Saturday, October 13, 2007

1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Del takes us back to 1952


Friday, October 12, 2007

October 12, 1492

Some tell us that we should be ashamed of him...

These people view him as the man responsible for what they deem as genocide, because had he not landed in the Western Hemisphere, there would be no European settlement here, no slavery, and the land would be populated exclusively by Native Americans.

There would also be (not coincidently) no concept of constitutional government, no refuge of settlement for many who came here for a better way of life, no Tennessee, and no United States of America.

For all of his many faults, Christopher Columbus (Christoforo Columbo), also brought the zeal of the Catholic and Christian faith to this continent, and he insisted to his dying day that the voyage he undertook in 1492 was one that "the Lord put into my mind." This might explain to some degree the reason for the name that he gave the first island that he landed on: San Salvador-Holy Savior. Some of the other islands of the Caribbean bear the imprint of the Faith that Columbus gave them over the course of his finding them over his four voyages:

Santa Maria de Guadalupe-Our Lady of Guadalupe
St. Kitts (St. Christopher)
Santa Maria de Monsteratte-Our Lady of Montserrat
-The Trinity
Martinica-Martinique (for St. Martin of Tours)

Our cuisine was forever changed. Spaghetti has red tomato sauce because of Columbus, who brought the plant to Europe. If you like omelets, you can thank the Spanish for them-the contraption that we have come to call an omelet is called a tortilla in Spanish cooking (as opposed to a piece of flat bread, which is called a tortilla in Mexico).

Most importantly, however, Columbus brought the faith of Christ on to this continent. Father Juan Perez, OFM was the first member of the Christian clergy to be "permanently" stationed in the New World, and celebrated the first Mass in the New World on December 8th, 1493-Perez would become an advocate for the rights of the Arawak people.

We should be ashamed of him, we are told-but it is because of him that we are here, and because of his efforts that ears first heard the name of Christ, and ultimately because of him that we live in the society that we do today.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fred, Frank, and Mitt

Fred Thompson's performance in the Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan. Frank DeMoss tries to rally everyone around Mitt Romney.

If you like fireworks, check out two of my callers-one from New York, the other from California (moderate language warning).

Oatney On the Air-October 11, 2007


Hollow: Law is unfair, make it go away!

One thing that can quickly be gleaned from The Knoxville News-Sentinel in their suit against the Knox County Commission is that they are not merely happy with the verdict or the Chancellor's ruling. Instead, they want the law applied fairly and equally-unless of course they don't happen to agree with it:

“Quit standing in the way [of a Special Election],” Hollow said. “We have a governmental crisis. Help us figure out a way to do this.”

Thompson shot back, “I’m not standing in the way of anything other than trying to enforce the laws as they’re written.”

There is no question that a Special Election would be ideal, but the Tennessee Constitution is so crystal clear about the point that vacancies on county legislative bodies which occur in the middle of terms are to be filled by appointment that there is simply no getting around that reality. Hollow and McElroy are in fact asking for a way around the law-they do not believe the law is fair, and so the law should not apply. That is dangerous constitutional reasoning, and that kind of thinking is how we have federal judges reading umbras into penubras and creating rights that don't exist, and State judges going well beyond the framers of 1796, 1835, and 1870 to create law that previously did not exist out of thin air.

When Don Bosch and I are in agreement that there is really no present legal avenue to allow for a Special Election in Knox County, you can bet the ranch that there is probably some truth to that reality.

That does not mean that there should not be a Special Election under ideal circumstances. If the legal mechanisms existed for one, I would say that one ought to be called at the earliest possible date. Unfortunately for Knox County, the rules just do not allow for that short of a Private Act of the General Assembly-which is in recess until January, and by then we are one month away from the Primary, and the Act will be useless.

If there is one thing this case has brought to the forefront it is a need for an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that would allow for a Special Election at the earliest possible date to fill vacancies in county offices. The Assembly could take that up in January, and I am certain it would have wide public support. Everyone needs to get it through their head, however, that the change would not take effect until the people vote on it in November 2010.

In the meantime, the law is what it is, and it must be followed in the best and the fairest manner possible.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The debate

Fred Thompson did very well-all things considered-in yesterday's Republican Presidential debate in Dearborn, Michigan. In a huge field with little time to deal with the issues at hand, Fred largely held his own and proved that he could stand with the best of them. I've been concerned about the notable absence of the "old Fred" of late-the man whose oratory and charm used to frighten his opponents. I think we saw some flashes of that Fred Thompson on Tuesday when he stated the unpleasant reality about Social Security, that as a nation we are "spending money of future generations and those yet to be born.”

He also said that tax cuts do not hurt federal revenue because "the American people know where that revenue is, it is in their pockets."

The Fred Thompson that is unafraid to confront tough issues and deal with them head-on and in a straightforward fashion is the Fred that people want to see. We saw no great oratorical flashes on Tuesday, no magic words that put Fred at the head of the pack-but the reason was because former New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took the opportunity to go to war with one another on the stage in a fashion somewhat resembling a couple of three-year-olds.

"I cut taxes!"

"No, I cut taxes!

"I cut spending!"

"I used the line item veto!"


"No! MINE!"


Please continue this manner of debate, gentlemen. Every time you make yourselves look like fools, you help Fred Thompson.

11:26 AM: I also noted on Today this morning they were pretending that Fred had bombed. You can't exactly bomb when your opponents are thowing eggs at one makes you look like the clean one.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

They still don't get it

Well, the State has once again told Knox County that the laws do not allow for a Special Election.

It is unfortunate, but I get this-the law is very clear.

All sides on the Knox County Commission get it, too.

So why do Mike Ragsdale and the News-Sentinel still not get it? The law is now being followed.


And the police state rolls on

Tennessee Revenue Commissioner Reichskomptroller Reagan Farr made it clear last week that the agents of his police force have no trouble seizing people and property purchased legitimately (and for private use) across State lines to collect tobacco taxes. I suggested that this could lead to other seizures of personal property aside from just a carton or two of cigarettes-it could lead to the confiscation of food and beverages purchased across State lines, limiting Tennesseans' freedom to purchase and to travel.

Sure enough, we learn that this is precisely Farr's intention:

While their search for contraband cigarettes continues, state Department of Revenue agents also are seizing beer brought into Tennessee to avoid one of the highest malt beverage taxes in the nation.

“If, as part of our cigarette tax enforcement, we continue to see alcohol is also a major problem, we’ll talk about addressing that,” Farr said. “We are not now targeting beer-only purchases.

“But if someone purchasing cigarettes (out of state) has also purchased beer, we will confiscate it,” he said.

So Farr will further violate Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 6 of the Federal Constitution, which states:

No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another.

In the modern era, it can easily be gleaned that this clause applies to vehicles bringing personal cargo to and from the State of Tennessee (remember that there were no cars in 1787). If Tennessee withdrew from the Union, she would have every right to force the payment of duties from citizens bringing what would be foreign goods into Tennessee. So long as Tennessee is subject to the Federal Constitution however, she in only free to punish smugglers who are reselling goods illegally, not those who purchase legal goods and travel legally into the State using those legally purchased goods for private purposes.

Simply put, Reagan Farr does not believe that the law applies to him or to his government department. Further, by his approval of these methods, Governor Phil Bredesen believes that his administration is above the law and not subject to it unless it suits him. The tactics of the revenuers are reminiscent of the Gestapo or the KGB, the mentality behind it is the same.

Those of you who are concerned about the threat to liberty posed by the PATRIOT Act should be equally or more concerned about this-this impacts everyday citizens right now. The government that thinks itself above the law is well on its way to becoming a tyranny-yet because this is a Democratic administration, I fully expect that the liberals and Democrats who are (rightly) railing against the wartime abuses of the federal power to give the Bredesen administration in Nashville a free pass.

Tennessee's new State Song under Bredesen


Monday, October 08, 2007

Fred needs to get serious

It has been reported that Fred Thompson is running a "strong second" in both Iowa and New Hampshire by the major press, as though this is evidence that Thompson is not only among the front-runners for the 2008 Republican nomination, but he is about to go over the top. The problem with all of this is that Fred's numbers are static-they aren't showing any immediate sign of improvement. That wouldn't be such a big deal if we had months on end before the first Primaries begin, but as it is the Iowa Caucus will take place just over three months from today.

So far, however, his speeches in Iowa have been underwhelming, and some are reported to say that in person he does not look healthy. He is running in second in Iowa and New Hampshire, but his 18% poll rating in Iowa (to Mitt Romney's 29%) suggests that he has a long way to go to approach the top. If this were an "ordinary" year, it wouldn't be unusual at all to finish second or third in Iowa only to come back and win the nomination, but the 2008 Primary schedule is so closely-packed that the winner in Iowa and New Hampshire is likely to be the Republican nominee.

Then there is the issue of Fred's focus on the campaign trail. He has recently shown himself unschooled in key issues that normally confront candidates these days, something that would not have been the case in 1994. On top of all this, evangelical leaders are showing signs of hesitancy toward the Thompson camp, and in conservative circles you will have terrible trouble getting elected without evangelical support.

Am I saying this because I am opposed to Fred Thompson? No-the contrary is true-I still believe that the Thompson campaign has the best chance of beating the Democrats in the fall. However, if Thompson is to win the nomination he really must get his act together. Because of the early Primary calendar, we don't have months to go at this point before voting begins-we can begin counting down the days in weeks. Every day that Fred Thompson remains in second place is a lost day.

The big test will be tomorrow's Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan. Thompson will need to score a knockout-the future of his candidacy may be riding on his performance.


Ragsdale's real motivation

Knox County Law Director John Owings' plan for the legitimate filling of the 12 vacant county offices (eight County Commissioners, the Sheriff, the Trustee, the Clerk, and the Register of Deeds) that were filled unlawfully on January 31 in violation of the Open Meetings Act has Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale up in arms. The reason for this is because Owings wants to follow the law:

“I urge the commission to make the appointments using an open and transparent process, with a great deal of public input,” Ragsdale said. “Furthermore, it’s important that no one be sworn in early before all appointments are made. To ensure a level playing field for all potential appointees, I encourage the elected 11 to make all selections.”

Ragsdale's request may not seem unreasonable except for the fact that since the new appointees are being appointed to fill vacancies in elective offices, the law allows them to be sworn in immediately upon their appointment. There is nothing that Ragsdale (or anyone else) can do to change this, and he knows that. His real motivation is entirely political and has nothing to do with any feigned concern for the integrity of the democratic process.

Ragsdale is far more concerned that he will end up with a County Commission that will not give in to his every whim and desire. After all, if the Commission is filled with people sympathetic to Ragsdale, he can spend the public money on lobster at Regas and trips for his staff with total abandon. He will be free to have his staffers hack into your e-mail if you happen to be a political opponent of his so that he can dig up dirt on you and attempt to ruin your political career. No one will oversee Ragsdale or act to check his power if the Commission is filled with those who sympathize with him.

Do not believe for one second that Mike Ragsdale is concerned with the public image of Knox County Government-he is concerned with installing a body that will uplift the public image of Mike Ragsdale as the Messiah of Knox County.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bad news good news on a fall Saturday

Well, yesterday was an unfortunate sports day in one respect in that my Cubs were swept out of the Playoffs by Arizona. I can only hope that the team as it was this year stays together in the off-season so that they can make another run.

Now the good news: The Vols cream Georgia. Whatever funk it was that was plaguing Tennessee against Florida appears to be long gone.

LSU beats Florida in the 4th quarter in one of the best SEC games of the year (thank you Jacob Hester)-and it puts Tennessee in the drivers' seat in the SEC East.

Ohio State lets Purdue have it (23-7) in a result that suddenly makes them a contender for the National Championship. Why?

Because the lowly Stanford Cardinal-a 41-point underdog-won on a touchdown pass from a second-string quarterback, defeating Southern Cal (a team that I said at the start of the year was a very overrated program 24-23.

Man, I love college football!


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