Friday, August 27, 2010

"You need to Google 'Muslim History'."

Last night I was at fund-raising event for one of our local Republican candidates who is running for a state house seat. It was at a salsa night club that had been taken over for the evening by the candidate for a campaign party. The event was cash bar, but lots of good food and a festive atmosphere. I enjoyed chatting with lots of people I knew and making new acquaintances.

My wife and I were at a small, tall table at which you stand. I had just returned from the bar with our drinks when I looked up I saw someone approaching. This was not someone meandering by and mingling; they came up to our table with purpose. This gentleman did not introduce himself or anything. He walked up to me and said, "You need to Google 'Muslim History'."

I was a little taken aback and not sure I had heard him correctly and I said, "Pardon Me?"

He said, "You need to Google 'Muslim history'. Apparently, you don't know anything about it."

I said, "well, I know a little. Why do you say that?"

He said, "Then you are and idiot." With that, he turned and abruptly walked back across the room.

I don't know who he was but apparently he knows who I am and has read my blog and has taken exception to some of my blog post. Maybe it was the blog post where I pointed out that that hot sexy babe, Miss USA, is a Muslim and does not wear a burqa. Maybe, it was the blog post in which I said that the first amendment also applies to Muslims and Muslims have a right to build houses of worship. Maybe it was the blog post in which I said that the First Amendment is as important as the Second and Tenth Amendment. Maybe it was the blog post in which I told of my experience of being able to buy wine in a grocery store in Muslim Turkey but lamented that I cannot buy wine in a grocery store in Christian Nashville. I don't know. I guess I should be flattered that someone is reading and that he cares enough to seek me out to give me a piece of his mind.

I would have liked to have had a conversation.

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Tennessee Center for Policy Research names new president

Justin Owen, TCRP

Former policy director Justin Owen selected to lead free market think tank

Nashville – The Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR), the state’s premier free market think tank and government watchdog organization, today announced Justin Owen as its new president and executive director after a unanimous vote by the Board of Directors. Owen previously oversaw the organization’s policy initiatives as director of policy and general counsel.

“We are extremely proud of Justin’s work to advance liberty and limited government in Tennessee,” said TCPR Chairman John Cerasuolo. “He is the right person to lead this organization at a time when those principles are under attack on multiple fronts.”

Owen has served as acting executive director since the departure of Clint Brewer in June, who became the political editor of the Tennessean. In his new role, Owen will be charged with expanding TCPR’s influence as the state’s leading voice for free market policy solutions.

“I am honored to take the reins of a growing organization at this crucial time. I look forward to fighting for Tennesseans’ right to earn an honest living and provide for their families without onerous government interference,” said Owen.

Aside from managing the day-to-day operations of the organization, Owen will continue to represent TCPR on television and radio, and will maintain his regular guest columns in newspapers across the state.

Owen obtained his law degree from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis and his undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to his work at TCPR, Owen serves on the board of the Nashville Junior Chamber and is a Young Leaders Council board intern with Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee. He was also recently profiled as a “Nashville Rising Star” by the Tennessean.

TCPR is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization committed to providing free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. Through research, advocacy, and investigative reporting, TCPR advances ideas grounded in the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.

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Green Hills “Pastry 'n Politics Summit”

August 28, 2010 (Saturday) Green Hills “Pastry 'n Politics Summit”

Breakfast 8:30 a.m. ($10 Cash—No Credit Cards)
Program 9:00 a.m. (Sharp!).
Nero’s Grill
Green Hills (Nashville)

Guest Speakers:

David Hall, Candidate For U.S. Congressional 5th
Steve Dickerson, Candidate For TN Senate District 21

Please come and bring someone with you.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jim Gotto responds to Ben West's endorsement of Coleman

"I am surprised that Ben West whose voting record is conservative, who voted against a state income tax, and has always voted to defend Second Amendment rights would be supporting a candidate who in the Metro Council supported one of the biggest tax increase in history," said Jim Gotto. "He also, along with Megan Barry and Frank Harrison, voted against renewal of the 287g program which allows the Sheriff to report to Immigration Services those people who have been arrested who are illegal immigrants. It seems inconsistent that Ben West, with his conservative voting record would be supporting my opponent, when my values are so much closer to those of Ben West."

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Rep. Ben West, Jr. endorses Sam Cole­man for state House

(Nashville) — State Representative Ben West, Jr. (D-Hermitage), who is retiring after serving the 60th House district for 26 years, endorsed Metro Councilman Sam Coleman Thursday as his replacement in the upcoming November election.

West was joined in the endorsement by Coleman’s four former opponents from the August Democratic Primary: Larry Crim, Tommy Bradley, Charles Hager and Chris Tobe.

“I am casting my total support behind Sam, because he understands the needs of Hermitage, Donelson and Antioch,” West said. “I plan to work tirelessly to ensure that his transition into the state house is a smooth one. I know that he will continue to serve the district in a fine manner.”

Republicans had been hopeful that the retiring West would endorse the Republican candidate Jim Gotto, or at least not endorse anyone. Ben West is a conservative Democrat and votes with Republicans more than Democrats. He is a fiscal and social conservative and is a strong advocate for the 2nd Amendment. In the last year he has been present at tea party events and at various Republican events. He and his wife Phyllis were enthusiastic supporters of Cece Heil in her quest to win the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District. They serving as sponsors of a fund-raising event for Cece and they worked the polls for her.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Government agents can legally sneak onto your property and plant a tracking device.

Our Constitution rights are slip, slip, slipping away.

"Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements." (read more)

So ruled The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is the most liberal of the circuit courts. The ninth covers California and eight other western states. Hopefully this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court and be reversed, but for now this is the law. The ruling stems from a 2007 case when Drug Enforcement Administration agents suspected an individual of growing marijuana and snuck onto his property in the dead of night and placed a GPS tracking device underneath the suspects Jeep parked in the driveway just a few feet from his home.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says, "
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The ninth ruled that because the vehicle was in an area readily accessible that 4th Amendment protections did not apply. Think about that: If the owner would have had the car parked in a garage or had a gate, the placing of the device would have been illegal, but because it was readily accessible, the slipping onto the property and placing the tracking device was legal. So, poor people who do not live behind gated driveways or have garages have lesser rights than those who do.

In the last few years we have seen a steady erosion of our rights. Following the attack on 9-11, the administration of George W. Bush weakened our constitutional protections in the name of security and the administration of Barack Obama has accelerated that weakening of our rights in the name of health care reform and financial reform. Now the 9th Circuit Court has further eroded our constitutional rights in the name of combating marijuana.

Chief Judge Kozinski, a conservative justice appointed by President Ronald Reagan, dissented form the ruling saying, "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jim Cooper: Lap dog or Blue dog?

blue dog, Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper Suddenly Sees the Light

August 11th, 2010 . by Wilson County Tea Party

With less than three months before the November election, 5th District U.S. Rep Jim Cooper wants you to believe that he’s a fiscal conservative. He voted against the latest ‘Stimulus’ yesterday (here). This stimulus is essentially an election pay-off to the teacher’s unions and puts an estimated $90 million DIRECTLY into their pockets. It also gives money to fiscally irresponsible states. (Read More)

Comment: Please read the above. I was essentially going do the same research and write the same thing but thankfully I found this article. This writer list 14 recent liberal votes by Jim Cooper. I never did place a lot of confidence in death bed conversions. One right does not make up for 14 wrongs.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

David Hall: Moneyman or straw man?

By Stephen George, Sunday, August 22, 2010, City Paper

If you’re not his relative, chances are you were surprised at the improbable victory of Goodlettsville-based father of five and contractor David Hall in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District. Hall’s campaign was quiet, if not invisible, to most media and observers but for the mysterious polls it released, conducted by a company no one had heard of, the last of which showed the candidate with a 6 percent lead a week before Election Day, its prescience confirmed on Aug. 5.

Exactly how Hall’s campaign managed to topple those of well-funded conservatives Jeff Hartline and CeCe Heil, both of whom had major national endorsements and war chests in the hundreds of thousands, is unclear.

We do know how he didn’t pull it off: fundraising. (link)

Comment: David has explained in detail how he pulled off his surprise victory- by hard work and thinking smart. He knocked on 15,000 doors of targeted likely Republican voters!

This article points out that the reported campaign funding was based on attributing an inflated value to the in-kind contributions, specifically the $200,000 for polling which more likely should have been valued at about $5,500. I do think David Hall tried to make his campaign appear more sophisticated and better funded than it was. If the FEC is satisfied, and he committed no crime, then this is not a big deal. Hard work and thinking smart are admirable traits. Appearing better funded and more sophisticated than your really are does not rise to the level of a serious character flaw.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

No more mosques, period

by Bryan Fischer, August 10, 2010, American Family Association

Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.

Each one is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center, and determined to implement the “Grand Jihad” ....(link)


Wow! I am a "big-tent" kind of Republican. I ignore the crazies of the religious right and the crazies of the libertarian-anarchist right and think that if we agree on 8 out of ten things we are on the same team. I generally prefer to focus on the things that unit us rather than those things that divide us. However, like they used to say in the old west, "This town ain't big enough for the both of us." If the view expressed above by Fisher ever gains dominance in the Republican Party, I will have to find a new home.

Fischer is the American Family Association's director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy. The view he publicly empresses is very common in Republican circles. I hear it expressed in small group meetings and in private conversations all the time. I don't think most Republicans share this view, but in the interest of party unity they keep quite.

Least anyone think that the opposition to the lower Manhattan Mosque is due to the proximity to the World Trade Center site, the same people locally that I hear wanting to ban the construction of the "Ground Zero" mosque also want to ban the construction of a mosque in Murfressboro which is about 780 miles from ground zero.

I have nothing in common with those Republicans who want the Saudi Arabian standards of religious freedom, the standards that the US applies. Since criticizing a Tennessee Republican candidate for Congress who advocated prohibiting the building of the mosque in Murfressboro and criticizing a candidate for governor who wondered aloud if the First Amendment applies to Muslims, I have been accused of being a RINO, wrapping myself in the First Amendment, and political correctness. Guilty, guilty, guilty!

If believing the Constitution should be taken seriously, believing in private property rights, and believing in decentralized local decision making as long as it is consistent with constitutional rights makes me any less a conservative or a Republican then we have different definition of what is a Republican and a conservative. If political correctness is believing the first amendment is as important as the second or the tenth amendment then I advocate political correctness.

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Memphis tea party leader Mark Skoda now an advocate for Bill Haslam

During the campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor, Ron Ramsey was the favorite of most organized tea parties. Some tea party members have continued to express doubts about Haslam and there has been some talk about launching a write-in campaign for Susan Lynn, the conservative House Member who lost her bid for the nomination for a State Senate seat in the recent election. That efforts seems to have fizzled.

Recently Mark Skoda and a delegation of Memphis tea party activist , met with Mayor Haslam and Mark Skoda came away impressed and ready to get on board for Bill Haslam. Mark Skoda is a Memphis tea party leader, a radio talk show host and co-founder of the National Tea Party Federation. Below is his report of his meeting with Bill Haslam, published on a 9-12 Project email list.

To All,

I wanted to update you on my meeting with Bill Haslam. We met here in a Memphis and his wife and West Tennessee campaign manager were present. I had several people from our Memphis TEA Party group along with our 9th District Congressional Candidate, Charlotte Bergmann. The meeting lasted about 50 minutes due to a commitment he had in Nashville with Ron Ramsey.

The meeting was extremely friendly and open. I asked him to address four key issues: His participation in the Mayor Bloomberg’s effort “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” ; a TN state income tax; his disclosure of his interests in Pilot Oil; and his views of addressing the Healthcare Freedom Act and the expansion of the Federal government.

He offered a substantial defense of his views and was unequivocal in the right to keep and bear arms as defined by the 2nd Amendment. He indicated that he, along with 700 other mayors, had joined Bloomberg’s coalition when it appeared to be focused on fighting crime and ensuring that guns didn’t get into the hands of criminals. He reiterated his views that the coalition was going in the wrong direction and that he did indeed remove himself when it appeared to be detrimental to his 2nd Amendment views and those of Tennessee. And while the political reality was clear, he again reiterated his views that he would support fully our rights and would not abridge the Constitution in any way.

In the matter of the state income tax, he again stated he would not support and indeed would oppose any efforts to establish a state income tax. I pointed out that the stimulus dollars would expire at the first of the year and that TN would be in a terrible hole from the point of view of our budget. He recognized that and stated he felt we could reduce the size of government while focusing on growing jobs and therefore the tax base. He saw no other way, given our state requirement to balance our budget. His business experience and the realistic perspective about the budget allowed for no other alternative. And he understood that he would work with Ron Ramsey to accommodate the reduction of the budget to meet the balance budget requirements of our state. However, without growth, the state would need to make some difficult choices to meet those reductions in spending.

On disclosure, he pointed out that he has disclosed more about his personal financial position than others in the past and which is required by law. He also stated that his interest in the family business is the source of his wealth and he was not hiding anything relating to this fact. And indeed, while many attempted to make an issue of this, he was of the opinion that he had been forthcoming in this matter.

Finally, he was most explicit about the need to reject the expansion of the Federal government. The need to push back on healthcare, immigration and Federal largesse were all points he brought forward in the discussion. I pointed out that the next governor would need to be absolute in resisting the enticements of the Federal government and the expansion and control of Tennesseans. He understood this fact and was adamant that Washington was broken and that the governors needed to take a stand. He also pointed out that being a part time legislature, our state government was already functioning more efficiently than most.

I told Bill that I appreciated sitting across the table from him with his wife present. She being from Memphis, I was also pleased that she could hear from Charlotte Bergmann who pointed out the problems facing our county and our city. I believe that both he and his wife recognized the emotional turmoil of this campaign and the need to meet their political rhetoric with actions that reflected his promises. He was direct, unapologetic and most friendly. At no time did I feel that he was condescending or placating me and my team. This was a business discussion and a heartfelt defense of the issues.

In closing, I can say that at the very least, he reiterated his official positions. He did so with honesty and forthrightness. He is an extremely charming man with a clear vision for the state and a recognition that he will need to prove out his positions over time. However, he was absolute in affirming those positions and his conservative bonafides. I told him we would be there holding him and our other legislators accountable. I closed by thanking him and indicating I would publish this note of our meeting. However, I have to say that being able to look across the table and have a direct and forthright meeting of the minds was most heartening.

I will not say that one meeting makes the case. However, for me, it went a long way to moving me from sitting on the sidelines to becoming an advocate for Bill Haslam and the changes necessary to achieve success in our state. I believed him and will work to hold him accountable to his representations. In that context, I will also support him during November and will ask my members to do the same. And in the end, each person and Tea Party leader will need to make their own assessment and take decisions accordingly. I am not asking you to support him from your respective organizations. I did however tell Bill that I would share my views with the group and the perspectives from this meeting.

In this, I have done what I promised. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or wish to discuss this further.


Mark A. Skoda

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