Saturday, May 19, 2007


I can certainly appreciate George Strait's song If It Wasn't For Texas. In it, he talked about how being a Texan inspired him to do great things, not to mention how Texas forever changed the history of its people, not to mention the two nations of which it has been a part. That song has got me to thinking, though, about what Tennessee means to me, especially since it was a bunch of Tennessee men who essentially founded modern Texas.

If it wasn't for Tennessee, I do not know at this point where I would be or just what I would be doing.

If it wasn't for Tennessee I would never have met my wife, might never have really fallen in love, and may very well have never been a married man.

If it wasn't for Tennessee, I might never know what it means to be a Freeholder-to own your own home and your own land, or to be a free man in the truest sense of what the Founders meant that term to be.

If it wasn't for Tennessee, I would wager a million dollars that I would not be able to do the things that I love.

If it wasn't for Tennessee, I would likely never have involved myself so deeply in the community, in public affairs the way that I do.

If it wasn't for Tennessee I would not have neighbors who make a habit of showing their love and appreciation on a daily basis, and for whom the expression "I'll pray for you" is a promise.

Everything that I am or ever hope to be is somehow tied to a piece of ground that stretches from Bristol to Chattanooga, over to Memphis and up to Tiptonville and Lake County.

After awhile you understand that if you are really tied to it you feel it deep down in the bone, in the soul.

If it wasn't for Tennessee I would not understand what that feels like.


Friday, May 18, 2007

The Presidential race and grassroots involvement

A discussion on the prospects of the 2008 Presidential race at this point. The importance of political involvement, and how those who stay involved should be the choice-makers.-Adam Graham is the guest.

Oatney On the Air-May 18, 2007


How to pick Fred's running mate

With rumors becoming speculation, and then speculation becoming ever-closer to certainty, the possibility that former Senator Fred Thompson will officially become a candidate for President in 2008 becomes ever-closer to reality, a fact even the once-skeptical Kleinheider is now forced to admit. Until Fred formally makes the announcement, we can't know for certain that he will run, but I do think that we can make the assumption that the odds daily increase that Fred will run.

With the odds of Fred Thompson running increasing-it seems by the hour-speculation is turning to who a running mate for Fred might be. Naturally, there are those who are saying that Fred ought to pick one of the other candidates-particularly one of Rudy McRomney-to run with him that victory might be assured. No matter what you think of Thompson's political views, he's the 800-pound gorilla in this race. The Democrats do not want Thompson in the picture because Fred Thompson is not only the most likely GOP candidate to beat a Democrat, he would likely crush anyone the Democrats put up against him as if they were an old aluminum can. Any other nominee stands a likely chance of getting beaten in November of 2008 (and not just beaten, but whipped good-some of my readers may not like that, but I am just being honest), but not Fred Thompson. I sincerely believe that you could run Godzilla as Fred Thompson's running mate and the only difference would be that the scale of the victory would go from a total landslide to a five point win.

I think many activists inside the GOP are aware of this reality, which is why the push for a Thompson candidacy is increasing within the grassroots by the day. Knowing this, I think we ought to do something in 2008 that hasn't been done in almost 30 years (or longer)-the Republican Party ought to have a real, genuine, bona fide convention in Minneapolis-not just a Fred infomercial in Minneapolis. You know, a real political convention where issues are debated and personalities come to the fore. A convention with floor demonstrations, shouting delegates and alternates, and people from the street with tickets sneaking on to the floor to influence the outcome of votes by starting impromptu cheers and rallies. People of "stature" trying to sway each other, and candidates trying to sway the crowd-maybe even a smoke-filled room with cigars and whiskey. The kind of convention that political conventions were supposed to be. We can have that again in Minneapolis.

How can we do it? It can be done, and all it would take would be for Republican Nominee Fred Dalton Thompson to throw the nomination for Vice President to the floor of the convention and let the convention choose his running mate. Sure, all of the current lot of candidates would undoubtedly be in the running, but some dark horses could emerge as well, people no one would otherwise expect.

There are those who would say (and I have heard the expression) that this is a "family fight" and should not be held in public. I could not disagree more with that kind of reasoning. Less than four decades ago, it was the common practice in both parties to fight it out for President and Vice President at the National Convention, and until recently, most of the convention could be seen on Big Three Network television (in modern times) for the world to watch in fascination. The prime reason that is no longer the case is because the Convention is becoming far less of a newsworthy event. The "family fights" were held in very public view, and voter turnout and public enthusiasm for Presidential politics in this country was much higher in the days of the meaningful political convention than is the case today. The Republican National Convention ought to be real news-and this would be big news indeed.

We need political conventions to mean something to the political grassroots in America again. The way to make that happen is to give the delegates and the grassroots relevance. They are the ones who work so hard for the Party, often giving up time with family and friends and even sacrificing their personal careers for the sake of bettering the country through public service in some form or other. The least we can let then do is pick who they might like the Vice President to be.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

The debate, the Middle East, and Jerry Falwell

Matt Daley joins the show today to discuss the Republican Presidential debate, U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East, and Leftist reaction to Jerry Falwell's death.

Oatney On the Air-May 17, 2007


"...And don't call my room again!"

State Senator Ophelia Ford, who replaced her criminal brother John Ford in the Tennessee Senate under rather suspect circumstances to begin with, was taken to the hospital yesterday after collapsing at Nashville's Sheraton Hotel.

This would normally be mere unfortunate news and hardly worth posting here were it not for Miss Ophelia's bizarre off-topic rant in a Senate hearing yesterday. According to several anonymous sources, it has been reported to The World that Miss Ophelia had to be removed from the room by several legislators and her tirade apparently continued when she was escorted out of the room. One source told me that her angry, booming voice could still be heard long after she was led away.

Considering the nature of the situation here, we do have to ask ourselves a number of questions: Is Senator Ford suffering from an undisclosed illness that might cause episodes like this? Is this illness the reason that she has been absent from the Senate for much of the legislative session, thus being unable to effectively serve her constituents? As a person with a disability, I can certainly understand how people can get the sorely mistaken idea that any kind of disability or illness can keep you from doing your job when nothing could be further from the truth. People making those kinds of assumptions have, in fact, cost me employment in the past. However, if there is one thing I have learned it is that I have to be honest about my limitations, too-I must admit when my disability may keep me from functioning effectively in certain capacities. This maxim is especially true for anyone in public life.

Apparently, Ophela Ford is quite uncomfortable with confronting her problems as they may relate to her constituents. When a Commercial Appeal reporter called her room to ask about her going to the hospital:

Reached at the Sheraton Wednesday night by a reporter for the newspaper, Ford angrily denied going to the hospital.

"No," she said, "and don't call my room again."


Finally fighting

I am throughly happy that Tennessee House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower is now prepared to fight to keep unnecessary tax increases from being passed in this session. What tax increases can be deemed as unnecessary? Mumpower and Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada were absolutely right when they said in a press release yesterday that with the nature of the surplus we have, no tax increase is needed at all.

The numbers tell a story of revenue savings and surplus unseen in almost any other State in the Union. At present, the state of Tennessee has a rainy day fund of $497 million, with a proposed $36.6 million to be added to the savings account (which I think we can presume is interest-bearing). The state will have over $680 million recurring, and $833 million in funds that are supposedly non-recurring. The long and short of all of that is that we have money coming out of our ears here.

Should we be responsible with the money that we do have? Certainly, nobody wants to burn such a huge surplus in a single year. It is terribly obvious, however, that to ask the people for a tax increase under such circumstances is the height of government carelessness and greed.

“There is absolutely no justification for a tax increase right now—all their arguments are losing steam,” said Mumpower. “We have plenty of money to fund education, take care of state employees, and give the people a rollback on the food tax. What we don’t have room is pork-barrel spending.”

Rep. Glen Casada put it even more bluntly:

“We have a unique opportunity here to help everyone in this state, across the board,” he said. “What you are seeing is the fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. They want to take your money and spend it for you. Republicans advocate letting the people in this state make their own decisions with regards to their money. We need to return some money to the taxpayers.”

I have said for months now that the GOP needs to begin to draw the line in the sand to differentiate themselves from the party opposite in preparation for the next election. People need to see that a change in control will mean a change in the way things are done. Finally, the line gets drawn yesterday. The only problem is that this was done so late in the legislative session that it will be nearly impossible to get the Governor or the Democrats to cave on the tax question. I look for some kind of deal that will involve a tax hike in some fashion on an item that might be deemed as "non-essential"-the Republicans would be smart to continue to try and tie any tax increase on other items to a tax increase on food.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dancing on his grave

The Left dances on the grave of the Reverend Jerry Falwell.

Oatney On the Air-May 16, 2007


Rev. Jerry Falwell 1933-2007

Behold this day I am going the way of all the earth, and you shall know with all your mind that of all the words which the Lord promised to perform for you, not one hath failed. -Joshua 23:14

I did not see eye to eye with
Jerry Falwell on matters of theology. He was a Baptist and I am a Catholic, we needn't go into the nuances of our obvious disagreement on that score. Yet I think that people of faith who believe that while on earth we must strive to do the Lord's work in the public square have lost a champion in Jerry Falwell.

It has been Jerry Falwell, perhaps more than any other figure, who has carried the torch for the message that morality matters in the public square and that Christian people have the right and the duty to engage the culture and use the political system to promote a values-based vision for society. You don't have to always have agreed with Jerry Falwell to understand the singular importance of what he accomplished for the political power of Christian America. Falwell showed people of faith-both evangelical Protestants as well as traditionalist Catholics-that we do have power in our votes and that if we stand together we cannot be ignored.

I also believe that Falwell came to appreciate that orthodox Catholics were his allies in the fight for a Christian nation. Over the years, he allied himself with the late Archbishop of New York
John Cardinal O'Connor. Together, they fought the militant Left to uphold the sanctity of human life and the bonds of the traditional family. O'Connor, the former military Archbishop and Navy Admiral, forbade the Draft-Dodging public Adulterer from entering St. Patrick's Cathedral as long as he was alive, while Falwell held court on the public airwaves for "ABC-Anyone but Clinton." When Cardinal O'Connor died in 2001, Jerry Falwell mourned. When Jerry Falwell died, true Catholics reacted in both mourning and in defense of Falwell.

How important was Falwell's work to all orthodox people of faith? So important that the enemies of the Lord and the Cause spent a good part of the day yesterday
bashing Falwell with hate-filled drivel and invective in the blogosphere. Certain of our friends on the Left (of the irreligious variety) know in their hearts that they do not have a belief system worth fighting and dying for on its own merits, so they instead spend their day attacking Falwell's. When I read some of the excrement that passed for conversation yesterday, I could not help but think of the words of Our Lord:

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

Jerry Falwell was not a perfect man. I would be among the first to say that he had his faults and that he was not always careful with his words. Falwell, however, enjoyed a spiritual gift that did not always give him the ability to restrain what he said. In the end, this proved irrelevant, because he left a legacy for all of Christendom to remember him by. Not since the Apostle Paul have Christians been able to use their political status (Paul used his Roman citizenship to his benefit) to advance their interests in the way that we can today-largely due to the work of Jerry Falwell. Falwell reminded us that it is okay to fight for what we believe is right-that being Christian does not mean we have to sit back and take it while the cultural Left sends the country to Hell in a handbasket. We can fight just as hard as the anti-religious Left can.

That is Jerry Falwell's lasting legacy-he showed believers how to use the system to work for them. The reason that the Left so hates Jerry Falwell is that Falwell used his influence while on this Earth to insure that the militant Left will not have their rootless, valueless, Godless society in America-not without first destroying the temples of the righteous-temples the gates of Hell shall not prevail against, and neither shall the socio-cultural Left.

Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.-Psalm 126:1

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Burchett and Brileyworld

State Senator Tim Burchett appeared in an online chat in the Tennessean yesterday about his bill to expand the right to carry a firearm in Tennessee. Burchett's support of gun rights has long been established, and was made a matter of very public knowledge when Burchett used his weapon as a means of defense during a robbery attempt last year.

I have always found Burchett to be a sort of weird enigma, he can't seem to make up his mind where he stands. He voted for John Wilder for Senate Speaker in 2005-and while I support his commitment to constructive bipartisanship, sometimes he crosses the aisle in ways that make him appear contradictory, to say the least.

His latest contradiction comes right from the Tennessean's chat:

Question: How do you feel about broadening the bill to include those places that were included in the House amendment?

TB: This was done to actually kill the bill.

TB: but it backfired and folks have started to embrace the idea. I will not allow the bill to be amended to broaden it.

Why not allow this to be broadened? As Burchett pointed out, the amendment, brought by Nashville Representative Rob Briley, was an attempt to kill the bill. Briley apparently believed that not only would other Democrats actually try to kill this legislation, but that there would be some kind of popular outcry against it. As Briley proves time and again, he apparently lives in some tiny Davidson County box and it apparently doesn't register with him that outside of Brileyworld this is still a very conservative State. There has been a public outcry, alright-in favor of the amended bill! As a result of Briley's total ignorance of political reality, he then added another amendment to post signage at all State parks that notified people of their right to carry a firearm, making the fiscal note on the bill (which has been essentially nothing) too exorbitant-or so he thinks.

Burchett is right, Tennesseans are embracing the idea, as Frank Niceley, the bill's sponsor in the House (and my State Representative) can attest. This bill is extremely popular in our district, and the newly-amended version is even more so. It may be that Briley thought that his amendment would kill the bill, but it has had the opposite effect. Burchett, who makes great political hay over his pro-Second Amendment stance, ought to embrace this development and let the last laugh be on Rob Briley, whose level of abject ignorance of ROT (the Rest of Tennessee) never ceases to amaze those of us outside Nashville.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Casada speaks out on Fuhrer Naifeh

Tennessee State Representative Glen Casada (R-Franklin) Republican Caucus Chairman is the guest. The corrupt leadership of Tennessee House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) is exposed in his rulebreaking actions on the House floor last Wednesday.

Oatney On the Air-May 14 2007

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Casada fights the power

Last week Tennessee House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada challenged the ruling of the Chair on a tort reform bill-namely the ruling that the bill should be sent back to committee. Speaker Jimmy Naifeh made the move to send the legislation back to committee on Wednesday after the Republicans managed to defeat an amendment that would have weakened the bill. Republicans objected to the motion to refer the bill back to committee, and Naifeh refused to recognize the objections of members.

“It was a blatant rule violation. The Speaker clearly saw those that objected, but was heavy-handed with the gavel, and ignored those of us that should have been recognized,” Casada said. “This is an example of why it’s time for a change in the legislature. We need a Speaker that does not ignore the law, but stays within the boundaries of the rules."

The issue at this point is no longer the legislation at hand. Whether a person agrees or disagrees with this kind of law, using dictatorial tactics to have your way with a bill that is likely headed for passage only shows that the ordinary conventions of parliamentary rules do not apply with Jimmy Naifeh in charge of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Within the
National Conference of State Legislators and among people in-the-know about State and national legislative affairs, Jimmy Naifeh is considered a master of parliamentary tactics and procedure. I do not doubt that Naifeh knows Robert's Rules of Order very well indeed-likely better than the Speaker of the federal House. I think he knows how to manipulate the rules, but as he has shown on at least three occasions during this session of the General Assembly that he simply ignores them at his pleasure.

Many times those who criticize Naifeh are simply labeled as excessive partisans-but it seems that it is Naifeh himself who is the uber-partisan. For most of his career as Speaker, he has enjoyed an overwhelming Democratic majority. That is no longer the case in 2007-his overall majority is down to four seats, and even when his turncoat Republican support is factored in, he has enough opposition in the House that if the rules were applied in a fair and equitable way the majority would not have their way all the time, as would have been the case with the tort reform bill. Since he can no longer have his way constantly, he reacts by simply ignoring the opposition and pretending objections to the motions of his backers are not present, and claiming that seconds on motions that he does not like simply do not exist.

It is wonderful to finally see the House Republican Leadership taking a strong stand against these kinds of tactics. As has been
chronicled here, this is not the first time this session that Naifeh has engaged in blatant and open abuse of power. I have been critical of Republican Leader Jason Mumpower for not standing up to Naifeh enough, and very often for allowing his own members to be left in the lurch. I think it is fair to say, however, that Glen Casada did not take this action of objecting to Naifeh's ruling without Mumpower's approval, whether implicit or explicit. Perhaps Jason Mumpower is joining the rest of us in finally having had enough of Coon Supper Jimmy-and it is none too soon. Late as it may be, I welcome the sudden fighting spirit in the GOP corner.

On top of all of this, parts of the video archives of the Tennessee House of Representatives
have mysteriously disappeared from the General Assembly's website. The portions which have disappeared are sessions or segments of sessions of the House which show Jimmy Naifeh engaging in abuse of his office for the world to see. In previous weeks during this legislative session, intelligent Tennessee bloggers have taken segments which chronicle Naifeh's abusive actions and placed them on YouTube for the world to see and disseminate. Now some of Naifeh's worst abuse yet (and certain Democrats' complicity with it) is missing from the archive.

Speaker Naifeh knows that his days as Fuhrer of the House of Representatives are numbered, and he is acting like the two-year-old whose lollipop is being taken away.

Audio: Kleinheider, Ben Cunningham, Rep. Stacey Campfield)


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Roger and Ricky

The Sunday Sports Final with guest co-host Matt Daley. Baseball this week. Roger Clemens returns to the game-sort of. The controversy surrounding Barry Bonds imminent "breaking" of Hank Aaron's Home Run record. Ricky Williams tests positive again for an illegal substance in the NFL. The NFL could expand the season schedule to 17 weeks and 18 games.

Oatney On the Air-May 13, 2007


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