Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWRA - Government Gone Wild

What do you do when a quasi-governmental agency totally disregards reason and accountability in the face of a mandate by both the legislature and the governor that also affects over 880,000 Tennesseans?

I have been kind and I have been patient in the pursuit of an equitable resolve to this ridiculous situation...but Okay, now I am ticked. It takes alot to push me over the edge, but I am there ready to jump in doing a swan dive.

TWRA is the star of this week's episode of GOVERNMENT GONE WILD!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Joke of the Day

My brain is awash with sinus issues today, but this oldie but goodie brought a smile to my face. Thanks for sharing EH.

SOCIALISM You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbor.

COMMUNISM You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away...

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

SURREALISM You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.

The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.

The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

A FRENCH CORPORATION You have two cows. You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION You have two cows. Both are mad.

AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Monteagle Disaster

Bad government rears its ugly head again as Monteagle suffers another PR blow. Poor management seems like a callous disregard for public safety to me. When are we going to learn that IT DOES MATTER WHO GOVERNS!

Monteagle Sewage Spills Into Creek

March 16, 2009 - 9:55 PM

A massive rupture at Monteagle's Sewer Treatment Plant sends a hundred thousand gallons of raw sewage into a local creek. City leaders say the water supply of a number of residents who live at the base of Monteagle Mountain could be impacted by the spill.
Monteagle's Mayor says he has no idea what caused this spill right now but he tells us all of that sewage spilled into a creek behind the plant. That creek goes into the ground about half a mile down from the plant and the Mayor says because of that they have no idea where the spilled sewage went or who could be affected.
Cold water flows from the pump in Robert Myers' yard today, but Myers tells us he won't be drinking that water anytime soon.
"Well yeah you know I don't want to be drinking sewage," Myers says with a chuckle.
Over 100,000 gallons of sewage poured into the Juanita Creek yesterday after an equalization tank ruptured at Monteagle's Sewer Treatment Plant #1.
"Well I heard it bursted the tank up there," Myers says.
"The westside of the tank completely laid down on the ground," Monteagle Mayor Charles Rollins says.
Rollins says they have since bypassed the collapsed tank and put chlorine into the creek, but he says they have no idea what the spilled sewage's affect on the community might be.
We managed to get behind the sewage plant and could see several workers on the scene trying to fix this problem. Their biggest concern is that the sewage that leaked out got into creek, flowed downstream, and then got into the wells on people's property.
The Mayor says that's around twenty-eight wells that could be impacted, including the well in Myers' backyard.
Myers lives in the Pelham Valley which is directly down stream from the spill. Myers says Police Officers and the Mayor stopped by to warn him about the rupture.
"He said it would be okay to shower and wash clothes, but he just said don't drink it," Myers says.
And while Myers says he'll continue to let his dog drink water from the well...
"I don't think it will really affect him," Myers says.
He says he won't take the risk of going to the well one too many times.
"They furnished me bottle water," Myers says. "Long as it's safe that's all I care."
The Mayor says Monteagle residents will not be affected by this spill. He says it could only be the people who live in the Pelham Valley and even then only people who have wells on their property.
The Mayor says they notified the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and also says they'll be testing over the next week to see how much damage the spill really caused.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sack Lunch for a Soldier

This past Saturday I saw a large group of newly graduated recruits at Wildwood exit 169, making a stop for junk food and beverages. They were heading to Missouri for final training before being stationed somewhere far away (probably Afghanistan according to one soldier). I made a point of thanking them as I try to always do when I see someone in soldier gear. They deserve it.

I don't know how they usually get received, but on Saturday, the smiles on the customers faces were contagious as they watched the shopping scene unfold. It seemed like we were all so very proud and thankful for these brave men and women and wanted to do all we could to help. Someone brought a 2 for 1 beverage to an unsuspecting soldier, another stepped out of line to help a soldier with an armful of goodies. It was a pretty darn cool moment in time. There is just something about living in the South that does that to people. I love it here. I almost felt like we needed a group hug!

On a similiar note, this story came thru my inbox today and made me shed a grateful tear, I thought I would pass it on.

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down
in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight.
'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will
get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the
aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding
me. I decided to start a conversation.. 'Where are
you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special
training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made
that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It
would be several hours before we reached the east, and I
quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his
buddy if he planned to buy lunch.

'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack
lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll
wait till we get to base'

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying
lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the
flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to
all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed
tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My
son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are
doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the
soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked,
'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'

'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked.
She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a
minute later with a dinner plate from first class.
'This is your thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the
plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me.
'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here,
take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain
coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he
walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he
was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.
When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand,
an said, 'I want to shake your hand..'

Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the
Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was
a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought
me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never
forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard
from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch
my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me
reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left
another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to
deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who
stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and
walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering
for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and
handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some
time to reach the base. It will be about time for a
sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect
of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car,
I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers
were giving their all for our country. I could only give
them a couple of meals.

It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a
blank check made payable to ' United States of
America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this
country who no longer understand it.'

May God give you the strength and courage to pass this
along to friends on your email buddy list....


Saturday, March 14, 2009

912 Project

Yes, I watched Glenn Beck last night. Yes, I watched him get emotional and yes, I watched all the hyperbole associated. But all that being said...I agree with the guy. We need to get back to basics here in America and that means we have to inspire our neighbors to sit up and get involved in the process. Complacency is the enemy of all free societies. It was also kinda eerie seeing the author of the book I am currently reading "Lone Survivor" at the table with Glenn. Signposts folks!

So when Glenn's website quits being overloaded, I am going to review the gameplan and see what I can do to help. www.the912project.com

On another note, I like the TN GOP Legislative Agenda proposed by my favorite rabble rouser on the Hill, Rep. Campfield.

Republican agenda

Lots of talk is going around about a Democrat agenda (Or consistent complete lack their of) as well as a Republican agenda. Although I am only speaking for myself on this I think a few good ideas would be

1. Second amendment rights

Remove finger print rules for permit. Constitutional rights should not have such a high bar (we don't do that for free speech), Stop mass public printing of names of permit holders for profit (In newspapers) for the safety and privacy of public citizens, Allow second amendment protections in parks, government supported property and where not posted to allow legal permitted gun owners to protect themselves.

2. Illegal immigration

Pass e verify check previous to any public employment to ensure the employment system and discourage illegal immigration, Pass photo ID (Made available for free to indigent citizens) previous to voting to secure the voting process, Strengthen enforcement against people who employee illegals to make sure legal citizens get first opportunity at jobs, Put the drivers licence test in English only for safety on our roads, No services (other then emergency or mandated by federal law) given to non citizens to save the state money and discourage illegal immigration.

3. Taxes

Clarify Copeland cap so we have no funny business of a few years ago, Remove sales tax on food to help families struggling with tight budgets, Oppose income tax as the constitution says, Remove the Hall income tax to encourage investment and savings, Oppose unfunded long term federal mandates to stop a federal government run wild interfering in state business.


Pass Education first so education can become funded properly instead of just a battle cry for more taxes, Pass local option for election of school superintendents to give locals more power and input in fixing their education system, Allow school choice at least for students in failing schools to help get kids a first class education, Remove teacher tenure putting teachers under civil service protection so teachers can be held accountable and principals can fix failing schools, allow merit pay for teachers who work in failing schools or improve standardized test scores of children to reward success and achievement, Allow home school students to play sports in schools their family pay taxes on.

4. Higher ed, Lottery

Lower standards to keep lottery scholarships in difficult or needed majors and give more scholarship funding to students in these majors to encourage people to enter the sciences, math, nursing, teaching majors. Add in loan forgiveness for students in these fields if they stay and work in state.

5. Life

Pass SJR127 to allow reasonable regulation again.

6. Government and Justice:

Allow popularly Elected judges as mandated by constitution, Put caps on punitive damages to stop "lottery" lawsuits, Pass looser pays on civil suits to stop lawsuits filed to settle, Pass term limits of 12 consecutive years in each body for the legislature to get in fresh ideas, Put government spending on line for all major purchases for government transparency, Oppose card check for union voting to keep people from being harassed and intimidated into a unionization.

7. Property rights

Mandate voting by elected representatives previous to taking of property (on a case by case basis) by eminent domain to have accountability, Get a clear consistent definition of blight previous to taking of property through eminent domain to stop abuse under current definition, Make property taken through eminent domain be at least 95% public or quasi governmental use and or remain in public hands for 5 years to stop public ED for private use.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Amazing Grace

William Wilberforce: It's God. I have 10,000 engagements of state today but I would prefer to spend the day out here getting a wet arse, studying dandelions and marveling at... bloody spider's webs.

That quote came from one of my favorite movies that I was able to enjoy seeing again this past weekend. William Wilberforce was one of God's warriors, and his journey was a long one.

As I sit here on my back porch reworking today's schedule, I find myself drifting away from my extensive to-do list and "marveling at bloody spider's webs" on the rocking chair, listening to the melodious wind chimes, the birds singing in the trees and all the other little Spring harmonizing that occurs after a long winter sleep. God is good.

My primary Bill just got rolled for two weeks so today's trip to Nashville is out, I have pushed everything else out to the rest of the week...what do I do with the gift of time?

God's Amazing Grace, I get the hint.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

American Dream

As I sit here juggling 7 different projects in 5 different fields of expertise, I start to scratch my head and laugh. Living in paradise has its complications.

I live pretty simply, but there are things in my life that need to be funded. When I moved to the mountains, I traded a "normal" life for one that required a great deal of creativity to survive financially. There are not that many jobs locally that need a great PR gal (or can afford one), so I started finding other opportunities that could capitalize on my unique skillsets. My current resume reads like a person with ADD. It is all over the board.

The common denominator is an entrepreneurial spirit. I totally understand the hardships associated with being out on your own. Insurance, taxes, liability, employees, liability, taxes, insurance, economy, overhead, taxes, liability, insurance. Each start-up business has its demons, but the benefits to making your own way by your own expertise is truly a thrilling and fulfilling endeavor...in fact, second only to being a parent. Owning your own business is truly the great American Dream.

So as we try to figure this economy thing out, I am thinking some of the greatest businesses were started during the worst of times. We are Americans and that is what we do best. That stimulus money should be stimulating us.

Entrepreneurs are best stimulus for the economy
Posted by Carl J. Schramm/ NJ Voices Guest Blogger March 04, 2009

The day after the House of Representatives voted on the stimulus package, I met with a Democratic member of Congress.

He told me, "I know the package won't begin to create enough jobs and certainly not now when we need them." Worse, he worried, "The voters will be on to this by the 4th of July and they won't support more spending then because they don't support it now.

"How," he asked, "do we get out?"

Those in charge in Washington think they know the answer: take a pledge from the Keynesian playbook. Spend (and borrow) massively and hope that government will spur demand and revive the economy.

The congressman knows better. This bill had everything to do with necessary political theater, and nothing to do with basic economics. Anecdotal experience and observation have taught him what drives growth: individual activity in thriving communities.

But what drives that activity is the "animal spirits" of entrepreneurs. And no one understood that better than another long-dead economist - one whose work is vastly more sound than John Maynard Keynes' and directly applicable to current times.

Joseph Schumpeter is best known for the concept of "creative destruction," which asserts that economies flourish only to the extent that entrepreneurs disturb the status quo. Entrepreneurs are job creators. More entrepreneurs mean more growth and more prosperity for all. Or, to put the equation in terms fit for our times, E=R: entrepreneurship equals recovery.

Only private enterprise -- in particular high-growth start-ups -- will create the jobs and the wealth to right America's listing economy. That is, if we let them.

What our economy most needs is another outbreak of entrepreneurial energy. It is waiting to happen all around us. As people face layoffs, many take with them wonderful ideas for entirely new products and services. Layoffs are tough, but they need not spell doom. The average age of those who found high-tech companies in this country is 39. In fact, twice as many founders are older than 50 as are younger than 25. The end of one career can be the beginning of another.

Some people getting pink slips might have ideas that could become entire new industries. Indeed, some of America's largest and most successful firms were started in recessions or bear markets or both -- including General Electric (founded in the wake of the Panic of 1873), IBM (started in the last year of the recession that followed the Panic of 1893), United Technologies (same year as the 1929 crash), Microsoft (1975 depth of "stagflation") and Guess (1981, worst post-World War II recession to date).

If Schumpeter were available to take a 3 a.m. call from a nervous president unsure if his stimulus policy will stimulate, he would say that the most important thing government can do is step out of the way and let the talented next generation of entrepreneurs do their work unhindered. But he might also recommend certain modest steps -- most of them not incorporated into the stimulus bill -- to help entrepreneurs work their magic.

First, encourage risk-taking through tax policy: exempt entrepreneurs from payroll taxes. In fact, a year-long moratorium on payroll taxes could have the economy back up inside of a year.

Second, exempt entrepreneurial businesses from capital gains taxes. The president promised as much during the campaign. Somehow, the Congressional scribes forget to get it into the stimulus package. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tried to reinsert it as an amendment, but was blocked by members of the president's own party. Perhaps the president could prevail on the Congressional leadership to reintroduce this provision as a separate bill.

Third, focus on the needs of new businesses for affordable health coverage by telling insurance companies they can compete across state lines with a bare bones "entrepreneurs' policy."

Fourth, encourage the world's brightest students to come here, study, and become entrepreneurs. Over 40 percent of the growth of the Silicon Valley in the 1990s came at the hands of foreign-born entrepreneurs.

Finally, put some government spending into research and development for defense. We need more sophisticated protections against biologics and tactical terrorist weaponry, including cyber-assaults. Spending in these areas would bring forth thousands of new companies whose innovations and new jobs would be of great benefit to our economy, while helping America focus on the one place in modern society where seeking order is well-advised, namely, world affairs.

This is the way out. Over half of Americans aspire to start a business. In other words, the people who will save our economy are not mysterious: they are you and me. President Obama promised, "Yes we can!" American entrepreneurs are ready. They just need a little help. Schumpeter, not Keynes, shows the way.

Carl J. Schramm is president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation and coauthor of Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dave Ramsey

I started taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes at my church. I thought it would be very informative both personally and professionally. So far, I concur on both levels and I am just on week 3 of 13.

Personally, I now realize how much money I spend on frivilous crap every week. Don't get me wrong, I have become very frugal in my old age, but I still found many holes in my methods once I put a microscope to it. Dave's approach is very straight forward and very logical...eerily so.

Professionally, the whole Dave Ramsey money logic is a paradigm shift in most Conventional Wisdom business theories. Which of course got me thinking about our current economic situation and how politics affect the before and after solutions.

What got me thinking about this was the Leased car discussion yesterday. I will be the first person to admit that I rely on professional advice for things I am not well versed on. I remember back in the day when my company was Leasing cars instead of purchasing them because of "tax benefits". So did that mean that the government was incentivizing companies to make bad money decisions? Because let me tell you, after Dave Ramsey's class yesterday, Leasing a car is the LAST thing you should be doing.

So now I start extrapolating. What other policies are being passed that incentivize companies to make bad money decisions? Is that where the debt-is-good business lobby comes in? Can't you see a well connected and convincing lobbyist telling a harried group of politicians that their product HELPS people, we just need this one little clause to make that happen. Sounds relatively innocent and then Voila, another layer of hell added to the broken system. I guess that is why I get freaked out when our legislators are "at work". I always think "How many more layers are we adding this year". No wonder I fear more government in our lives.

I don't have the answers, but I do know that Dave Ramsey's message speaks to me on many levels. It reminds me that we need to get back to basics, both personally and professionally. We need a paradigm shift.

Dave Ramsey for President!