelic blood running through our veins. My Irish is tempered with laid-back Bavarian. Her Irish is magnified with hot-tempered Cherokee. Cross her at your own peril. On top of that, my mother-in-law was present for this, and folks, I know not to make her angry...this idiot apparently forgot that Hell hath no fury like pissed off East Tennessee mountain women.
"You can talk to me just fine," Nicole said.
Big Bubba then proceeds to explain to my wife that the railroad has a hundred foot right-of-way through the area "but we're only taking 50, and these trees are being cut down because they obstruct the line of sight." Considering the location of the trees, there is no way they were obstructing any engineer's line of sight. A 50-foot right-of-way would give the railroad a good chunk of my back yard and my shop. A hundred foot claim would put the land-grabbing swine in my living room.
By this point Vic and Cathy arrived home to discover what had been done to their maple trees-critical summer shade since their house is poorly insulated. While my mother-in-law was dialing Norfolk Southern, Nicole was ordering the men what to do with what was now firewood. In addition to cutting down our neighbor's maple trees, the *explative meaning illegitimate sons* managed to ruin their dog run in the process.
Nicole beat me to finding the information about our deed, where it clearly states that the railroad has a 15-foot easement on to our land for the purposes of rail traffic. Cathy's deed said the same thing. Armed with this information, we were ready when the supervisor from Norfolk Southern called and he was informed that both deeds said that the railroad has a 15-foot easement, not 50 (and definately not 100). We also managed to get Bubba's name in case we have any trouble out of these people. The supervisor was stammering and stuttering in such a way as to lead one to believe that these people thought they had the right to run roughshod over people's private property. Mr. Supervisor had a rude lesson given to him in the Constitution of the United States and Tennessee real estate law.
Norfolk Southern has agreed to compensate our neighbors for their trees and has agreed not to come on our land or our neighbor's anymore without first obtaining permission. That can't really do justice for those trees, which were at least half as old as this town. I also don't trust them anymore not to try and claim some part of my land. They had better not try...I'll fight them in court, but I also have guns...they'll have to drag me away with a pistol in my hand.
The one downside to turning to The Tennessean for news and commentary when you live in East Tennessee is that they are often as clueless about what goes on here as East Tennesseans were before the digital age about what was happening in Nashville. In today's society, we can find the information we need at the touch of a button, and The Tennessean can and does cover many East Tennessee political happenings far better than the Knoxville News-Sentinel ever could. A headline from today's paper, though, shows that some folks in Nashville are still a bit behind on affairs here.
In a top-tier headline on the website, The Tennessean ran a story this morning about Second District Congressman John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr.'s opposition to the war and support of the resolution rebuking the present Iraq policy-and they ran this as if it were somehow new information. As a former resident of the Second District, I knew all along that Congressman Duncan was opposed to the war, and he wasn't a Johnny-come-lately like so many Democrats and not a few Republicans are. Duncan saw the forest from the trees in the very beginning, he voted no on the use of force resolution in Iraq to begin with.
I always felt good about that because Jimmy Duncan voting against the war and stating so in a very public way made me feel like I was not alone. As a conservative and a Republican, you have a tendency to feel like people look at you with strange and questioning eyes if you dare speak out against the war. You are viewed as some sort of peacenik anti-military type, and your being a conservative and a Republican means you must support the president like a blind mouse, according to some. I have had at least one instance since the war began where my credentials as a conservative were questioned in a group of other conservatives because I spoke my mind honestly about the stupidity of the war in Iraq. Saying that doesn't mean that I don't support our fighting men-I question sending them into a war that they cannot militarily win, they deserve better.
My Dad was an Army man, his sister was a Marine. His Dad fought at The Bulge. My mother's brother was also in the Army. I am a gunowner and I support the notion of an overly strong Navy and Air Force to promote American interests (see The Influence of Sea Power Upon History). What I am opposed to are missions that amount to military ignorance. Our commanders on the ground are intelligent men and have good military minds. I scarcely believe that if any of them had the role of Commander-in-Chief that they would commit our fighting men and women to war in Iraq considering the circumstances which they would be subjected to, because it is impossible to win a military victory-something military men are trained to achieve.
Jimmy Duncan understands that and he has a clear vision of America's duty to first see to our own business.
"There is no way … we can keep all of our promises to our own people … in the years ahead if we keep trying to run the whole world," Duncan said. "If you find out you are going the wrong way down the interstate, you do not keep going, you get off at the next exit."
Whose mind is closer to the founders of our country? Next week we celebrate the birth of George Washington, and it used to be that his Farewell Address was read in the House of Representatives every year on February 22. That custom has ceased, probably because of these lines:
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.
You can safely substitute any part of today's world for "Europe" in that address.
So a note to The Tennessean-Jimmy Duncan's opposition to this war is hardly new. In fact, he follows a long line of great Americans, starting with the Father of our country.
It all apparently started when an Associated Press reporter came to Stacey Campfield the other day and said "can I talk to you about your latest bill..." Stacey thought the reporter was going to ask about his porn tax legislation, but instead the reporter asked about a bill that he forgot was filed Monday. Stacey meant to file the bill, but had forgotten that it was filed Monday. He assumed, as have so many others, that it would be a symbolic filing and would be ignored.
It has not been ignored.
Those so-called paragons of liberty believe that they are somehow defending freedom when they defend the right of others to take life. I believe, as does Stacey Campfield, that the unborn have rights too. It is not their fault that the world may not want them-God created them to live, and with that intended purpose. When we take life from the innocent, we play the part of God, the giver and taker of all life.
In spite of this, Representative Campfield's bill does not infringe on the license (it is hardly a right) to aborticide-it merely acknowledges that these tiny members of the human family have died, and gives them the dignity of that acknowledgement. This legislation has absolutely nothing to do with any infringements upon personal liberty, but it has everything to do with recognizing basic and fundamental human dignity. The hypocrisy of many of our friends on the other side is exposed in the open when they trumpet human rights as they see them, but fail to support the rights of the most defenseless of all-the unborn child in the womb.
This legislation exposes that hypocrisy by doing nothing more then recognizing that the unborn have human dignity, just as the rest of us do. The real reason the militant proponents of aborticide hate this bill is because it will expose legal aborticide quite publicly for the wholesale slaughter of innocence that it is. Aborticide mills, like drug companies, are involved in a business-the business, in this case, of death. They know that if people begin to see dignity in the unborn-if society sees that-their business is in danger.
It isn't a blob, it is a baby-this legislation merely corrects that lie. That is why so many are afraid of it.
Many are simply saying he is grandstanding. "This bill has no chance of passage," they say. "This is all a publicity stunt" say his detractors.
It may indeed be an exercise in publicity, but I have the advantage of actually knowing State Representative Stacey Campfield, and I know how close the issue of aborticide is to his heart. Campfield's proposal may generate publicity, but it is something that comes straight from the man's soul.
Elected representatives are supposed to serve their districts and the people of the State, that is true enough. However, elected office can and should also be used as a bully pulpit to bring the light to issues that don't get the attention they deserve. Our friends on the left are quite fond of doing this, but when someone on the right does it, they are grandstanding or pulling a publicity stunt. While Campfield's proposal to issue death certificates for unborn victims of aborticide may not pass, it brings attention to the continuing hidden holocaust on unfettered legal aborticide. It is also a plausible proposal, since death certificates are issued for stillborn babies-there is no good reason why a death certificate should not be issued for an aborticide victim.
There are three real reasons why this proposal will not pass. The first is that Republicans, even those that are solidly pro-life, are uncomfortable confronting the entire issue. Some are afraid that the Tennessee Supreme Court, with its traditionally much-more-liberal-than-the-State bent, will strike any aborticide legislation down. Others are of a more liberal hue and fear offending moderates, so they will not attach themselves to aborticide restrictions. The second reason is the obvious one: The Democratic majority will block the bill in the House. Tennessee House Republicans are generally quite conservative and most are sympathetic to the pro-life cause. We are also fortunate to have a number of pro-life Democrats in both Houses of the General Assembly in this State. The Democratic Party as an entity, however, is still beholden to the forces of the militant Left for the money trough in many cases. They will not bite the hand that feeds them.
The third reason that Stacey's proposal will not pass, however, is because of the effect that it would actually have. If death certificates are issued for aborticide victims, it will give us actual statistics-raw numbers-on the number of aborticides performed in Tennessee. Knowing those numbers and having the ability to see just how pervasive aborticide is will turn the tide against this murder. People will demand restrictions on the whole practice-perhaps even a State Constitutional amendment-and it could cost Democrats in Tennessee seats if the Party continues to support it, especially when poll after poll indicates that a majority of Tennesseans are already sympathetic to the pro-life position.
Campfield's bill may not pass, but he was right to introduce it if for no other reason than the light needs to continue to shine on the evils of aborticide. He is using the bully pulpit very effectively indeed.
NOTE: Some will be angry that I used the word "aborticide." Get over it. An abortion is technically the natural process of a miscarriage in which the baby dies naturally. Aborticide is what happens in these slaughter mills-murder of a child by inducing or performing an artificial abortion-literally murder by abortion.
When the little baby was born two and a-half months premature, they told his mother he wouldn't likely make it through the night. Back then, after all, the advanced technology that we enjoy today in caring for premature babies was hardly thought of. Doctors had every reason to believe the struggling little stick of a baby wouldn't make it very long.
The baby's mother pleaded with God "okay, if you want to take him, I can accept that," she said, "if you let him live, I will take good care of him."
The baby lived.
At three, they said "this child will not walk, he will not have much of a life." One opinion was not good enough. That little boy was pretty smart for a three-year old. He remembered the doctor who said that all of his life, and the day that it was said.
At five, some doctors wanted to try an experimental procedure on the little boy. Nowadays it is a pretty common procedure for kids who have the little boy's condition, and it has a reasonable success rate. In those days it was something quite new.
After the surgery, they put the little boy in a body cast. He had terrible muscle spasms for the six weeks that he was in the cast. It was a sign that the procedure may be working. After the cast was removed, they made the little boy sleep in the splint for another six weeks, and have even more spasms.
The little boy had several months (and years after that) of pretty exhaustive therapy, but he did, in fact, learn to walk. Not perfect, by any means, but better than not walking at all.
Then the little boy wanted to be in a regular classroom, with other "regular" children. Many other people did not want him there, but he got there and he stayed there.
A lot of people didn't think the little boy would grow up, go to college, get married, or have much of a life. But he did grow up, he moved out on his own, went to college, got married, bought a home, and he writes a lot. He has a fondness for politics, and a lot of well-connected people look at him and say "who the Heck is this guy," but they keep waiting to see what he will say and do next.
His life has been far from perfect, and he has had plenty of bumps in the road, but if you asked him he might tell you that for the most part, he has still managed to thoroughly enjoy himself.
And it all started 31 years ago today, and I made it through the night.
When State Representative Stacey Campfield first proposed that the State of Tennessee enact a tax on offline pornographic items (a luxury), some folks on the left hollered that the State should "leave my stash alone." Under Campfield's proposal, the State wouldn't harm your stash, it would tax it. No one is forcing you to buy pornography, if you do it under your own power, that is entirely your choice-a choice you have the right to make, but one that you don't have to make. Debbie Does Dallas is not a necessity.
When I go to one of the package stores in Morristown and buy a bottle of my favorite whisky, the State taxes that purchase on double levels and, if it is one of Tennessee's twomajor legal whisky distilleries, triple, counting the feds (A tax on the bonded whisky paid to the feds, a State tax the liquor store owner must pay, then the extra tax of the consumer). I do not have a problem with it. Taxes on alcohol, like the taxes on tobacco or the proposed porn tax, are purely voluntary. If you don't want to pay the tax, you really do not need to buy the taxed material.
There are two things, however, that every Tennessean must do: They must eat to live, and they must earn a living to eat with. These things are not voluntary at all, they are necessary for life itself. I am opposed to implementing a State income tax because it taxes a person's living and is always graduated and progressive. On paper, that sounds great to the well-meaning liberal who wants to "soak the rich," but what it really does is to prevent the person of modest means from moving up the economic ladder-the graduated income tax wreaks havoc on the middle class, and because of payroll withholding, many do not even realize it. Those who go from lesser means to greater are penalized for success. This flatly discourages succeeding.
As the late Al Smith once said (Democrats listen up, he was one of you), "any proposal either to 'soak the rich' or 'soak the poor' is not in the spirit of America." In Tennessee, there are those who would like to do both, and there are those content with the current approach, which does the latter in an equally sinister way.
Governor Phil Bredesen says he is unwilling to do away with the grocery tax, a move that would save a working family in Tennessee $153 a year (at least), because he wants to "focus on more important areas." Numerous tax swaps have been proposed to replace much of the lost revenue, but Bredesen is amenable to none of them.
Let us be straight here, these Democratic politicians at both the State and federal level who either want to tax us at an already oppressive rate or raise taxes on necessities even higher, how many of these people are hurt by the taxes they implement on the rest of us? They go home at night to their multi-room house in their fancy rich subdivision and they can afford to pay taxes through the roof, they enjoy the great wealth that they pretend to abhor. All they are, of course, are hypocrits who use class envy as an excuse to tax success, or "the future" (which they will subsequently squander) as an excuse to tax the struggling. Meanwhile, they themselves pay the taxes they inflict on us without a thought-they aren't hurting, so surely the rest of us are not, either.
It is the Great Liberal Lie.
These people say they look out for the working man, all the while they tax him for the food he eats, at the federal level they tax the living he earns, and they tax it with wreckless abandon should he (or she) begin to do a little better for him or herself. Pretending to be concerned with the future, these elitists proceed to find new ways to penalize growth and hurt those just trying to make it in life, all while pretending to be doing this in the name of the so-called less fortunate.
Governor Bredesen tells us that we are 48th in the nation in tax revenue so we do not need anymore tax relief. Governor, why don't you tell that to the working family who is above the below and below the upper and trying to make something of their life? The only reason we are 48th in taxation is because (thankfully) certain people in this State who would like to tax your living on top of what the federal swine do haven't figured out how to sell that to the sensible people of this State. If they ever do, the only thing the State of Tennessee would not tax is the air you breathe.
Taxes on smokes are voluntary, taxes on porn are voluntary, taxes on liquor are voluntary, taxes on casinos are voluntary. The need to eat is not.
Our pompous, snobbish, elitist Governor who speaks out of his nose would like to tell working Tennesseans that in the name of education he will tax their supper tonight. He rejects tax swaps because he apparently thinks Tennesseans are too dumb to understand the difference between voluntary and involuntary taxation.
We's sorry Guvnah, we just po' mountain fokes suh.
Don't believe the lie anymore-it is a dirty deception based on a filthy pervasive elitism. Such elitists exist in both parties, it is true (Corker, Frist, et al.) but my experience has been that the Democrat elitists are by far the worst-their "concern" least among us is so phony and soft you could cut it with a butter knife. And Bredesen-his only concern is for his own legacy-the rest of us be damned.
Today's Sunday Sports Final begins with a wrap-up of the Super Bowl, but we are reminded that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training tomorrow, and with that the show evolves into a lengthy discussion about the State of the game I love with a passion-baseball.
Discussed are a few prognotications and early predictions for the upcoming season, which shortly devolved into a lengthy discussion of the steroid scandal and its impact on the game. Note the differing opinions between myself, my co-host Matt Daley, and caller and impromtu panelist Adam Graham.
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