Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mixed Feelings


Mixed signals being sent by the Tennessee House Republican Caucus with the readmission of House Speaker Kent Williams and the strange reaction of some conservatives in the State-including the host. David Oatney discusses the arrival of Knoxville's new Catholic bishop and his ordination this coming Thursday. The host is still recovering from illness.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

One Gun Restriction Down

If Thursday's vote in the Tennessee House of Representatives is any indication, Republicans in the General Assembly will at least be able to say at the end of the Crazy 106th that they succeeded in repealing many gun restrictions-a campaign promise:

The measure sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada was approved on an 82-11 vote, with four members abstaining. The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Casada, of Franklin, cited Tennessee Bureau of Investigation information that the agency has only once asked for a thumbprint from the 2.3 million guns sold since the law went into effect in 1998.

And he said that print was smudged and unusable.

Liberals often whine about the need to restrict gun ownership (what they really want to do is ban it) but since they know that their ideas about gun restriction are practically worthless in this country, their only option is to force gun dealers to behave like policemen. Mind you, since laws are already in place which prevent felons from buying firearms from a gun dealer, the people who purchase guns from a dealer are going to be law abiding citizens. That would be why the TBI has only asked for a single thumbprint in 11 years.

A waste of taxpayers' money and gun dealers' time.

NOTE: I want to thank everyone who has sent notes and made calls inquiring as to my illness. As you might glean from the lateness of this post, I am still recovering, but I do feel slightly better today.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why Williams Got Back In

It should not come as any surprise that The Tennessean is framing the readmission of Kent Williams into the Tennessee House Republican Caucus as a "welcoming back" of the renegade Speaker:

"I was surprised a little bit," said Casada, of Franklin. "But I think in the membership's mind this is a way to demonstrate that we are moving on and that we are going to solve the problems of unemployment and the budget's shortfall."

Rep. Stacey Campfield reports that Williams was readmitted to the Republican Caucus in spite of the widespread objections of many members, largely because Williams was seen to be controlling the Republican agenda-nearly every mention of the caucus in the press was between brackets with mention of Kent Williams:

We had a caucus meeting Monday night and allowed everyone to air their feelings
on what Kent was doing. I think the overwhelming sentiment went along the lines
of "He is trying to tear our caucus apart", "he is doing this all for the attention" or "we need to find a way to drop this/ get past this so we can talk about our issues." I did not hear a single person say anything along the lines of they support Kent or he is a good Republican or we want or need him back in the caucus. No one.

The reality is that even the Naifeh Republicans do not trust Kent Williams, because you cannot trust someone who is so willing to lie to their own leadership. One member who was among those who agreed to allow Williams back into the caucus told me why they voted to admit Williams in a very direct way.

"What this is about is perception versus reality. You and I both know what the reality of this situation is. We were there January 13th, and we witnessed things that went unreported in the press, partly because people in the media didn't see and hear all that we saw and heard. What we saw and heard was reality. The average joe on the street didn't see what happened that day, they are just being lead to think that we are obsessing over Williams, when the truth is something else. We can't let that become the story."

On a personal note, I apologize for the brevity of my entries the last couple of days. I have been very ill, and have spent large parts of the day confined to bed and much of the rest drinking hot liquids.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Caucus Decides

Since the word has quite obviously leaked about Monday night's Tennessee House Republican Caucus meeting, I am reckoning that it is alright to reveal that I was informed of the vote on Monday night:

House Republican Caucus members have voted to allow House Speaker Kent Williams to continue attending their meetings, even though he's no longer officially a Republican.

Mumpower refused to provide any details of the vote, but other Republican legislators say a substantial majority favored Williams' continued presence at
caucus meetings."I don't want to betray the confidence of caucus members," said Mumpower in declining to give vote totals.

Based on what The World has heard, it would be hard to call the majority in favor of Williams "substantial" unless one would want to define that term rather loosely. However, the totals were more than enough to say that a solid number of Republicans favor keeping Kent Williams in the caucus. Put in a simple, more blunt way, members know they will need a 50th vote to get some important legislation passed, and many believe that Williams is the sort who might deny his vote not out of disagreement, but out of sheer spite.

The World will respect Jason Mumpower's desire not to discuss the matter further, except to say that this wasn't the "Naifeh boys" voting to keep Williams in, although Jimmy's so-called Republican allies very likely did put in their votes for Kent. For Williams to win this vote, he had to have conservative help-there is no way to have won without it. In no way is it revealing anything confidential to say that one of the votes to allow Kent Williams to remain in the GOP Caucus came from our own Frank Niceley. The reason it wouldn't be breaking any confidence or getting around the secrecy of the caucus room to reveal Niceley's vote is because Frank has admitted that he would vote to readmit Williams, so unless there was some epiphany to which Frank Niceley was subjected in the minutes leading up to the vote, it is safe to say that the gentleman farmer from Strawberry Plains voted exactly what he said that he would if given the opportunity.

UPDATE (3:15pm): One House Republican Caucus member has just seen this post and rang me personally. According to this member, there was never an official "vote" on the matter of whether Kent Williams should be allowed back into the caucus. Instead, members were essentially polled on whether they wanted to put this matter behind them, or continue to fight the Speaker over his status, thus allowing him to make himself the story. Few members demonstrated any trust for Williams, but most agreed that to continue to press the matter of Williams' status would allow Williams the ability to control the image of the caucus and its agenda. The poll was informal, according to the member in question, so it cannot be said that Williams actually got 25 or 26 votes in favor of himself in a formal sense.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rural Williams

Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams is being allowed into the meetings of the Rural Republican Caucus:

The two East Tennessee representatives on the committee - Matthew Hill of Jonesborough and Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains - both said they favor allowing Williams to attend.

"Country boys can count to 50. Those city boys can only count to 49," said Niceley.
Niceley has also supported Williams being allowed in House Republican Caucus meetings. He was barred from a caucus meeting last week and House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower says he wants the ban to become permanent.

The admission of Williams into a group of rural Republicans has raised more than a few eyebrows on the Hill. What is notable about this development is that two of the three people who favor admitting Williams to Rural Republican Caucus meetings, Frank Niceley and Matthew Hill, are among the most conservative members of the House Republican Caucus.

In talking to Niceley, he says that he believes that there comes a point where the Caucus has to move on from the events of January 13th. "Williams is the Speaker at least until 2011," Niceley said, "and there are just times when we are really going to need his 50th vote."

As a constituent of Frank Niceley's who is always in regular communication with my Representative, I can say that Frank has always dealt in the realism of the moment. He wants to enact the most conservative policies possible, but tries to do so in a realistic and effective way.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Obama's Tracking Poll

The real Obama Daily Tracking poll is down another 48.59 points at this hour, and astute observers should note that on the rare occasion that the President keeps his mouth shut, the Dow has actually risen for the day. The majority of days in the last three weeks, however, the President has seen fit to say something. This lack of control over his speech is helping to drive the national economy further into the abyss.

As the truth comes out about who is really going to pay for Barack Obama's radical agenda, the less the American people approve. The example of the day is who is really going to pay for the President's disastrous cap-and-trade policy-low and middle income families in Middle America:

Hit hardest would be the "95% of working families" Mr. Obama keeps mentioning, usually omitting that his no-new-taxes pledge comes with the caveat "unless you use energy." Putting a price on carbon is regressive by definition because poor and middle-income households spend more of their paychecks on things like gas to drive to work, groceries or home heating.

But the greatest inequities are geographic and would be imposed on the parts of the U.S. that rely most on manufacturing or fossil fuels -- particularly coal, which generates most power in the Midwest, Southern and Plains states. It's no coincidence that the liberals most invested in cap and trade -- Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, Ed Markey -- come from California or the Northeast.

Coal provides more than half of U.S. electricity, and 25 states get more than 50% of their electricity from conventional coal-fired generation. In Ohio, it totals 86%, according to the Energy Information Administration. Ratepayers in Indiana (94%), Missouri (85%), New Mexico (80%), Pennsylvania (56%), West Virginia (98%) and Wyoming (95%) are going to get soaked.

Cap and trade, in other words, is a scheme to redistribute income and wealth -- but in a very curious way. It takes from the working class and gives to the affluent; takes from Miami, Ohio, and gives to Miami, Florida; and takes from an industrial America that is already struggling and gives to rich Silicon Valley and Wall Street "green tech" investors who know how to leverage the political class.

The reality is, as is quickly being discovered, that this President doesn't give a rat's rear end about the Heartland of this country. The majority of its people did not support Obama, and those who did had grave reservations about doing so. The President is going to try and play Chicago politics with the whole country, and the old, the infirmed, the working people who struggle to get by from working the graveyard shift in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Owensboro, Kentucky, Jellico, Tennessee, Xenia, Ohio, or Springfield, Missouri (among other places) will be who suffers through Obama's time in office.

Perhaps the biggest problem may be that the President is simply clueless about how people in Middle America live and make their way. For all of their faults, both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had this understanding. Bush worked as an oil wildcatter in Midland, Texas, and dealt with ordinary working folks every day for many years on a man-to-man basis. Clinton grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and worked real menial jobs as a teenager. Ronald Reagan worked as a lifeguard and a radio announcer. Even Jimmy Carter connected with how people in the Heartland think and function, as he had been a peanut farmer in a one-horse town called Plains.

Barack Obama doesn't have an understanding of life among the little people in the Heartland because he has never lived there. His life is that of a wandering journeyman with little direction and no social center. His ideas come from a bizarre early life combined with immersion into a corrupt and morally bankrupt Chicago Democratic political machine.

The country will now collectively pay for the President's lack of experience.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Transfiguration

Mark 9:1-9:

And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter and James and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them. And his garments became shining and exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller upon earth can make white. And there appeared to them Elias with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Rabbi, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he knew not what he said: for they were struck with fear.

And there was a cloud overshadowing them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying: This is my most beloved son; hear ye him. And immediately looking about, they saw no man any more, but Jesus only with them. And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them not to tell any man what things they had seen, till the Son of man shall be risen again from the dead. And they kept the word to themselves; questioning together what that should mean, when he shall be risen from the dead.

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