Friday, February 27, 2009

Smart Growth

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I live in paradise. For me, paradise not only includes natural wonders but intellectual wonders as well. Our University attracts world class minds, creatives and eccentrics who all find peace and acceptance here on this mountain. Of course, we all sometimes disagree about politics because many of those minds believe in utopias and group think. I am a realist when it comes to these things, I also don't think government involvement is the answer so we butt heads on process all the time. But they also make me think.

Last night I attended a meeting for a group organized to deal with growth on our plateau. Born in the boom times only a year or so back in response to a proposed massive development that would double the size of my little town of 1100, this organization provided a wealth of information to the people who attended the meetings. Greed was everywhere back then, developers were popping up right and left with no regard to infrastructure or process. Our zoning laws were pliable and the public officials were malleable, especially if the right carrot was dangled.

Thankfully, God took care of the issue when we experienced a long drought and Monteagle ran out of water. At the same time, infrastructure mismanagement reared its head and everyone became aware of the sleeping giant called wastewater treatment...or the lack of it. TDEC stepped in with broad and sweeping motions. This was one time I was happy to see them.

One of the biggest problems in the psyche of my locals is the "don't tell me what to do, I am going do whatever the hell I want to" attitude. Let me tell you, I understand and appreciate the sentiment, but unfortunately that attitude has led to some very bad decisions by our public officials and land owners which in turn affects all of us because we pay the price with higher utility rates and pretty major quality of life issues.

Back to the meeting in question. The speaker was Robin Gottfried, a brilliant economics professor at Sewanee. The information he presented wasn't new, I had a crash course in it last year, but his solutions were new to me. Robin put a new spin on government's role in guiding smart growth. The carrot not the hammer theory. Of course, our local government entities have to buy into the smart growth, land use, cluster development premise that have been meticulously and logicaly researched by our University neighbors...but if we can make that happen, the tools that Robin mentioned are wonderfully simple. They incentivize GOOD behavior. Wow, what a concept! Everyone gets what they want thru personal choices. Wow, want a concept!

Hmmmm, sounds to me like I need to get some progressive, fiscally conservative souls elected to local office.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Personal Responsibility

A friend of mine suggested that I attend a local Lent service last night because he thought it fit perfectly into my personal spiritual quest. Being intrigued, I decided to attend. He was right, it was a very moving experience which led me to do a little more research on the practices of Lent and the meaning behind them since I am relatively new to the organized program. My church handles Lent differently than the church I went to, but the premise is really still the same. A personal, thoughtful and giving journey before the Easter celebration. There is also alot of personal sacrifice involved in the journey. That hit home.

Well you know I will find a way to relate politics in pretty much everything that I do. It is a worldview I can't seem to escape. As a conservative, I feel personal sacrifice and personal responsibility are the cornerstones of my political convictions. Government is not the answer, it is up to each and every one of us to step up to the plate. During this economic downturn, we are all going to have to cinch our belts, quit whining and remember what is important in life. Lent is just a great reminder to do so.

Chuck's mom and my Grandma Nell are two peas in a pod.

An 87-Year-Old's Economic Survival Guide
by Chuck Norris
Posted 02/24/2009 ET
Updated 02/24/2009 ET

An old Spanish proverb says, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy." I believe that value holds, in or out of a recession. And seeing as my 87-year-old mother lived through the Great Depression, I think her value (and that of those like her) will increase through these tough economic times because her insider wisdom can help us all.

Mother was about 10 years old when her eight-member family endured the thick of those recessive days in rural Wilson, Okla., which only has a population of 1,600 today. The recurring droughts across the heartland during that period dried up the job market, making it worse in the Midwest than it even was in the rest of the country. Over the years, my grandpa worked multiple jobs, from the oil fields to the cotton fields, and he was even a night watchman. The family members did what they could to contribute, but most of them were simply too young to play a major part.

In 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt took office, his administration, through the Works Project Administration, brought about the employment of millions in civil construction projects, from bridges to dams to airports to roads. My grandfather traveled about 90 miles for a day's work to help build the Lake Murray dam. But with a far smaller ratio of jobs to potential laborers, if Grandpa worked five days a month (at $1.80 a day), it was a good month.

Like most families, my mother's family didn't have running water or electricity. And Granny did her best to keep the outhouse clean, with Grandpa helping by regularly depositing lye to control the odors. (You can imagine how the hot, humid Oklahoma summers turned that outside commode into one smelly closet-sized sauna.) A "scavenger wagon" came by once a week and cleaned out the hole, which had a small chairlike contraption over it with the center punched out. (They once had a two-seater in there, which allowed for two people to enjoy each other's company and conversation. Mom told me that she always felt a little upper-class when she sat with someone else!) By the way, and I'm not trying to be crude, toilet tissue wasn't around, so they used pages from Montgomery Ward catalogs (and you wondered why the catalogs were so thick). No joke -- they preferred the non-glossy pages. I'll let you figure out why.

Got the picture? With that in mind, I turn to a recent conversation I had with my mother. I asked her, "How would you encourage the average American to weather the economic storms of today?"

Here's her advice, in her words:

-- "Get back to the basics. Simplify your life. Live within your means. People have got to be willing to downsize and be OK with it. We must quit borrowing and cut spending. Be grateful for what you have, especially your health and loved ones. Be content with what you have, and remember the stuff will never make you happy. Never. Back then, we didn't have one-hundredth of what people do today, and yet we seemed happier than most today, even during the Great Depression.

-- "Be humble and willing to work. Back then, any work was good work. We picked cotton, picked up cans, scrap metal, whatever it took to get by. Where's that work ethic today? If someone's not being paid $10 an hour today, they're whining and unwilling to work, even if they don't have a job. The message from yesteryear is don't be too proud to do whatever it takes to meet the financial needs of your family.

-- "Be rich in love. We didn't have much. In fact, we had nothing at all, compared to people today, but we had each other. We were poor, but rich in love. We've lost the value of family and friends today, and we've got to gain it back if we're ever to get back on track. If we lose all our stuff and still have one another and our health, what have we really lost?

-- "Be a part of a community. Today people are much more alone, much more isolated. We used to be close with our neighbors. If one person had a bigger or better garden or orchard, they shared the vegetables and fruits with others in need. Society has shifted from caring for one another to being dependent upon government aid and welfare. That is why so many today trust in government to deliver them. They've forgotten an America that used to rally around one another in smaller clusters, called neighborhoods and communities. We must rekindle those local communal fires and relearn the power of that age-old commandment, 'Love thy neighbor.'

-- "Help someone else. We never quit helping others back then. Today too many people are consumed with their own problems and only helping themselves. 'What's in it for me?' is the question most are asking. But back then, it was, 'What can I do to help my neighbor, too?' I love Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life, and especially his thought, 'We were created for community, designed to be a blessing to others.' Most of all, helping others gets our minds off of our problems and puts things into better perspective.

-- "Lean upon God for help and strength. We didn't just have each other to lean on, but we had God, too. We all attended church and belonged to a faith community. Church was the hub of society, the community core and rallying point. Today people turn to government the way we used to turn to churches. It's been that way ever since Herbert Hoover's alleged promise of a 'chicken in every pot' and President Roosevelt's New Deal. Too many have abandoned faith and community. We trust in money more than God. And maybe that's a reason why we're in this economic pickle."

Now that's conventional wisdom that should be shouted and posted in every corridor of government, every community across America, and every blog on the Internet.

Call me overly pragmatic, but I think a little practical wisdom and encouragement is what we all need about now. Mom always was good for that. She still is.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bobby Jindal

Bold moves have just been made by potential 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate Bobby Jindal. Alot of our GOP state Governors and Legislatures have been grumbling about the implications of our new stimulus package now that the details are coming to light. I was in a philosophical dilemma about it as well. I really think this is where "the devil is in the details" saying really hits home.

Any lawyer or legislator knows that clauses or even words in a document can change the entire purpose of any legal directive or legislative initiative. I am currently dealing with legislation that was written beautifully, passed and became an Act in Tennessee. There was one word switch during an amendment process, "May" instead of "Shall", that changed everything. 5 years later, over 880,000 constituents in Tennessee are still dealing with the repercussions. And let me tell you, changing ANYTHING in Nashville, once it is in place, is a daunting process to say the least.

Bobby Jindal knows that about his own home state legislative process and has responded accordingly. That took some major political cajones. I like that.

The strings attached to the current Administration's money purse may be too far reaching for our more conservative state leaders. Now let's see what everyone does now that this hand has been played.

Jindal catches flak for rejecting federal cash
February 22, 2009 By Robert Travis ScottCapital bureau

BATON ROUGE -- After becoming the first governor in the nation to reject a piece of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal defended his stance Saturday amid an outcry from the lieutenant governor and several state lawmakers who disagree with him.

The debate about Jindal's position on the stimulus plan coincides with a key moment in his continuing rise to national prominence, including his role as the Republican Party's pick to respond on national TV to Obama's address to Congress on Tuesday night.

Jindal traveled Saturday to Washington, D.C., to attend the National Governors Association conference, meet with the president and appear today on NBC's "Meet the Press."

His position on the stimulus already has earned him national media attention at a time when many other governors attending the same conference are seeking the limelight.

"It has always been very complicated to be a spokesperson for the nation and a spokesperson for the state at the same time, because those interests do not always line up," said Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, a Democrat and brother of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., one of the architects of the federal stimulus bill passed last week.

Mitch Landrieu, three state senators and Rep. Karen Carter-Peterson, D-New Orleans, held a conference call with reporters Saturday afternoon to say that Louisiana should fully embrace the federal stimulus money. They said Jindal's statements are sending the wrong message to Washington.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain also joined the call to praise the stimulus bill's assistance to farmers.

Jindal is prepared to accept nearly all of the roughly $3.8 billion in financing and tax cuts that Louisiana is in line to receive under the stimulus bill, with much of the money available to help close a looming state budget gap of about $1.75 billion.

But the governor said Friday he would refuse $98 million for federal unemployment assistance because he said it comes with strings that would obligate the state to make permanent, costly changes in its law and would mean higher taxes and more administrative headaches for businesses.

The unemployment money, which would run out in about two years, would significantly broaden the conditions for drawing jobless compensation, with benefits available to people who have held a job for as little as three months before becoming unemployed, nine months less than the current standard.

The $98 million would not count toward closing the state's budget shortfall.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, also has expressed reservations about taking the unemployment money, and Jindal said several other states are taking a close look at it.

"I don't think you're going to find this is an issue unique to Louisiana," Jindal said. "If you read the stimulus law, it actually requires permanent changes in state law. I don't think that's responsible. It's not good policy."

Speaking to reporters Saturday before departing for Washington, Jindal said his administration is looking at the stimulus bill "line by line, program by program" to see whether other programs in it should be rejected. In particular, he said, he is looking closely at the strings attached to the federal money for welfare assistance.

"Just philosophically, if I were altering the welfare provisions, I would have done it differently," Jindal said.

But no decision has made on whether to accept the welfare money, he said.

By scrutinizing the expansion of unemployment and welfare benefits, Jindal is focusing attention on two policy areas that often have separated Democrats from Republicans.

He said that although he found some of the provisions for jobless benefits in the stimulus bill "objectionable," his main reason for refusing the federal money was the potential future cost in business taxes.

Mitch Landrieu said Jindal's rhetoric and decisions could hurt the state directly because of the lost stimulus money and indirectly because the state is seeking other federal recovery and grant money.

"Instead of getting reluctant about receiving it, we should be aggressive about getting as much as we can," Landrieu said.

Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, who joined Landrieu on the media call, said, "We should never put ourselves in a position where we say we don't want it."

Adley said he does not think the unemployment benefits need to tie the state permanently to the program and that the Legislature could control the program's impact in later years.

. . . . . . .

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lt.Gov Ron Ramsey

My day on the Hill yesterday revolved around my meeting with our Lt.Gov. The rest was just fun filler which I will describe later.

I say this alot lately, but it does matter who governs. Sitting in our Lt.Gov's office reminded me of that. Ron Ramsey has a style of governing that is reflective of his constituency. He is down-to-earth and honest with his assessments. It is about people and policy, not policy and more policy. He sees the genuine absurdity of bad policy, that is refreshing, and he offers solutions thru people not more policy. Once again, even more refreshing.

When you delve into politics on this level, there is alot of absurdity in policy.
The absurdity factor is why I will always be a champion for LESS government.

I would also be remiss if I didn't thank Sen. Eric Stewart for attending the meeting and sponsoring our bills in the Senate. We may be on opposite sides of the fence, but I actually like him alot. He was the only Democrat I have ever knowingly worked with and that was only because he was county commissioner at the time. He is a fiscal conservative and has strong family values. We may not agree on everything, but I can usually trust where his head is at when it comes to serving his constituents.

Observations from a window seat at the legislature cafeteria:

Lots of women in tight skirts and very high heels.
Lots of gray haired lions.
Lots of harried soldiers.
Lots of people with big red hand signs that said "Hands Off of our Civil Rights" or something like that.
Lots of young people in suits (I thought that was cool).

Overheard at a PTA meeting in House Chambers (Speaker was TEA rep):

Bills on Charter schools are bad.
Bills on Home Schooling are bad.
Bills on Virtual education are bad.
Tenure is good.
The new House committee structure makes us nervous (I think he was referring to the Republicans).

Attending the Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee meeting:

I was thrilled to see my dear friend Rep. Judd Matheny chairing his first full Committee. It has been a long road since 2002 and he has fought battle after battle against the absurdity that seems to permeate state government. I am sooo very proud to have him on our team and I know his constituents think so too.

The first committee meeting presentation was a meaty one. Unemployment resources and gameplan updates. I couldn't stay. It was good to see Rep. Eric Swafford, Rep. Brian Kelsey and my favorite Rep. Stacey Campfield on the committee. Like Judd, the left just loves to pick on them. That makes me like them even better.

Yep, as I reread this, my new favorite word for bad government is "absurdity". Funny how things stick it your mind like that. I must be reading too much stimulus propaganda.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Humor

I love my friends. I know who they are and I love and appreciate them anyway. They do the same for me. Some are old friends, some are relatively new friends. What we all seem to share is a love of life, a sense of truth and a personal honesty that reflects a soul comfortable in their own skin...or at least one working in that direction.

Of course I had to preface this blog with nice comments, because some of my closest friends have a wild sense of humor.

Here is one I just received from my fun-loving, eccentric college friend Maureen. She is a hoot!

This is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to
American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine
products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph.
It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best
webmail-award-winning letter.

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your
'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I
appreciate many of their features. Why, without the
LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably
never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd
certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in
tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your
revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company
smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be
aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel
each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr.
Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse'? I'm
guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is
starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal
forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes
from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed
into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly
with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene
Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research
on what exactly happens during your customer's monthly
visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know
about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and
about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and
out-of-control behaviour. You surely realize it's a
tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my
friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her
boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just
because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was
written by drunken chimps. Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must
realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs
in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my
letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so
painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my
uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on
the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy

Are you f------ kidding me? What I mean is, does
any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think
happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness, is possible
during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above
sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI,
unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak, there
will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which
you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock
yourself in your house just so you don't march down to
the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a
sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man!
If you have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad,
wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's
actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or
'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong', or are you just
picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department
that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in
monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad
business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your
Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of
condescending bullshit. And that's a promise I will

Always. . .

Wendi Aarons
Austin , TX

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stimulus Today

I haven't seen the final outcome of what is packed in the several hundred page document, but if it reflects any of these statements, I will probably lose my mind...again.

Here’s how The Associated Press explained it: “Undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill, and one making its way through the Senate, would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number (TIN), to qualify for the tax credits.”
In case you didn’t know it, any illegal can get a TIN number from Social Security, no questions asked.
This means illegals who broke the law to get here will be eligible immediately for federal cash — up to $1,000!
It gets worse. Let me detail for you some facts from the “stimulus”:
• More than $4 billion is earmarked for "neighborhood stabilization activities" — money that will go to groups like ACORN, which worked closely with the Obama campaign, the same group accused of massive voter fraud.
• Almost half of the proposed spending will directly benefit the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democratic-controlled unions, according to writer Ben Stein.
• $600 million goes for news cars for top government bureaucrats.
• Obama promised major infrastructure projects — yet only 5 percent of all the money goes for this.
• $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.
• $75 million to fund anti-smoking programs.
• $650 million for the switch from analog television to digital.
• $335 million to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
• $600 million for “climate change” research programs.
This is just a small part of the long laundry list of trivial, weird, and simply outrageous programs being funded in the Obama stimulus bill, which goes on for 680 pages — so long no one in the House was believed to have read it before voting for it!
Just to show you the tremendous waste, there is so much money appropriated in this bill you could give every unemployed person in the nation a check for $75,000 for the amount being spent.

He and his Democratic allies are simply wasting hundreds of billions of our money in a clear “payoff” to Democratic Party interest groups and unions that backed him and the Democrats in Congress during the last election.
Tom DeLay put it best when he said Obama’s program is “just complete, out-and-out writing of checks to people that don’t pay taxes. These are welfare checks that are called tax cuts.”
You better believe it. The Democrats are making Freddy Krueger look like a reasonable fellow.

Happy Birthday Abe

"The Republican Party, on the contrary [to the Democrats], holds that this government was instituted to secure the blessings of freedom, and that slavery is an unqualified evil. Republicans will oppose in all its length and breadth the modern Democratic idea that slavery is as good as freedom." - Abraham Lincoln

I wonder what Abe would think now as we travel down the road to our own government slavery...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


It is no secret that I am an avid advocate for our second amendment rights. Here are 25 great reasons why...thanks for the reminder Holt.

Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.'

~ Thomas Jefferson


1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

3. Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.

7. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.

8. If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.

11. What part of 'shall not be infringed' do you not understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911: Government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control; it makes their jobs safer.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

22. You have only the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the gun control laws we ALREADY have; don't make more.

24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Conspiracy Theory?

I think this topic was covered in an earlier post during election season, but it begs repeating since we just passed a bill that brings us one step further into government control. Thanks for sharing Ed.

Gang, in case you haven't noticed the Senate just voted in the scamulous bill, 61 to 37. We're getting screwed by the very people we voted into office. This is the most expensive government spending program in the history of the planet, and even worse the Congress/President in less than a month are about to push our country over a slippery slope to Socialism/Communism from which we may never recover. What's ridiculous is that Arlen Spector (one of 3 Republicans supporting this in the Senate) was on Fox News this morning being questioned about some of the healthcare provisions which he admitted he had no idea were in the bill. As a matter of fact, it was evident that he hadn't even read the bill.

Don't think that all of this was something that was just dreamed up since Obama was elected. I, for one, think what's happening is a more sinister plan the Democrats (and some Republicans) have been planning for years. All they needed was a Democratic President, control of the House and Senate, and an economic crisis (which they created while the Republicans were asleep at the wheel with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to get 'er done. Well guess what? Why do you think they say this has to be done NOW, it CANT WAIT. That's because they're pushing this through without open debate and hope to keep the details as much as possible under the radar of the general public.

So, it's done. What you're witnessing is a hostile takeover of every aspect of YOUR life by the government. It's a "coupe de tat", which is often called a "coup" defined as the sudden unconstitutional overthrow of a government by a (typically small) part of the state establishment (usually the military bt not in this case-yet) to replace the branch of the stricken government, either with another civil government or with a military government. All done very peacefully without a shot fired.

There's nothing you or I can do about it until the next time we vote for members of the House and Senate; however, the President in the past day or two has just changed how the next Census will be managed (instead of going through the Commerce Department it will now be managed directly out of the office of the President) so the Democrats can reapportion how the districts are laid out, assuring them they will maintain a majority position in the government.

In case you've never read the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto per Karl Marx (as shown in here they are:
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank
with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the
bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil
generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially
for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of
the distinction between town and country, by a more equal distribution of the
population over the country.
10.Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's
factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial

According to the Communist Manifesto, all these were prior conditions for a transition from capitalism to communism.
Any of these look familiar? Did you see the front page of the Newsweek magazine yesterday? "Whether we like it or not—or even whether many people have thought much about it or not—the numbers clearly suggest that we are headed in a more European (aka Socialist) direction."

If you really want to get scared go google "End Game" or "Civilian Inmate Detention Camp" or look at

Surprise Gift

After my Kiwanis meeting last night I had a surprise gift waiting for me on my windshield.

Whomever left the rockin' 2009 Sarah Palin Calender, Thank you!

I Love Facebook

I love Facebook, not only do I learn things quickly but I get to experience some very funny is one that got a hearty laugh today.

"I am feeling particularly anarchistic today, with a side order of nihilism. The last time I felt like this I got confused and felt anachronistic. Sat around all damn day in a powdered wig and knee breeches."

Thanks Richard!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

God's Little Nudges

As mentioned in previous posts, I am a newly "surrendered" Christian (Jan. 13 08). My path towards awareness of His plan for me since then has been a very enlightening one. What this surrender has done for me is to make me sit back quietly and listen. It is getting easier and easier to do so. And usually, He makes His point in the must subtle of ways because He doesn't need a hammer on my head anymore to get my attention. It's kinda cool.

Today, was one of those days. Every Sunday during the service, our children's ministry leader will lead the children in a "life lesson for the day" segment before they head off to Sunday School. We get to listen. Usually, Linda will tell a personal story from her week's events and weave it into a life lesson point. Today she gave me a life lesson point.

Yesterday, I was cruising around on a beautiful day, feeling alive and full of good spirit. On every corner around town were the Shriners. Typically, I begrudgingly give to these efforts but I truly hate the concept of "highway robbery". Yesterday was one of those days that I just didn't give. I even made a point of avoiding them. What do they really do for our people here in the community. Yes, I thought that and said that out loud to my friend riding with me.

Yep, wouldn't you know it, Linda's lesson to the kids today wove in her story of giving to Shriners and other "parking lot" type efforts even if you question their motives (she went even further with the story and talked about helping others in so many little ways). She remembered when her nephew was born with a club foot and the Shriners helped his family with the surgery because they didn't have the money to do so. He is 17 now and will be joining the military as soon as he turns 18 so that he can proudly serve his country. No hammer necessary here, but boy it felt like one.

Yes God, I am listening. Thanks for the nudge.


Our home boy Jon Meacham has a new edition of Newsweek out that I have got to actually buy. It puts into words a reality that fueled the passion that drove me this past election. Socialism is a word that inspires visions of the depths of hell in my political worldview.

From Politico Playbook:

THE BIG IDEA – Newsweek editor Jon Meacham: '[W]ithout a great deal of fanfare, the America of 2009 has become a more socialist country ... Harvard economist Ken Rogoff predicts the United States will move toward 'a more centralized, redistributional health-care system, as Europe already has,' with a greater emphasis on the environment, higher regulation and increased protectionism. Rogoff's conclusion: 'I take the 2008 U.S. elections as marking a turn toward continental Europe.'

Meacham and Evan Thomas, in their 'violin' introducing the cover package: 'History has a sense of humor, for the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W. Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700 billion. Bush brought the Age of Reagan to a close; now Obama has gone further, reversing Bill Clinton's end of big government.'

Friday, February 6, 2009


Music has always been a way for me to feel the emotion of the moment, the season or a more subtle texture of life. When I opened a music club in 2004, I felt like a kid in a candy store. So much beautiful music graced my stage and my soul. When I am in Church, the music is always the thing that fills my heart with joy and celebration.

Today, I have Spring Fever. I can remember back in my college days when us girls would cruise around on a beautiful spring day with my t-tops off (I know, how 80's) and the music blaring. In Wisconsin, the winters were long and brutal and when a whiff of Spring hit us, all bets were off.

For whatever reason, this song begs to be played in my car today. Forget the lyrics, this beat gets me revved and happy. I thought it was funny that I found it with a video of Lara Croft, my personal kick butt gal hero.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reagan Quotes - Repeat

I don't know, I am feeling very Reagan today...

'Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.'- Ronald Reagan

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' - Ronald Reagan

'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.' - Ronald Reagan

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'
- Ronald Reagan

'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.' - Ronald Reagan

'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.'
- Ronald Reagan

'Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.'
- Ronald Reagan

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.' - Ronald Reagan

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.' - Ronald Reagan

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.' - Ronald Reagan

'Politic s is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.' - Ronald Reagan

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'- Ronald Reagan

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God , then we will be a nation gone under.'
- Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Intestinal Fortitude

Wow. This one got me thinking. However much I hate all the bailouts, would I actually agree to putting my money where my mouth is?

This concept definitely requires a gut check.

Should Tennessee refuse bailout funds earmarked for the state?February 3, 2009 by Ken Marrero
What a difference an hour or two can make.

This morning I attended two meetings. The first featured WTN talk show host Ralph Bristol from Nashville’s Morning News and the second featured Jason Mumpower, the GOP Majority Leader for the TN House. The bailout and the Government’s role in influencing the lives of citizens via dispensing cash was a topic at both meetings.

In the first meeting, Bristol addressed Mitch McConnell’s plans to impact the US mortgage market. Linking to the Fox News story, Bristol noted,

McConnell on Monday demanded an amendment to President Obama’s “economic stimulus” package to give government-backed, 4% loans to homeowners – any credit-worthy borrower, including those who are seeking to refinance their loans. McConnell estimates it will save the average homeowner $466 a month — $5,600 a year, or – over the life of a 30-year mortgage — $167, 760.

He went on to say even though he stood to personally benefit from such a proposal he opposed it on principle because it was wrong for Government to be involved in the mortgage industry in such a fashion. It was little more than an appeal to voters to support him and his party because they were promising to impact citizen’s lives in ways the Constitution did not allow for. He added that until those who did not stand to benefit from a measure could vote for it and those who stood to benefit from a measure could vote against it - both votes on principle as opposed to personal benefit - the country would be at the mercy of whichever politician or political party promised the most. It was the general consensus of the meeting that sort of governance was currently the norm and there was little confidence, human nature being what it is, such tactics by Government could be stopped.

In the second meeting, Leader Mumpower mentioned Federal Bailout money in the context of how it might impact Tennessee’s state budget. Mumpower said he had some concerns about bailouts and noted Governor Bredesen might delay releasing his budget proposal until after it was clear how much money Tennessee was scheduled to receive. During the Q&A session, I asked Leader Mumpower what discussion the GOP caucus might have had about simply refusing to accept bailout money; sending it back instead on general principle. Mumpower responded the GOP Caucus had not had substantive discussions on the matter and that budget conversations would be upcoming but that there were those in the caucus who shared that sentiment.

After the meeting broke up a reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal approached me and asked me what my thoughts on the idea of refusing bailout money were. I responded that until people were willing to do the right thing regardless of personal cost, few substantive accomplishments would be realized. Those people who believe bailouts and faux Stimulus Packages are wrong have an obligation to back up their words with their actions or their words could rightly be questioned. The reporter noted that he had asked two elected representatives, also in attendance, to comment on the idea of refusing the money. He noted one simply laughed and walked away while another said if constituents found out that sort of money had been turned down when it could have been used to improve their district there would be trouble. These were Republican lawmakers. One would guess of the more conservative bent.

It’s not an outrageous proposition. Haley Barbour is considering it for Mississippi. So is Mark Sanford in South Carolina. Predictably, there has been a knee jerk reaction against the idea, with no discussion of the idea’s merit. Hopefully, the issue will get a fair consideration and airing both in the public square and in Legislative Plaza. It’s time to stand up for what we believe. If bailouts are bad, then so is taking bailout money. If bailouts are a good thing, then let’s have bailouts for everyone and not just a few. I’m curious to see what discussion this will bring to the Hill. Stay tuned …

Government Gone Wild

In 2006 I made a campaign promise to help the OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) industry in Tennessee. Being a political junkie, I took on the cause with great relish. How hard could it be?! Three years later, I am still amazed at how hard it really is but dang it has been fun.

Unfortunately, I have also learned that Logic doesn't seem to play a part in most politics.

Here is another edition of Government Gone Wild.

Some frustrated with lead mandates
Libraries, bike shops scramble to comply with new requirements

by Jimmy Myers
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Minimal amounts of lead in aluminum casting have caused some to be concerned about motorcycles such as this one made for young children.

With Congress saying “get the lead out,” local retailers and librarians are wondering if common sense gets chucked along with it.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which goes into effect Feb. 10, is meant to protect children from lead-laden products. But when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission gave libraries two options, get rid of all your children’s books or ban anyone under 12 from entering the library, librarians across the country waited for the punch line. But it never came.

“I was speechless,” said Mary Beth Revels, director of the St. Joseph Public Library. “To know it wasn’t a joke and those were our choices.”

After discussing the situation with the library board, she deduced that they would not pack away the library’s 70,000 children’s books and they weren’t going to close the library doors to children.

“We felt that if libraries didn’t comply with this across the country, that we would be taking a stand of continuing to connect children with books,” Ms. Revels said.

The publishing industry has tested the lead content in books, Ms. Revels said, and the levels are within legal limits. But the commission won’t recognize those tests because they weren’t carried out in a “certified lab.”

“But there are no certified labs,” she said incredulously.

And though librarians can’t give an estimate of how many of their children’s books end up in the mouths of readers, Ms. Revels said they’ve never had to replace a book destroyed by an orally fixated patron.

Luckily, libraries have received a reprieve that will last one year, and the commission will consider which products should be exempt from the law.

But local motorcycle shops that sell kid bikes aren’t so lucky. They will not be allowed to sell motorcycles to children as of Feb. 10.

Motorcycles contain lead parts on the batteries and various other areas of the engine.

“It’s so stupid,” said Mike McBride, owner of McBride’s Yamaha on the Belt Highway. “You’d have to suck on an engine case for hours a day to get any lead out of it.”

He’s got about 10 motorcycles that he’ll have to pull off the showroom floor on the 10th if he doesn’t sell them first, which he said won’t happen.

With fines up to $150,000, Mr. McBride said he’s not going to risk keeping them on the floor. Instead, he’ll pay interest on them until “it gets resolved.”

“I think everybody thought (the commission) would have a flash of common sense, but that didn’t happen,” he said.

Jimmy Myers can be reached at

A Case for Fair Tax

For some time now I have been aware of the Fair Tax movement...especially during the months leading up to April 15. If you are poor, this issue really doesn't make an impact, but once you start stepping up the ladder towards a modicum of success, the tax issue becomes a three-headed monster threatening your very existence. If you own a business it gets worse. There is certainly nothing more threatening to your personal liberties than getting on the wrong side of the tax man.

This article certainly makes the case for change.

Tax mistakes prove code needs radical makeover
2009 Houston Chronicle
Feb. 3, 2009, 11:54PM

If we take the former Health and Human Services nominee, the secretary of the Treasury and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee at face value, federal taxes owed but not paid by each are really an indictment of the income tax system itself.

Given the complexity of the tax code, their explanations are not entirely without the ring of truth.

But when the chairman of the congressional committee that writes federal tax laws, the man responsible for running the IRS as the secretary of the Treasury and the nominee to head the agency responsible for Social Security and Medicare say they failed to pay owed taxes because they misunderstood our tax laws, where does that leave the rest of us?

House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and former Sen. Tom Daschle have officially joined the ranks of millions of Americans who are befuddled at the almost indecipherable 67,500 pages of tax rules that accompany the U.S. income tax system.

The tax code is so complex that Americans will pay an astounding $300 billion this year in tax preparation costs alone. The amount we spend just to obey — or game — our tax laws is about $150 billion more than the entire cost of the taxpayer stimulus checks mailed out last year.

Our tax system has become an expensive and confusing collection of thousands of political favors, ambiguous rules that invite all manner of tax avoidance strategies and ham-handed congressional attempts to manipulate citizen behavior.

Under the income tax code, debt is more favorable than wealth, married people pay more than singles and business decisions are commonly made on the basis of tax consequences instead of sound practices and growth.

The alternative minimum tax, once designed to squeeze taxes from a few hundred very wealthy people who figured out how to legally underpay millions of dollars, now threatens to add more than $2,000 a year to the tax bills of 20 million middle-class Americans because of an error in the way the law was originally written and because the government now counts on that revenue.

Even the IRS cannot guarantee that the advice it gives confused taxpayers is sound.

Worse, the income tax system gives foreign producers a price advantage over domestic producers in U.S. markets, the payroll tax that tripped up Secretary Geithner is highly regressive and most of what we pay the government either in taxes “embedded” in the price of goods and services or withheld from paychecks is hidden from plain sight.

Supporters of the FairTax believe there is a better way. The FairTax proposal is a comprehensive plan to replace federal income and other taxes with a progressive national retail sales tax, with a rebate to ensure that no American pays such federal taxes up to the poverty level.

Based on $22 million of peer-reviewed research, FairTax supporters believe that eliminating income tax withholding and payroll taxes could allow millions of distressed homeowners the ability to satisfy mortgage obligations.

They like the idea of the universal monthly “prebate,” which would entirely reimburse taxes paid by the poor and help the middle class make ends meet.

The potential to restart investment by eliminating both the corporate tax and capital gains taxes is compelling.

And a simple, transparent tax that is paid without exception by every consumer, including the poorest workers on one end of the spectrum and billionaires on the other, is far fairer than a system that invites manipulation by “insiders” who can afford a tax lawyer, tax lobbyists or a special relationship with a member of Congress.

Our convoluted and expensive federal tax system invites both deliberate cheating and innocent mistakes and has now snagged three top national leaders.

Worse, no economic recovery effort can be fully effective as long as we continue to tax what goes into the economy instead of what comes out of the economy.

As the nation’s economy teeters, it is past time for this public policy to change to actually favor the public and our nation’s economic health.

Hoagland is the national communications director of Houston-based

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Political History Lesson

I am a student of history and this is one of the best laid out educational clips that I have seen so far in my quest for concise material on our political structure. I will definitely use this in the coming year. Hat tip to Stacey.

Warm & Fuzzy

I am finally finishing up my catch-up list from my long weekend away from the command center I call my desk. I forget how much I juggle on any given day. I have also had a chance to catch-up on my news reading and if I wasn't a pretty centered person looking at this mess as an opportunity not a catastrophe, I would be heading to the bars or the nearest ledge. In a strange way, the economic situation reminds me of a three stooges skit. But then again, there is humor in most things political.

Again, I am glad I am clinging to my guns and my bible. Many thanks to Kathy for sending this timely tidbit. Love you gal!

Rules from God for 2009

1. Wake Up !! Decide to have a good day.
"Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" Psalms 118:24

2. Dress Up !! The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7

3. Shut Up!! Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking. "He who guards his lips guards his soul." Proverbs 13:3

4. Stand Up!!... For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.. "Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..." Galatians 6:9-10

5. Look Up !!... To the Lord.
"I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

6. Reach Up !!... For something higher. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path."
Proverbs 3:5-6

7. Lift Up !!... Your Prayers.
"Do not worry about anything;
Philippians 4:6

Monday, February 2, 2009

Golf Shopping Network

If politics could pay the bills, I would be one happy camper. But it doesn't. Plus, I am long past those days of selling my soul for a dollar, so sometimes it is hard to make a living in my profession. Therefore, I have to invest time and effort into other endeavors to make ends meet.

This past weekend, I took a gig working at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. A fellow conservative business associate of mine owns a marketing company that became involved with the new Golf Shopping Network. Rich called on me and a few other of his associates to come to the PGA convention to find simple, cool golf products that would be perfect for the upcoming weekly show. In my younger years, I used to do PR for a touring/production company that had a national TV show so the gig definitely intrigued me enough to leave for the long weekend and go check it out.

I flew in not knowing what to expect. Rich said just get there and he would take care of the rest. Being a control freak, that was a big jump for me, but heck since surrendering my life to the good Lord above, I have rarely been disappointed in the wisdom of His ways. I wasn't disappointed this time either. In fact, I had a great weekend! The people associated with the show were just a pleasure to work with, they were all professionals with an amazing sense of humor...we even had a darling "hippie" who was a conservative too. I didn't know there were any out there!

The whole experience reminded me how important it is to surround yourself with ethical, talented people in any business endeavor. It does make a difference. I just wish politics operated this way too. Maybe those of us who care, will make it happen one day.

The PGA show itself was a HOOT! I used to date a Pro Golfer in my younger years and let me tell you, I wouldn't want to marry one but they sure are fun and full of life. The merchandise and cool golf gadgets were all a sight to behold. Everyone is being hurt by the economy, especially golf clubs, but I noticed a certain guarded optimism that you don't see in other industries.

I like the GSN concept because it addresses the economy situation. Everyone is going to have to rethink and retool their marketing strategies. Smart, savvy business people don't cut marketing efforts they just find ways to get more bang for their buck. The fact of the matter is, media in general is going to have to cut their rates just like retailers (although we went to Downtown Disney Saturday night and the prices were still ridiculous, the Mouse is going to have to get real very soon, I didn't see alot of people buying). GSN is definitely on the cutting edge of this necessary trend.

I am so very glad I got to see a new, fresh concept coming out of all this economy mess. It just shows that Free Market principles are alive and well in least in the conservative realms of this country! Can we all say, Amen!

Super Bowl 2009

Just like the pleasure I get from the pomp and circumstance of our Inauguration process, I enjoy all the fun surrounding our Super Bowl. Unlike the Inauguration, I rarely care who is playing in the actual game. I like the get-togethers, the betting pools, the retrospectives and player background commentary, the surreal performances that come out of close games and finally and most importantly, I LOVE the commercials!

This year was a little disappointing. I was wondering how the economy was going to affect the commercials this year and I got my answer. The big money stuff didn't play well in my mind, I don't think our marketers have caught up with the economy change yet. People are hurting and just like Obama said about us "clinging to our guns and bibles" during hard times, more people are wanting to see hope and inspiration not rich people still living rich. The Super Bowl is a mass media product and the majority of people in the US are just in a different frame of mind this year, no matter what their station in life.

That is why I have to pick this commercial as one of my favorites. When things get tough, people reevaluate priorities and life in general. I just really got a big kick out of this one (The E-trade commercial came in a close second), the koala bit was just sooo over the top.