March 31, 2008
The House of Stuart
Both are Democrats, so they'll face each other in the August 7 primary. The winner is likely to easily overcome newcomer Basil Marceaux, Jr., who is so far the only Republican candidate. It's a Democratic district by design.
Eight years ago, Stuart James ran for the House in the 27th (Signal and Lookout Mountains, Riverview), and was defeated by former Rep. Chris Clem. He then went on to chair the Hamilton County Democratic Party.
Four years ago, JoAnne Favors, then a County Commissioner (where Greg Beck sits today, who's now running for Sheriff try to keep up), mounted a successful campaign against then-incumbent Brenda Turner.
What are Stuart James' chances here? Rep. Favors seems to enjoy support from across her district. This could be an interesting primary.
Wow, with Jim Vincent looking to reclaim his old seat in the 31st, and James challenging Favors, there could be a couple of local House races to watch. The rest? Total snoozers, unless one of those guys in the 30th is serious about taking on Rep. Vince Dean.
From the San Antonio Express-News's Melissa Ludwig:
It seemed like an honorable goal: Draft an honor code for University of Texas at San Antonio students to follow, exhorting them not to cheat or plagiarize.
But when students threw a draft of the new honor code onto the Internet for feedback, some noticed a problem: Parts of the code appeared to have been lifted word for word from another school's honor code, without attribution. Even the definition of plagiarism was, well, plagiarized.
Via Radley Balko, who says where he got it.
March 30, 2008
"Sincerely, Random Concerned Citizen"
The Worst Mayor Ever blog seeks to raise a few eyebrows by alleging close associations between the Mayor and a couple of letter-writing citizens. The letters, posted on Chattanoogan.com, express dissatisfaction that a couple of engineering problems have surfaced in the city's 21st Century Waterfront, and question whether there were shortcuts taken during the project that are now manifested as defects.
According to the pseudonymous blogger's unnamed sources, each of the letters in question was penned by a Littlefield friend; and in light of that, it is fair to question whether the letters were written out of spontaneous concern, or whether there was some prodding.
But I question why Mayor Littlefield would ask supporters to attack the waterfront, if indeed he did. I mean, Bob Corker isn't coming back to run for local office, is he? Ann Coulter isn't either.
Furthermore, during his election night acceptance speech, Littlefield said that he would "embrace" the waterfront. Has he reached his hug limit?
March 29, 2008
Conservatives against mountaintop removal
Yes, that's right. If you think about it, a stance such as John Brown's puts the "conserve" in "conservative."
There are responsible, and sustainable, ways to remove the valuables from under the ground. Blowing up an entire ridgetop, which enables massive erosion and chokes a watershed with toxic sludge, ain't one of 'em.
I just read Mike Faulk's candidacy announcement, in which he talks about limited government. Yes, the absence of excessive regulations is ideal (so we'd have to disagree about the government's role in restricting women's health decisions, among other things), but one of the functions Faulk says we can agree on is clean water.
And the type of coal-mining known as mountaintop removal presents an unacceptable obstacle to clean water. Not that that is its only fault, by any means; but it is one that can draw people and their elected representatives together, no matter on what other policy positions they might differ.
March 28, 2008
Another helping of election news, and double the Basil
The Chattanoogan.com has reported on a flurry of candidate filings in the area, including news that former Rep. Jim Vincent, also a former County Commissioner, has picked up papers to run again in his old House district, which covers parts of Soddy-Daisy and northern Hamilton County as well as all of Rhea County. The 31st District is currently represented by Rep. Jim Cobb. Cobb hails from Spring City in the opposite end of the district.
Rep. Vince Dean (R-30), who lost just last night in a runoff for GOP Sheriff nominee, has drawn two challengers in the August 7 primary. Er, well, they probably aren't challengers, but a couple of guys (Richard Elrod and Jerry Petty, to be exact) who were until today looking to take an open seat. I wouldn't be surprised if one or both withdraws by the April 10 deadline. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Across the state, a Republican member of Congress faces an experienced opponent. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who serves one of the most gerrymandered districts in Southern Christendom, has a Memphis political official on the court with her. This is former state Sen. Tom Leatherwood, who now registers deeds for Shelby County.
And from up in the Far East corner, a non-announcement: former Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable says that he is not running this time for the U.S. House seat he almost nabbed in 2006. I love it when people announce that they're not running.
That reminds me: I am not running in the race to unseat U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander.
Finally, it wouldn't be an election year lately without the persistence of Basil Marceaux, whose target this time around is Sen. Andy Berke in District 10. Marceaux ran in the primary for last year's special election, but this time it's possible that he will be the Republican nominee.
The apple has fallen just a short distance over into House District 29, where Basil Marceaux the Younger has qualified in the Republican primary, and if he wins, will face Rep. JoAnne Favors in the general election. I'm still waiting for news about the Democratic primary for this seat. Anyone got it?
March 27, 2008
Retail wine bill corked?
Why can't we buy a bottle of wine with our artisan bread and imported cheese? Why can't we order a case of our favorite vintage from whatever supplier we choose?
Because one of the most powerful lobbies in the state says we can't.
If, like me, you've been following the progress of Sen. Bill Ketron's effort (with others, to be sure) to modernize and liberalize our alcoholic beverage laws, you've heard the disappointing news about setbacks to the bill's progress (HT: Silence). Let's hope those setbacks are temporary.
Look: I don't want to hurt my local spirits retailer. I know that they would have to react to the Bi-Lo across the street, and the Food Lion just down the way, suddenly selling wine. But the beer/tobacco store next door to them makes it, and the grocery stores sell beer and tobacco (along with convenience stores). And the liquor store would still supply the distilled products.
Write to your legislators today and urge them to support Sen. Ketron's bill and its companion in the House.
More later, as I'm almost out of Cabernet.
March 26, 2008
The Chattanooga mayoral election of 2009 has officially begun (with correction)
A prospective candidate has hired a polling firm (I didn't quite catch its name; something like "OCI" or "OCR") to do some seemingly pretty good research on how things shape up for a run at the city's top job.
I took the poll last evening, and I answered every question honestly. (My answers are confidential, but I'll share some of the questions/statements to which the poll sought a reaction.)
In addition, a web domain name has been registered, though there is no page up yet. (I won't link to the parking lot, due to popups and junk like that.)
The same name as is in the domain was among those listed in the poll for a favorable/unfavorable rating. Interestingly, this was the only** name in the list that does not belong to an elected official (other names included Bob Corker, Andy Berke, Warren Mackey, Linda Bennett, and Jim Coppinger).
**UPDATE: I remembered later that David Eichenthal was one of the names asked about, and he is not an elected official.
It's (update: still) fairly clear, then, who is "testing the waters." Stay tuned for more as it becomes available.
Former TV station blogger lands new gig
Adam "A.C." Kleinheider, who until recently ran the respected VolunteerVoters.com site for WKRN-TV News 2, will on Monday join NashvillePost.com to augment the sites breaking news coverage with a political blog.
Kleinheider ran VolunteerVoters.com for almost two years, amassing a loyal readership of local business and political leaders with his aggregation of and commentary on political blogs from all corners of Tennessee.
This is a great fit, if you ask me. Though I don't have a subscription, I can discern the quality of NashvillePost.com. Bringing on an established quality blogger is an obvious step.
A.C., I trust that you still know where my feed is. Great news, and all the best in your new venture.
March 25, 2008
Supporting the Bipartisan Transparency community
I feel kind of lame, first of all, for not uttering so much as a tweet about last week being National Sunshine Week. After all, open government is fast becoming one of my pet concerns.
But it's never too late to be for greater transparency (unless, I suppose, you're someone who just voted against it, and is now having second thoughts). A Republican-led effort to provide "a free website where the public and the media could see in detail how every tax dollar is raised and spent" deserves our attention. House Bill 3094 is the legislation.
From the press release:
The federal government enacted a similar service in 2006. Fast on their heals [sic], several states - Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas - have recently implemented similar websites or are in the process of doing so.
Democrats would be wise to "join hands across the aisle" and fully support this measure.
Quote of the day
Considering many Democrats feel Al Gore lost the presidency in 2000 in an un-democratic way, it's surprising the party would tolerate such a mess in choosing their nominee.
I've been thinking the same thing. Read more.
March 23, 2008
Lugo quits Democratic primary, but not Senate race
Chris Lugo, the 2006 Green Party candidate in the campaign for U.S. Senate won by Bob Corker, has issued the following press release (excerpted):
US Senate candidate Chris Lugo has announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy from the [D]emocratic primary race August 7th in Tennessee and will instead run as an independent candidate or seek the [G]reen [P]arty nomination at their convention May 3rd in Nashville. [ ] Lugo said that after running as a [D]emocrat for three months his sense was that they are not ready to end the war [in Iraq].
The full release can be read at KnoxViews.
See also: Knoxville Talks
Council District Google Map
Your City Council District just got a lot easier to figure out (geographically speaking, that is). The intrepid Josiah Roe has created a Google Map showing all nine districts.
I can only imagine the total pain in the a** this must have been, but we are all in his debt for his doing it. The Hamilton County GIS shop has made great strides lately use-ta was, their map layers didn't even include electoral districts but their output is mainly PDF or PNG, as far as I can tell, and nothing quite like a Google Map.
So thank Josiah for taking this step, and look for these maps to figure into coverage of the upcoming (March 2009) municipal elections.
This is one geeked-out deer
Via the Google Earth Blog:
[A] deer named "Thor" now has his own blog where he shares his GPS position every five minutes.
As Frank Taylor says, I don't know if this is the best idea for the deer's safety. I mean, think about it. Even though there are far too many deer in Pennsylvania (among other places), I'm not sure this is the fairest way of culling the herd. With deer outfitted like this, salt licks and such will be so pass้.
(Title credit: the wife)
Jake Ford to run as independent, not Democrat, in 9th
While TennesseeTicket.com accurately relayed the fact that Jake Ford son of one and brother of another former U.S. Representative from Memphis had chosen to run in the Democratic primary this year, unlike in 2006 when he ran as an independent, the esteemed Jackson Baker sets the record straight. Ford, it seems, went back to the Shelby County Election Commission and traded his Democratic Party petition for an independent one.
As I see it, this can only be good news for Nikki Tinker, since she is counting on amassing as many votes as possible to unseat first-term Congressman Steve Cohen, and Jake Ford could have siphoned some of those votes in the primary. In the general election, Ford will once again be a mere footnote.
Then again, Baker's report names a few others who have an interest in this seat, whether they really think they can win, or are vying for greater name recognition for smaller seats in the future. But whose candidacy Cohen's or Tinker's will they potentially hurt the most?
Make no mistake: I believe that Steve Cohen will be re-elected to the U.S. House. But this move by Jake Ford could signal a more interesting primary race this spring and summer.
I'm curious as to whether Memphis readers (if I still have any) think differently. Of course, you're welcome to chime in no matter where you live.
March 21, 2008
Gov. Richardson endorses Obama
I don't have much to say on this that hasn't been spewed through the tubes already, so I'll just link and quote.
So Mark Penn said earlier today that Bill Richardson's endorsement was no longer "significant."
"The time that he could have been effective has long since passed," he said.
Long since? Actually, it must have passed awfully fast.
Actually, I consider that this ends [the race for the Democratic nomination] in a way.
Not because of the influence of Richardson's endorsement but because he wouldn't be risking this unless he knew that Obama was the nominee. And, as an insider, he's in a position to know the mind of the people who will decide this.
Richardson becomes the second 2008 presidential contender to endorse Obama, following Sen. Dodd of CT. Sen. Clinton has yet to be endorsed by a former candidate. -- Fly Funky Diva
The state of the City is..anxious..demoralized..?
I did not get to attend Mayor Ron Littlefield's State of the City address the other evening, due to a schedule conflict. (The wife and I did get invitations, and I'm afraid we failed to "R้pondez." Apologies are hereby offered.) I've talked with a few attendees, though, and the sense I get is that there is somewhat of a disconnect between the words spoken and the "situation on the ground," as they say.
It's not a secret that I endorsed Littlefield's main rival in the 2005 election, but I have made a conscious effort to keep the past where it belongs, and to generally support the current administration in its efforts to run the city, except where something obviously needs to be criticized.
In truth, though, I haven't taken the time to point out all of the things that have needed it. I'm not coming at this from a "you beat my candidate, so I'm going to naysay everything you do" perspective, as I suspect some others have. I'm simply underwhelmed, and at times even disturbed, by what appears in the media (and, ahem, what doesn't, which is a whole 'nother problem).
I accept, in anticipation, the line "well Joe, if you think you could do a better job, then why don't you get up there and do it?" It's not that I think I could. I know it is tough. I also know that Bob Corker, now our junior U.S. Senator, with his faults and with his naked ambitions intact, did a better job than our current mayor is doing. I look forward to electing a new mayor who will combine Corker's ability to get things done, with the highest ethical standards, and a true empathy with the everyday citizen (among other qualities). Does such a candidate exist?
Rumors are starting to pop up now about possible contenders in next year's election. I don't have the authority yet to drop any names, but maybe you do. Let's start a list now, so that we can vet these people well, and take care of any "grooming" or whatever needs there may be, and thus put to bed early this notion that Ron Littlefield lacks any serious opposition. If the voters decide that they would rather keep Littlefield for four more years, then so be it; but let us make certain that they have at least one attractive, viable alternative over which to choose.
Just for fun: the mayor's address has been put into song by Billy Blades.
And here's another song inspired by one of the mayor's initiatives.
March 20, 2008
Our Wilder years will soon be behind us (for realz - see update 2)
Sean Braisted links to a subscription-protected article in the Nashville Post that indicates what we have all known was inevitable, but undoubtedly comes as a mild shock to many: longtime state Senator and former Lt. Governor, John Shelton Wilder of Mason, Tenn., will retire from the Senate.
Governor Wilder (we still call him that out of respect, not to mention habit) is listed among the longest-serving elected single-office holders in the world; some say he comes in at number one. He was our Lieutenant Governor from 1971-2007.
He is known for his quirky sayings, such as "the Senate is the Senate" -- and for a political agility that resulted in his holding onto the powerful spot for decades.
Will the Senate really be the Senate after he leaves? We'll have more retrospectives later in the week.
UPDATE: The Nashville City Paper casts doubt on yesterday's story. (HT: Braisted)
UPDATE 3: And here's the video.
March 19, 2008
Maybe it's just me, but it seems as though there is a slight increase this election year in challenges to incumbent General Assembly members by contenders within the incumbents' own parties.
House District 4: We start off with a primary rematch between current Rep. Kent Williams and former Rep. Jerome Cochran, who wants the seat back.
House District 7: Rep. Matthew Hill is being opposed by Todd Smith, a name that was dropped last November by an anti-Hill blogger. Also, according to comments below, former Rep. Bob Patton is also challenging Hill.
House District 18: Rep. Stacey Campfield was said to be challenged by Tommy Prince. But that was last year. Now it's Ron Leadbetter whose name is being mentioned. Either way, Campfield will have to fight off a challenge, at which he proved successful in 2006.
House District 52: Well, it was to be a primary between incumbent Rep. Rob Briley and Eric Stansell. But then Mike Stewart stepped up. Then, of course, Rep. Briley announced that he will not be seeking re-election. But originally, this would have counted as a primary challenging an incumbent.
Senate District 8: Sen. Raymond Finney gets his challenge from Rep. Doug Overbey. Overbey's seat will therefore be open.
If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that most of these are Republican contests, and that many will take place in the GOP stronghold of East Tennessee and each of these is a contest between the area's traditional moderate population and a new(ish) crop of more hardline conservatives. For more on this, see Tom Humphrey's excellent column of a couple of months ago. (HT: the late Volunteer Voters)
At least two Congressional seats will feature meaningful primary contests this year. This is no doubt due in part to the highly partisan makeup of the districts that cover the state's southwest and northeast extremes. To get elected in the First (R) or the Ninth (D), one must only win one's primary.
U.S. House, District 1: Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe will try again to defeat first-term incumbent U.S. Rep. David Davis, who narrowly won in an open contest that featured a whole stack of candidates. Update from comments: Mahmood (Michael) Sabri, whom I believe ran as an Independent in 2006, has picked up papers as a Republican in this race.
Surely I've missed some; help me fill in the blanks.
Dan Lehr has a monster-sized post up at Vote08 discussing the failures and successes of the current conflict in Iraq, which, as of today, has been ongoing for five years. (Do you realize, between Desert Storm, the no-fly and other patrols, and now this war, how much money we've sunk into attacking/containing/liberating that nation? Right or wrong, the amount is staggering.)
I have only skimmed Dan's article, but I have to give him an "A" for thoroughness, at the least. Go check it out. He promises to make you uncomfortable whether you're a conservative or a liberal.
Barack Obama's speech on race in America
So many people are talking about yesterday's address (click here to watch and read it) in Philadelphia strictly in terms of its usefulness in Senator Obama's bid for the White House. Will it help him beat Clinton? Will it help him beat McCain? What about those darned superdelegates?
I invite you to strip away all such thoughts and either read or listen to or watch the speech as a stand-alone item. You can even skip over any lines in which he touches on the campaign.
Then answer me this: is it not one of the most meaningful addresses we've had in our lifetime on any subject, let alone that of race relations in this country? Is it not about time that we talk amongst ourselves as adults, and quit either tiptoeing around or hurling barbs, and decide together how to move forward?
Regardless whether you want Obama to be President (and I do), surely you can tell that he is gifted, not only as an orator, but as someone who can approach human problems by authentically listening to and understanding multiple points of view. Far too few of our elected officials possess either the willingness or the capacity to do that. And yet that is what it will take to finally move the nation past some of these deep-seated issues.
Go ahead; elect someone else if you must (or if you dare); but keep this speech, and refer to it often, for it is a magnificent starting point for one of our most important national conversations ahead.
March 18, 2008
Somebody call Heidi Klum
So, there is no announcement yet as to longtime state Senator John Wilder's intentions. A report surfaced yesterday in which unnamed sources were cited as saying that the former Lt. Governor will retire. Today saw at least one report raising serious doubts about those claims.
Senator Wilder, in the words of a popular cable television show's host: "you're either in, or you're out."
UPDATE: "You may leave the runway."
March 17, 2008
Faulk in a walk
State Senator Mike Williams, the only Independent in the General Assembly, appears not to be running for re-election this year in the Fourth District, which would presumably usher in Republican newcomer Mike Faulk without opposition.
The Tennessee Democratic Party has so far declined to recruit a candidate, choosing instead to tacitly endorse Williams, who until recently was a Republican himself.
April 3 is the qualifying deadline for primary candidates; independents have until August to qualify for the November general election.
HT: Mike Faulk
UPDATE: much more over in DeMarCaTionVille.
March 16, 2008
Sheriff race could open new vacancies
Democrats in Hamilton County yesterday selected Greg Beck as their nominee for the August 7 special election to replace former sheriff Billy Long. Mr. Beck, as most of you know, currently serves the public in two capacities: he is an officer in the City of Chattanooga Municipal Court, and he represents District Five on the Hamilton County Commission. Now he is running for Sheriff, so ostensibly both of his other positions will become open.
Local Republicans have yet to nominate their choice, but we do know who is running: Tim Carroll, Vince Dean, Fred Fuson, and Jim Hammond. I have no idea whether or not there is a clear favorite among these four; but the one name I know the best, Vince Dean, is familiar to me because it belongs to my current state Representative in District 30. Rep. Dean is a former mayor of East Ridge, and is a retired police officer.
If Dean were to be nominated, then elected Sheriff of Hamilton County, I am assuming that he would quit his House of Representatives post. (Someone please comment if I'm assuming incorrectly about either Rep. Dean's or Commissioner Beck's choices.)
Obama wins Iowa..again..some more
Brendan Loy points to the news that Iowa Democrats held their county conventions yesterday, and that as a result, presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Barack Obama increased his potential delegate lead in the party's nominating race.
This happened because, in Iowa (unlike, I'm thinking, Tennessee), county delegates who'd previously backed John Edwards broke widely for Obama over rival Senator Hillary Clinton.
In Tennessee, March 15 saw the state convention, which I believe finalized the delegation to Denver in August. (Is anything final in this race? I guess it will be by Labor Day.) Your Times Free Press has a story about some of the grappling that went on in Nashville. (It only took me 70 years to get that link.)
March 15, 2008
More traffic cameras on the way
According to Friday's Times Free Press (page B3), the City of East Ridge is the latest local municipality to move toward using cameras at traffic intersections to help enforce driving laws:
The council approved an ordinance Thursday night that paves the way for cameras at intersections to cite those who run lights or make illegal turns as well as others to ticket speeders. This is a safety issue, said Mayor Mike Steele, who along with Councilmen Tom Card, Denny Manning and Larry Sewell supported the measure.
Michael Silence has been blogging about traffic cameras in Knoxville for some time now, and has taken great care to illustrate that the safety gains from these implementations are at best nonexistent, and at worst negative (despite his own paper's reporting of irrational claims to the contrary). (Oh, and his latest post on the subject features a story from right here in River City.)
What do you think? Are we more safe with the cameras? Or are they merely means of increasing revenues without those pesky, albeit low, police officer salaries as offset?
By the way, if you think Chattanooga police officers aren't required to meet "quotas" for traffic citations, you might want to think again. And you might want to stay tuned.
March 14, 2008
Bad news out of Nashville tonight, but not the last word
A.C. Kleinheider has been relieved of his duties as Nashville TV station WKRN's sole remaining full-time blogger. His last post cites budget cuts as the reason.
While I can certainly see this from the business angle, I am not sure that the station's current management (different, it must be stated, than that which hired him initially) ever fully grasped what they had.
I know I will struggle to adjust to having such a huge hole in my must-read list. Partly because most of the rest of us in the Tennessee blogosphere have day jobs (plus), Volunteer Voters demonstrated an inimitable focus on political stories surface and background that I, for one, have depended upon for my updates. But the time factor was only part of it. The skill involved in presenting so many voices, including (until they shut it down) one's own, is what made the product downright addictive.
There are others; make no mistake about it. Check my blogroll to the left (uh, you might need to go to my main page to do so). And just like the very blog you're reading now was born because of a self-imposed hiatus by one of my first daily reads, my prediction is that even more will come. Like the many-headed Hydra of Lerna, this thing just won't die.
Godspeed, Mr. Kleinheider; and know that when the brand-new TennesseeTicket.com launches, you'll have an open invitation to guest.
- Former ACK colleague Brittney Gilbert
- Former "South Knox Bubba" (now R. Neal) (better post here)
- Sean Braisted
- Ilissa Gold
- Knoxville Talks
- Jack Lail
- Bob Krumm
- Chris Wage
- Katherine Coble
March 12, 2008
Dr. Jack Kevorkian for Congress
I'm not kidding.
March 11, 2008
The homeless homeless campus?
What is the message city taxpayers are supposed to take from the implication by Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield that there hasn't ever been a real plan for the proposed homeless campus on 11th Street?
Furthermore, what is the reality of Littlefield's comparison of his dream complex to the 21st century waterfront project? Is that a fair match?
Sure, I can see how one would argue that the homeless campus helps more people in need than does the spiffy waterfront. But that assumes that the homeless campus actually becomes reality. And without a plan in place, what with the waterfront actually being real, it's hard to see where the comparison can start.
Were Chattanoogans bamboozled by a career politician whose promises have little to show for themselves? Will someone of the necessary means the necessary means for* a vigorous challenge present voters with an alternative next March?
These are a few of the many questions at hand with regard to the current administration.
More to come, I'm sure.
*Gratuitous favorite film reference
Nashville trip postponed
Two important meetings here in the Noog have so bookended the available time to actually be in Nashville that we have decided to postpone our trip to a later (TBD) date, when we can actually sit down and enjoy the place a little.
March 10, 2008
Meet me in Nashville?
To anyone in the NashVicinity:
The wife, boy and I are planning a mini-vaca (ok, yes, I really just typed that) in the state capital this week. The U of T at C is on Spring Break all week, and I can take just a couple of days off to correspond with that, so we are headed to Music City on Wednesday morning. It's a whirlwind trip, sorta, because we'll be motoring back this way on Thursday afternoon so I can make a Brainerd Unity Group meeting at 6:00 EDT.
So sorry to potentially throw a wrench into your otherwise quiet week, but: if you have any interest in meeting, let me know. The only solid plans I have so far are to be at the Nashville Zoo during the day on Wednesday. That evening, and late night, and the next morning/noon, are up for grabs at this point. The wife has friends in town, too, so there's that; but I think I've prematurely settled on Thursday as the day to meet my blogging friends (with late-night Wednesday in reserve).
Whatever works out will obviously qualify as "meant to be," but I wanted to announce our incursion just in case.
March 8, 2008
Amber Alert - CANCELED
UPDATE per comments: this alert has been removed. Thanks to Ellen.
I just logged into MySpace and found this:
A TENNESSEE STATEWIDE AMBER ALERT HAS BEEN ISSUED BY THE LEWISBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR ELIJAH PIERCE. ELIJAH IS A 6 MONTH OLD WHITE MALE WITH BLONDE HAIR, BROWN EYES, 24 INCHES IN LENGTH AND WEIGHS 18 POUNDS. HE WAS LAST SEEN WEARING A BLUE SNOW SUIT WITH TEDDY BEAR EARS. ELIJAH WAS IN HIS MOTHER'S VEHICLE WHEN SHE LEFT THE KEYS IN THE CAR IN FRONT OF HER MOTHER'S RESIDENCE. THE MOTHER HEARD THE CAR START AND RAN OUTSIDE TO FIND THE CAR MISSING. THE VEHICLE IS A 2004 CHEVY CAVALIER RED IN COLOR WITH AN UNKNOWN BEDFORD COUNTY REGISTRATION. IF YOU HAVE SEEN THIS VEHICLE PLEASE CONTACT THE TBI AT 1-800-TBI-FIND OR LEWISBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 931-359-4044.
There was a caucus today
In case you forgot, or missed it, Wyoming Democrats are holding caucuses today. The report is that U.S Sen. Barack Obama outdid rival U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton by a 59-40 margin.
This can only be good news for the Obama campaign as they look ahead to Tuesday's primary in Mississippi.
The Tennessee Libertarian Party Convention, brought live to your browser
Some guys whose names you might recognize were there: Ben Cunningham and Drew Johnson gave presentations, and of course you remember Georgia congressman Bob Barr, who is a candidate for the Libertarian Party's nomination in 2008 (and, as I have come to realize, blogs for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Other candidates spoke as well.
Of interest to me: there was discussion of how the LP can reach out to the left as well as to the right. Here's the thing: if
the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton elbows her way into being the nominee, I don't know that I would vote for her. I don't know what I'd do, for sure, but a Libertarian candidate that offered more than just the typical Rand-ian approach would be worth considering.
After all, if we fail to preserve our liberty, not much of the rest of this stuff matters. Yes, I support Barack Obama, and I hope he becomes President; but if and when he does, I will be among his leading dissenters should he fail to adequately restore personal freedoms that have been damaged. I'm more flexible on the economic side of things: a little bit of collectivism certainly goes a long way, but it hasn't been demonstrated to me that peace and security can't exist without some. I think people are just greedy, but: whatever. My supply of energy is directed toward the civil liberties side of things, and I'll let others fret about taxes (though I'll join them in decrying wasteful or unnecessary spending).
Wow, I didn't mean for this to become all about me; it started as a simple link to a great live-blog of our state's libertarian gathering. But this is how blogging goes sometimes. Holler at me if you must.
March 7, 2008
His enthusiasm is duly curbed
(What's the over/under on how many bloggers used a title very, very similar to mine when linking to this?)
Maybe if it said "shalt" they would get it
Is the Hamilton County Commission required to appoint an interim Sheriff if one leaves office prematurely? It depends on what one's definition of the word "shall" is. As at least two writers point out in the Chattanoogan, the directive in state law seems awfully clear. It doesn't say that the Commission "may" or "could" or even "should" appoint an interim Sheriff. It says "shall."
District 8 Commissioner Curtis Adams is apparently spearheading the confusion over what shall, or what shan't, be done. Here's an idea. You'll recall that Commissioner Adams (along with Commissioner Bill Hullander) also led the folly that was posting the Ten Commandments at the county courthouse a few years back. As you may know, most of the commandments begin with the words "Thou shalt." And I don't find much chance that either Commissioner will deliberate the meaning of that phrase.
So if we can get state law changed so that it says "the Commission shalt appoint an interim Sheriff" -- even as grammatically poor as that would be -- perhaps we could get somewhere with this thing.
March 6, 2008
Bottled-up feelings about Tennessee trash
All righty, take a look at some of the photos featured on this website. Now take a walk around your neighborhood, or down any local thoroughfare. See that? It is so stupid to litter, but we (meaning, not me; and hopefully not you) leave piles of nasty trash everywhere.
I join 10,000 other monkeys in wanting something done, but I will have to think carefully before supporting the bill that is being proposed. Then again, I suppose any improvement to the current situation is welcome. The only place I can think of that has looked worse (besides third world countries) is the interstate leading into Las Vegas, Nevada from the east.
But does it take new regulation and more dollars spent to get us to clean up our act? Really? This is a beautiful state, y'all. I'm not from here, but I am proud to call it home. Let's all show a little pride and stop throwing our recyclables and garbage onto roadsides and into woodlands. Let's work to implement curbside recycling (or, for some of us, restore it). Let's avoid having "Kramer" and "Newman" trying to figure out how they can scam us. (Okay, that's a somewhat weak argument, but it's a memorable Seinfeld episode, you must admit.)
More perspectives on the bottle bill can be found via VolunteerVoters.