Saturday, July 04, 2009

Whitland Avenue’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July

Today I attended the Whitland Avenue 4th of July Celebration and Picnic for probably my fifth or sixth time. This is the 34th year for this event. If you live in Nashville and have never attended, mark your calendar for next year. You don’t want to keep missing this event. I cannot imagine a better 4th of July event anywhere in America. This event evokes Norman Rockwell’s America. With a lot of people milling about and coming and going, it is hard to estimate the number of people who attend but it must be several thousand. Despite the large crowd, it is not one of those events that seems crowded or chaotic. Everything runs smoothly and appears effortless.

The celebration takes place on Whitland Avenue, a wide tree-lined shaded street with beautiful old homes and well-manicured and landscaped yards. Several blocks are blocked off to accommodate the party. Virtually every house is festooned with American flags and a large American and Tennessee flag hang suspended from wires across the street. The weather was perfect for today’s event. Sometimes July 4th can be miserably hot; today was a pleasant day in the low 80’s.

The event starts at 11:00 with a parade. This parade has no marching bands or military units, or majorettes or Shirner clowns but is a children’s parade. Children decorate their bicycles with red, white, and blue bunting or mount small flags from the handlebars and ride down the street. Other children are pulled in wagons decorated in patriotic themes and some parents push baby carriages and strollers and push their infants down the street. The children beam with pride as the people on the sidewalk cheer them. Some of them walk their dogs, decked out in red, white and blue bandannas.

About 11:30 the music starts. The program simply listed the band as “The Greatest Band in America,” I don’t know anything about them but they are probably a band put together for just this purpose. Nashville really is “music city” and we are blessed with great musicians and vocalist. With the music industry and several universities with music departments, every church in town of any size has wonderful music and any neighborhood festival will feature live music, and it is often great music. “Band” does not really describe the band; it is more like an orchestra with maybe 30 musicians. The band played Sousa marches and patriotic songs and some nostalgic popular songs. I don’t know who the vocalist was, but a female singer sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and was fantastic.

Rod Williams and Louella Ballenger

Part of the joy of this event is seeing the people and interacting. It seems almost everyone is wearing a combination of red, white and blue and many wear hats or shirts decorated in patriotic motifs. Many people are carrying and waving their own American flags. I always run into people I know at this event and enjoy exchanging greetings and pleasant conversation. I had a pleasant chat with State Senator Douglas Henry, one of my favorite Democrats. I also had a nice chat with Kathleen Stranes, Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party.

During the program, someone did a dramatic reading of The Declaration of Independence, while the band played Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. It was moving. There is a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem. There is always a patriotic speech given by someone of prominence. In previous years we have had Governors and Senators give speeches. The speech is always something appropriate, expressing love of country but avoiding current controversies and partisanship, as I think it well should for this event.

This year the speaker was Adolpho Augustus Birch Jr, former Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Judge Birch is an African American and in his career he has been the first African-American to hold several judicial positions and was the first African American Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice. He spoke on the Gettysburg address and how that speech reflected the spirit of America.

Following the speeches, as the band continues to play the picnic starts and then concludes the event. The food is served under a big tent and there are about ten serving lines. Despite the large number of people being served, the lines move fairly fast and there is not a long wait. Other than purchased boxes of fired chicken, the food is mostly homemade. There are some mighty fine cooks contributing hundreds of homemade dishes. Casseroles, vegetable dishes, fresh salads, and cakes and pies and abound. Lining the street are probably six to ten canoes filled with ice-covered bottles of water and soft drinks.

I don’t know how the people of Whitland do it. I know that several families contribute funds for the event and it seems the whole neighborhood brings food. I am sure it takes a lot of coordination and planning. While I hope everyone can attend, I hope that this event does not get so big that it has to be discontinued or moved to a different location or be changed in some way. I would hate for it to loose that small-town feel.

To the people of Whitland Avenue, Thank your for a wonderful 4th of July.
Richard Upchurch, my uncle; Louella, my wife; Thomas Upchurch, my cousin; Linda Upchruch, my aunt. (Photos by Thomas Upchurch)

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Happy 4th of July

Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all men are created equal; that they 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; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President]

New Hampshire

Massachusetts Bay

Rhode Island


New York

New Jersey



CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton.


North Carolina

South Carolina


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Friday, July 03, 2009

Sarah Palin resigns!

What is going on? I just now read that Sarah Palin was resigning as Governor of Alaska. Why? She was not the target of any significant investigations. There was no hint of scandal. She had an enthusiastic loyal following. She could have been a major contender for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. I assume this ends her political career. She did not make it clear why she was taking this step.

I like Sarah Palin but quite frankly I had decided she did not have what it took to be President. I was thrilled when she was nominated as the VP candidate. I was infatuated. Since that time I have fallen out of love with her. I admit I have often been a fool for a beautiful women. I wanted to punch Charlie Gibson in the face when he ambushed her with his "got cha" questions. I hate to see a man pick on a women, especially a beautiful women. I was also really angered by David Letterman's disgraceful comments about her 14-year-old daughter. He caused me to rally behind her. Still, I did not think she was Presidential material. I do not think she could have been elected.

I would love to have had a romantic encounter with Sarah Palin, but I am not sure I would want her to be President. She did not inspire confidence. She could have gotten ready. She could have taken some crash courses in current events and surrounded herself with good advisers. I assume this takes a major front runner out of the race. Mitch Romney, nor Huckabee, nor Bobby Jendal excite me. I think the Republican Party has never been more ripe for a dark horse candidate out of no where to leap to the forefront. It is now an open field and that may not be a bad thing.

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Cleaning up my blogroll

Soon, maybe this weekend, I will be working on my blogroll. I will be visiting every link, deleting any dead links as well as links to inactive blogs. I know some bloggers start blogging enthusiastically then loose interest. If I am linked to a blog that has not been updated in weeks, I am most likely deleting it. I will also be looking at links that should be reciprocal to insure that I am still listed in that blog’s blogroll.

In decided which blogs to link to, there are several factors I consider. One, I want to link to blogs that will reciprocate and that I think will drive traffic to my blog and will increase my ranking. Second, I link to some blogs because I feel the blogger is a kindred sprit and I want to support that blogger. I also am looking for well-written, insightful blogs. They have to interest me. I only link to blogs that I would want to read myself.

If you have looked at my blog links, you may have been surprised that I have a few links to liberal blogs. Linking to a blog does not imply that I support the editorial opinion of that blog, but that I thing it is interesting and worthy of being read. There are a few links to blogs that are not even political. I have interest other than politics and link to a few blogs just because they interest me.

Some blogs, even if they rank higher than I do and might increase my own ranking, I will not link to. I am not going to link to any how-to-get-rich-blogging blogs.
I am looking for new blogs to add to my blogroll. If you think your blog fits my criteria and especially if you would be interested in swapping links, let me know and I will get back with you.

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Regarding Cap and Trade

I opposed the recent cap and trade bill passed by the US House of Representatives. I think it was a disaster. Should it become law, it will do little to control carbon emissions. It will put Congress in the position of picking winners and losers in the economy. It will destroy jobs and slow the recovery and will be a massive tax increase and a massive transfer of power to the Federal Government.

The bill will require an army of bureaucrats to insure compliance. It will provide lots of jobs for lawyers and lobbyist who will fight to get or keep an advantage. Should the bill become law, those who were awarded credits will fight like hell to keep them. Those who were given an advantage over their competitors by this bill will invest heavily in elections to keep their advantage. It will institutionalize political corruption. Cap and Trade in Europe has generally proven to be ineffective in reducing carbon emissions and our version is no better.

So, while I am disappointed that this bill passed, I nevertheless part company with many other opponents of the bill. I accept the majority scientific opinion that global warming is a reality. I am not comfortable in an alliance with those who simply deny the science of global warming and think we need to do nothing. I accept that we must try to reduce carbon emission. I accept that in theory a cap and trade bill could reduce American emission of CO2.

What could make a cap and trade bill workable is if all of the credits were sold instead of simply given away. Another provision that would make cap and trade more effective is if the role of nuclear energy was recognized as an alternative to carbon-based energy. If a utility closes a coal-fired plant and builds a nuclear plant, they should earn the credits for the carbon reduction.

In crafting this bill carbon credits were given away simply to fashion a bill that could win enough votes to pass. If cap and trade had sold all of the credits instead of given them away and if the money raised by selling of credits had been rebated to the American people in the form of income tax reductions and tax credits to pay for the higher energy cost that will result from this bill, that would have made the bill more palatable.

Even if the bill had been constructed as I suggest above, there would still be a major obstacle to making cap and trade work. Many manufacturing jobs would simply be shifted to India and China where companies do not have to pay a penalty for emitting carbon. While a good cap and trade bill might reduce carbon emissions in America that would have increased carbon emission in developing countries. A unit of carbon is just as damaging to the climate if it is produced in China as if it produced in America. That problem seems insurmountable. Unless the growing economies of China and India can be enticed to participate in carbon reduction, we are wasted our time. To ignore that reality is irresponsible. Nevertheless, we cannot continue to ignore the problem of looming climate change.

I would have much preferred a revenue-neutral direct carbon tax, rather than the smoke and mirrors of cap and trade. A carbon tax would be much more effective and simpler to administer. I would actually prefer to tax carbon than tax income. If there were a dollar-for-dollar offset, a switch to taxing carbon rather than income would not have to be detrimental to the economy. It is my hope that the Senate will kill this cap and trade bill and consider a revenue-neutral carbon tax bill. In the absence of that happening, I would hope that the Senate could drastically modify this bill so that it is workable and revenue-neutral.

There seems to be lot of people, among both those who favor cap and trade as well as those who oppose it, who have strong opinions about cap and trade yet know little about it. Unfortunately it seems congress did not know much about what they were voting on when they passed the 1200 page bill either.

One of the best analyses of cap and trade that I have come across is from Ryan Love, editor of The Bowater Republican. In these two articles linked here, The Cap and Trade Bill Explained and The Cap and Trade Addendum, Love summarizes the bill and explains the issues involved.

Love links to the full text of the bill so you may read the full 1200 pages should you actually want to do so and presents arguments from both sides. These two articles by Love are lengthy but very readable and well-documented. Some issues just can’t be explained in 400 words. I encourage you to read these linked post if you want a better understanding of the issues involved.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Helen Thomas Challenge Gibbs On "Controlled" Town Hall Meeting

Even the main-stream, Obama-adoring, liberal press looks like they are beginning to get tired of being nothing but props for the President. No one likes being taken for granted and I guess even prostitutes liked to be kissed every once in a while.

Obama's town hall meetings are scripted shams. The "press conferences" are not press conferences at all. Reporters are told in advance who will be called upon to ask a question and the President is told what questions will be asked.

It looks like Helen Thomas has got balls than anyone in the room. Chip Reid of CBS was outspoken about the Obama control of the press also and is to be commended. Following the testy exchange above, Thomas said that not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press the way Obama is trying to do so. “Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try. “What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” (link)

Most members of the mainstream press have gladly carried water for the President and allowed themselves to be nothing more that props. The mainstream press has allowed itself to become the Obama Government's Department of Propaganda. They love him and will, for the most part, keep on prostituting themselves for the anointed one. I guess ideology trumps journalistic integrity most of the time. Helen Thomas is one tough old buzzard and it looks like she is tired of being used as a prop. Will the President continue to control the press are will other members get tired of the charade and get tired of being used and controlled? Will they continue to be cheerleaders or will they demand respect and stand up for freedom of the press.

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July 2, 2009 Nashville Patriotic Revival

Nashville Tea Party Nation

Time: July 2, 2009 from 6pm to 9pm
Location: Legislative Plaza
City/Town: Nashville
Event Type: rally
Organized By: Judson Phillips, Robert and Tami Kilmarx

Come kick off your July 4th weekend with a family friendly event in Downtown Nashville! We will have a pre-Tea Party mixer/meet and greet from 4 - 6 with music, at least 18 information booths and more. At 6 the Tea Party begins with Blue Collar Muse Ken Marrerro hosting, Ralph Bristol of Talk 99.7, Steve Gill of WLAC, Shaka L. A. Mitchell of TN Center for Policy Research, Laurie Cardozo Moore from Proclaiming Justice to the Nations and our Special Keynote Speaker, the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of Rev. Peterson is flying in from Los Angeles especially for this event and will speak to us about the dangers of Socialism in America. You won't want to miss this, so mark your calendars and bring your lawnchairs! This isn't just a tea party, this is a Tea Party Event and it is going to be BIG!!!!!

This sounds like fun. Come vent your frustration and connect with other activist.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Band-aid smells?

Frank Sutherland has topped himself again. In today's Tennessean "Wine in Nashville" Column, he described a 2004 Casas del Bosque Merlot this way:

Aroma: the aroma was strongly vegetal, with earth scents, Band-aid smells and lot
of alcohol.
Frank, that beats "Texas pink grapefruit" or "iodine" or "dusty tomato stems." Frank, you are speaking of the "band-aid" brand of adhesive bandage strips, right? Not some generic off-brand? I just wanted to be sure about that. Thanks for the review. Now I will know what to expect if I think about buying a bottle of 2004 Casas del Bosque Merlot.

Frank I have an idea for a future column. Why not contrast and compare all of the wines that have the aroma of band-aid smells? That would really be informative. I always enjoy your column.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The White House Press Corp (aka Department of Propaganda) Cartoons

White House press corp

White House press corp
White House press corp
White House press corp

White House press corp

White House press corp

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet up: 1st Tuesday Group

Meet up

1st Tuesday Group
Program: Tre Hargett, Sec. of State to Speak

Tuesday July 7th, 11:30 AM
Location: Waller Lansden, 511 Union St, floor 27 , Nashville, TN 37201
How to find us: Go to the 27th floor and you will see the crowd at the badge table.

Who’s coming?: 5 Yes / 1 Maybe (People tend to register late and not all register through the Meet up site.)
74 spots left — RSVP deadline: July 6, 2009 8:00 PM

Who's organizing?
Tim Skow
Cost: Members are $15 and Non-members are $20.

Come, enjoy lunch, great company and a chance to hear Tre Hargett, Sec. of State. Be prepared with questions on the election commissions.

This is a great event. I have been attending for about the last six to eight months. I have heard all four of the Republican candidates for governor; Jason Mumpower, the man who should have been Speaker of the House except for an underhanded politically savvy move by the Democrats and one turn-coat Republican; a debate on the English-only proposed charter Amendment; and other great speakers. The speaker starts promptly at noon and ends promptly at 1pm, so you can take a slightly longer lunch hour and break up the day with an interesting lunch and still not miss much work. The food is good and the view from the 27 floor is magnificent. For cheap parking you can park beneath the library and the first hour is free if you get your parking ticket validated. The library parking is only a block away from the meeting site. This is a great opportunity to get involved and network with like-minded people. This group has been meeting for about the last twenty years or so I have been told, but I only discovered it recently. Usually between 70 and 100 people attend. For more info, click this link. I hope to see you there.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

We now have a socialist gangster goverment.

Comment: Probably every one of us has an automobile dealer friend or someone who works for an auto dealer affected by the U.S. government high-jacking of General Motors. I have not seen confirmation of it yet in the press, but I have been told that Jim Reed Chevrolet had been ordered closed. Jim Reed has been a Chevy dealer for almost a hundred years here in Nashville. I never thought I would see the day when this could happen in America. No one is secure. Your company or the company you work for could be next. We are watching our freedom slip away.

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Meet up: Davidson County Republican Assembly


Your group has a Meetup Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:00 AM!
Davidson County Republican Assembly

When: Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:00 AM

Where : Coleman Park Community Center, 384 Thompson Lane, Nashville TN 37211

RSVP Deadline: Your organizer has set an RSVP deadline for this event. You have until July 10, 2009 7:00 PM to RSVP.

Meetup Description : Raul Lopez or Juan Borges will be our guest speaker. Since I'll be out of town and Nick has to be out of town as well, Bob Richie has agreed to conduct our meeting.

Comment: If you live in the Nashville area and are a conservative Republican, this is a great group to join. Get involved and meet like-minded people. The usual attendance is about 12 to 15 people. Meetings feature speakers who are conservative activist, elected officials, or Republican leaders. Meetings usually last about an hour to an hour and a half. To learn more about the Republican Assembly, click the link above.

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More Health Care 'toons

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health Care

health Care

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health Care health Care

health Care

health Care

health Care

health Care

health Care

health Care

health Care

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