Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Word From Jane Roe

The Roe in Roe v. Wade.

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My Window Faces the South

A little BR549...


Friday, January 23, 2009

The Professionalism of Susan Lynn

If you've ever had any conversations, discussions, or dealings with Tennessee State Representative Susan Lynn, you know that she takes her job of representing her district and the people of Tennessee seriously in the extreme. Sure, one gets the impression that she really enjoys being in the Legislature, but she is also a real policy wonk with a passion for making things better. I've sat at table with Rep. Lynn, and I know from talking to her that while she enjoys the company of her friends on the Hill, she feels she is there to serve her constituents and do their work, and she pours her time and energy into that service.

When Representative Lynn wrote on her blog Wednesday that she originally didn't want word of the alleged incident in which Kent Williams is said to have sexually harassed her to become widespread, the reason shortly after the incident was because she wanted it handled internally-she knew that Leader Mumpower and her fellow Caucus members were very aware of the incident and had her back. When the harassment allegedly occurred, no one dreamed that a then-freshman legislator from Carter County was going to be placed as the Democratic tool in the House Speaker's chair two years later:

Nearly two years ago, an incident occurred which was witnessed by a few. It
has been well documented so I will not go into further detail except to say that
I sought assistance from my leadership because I did not feel that I was being
taken seriously in my request to be treated with professional courtesy.

Nearly two years ago, an incident occurred which was witnessed by a few. It
has been well documented so I will not go into further detail except to say that
I sought assistance from my leadership because I did not feel that I was being
taken seriously in my request to be treated with professional courtesy.

I spoke with Rep. Lynn and with some of the witnesses to the incident while I was at the Capitol last week. The witnesses and Rep. Lynn were happy to share their stories in the interest of verifying what had already leaked to the press, but Susan Lynn expressed a real concern that further public discussion on her part about the matter would look like she simply had sour grapes about the Speakership vote on the House floor, and that as a result she would have not been taken seriously. Further, she is genuinely uncomfortable discussing the whole affair, as would many women be when placed in such a situation.

She recounts how wider knowledge of what happened was promoted to the public:

On Sunday night the press started calling me. I refused to comment. Their
phone calls persisted all day on Monday at which time I still refused to
comment. In addition, they repeatedly contacted my leadership. In the early
evening on Monday some media informed our press secretary that they intended to
issue a public records request to our leadership for any information pertaining
to the incident. When leadership arrived at the office on Tuesday morning
members of the media were waiting with their requests for public

Until this time I was unaware that a file existed. However, in retrospect,
it does make sense that the leader would document a serious incident even if
only to safeguard his own actions. Although he has received much criticism, I
can only imagine the critique if he had refused to hand over the file.
Considering all that the Leader has been through, I think that he has been very
professional about everything.

Rep. Lynn is correct in that if Jason Mumpower had refused to hand over the memorandum, we wouldn't be hearing the end of it anytime soon.

Since the Democrats chose to install Kent Williams as Speaker of the House and thus attempt to govern the House in a way so as to nullify the recent General Assembly elections, it is completely unrealistic for anyone to believe that serious allegations about sexual harassment about the Democrats' new Speaker wouldn't come out. After all, either the House Democratic Caucus didn't know about the allegations against Williams-which would indicate that they failed to vet him-or they knew and did not care, which proves that the Democrats will tolerate anything as long as they are in control. Either way, the Democrats' political maneuvering shows Tennesseans that their primary concern is power itself, not the well-being of Tennessee or even the welfare of their colleagues in the House.

Susan Lynn has done nothing but behave in the professional and genuine fashion that she always has before. She doesn't wish to draw attention to herself, or play the sour grapes card. She is in our State House of Representatives to do her job. It is the fault of the Democrats that a man is now in control of the House who could at the least be incredibly unprofessional-and at most be a sexual harasser and exploiter. Not a member of that Caucus should be so politically naive as to think that this kind of behavior by the Speaker they installed would not come to the surface.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Leader's Power to Sanction-Or Not

In an entry yesterday, the Leftist blogger Aunt B. rakes Tennessee House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower over the coals for not laying the hammer down on Representative Kent Williams long before now because of his alleged sexual harassment of Rep. Susan Lynn:

But Mumpower had an obligation to at least every Republican woman under his purview and, I would hope, should have felt some moral responsibility to all of the women who might have to work with Williams. His responsibility went farther than just getting Williams to back off Lynn. He had a responsibility to make sure that Williams understood as clearly as possible that such actions are inappropriate and unacceptable. And he had a responsibility to do so in such a way that, if Williams’ next target were someone less powerful, less sure of herself, less likely to be taken seriously, there was a big red warning flag attached to him that he had already pulled this kind of stuff.

I cannot disagree with B. in the least that it would have been ideal for Leader Mumpower to have taken the hard line with Williams long before Williams had a chance to be placed in the Speakership by the party opposite. It is worth noting, however, that we do not know what Mumpower said privately to Williams, and that party leadership has never trusted the man-a lack of trust that seems to have been verified over the last week.

I tend to believe that Jason Mumpower probably did let Williams have it as best he could. Perhaps B. places in Mumpower's hands more power than he had at the time. As Minority Leader, Mumpower had very little power or authority to sanction Williams. That authority lay in the hands of then-House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh. If Mumpower had reported the incident to Naifeh (and for all we know, he very well may have), Naifeh would likely have brushed it off as an attempt to trash Williams-and may have actually done so. Why? Williams was one of the so-called "Republicans" in the House who backed Naifeh and Naifeh knew that Williams was a thorn in the side of GOP leadership, so Naifeh wasn't going to pursue a case against his buddy Kent Williams (the really sickening part are the "Naifeh Republicans" now trying to make excuses for Williams and laugh these allegations off).

Now, however, it is the Democratic Party, and their Caucus, who have installed Kent Williams as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives with 49 of their votes plus his own. If Jimmy Naifeh would not pursue a case against one of his interlopers in the House Republican Caucus, it would be up to Naifeh's successor to utilize the power the Speaker has to reprimand Williams and call on the House to censure him. With the new Republican Majority, that Speaker should have been Jason Mumpower.

...It is the accused, Kent Williams, thanks to the Democrats.

Many will say that these allegations coming to light now are merely a case of "sour grapes" on the part of Republicans who are angry at unorthodox and unethical Democratic political maneuvering. While I am certain that may be the case for some people, Jimmy Naifeh simply would not have dealt adequately with Williams, and as Minority Leader, Jason Mumpower could not deal correctly with him as long as Naifeh was in charge of the House.

The problem now is that Kent Williams is the Speaker of the House. If these charges are not confronted now, there is nothing to prevent Williams from harassing or abusing women at the Capitol under the cover and color of his office. That is why these allegations must be dealt with now before Williams becomes untouchable later in the sitting of the 106th General Assembly. If Williams is telling the truth-something he has already proven that he isn't very good at-a thorough investigation will bear that out. If the allegations are true, the Democratic Party and Caucus which trusted this man and put him in authority needs, as a body, to publicly apologize for being so obsessed with maintaining power that it would place a man who they failed to vet, and who might be a risk to the safety and good government of the Tennessee Legislature and all of its members.

Buyers remorse, Democrats?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration and Harassment


Thoughts on Tuesday's presidential inauguration with a roundtable including Adam Graham of The Truth and Hope Report, as well as Chicago Republican pundit Warner Todd Huston. Reaction to the greater public revelation that Tennessee Democrats' puppet "Republican" House Speaker, Kent Williams, is accused of sexually harassing Republican State Representative Susan Lynn.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I knew that Kent Williams was a sexual harasser a while ago, and I spoke with witnesses about it. I will have more to say about it just a bit later...


A Thought on the Swearing In

Well, it wasn't a great speech, there wasn't anything in it that we will remember in 20 years...but it was a good speech. For the most part, it was relatively tame. Further, I am struck by what seems to be a genuine cordiality between the Bushes and the Obamas, they seem to have gotten to know one another in the course of the transition and they seem to get on well.

Chief Justice Roberts did not bring a card and flubbed the oath. I would guess that Obama repeated the oath privately to make it official.

Ted Kennedy collapsed during the Inaugural Luncheon in Statuary Hall, and the state of his condition isn't quite known.


History and Reality

There are no doubt certain people who believe that today will be the beginning of the end of all of our problems as a nation. Certainly, the President-elect made everyone believe so during his campaign. This is the moment, he said, when the world begins to heal.

Yes, this is an extremely historic day. A black man will take the constitutional oath as President of the United States for the first time, and this does serve as a testimony to how far our country has come in such a short time in its historical narrative. Barack Obama is not the Messiah, however-in spite of the belief that some seem to have that he is the answer to all of our problems.

It will be curious to watch how some of these Obamaniacs react after a year has passed if our forces are not withdrawn from Iraq. Obama himself has spent the better part of a week trying to dampen expectations, since we know that the recession will not be over at the close of business today.

Will President Obama be seen as the Savior and Lord in November 2010?


Monday, January 19, 2009

And I Was There


David Oatney shares a first-hand account of the opening of the 106th Tennessee General Assembly and the betrayal by Rep. Kent Williams from his eyes.

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House of Acrimony

One of the unspoken tragedies of the fixing of the election of the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives in Nashville last week is that it has created a level of mistrust and acrimony in the General Assembly that has not been seen in many years. Some have compared the present situation to 1987, when six renegade Democrats in the State Senate joined with the-then 15 minority Republicans to insure that John Wilder remained Senate Speaker over the objections of his own caucus. The situation in the Senate became nearly untenable, as some Democrats would not speak to one another. One huge difference, of course, is that Wilder had something of a real coalition in those days. Forty-nine Democrats plus the vote of yourself is not a bipartisan coalition, it is an imposition.

Rather than being like 1987, the volatility in the General Assembly reminds the historically informed observer of the boiling cauldron at the Capitol prior to the War Between the States. As in the federal Congress at that time, members often entered the House or Senate chamber with weapons. At times, matters came to blows and involved fists, and there was even talk of breaking the State formally in two. While this situation isn't nearly as bad, and the State isn't threatening to break apart, the distress created by the actions of the Democrats and Williams on Tuesday last is similar to that which once brought members to fists or nearly so.

"Pray for me," one House member asked me, "I'm a Christian and I do my best not to have hatred toward anyone, and I am trying not to hate Kent Williams, but I am having a very hard time not hating him for what he has done to us." Another member was less charitable when they admitted, "if I could get away with it, I'd deck that son of a b----." Several Republicans were offered the same chance Kent Williams was, and not all of these were among the former supporters of Jimmy Naifeh. One of those who was offered the chair and refused to take the bait approached me with their story. I won't reveal their name, but I will say that when I learned that this person was among those the Democrats asked, I was in complete shock. This member is among those for whom who Jimmy Naifeh has, in the past, made clear his personal disdain (no, not Stacey Campfield). A person of great honor, this member didn't even consider accepting the Democrats' offer. However, the very willingness of Democrats to consider their most ardent foes in order to nullify an election shows just how desperate and dishonorable they really were and are.

"Jimmy Naifeh always hated me, and told me so to my face," one Republican said to me last week, "but you know, he never once told me a lie. That is the difference between Williams and Naifeh." This is the situation that Kent Williams and the Democrats have chosen to create in the Tennessee General Assembly in 2009-acrimony, mistrust, and even, perhaps, pure hatred. None of that is good for the running of government, but all of it was done in the name of maintaining power.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Rosary for Conversions

Let this rosary be offered in prayer:

For all who will participate in the March for Life this week, in Washington and Nashville and elsewhere.

For the conversion of heart of the President-elect of the United States, that his may be an administration which respects innocent human life in law from conception until natural death.

For the Congress of the United States, that it remember the weak, the vulnerable, and the unborn.

For the Governor of this State in his final two years in office.

For the 106th General Assembly of Tennessee, that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon its Councils.

For the conversion of heart of the man who presently occupies the office of Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, that his governance may be transformed from one born in deceit, dishonor, and mistrust, to one of life, honor, and hope.

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