Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Plight of the Taxpayer

"The taxpayer; that's someone who works for the federal government, but doesn't have to take a civil service examination."

Ronald Reagan
40th President of the United States

Spiro T. Agnew (1918-1996) American Vice-President

Three quotes of Spiro Agnew that are intriguing:

"Ultraliberalism today translates into a whimpering isolationism in foreign policy, a mulish obstructionism in domestic policy, and a pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of law and order."

"Yippies, Hippies, Yahoos, Black Panthers, lions and tigers alike --I would swap the whole damn zoo for the kind of young Americans I saw in Vietnam."

My favorite is this one:

"Some newspapers are fit only to line the bottom of bird cages."

The State of Education

"America's founding fathers did not intend to take religion out of education. Many of the nations greatest universities were founded by evangelists and religious leaders; but many of these have lost the founders concept and become secular institutions. Because of this attitude, secular education is stumbling and floundering."

Billy Graham

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"None are more unjust in their judgements of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves."

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Where is Our Time Spent

This is a transcript of a 30 second message that Coach Bill McCartney shared sometime ago. Men, Where are our Priorities?

"We jog, run, camp, fish and build furniture. But, do we ever cross the line?

I'm Bill McCartney...It's 4th and Goal!

I know men who can take raw wood and a few nails and create a family heirloom. And then there are those who can listen to a sputtering engine and pinpoint the problem without even popping the hood. Other guys fly fish or fry up a gourmet meal.

Some of us are music lovers, avid readers and huge pet fans. These interests help fulfill us, but sometimes we can get caught up filling our days...and evenings...and weekends...Pursuing activities that leave our families in the dust.

Take our interest in man's best friend. Our animals are companions for kids, protection for the home and just plain furry fun for the whole family. But, with all the extras and supplies available, there can be a tendency to get a little carried away.

We've got doggy beds, doggy diet chow, and special canine clothing. People primp their pooches, put them up in pet hotels, and even take them to counselors, when they're not sure what's dogging Fido. Things can easily get out of hand.

While we enjoy our outside interests and hobbies, do we let these "extras" become sore spots in our lives? Do they absorb far more time, energy and money than we should be sacrificing?

Any diversion can draw us away from the relationships that we make life worth living. Let's ask ourselves what's more important, fulfilling our own needs or being a father to our children? What will they remember longer? The shiny wax job on the classic 'vette? Or, all those times we got on the ground and wrestled around with them?

Guys, we can take our hobbies to the extreme, pouring money and time into efforts that have no lasting value. Anything we put ahead of our wives and children, wether a pedigreed pooch, a workbench full of tools, or a super-deluxe convertible, says something about who we are, as men. Let's keep first things first and stay clear of anything that pulls us away from our first priorities as fathers and husbands."

Bill McCartney was the head coach of the University of Colorado football team for years, leading them to a co-national Championship. He is the former President and one the founders of Promise Keepers.

"...Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." Phillipians 4:8

Knox County Democrat Chair Co-Host Talk Radio

Jim Gray, Knox County Democrat Party Chairman appeared on the Hallerin Hilton Hill morning talk show.

"THIS WEEK ON THE HHH SHOW:July 25 - July 29 Wednesday Hal`s on vaction this week and so we`ve got some guest hosts to fill in with lots of interesting topics! Angie will be back for the first part of today`s show and Mark Harmen will pick up on the eight o`clock hour with guest Jim Gray, the Knox County Democratic Chairman." Source from newstalk website.

I had a couple of sources, question if he could do this from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm due to the seperation between employment responsibilites within Knox County Government and partisan politics. When I questioned my sources they informed me that Chairman Gray is employed daily for County Clerk Mike Padgett.

With the proof that was presented to me, I was rendered speechless and have no answer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ellen Adcock - Former Victor Ashe Aide and City Council Candidate

Ellen Adcock - Candidate for City Council held a reception this evening at Ramsey's Restaurant. My sources indicate that there were about 100 in attendance with a few influential names. Third District County Commissioner Ivan Harmon, City Council members Rob Frost and Bob Becker, State Representative Harry Tindell and former Third District School Board member D.M. Miller.

Ms. Adcock a democrat activist that was employed throughout the Victor Ashe administration was not retained by the Haslam administration.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Frank Cagle - No longer hosting Sound-off

A source has informed me that Frank Cagle will no longer host Sound-off. Sound-off is a weekly local public affairs call-in show with guest and issues of the day. The Sound-off program airs on WIVK FM 107.7 and Mr. Cagle has hosted it for a couple of years.

The sound-off program has been on air at WIVK for along time. I can remember listening to it when I was a teenager. That has been sometime.

Sad to see Frank move off radio, however, I am sure he will stay with his metro pulse (sorry South Knox Bubba) gig and the website.

Two Criticism Quotes

"If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much" Donald H. Rumsfield

"To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing - Elbert Hubbard

Being in Politics - Eugene McCarthy

"Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important." Eugene McCarthy

Friday, July 22, 2005

Breaking News - Knox County Democrat Party Vice Chairman Resigns

Hubert Smith the third Vice-Chairman resigned last evening in a meeting of the Board of Governors. Here is the text of the resignation letter that was read into the record at the Board of Governors meeting.

This was shocking to all in attendance, especially Knox County Democrat Chairman Jim Gray.

July 21, 2005

On April 5, 2005, I pledged to faithfully serve the Party by supporting its efforts. My personal commitment was to work to overturn the embarrassing disparity of Democrat to Republican officeholders in Knox County.

It seems to me that my personal commitment, to politically balance the elected officeholders in Knox County, is not shared by the majority of leadership in the Party.

The Truman Day Dinner historically has been the biggest social event of the year, and a successful fundraiser to help local candidates. To cancel the Truman Day Dinner, in my opinion, is an egregious act of disloyalty to the faithful Democrats in Knox county and East Tennessee at-large, who expect and support this annual event.

This, in my opinion, is a direct reflection of ineffective leadership at the top. We were told in June that there was a committee actively working on details. We now know that in fact there was no committee in place and was formed only a few weeks ago.

I no longer support the Knox County Party Chairman, and therefore I can no longer fulfill the oath and my sworn pledge to support the Party when I took office on April 5, 2005. I resign from the distinguished position of 3rd Vice-Chairman of the Democrat Party of Knox County Tennessee Board of Governors 2005-2007, effective immediately, this 21st day of July 2005.

Hubert Smith
July 21, 2005

It appears that the Democrats will not have a Truman Day Dinner in preparation for the 2006 election cycle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Judge John Roberts - The right nominee for the United States Supreme Court

I have a new link area entitled Important Issues - That Demand Attention. The one link that is currently there is a link to a website by Progress for America that details Judge Roberts background and his judicial record. It will inform you of what you can do to ensure that Judge Roberts is not "Borked" by the liberal miniority of the United States Senate.

We need Judge Roberts Now, more than ever.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

General Douglas MacArthur - Republican Party Convention - October 1962

"There is not one incident in the history of humanity in which defeatism led to peace which was anything other than a complete fraud."

A Prayer For My Son

A Prayer For My Son; Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength. Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain." ----General Douglas MacArthur

Harry Potter

About 7 hours ago my son and I went to the Wal Mart at Turkey Creek Road and purchased his copy of the latest Harry Potter book. The media reports about what the various bookstores were doing at 12:01am had me convinced that if you go to Wal Mart that is open 24 hours that no one will be there. We arrived about 11:40pm and were looking around in the book section at 11:45pm the 10 or so people that were there began to form a line. At 11:55pm the lady informed the line to move toward the fitting room, in essence the line went from the front to the back, instead of side to side. At 12:01am when the books were put out, we received about the 20th copy. As we headed to the cash register to pay, I looked back and there were about 150 people in line. So much for no one showing up at the Wal Mart.

To think that thousands and millions of people worldwide actually travel to a store at a specific time to purchase a book.

At least young and old are reading. And remember it is Fiction.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Marriage Under Fire - Dr. James Dobson

The third book that I read on vacation was Marriage Under Fire by Dr. James Dobson. This is a small book that can be read within a couple of hours. It was published last year (2004) as an instruction manual for setting the debate on the Federal Marriage amendment that Congress, Senate and the Presidential campaign was focused on.

If you are an active reader of my blog, you are aware that I am against gay marriage protection. Now, those of you that are liberal and pro-gay, can call me a homophobe, hateful and a bigot. As a former elected official, I have had worse things said about me to my face and by cowards that said it behind my back. I know who my enemies are. Derogatory words by illiterate people have never caused me concern, because you demonstrate your motives with what you say.

If you want to see the destruction that gay marriage provides, look to Norway, Denmark and Sweden, whose leaders embraced "de facto" marriage between homosexuals in the nineties. In Norway 80% of first born children are conceived out of wedlock, as are 60% of subsequent births. This is evidence that gay marriage leads to the destruction of the traditional marriage.

The legalization of gay marriage leads to polygamy and other alternatives to one-man/one-woman unions. In Utah, polygamist Tom Green, who claims five wives is appealing a judgment against him. The ACLU of Utah has actually suggested that the state will "have to step up to prove that a polygamous relationship is detrimental to society"

Legalizing gay marriage will be harmful to children. Homosexuals are rarely monogamous , often having as many as three hundred or more partners in a lifetime. Children like things to stay just the way they are, and they hate change. Some have been known to eat the same brand of peanut butter throughout childhood. Public schools in every state will be required to teach this perversion as the moral equivalent to traditional marriage, thus continuing to confuse and hurt the defenseless, children.

These are but a few of the problems with the protection of gay marriage. I encourage you to read this book and to go in depth into the issue of protecting traditional marriage. Help protect America from sliding into the state of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Texas Governor Rick Perry quote

Texas Governor Rick Perry in a radio ad has a one-liner that is worthy of spreading. .

" And more education for your money, not just more money for education."

It is unfortunate that Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen doesn't have the same values. Governor Phil made millions on managed health care and can't fix TennCare, which was his #1 campaign promise. Governor Phil then creates a pre-k program to chew up dollars like a buzz saw, when he has yet to solve the low test scores, especially in the urban areas.

There is a political reason for Bredesen, his legacy and results will not be held accountable for success until the first pre-k'er graduates high school in 12-16 years. By then Governor Phil will be in a retirement house in Townsend, TN next door to Governor Don, sharing laughs and coffee on the front porch.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blogger Power

Yesterday I received the July 2005 issue of Governing magazine. I enjoy this magazine, more than others. The cover story is entitled Blogger Power, it details Austin, TX Eileen Smith and her blog In The Pink Texas. Her blog covers the Texas Legislature.

There is a sidebar story about a couple of Texas legislators that blog from the floor of the legislative chambers. I kept looking for State Representative Stacy Campfield's name in the story. With the growing blogsphere, there will be additional stories.

This is a great awareness story for individuals not currently in the blogsphere.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Death's Acre - Dr. Bill Bass

Several of my friends asked me, what books are you taking on vacation? When I told them Winning the Future by Newt Gingrich, they understood. When I included Death's Acre by Dr. Bill Bass, they were perplexed. I read Death's Acre for one reason, it is the mandatory summer read for all Farragut High School students.

Would I have purchased a copy and read it for any other reason. Probably not. This goes back to the philosophy that Newt talked about in Winning the Future and that I have always practiced with my kids. The only exception, I tried to read Harry Potter when my oldest son started reading them with the first release but I just couldn't. Otherwise when my kids are reading a book, I read it also. My kids are baffled sometimes when they start singing a song from the radio they hear and I complete the line. As a parent, we should always be aware of what is going on in the culture, community and with our kids.

Now back to the book, Dr. Bass has had an interesting life. The stories from the Indian burial sites in South Dakota and how, when he was pressed for a tight time line to find the burial site. He used the ants to determine the burial sites. The stories of Colonel Shy and Dr. Bass missing the date of death by 113 years.

There are so many great stories in the book. The Zoo Man chapter was especially interesting to me. The reason is that from 1994-1998, I served on the Knox County Jail Inspection Committee. I was appointed by the Knox County Commission, I served as a member one year and Chairman for the additional three years. In that capacity the committee would speak with Thomas "Zoo Man" Huskey and all other inmates of the four Knox County Correctional facilities to check their housing conditions and to ensure that there were no grievances for mistreating by officers or administration.

It was interesting to read about the case of Chigger Hardin who two years after he died, was discovered outside the Tri-State Crematory. His body was believed to be in an ash box. How working with the families Attorney from Cleveland, TN Bill Brown they were able to properly dispose of Chigger Hardin's body in the way that he wished to have his earthly body disposed of.. A proper cremation. I consider Bill Brown a friend, he currently serves on the Cleveland City School Board, I was able to make his acquaintance while we both served on the Tennessee School Boards Association Board of Directors and the Tennessee Legislative Network of the Association.

The one major disappointment that I have in this book, is that as Dr. Bass dealt with the loss of his first wife of 40 years, his mother and his second wife. His father died of a self-inflicted gun shot, when Dr. Bass was much younger. Dr. Bass departed from his view of God and an afterlife.

"All my life I'd been a believing Christian. I wasn't without doubts-what thinking person ever is?-but still I trusted in the existence of a loving God. I'd grown up in the church;I'd taught Sunday school for years; I'd taken youth groups to Mexico for summer mission projects. But that instant in the ER - the instant Annette died - I seemed to feel my religious faith die, too" "As I thought more about it in the bleak days and weeks that followed, I decided the Bible had gotten it exactly backward."

He goes on to to quote a Greek philosopher some 2,500 years ago. I suspected at the time I read this that it was his grief speaking and surely at the end of the book. A Sunday school teacher, youth mission leader and practicing Christian would resolve that this is the grief speaking. Not a follower of our loving and living God.

And then in the chapter Ashes to Ashes he explains driving to Noble, GA home of the Tri-State crematory. In what I took as sarcastic tone (my interruption's, I could be wrong) "A sign directs the faithful to Center Point Baptist Church ("Where Jesus is King"), a few hundred yards down the road on the right."

And finally in one of the last chapters of the book entitled And When I Die, he removes all doubt. "Once upon a time I believed in an afterlife. I believed in it for fully sixty years after my father shot himself. But when Ann died, and then Annette died, and suddenly nothing I'd grown up believing about God and heaven made any sense to me any longer. We're organisms; we're conceived , we're born, we live, we die, and we decay. But as we decay we feed the world of the living; plants and bugs and bacteria."

I am not sure that is real relevant to have this thoughts and ideology on God and the afterlife spread throughout the book. However, I am not the author and Dr. Bass is.

I do not understand how a man that is considered an expert witness in life and death cases in courtrooms all across America. A man that has seen the complex human body in the its most defenseless state and he has concluded (due to tough breaks) that there is not a God directing the affairs of men and women and how the only joy and life that we have is here on earth, that there is no afterlife. That belief by Dr. Bass is amazing to me.

Does Dr. Bass have a right to have his beliefs and do I have a right to my beliefs? Absolutely. Do I believe Dr. Bass is wrong and I am right? Yes. Would Dr. Bass think that I am wrong and he is right? I would assume so. When our individual lives are over. We will know know that answer, individually.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Winning The Future - A 21st Century Contract With America - Newt Gingrich

This is a great book for anyone interested in good government operation. Newt has really flourished with his views and articulates them much better since leaving public office. I have always been a fan of Newt, as a Congressman and then as Speaker of the House. He took one for the team, when he resigned after the Republicans lackluster election performance. I should note that I have possessed on my vehicles in the past a "Newt Speaks For Me" bumper sticker.

Some worthy excerpts from Wining the Future are:

On Public Employee Unions: "America is a better country for the dedication of Samuel Gompers and others who worked to create the union movement. But the union movement as it stands today has become an obstacle to America's economic growth because the union leadership is often resistant to necessary change." Newt talks about how the Private sector unions have had to change to compete, however, the leadership of public employees unions is the worst. The public employees unions do not face the same pressure to change in order to compete. "They want to get as much out of the taxpayer as they can, and they want to avoid job changes for their members as much as possible.""They have become the most politically active union in the country. The more they control the school boards, state legislatures, and congressional delegations, the more they can deliver for their members and game the system to their favor." Amen Newt.

On Balancing The Federal Budget: "We must replace administrative public bureaucracy with entrepreneurial public management to get the kind of improvements in productivity in the public sector that have happened in the private sector." "We must privatize government agencies including the airports, Amtrak, the post office and the Tennessee Valley Authority. We need to develop partnerships between government and the private sector for those systems that need to remain in government but would benefit from the entrepreneurial drive and additional human and financial resources a private partner can bring to bear."

This point is right on. Governmental agencies should only perform the task that are essential to the mission of the agency. My personal philosophy for years has been..If you can find in the phone book, Government ought not be doing it.

On The Key to 21st Century Success - Science and Technology:
"We should set as a goal eliminating 50 percent of the education bureaucracy outside the classroom and the laboratory and dedicate the savings to financing the improvements in math and science education."

He hits the point on the education bureaucracy (in the past I have referred to it, as the education Mafia)

"We now have curriculum specialist who consult curriculum consultants who work with curriculum supervisors who manage curriculum department heads who occasionally actually met with teachers. The more we have spent on education, the smaller the share we have spent on inspiring and rewarding those doing the educating."

On Getting Government to Move:
"Every Agency and every project must have:
1. A definition of success:
2. Strategies to achieve success;
3. Specific strategies necessary to succeed;
4. Specific tasks to compete the projects;
5. A requirement that customers, private sector experts, and Congress be consulted as a reality check on the bureaucracy."

This is a not a novel idea to those of us with years of private sector business experience. To government bureaucrats that have never been employed outside the government this is as
realistic as them taking the next flight on the starship enterprise. All Government agencies should look toward bringing in individuals to key positions that have spent a considerable amount of time in the private sector, justifying and competing for their paychecks every week.
The characteristics of any good "governmental change agent" is set up every agency and every project using the 5 point plan outlined above.

On What You Can Do to Win The Future:

Newt talks about what you should do as a student, as a teacher, as a parent, as an alumnus, as a voter and ultimately as an American. I am going to highlight the portion as a parent and then as a voter. Because that fits me, more than the others. As a father reaching 40 quickly, the alumnus fire is leaving me as I approach paying for three college educations in the near future.

"As a parent you should pay attention to school campuses, textbooks, class activities, and special projects. You should visit your child's classes and meet the teachers. You should complain if the textbooks, the curriculum, or special activities are biased and teach values incompatible with your own. You should insist on accountability so you can know whether your child is learning and whether or not the school is functioning effectively. You should insist on and be very supportive of discipline as the first key to an effective school, and the principal should know that he or she could count on you for support even if it is your child who needs disciplining."

As a former school board member, in the four years that I served we adopted and purchased many different textbooks and not one time did any parent call the board members or appear at a board meeting to acknowledge that they examined a textbook or complained about a specific textbook. I have a copy of a history book that is used today, that has severe re-writing errors. By the way, it was purchased before I became a board member.

I am a product of the Knox County School System. I made the decision to enroll my children in public education. I stay abreast of issues with each child's classroom and curriculum and when task like leaf collection are assigned that do not fit with the curriculum, I let the principal know. My role is to be a responsible parent, first and foremost. My wife and kids are the most precious gifts that God has blessed me with. I am certainly not worthy with what he has blessed me with.

"As a voter, your school board, state legislator, governor, and federal officials serve you. Hold them accountable."

I am amazed at some of the people that get elected to positions. They don't want to get yelled and/or cussed at. They never attend community meetings. They never accept speaking engagements in their community. They rely on someone else on their board to speak in their community and never take positions. I am not sure if it because they do not study the issues
or understand the role they play. Maybe they need the position so bad they feel to keep their head down and never make anybody mad will keep them without any opponent and sure of a government paycheck for 12-18 years.

I on the other hand, attended all the community meetings that I could the four years that I served as an elected official. I was the first and only school board member in the history of the Knox County School System to host town hall type meetings at every school in the district all four years. They were called "Community School Night". I studied all the issues and made the decision that I felt represented my community and my core beliefs. In hindsight, it took a ton of time, and I am enjoying the view from where I am today.

Book Reviews, Forthcoming

While vacationing in an undisclosed location for the past two weeks. I have read the following books: Winning the Future by Newt Gingrich, Death's Acre by Dr. Bill Bass and Marriage Under Fire by Dr. James Dobson.

I will be posting my thoughts on each book.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Karns Elementary School Bible Case

The latest in the Karns Elementary School Bible case. It has now been reported on an internet teen site. Battle Cry is a youth movement that has begun with stadium events in the summer/fall of 2005 through the spring of 2006. Ron Luce, a nationally respected youth ministry leader and author is one of the primary organizers of the Battle Cry events.

The Battle Cry website is a great source of information on what the youth of today are facing and how we as believers and youth leaders can do to help them face the temptations and struggles they see every day. We can talk and counsel them, but ultimately they make the hard and tough decisions.

I Apologize

I am on Vacation and failed on June 23rd to post that I would be in an undisclosed location with NO internet service for "a few days." Thus my posting would suffer a meltdown. I will be back to posting and with a new look, soon.

Thank you for your concern.