Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shower the People You Love

James Taylor c. 1998


Friday, December 12, 2008

The Bailout Culture

Woe unto us, we are told, for the bailout of the big union-appeasing fatcats of the three major American automakers, which they asked for after years of making pieces of crap manufactured by over-paid employees that were nearly as likely to blow up on the highway as to be driven on it, failed in the Senate yesterday. Judging by media reaction, the standard reaction is that this is the great signal of impending national doom-even though the same package will likely pass in a watered-down version next month when the new Congress convenes.

When we bailed out the banks and investment houses, we were supposed to do that because without stable banks and creditors, the lending facilities would collapse. Never mind that these same banks and creditors were lending money to people and companies that they had no business lending to, sometimes at government assistance, and sometimes not. There have been few large banks not touched by extraordinary federal intervention, most of it coming in a form designed to rescue banks and brokerages from their own short-sightedness. Some of these banks also have or had substantial credit card operations, and in that form some of them extended lines of credit to people who should not have had that kind of credit in the first place.

Now the Big Three American motorcar firms want federal money, because since the late 1960's they have been making an inferior product, and they've conducted themselves as though they were the only game in town even after Japanese, German, and other European and Asian models came on to the American market. Further, their employees were over-paid and pension and health care benefits made workers at the Big Three often retire wealthy. Of course, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, a man who has fought long and hard to keep the union spoils system in place, thinks that those who say the union is part of the problem just don't like the union:

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger lashed out at Mr. Corker and other Republicans on Friday, accusing GOP senators of "singling out" unionized workers to bear an undue share of the burden of reviving the so-called Detroit Three.
Why should the union not bear the burden? Its members and leaders have enriched themselves off of company profits while the companies themselves long ago began to die a slow death because of it. Further, the UAW only now cares because it knows that if workers lose their jobs, the union loses money. The UAW cares very little about the welfare of the everyday worker, only about its own survival (if you don't believe me, you can ask my Dad about the UAW's effectiveness as a union for workers who aren't lazy).

Bailout the banks, bailout the creditors, bailout the automakers, and even, by extension, bailout big labor.

There is no bailout for the people who aren't UAW members, aren't bankers, and aren't auto industry bigshots. Big business and big labor often play as though they are opposed to one another, but the truth is that they are really on the same page: Both want to interfere in undue ways in the free market when it suits them, and all of these institutions-especially the UAW-believe in corporate welfare. They want their interests bailed out and have no interest in taking any responsibility for their part, and they've all played a very large one, in the economic mess in which our country finds itself.

Andrew Jackson, where are you when we need you brother?

Meanwhile, we're having vehicle problems in our house that will likely cost thousands of dollars to fix. The automakers who made the piece of sh*t get a bailout, but we have to pay to fix their failing products. And these people wonder why more Americans buy their vehicles from German and Japanese auto companies, the ones who make their cars in America and give American hands a needed job that is more stable than anything in Detroit.

Just when I get angry at Bob Corker, he does something that reminded me why I voted for him. Thank you, Senator Corker, for continuing to oppose this terrible corporate welfare.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

McGraw for Governor?

How dire is the situation for the Democratic Party in Tennessee? With each passing day, the Democrats seem to be dropping the hint in a more and more serious way that they intend to run country music legend Tim McGraw for Governor in 2010-or at least that McGraw is seriously listening to the entreaties of State Democrats and is toying with the idea himself.

Yes, McGraw is no Bill Frist and the arguments against his candidacy that can be made by Republicans are deep and wide, including the reality that he has never so much as run for Alderman, while there are those in the political arena who work every day within both parties and whose contributions to Tennessee are never recognized. Nonetheless, Republicans certainly can't fault Democrats for using celebrity to boost name recognition and launch someone's political career, we have done it with some success (see Reagan, Ronald).

As Kleinheider reminded us today, Tennessee Republicans even made the attempt in 1948 to elect a very big Tennessee celebrity to the Governor's mansion.

Roy Acuff was roundly shellacked in the General Election of 1948, and he also battled against the tide of the Harry Truman upset nationally that year. Some historians believe that if the Democratic Primary had gone differently, and a Crump-supported candidate had won, the King of Country Music might have had a much better shot at victory.

Tim McGraw is very beatable, but he cannot and should not be discounted as a serious candidate. There are few Tennesseans who do not know who he is, so his campaign would not have to spend lots of money on name recognition. Republicans also need to be extremely careful not to belittle McGraw's present career, because that would almost certainly backfire. Instead, the GOP needs to force Tim McGraw to get specific about his plans for Tennessee, and tell us just what his philosophy of government happens to be.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reading Wants Into An Endorsement

It is extremely rare that I disagree with my friend Terry Frank, and on those few occasions that I do so, it is with the utmost respect for everything that she has done and is doing to advance the conservative movement in East Tennessee and across the State. I must respectfully differ with Terry on her post yesterday regarding the joint appearance of former U.S. Senator Bill Frist and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey along with former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman to endorse and promote Saltsman's candidacy for Chairman of the Republican National Committee. I think Terry has read way too much into the joint press conference, more than was actually being said.

Terry wrote:

Bill Frist wants to be President.

Speaker Ramsey wants to be Governor.

And Chip Saltsman wants to be RNC Chairman.

It’s an orgy with suits on. Word to all from the grassroots in true southern slang: WE AIN’T NO STEPPIN’ STONES!

Let us break down the wants here. First, Bill Frist wants to be President: While there is little question that he wants to be President, want alone does not a President make, and Frist is unlikely to be able to wrest the 2012 nomination away from someone more conservative. Barack Obama's election has virtually guaranteed a rightward move by the GOP in 2012 after the McCain debacle. If Frist is looking for anything, it is to be elected Governor in 2010. That is a goal that is so realistic that there is no one inside the party that I have spoken with who does not believe that the Gubernatorial nomination is Frist's for the asking. Would I prefer someone more conservative? Absolutely! However, in a primary race between Bill Haslam and Bill Frist, I know who I'm voting for, and it isn't Haslam. I strongly suspect that there are other conservatives throughout the State who feel the same way.

Bill Frist will never be President, and he likely knows that in the back of his mind. While it didn't hurt his Gubernatorial chances in the least to endorse Chip Saltsman's RNC bid, it probably did nothing to help him, either. Frist does not need to "ride" Chip Saltsman politically in order to be our next Governor.

Ramsey wants to be Governor: The desire is present, certainly, but one thing that strikes me about Ron Ramsey in my few encounters with him is that he is a realist. He is very well aware that in a race between he and Frist, or himself, Bill Frist, and Bill Haslam that he is the longshot, because Haslam will always have vastly more money, and Frist already has the Statewide name recognition needed to be elected Governor. If Ron Ramsey does run in 2010 and Bill Frist is in the field, Ramsey will likely be running with a view to expanding his name recognition for a future race. Appearing to endorse Saltsman does nothing one way or the other to Ron Ramsey's chances for higher office. (For the record, in a primary between Frist, Haslam, and Ramsey, my vote goes to Ramsey regardless of what I think the outcome would be).

The real likelyhood here is that Tennessee is one of the few States to see significant Republican gains on November 4th, and there is a certain ascendancy of Tennessee's power within the national party as a result. Ron Ramsey, Bill Frist, and anyone else in this State who is a Republican would likely rather see a Tennessean running the national party.

Chip Saltsman wants to be RNC Chairman: We know this, he tells us so. However, Terry Frank and others seem to believe that Saltsman "threw Mike Huckabee under the bus" with his recent comments. What everyone seems to be forgetting is that Saltsman is running for National Chairman of the party, and in that role he cannot be seen to favor one candidate or potential candidate over another before the 2012 nominating process begins or while that process is underway. Mike Huckabee is aware of that reality as well-and he continues to endorse Chip Saltsman for Republican National Chairman.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

For Sale: Federal Senate Seat to Highest Bidder

As readers are probably aware, Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested this morning on charges that he has ben attempting to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat formerly held by President-Elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on Tuesday accused Illinois Gov. Rod
Blagojevich of participating in a "political corruption crime spree" that was a
blatant effort to sell the state's U.S. Senate seat in the latest "pay-to-play"
scheme in Illinois politics.

Fitzgerald described the alleged behavior by Blagojevich, who was
arrested Tuesday morning along with his chief of staff, John Harris, as
"appalling." He said his "cynical behavior" reached "a truly new

"He has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a
political corruption crime spree," Fitzgerald said in a news conference to
announce the charges against the governor and his chief of staff. "This is a sad
day for government. It's a very sad day for Illinois government. Governor
Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low."

As if this isn't bad enough, Blagojevich also seemed to believe that the editorial freedom of the press was his to flirt with:

Intercepted calls allegedly show that Blagojevich directed Harris to inform
Tribune Owner and an associate, identified as Tribune Financial Advisor, that
state financial assistance would be withheld unless members of the Chicago
Tribunes editorial board were fired, primarily because Blagojevich viewed them
as driving discussion of his possible impeachment. In a November 4 phone call,
Blagojevich allegedly told Harris that he should say to Tribune Financial
Advisor, Cubs Chairman and Tribune Owner, our recommendation is fire all those
[expletive] people, get em the [expletive] out of there and get us some
editorial support.

So fire editorial board members critical of the Governor, and get the State assistance you were asking for, otherwise it will be withheld. We already know that the President-Elect would like to reinstitute the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" to silence his opposition. This is apparently the way the Democratic Party does business in the modern era-if the opposition makes you uncomfortable, just find ways to shut them up. Of course, a familiar name has come up in all of this mess:

The charges include historical allegations that Blagojevich and Harris schemed
with others - including previously convicted defendants
, Stuart Levine, Ali Ata and others - since becoming governor in
2002 to obtain and attempt to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family
and third parties, including his campaign committee, Friends of Blagojevich, in
exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state employment,
state contracts and access to state funds.

Antoin "Tony" Rezko is the man who bankrolled much of the early political career of the President-Elect of the United States. Did Blagojevich believe he might benefit from Barack Obama's election?

Over the next couple of days - Election Day and the day after - Blagojevich
was captured discussing with Deputy Governor A whether he could obtain a cabinet
position, such as Secretary of Health and Human Services or the Department of
Energy or various ambassadorships. In a conversation with Harris on November 4,
Blagojevich analogized his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a
potential free agent to the highest bidder.

On November 10, Blagojevich, his wife, Harris, Governor General Counsel,
Advisor B and other Washington-based advisors participated at different times in
a two-hour phone call in which they allegedly discussed, among other things, a
deal involving the Service Employees International Union. Harris said they could
work out a deal with the union and the President-elect where SEIU could help the
President-elect with Blagojevichs appointment of Senate Candidate 1, while
Blagojevich would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to
Win campaign and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in
the future.

Now why would Blagojevich think he could make that kind of deal with Obama?

For the record, the unnamed Senate candidate mentioned removed themself from consideration, probably because they didn't want to sell themselves to the highest bidder.

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I'm Glad Mary and Joseph Were Not Pro Choice

Something is really the matter with your political philosophy when your child needs parental permission to take a field trip, but you do not think she needs your permission for her unborn child to be murdered by an abortionist. From a Chattanooga Times-Free Press story on redistricting and Republicans gaining more seats in the Tennessee General Assembly:

Ms. [Robin] Smith said those new majorities will help Republicans push through legislation that previously had failed. As an example, she cited a bill that would require parental consent for a teenage girl to get an abortion.

“I want it to be more difficult for my daughter to get an abortion than it is for her to get her ears pierced at Northgate Mall,” she said.

Mr. Sasser said that comment indicated a “radical right-wing agenda” for Republicans.

Radical agenda? Really Gray?

It is "radical" to require parental consent before an abortion, but the national Democratic Party favors even partial-birth abortion-that's not radical?

It is not radical to say that marriage should be anything other than between a man and a woman, as it has been accepted in Western civilization for nearly 2,000 years?

Apparently, it is not the least bit radical to say that reckless sexual and social behavior is to be accepted, even promoted and encouraged in some cases-and it is in no way radical to redefine the very concept of the nuclear family itself.

Of course, this is Tennessee and there are many Democrats in our state who don't think this way about social issues, but for over 40 years, many activist liberal Democrats have championed the causes aforementioned, and what they have wanted was a radical restructuring of our society and ultimately of what was once called Christian civilization itself. The Left has been successful enough at doing this that the heinous is now often seen to be accepted as normal, the grossly obscene is now widely circulated on the airwaves, and abortion is so widely practiced that there are over 4,000 of them a day in this country.

Whose agenda is radical?

On November 4th, Tennessee voters sent a clear message that if the rest of the country wants to adopt the social agenda of the radical Left and call it normal, we don't want that here in Tennessee. The most liberal of our friends in the party opposite have now succeeded in getting the most extreme believer in their worldview elected President of the United States-and so now traditionalists are "radical."

I'm just glad there was no Planned Parenthood in the time of Christ...

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Immaculate Conception

All Catholics should be reminded that today, December 8th, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the patronal feast of the United States of America, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.

If you have not been to Mass yet today, you may be able to find a Mass time in your area here.

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Standing Up to Bredesen

It speaks volumes about the state of the Tennessee Democratic Party that the Democratic Leader in the Tennessee House of Representatives continues to take shots at the Democratic Governor. House Democratic Leader Gary Odom is rightly concerned about the illegal background checks performed on citizens by members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. In many cases, the citizens in questions were people who were politically involved and who have been opposed to Governor Phil Bredesen or many of his measures, while the THP officials involved appear to be allies of the administration:

“The first [problem the Governor has with Odom] is the continuing saga of the illegal Highway Patrol background searches that were performed on a still unknown number of Tennessee citizens. It is my belief that this issue should be thoroughly investigated by a federal agency, which is not subject to state government political interference.

Representative Odom is absolutely right when he says that the issue of illegal Highway Patrol background checks on the Governor's political opponents should be investigated to the fullest extent possible, and likely by an outside third-party agency. Thus far, those elements within the apparatus of State Government which are allied with the Governor seem to have impeded any serious investigation into the matter, which suggest that either the Honorable Phil Governor, his political allies, or both, all have something to hide.

Were this issue to reach the highest levels, it would qualify as something that could bring impeachment proceedings. Undoubtedly, Odom is aware of that reality, yet chooses to pursue justice in spite of what the political consequences could be for his party.

I do not agree with Odom's political views, and frequently find myself actively opposed to many of the initiatives that he sponsors. However, it is on occasions such as this that Odom shows that he is a person of integrity, because he knows that many of the people who have been wronged because of these illegal checks are Republicans.

Gary Odom is doing a service to Tennesseans by continuing to press this abuse of power by the executive branch.


Runoffs and Bailouts


From last night:
In a joint edition of Oatney On the Air and The Truth and Hope Report, Adam Graham and David Oatney discuss the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff results, the unseating of Congressman William Jefferson in Louisiana due to corruption. The decline of newspapers in America. The state of the "war" on drugs. Hatton Humphrey of the East Coast Conservative Podcast is the guest.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Day of Infamy

President Franklin Roosevelt's address to Congress and the nation in the aftermath...

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Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40:1-11:

Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins. The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.

The voice of one, saying: Cry. And I said: What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the held. The grass is withered, and the dower is fallen, because the spirit of the Lord hath blown upon it. Indeed the people is grass: The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen: but the word of our Lord endureth for ever. Get thee up upon a high mountain, thou that bringest good tidings to Sion: lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem: lift it up, fear not. Say to the cities of Judah: Behold your God: Behold the Lord God shall come with strength, and his arm shall rule: Behold his reward is with him and his work is before him.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather together the lambs with his arm, and shall take them up in his bosom, and he himself shall carry them that are with young.

The Concert Choir Simfonia of St. Andrew's, Brisbane sing these verses from Handel's Messiah.

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