Friday, December 30, 2005

Silent NO More By Rod Parsley

It is Friday December 30, 2005 and I have just completed the book Silent No More, authored by Rod Parsley. The subtitle is “Bringing moral clarity to America…while freedom still rings”

Rod Parsley is the senior pastor of World Harvest Church in Columbus, OH In addition to his pastoral duties; he is the founder and president of The Center for Moral Clarity His ministry website is located at

This book was an excellent resource for me to end 2005. At the conclusion of the book are all the sited references to back up every point.

In Chapter 1 Judicial Tyranny - he documents the history of our founding fathers beliefs and convictions. He documents with facts the governing of our country by the black robes. You must read the excerpt of Judge Phyllis Hamilton (an appointee of President Bill Clinton) ruling that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act as unconstitutional.

In Chapter 2 Race – He documents the issue of race. He acknowledges, rightly so that the most segregated society in todays culture is Sunday mornings in the Church.

In Chapter 3 Poverty – He documents the plight of poverty in America and the world, welfare hand-outs and the constant cycle of welfare merry go round.

“The federal government must and shall quit this business of relief. To dole out relief is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

In Chapter 4 Homosexuality – The Unhappy Gay Agenda – he documents the homosexual lifestyle. He documents the radical extremist of the homosexual movement. There is good news in the chapter about those individuals and the growing number that are now leaving the homosexual lifestyle for a normal traditional lifestyle.

In Chapter 5 Islam – The Deception of Allah – Details the beginning of Mohammad and Islam as a religion and the many different interpretations of the Muslim religion.

In Chapter 6 Education – he documents the effect and influence of the Education Association and their grasp and control on the education system.

In Chapter 7 Life – he details the travesty of 13 million lives lost through the infanticide known as Abortion.

In Chapter 8 Media: The enemy in our midst – details how the music, movie and combined media have contributed to the slippery slope America is presently headed down.

Martin Niemoeller, a Lutheran pastor in Germany prior to World War II, commented on the days leading up to the terrible conflict:

“In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t Jewish. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Finally, they came for me but there was no one left to speak up.”

Hitler ordered Niemoeller arrested once and sentenced for seven months in 1937. Hitler then ordered him arrested again and Niemoller spent 7 years in concentration camps.

Rod Parsley concludes the book with:

If you live with perversion long enough, it begins to seem normal and right – even if it is abnormal and wrong.

So, I have chosen to be silent no more. It is my hope that you will do the same. Speak for those who cannot speak. Speak from your pain what others cannot know. Speak the wisdom of the ancients in a world enamored of the new. And speak the truth of God to those who know only the answers of this secular age. Remember, if we are silent much longer, we may not be able to speak out at all.

Join Me. Be Silent No More. Our times demand it, Our History compels it. Our future requires it. And God is watching.

I encourage you to put this book on your list to read in 2006. There will be a new link section on Brian’s blog entitled Silent NO More. The website links are from the action points in the book.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Heart of Change by John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen

It is December 29, 2005 and I have just completed the book The Heart of Change co-authored by John P. Kotter. (he is the author of Leading change) In October 2001 Business Week magazine rated Kotter as the #1 “leadership-guru” in America based on a survey they conducted of 504 enterprises. Dan S. Cohen is also co-author of this project. Dan Cohen is a Prinicipal with Deloitte Consulting where he focuses his consulting activities on large scale organizational transformation.

This book is a great follow-up to Leading Change. The secondary title is Real Life Stories of how People Change Their Organizations. It details the eight steps to real change in a company or organization.

Step 1 is Increase Urgency
Step 2 is Build the Guiding Team
Step 3 is Get the Vision Right
Step 4 is Communicate for Buy-In
Step 5 is Empower Action
Step 6 Create Short-Term Wins
Step 7 is Don’t Let Up
Step 8 is Make Change Stick

There are some several stories that impact each step. I will highlight one from each step.

In Step 1 The Videotaping of an Angry Customer - details how a companies employees couldn’t understand a specific customers problems with their product. So an executive with the company videotaped a customer trying to work with the product and it demonstrated his frustration. It changed the companies attitude toward the customer and changed them into a more customer focused organization.

In Step 2 General Mollo and I Were Floating In The Water - details how a team were on an outing in team building. General Mollo and Roland de Vries were from separate parts of the organization. Their boat capsized and they were floating in the water. General Mollo declares “I can’t swim” and de Vries says it is o.k. I am a strong swimmer. They shared personal stories about Vietnam and their families for 30 minutes until they were rescued. That is team building in the truest sense.

In Step 3 The Plane Will Not Move - details how in the construction of airplanes. Airplanes will move through multiple sections of a manufacturing hangar to be assembled. The standard operating procedure is that if a part was not available at section A, but all was completed they would send the plane to section B and disassemble the plane at the conclusion and put in the part from section A and put back. A time-consuming effort, to say the least. A new CEO comes in and announces The Plane Will Not Move. If a part isn’t available the plane will sit. It put accountability on everyone from purchasing to ensure the parts are ordered and on time to the assemblers to ensure they are ready to function. It put accountability on everyone from purchasing to ensure the parts are ordered and on time to the assemblers to ensure they are ready to perform their function when needed.

In Step 4 The Screen Saver - details how a company had a shared vision, everyone in the company knew the vision but the company was not communicating the shared vision. Screen Savers on the employees work stations were varied some had personal pictures, downloaded images etc. One morning all the employees turn on their computers and their on the machines was the shared vision as their screen savers. It got the employees talking, “when I turned on my work station this morning” “Oh did you get one of those new screen savers, too” it effectively communicated the shared vision “We will be #1 in the U.K. market by 2001”

In Step 5 I survived, So, You Can Too - Ron a former employee of Lexmark hauls all 200 employees into a meeting to talk with them about the change that occurred at Lexmark and how he changed and how the company changed for the better and it allowed everyone else to see Ron, survived and we will too.

In Step 6 The Senator Owned A Trucking Company - it detailed how a State Senator owned a trucking company and when he was asked he produced 15 forms that he had to fill out and when the organization got to work they reduced the paperwork to 1 form.

In Step 7 The Merchant of Fear – A company generates a skit using different characters and videotapes the skits and then shows the videotape to the company executives. It generated discussions of “is that me?” and months later “you are beginning to sound like the merchant of fear”

In Step 8 The Boss Went to Switzerland – details how a lean operating executive was sent to the company headquarters for five years in Switzerland, after three years he had to return due to plummeting numbers. When he returned he found a new layer of management. The executive put in his place did not share his vision of a lean operating machine.

I have already encouraged you to read Leading Change and this is a must read as well. If you are involved in companies or organizations that must change these books are exceptional. At the conclusion it details how anyone in an organization or company can lead change. My company has changed many times, always for the better by people that do not refer to themselves as “change agents or change leaders”

In my experience outside the corporate world beware of persons that refer to themselves as “change agents” because when you look at their organization within 3-5 years there is little to no change. The change that has occurred, has happened in spite of them. The self-proclaimed “change agent” is a modern day snake oil salesmen.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas To All

It is December 24th, Christmas eve 2005. Part of my extended family are suffering the loss of their mother, grandmother, aunt and loved one. The receiving of friends was held today from 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m. It was a time to see faces and people I haven't seen in a number of years and this afternoon was a time to think about Christmas of long ago. Some great memories of a time without technology and a more carefree time.

I wanted to take this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I will be spending time with family and friends and trying to keep all of my computers down, so its unlikely that I will post very much between now and 2006.

Christmas is an important time for my family and I. It is a time when we celebrate God coming to earth in a human body, born as baby to Mary and Joseph (common people with an uncommon calling) he lived for 32 years as a perfect man. The world turned on him, even one of his "loyal followers" betrayed him and they crucified Christ and buried him. He died on the cross for my sins and yours. The good news is that he is not still in the tomb. On Friday they killed him but Sunday he rose again and he sits on the throne, waiting to take his bride (the church) home.

No matter what kind of Friday that you maybe going through the great news is that Sunday is on the way. Put your trust in our Holy, Heavenly Father and he will see you through.

Thanks for reading my blog this year, I will Lord willing return to blogging in 2006. May God richly bless you and yours.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Several United States Senators that I respect have joined with our United States Senator Lamar Alexander in supporting our United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. I have always respected our Senator and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and George Allen (R-VA).

Here is the press release and let me say here I believe these Senators and U.N. Ambassador Bolton are correct. It is easy to grandstand about not supporting the U.N. and how we should pull out. These Senators and the Ambassador are walking the walk for their talk, all of the United States Senators and Congressmen should stand with these Senators and our Ambassador.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has joined nine other senators in a letter to United Nations Ambassador John Bolton supporting his plan to oppose the UN’s biennial budget unless it includes a number of significant reforms.

“The U.N. is dragging its heels and we want to encourage Ambassador Bolton’s efforts to bring about some much-needed reforms,” said Alexander.

The letter to Ambassador Bolton, authored by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), states, “Consensus exists on the need for UN reform, and many reform measures have been proposed. Unfortunately, the recent UN World Summit did not produce tangible UN reforms and we fear the current momentum for UN reform will be lost if the UN adopts a 2-year budget which does not include key reform measures.

“Therefore, we support your decision to vote against any budgetary matter unless and until significant reforms are also accepted, including a credible Human Rights Council that does not include human rights violators, an independent ethics office, expanded and strengthened financial disclosure requirements, enhanced resources and autonomy for the Office of Independent Oversight Services (OIOS), a review of UN mandates over five years old, fair treatment of Israel, and a plan to redeploy UN personnel to improve efficiency.”

The senators cited several recent instances illustrating the need for UN reform including:
The “Oil for Food” program has resulted in an ongoing multi-billion dollar scandal that reaches up to the highest levels of the UN structure;
UN peacekeepers stationed to maintain order and civility have been found guilty of raping the very refugees they were sent to protect, and;
The world’s worst human rights violators still sit on the UN Human Rights Commission and pass judgment on democracies.

Senators signing the letter in addition to Alexander and Coleman included Gordon Smith (R-OR), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), George Allen (R-VA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Leading Change - John P. Kotter

I have just concluded the book Leading Change. The author John P. Kotter is a graduate of MIT and Harvard. He joined the faculty at Harvard in 1972. In 1980, at the age of thirty-three he was voted tenure and a full professorship.

He has numerous projects dating back to 1982, Several years ago I read the book by Jim Collins, Good to Great, my first copy has post it flags, paper clips everything coming out of it. In 2004, the Superintendent of Knox County Schools provided copies to the board as I have been able to have a clean copy on my bookshelf in my office. At the time I whole heartily endorsed all principals and administrators reading Good to Great over the 2004 summer. It was a book that transformed my life.

In John Kotter's book Leading Change he details how organizations must change the culture and in what order it must first be accomplished. How some individuals may not be the right fit for a change. About 15 - 20 years ago when you joined a company, you were given several very large three ring binders and were informed to be familiar with the contents as the years passed and technology has changed the company has also changed, the 4 inch three ring binders are now gone. Several years ago customers would communicate with company's and representatives of companies and were satisfied with an answer in 4 - 7 days. Today, if the answer is not delivered within 48 hours, you are behind your competition and most likely out of business.

The organization and company must work within itself to establish the new culture and the new message and then individuals within the organizations and companies either change with the leadership and company or they will attempt to undermine the message and ultimately ruin the organization and company.

Individuals that accept new challenges and opportunities and become "life long learners" overcome the obstacles of change and advance to greater levels of responsibilities within organizations and companies.

If you like to absorb books that can profoundly change your mind set and improve your life and actions in business and in your personal life, I encourage you to read Leading Change.

The follow-up book The Heart of Change is co-authored by John Kotter and Dan S. Cohen and is my next read.

Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

TN Democrat Chairman Bob Tuke - Head Of The Heman Woman Haters Club?

This from Sharon Cobb had my interest. State Representative Beth Harwell would be an excellent candidate for Governor. Why? She is qualified, She is articulate, She is capable and She can and will beat Governor Phillip Bredesen if she will run for office. There are others that meet all the criteria that I have explained. However, Bob Tuke has now shown his cards, Bredesen's numbers are way down and Tuke sends a letter that can only be described as an attempt to intimidate her from running. Does this make him the Head Of The Heman Woman Haters Club?

Representative Harwell, They are scared of you. All the more reason to run and run against Bredesen's lack of managerial leadership on TennCare, his party's involvement in the Tennessee Waltz, his shredding of sexual harassment documents in the Governor's office, his lack of control in the Department of Safety and his lack of leadership at the Tennessee Highway Patrol, his deputy governor driving 87 miles an hour in a 70 mile per hour zone, his promotions for campaign donations, his lack of leadership in graduation rates, his order to conduct an election almost immediately to replace Senator John Ford with his sister Ophelia and ignoring the citizens of Bradley, Polk and Meigs County and waiting three months to order an election to replace Representative Chris Newton.

Liberal Extremist Senator (NOT President) John Kerry

In his most recent email, today 12/21/05. Senator John Kerrey took the time to Wish every one a Merry Christmas? NO. He is "politically correct".

Thank the God of the Universe (you know the God that kids can't pray to in school) that he isn't President today.

Teresa and I wish you and your family a very happy holiday and a happy new year.

Let's keep fighting for a stronger America.


John Kerry

This Should Have NEVER occurred

From this mornings Knoxville News-Sentinel and this from Volunteer TV.

Apparently, a young middle school girl was in a Holston Middle School health class and KPD (Knoxville Police Department) comes into the class to talk about DUI and the danger of Driving Under the Influence. As they show pictures of accidents. A picture flashes up of the death scene of the girls father.

The problem is NO one really pays for this incompetence. When KPD or the school district pay out the $800,000.00 the family is asking for, it is OUR tax money not KPD or the school district's money. Whoever put these pictures together needs to have researched the case and if there was a question, don't use it. The individual responsible needs to be relieved of their position and the taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for incompetence.

Why can't they swap pictures with Texas or California so as not to have this type of incident occur in the first place. Guilt has been admitted by suspending the program and providing a home bound teacher.

My thoughts and prayers are with this young girl.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Little Harold (Ford, Jr)

My friend, Adam Groves of the infamous Simply I blog has an excellent post here about the Ford family and some real Republicans and a possible RINO. The reason that I enjoyed this post is the quote attributed to my good friend and Republican Chairman, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Bob Davis. Here is the quote.

"Congressman Ford (senior) has a history of making irresponsible statements...What I do know is that every time he opens his mouth is 100 less votes for his son...What we're going to be doing (in the campaign) is talking about the congressman's record, but you can't help but think about it. At the end of the day, people are going to be thinking about whether Harold Ford Jr. is like his father or (uncle and convicted tax evader) Emmitt or Ophelia."

Little Harold, Little Harold, Think about this. You are indeed a FORD.

New Northwest High School Suffers An Additional Delay

This from today's Knoxville News-Sentinel and this from Volunteer TV WVLT concerning last nights Knox County School Board meeting.

This school continues to be the red headed step child of the Knox County School Board. It has one school board member, Indya Kincannon of Knoxville inner city still trying to reject the school all together. Last night, she advocated to rezone the students from Farragut to Carter, Halls to South-Doyle, Gibbs to Karns and every school in between. Her possible motives and continuing efforts to reject this new school will require a separate post in the near future.

This school has already suffered a 1 year delay. The architect and school board during the hiring process, publicly stated the school would be built and ready for occupancy by 2007-2008, only to now delay it until 2008-2009. The $40.0 million dollar budget for this school is above and beyond the school systems capital fund. Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and the 19 member Knox County Commission has given the $40.0 million to the school system for the sole purpose of this project.

In previous post, here and here, I have documented all the additional programming that have driven this project to the price tag where it is today. In talking with a school board member last night, following the meeting, I was assured that the $3.0 million dollar plus field house has been eliminated.

The problems that the students in west Knox county have are 1.) Indya Kincannon 2.) a couple of career politicians on the school board that refuse to discuss anything that may affect "their" projects. 7th district Diane Dozier and 8th district Jim Williams. They talk a good game in public about doing what's right "for the children" but when it comes time to walk the walk for all their talk. They really only mean "the children" of their district. Jim Williams has NEVER voted for a project in the west end of the county, while receiving pork barrel project after pork barrel project in his sparsely populated district.

The County Mayor and County Commission should have taken the $40.0 million dollars, selected a site, built the building and handed the keys to the school district in 2007-2008. Because this building may never be built, this way. It took 1 year to break ground from the time the school district had the $40 million dollars. The wheel tax passed in November 2004 and was appropriated in December 2004, the ground was broken on December 2, 2005, and now it suffers another delay.

A New Middle/High School To Cost $25.0 Million

This from todays Chattanoogan. Hamilton County School Superintendent Jesse Register and Hamilton County School Board are proposing a new Signal Mountain Middle/High School and the price tag is only $25.0 million. Wow. Two schools for $25.0 million. The design phase ha sjust begun and it will open in 2008.

Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus that can deliver, if not controlled by at least three school board grinch's.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bredesen Begins To Wake-Up

I believe it may be too late, however, according to today's Chattanoogan,and the Associated Press story located at the knoxnews website. Governor Phillip has called a special ethics session to begin on January 10. I believe this call is in direct response to his plunging poll numbers, the numerous calls from Bob Davis, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and the Tennessee GOP, the numerous expose's by the Tennessean and the many bloggers across the state, including myself.

This troubling Bredesen quote is very revealing "We’ve been trying to play a leadership role behind the scenes," Bredesen said last week.Governor in Tennessee the government operates in the open, not behind the scenes. You must stop the practice of governing "behind the scenes"

I realize Phillip, you have come kicking and screaming to this decision. I also realize I have had nothing good to say about you recently. However, I believe in finding the good and praising it. This is Good and I praise it.

Speech By The President Last Night

In what I believe was one of the best speeches that President Bush has delivered to the American people, last night in my book was the best. I contemplated how I wanted to highlight portions of the speech that I felt were points to be brought forward. I decided in order to keep everything in context, not to be accused of "spinning". I would provide the complete text of the President's speech and bold some important text. So here it is.

Great Job, Mr. President. Stay the course, Finish the Job, Only the liberals believe in duck and run, not the American people.

9:01 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Three days ago, in large numbers, Iraqis went to the polls to choose their own leaders -- a landmark day in the history of liberty. In the coming weeks, the ballots will be counted, a new government formed, and a people who suffered in tyranny for so long will become full members of the free world.

This election will not mean the end of violence. But it is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote -- 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world -- means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror.

All who had a part in this achievement -- Iraqis, and Americans and our coalition partners -- can be proud. Yet our work is not done. There is more testing and sacrifice before us. I know many Americans have questions about the cost and direction of this war. So tonight I want to talk to you about how far we have come in Iraq, and the path that lies ahead.

From this office, nearly three years ago, I announced the start of military operations in Iraq. Our coalition confronted a regime that defied United Nations Security Council resolutions, violated a cease-fire agreement, sponsored terrorism, and possessed, we believed, weapons of mass destruction. After the swift fall of Baghdad, we found mass graves filled by a dictator; we found some capacity to restart programs to produce weapons of mass destruction, but we did not find those weapons.

It is true that Saddam Hussein had a history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction. It is true that he systematically concealed those programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As your President, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. Yet it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

He was given an ultimatum -- and he made his choice for war. And the result of that war was to rid a -- the world of a murderous dictator who menaced his people, invaded his neighbors, and declared America to be his enemy. Saddam Hussein, captured and jailed, is still the same raging tyrant -- only now without a throne. His power to harm a single man, woman, or child is gone forever. And the world is better for it.

Since the removal of Saddam, this war, like other wars in our history, has been difficult. The mission of American troops in urban raids and desert patrols, fighting Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists, has brought danger and suffering and loss. This loss has caused sorrow for our whole nation -- and it has led some to ask if we are creating more problems than we're solving.

That is an important question, and the answer depends on your view of the war on terror. If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone.

This is not the threat I see. I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims -- a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed. Terrorist operatives conduct their campaign of murder with a set of declared and specific goals -- to de-moralize free nations, to drive us out of the Middle East, to spread an empire of fear across that region, and to wage a perpetual war against America and our friends. These terrorists view the world as a giant battlefield -- and they seek to attack us wherever they can. This has attracted al Qaeda to Iraq, where they are attempting to frighten and intimidate America into a policy of retreat.

The terrorists do not merely object to American actions in Iraq and elsewhere, they object to our deepest values and our way of life. And if we were not fighting them in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Southeast Asia, and in other places, the terrorists would not be peaceful citizens, they would be on the offense, and headed our way.

September the 11th, 2001 required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously, and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them. On that day, we were not in Iraq, we were not in Afghanistan, but the terrorists attacked us anyway -- and killed nearly 3,000 men, women, and children in our own country. My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad, removing their safe havens, and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight we share.

The work in Iraq has been especially difficult -- more difficult than we expected. Reconstruction efforts and the training of Iraqi security forces started more slowly than we hoped. We continue to see violence and suffering, caused by an enemy that is determined and brutal, unconstrained by conscience or the rules of war.

Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost, and not worth another dime or another day. I don't believe that. Our military commanders do not believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make the sacrifice, do not believe that America has lost. And not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose, and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq.

The terrorists will continue to have the coward's power to plant roadside bombs and recruit suicide bombers. And you will continue to see the grim results on the evening news. This proves that the war is difficult -- it doesn't mean that we are losing. Behind the images of chaos that terrorists create for the cameras, we are making steady gains with a clear objective in view.

America, our coalition, and Iraqi leaders are working toward the same goal -- a democratic Iraq that can defend itself, that will never again be a safe haven for terrorists, and that will serve as a model of freedom for the Middle East.

We have put in place a strategy to achieve this goal -- a strategy I've been discussing in detail over the last few weeks. This plan has three critical elements.

First, our coalition will remain on the offense -- finding and clearing out the enemy, transferring control of more territory to Iraqi units, and building up the Iraqi security forces so they can increasingly lead the fight. At this time last year, there were only a handful of Iraqi army and police battalions ready for combat. Now, there are more than 125 Iraqi combat battalions fighting the enemy, more than 50 are taking the lead, and we have transferred more than a dozen military bases to Iraqi control.

Second, we're helping the Iraqi government establish the institutions of a unified and lasting democracy, in which all of Iraq's people are included and represented. Here also, the news is encouraging. Three days ago, more than 10 million Iraqis went to the polls -- including many Sunni Iraqis who had boycotted national elections last January. Iraqis of every background are recognizing that democracy is the future of the country they love -- and they want their voices heard. One Iraqi, after dipping his finger in the purple ink as he cast his ballot, stuck his finger in the air and said: "This is a thorn in the eyes of the terrorists." Another voter was asked, "Are you Sunni or Shia?" And he responded, "I am Iraqi."

Third, after a number of setbacks, our coalition is moving forward with a reconstruction plan to revive Iraq's economy and infrastructure -- and to give Iraqis confidence that a free life will be a better life. Today in Iraq, seven in 10 Iraqis say their lives are going well, and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve even more in the year ahead. Despite the violence, Iraqis are optimistic -- and that optimism is justified.

In all three aspects of our strategy -- security, democracy, and reconstruction -- we have learned from our experiences, and fixed what has not worked. We will continue to listen to honest criticism, and make every change that will help us complete the mission. Yet there is a difference between honest critics who recognize what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.

Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. For every scene of destruction in Iraq, there are more scenes of rebuilding and hope. For every life lost, there are countless more lives reclaimed. And for every terrorist working to stop freedom in Iraq, there are many more Iraqis and Americans working to defeat them. My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq.

It is also important for every American to understand the consequences of pulling out of Iraq before our work is done. We would abandon our Iraqi friends and signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word. We would undermine the morale of our troops by betraying the cause for which they have sacrificed. We would cause the tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve, and tighten their repressive grip. We would hand Iraq over to enemies who have pledged to attack us and the global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever before. To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor, and I will not allow it.

We're approaching a new year, and there are certain things all Americans can expect to see. We will see more sacrifice -- from our military, their families, and the Iraqi people. We will see a concerted effort to improve Iraqi police forces and fight corruption. We will see the Iraqi military gaining strength and confidence, and the democratic process moving forward. As these achievements come, it should require fewer American troops to accomplish our mission. I will make decisions on troop levels based on the progress we see on the ground and the advice of our military leaders -- not based on artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington. Our forces in Iraq are on the road to victory -- and that is the road that will take them home.

In the months ahead, all Americans will have a part in the success of this war. Members of Congress will need to provide resources for our military. Our men and women in uniform, who have done so much already, will continue their brave and urgent work. And tonight, I ask all of you listening to carefully consider the stakes of this war, to realize how far we have come and the good we are doing, and to have patience in this difficult, noble, and necessary cause.

I also want to speak to those of you who did not support my decision to send troops to Iraq: I have heard your disagreement, and I know how deeply it is felt. Yet now there are only two options before our country -- victory or defeat. And the need for victory is larger than any president or political party, because the security of our people is in the balance. I don't expect you to support everything I do, but tonight I have a request: Do not give in to despair, and do not give up on this fight for freedom.

Americans can expect some things of me, as well. My most solemn responsibility is to protect our nation, and that requires me to make some tough decisions. I see the consequences of those decisions when I meet wounded servicemen and women who cannot leave their hospital beds, but summon the strength to look me in the eye and say they would do it all over again. I see the consequences when I talk to parents who miss a child so much -- but tell me he loved being a soldier, he believed in his mission, and, Mr. President, finish the job.

I know that some of my decisions have led to terrible loss -- and not one of those decisions has been taken lightly. I know this war is controversial -- yet being your President requires doing what I believe is right and accepting the consequences. And I have never been more certain that America's actions in Iraq are essential to the security of our citizens, and will lay the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren.

Next week, Americans will gather to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. Many families will be praying for loved ones spending this season far from home -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other dangerous places. Our nation joins in those prayers. We pray for the safety and strength of our troops. We trust, with them, in a love that conquers all fear, in a light that reaches the darkest corners of the Earth. And we remember the words of the Christmas carol, written during the Civil War: "God is not dead, nor [does] He sleep; the Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on Earth, goodwill to men."
Thank you, and good night.

END 9:18 P.M. EST

Vice President Cheney's Remarks To The Troops 12/18/2005

2:49 P.M. (Local)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm not Jessica Simpson. (Laughter.) But I'm glad to be here, and I thank you for that warm welcome; General Johnson, for the kind words. And I want to say good afternoon to all my fellow Americans. I happened to be in the neighborhood, so I thought I'd drop by.

We're a long way from Washington, and I can't imagine being in better company than I am right now. I've come with a message from home: Americans are grateful for your service; they support your mission; we're proud of each and every one of you.

It's a privilege to be here, to stand on the ground of the world's newest democracy -- to be with so many men and women who helped make this history. I wanted to pay this visit during the holidays to express appreciation to all of you and to every American serving in this part of the world. With Christmas and Hanukkah arriving next week, I know your thoughts naturally turn to home. And your fellow Americans are thinking of you more than ever. I'm pleased to bring you the good wishes of the entire country, and personal greetings from our Commander-in-Chief, President George W. Bush. (Applause.)

You're here in western Iraq to provide security and stability through al Anbar so that a rising democracy can succeed and the liberated people of Iraq can build a future of hope, opportunity and peace.

From Marines going into combat and dominating the battle space, to the precision strikes of the Air Force, to the Army brigades holding and operating across wide terrain, to Navy corpsmen risking their lives to help the wounded, and to Seabees all over the country, day and night, preparing runways, fixing water pumps, and doing a hundred other tasks, Americans serving in Iraq have been absolutely superb.

You've done all that we've asked of you. You've shown all the skill we require of you, and you have confirmed the honor we expect of you. Our nation has counted on the Marine Corps for more than 230 years. The Marines are repaying that confidence every day as we fight the global war on terror. (Applause.)

When the United States was attacked on a terrible September morning four years ago, President Bush said the struggle would be long and difficult. It would require our best efforts and unfailing resolve. And in this fight some of the hardest duties have come to the Corps and to the units that serve alongside them. There is still difficult work ahead because the terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in a war against the civilized world. We have a responsibility to lead in this fight, and we have to be clear-eyed about the nature of the enemy and the ambitions it seeks to achieve.

In the war on terror, we face a loose network of committed fanatics found in many countries and operating under different commanders, yet the branches of this network share the same basic ideology, and the same dark vision. Their goal in this region is to gain control of a country, to target and overthrow other governments in the area, and to establish a radical Islamic empire that encompasses the Middle East and places far beyond.

They've made clear, as well, their ultimate ambition: to acquire weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate all Western countries, to cause mass death in the United States. The terrorists' war against America began long before 9/11. And during those years, they were the ones on the offensive. They grew bolder in their belief that if they killed Americans, they could change American policy. In Beiruit in 1983, terrorists killed 241 of our servicemen. Thereafter, the U.S. withdrew from Beiruit. In Mogadishu in 1993, terrorists killed 19 Americans; thereafter, the U.S. withdrew from Somalia. Over time the terrorists concluded that they could strike America without paying a price because they did -- repeatedly: the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993; the murders at the Saudi National Guard training facility in Riyadh in 1995; the attack on Khobar Towers in 1996; the attack on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.

Ultimately, of course, they attacked the homeland on 9/11 and took the lives of 3,000 people aboard passenger jets, and at the World Trade Center, and at the Pentagon.

Now terrorists are making a stand here in Iraq, trying to force the United States to abandon our friends, and permit the overthrow of this new Middle Eastern democracy. Zarqawi has sworn his allegiance to bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda. And recently we got our hands on a message from bin Laden's deputy, Zawahiri, sent to Zarqawi. The letter makes clear that Iraq is part of a larger plan of imposing Islamic radicalism across the broader Middle East, making Iraq a terrorist haven and a staging ground for attacks against other nations. Zawahiri also expresses the view that America can made to run again. But we're giving him an education. We're in this fight to win. These colors don't run.

The terrorists understand what is at stake in Iraq. That is why they commit acts of random war calculated to shock and intimidate the civilized world -- beheading bound men, murdering mothers and children, killing innocent Iraqis at police stations, mosques, buses, restaurants, stores, and on street corners. The terrorists know that as freedom takes hold, the ideologies of hatred and resentment will lose their appeal. And the advance of democracy in this land will inspire reformers throughout the region.

As this region experiences new hope and progress, we will see the power of freedom change our world, and a terrible threat will be removed from the lives of our children and our grandchildren. This is a battle for the future of civilization. It's a battle worth fighting. It is a battle we are going to win. (Applause.)

I know most of you have heard the political debates that have been going on back home. You've heard some prominent voices advocating a sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq. Some have suggested this war is not winnable. And a few seem almost eager to conclude that the struggle is already over. But they are wrong. The only way to lose this fight is to quit. And that is not an option.

Every American serving in this war can be absolutely certain the people of the United States are behind you. Americans will not support a policy of submission, resignation, or defeatism in the face of terror. Our country will never go back to the false comforts of the world before September 11, 2001. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And this nation has made a decision: We will engage these enemies, facing them far from home so that we do not have to face them on the streets of our own cities.

Freedom has determined enemies in Iraq, and your job is to make those enemies miserable. And you know exactly how to do it. You've scored daily victories -- even hourly victories during regimental patrols. From the western Euphrates River Valley, all the way up to the Syrian border, you've secured crossing points, destroyed enemy weapons caches, cleared urban areas of terrorists so the good people of this country can go about their lives free of bullying and brutality.

In Operation Steel Curtain, for example, Americans fought beside Iraqis and cleared terrorists from three cities. It was rightly called a "vintage Marine Corps fight" -- harsh conditions, relentless, efficient and decisive.

The support and supply operations carried out here are massive, and superbly run. We have an air arm with attack, transport and re-supply units, attack jets, re-fuelers, all working constantly in support of the ground. We've got major supply runs going night and day across an area of operations the size of Utah. Marines and other coalition forces have put tremendous effort in standing up Iraqi security forces. And we've come a great distance in the past year. More and more coalition forces have Iraqis at your side, helping to clear out terrorists and stay in the area to maintain the peace. You're helping to build an Iraqi force that is sharp, well equipped, and this was vital to the success of last week's elections.

Going forward, the multinational force will continue to mentor, train and support the Iraqi security forces as they take a more prominent role in defense of their country. Gradually, Iraqi forces are taking control of more Iraqi territory. As they undertake further missions on their own, confidence is growing within the country. More intelligence information is coming from the Iraqi people themselves.

As the ISF gains strength and experience and as the political process advances, we'll be able to decrease troop levels without losing our capacity to defeat the terrorists. And on behalf of the President, I assure you, any decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground and the judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timelines set by politicians in Washington, D.C.

Each one of you is helping to write a proud chapter in the history of freedom. At times you may wonder if your fellow citizens realize the extent of your achievements, how hard you've worked, how urgent and dangerous our business can be, and how it feels to say farewell to a fellow Marine whose life was taken by a terrorist.

I want you to know that Americans do realize it, and our whole country is filled with respect and with gratitude. Americans know about the heroism out here every day, the point raids, heavy engagements against insurgent positions, cordon and search operations, and night security patrols. They stand in total admiration. They learn of Marines and corpsmen who run through heavy fire assisting their comrades; they learn of a lance corporal who used his bare hands to tear open the air conditioning assembly on a burning vehicle so he could pull an unconscious Marine to safety.

We know how tough your work really is, and we know how tough a person it takes to get the job done right -- tough enough to wear heavy armor then the thermometer hits 125; to work seven days a week, often 14, 16, 18 hours a day. Americans are not the kind of people to take our military for granted. We're a democracy, defended by volunteers who deserve all the tools and all the support we can possibly provide. Our goal is victory. With you in the fight, that victory is certain.

We are a nation that keeps it word, and so we will carry out our strategy for victory in Iraq. America is a good and generous country. And in your conduct, you're showing the Iraqi people the true character of the United States. Members of our military work in the neighborhoods to make sure poor Iraqi families have electricity, water, and sanitation, see to it that children have classrooms and school supplies. By your openness, decency and your kindness to others, thousands of interactions every day, you've built permanent bonds of friendship between our two countries. This new democracy is awakening to a future of hope and freedom. It's a sign that much is right with the world as Iraqis take control of their own destiny. And the tyrant who filled mass graves, terrorized this nation for decades has gone from a palace, to a bunker, to a spider hole, to jail.

Inside the White House in a room next to the Oval Office, we display the flags of the Armed Forces of the United States. The battle colors of the Marine Corps are there with streamers commemorating great victories for human freedom. Generations of Americans have admired the Marines for gallantry in battle. From the Argonne Forest, to Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Chosin Resevoir, to Khe Sahn, Desert Storm, Americans have always stepped forward to sacrifice -- defending the innocent, confronting the violent and bringing freedom to the oppressed.

In this young century and a dangerous time for our country, we understand our duties. We have the resources, the strength, and the moral courage to overcome the danger and lay the foundation for a better world. This year the Marines added battle streamers marking the Afghanistan campaign, the Iraq campaign, and the global war on terror. Marines can forever take pride in the quality of the work that's being accomplished here, and at the character of the men and women who are doing it.

You're meeting every challenge with focus and great effectiveness, above all with honor. And I want you to know especially at Christmastime how much you mean to America. This is a season for counting our blessings. Americans realize how fortunate we are to have people like you wearing the uniform of our country.

Thank you once again for serving far from home at an hour of great need. You reflect immense credit on the uniform you wear and the cause you serve. And I want to thank you for what you've done for us. Semper Fi. (Applause.)

END 3:04 P.M. (Local)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bredesen Is Beginning To Hunker Down And Refuse To Answer Media Questions About His Managerial Leadership

This from today's Tennessean, Dave Cooley the #2 man of Phillip Bredesen. It was revealed in November by Col. Lynn Pitts (the now fired, retired, left in disgrace - the Governor Phillip shield) you fill in the blanks. I digress, the #2 man is signing off on low level and high level promotions at the THP.

Could it be cooley was checking Santa Phillip's nice and naughty list.

Cooley's wife is hired and employed at the Safety Department, taking Tennessee under Phillip from a pattern of cronyism to a level of nepotism.

Cooley drives 87 miles per hour in a 70 mile an hour zone. The THP patrolman is promoted.

First, Phillip MUST return every contribution given by anyone employed by or applied for a position within state government, since he announced his intent to run for Governor or became Governor. Second, he must relieve Cooley of his responsibilities.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Democrat Lincoln Davis and Phil Bredesen Hire Tropper With Criminal Background

This story out of the Tennessean today. A Tennessee Highway Patrolman is hired and is NOT recommended to be hired. But in January 2004, he was hired because of the recommendation of Democrat Congressman Lincoln Davis and during the tenure of Governor Phillip Bredesen.

Bredesen would have you believe all this happened before he became Governor, but, "it will stop on my watch" Yea, right.

Governor, with your buddy Goetz's revelation on the Steve Gill Show and now this. It is time for you to go under oath and explain What you knew and when did you know it.

Governor you are going to make Democrats start singing to bring back "that Ray Blanton sunshine"

Commenting At Brian's Blog

Ok, When this blog was started in August of 2004 I allowed any and all to comment. Some individuals(you know who you are)that in the words of my neighbor "are ill-bred and half raised" decided to be yourselves. I then shut down all comments and posted that you could sign up as part of the team to comment.

I have had several individuals that have asked recently about commenting. I am going to let the 99% of you comment again. The comments of the 1% will be rejected.

I have a site-meter on my blog now, I am imposing the word verification and the comment moderation features. If we can run the 1% off, I may discontinue the comment moderation feature. Rules of engagement in regards to commenting are posted and in force.

Thanks to my good friend Greg, Dr. Tumblin, a blogging counterpart David Oatney and VOLuntaryConservative Rob Huddleston, whom I have always respected and met face to face today. These guys along with a few others are the reason that I am experimenting with commenting, again. If the 1% chose to continue in their behavior, I will shut them down and the rest of us will enjoy this respectful forum.

Happy Commenting.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bredesen's Leadership Get Worse

Thanks to The Tennessee Republican Party for the heads up of this story from the Tennessean. Hey, Governor Phillip with close associates like this, you surely don't need all the enemies that you do have.

Top official: Bredesen knew about cronyism, didn't act

'We had been busy with other things,' Goetz says about THP

Staff Writer

Gov. Phil Bredesen knew of the deep-seated problems of cronyism and politics in the Tennessee Highway Patrol some time ago but was focused on other issues, one of the governor's top lieutenants said in a radio interview yesterday.

Dave Goetz, state commissioner of finance and administration, appeared to lay blame for the problems in the patrol with former Safety Commissioner Fred Phillips, who was ousted last week.

Cronyism "had been accepted as part of the culture there, and we had been busy with other things," Goetz said in response to questions from talk show host Steve Gill on WWTN-FM 99.7. "And I'll just have to take the blame for that. But we had relied on the commissioner and the staff there to clean these things up, and frankly, there had been multiple conversations over a period of time saying, 'You need to straighten these things out,' and they weren't straightened out."

Goetz later backed off those statements in an interview with The Tennessean: "I think I probably misspoke a little bit there," during the quick-paced banter with Gill, he said.

Bredesen, who has spent much of the past 12 months dealing with the overhaul of the TennCare health insurance program, was not available for comment late yesterday, spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said.

The governor, who appointed Phillips as his safety commissioner in 2003, launched an effort last week to overhaul the THP, including sweeping out the upper management of the Safety Department. "It is not a pretty picture," the governor said a week ago yesterday after a review of the THP by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and some of his top staff from the Personnel Department.

But Goetz's statements on the morning radio show also jibe with Bredesen's comments in recent months, suggesting that the governor knew — at least, in general — about problems in the Safety Department as far back as August and pledged then to find a fix.

"We need to professionalize the department," Bredesen said in an August interview. "We need especially to treat young people in the department in a way that they think the way they get ahead is to do a good job as opposed to making friendships. And I'm headed in that direction."

That same month, the administration halted a round of THP promotions, fearing allegations of favoritism and political influence raised in The Tennessean.

Then, in November, the newspaper reported that two-thirds of THP promotions under Bredesen's administration went to officers who gave money to his campaign, or had family members or political patrons who did. And more than half in that group were promoted, although they were competing against officers with higher promotion scores.

Phillips and Pitts signed off on the agency's promotions, state records indicate.

Bredesen was quoted in a Nov. 15 story saying he would look into the allegations.

Later in the month, Bredesen ordered another look at the agency when reports showed that dozens of officers with criminal backgrounds were on the Highway Patrol.

Bredesen last week forced the resignation of Phillips and replaced him with a longtime ally, Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely, who will serve a 60-day stint with Safety.

In his interview with The Tennessean late yesterday, Goetz said he was not part of any conversation between Bredesen and Phillips, and that Bredesen gave Phillips the same marching orders the governor gave all his Cabinet members when he appointed them. He said the governor only learned of specific problems in the THP in recent months.

"My understanding was, the governor looked at Fred a year and a half ago, before we knew about all of the things that have come out in the last six months, and said, 'Look, this is your department to run, and I want you to straighten out any things that need straightening out,' " Goetz said. "Obviously that didn't occur. It's not that we knew that these problems that have come out in the last few months were going on and we didn't deal with them."

Phillips could not be reached for comment yesterday. There was no answer at a phone number listed for his home in Washington County, where Phillips is from and where he ran Bredesen's 2002 gubernatorial campaign.

Bredesen tapped Goetz to "straighten out" the Safety Department in late November, before Phillips resigned, Goetz said. That's when Goetz started researching private consulting firms with outside law enforcement experience to give a hard, outsider's look at how the THP runs.

The governor and his aides ultimately realized that "this isn't working" with Phillips and then recruited Nicely, according to Goetz.

Working with other top officials, Goetz chose New York-based Kroll Inc. as the outside consultant. That firm has played key roles in reforming the Los Angeles and Detroit police departments and helped implement big changes in the Pennsylvania State Police after a sex-harassment scandal.

"We were going to bring in this external help and see if Commissioner Phillips couldn't straighten it out," Goetz said.

Little Milton - Forever Honored

This from the Thursday December 15th Commercial Appeal. The annual Blues Awards will honor Little Milton. Here is Little Milton's Bio from his Official website. The website can be located here.

He was born Milton Campbell in a modest sharecroppers home on the outskirts of Inverness, Mississippi, on September 7th 1934. As a child, he was drawn by a very popular radio shows of the day (and still is): The Grand Ole Opry. He found an early connection to Country and western music and later fused it with the other two predominant musical influences of the Mississippi Delta: Gospel & Blues. A youthful “Little” Milton began studying what he heard and practiced; mastering songs and reciting them, no matter what the style or difficulty. By his early teens, he was performing in local clubs and bars across the Delta.

As Milton grew into a young man, he didn't waste any time learning the ropes or absorbing all the musical possibilities that existed at the time. He played street corners, alleys, dives, you name it, carefully developing his craft and attracting the attention of established acts and local record labels. By the time Ike Turner introduced Milton to Sam Phillips of Sun Records in the early 50's, he was a young but seasoned performer with a momentous live show that created a buzz in every town he played. His debut single Beggin My Baby was recorded and released at the same time Sam Phillips was molding the sound of another unknown talent from Mississippi: Elvis Presley.

After recording a series of sides at Sun without great fanfare, Milton moved to East St. Louis’ Bobbin Records, where his recording career flourished. He also became Bobbin's A&R chief and working partner to its owner, Bob Lyons. During this era, Milton signed such artists as Albert King and Fontella Bass to the label. Most importantly, he cut his own first hit, I'm A Lonely Man, in 1958.

Milton's skyrocketing success soon drew the attention of Chess Records executives in Chicago, who signed him to Chess Checkers label and moved him north. Chess carried Little Milton from southern blues circuit fame to the national spotlight and to white audiences. Milton's recordings realized only moderate chart success, until he cut We're Gonna Make It, which hit No. 1 on Billboard magazines R&B singles chart in 1965. On the Checker label, he registered hits from 1962 through 1971 that would become American blues classics and staples of his live shows. His Checker recordings included Baby I Love You, If Walls Could Talk, Feel So Bad, Who's Cheating Who? and the unforgettable Grits Ain't Groceries. After the death of label founder Leonard Chess in 1969, the company eventually dissolved and Milton signed with Stax.

At Stax, he joined a virtual who’s who of influential black recording artist of the day including Isaac Hayes, Rufus & Carla Thomas, Booker T. & The M.G.'s, Albert King and, coincidentally, another future Malaco star, the late Johnnie Taylor. Milton’s legend only grew at Stax, where from 1971 through 1975, he stacked up more mega hits…including Walking The Back Streets and Cryin and That’s What Love Will Make You Do.

When Stax filed bankruptcy in 1975, Milton joined TK/Glades Records in Miami, then home to such artist as Betty Wright, K. C. & The Sunshine Band and Latimore. There, he racked up another charted hit, Friend of Mine. But the Glade label also went out of business. Consequently, in 1983, he released his only album for MCA, Age Ain't Nothin But A Number. The title cut was an instant-charted hit.

In 1984, Little Milton united with Malaco Records and began the longest professional association of his career. He continued his exceptional vocal and guitar styles and quickly became one of Malaco's biggest selling artists. He swept up such honors as the 1988 W. C. Handy Blues Entertainer of the Year Award and the 2000 Grammy award nomination. He also was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Over the years, Malaco has released 14 of Little Milton's albums, including the critically acclaimed, Billboard blues smash hit Cheatin Habit. Cheatin Habit followed his wildly successful Little Milton's Greatest Hits compilation. Some of Little Milton's Malaco cuts that have become American blues standards include Annie Mae's Cafe, The Blues is Alright, Little Bluebird, Room 244, I Was Trying Not to Break Down, Catch You on Your Way Down, Murder on Your Hands, and Comeback Kind of Love.

The year 2001 marked a successful run of sold out shows in the United States and Europe and the release of Feel It. Malaco doubled back in September, 2002, with the release CD number 14, Guitar Man. It's celebrated cuts include Guitar Man, Still Some Meat Left on this Bone, and Milton's soulful rendition of My Way.

Today, more than a half century after his early recordings on Sam Phillips' legendary Sun Records label in the 1950's, Little Milton is still exploring new combinations and coming up with fresh new sounds. He makes his debut on the Telarc label with the release of Think of Me, consisting of a dozen tracks that distill a lifetime of rich guitar skills, compelling vocals and deft songwriting all wrapped into a single high powered package. The man who made The Blues is Alright a national anthem with blues enthusiasts across the globe still shows no signs of slowing down.

I was in Memphis on August 10, 11 and 12, 2005. Upon arriving on the 10th, I was early for the meetings that I was to attend. I wandered down to Beale Street and while there witnessed and was a part of the New Orleans style funeral procession for Little Milton.

Little Milton was a guy that never had a whole lot, he grew up poor and did what he loved, he never drew the millions of dollars and packed arenas that many of todays entertainers draw, today. However, he had a life well lived. His impact on Blues music will be forever felt, thus the appropriateness of naming an award after him.

Little Milton, Thank You.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

George Washington Plunkitt - Plunkitt of Tammany Hall

When your profession or hobby is politics, you have a tendancy to read the Art Of War. Another must read is Plunkitt of Tammany Hall. What is Tammany Hall? you ask. Tammany Hall was the powerhouse political team that controlled New York in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Who was George Washington Plunkitt? you ask. He rose from humble beginnings to become ward boss of the Fifteenth Assembly District in New York, he was a key player in the powerhouse political team and, not incidentally a millionaire.

The book Plunkitt of Tammany Hall is a collection of utterly frank talks given at his headquarters at Graziano's bootblack stand outside the New York County Court House, Plunkitt revealed to a sharp and sympathetic reporter named William L. Riordan the secrets of political success as practiced and perfected by him and fellow Tammany Hall titans.

Plunkitt's Thoughts and Beliefs

Plunkitt was opposed to the Civil Service examination and hiring process. He believed that there were no benefits for individuals to be involved within the political machine if the machine did not have jobs or positions to dole out.

Plunkitt believed that there was a difference between the "reformers" and politicians. Reformers are one or two termer's, because reformer's "do not answer to the gong every time as a true politician will."

Plunkitt believed that dishonest politicians were the lowest of the low. "Understand, I ain't defendin' politicians of today who steal. The politician who steals is worse than a thief. He is a fool. With the grand opportunities all around for the man with a political pull, there's no excuse for stealin' a cent."

Plunkitt stated that Tammany Leaders were NOT bookworms. Education was not necessary and would be a hindrance in the Tammany movement. Plunkitt believed that if a young man went to school "that he would have to unlearn all his learning." Plunkitt proudly proclaimed that he attended school three winters.

Plunkitt believed and I would concur with this. Politicians should not drink "adult beverages" in the public while serving as political servant. It was Plunkitt's belief that some one that relies on "adult beverages" lacks good judgement.

This book is a 98 page book with a 22 page introduction written by Peter Quinn. This edition was printed in 1995. You can locate a good and economically used copy via Amazon. I would encourage anyone with any interest in politics to read these collection of speeches.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Congratulations to Garth and Trisha

According to numerous news reports this morning and specifically this one. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood made good on their engagement yesterday at their home in Claremont, OK. Garth and Trisha had been an item for some time and earlier this year in a public event, Garth asked Trisha to marry him, she said Yes and yesterday they became husband and wife.

Garth is a phenomenal entertainer, the wife and I have attended every concert (3 to 4) that Garth performed in Knoxville in the late 80's and 90's. The last concert the oldest child attended with us.

congratulations to Garth and Trisha.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Safety Commissioner Resigns - Bredesen Slips

This from today's Tennessean. Fred Phillips, Governor Phil Bredesen's State commissioner of Safety resigned yesterday. A 41 year bureaucrat veteran and appointee of Bredesen resigned presumably over all the problems at the department, most recently over the revelation that 41 out of 855 Tennessee Highway Patrolmen have questionable charges in a recent criminal background check.

Bredesen has NO good luck it seems, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

This will cast a long shadow over Tennessee. For example, as I was traveling this week, I passed a highway patrolman and the first thought in my mind is are you one of the forty-one?

This from a previous Tennessean article:

"It will take more than a sudden change in leadership for the Tennessee Highway Patrol to regain trust. A sustained effort to erase the stain on the agency is necessary. The most recent embarrassment is the forced resignation of Col. Lynn Pitts, commander of the THP. According to Safety Commissioner Fred Phillips, Pitts broke state law by attempting to buy a boat at auction that had been seized by troopers and put up for sale by the state.

Prosecution of Pitts should follow, as should an investigation into any other attempts to buy confiscated items in the past by Pitts or any other officers. But Pitts' boat purchase was only the latest of a long line of problems at the highway patrol. Just this week 48 state troopers who have turned up in criminal background checks began heading into THP headquarters in Nashville to answer for any charges on their records. Pitts, in an October memo, had told officers it was their responsibility to have any felonies on their records expunged, as though such a background and action would be acceptable.

Recent scrutiny had also uncovered a culture of political influence, where two-thirds of officers promoted under Gov. Phil Bredesen had given money to his political campaign or had family or political patrons who did. Of those two-thirds, more than half were promoted over officers who scored better on exams. Further, accounts surfaced of officers having given rides on occasion to elected officials, and there was discovery of a program for honorary THP badges and IDs that closely resembled those of officers given to campaign donors, political insiders and friends of the powerful. Bredesen ended the badge program.

The revelations have created an image of an agency that will take time to overcome. The resignation of Pitts helps, but the highway patrol will need to display a new way of operating so an average citizen can see that law enforcement officials are in place based on ability, not political influence or corruption. The recent developments also are most unfair to patrol officers who advance on their merit, not on political ties or campaign contributions. The THP has generated one ugly story after another in recent weeks. It is certainly time for change at high levels, but it's also time for change in the mindset of the force as well."

Friday, December 09, 2005

WBIR Anchor Ted Hall Leaving Town

WBIR in Knoxville announced today that longtime anchor Ted Hall will be leaving January 6, 2006 and will become the NBC affiliate anchor in Atlanta, GA. Ted is quoted in the story that he is looking forward to living in Atlanta. More power to ya, Ted. I hate driving through Atlanta, much less living there.

There are many cities I wouldn't mind living in, even in Georgia, but Atlanta is dead last. I have heard it said that when you die you will have to pass through Atlanta that will be the only day that I will enjoy passing through Atlanta.

Congratulations and Good Luck Ted

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tennessee Republican governor

This from the Chattanoogan on December 5, 2005

Devaney Says GOP Can Win Governor's Race

The executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party said Monday that the GOP "can prevail" in the upcoming governor's race.Chris Devaney told the Pachyderm Club to expect "an exciting governor's race."He said state Sen. Beth Harwell is still considering the race.Mr. Devaney said the poll numbers for incumbent Democrat Phil Bredesen have been dropping.He said on TennCare that the governor "has just been rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship." He said a number of enrollees are being taken off, but they are to be added back later.Mr. Devaney said the GOP is working on its own TennCare plan that will "either revamp TennCare or scrap it."He said it will come "in answer to a lack of a plan by Gov. Bredesen."He said the governor's TennCare moves are part of a plan "to make him a viable presidential candidate." He said of Gov. Bredesen that "this man is dangerous."Mr. Devaney said the FBI's Operation Tennessee Waltz brought "a huge problem" for state government. He said the fact that Sen. Ward Crutchfield and three other indicted legislators have not resigned has led to a worsening of public confidence.He said the GOP is busy recruiting candidates and raising funds. He said the party is also "reaching out to minorities."Eric Watson, winner of the GOP primary to replace resigned Rep. Chris Newton, was introduced at the meeting.He said he is a conservative who is pro-life and believes marriage should be defined as a man marrying a woman. He said, "We're going to win with the Lord's help."Mr. Watson said he is a 10-year law-enforcement officer.
Commissioner Fred Phillips of the Department of Safety under Bredesen stated before yesterday, if someone is found to have wrongdoing, I will fire them. With Col. Lynn Pitts he did not fire him, he accepted a resignation, that will allow Pitts to return to the department in good standing next week, month or year. Bredesen needs to relieve Phillips of his duty.

I agree with Devaney, Bredesen has many problems. TennCare, shredding sexual harrasment compliant documents in the Governor's office, falsifying TN drop-out and graduation rates, demoting troppers for political retaliation, 1 in 18 troppers have felonies and questionable items in their past, and the list goes on and on.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ernest Boyer

"A poor surgeon hurts 1 person at a time. A poor teacher hurts 130."

"And above all, let them remember that the meaning of life is to build a life as if it were a work of art. In the end, the Basic School is committed to building lives as if they were works of art."

Ernest Boyer

Quote Of The Day

"Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half." Gore Vidal

George Burns

"Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair." - George Burns

Thursday, December 01, 2005

RIP - Judge Carey Garrett

Judge Carey Garrett passed away this morning, Judge Garrett served as Knox County Juvenile Court Judge since 1982. Judge Garrett always strived to ensure that the children in the court's jurisdiction were always the center of the courts attention.

There have been many stories shared with me about how Judge Garrett cared and tried to always give a fellow human being a helping hand. Judge Garrett you done good, go rest high on the mountain.

Whoever steps onto the bench for the interim and after the May and August 2006 election will have a mighty hefty shadow to sit under and needs to concentrate on the children. Just as Judge Garrett did.