Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stimulus 101

My West Point friend sent this one to me. I am was so amused that I had to post it.

Subject: Stimulus Package Explained

Sometime this year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment.
This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:

"Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
"A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

"Q. Where will the government get this money?
"A. From taxpayers.

"Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
"A. No, they are borrowing it from China. Your children are expected to repay the Chinese.

"Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
"A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

"Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?
"A. Shut up."

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

If you spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China.

If you spend it on gasoline it will go to Hugo Chavez, the Arabs and Al Queda

If you purchase a computer it will go to Taiwan .

If you purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala (unless you buy organic).

If you buy a car it will go to Japan and Korea .

If you purchase prescription drugs it will go to India

If you purchase heroin it will go to the Taliban in Afghanistan

If you give it to a charitable cause, it will go to Nigeria .

And none of it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America . You can keep the money in America by spending it at yard sales, going to a baseball game, drinking beer (domestic ONLY), or getting tattoos, since those are the only businesses still in the US.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


While I sit here waiting for my bills to come out of legal, I am reminded of the earmark bs that seems to permeate state and federal government. Both McCain and Pres. Obama campaigned for "change" in government processes. Clean it up, make it fairer, get back to basics. Getting rid of earmarks was at the top of both of their lists. That federal "pork" adds up to HUGE tax dollars that could go elsewhere (like balancing the budget or getting rid of debt), and it adds a slimy film to state and federal politics in general.

So here we are again, wrangling over what "pork" actually means. Semantics. Let's hold their feet to the fire on this one.

GOP weapon: Obama earmarks pledge

As Barack Obama meets with Republicans Tuesday, some in the GOP have enlisted an unlikely ally to derail his $825 billion stimulus plan – Barack Obama.

They’re using Obama’s pledge to keep earmarks out of the massive bill to criticize Democrats in Congress – saying projects like family-planning funding and arts spending in the House version are exactly the kind of pork-barrel spending Obama promised he’d fight.

“Many conservatives are just getting upset that Barack Obama comes into office talking about change and his first big initiative is a massive $800 billion dollar pork barrel project,” said Brian Darling, director of U.S. Senate Relations at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “If he wants to cut wasteful spending the first the thing he should do is veto his own stimulus bill.”

At issue is a list of programs that Republicans say will do little to stimulate economic recovery, including $21 million to sod the National Mall, $50 million to fund the National Endowment of the Arts and $650 million for digital TV coupons. Republicans also have seized on millions that would be spent under the bill to expand family-planning services in the states.

The projects are a fraction of the massive spending bill – and Democrats dispute that they’re pork. But the items have given Republicans a hook to rally opposition to the bill, on conservative talk-radio and elsewhere.

And they’ve put Obama in an uncomfortable spot. He swept into Washington promising to find a new way of doing business in the Capitol, one that would be more focused on bipartisan compromise and less on wasteful special interest earmarks.

The Republican objections also erased any hope Obama had for quick passage of the bill, requiring a heavy lobbying effort on Capitol Hill that is bringing Obama himself to meet with Republicans in both chambers Tuesday.

Obama’s team also recognizes they won’t be able to approve of every aspect of the final bill – what he hopes will be the signature achievement of the first 100 days.

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"There is a role for the (Congress) to play and we won't agree with everything," said one administration official. "It means there will be things in there we don't necessarily agree with."

The Senate version of the bill dropped some of the most controversial projects including the money for the National Mall and arts funding. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has “no apologies” for the family-planning funds, which will take the burden off those programs in fiscally strapped states.

Still, Obama has stepped up his efforts to sell the bill, highlighting not just job creation but other goals like helping students go to college, lowering energy bills, and preserving health insurance for workers.

“This is not just a short-term program to boost employment,” said Obama in his weekly radio address. “It’s one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education, health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century.”

Obama hoped to have a stimulus bill waiting for his signature on his first day in office. The administration now hopes the bill is done by mid-February – a deadline Republicans seem to doubt will happen.

Republican lawmakers argue that the spending is too targeted on special interest programs and focuses on issues traditionally backed by more liberal members and their key constituencies. They believe the money would be better used to fund tax cuts, rather than more spending.

Democrats say the projects are legitimate ways to save jobs and help struggling families. For example, one administration official argued that spending $200 million to rehabilitate the National Mall would generate hundreds of jobs.

“There is more bang for the buck,” said Pelosi on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, “by investing in food stamps and in unemployment insurance than in any tax cut.”

The administration put out this counterargument to Republicans who are pulling out projects in an attempt to cast the bill as weighted down with pork: "The cost of doing nothing is dramatically higher."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chattanooga Mayor's Race

I headed over to the big city today to the Pachyderm Club's weekly meeting at the Southside Grill. Today's program - Chattanooga's Mayoral Candidates. As I came in, I saw Robin Smith so I knew I was in the right place. The media was there too.

There were four candidates including Mayor Littlefield. I knew Joe Lance from his blogging, but I did not know the other two candidates so I was wide open in opinion forming from the get go. And since whatever happens in Chattanooga affects us here in the woods, I thought I would pay extra attention to this line-up.

1st up Joe Lance...

Joe Lance is most well known for his blogging. Joe was earnest and open in his delivery. You could tell he was passionate about his topics and his reason for entering the race. He was not polished by any means, but his desire for getting people involved in the process made up for his lack of training. His main target was Public Safety with an Environmental underpinning. I think this will be a great learning experience for Joe and I absolutely commend him for getting out of the armchair quarterback position and into the game.

Mayor Ron Littlefield...

Ron Littlefield was graceful and commanding in stature. He held his power easily and he spoke very fluidly and knowledgably. You can tell he has spent a career in government. I zoned out during most of the speech because it was what it was. A good speech speckled with political sound bites, numbers and past accomplishments. Nothing new here but sometimes that says alot when the town is doing pretty good in the whole scheme of things. I like Ron Littlefield because I think highly of the people who know and speak highly of him.

Rob Healy...

I didn't know Rob Healy before this speech. I had to ask the reporter next to me who he was afterwards. He did something out of the box right from the beginning, he left the podium and came in front of the audience to speak. Interesting. He had a false start, took a deep breath, looked outside for a moment to collect his thoughts and then turned around and started the speech over again. That was a gutsy, unusual save. But it got my attention. The rest of the speech was dead-on. Focus on business creation and business retention, streamline government operations, redistribute funding for Safety/Police Department and train our kids for the jobs of the future. I would bet my last dollar that the guy is a Republican. I liked his style and his focus.

The other guy...

I did not catch his name at the introduction and the fellow didn't repeat his name anywhere in the speech. Major faux pas in speech giving for any political candidate!
Y'all are going to call me a rascist capitalist no matter what I say about this guy but the whole speech was about improving the ghettos in Chattanooga and calling for everyone to "reach into their hearts" and give to the poor people in Chattanooga because we have it to give, especially Ron Littlefield because he is a rich man. I can't make this stuff up. On a Christian note, I totally agree with the guy, we should all be giving to help others. But I will never agree with that concept in government. Our tax dollars need to go to the fundamentals and not wealth redistribution. But the guy gave a rousing sermon anyway. Good for him.

Tennessee Democrats

Everyone reevalutates strategy after a defeat. Nationally, the Repubs are doing it, and in Tennessee the Dems are doing it. It is smart and necessary.

The state Dems just elected a new chairman that is going to rock everyone's world. He is an Obama follower for sure. Which means that the old school Dems like Lincoln Davis are not going to be happy. Why? Because Lincoln Davis is a conservative and his constituent base is conservative. He won our county by the biggest margin ever this past election. My people LOVE Lincoln Davis. And you know what, I kinda like the guy myself except for the Nancy Pelosi factor (he has to vote with that liberal lunatic).

So in my world, I am pretty darn happy with the state Dem chairman choice.

Forrester Calls Out Republicans for 'Racist Smear Tactics'
By Jeff Woods in Politics, WoodsMonday, Jan. 26 2009 @ 5:45AM

Demoralized and in disarray, Tennessee Democrats met at the Capitol over the weekend to elect a new chairman and proceeded to make their party's future even shakier by giving the finger to their entire senior leadership. Charles Robert Bone, son of a long-time party money guy, enjoyed the backing of Gov. Phil Bredesen, and Congressmen Jim Cooper, Lincoln Davis, Bart Gordon and John Tanner, plus Harold Ford Jr. and a bunch of former party chairs--Doug Horne, Bob Thomas, Dick Lodge, Randy Button, and Gray Sasser. (Did we leave anyone out?) So who did the party's executive committee elect? Chip Forrester.

And it wasn't even close. Forrester, the party treasurer, won by a vote of 42-25 and--surprise!--he immediately called for unity. "There's much more than unites us today as Democrats than separates us," he said, hopefully.

Insiders say the establishment now might wash its hands of the party, refusing to raise money or helping only half-heartedly. As Forrester was elected Saturday, aides to Davis and Gordon hustled out of the House chamber without talking to reporters. Party leaders favored Bone for his fund-raising prowess. They see Forrester as a flaky troublemaker. He wears bow ties and wire-rim spectacles, for chrissakes, and he had the audacity in 1992 to challenge Democratic incumbent Rep. Bob Clement in a primary.

Forrester won because of his long association with the executive committee--he has belonged himself since 1988--but also because of something else: He's the new champion of the party's liberal activists. He filled the House gallery with sign-waving supporters. Barack Obama's victory stirred them up. Over the years, they have watched in frustration as Democrats have put conservatives on the ballot election after election. Bredesen, Davis, Gordon, Cooper and Tanner all act like Republicans most of the time. The elected leaders say that's what it takes to win in Tennessee, although the Republican Lite strategy hasn't been working out so well for the party lately. Liberals have this crazy idea that Democrats can excite a mass following in this state, just like Obama did nationally, if they will only stay true to their core beliefs and stop pretending to be Republicans.

One of their biggest grievances has been the failure of the Tennessee party and its leaders to vigorously counter Republican attacks. In last year's losing campaigns in particular, state Democratic leaders outraged liberals by keeping a conspicuous silence as the Tennessee GOP smeared Obama and some Democratic legislative candidates. In his acceptance speech, Forrester brought the House chamber cheering to its feet by vowing to fight back against "racist smear tactics."

"I want to put the Republican Party on notice. The Democratic Party will no longer sit quietly while the Republicans run racist, demagogic falsehoods against our values, our principles and our candidates as they did this year against President Barack Obama, Representative Nathan Vaughn and other legislative candidates. When you lie about our candidates, our office holders, we're going to call you out as liars. There is no place in politics for such conduct. Robin Smith, Jason Mumpower, Bill Hobbs and Chip Saltsman, I tell you now you are put on notice. As chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, I will not stand by and see this happen without a full-frontal attack on the racist smear tactics that you have used in this past campaign. Decent men and women in Tennessee are demeaned by your racist, bigoted attacks, and I will not stand for it and neither will the Tennessee Democratic Party. Be ready, I'm putting you on notice now, Republicans in Tennessee and those of you who support those tactics."

Also in his speech, Forrester pledged to run "95-county campaign" for governor in 2010. "We're going to make this thing happen," he said. "We're going to make the changes we know we need to make."

"First and Foremost I want to renew my pledge to you that I made to you during my campaign that we're going to open this party up to everyone, everyone who believes in the ideals of the Democratic Party, the party of hope and change. We're going to make this the most inclusive political party in the state of Tennessee which will enable us to build the grassroots organization necessary to elect a new Democratic governor, regain the majority in the House and Senate seats in 2010."
The new chairman said he would hold a summit of Democratic leaders "to look at what we did wrong and what we did right [in the 2008 campaign] and begin to incorporate what we learn into a comprehensive strategy for 2009 and 2010. From this summit, we will emerge with a program of fundraising, new technologies, grassroots organizing to truly build this party from the precinct level up. We need to stop talking about organizing and actually begin doing it."

With the party's leaders sulking on the sidelines, it's not clear at this point who might join Forrester at his meetin

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cheerful Persistance

I had to lead a discussion today in our adult sunday school class on the chapters of Jeremiah that went over the time when Jeruselem finally fell to the Babylonians. 605-606 BC. Now we had been studying this Jeremiah fellow for 35 chapters already. He was doom and gloom, no wonder no one wanted to listen to him. The other "prophets" were just telling everyone what they wanted to hear, so they were welcomed and heralded by the people. Everyone was sinning all over the place, unrepentent, and God was pretty dang mad. Jeremiah stayed true to the message that he was sent to deliver, and he suffered greatly for it. And eventually, so did everyone else, because they refused to change their ways laid out in God's message to them.

But sometimes in history, there comes along a man who gives us hope and instead of telling us what we want to hear, he tells us that things will get better if we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and start making decisions that have moral and ethical underpinnings. Sound eerily familiar?

But of course, we are talking about religion, aren't we?

Cheerful Persistence
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
Sunday, January 25, 2009

I rarely quote my dad, Newt Gingrich, but I do find his 1994 reflection published in “The Weekly Standard” regarding Ronald Reagan’s persona to be pertinent today. “Cheerfulness can get almost anything done. One of President Reagan's great strengths was his commitment to big ideas and his willingness to remain cheerful no matter what the difficulties were. It made him likable and approachable and easy to support. Despite being the son of an alcoholic father, entering the job market in the Great Depression, and watching his career in movies fade out, Reagan remained a steadfast optimist. That disposition was a tremendous, politically potent change from the angry pessimism of traditional conservatism.”

In many ways the Republicans have returned to the angry pessimism that Dad was referring to. This is neither helpful or smart.

History was made last week when Barack Obama was inaugurated president. Sixty percent of Americans watched it live. And according to Gallup, the inauguration made 62 percent of them more hopeful about the next four years. For those who believe in policies different from those of Obama, his current overwhelming popularity--an 83 percent approval rating in the transition is a fact, not a problem.

After Obama’s historic victory--winning on the theme of hope and change, rather than accomplishments, voting record or experience there are a few takeaways that should be learned. Language matters – hope and inspiration win over fear and desperation – especially in the long run. People want to be inspired to be better, to work together, to leave the world a better place due to their efforts. Inspiration drives positive activity and effort.

Again, Obama’s high approval rating is a fact not a problem. If you agree with him, either his public statements or his policy proposals, then agree with him publicly and loudly. It’s not anti-Republican or anti-conservative to agree with someone else regarding a proposed solution. Nor is it anti-conservative to be upbeat even about policy disagreements.

The Congress, on the other hand, is in a position different from that of Obama. Recent polls show that Congress has a 23 percent approval and 68 percent disapproval rating. What does this mean? The conservative focus should be on the Congress, the state and local political levels where the next races will be run. This year, local races; in two years, the U.S. House of Representatives and a third of the U.S. Senate will be involved in races.

Dad began to use the phrase “Cheerful Persistence” in an ongoing manner while building a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the early 1980’s.

“We coined the phrase, when we were first building a majority in the House in the 1980s, and we were very obedient. Remember,” Dad wrote in The Weekly Standard Article “ I thought we could be a majority. The Democrats didn't want us to be a majority, and most of the Republicans didn't want us to be a majority. We had a whole bunch of Republicans that said, ‘Hey, we're going along. We're getting along. I like my chairman. We go golfing together. We're good friends.’”

Republicans should not be confused by Obama’s high approval ratings, and should not try once again to “get along,” but instead they should keep in mind the nation’s view of the Congress – that it just isn’t working.

More than simple opposition is required. Solutions are needed. Big, bold, clearly articulated solutions that reflect the core values of the Republican Party: hard work, free enterprise, fiscal conservatism, personal responsibility and free speech.

As Dad mentioned this past week in a conference call, Republican’s have the opportunity to play Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson—constructive congressional opposition-- to Obama’s Dwight Eisenhower.

The building process worked before, when the Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. Maybe it is time to begin again working on cheerful persistence.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In Retrospect

I am sooooo over the Bush bashing. In fact, I get pretty darn irritated when I hear it still going on. Move on people. You have elected someone who is going to save you from EVERYTHING. Dance in the streets, cry at his every blessed word, surrender to the man who will save the world. I am truly happy for you! I just hope y'all don't start whining, when you don't get EVERYTHING you have been promised. Whiners irriate the dickens out me too.

Here is a great Bush recap from Karl Rove. History should be kinder to President Bush than the people who spit at his name today. No human being deserves the hell this man has gone thru for his country.

Wall Street Journal - Opinion
Bush Was Right When It Mattered Most

Its call sign has always been Air Force One. But on Tuesday, it was Special Air Mission 28000, as former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura returned home to Texas on a plane full of family, friends, former staff and memories of eight years in the White House.

The former president and his wife thanked each passenger, showing the thoughtfulness and grace so characteristic of this wonderful American family. A video tribute produced warm laughter and inevitable tears. There was no bitterness, but rather a sense of gratitude -- gratitude for the opportunity to serve, for able and loyal colleagues, and above all for our country and its people.

Yet, as Mr. Bush left Washington, in a last angry frenzy his critics again distorted his record, maligned his character and repeated untruths about his years in the Oval Office. Nothing they wrote or said changes the essential facts.
To start with, Mr. Bush was right about Iraq. The world is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. And the former president was right to change strategy and surge more U.S. troops.

A legion of critics (including President Barack Obama) claimed it couldn't work. They were wrong. Iraq is now on the mend, the war is on the path to victory, al Qaeda has been dealt a humiliating defeat, and a democracy in the heart of the Arab world is emerging. The success of Mr. Bush's surge made it possible for President Obama to warn terrorists on Tuesday "you cannot outlast us."

Mr. Bush was right to establish a doctrine that holds those who harbor, train and support terrorists as responsible as the terrorists themselves. He was right to take the war on terror abroad instead of waiting until dangers fully materialize here at home. He was right to strengthen the military and intelligence and to create the new tools to monitor the communications of terrorists, freeze their assets, foil their plots, and kill and capture their operators.

These tough decisions -- which became unpopular in certain quarters only when memories of 9/11 began to fade -- kept America safe for seven years and made it possible for Mr. Obama to tell the terrorists on Tuesday "we will defeat you."
Mr. Bush was right to be a unilateralist when it came to combating AIDS in Africa. While world leaders dithered, his President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative brought lifesaving antiretroviral drugs to millions of Africans.
At home, Mr. Bush cut income taxes for every American who pays taxes. He also cut taxes on capital, investment and savings. The result was 52 months of growth and the strongest economy of any developed country.

Mr. Bush was right to match tax cuts with spending restraint. This is a source of dispute, especially among conservatives, but the record is there to see. Bill Clinton's last budget increased domestic nonsecurity discretionary spending by 16%. Mr. Bush cut that to 6.2% growth in his first budget, 5.5% in his second, 4.3% in his third, 2.2% in his fourth, and then below inflation, on average, since. That isn't the sum total of the fiscal record, of course -- but it's a key part of it.
He was right to have modernized Medicare with prescription drug benefits provided through competition, not delivered by government. The program is costing 40% less than projected because market forces dominate and people -- not government -- are making the decisions.

Mr. Bush was right to pass No Child Left Behind (NCLB), requiring states to set up tough accountability systems that measure every child's progress at school. As a result, reading and math scores have risen more in the last five years since NCLB than in the prior 28 years.

He was right to stand for a culture of life. And he was right to appoint conservative judges who strictly interpret the Constitution. And Mr. Bush, a man of core decency and integrity, was right not to reply in kind when Democratic leaders called him a liar and a loser. The price of trying to change the tone in Washington was to be often pummeled by lesser men.

Few presidents had as many challenges arise during their eight years, had as many tough calls to make in such a partisan-charged environment, or had to act in the face of such hostile media and elite opinion.

On board Special Air Mission 28000, I remembered the picture I carried in my pocket on my first Air Force One flight eight years ago. It was an old black-and-white snapshot with scalloped edges. It showed Lyndon Johnson in the Cabinet Room, head in hand, weeping over a Vietnam casualty report. George Christian, LBJ's press secretary, gave it to me as a reminder that the job could break anyone, no matter how big and tough.

But despite facing challenges and crises few others have, the job did not break George W. Bush. Though older and grayer, his brows more furrowed, he is the same man he was, a person of integrity who did what he believed was right. And he exits knowing he summoned all of his energy and talents to defend America and advance its ideals at home and abroad. He didn't get everything right -- no president does -- but he got the most important things right. And that is enough.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pay it Forward

I love it when a plan comes together, especially when the hand of God is so very apparent.

Last week I got a phone call from our city councilwoman Marilyn Campbell Nixon, who had gotten a call from the Appalachian Women's Guild who had gotten a call from Hampton's Tax Service about a young, newly homeless couple needing help (I love living in a small county). It seems this couple walked from Monteagle to Tracy City in the freezing temps to see if they could get a Rapid Refund to pay for their bus tickets back to Oklahoma where they had jobs waiting for them.

I put them on the bus this morning, one week later, but the story behind the story is worth telling.

Dean Owenby takes charge. Dean was the person the couple happened to see last Wednesday at Hampton's (also called Jackson Hewitt). Who knows why or how the good Lord operates, but this couple's story touched something in Dean and put her into action. The rest of story just miraculously unfolded from there. Dean, Dean's officemate April Fults and customers Carrie Castro and family all pitched in to get the couple someplace warm for the night and food in their belly. Somehow thru all of Dean's phone calls, the situation became known to Stephanie Gibbs who jumped into action as well. With the help of her church, Lords House of Faith in Altamont, they came up with the funds to house the couple at Regency Inn until their bus left the following week and funds could be raised to purchase the tickets.

Marilyn problem solves the bus ticket situation. A sign of a good leader is someone who assesses a situation and finds the means to get it solved. Monteagle doesn't have a budget line item or a "community chest" set up for situations like the one this couple was in. Her next line of thinking was dead-on, find someone who is involved with a local church. That is where my phone call came in. Because we are both results-oriented people, she knew this kind of project was right up my alley. She was right. I contacted my church elders (Morton Memorial UMC) who jumped right in without question, JoAnn Sargent (who works at City Hall and whom I love dearly) contacted her church (Cumberland Bible Church) and they jumped in without question as well. Then a surreal Facebook moment happened when Chip Ramsey from the Saturday Independent gave me a name of an organization who helped Middle Tennesseans like the couple in question and they immediately agreed to round out the final funds needed to purchase the tickets. It really, truly was an amazing series of events. Things clicked.

Fishes and loaves. What made this story even more compelling was the other missing pieces of the puzzle that came together like fishes and loaves. Monteagle Church of Christ helped feed the couple this past week, New Hope Community Church and Ed & Nola Fults donated funds to help house and feed them too. My Kiwanis/Chamber friend and all around great gal Sue Herrick donated funds for their food during the trip to Oklahoma. Our needs were so fulfilled that I even had to turn away an offer from my Republican compadre and Christ Church elder Matt Pilcher. Now that is a rare moment indeed!

Pay it forward. As I paid for the tickets with the raised funds and handed the couple a card with food money enclosed, I echoed the request that came from the lips of all who helped: "Please pay it forward. Your time to help others will come, so make good choices along the way and be ready. You will never know how, or when or why, but the good Lord works thru all of us at different times and different capacities. You just have to open up your heart and listen."

Safe journeys Patricia and Michael!


You know, I have been around the block a couple of times when it comes to politics, and I am still in amazement when people lie...especially when it is a well-documented, irrefutable lie. I would think more of people if they just admit to greed, lust, power or any of the other sins that seem to always knock on our door...but for some reason lying just sticks in my gut like a knife.

Maybe that is why I just get a lump in my throat when I see people make tough choices because of a personal honor code. I may not agree with you, but at least I can respect you. And let me tell you, that is a pretty big deal in my book.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

I love the pageantry of the inauguration process. I am an American first and foremost and to see the events and traditions unfolding today warms the cockles of my heart (where I got that phrase from I have no idea but it seems to fit).

No matter how I feel about the incoming administration, this is a day of American tradition. I love it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Grundy County GOP

Yep, I accepted the Chairmanship. Onward Ho!

Grundy County Republican Party announces 2009-11 Leadership

On Saturday, January 17th, 2009, the Grundy County Republican Party held their Reorganization Convention and elected the following people to the 2009-11 leadership team:

Chairman – Iva Michelle Russell
Vice Chairman – Scott Pilkington Jr.
Secretary – Jim Waller
Treasurer – Marianne Waller
Vice Treasurer – Alf Adams
Finance Chairman – Matt Pilcher
Precinct Chairman – Chuck Clabber
Publicity Chairman – Jennifer Parmley
Immediate Past Chairman – Ted Smith
District 14 State Executive Committeeman – Betty King
District 14 State Executive Committeeman – Reuben Watkins

New Chairman Address:

“I am very honored to be serving as county chairman this term, especially with such an accomplished leadership team. Due to the efforts of so many conservatives across the state, we now have an historic opportunity to build our party locally due to the shifting power structure in state politics and the historic presidential vote in Grundy County. With the new majority status in the state General Assembly, we were able to elect three Republican Constitutional Officers as well as receive a majority status on all 95 Election Commissions. I am confident that our people will lead the way in preserving and expanding gun rights, pro-small business legislation and shedding the light on back-room deals that have greatly hurt the state of Tennessee and the citizens who pay the price.

As a conservative Republican, I strongly believe in the philosophies’ of Ronald Reagan: Less government, less taxes and personal responsibility…especially fiscal responsibility. In a down economy, it is more important than ever to find qualified candidates who understand how to run budgets and to make every dollar count. We will also be looking for candidates that understand the need to educate our children for the jobs of the future and to give them every opportunity to succeed in life. We have many challenges ahead in our county, including infrastructure and job creation, I am confident that we will find candidates with the heart and soul to come up with solutions and to work in a non-partisan way with everyone in our community. I respect every individual and their right to choose a party that fits their belief structure. Our job will be to educate and motivate Grundy County voters to get involved in the process, and if we do our job right, vote for our candidates because they are the most qualified to represent the needs of our people.

As always, I will rely heavily on our people with military and first responder backgrounds. They understand honor codes, work ethic and a team approach to any situation. I am very thankful that my new leadership team has several members that fit this description and I look forward to finding candidates with the same convictions.

In closing, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our Immediate Past President Ted Smith for his unwavering vision and belief structure. Great leaders learn from the mistakes and successes of the past in order to build and shape a brighter future. They must also have conviction of purpose. Ted Smith is one of those leaders. In the words of Winston Churchill “Never, never, never give up”. Thank you again for this opportunity. I look forward to serving you.”

Friday, January 16, 2009

Us vs Them

I really liked the point of this story.

A Boss Who Tells it Like it Is.....
To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.
However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It's quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

So, if you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about....

Your boss

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Rest of the Story

By now everyone (and that includes the rest of the country) has read the shenanigans of this past Tuesday at our state capitol. You really can't make this stuff up, truth is much stranger than fiction.

I came in a little later than planned on Tuesday, missed the GOP legislative breakfast, and ended up sitting in the outer chamber tv lounge next to these darling retired fire chiefs from east tennessee. They said they were there for Rep. Kent Williams which really didn't mean anything to me at the time except that it assured me we were on the same rooting bench. These guys were a hoot and we spent the morning enjoying conservation and dead-on similiar viewpoints. I will take hard-a$$ firefighters any day of the week to spend time with, especially on a day like Tuesday.

Rep. Williams came by several times to chat with them and I let him have my seat as I went to grab a drink and chat with Judd and a few others as we waited for the noon hour elections. It was like old home week, everyone was there. I met and spent some time with Linda Buckles, TNFRW Area 1 Vice President from Kingsport. What a neat woman. I also had the pleasure to chat politics with Vance Cheek and later the Shipley boys who were there to watch their dad get sworn in.

But back to the Williams saga, I digress. I sat back down with the fire chiefs and Red asked me if I wanted to know what was going to go down in the house elections. You know my answer, but after he told me I laughed real hard. Yea right. Minutes later, the fun began. Nominations were supposed to be closed, Naifeh didn't recognize a second, we had to go into Roberts Rules which took several minutes, then the Recess issue occured, Terri Lynn Weaver hit the wrong button and we were left waiting for another 30 minutes. Not a good sign. Stress was running high at this point, but I really wasn't that concerned, Jason and the team had it covered.

House gets back in session, Red gives me the signal. I watch drop-jawed as Gary Odom (he sooo reminds me of our city attorney Bill Killian) nominates Kent Williams, all Dems vote Williams, all GOPs vote Mumpower, last man called...Williams votes for...Williams. Hail to the Chief. All hell breaks loose. Red smiles.

The rest of the day is a blur, Lois Deberry(D)beats Beth Harwell(R) for Pro Tem by one vote...Williams. House Republican majority is overthrown by one man, a two year incumbent from Carter County, and a brilliant maneuver by the minority party. It took us 149 years to get here and it only took one man to sell his soul to bring it down. The devil is a crafty beast indeed.

I stayed as long as I could, then headed back to my room to regroup. We had a "victory" party at 4:30pm over at the Hermitage and I was going to meet Bob over there for a powwow before tomorrows meeting with Commissioner Whitaker. Red invited me over to Kent's "victory" party, but I really had no stomach for it. I am glad I missed the call.

The party at the Hermitage was an interesting one, we were all in one big shock wave. It took a great speech by Ron Ramsey, our fearless Lt.Gov, to get our heads back on and thinking rationally. He is such an asset to the state. He also gave his "NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP" plaque to Jason in a very touching and humorous tribute.

Great to see and chat with Monty Lankford, Mike Niederhauser and Steve Heath. You almost become like family when you see them on the campaign trail all year, so it is always good to reconnect. Got to say hello to Sam Harper who I haven't seen in forever, glad to hear he is going to start writing again. At the end of the night, was privy to a great discussion with Colby and Mike about strategic politics on a local level. Gained some very good insight. The guy is good and sincere in his passion. I like him.

So that story ends and another one begins. Constitutional officer election goes without a hitch. The legislative year has now begun.

Clarification: A reader made a very valid comment. My reference to the 149 years dealt with a Republican leadership in both Senate and House. Technically, we have that now. No disrespect intended for Speaker Jenkins who was the first Republican Speaker since reconstruction back in the late 60's (1969 I believe).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Republican Speaker in TN

Too bad he is not the one we chose. Will write more later. I am off to the post mortem party and then Nashville music scene.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New TN Constitutional Officers

Tennessee's new Republican legislature majority just nominated the following people to the state constitutional offices:

Tre Hargett - Secretary of State
David Lilliard - Treasurer
Justin Wilson - Comptroller

Congrats to all that made this a reality!

Update: These may be thrown back to "up in the air" nominations after todays shenanigans. Will know on Wednesday.

This Week

My political junkie mojo is heating up fast. Some people feel the excitement of the new American Idol or 24 season, I get giddy when the Tennessee legislative session starts again.

Today, the first voting for Constitutional Officers begins (2pm). I will be keeping up with that via my favorite bloggers. Tomorrow is the House and Senate leadership elections (12pm). I will be there for the House elections. It is sure to be a heart pounder. Never underestimate Jimmy Naifeh. You can watch it via streaming video @

The day will start early, but I will try to do some blogging while I am there. Since there is a full day of festivities I am just going to stay downtown and hit the music scene too. Then get up in the morning and meet with Commissioner Whitaker on my OHV Legislative agenda.

Let the games begin!

Update: The Tennessean just pulled a bs move in a "breaking news" story. I think someone should file an ethics complaint on them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson in some cases could be called a prophet...from Bill K.

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Thomas Jefferson

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
Thomas Jefferson

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Thomas Jefferson

Very Interesting Quote

In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.'

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Conservative View Point

I happened to find this little gem while reading the headlines today...

Tommy Crangle: What Conservatism Means To Me - #2 In A Series
Individual Freedom and Equality
by Tommy Crangle
posted January 7, 2009

How do these two principles affect national policy? A man that is free is the luckiest man in the world. Only when he is free can he approach his full potential and fulfill his place in society and the world and for his Creator. Man was created to be free. How else can he follow his dreams and aspirations? In fact, our Constitution was created to protect this God-given freedom, not to grant freedom. We already had freedom before the United States was ever formed. From the Declaration, “—Men—are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed ---“.

When government takes on the task of making laws and the reams and reams of rules, regulations, guidelines and restrictions, it should be very careful that it does not stifle the creativeness and imagination of its own citizens. For in so doing, our freedom is a little bit hindered and we are made a little more of a slave to big government. It matters not that the reason for the law is good, even noble. What matters is that the government has decided the course of the individual rather than the individual.

Can we have each individual making all these decisions? Would not that make for mass confusion? Not at all. The individual should only be restricted by rights of others. Of course, there are some legitimate functions of the federal government. A few. Only a few. The rest are reserved to the states and to the people.

What happens when the government taxes the labor and creativeness of its citizens? The government has essentially preempted you and taken that money, under threat of force and imprisonment, to use in the way it decides is best. I know that our representatives voted for it, but that on its own does not make it right or best for our country. It does not really matter how it happens, does it? Our representatives must keep in mind that they cannot do right by doing wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I have to reduce things to the basics so I can understand. You can make it as complicated as you want, but I like simplicity as long as it catches the essence of the matter.

I hope these writings are helpful to the reader in understanding the world around us. The papers in this series are not a research project. I have not read sources to compile them (except as quoted). They are created from my own thoughts, readings over the years, and what I have heard and discussed with others.

Tommy Crangle

(Tommy Crangle is a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) and a graduate of Tennessee Technological University. He is a former electric utility executive and has been to Iraq six times working on the electricity infrastructure. He is currently an investor and lives on Signal Mountain. He can be contacted at

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sewanee and Jon Meacham

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently attended Jon Meacham's book signing at the Sewanee bookstore. I had already read an Andrew Jackson bio, but I was interested in seeing what Jon had to say about "old hickory". For some reason, I asked him if he considered himself a conservative (I am still confused about the concept of liberal christians, especially sewanee christians)...the question obviously amused him as he laughed out loud at the thought of it. "No, and I don't think they would want me" was what followed the laugh. Interesting comment.

I didn't completely understand his meaning until this news item came out...and yes, Wheaton College is in my old stomping grounds. You don't get more conservative than Wheaton.

Newsweek Editor Slams Orthodox Pittsburgh Bishop as Fundamentalist
Sewanee Alumnus Decries Heterosexual Marriage

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

The editor of NEWSWEEK, Jon Meacham, a favorite son and a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South and the Episcopal Church's only university, recently revealed a real and personal animus towards Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan and heterosexual marriage.

In the December 15, 2008, issue of his magazine, Meacham wrote, "On the campus of Wheaton College in Illinois, in another of the seemingly endless announcements of splintering and schism in the Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan and other leaders of the conservative forces of reaction to the ecclesiastical and cultural acceptance of homosexuality declared that their opposition to the ordination and the marriage of gays was irrevocably rooted in the Bible-which they regard as the '"final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life'.

"No matter what one thinks about gay rights-for, against or somewhere in between -this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism. Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt-it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition."

Full story at

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Chicago Way

I always love the story behind the story...

This written by Dan Westerbeck, retired lawyer from Chicago, former quarterback at Ohio State U...

Fellow Citizens, Since most of you do not understand the " Chicago way" of doing things and come from places that are, relatively speaking, governed by elections, you may need an interpreter for news from Chicago , especially about Cook County politics. That's why I'm here.

You may think today's story is about the crooked Illinois governor selling Obama's Senate seat. What you don't know is how the Bush Justice Dept. probably steered Obama away from disaster even before taking office . Here's how the pieces of the puzzle fit, based on the known facts as well as those alleged in the Criminal Complaint, my knowledge of federal criminal case management and protocols, and some deductive reasoning.


As you know by now the beloved Governor of Illinois was arrested for, among other things, attempting to auction off Obama's US Senate seat. The federal criminal Complaint (three pages backed up by a 76 page FBI affidavit) states that Gov. Blagoyevich (Blago) was attempting to set conditions for filling that seat with the Obama transition team. This implies a certain level of communication between Blago and Obama or their staffs, although the Complaint does not specifically state that. (You'll see why not.) David Axelrod, Obama's chief political strategist (from Cook County) said two weeks ago that he, Obama, and the Obama team had been in constant contact with Blago and his staff about filling the seat and had liked a number of the candidates mentioned. (He obviously hadn't gotten the word then.)

Today Obama himself denied having anything to do with naming his successor, denied having any communications with Blago, and generally felt sorry about everything. Now the press will ignore Axelrod, accept Obama's statement, shift the spotlight to Blago, and search for the other conspirators, including who was willing to pay for the Senate seat. End of story for Obama; just another corrupt Cook County scam miraculously not involving Obama in any way. Yawn.

But let me tell you what really went down and how the nation just averted a Constitutional crisis.

Three critical facts must be noted. The Illinois governor appoints people to vacant US Senate seats. Second, the feds have wiretapped Blago off and on since 2004 in their "Pay to Play" investigation. You had to pay him money in order to play--bid for state contracts to manage money, pave roads, supply linens, etc. (that's the Chicago way.) He is destined for a federal penitentiary because the tapes have been rolling for 5 years now. A number of his cronies have been indicted and convicted on the basis of the wiretaps. Third, and most important, Blago's offices have been bugged by the feds for the past 4-6 weeks, possibly longer--that's around election time for you senior citizens. (The feds probably detected sufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy on the wiretaps and through informants such that they could plant the bugs in Blago's offices.)

Obama's hand picked successor for his Senate seat was Valerie Jarrett who is on his campaign staff. This was well known before the election and Ms. Jarrett had even announced her candidacy. She was a slam dunk. The ONLY question on the table after the election was what price Blago would extract from Obama for appointing Ms. Jarrett--appointing Blago as ambassador to Lithuania, naming him Secy. of Transportation, some Democrat party post, establishing a library and foundation a la Bill Clinton, whatever. Blago was constantly talking on the tapes of his need for more cash and how the "fucking Senate seat was worth a lot of money" (per the federal complaint).


The US Attorney here, Patrick Fitzgerald, is fearless and has jailed Republicans (former Governor Geo. Ryan) and Democrats alike. Some guys on Richie Daley's staff are doing time for the same thing--taking bribes (sometimes described as campaign contributions). Ironically Blago was elected as a reformer and a break from the George Ryan school of corruption. In any event, Fitzgerald has kept the Justice Dept. fully informed of all the Blago investigations, wiretaps, bugs, etc., and where they were headed since he needed their approval (as well as a court's) to run them. It is a certainty that the Attorney General knew of the Blago investigation because the target was the governor of a state (very high profile).

Once Obama was elected, Fitzgerald and the Attorney General saw what was coming - a Blago-Obama negotiation over the Senate seat. Given what they knew about to the corrupt process Blago was engaged in through their taping/bugging, such a negotiation would be disastrous politically for Obama and possibly even criminal. Those tapes will have to be played in court some day. (That may be why Obama looked a little rattled today in announcing his total absence of knowledge and communication on the entire subject of his successor.)

After the election Obama and his staff began to get briefings as part of the transition process. It is likely that the Attorney General informed him of the ongoing investigations of Blago and of the wiretaps and bugs. Obama got the clue, but perhaps forgot to tell Axelrod. But he did tell Valerie Jarrettt something because four weeks ago she withdrew her name from consideration for the Obama Senate seat.

Normally in a federal conspiracy prosecution you let the tapes roll and the conspiracy play out in order to catch all the big fish. (I was a federal prosecutor in my distant past.) Remember, the feds have wiretapped Blago since 2004, per previous testimony in court. Once you get one of the conspirators to wire up, as the feds did here, you let him meet and talk to everybody forever--weeks, months, years even. However, since they already had the governor nailed, the only bigger fish left in the pond were Obama and his staff. And listening to Blago on the tapes they knew where he was headed--right to Obama to get his price for the Senate seat.

So after the election, as Patrick Fitzgerald and the Attorney General pondered this, their choice was stark: 1. do we follow the normal protocol and let the tapes roll and may be reel in Obama staffers (or, God forbid, Obama himself) bargaining with Blago in the US Senate seat auction; or, 2. do we tip Obama in a briefing and abruptly terminate the investigation at the governor's level and thus preclude it from reaching Obama and his staff.

I think they made a political and legal calculation in the nation's interest and chose the latter course. They saved Obama, or certainly his staff, from the taint of the criminal auction and also prevented the sale of a US Senate seat by a corrupt Cook County Democra t politician by arresting Blago today.

That's why Obama has been saying for weeks that he himself has nothing to do with the selection of his successor. Although such a position is contrary to common sense and political tradition, in this case, he's probably telling the truth at least insofar as the past month is concerned.

So Obama now owes the Justice Dept. and US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, in particular, a big one because he kept the president elect from stepping in to a first rate criminal scandal by tipping him on the Blago wiretaps and bugs. And the Bush Attorney General and US Attorney Fitzgerald probably saved the country a huge new scandal as well since Obama's team would have been further ensnared in a federal criminal investigation after inauguration.


What job does Patrick Fitzgerald want since Obama owes him big time--Pope, Federal Judge (even Supreme Court), ambassador to Ireland, Attorney General (Eric Holder may not make it anyway because of the Marc Rich pardon and Obama would throw him over in a minute if Fitzgerald asked for it). We shall see, but the Cook County Democrat Machine certainly wants to be rid of Fitzgerald and the only way to do tha t is kill him (that went out with Capone) or promote him. Unfortunately for them, Fitzgerald professes to like his current job. And there is no way Obama asks for his resignation now or appoints a new US attorney unless Fitzpatrick wants to go.

So you see, things are never quite what they seem to be here in Chi-town. You thought this was all about a lone crooked Cook County politician who became governor...That's where the press will be headed because it will be entertaining.
But now you know the likely story of how close we came to having a federal criminal case swirling around a new president.

The New Year

Yep, the kids are back in school, the holidays (all month of them) are finally over and a fresh new year is ahead. I LOVE the new year feeling. I am always invigorated by a new project and a new year fits into that concept. New ideas culled from the down time will now be put into action, new planning begins for the spring and summer season. Spring signals the beginning of "business" for our little piece of paradise and summer is prime time...even (and especially) in a down economy.

The other exciting part of the new year is the start of our state's legislative session. I am a political junkie and I could eat, sleep and breathe politics if it paid my bills. My current legislative project deals with Off Highway Vehicles. I think in previous posts I have gone over the saga of why I got involved with this particular mission, but it mainly deals with justice and the little guy being heard. The mission also makes perfect economic sense for rural Tennessee. I will have three bills being presented this session. This will be my third year on the project and I should see a modicum of success due to the hard work and logic put into this project. Logic flew out the door the past two sessions because the state legislature was ruled by thug politics. But logic this session may see the light of day. Being a political purist, I am really excited by the concept of this new leadership team. We need heroes in politics.

Lastly, the New Year will bring elections for our county Republican party. I have been tapped to become Chairman and carry forward the success of our '08 victory. If the proposed team gets elected, the next two years should be alot of fun.

So heres to the New Year!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Monteagle Assembly

I am frequently asked "what made you decide to move to Monteagle" and the short answer is "my 2001 summer vacation at the Monteagle Assembly". Of course, there is so much more to the story (isn't there always), but really what made me see life more clearly was the rare opportunity to sit back, relax and...see life more clearly. When you are so caught up in the treadmill of life, you forget the really important things that make life more real and more full. And let me tell you, three weeks of no tv, no phone, some internet and alot of quiet time makes you realize how much noise and nonsense fills your day.

Now don't get me wrong, there are always trade offs to these life changing decisions and the bumps in the road along the way have been hairy to say the least, but moving into year 7 of the transition, I am at a place where all worlds have collided and we are finally at peace. Vive La Difference!

Just a slice of paradise...

Monteagle Assembly, TN

Thanks to a blogger named Copeland for posting it on her web.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year Resolutions

Another good one sent to me by Kathy. I am going to try these out.

Recipe for the New Year

Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the
ultimate anti-depressant.

Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to God about what is
going on in your life. Buy a lock if you have to.

When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My
purpose is to__________ today. I am thankful for______________'

Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is
manufactured in plants.

Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli , almonds & walnuts.

Try to make at least three people smile each day.

Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the
past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your
energy in the positive present moment.

Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess, and dinner like a
college kid with a maxed out charge card.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Don't take yourself so one else does.

You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to

Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is
all about.

No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this

Forgive everyone for everything.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

GOD heals everything in his own way - but it helps if you ask Him.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay
in touch!!!

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am
thankful for__________. Today I accomplished_________.

Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You'll be
smiling before you know it. God Bless You!

Interesting Fix Its

I come from a long line of women who used interesting methods to fix things (yes, duct tape is an essential tool kit item). My friend Rhonda sent me this list yesterday and I actually learned some new tactics.


1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair.

2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish.

3. Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes.

4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair.

5. Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry and peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads.

6. Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea.

7. Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water.

8. Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste.

9. Burn your tongue?? Put sugar on it!

10. Arthritis?? WD-40 Spray and rub in, kill insect stings too.

11. Bee stings - meat tenderizer.

12. Chigger bite - Preparation H.

13.. Puffy eyes - Preparation H.

14. Paper cut - crazy glue or Chap Stick (glue is used instead of??
sutures?at most hospitals).

15. Stinky feet - Jell-O!

16. Athletes feet - cornstarch.

17 . Fungus on toenails or fingernails -Vicks vapor rub.

18. Kool-Aid to clean dishwasher pipes. ?Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet.? (Wow, and we drink this stuff)

19. Kool-Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool-Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!

20. Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper

21. Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray

22. Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands!
Keep a can in your garage for your hubby

23. Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls

24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on

25. Heavy dandruff - pour on the vinegar!

26. Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour into an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!

27. Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool-Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak

28. Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia, soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!

29. A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!

30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste

31. Wine stains pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.

32. To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.

33. Remove labels off glassware etc. Rub with Peanut butter!

34. Baked on food - fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets , soak overnight!

35. Crayon on the wall - Colgate toothpaste and brush it!

36. Dirty grout - Listerine

37. Stains on clothes - Colgate toothpaste

38. Grass stains - Karo syrup

39. Grease Stains - Coca Cola, it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!

40. Fleas in your carpet?? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours. Maybe this will work if you get them back again.

41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little Clorox, or 2 Bayer aspirin, or just use 7-up instead of water.

42. When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you 'squeeze' for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week?? Each day has a different color twist tie for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

They are:

Monday = Blue

Tuesday = Green

Thursday = Red

Friday = White

Saturday = Yellow.

So if today was Thursday, you would want a red twist tie; not white which is for

Fridays (almost a week old)! The colors go alphabetically color Blue- Green - Red -
White - Yellow, Monday through Saturday.

This is very easy to remember.? I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers do have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors.? You learn something new everyday! ?Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Don't forget Gatorade for Migraine Headaches.

PowerAde won't work.

Pass this information on to friends so they can be informed