Category Archives: politics

Steve Turner for the 58th…(Turn, Turn, Turn..a time to build up..)

I’ve lived in the 58th State House District for nearly 6th years.  For most of those years, I’ve struggled to see and understand what our current state rep – Mary Pruitt – is doing to represent the north side of town.  Pruitt has served the community for a long time.  Her laundry list of organizations and associations is impressive.  Her lack of presence in our part of the community and her apparent lack of interest in my (and surrounding) neighborhood(s) negates the resume’ for me.  Ms. Pruitt deserves respect for her past, but continuing to vote for someone I’ve seen in our community three times* in six years doesn’t work for me.  Especially when we once again have a good alternative.

Steve Turner exudes energy, and he knows the north end.  I don’t agree with everything he has supported (I am not a big convention center fan in regard to the revenue drain) but the disagreement, even on that issue, is not a litmus test. Going forward, issues such as the digital divide and community development including jobs and education are issues that Turner seems to not only ‘get’ but has the knowledge and know-how to pursue positively.  His background in technology fits with the 21st century needs of our community.  His knowledge of our community and its issues is in stark contrast with his opponent, who in a recent visit to our neighborhood association had not bothered to bone up on any issues affecting our part of town.

My reach and my influence are probably laughable, when it comes to endorsements, but I am happy to vote for Steve Turner, and I urge any of you who are uncertain about the 58th, or uncertain whether to vote, please consider voting for Steve.  We live in an interesting and evolving district.  Our potential is enormous.  Turner gets the future.  Pruitt lives in the past.

*two of those times were when she was running for re-election/campaign appearances.

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Filed under community, endorsements, Folks in Salemtown & Germantown, politics

The curious case of the non-missing rights, or, here’s your bill, what’s your hurry

Let me be the first to admit that the nation survived the Bush administration, and we came out of those years with our rights intact, despite the Patriot Act and the shoe n’ belt ecdysiast dance at the airport, despite the fact that a lot of us feared the worst.  But our fears were small-mashed-mini potatoes compared to the doom n’ gloom Obama hating fear baiting going on right now.

Let’s play a game.  Let’s pretend it’s tomorrow morning.  You walk out of your house.  Name ONE right you don’t have as you walk out of the house that you had when Obama took office.  I’m not talking about what you THINK will happen or speculation, I want to know one right you had back in 2008, you don’t have right now.

I keep hearing about how our rights are being trampled and we are going to be lucky to get out of this with a scintilla of freedom, but we’ve made it through a civil war, people being property, women being largely chattel, apartheid in many states, and the alien and sedition act.  We ain’t got nothing to compare to that.  And yes, I’m not thinking that any sane person wants this much debt, but I don’t see how any sane person would bet against this country.  We’ve been in bigger ruts than this (ask anyone who made it through the great depression).

But, let’s review those rights:

1st amendment: Clearly you can call the current President a socialist, a nazi, a communist, a Kenyan and a racist and do that all on the public airwaves, and not be jailed, so I’m going to say that the ‘free speech’ part of the 1st amendment hasn’t been abridged.

We don’t have a government established religion, we can assemble at the church, synagogue or mosque* of our choice, or stay at home and believe in no higher power than the person who invented the TV remote control.

So..1st amendment: INTACT

2nd amendment: This is quite ironic, and I certainly would say that Obama only gets indirect credit for this, but I’d say if you believe that the right to bear arms is more than just having a militia, you have hit the jackpot in many states.  In our fair state, you can now carry your gun (with a carry permit of course) to bars and to state parks.  In Louisiana, you can carry your gun into church now**.

We have a variety of militias, some state-sanctioned, and many not.  Unless the militia members attempt to blow up a federal building or take over a state, I’d have to say that militias are free to flourish.

So..2nd amendment: INTACT

3rd Amendment: Is anyone forcing you to house any soldiers?  Didn’t think so…

4th Amendment: Last I heard, police still have to have a warrant to enter your house for search and seizure. Probable cause appears to be intact***.

5th Amendment:  Anybody forced to incriminate themselves, not have the right to a grand jury??  I will agree that eminent domain has been abused, but that was by the Supreme Court before Obama was elected, so you can’t pin that one on him.

6th Amendment: You still get a trial..you still get a jury if you wish in a criminal case, you still get to question witnesses against you..anybody wanna seriously make a case that the 6th has been derogated?

7th Amendment: If you want a jury in a civil trial, you get a jury in a civil trial ($20 bucks and above).

8th Amendment: Ask any bail bondsman..Reasonable bail is still available where bail is appropriate.  One can argue that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, but I don’t think you can pin that one on Obama.

9th Amendment: Once again, what rights are you missing as you walk outside your door tomorrow?

10th Amendment: One could reasonably argue that states rights have been eroded for the last 80 years.  Personally in some cases (civil rights, voting rights, environmental law), I’m grateful for the federal government.  My argument deals with personal rights and I’ll leave it to great scholars than me to argue this one.

It’s so easy to decry and proclaim, but if you look at it, we still live in a free country, riddled with imperfection.  My personal belief is that as long as mankind is involved, imperfection comes with the territory.  I firmly believe we have a great country, and it will still be a great free country tomorrow, in 2012, and in 2016.

*except in some parts of Rutherford County

** I’m pretty sure if guns had been allowed in churches in Tennessee during my youth that my personal history would have been greatly altered.  Not because people in my church would have intentionally fired their weapons, but because when people keeled over while falling asleep their guns might have fallen out of their holsters and accidentally discharged.  Believe me, I can ensure you that numerous people in my church would have at least been winged.

***Unless, of course, you are Hispanic, and State Rep Mike Turner sees you and decides you are an illegal immigrant.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100715/NEWS02/100715061/2066/NEWS03

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Filed under apocalypse now, politics

A lite-er shade of Palin, or, Is that all you got?

The media has a lot of damn nerve expecting Veep candidate Sarah Palin to actually answer THEIR questions.  Palin has her answers – maverick – and she is gonna give em’ regardless of the questions.  The so-called debate last Thursday night – maverick – was little more than another chance for Palin to give her well-coached stump speech.  Her call for more ‘Joe Six-Pack’ was but a feeble chimera of faux-populism that will hopefully fall as flat as the current ‘half-of-a-six-pack’ running the country.

And now she has the you-betcha chutzpuh – maverick – to deride Obama for pal-ling around with a ‘radical’ who actually performed his radical acts when Obama was all of eight years old.  Is that all you got, Palin?  Has it come to THiS?  I know that it’s traditional for the Veep candidate to be the attack dog, but this canine doesn’t even have lipstick.  This is nothing more than blip-schtick, unworthy of even Joe McCarthy’s fabled list of the fifties.

Here’s a woman who sleeps with a man who seriously wanted Alaska to secede from the United States of America, and is running with a man who was against torturing prisoners and now is FOR torturing prisoners, who was AGAINST regulating the sub-prime lenders but who is now suddenly going to regulate the stuffing out of them – maverick -, a man who is either for or against off-shore drilling (I can’t remember where he stands NOW) and she’s gonna play the the Obama had a bad friend game?   How about Charles Keating..how about the sick people who smeared McCain back in 2000 working for Karl Rove at the time who are now working FOR McCain.  Forget all this…how in God’s name is Sarah Palin remotely qualified to run this country?  Oh yeah, she loves Israel and Jesus and Joe Six-Pack and hockey moms and can see Russia from her freaking house?

I am actually optimistic that the people of this country are tired of the anti-intellectualism neo-con,  con game stooges who have been ruining our country.  I’m optimistic that the people of this country will see though the stunt nomination of Sarah Palin and the suspension of the campaign and the flip-floppery opportunism of Senator McCain, a man – maverick – who has become little more than the re-incarnation of the current failure-in-chief.

If this is really all you got, Ms Palin – maverick – then bless your heart.

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Filed under politics, tales of stupidity

State-ing the obvious, or, grill my landlord, grill my landlord

Dining in?

Dining in?

I walk to work each morning through one of the most beautiful blocks in Nashville – 5th Avenue through Germantown between Madison and Monroe. Greenery and gardens abound. Friendly faces, hot dogs, Germantown Cafe and front porches. But then, I cross Jefferson. Take a look at the picture. This is what I see when I cross Jefferson. This is what many thousands of people see when they cross the Jefferson Street bridge into our side of town.

The blight in the picture does not stand alone. It seems that a certain landlord purchased every business between 4th and 6th on Jefferson and every business between Jefferson and Jackson (going south from Jefferson) with the intent of tearing down the existing structures and building bigger and nicer structures.

But, and this is quite a but..the businesses moved out, leaving their concrete behind, and the new owner didn’t bother to tear down the abandoned buildings..didn’t bother to clean up the lots, check to see if the buildings were being used as temporary shelter, check to see if a rodent infestation had begun, or check to see if fires started in the vacant lots by squatters might be a little dangerous.

Come on landlord..clean this up, NOW! Not just for my view, but for the fact that this blight is next to the beautiful Bi-Centennial mall, for the fact that people are now living nearby, for the fact that blight begets blight, and for the fact that by God, it’s the right thing to do.

Oh yeah..the landlord. Who is the landlord????

It’s my employer, the wonderful state of Tennessee. Come on Mr. Bredesen, come on general services and public works, take CARE of this mess. I understand (how I understand!) that we don’t have the money to build the new archives and state library and state museum slated for the purchased land, but you need to spend the money to at least level the blight and remove the unsightly and dangerous shelter for homeless who don’t need to living there.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that there has been a rash of burglaries and car-break-ins in the last few months. Our neighborhoods and cars are tempting targets for dwellers in this sad threshold.

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Filed under community, Huh?, politics

4,004 30,000 100,000

Random numbers? Hardly. These are the latest counts of American dead, American wounded and estimates of the Iraqi casualties of the current war in Iraq.

The hubris wrought by this war goes further than dollars and mountains of debt. It is mocked by the graves, the maimed and the lives that will never be the same.

Now that we’ve been entrenched in this morass for so many years, it will be beyond difficult to get out. This election seems to be hinging on so many issues except this war. Yeah, the issues relate to the war – the debt we suffer because of the war DOES effect the economy, but despite the selling of the surge, we are a long way from home.

Despite how you feel about all this, this war should be a paramount issue in this election. We can’t allow obfuscation. We must insist on the real cost, both economically and in the human psyche.

What will those running for President do to undo the damage in foreign relations and out standing with the rest of the world? I do believe our relations can be salvaged, but I’d like to hear what these folks think they can do.

Mostly, I don’t want us (myself included)  to forget that a lot of people have died and are suffering because of all this.

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Filed under Iraq, politics, sanctity of life

Blazing Lieutenant Governor might have to saddle up..(if New York spits out Spitzer)

Lost in the “ho’s over politico’s” imbroglio is the man who would be governor if New York Governor Spitzer decides to step down: David Paterson. Paterson would be the first African-American governor of New York, and possibly the first legally blind governor of any state*.

Paterson is known as an advocate for the visually impaired and is a member of The American Foundation for the Blind. Paterson graduated from Columbia University and a law degree from Hofstra.

Paterson has been considered to be a potential successor to Senator Clinton if she attains her current quest.

Paterson seems to be an impressive individual, but even if he doesn’t make it to the governor’s chair, or the Senate, at least he can still go hunting in Texas. Yep..

*After several minutes of research including a visit to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, I can’t come up with any other legally blind governors.

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Filed under politics

New Rule: If you veto a ban on water-boarding, or speak publicly in favor of water-boarding..

you have to agree to undergo water-boarding. If you are so certain water-boarding is NOT torture, then please, allow a demonstration on YOURSELF so that you can truly subjectively judge how it is or is not torture.

Yesterday, President Bush vetoed a bill which would ban water-boarding as an interrogation tool. The bill would limit the CIA to the 19 interrogation tactics used in the military. Sadly, Congress probably doesn’t have the votes to override the veto.

Here’s one left-wing weak-kneed lily-livered approach to interrogation:

The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor. condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear. However, the use of force is not to be confused with psychological ploys, verbal trickery, or other nonviolent and noncoercive ruses used by the interrogator in questioning hesitant or uncooperative sources.

…………..Consequently, from both legal and moral viewpoints, the restrictions established by international law, agreements, and customs render threats of force, violence, and deprivation useless as interrogation techniques.

In case you didn’t recognize the rhetoric, that passage is from the United States Army Field Manual.

I enjoy the show ’24’ as much as the next guy, but I’d wager to say that the rare occasion for an interrogator to actually save the world or the United States with torture would probably be met with rule-bending, but the truth is, the world is not as simple as ’24’. The ‘code’ of Jack Bauer is the code of comic-book tortured super-hero.

Many of the same people supporting this type of interrogation or people who claim this nation to be Christian or at least founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Please explain to me how water-boarding fits into any form of the Golden Rule, or the admonition to love others as you love yourself?

Christians have argued for hundreds of years about reconciling war and killing others in war with their faith. I don’t see how this argument elevates to water-boarding.

In case anyone from the secret service is reading this blog, I am not suggesting anyone torture the President of the United States. That type of activity is immoral and shouldn’t be practiced on even the most common of criminals, much less on the leader of the country that is supposed to be the democratic beacon on the hill.

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Filed under golden rule stuff, politics, rank hypocrisy