Saturday, April 02, 2011

Rand Paul on President Obama's war on Libya

On Wednesday March 30, Senator Rand Paul spoke on the Senate floor concerning his objections to the president's actions in Libya and the executive's lack of regard for the Constitution.

I think Rand Paul has it exactly right. President Obama has taken us to war without a Congressional Declaration of war, when there was no imminent threat to the United States or our allies. He is in clear violation of the War Powers Act. He is acting as if he were King.

The United States has no vital interest in this conflict. We know Qaddafi is a madman and maybe mentally deranged, but we have no clue who the rebels are.  Are they seeking to establish a Democracy or a radial Islamic Republic? Are we fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda in the war? We don't know.

I opposed President Bush's decision to take us to war in Iraq, but at least President Bush got approval of Congress. I am appalled at the liberals  who can support this act of war in clear violation of the War Powers Act yet were vehement in their denunciation of President Bush's actions taking us to war in Iraq. Have they no principles? President Obama has committed an impeachable offense and should be removed from office

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Radon: Former Metro Councilman Rod Williams called the results an "outrage."

Former Metro Councilman Rod Williams called the results an "outrage." Williams passed a law in 1988 in the Metro Council requiring testing in all schools, but somehow the law was forgotten.

"A generation of kids are now adults who lived breathing radon every day and that should have been tested 20 years ago," Williams said.

"This should have been solved 20 years ago. I'm glad they're testing now, but it's 20 years later than it should have been." (link)

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Open letter: Respecting the plain language of our Constitution

by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 4:52pm
This week I cast the tie-breaking vote to advance a bill requiring the election of all judges in the State of Tennessee, including appellate and Supreme Court justices.

I would like to share with you the reasons for my action and ask you to join me in a call for constitutional reform.

As a conservative, I place great trust in our state constitution. I see the document as a product of the accrued wisdom of our forebears.  It should not be ignored just because its requirements may be seen as inconvenient or out of fashion. I honor it, not only because it contains great wisdom, but because it places limits on government and prevents the more dangerous whims of temporary majorities. 

Every person elected to an office of public trust in this state takes a solemn oath to defend the constitution. I have taken that oath and I take it seriously.

Our Tennessee Constitution is unambiguous on the subject of judicial elections.  Article VI of the Tennessee Constitution states elegantly and concisely that Supreme Court justices “shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state” and that appellate court justices “shall be elected by the qualified voters of their district.” 

In 2009, I led the charge to change the way judges are chosen in our state. In the past, under the original “Tennessee Plan,” special interest groups and trial lawyers held a stranglehold on the process virtually forcing the governor to pick from their approved candidates. During the last legislative session, we passed a modified version of the plan that removed the influence of special interests.

The plan in place now is a good system. It takes the special interests out of the equation and puts the power to select and appoint judges back in the hands of the people you elect. Those appointed judges then stand after every term for what is called a “retention” election, voting yes or no on whether a judge should be retained or replaced.

This is a fair, equitable and efficient way to make sure only the very best judges are interpreting our laws and sitting in judgment of the people of Tennessee.

In fact, there is only one problem with the plan – it is unconstitutional.

While our Supreme Court has twice found retention elections fulfill constitutional requirements, many legal scholars dispute those rulings. I concur with those scholars. Just as every reasonable adult knows what the word “is” means, I think we all know what the word “election” means. Retention elections are not really elections as understood by most citizens.

Again, my decision to move a bill forward that acknowledges the truths self-evident in our constitution does not mean I believe contested judicial elections are in the best interest of Tennessee.  I do not.

If I was able to wave a magic wand and decide a new process, I would not choose open election. But I do not get to wave that magic wand.

The constitution is the constitution. Words mean things. For years our federal government has simply ignored the constitutional limitations placed upon it. We now see the whirlwind such a practice reaps.

This is Tennessee -- not Washington, DC. We take our word seriously. We take our constitution seriously.  We either need to amend the constitution or abide by it. There is no acceptable middle ground.

I challenge you to join with me on this issue. However you think judges should ultimately be chosen, we must agree that the process be constitutional.

Stand with me and demand that the constitution of the state of Tennessee is either followed or changed – but not ignored.

I could not agree more. My view exactly. He stated it well.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Atlast Shurgged, the Movie is coming to Nashville!

The movie comes to Nashville and will be playing at Hollywood 27, which is the movie theater at 100 Oaks. The movie fittingly premiers in Nashville and nationwide April 15th, which is income tax day. From reading the reviews it looks like the movie is true to the book. Of course, there is no way the movie can delve into the depth of philosophical musings that are in the book but reviewers say it is true to the story and the general philosophy.  Maybe the movie will reach people who will never pick up the book and maybe it will inspire others to read the book.

Atlas Shrugged changed my life, primarily by being the common factor that led to a chance encounter with Louella Ballenger who became my wife, but it also influenced my thinking.  I was already a conservative before I ever read Atlas Shrugged, but that book led me to understand why I believed some of the things I believed. I think everyone should read Ayn Rand. She is a counterbalance to the prevailing philosophy dominant in academia and most of mainstream American popular culture. I admit, however, that Rand goes too far. I agree with Milton Friedan who said of Rand that she is “a great place to start, but a poor place to end up”.

I have read Atlas Shrugged three time and read a lot of Rand's other works and yet have never considered myself an "Objectivist" and only briefly identified myself as a libertarian for a few months when I was in my twenties. I consider myself a pragmatic Republican yet still value the absolutist philosophy found in Rand. Yet, I admit that there is a risk for some in reading Rand. She is powerful! A few who read her will end up on the fringe, but most will not. Most who read Rand will be instilled with a moral basis for believing in freedom and will gain an understanding of why the collectivist impulse is morally wrong. Her work is powerful. If there is one single book that I wish every young person would read, it is Atlas Shrugged. If they see the movie, maybe the movie will inspire them to tackle the book.

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NASHVILLE, TN - Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney announced today that Political Director Adam Nickas will serve as the new Executive Director for the Tennessee Republican Party.

"Republicans made historic gains in Tennessee last year and Adam's strategic work as political director was a large part of the success we had at the State Party. Adam's prior experience at the Party will bring continuity to his new role, which is a big plus going into this next crucial election year of 2012," said Chris Devaney.

Nickas was named Political Director at the Tennessee Republican Party in May 2010. As Political Director, Nickas managed the statewide field staff, helped coordinate the direct mail program, and managed the campaign plans and strategy for several state house races. As Executive Director, Nickas will manage the political operations of the Tennessee Republican Party and will continue to oversee communications.

"Working at the Tennessee Republican Party has been one of the most fulfilling jobs," said Nickas. "I appreciate Chairman Devaney's confidence in me to assume this critical role as Executive Director. While last year's election cycle was one of the most historic in our state's history, this next election is even more important," said Nickas.

Prior to being Political Director at the Tennessee Republican Party, Nickas served as Political Director for Bill Gibbons' campaign for Governor in Tennessee. Nickas previously worked on the campaigns of Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign in Iowa, Haley Barbour's re-election campaign in Mississippi, a Congressional race and state legislative races in Mississippi and Tennessee. Nickas, 25, attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he studied Journalism and Electronic Media and graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. Nickas is a native of Germantown, Tennessee.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gonna Have a Tea Party by Bruce Bellott

I bet our tea parties are more fan than your tea parties.

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The President does not have power under the Constitution.......

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
            Senator Barack Obama, December 20, 2007.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Red State Update: Murfreesboro vs. The Mosque

I watched the CNN special last night “UNWELCOME: The Muslims Next Door”. The opponents of the Mosque came off looking like ignorant rednecks and one crazy Black dude.  Did you see the way the lawyer for the Mosque opponents was dressed? All he needed to complete the clown look was a big red nose. I was embarrassed. What can I say? Anyway, Red State Update has a good take on it. This is funny! (Be warned it contains strong language.)

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today introduced,

Nashville) – Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today introduced, a new website dedicated to shining a light on unnecessary government regulation.’s mission is to be a space on the web where regular Tennesseans can have a voice and seek relief from oppressive government red tape. The site offers the opportunity to small business owners to tell their story of overbearing government regulation and how it has affected their lives.

“The best thing that government can do to promote economic growth is stay out of the way of people who create jobs,” said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. “This website is designed to help highlight and expose the barriers government puts in the way of entrepreneurs trying to put people to work.”

Lt. Gov. Ramsey was joined at the unveiling by the National Federation of Independent Business’ state director, Jim Brown, Justin Owen, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research and Josh Helton, Small Business Advocate for the Office of the Comptroller.

The most flagrant examples of government red tape will be highlighted on the blog and the site will also aggregate stories of government red tape in the news.

Lt. Gov. Ramsey is a leading voice for economic growth in Tennessee state government. Ramsey believes government must do all it can to stay out of way of entrepreneurs who wish to create jobs.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dear Katryna, I am so sorry that you are having financial difficulty and I wanted to respond

Dear Katryna,

I am so sorry that you are having financial difficulty and I wanted to respond to your letter. You say that Republican are cutting student aid. The way I understand it is that Republican are not cutting the amount of money being spend on student aid. The Republicans are proposing to cut $100-billion from the president's budget request and included in those cuts are cuts to student aid. During this recession so many people could not find jobs that many of them  have gone back to school so there has been an increase in demand for student aid and the Democrats proposed adding $5.7 billion to the Pell Grant program to cover the shortfall in the program.

Due to unexpected demand in the wake of the Great Recession, the Pell Grant program needs a funding fix to prevent grant cuts in 2011. So, the Democrats proposed the funding fix and the Republicans are proposing a reduction from the amount of that funding fix. The costs of the Pell Grant program have been growing at a rapid rate. More is going to be spend on Pell Grants and yet each Pell Grant recipient will get less under the Republican plan. Does that make sense to you?

Republicans are proposing to trim the maximum Pell Grant by 15 percent, or $845, from the current $5,550. Katryna, are you sure you are going to lose your student aid or just have a reduction? Now, some people who would have qualified for Pell grant under the Democrat spending level will not qualify under the Republican spending level but most will simply see a reduction in the amount of student aid. I don’t know if you will lose your student aid or not of course, but don’t jump to conclusions. The funding calculation is complicated and it is means tested so some people will qualify by virtue of qualifying for other programs and others will really lose their aid, but most will only see a reduction.

Did you know that President Obama is also proposing cut to the Pell Grant program? Obama's program cuts would end supplemental Pell Grants starting in summer 2012. Since 2009, students planning to attend summer school could apply for a second Pell Grant to pay for school year-round. Obama's proposal would do away with the year-round Pell Grant. MoveOn didn't explain that to you did they? The truth is that both Republicans and Democrats are proposing to spend more on Pell grants and both would reduce the amount of Pell grants anyone person could get, but the Republicans would cut more.

I think we have to cut a lot out of the federal budget, so no, I will not be asking Senator Corker to restore Pell grants to their former level. I am asking Corker to show courage and slash federal spending.

I know that losing your Pell Grant, if you do lose it, will be a hardship on you, but you see our nation is broke. Forty cents of every dollar the government spends is borrowed money. Our government is deeply indebted to the Chinese and others and we keep borrowing money to pay our expenses. We are much like a household that keeps taking out new loans to pay the payments on previous loans. 

The national debt is $14 Trillion dollars and it continues to increase at the rate of $4.11 billion per day and each citizen's share of this debt is $45,889.90. This is not sustainable. If we do not get a handle on this runaway spending, we will all lose the American dream and America will become a third world nation. I do not want to alarm you, but we can’t keep living on borrowed money for ever. Also, another problem is that the government is just creating money out of thin air. People refer to this as “printing money” although it is not really "printed money" but it is created as if it were printed and this can lead to rapid run-away inflation. So, unless the government gets a handle on spending we could see a rapid economic decline in the United States. We could see massive poverty never seen before in this nation. Painful cuts are necessary to stop spending more money than the nation can afford.

I know MoveOn wants you to feel resentment against rich people and blames our financial problems on the wealthy by saying they are not taxes enough. The wealthiest 5% of Americans pay half all taxes and the lower 50% of income earners pay no taxes. Also, job growth is created by wealthy Americans investing money. If we tax the wealthy more, we may have less job growth because we will have less investment. Higher taxes does not necessarily mean more tax collection despite what liberals will tell you. We do not have a problem in this country because we do not tax enough but because we spend too much.

Assuming you do lose your student aid, can you not qualify for student loans? If your education is a good investment, should you not be the one making the investment?

Katryna, you open your letter saying, "I never wanted a handout." Katryna, a grant is a handout. When the government gives you money and you don't have to pay it back, that is a handout. Also, Katryna you say you earned less than $4500 last year. You can't live on that. I bet you are living in subsidized public housing, getting food stamps, medicaid and you got the earned income tax credit last year. Am I right? I bet that in reality you are getting a lot of handouts. Is that not true?

Katryna, you say "I'm going to have to choose between paying rent or buying diapers." Have you thought about using cloth diapers and washing them out. People used to do that all the time. You don't have to buy diapers. You can rinse  them out in the commode and then wash them.

Katryna, I must ask you, where is your child's father? Is he paying child support? Did you have your child out of wedlock? You say you want to provide your daughter with the opportunities that your mother couldn't give you. You say nothing about your father. Your mother was a single mom, wasn't she? Did you do a really foolish thing and get pregnant without being married? I know that many do. In fact almost 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers. The disappearance of marriage in low-income communities is the major cause of child poverty in the U.S. today. Katryna, I think you should not blame your problems on Republicans but admit that your brought your problems on yourself, by your decision to have a child out of wedlock. Nevertheless, I do feel sorry for you.

Please continue to try to get out of poverty. Try to get student loans if you can't get the Pell Grant. If you do have to give up the dream of getting a nursing degree, please do not give up the dream of getting out of poverty. There is help available. Contact United Way or a good neighborhood community center to learn about job training programs and money management programs. A lot of poverty is due to poor decision making. Enroll in a life skills course and improve your life skills. Get a full time job.  Get out of the environment of public housing which creates a mindset that keeps people in poverty. And Katryna, please teach your child not to follow in your footsteps. Teach her that being a single Mom is foolish and most of the time it is a ticket to poverty.

I wish you the best.


Dear fellow MoveOn member,

I never wanted a handout.

I just wanted to get my nursing degree and build the life I've dreamed of. I wanted to provide my daughter with the opportunities that my mother couldn't give me when I was growing up.

That's my dream, but I'm afraid my dream is about to die. 

Republicans are trying to cut the financial aid I rely on to pay my tuition. Last year, as a student, I couldn't find steady work and earned less than $4,500. If my financial aid is taken away from me, I won't be able to afford to get my nursing degree. 

Once again I'm going to have to choose between paying rent or buying diapers, between having heat or having enough food for my family to eat. Can you imagine the pain involved in making those choices?
Can you help save my dream? The Senate is on recess, and Senator Bob Corker is home in Tennessee. Can you call him in his district office in Nashville, and ask him to vote against any budget that makes cuts to education, health care, and Social Security, and puts corporations and millionaires above hardworking Americans like me?

Here's where to call:
Senator Bob Corker
Nashville office: 615-279-8125
Then, please report your call to MoveOn by clicking here:

I recently got a part-time job at Walmart and with that money, along with my student aid, I'm now able to cover all my expenses. I even had enough money to get new glasses for the first time in six years. I've struggled to get this far, but I finally feel like I'm going to be able to make a good life for myself and my daughter.

Please, don't let the Republicans take all this away from me. You see, the cuts they want to make aren't abstract. And they aren't limited to student aid, either. They're trying to cut job training, food aid to women and children, and more. Congress doesn't seem to understand the consequences to people like me all across the country if these programs are cut.

Can you call Senator Bob Corker, and ask him to vote against any budget that makes cuts to education, health care, and Social Security, and puts corporations and millionaires above hardworking Americans like me?

Thank you.
–Katryna Wade, Arkansas

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ANNOUNCING!!!!! DCRP Executive Board for 2011 - 2012

On Saturday, March 26th the Davidson County Republican Party met for the Party's biannual County Convention at the Maxwell House Hotel. The convention was convened, on time, promptly at 9AM by Chairman Kathleen Starnes, The invocation was  offered by Representative Jim Gotto and the Pledge of Allegiance was was led by Beverly Knight. Rod Williams, Chairman of the Contest and Credentials Committee, which is responsible for conducting the Convention gave a committee report. Following the reading of the report the Convention elected the officers which are elected by the full body, then the committee broke into seven regions to elect Regional Vice Chairs. 

The event was harmonious and orderly. This contrasted greatly from two years ago when the Party was unable to conclude the convention in one day and when their were several contested elections and multiple ballots. There were no appeals of the actions of the Contest and Credentials Committee and all of the primary officers except one were elected by acclamation which meant ballots did not have to used which speeded up the process. Former Republican 5th District Congressional candidate, David Hall, was nominated for Chairman and spoke declining the nomination and endorsed Kathleen Starnes. Hall  was elected a Regional Vice Chair. The meeting was over by 10:30AM. 

Below is the slate of newly elected Party officers and the Report of the Contest and Credentials Committee.
Chairman - Kathleen Starnes
1st Vice Chairman - Daniel Davis
2nd Vice Chairman - Tony Roberts
Recording Secretary - Beverly Knight
Communications Secretary - Claire Ratliff
Treasurer - Chuck Self

Asst Treasurer - John Flanagan

Regional Vice Chairmen
North Region - David Hall
North Central Region - Kay Brooks
South Region - David Patterson
South Central Region - Brent Pierce
South East Region - Patricia Carl
East Region - Ken Marrero
West Region - Lonnie Spivak

On December 7, 2010 the DCRP Executive Committee appointed The Contest and Credentials Committee consisting of the following people: Rod Williams, Chairman, and committee members Hattie Dewalt, Mark Rogers, Tony Roberts, and Ed Zeagler. Also appointed were non-voting members Paul White to serve as Parliamentarian and Martha Brown, 2009 Contest and Credentials Committee Chairman, to serve as consultant. After the first meeting, Beverly Knight joined the Committee as a non-voting member to serve as secretary.

The Committee was charged with revising the Party's bylaws and Rules as well as planning and conducting the caucus and convention.  The committee met on eight occasions included one meeting to review delegate challenges.

The Committee revised the Rules and Bylaws and submitted them to the Executive Committee and they were approved. The committee planned the caucus and the convention, including selecting a venue, developing an agenda and all of the minor details necessary for the caucus and convention.

The Caucus occurred on March 6. One hundred twenty-eight (128) people registered and attended the caucus. No one registered from Districts 9, 10, or 21. Ninty-four (94) delegates who were not present were nominated and elected in their district.  Some people who were not present at the caucus had submitted a request to be a delegate, but were not nominated by anyone in their district. Those people were mailed a letter informing them they were not nominated.

For those delegates who attended the caucus in person, members of the C&C committee verified their proper voter registration at the caucus. For those who did not attend in person or who attended but did not have a voter ID card with them, the committee verified their registration from an election commission voter registration database.  Six delegates were challenged by the committee due to inability to verify their proper voter registration.  All of these were mailed letters and invited to attend the March 14th meeting of the Contest and Credentials Committee to present additional information to verify their proper registration. Two of the six were confirmed to be properly registered by the election commission prior to the March 14th meeting. Of the other four, none appeared at the March 14th meeting and they were removed from the delegate list. Two delegates who had been elected notified the committee that they would be unable to attend the convention and were removed as delegates.  Total delegates approved by the Committee were 216.  

One challenge was received by the Committee challenging a delegate as not being a Republican. The Committee found that the allegations against the challenged were unrelated to his viability to serve as a delegate and he met the basic qualifications to serve. The challenger has appealed this decision to the State Party.

This report has purposely been abbreviated to respect the time of the delegates attending this Convention. Agenda’s and minutes of the Contest and Credentials committee meetings are on file at the Party Headquarters.

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