Monday, November 30, 2009

Climategate Professor racked in $22.6 Million in Grants

by Frank Beckman, Detroit News, November 27. 2009

[Excerpt] It turns out that our planet has been safe from man all along, and the climate change alarmists knew it.

That's the conclusion to be drawn from the disclosure of e-mails -- authenticity not disputed -- between so-called climate experts involved with the University of Anglia's Climate Research Unit in Britain, which had been the center of the anthropogenic global warming universe.

[Excerpt] As Jones wrote to one-time United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author John Christy in one of his e-mails, "I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences. This isn't being political, it is being selfish." (link)

Comment: I can hardly contain my outrage over this. As one who believed the science of global warming for many years, I feel I have been deceived. I am outraged not only over the deception but outraged at the general conspiracy of silence on this issue. Why is no major network digging into this story? Are there no people of integrity who feel they were betrayed and who want accountability? Should the White house, members of Congress, Heads of State, and the General Secretary of the UN not be calling for an investigation? Should not this be the topic under discussion at Copenhagen? Did these scientist not break some laws? Taking vast amounts of money and doctoring data to produce predetermined outcomes should be a violation of some law. This makes me question other scientific research. This makes me inclined to never trust my government again on anything. This makes me think that science is for sale to the highest bidder. We deserve answers.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Climategate: The video and some thoughts

With the revelations of massive scientific fraud within the global warming community, dubbed "climategate," I have moved from the column of "Global warming believer" to "undecided." I do not make this move lightly. I am not uninformed. I have read extensively on the topic. I was not always a believer; I was once a sceptic. I did not let my political views guide my decision on whether or not to believe the theory of Global Warming. I tried to honestly evaluate the available information and be guided by the facts. Over a period of time, I gradually moved from sceptic to believer and I have been in the "believer" column for at least the last five or six years. I have been convinced that the preponderance of the evidence indicates that global warming is a fact. (See, My Conversion on Global Warming.) Now, I am not so sure.

I am not in the "sceptic" column, yet. There is still a massive body of scholarship that supports the theory. However, this revelation of widespread scientific fraud makes me call into question the whole body of science on this subject. The revelations in the released data puts the burden of proof on those who advocate the theory. The whole topic is again an open question as far as I am concerned.

The main stream media has failed to cover this story and has downplayed it when they have reported it. This can not be allowed to be swept under the rug. This is a smoking gun. Those who believe global warming is a reality need to address this scandal and remake their case for the science supporting the theory.

Below is some of what is revealed from the hacked documents from Britain’s Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia:

The participants in the climategate scandal were a who’s who of climate scientist.

They reveal the destroying of evidence of fraud.

They show the using of “tricks” to modify data that shows the earth is cooling.

They reveal the corrupting of the peer review process.

They reveal the withholding of data.

They reveal the conspiring to pressure and punish skeptical scientist.

They acknowledge the urban effect.

This is serious stuff.

I was with some relatives over the holidays who are true believers who have never doubted global warming. They had not heard of the climategate scandal and were not interested in leaning anything about it. Just as the scientist involved in this scandal had a conclusion and then developed their data to support their conclusion, many people, both sceptics and believers, are locked into a position and don't want any new facts that may make them question their assumptions. To get to the the truth, one needs to be open to considering new data.

I am not asking anyone to accept my opinion of the importance of the climategate scandal, but please be open to evaluating this new revelation and learning more about it and demand answers.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Shaking hands with the enemy

Ron Paul and Bill Mahar Libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul (right) shakes hands with left-wing comedian Bill Mahar (left).

Matt Collins on Refusing to shake Zack Wamp's hand:
"Representative Wamp extended his hand to me to shake it and I absolutely refused; I am not interested in being friendly towards those who violate the Constitution. To be fair he said that he was very supportive of HR1207 and that "we ought to do more than just audit the's the cause of a lot of our problems". While I agree with the Congressman on that specific issue I honestly wanted to vocalize that the other cause of our problems were big-government Republicans acting like big-government Democrats such as himself. However in the spirit of, at minimum, being cordial, I held my tongue. But prior to walking away I did thank him for and told him I appreciated his support on HR1207. I still did not shake his hand." (link)


President Ronald Reagan shakes hands with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev

President Nixon and Chairman Mao

President Richard M Nixon shakes hand with Chairman Mao Zedong

Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant

General Robert E. Lee shakes hands with General Ulysses S. Grant

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

George Washington Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
George Washington signature

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The Party and Matt on the ousting of Matt Collins

Comments from Chairman Starnes:

The removal of Matt Collins from his position as First Vice Chair and as a member of the Davidson County Republican Party’s Executive Committee on November 24th, 2009 was not easy, nor one we took lightly.

However, DCRP Board members must be able to function as a team and not place a personal agenda above the Party’s agenda. When that happens, coupled with behavior and words that are disrespectful to Republican candidates or elected officials, the focus becomes on a person rather than the important issues at hand.

The vote of 14 members to five for the removal of Mr. Collins affirmed an earlier vote establishing a motion for removal and also demonstrated the Board’s commitment to maintain a standard of professionalism and civility among its leadership.

Kathleen Starnes
DCRP Chairman

Comments from Matt Collins:

As reported in the Nashville Post, immediately following the executive session hearing Collins made the following statement:

It is unfortunate the DCRP has chosen this destructive and divisive path booting members for standing up for principle and the Constitution.

It should be noted that I have broken no bylaws (even Chairman Starnes has admitted this) and this was a personal vindictive move by some in the DCRP and the TNGOP to remove me because they did not want their fellow Republicans such as Rep Zigzag Zach Wamp, Mayor “Ban’em” Bill Haslam, Senator “Large Government” Lamar Alexander, and Senator “Bailout Bob” Corker held accountable.

Every effort was made by myself to reach a mutual understanding, however Chairman Starnes refused to work with me in the closed door session. This Soviet style purge will result in the further alienation of the grassroots activists not only in Nashville but across the country as it is becoming more and more apparent that the GOP is a Party of exclusion.

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On the ousting of Matt Collins

Last night the Executive Committee of the Davidson County Republican Party voted to remove Matt Collins from the Committee. I attended the meeting not knowing the Committee would go into executive session and require everyone except voting members to leave the room. In addition to my wife and I there were about a dozen other people who were also removed from the room, most of them were obviously supporters of Matt. Initially I was annoyed that we were forced to vacate the room, but can see the wisdom of conducting the hearing in closed-door session.

Those who were in the hall after being evicted from the room assumed we who lined the hall were all supporters of Matt. I was not. I was on the fence. If I had been a voting member of the board, I still do not know how I would have voted. I would have had to hear the arguments on both sides in order to make a decision. I assumed I would have voted with the majority but it would have been with reluctance. If Matt had have been halfway contrite however, and pledged to behave differently in the future I would have voted to let him keep his seat. I assume there were other members on the board who think the same way I think, so I assume Matt was belligerent up until the vote. This is only an assumption however, I don’t know. Not knowing what went on behind closed doors, I can’t say for certain how I would have voted.

Matt is a libertarian Republican of the Ron Paul persuasion. I am not. I am what the Ron Paul Republicans often refer to as a RINO. I don’t see myself in that light, but RINO (Republican in Name Only) is the term used to denigrate anyone who does not see eye to eye with them on the issues. I was a supporter of the Party’s candidate John McCain in the last election. After our own favorite son Fred Thompson dropped out of the race, I was never tempted to support anyone other than McCain. I agree with McCain’s pragmatism and realism which some fellow Republicans find offensive. I was not a reluctant supporter of the Party’s candidate but an enthusiastic supporter. That makes me a RINO in the view of the more dogmatic Republicans of the Ron Paul persuasion.

This McCain Republican however does not want to purge the Party of Ron Paul Republican. The Party should be a big tent party with room for Ron Paul and John McCain supporters. If we agree on opposition to Obamacare, to higher taxes, to the explosion in the national debt then we should be in the same camp. We do not have to see eye to eye on all issues. If there is more that unites us than divides us we should be united in trying to defeat Democrats.

Matt has a lot of vocal people who are supporting him and are going to be angry that he was ousted. Matt was not ousted because he is the only Republican who supports the constitution. Matt was not ousted because he is a Ron Paul supporter. Matt was ousted because he acted like a jerk. In my view, one of Matts worse offences was his refusal to shake hands with Republican Gubernatorial candidate Congressman Zack Wamp and then bragging about it. I don’t personally know Ron Paul, but I would bet that if at a social function, Ron Paul himself would shake the hand of Zack Wamp. Refusing to shake someone’s hand and then bragging about it does not make you a principled person; it makes you a jerk.

To all the libertarian minded Republicans and Ron Paul supporters who are hurt or offended that Matt was ousted from the Executive Committee: Matt was not removed because of his libertarian leaning or his support for Ron Paul; he was removed because he acted like a jerk. Don’t give up on the Party. Don’t walk away. Stay involved. I believe that most Republicans welcome the energy and growth that the libertarian leaning Republicans are bringing to the Party. I believe most Republicans are not interested in shrinking the Party and purging people but in enlarging the party and welcoming people. Matt was not ousted because he was the lone voice standing up for principles and the constitution; he was ousted because of his behavior. A Libertarian leaning Republican with normal social skills would be welcome in the party.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another cancer drug too dear for Britain: Bowel cancer victims denied life-prolonging care.

By Jenny Hope, Daily Mail U.K., Mail Online, updated at 9:13 AM on 24th November 2009

Bowel cancer sufferers are to be denied a life-prolonging drug on the NHS which is available to patients across Europe and beyond.

Trials show Avastin can extend life by almost two years.

But the Government's rationing body, Nice, says it is not cost-effective. (link)


Is this the kind of health care we want in America? As explained in this article, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence follows a complex formula that evaluates quality of life and cost effectiveness to determine what medical treatments and procedures will be paid for by the government. This treatment was deemed too expensive. About 35,000 Britons develop bowel cancer each year, of which 4,000-5,000 with advanced cancer could benefit from this drug. This life-saving drug is too expensive for the British health care system. The UK has not raised the cost cap on individual care in ten years despite lifesaving advances in medicine and new but more costly treatment options.

It is true that the US spends more of our GNP on health care than most other advanced countries. If health care becomes a government service then we can hold down the cost. The cost will be held down by rationing, as is the case in the UK. Proponents of radically transforming our health care system deny that care will be rationed but every government service is rationed from police protection to education. Health care will consume less of the GNP under a nationalized health care system because the government will determine the amount spend on health care. Health care will be a budget item in competition with the Defence Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Agriculture Department and every other department of government.

I know that there are many Americans ready to accept having health care decision dictated by a government bureaucracy. There are many Americans who don't care if treatment is denied, as long as it is denied to everyone equally. If a particular drug was never approved by the government in the first place then they won't mind if they don't get it. They look at government decisions much the way a child looks at decisions handed down by a parent; the government is wise and knows best. They want someone else making decisions for them. Freedom is messy and stressful. They want someone to take care of them. They long to be subjects at the mercy of government dictates. They are also more concerned with everyone being treated the same and never think about what it takes to advance the human condition. They look around them and see the current deficiencies in the current system and never think of advances in health care that will not occur under a government bureaucracy. I am not one of them.

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Presidents and Kings

Obama bows to Kings

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is Global Warming a Hoax?

Wow! This is hard to believe.

Is it possible that the scientific consensus about global warming may actually be a conspiracy? Is the science of global warming all a hoax? If it is, it is one of the world’s biggest hoaxes. If global warming is a hoax, I am going to start questioning the moon landing. Those who have never accepted the theory of global warming must be feeling vindicated.

One of the worlds leading climate research centers has been hacked into and a large volume (62 megabytes) of internal documents was released that clearly indicate that scientific data was manipulated to make global warming appear much more of a certainty than the data would indicate. One of the released emails has a scientist discussing a “trick” to “hide the decline” of global temperatures in the data. Another email has a scientist talking about ways to stack the peer review process to keep qualified skeptical scientist from having their research papers considered.

That sure sounds like a conspiracy and a hoax to me. Doctored studies. Manipulated data. Shutting out contrary views. Is this the scientific method? This story can't be just shrugged off and dismissed as the rantings of the flat-earth, tin-foil-hat crowd. Of course there is the possibility that the released documents are fakes. We don't know enough about this story to jump to conclusions. Even if the documents prove genuine that does not negate the physical evidence of the receding glaciers and shrinking ice caps, but it does call into question the reliability of the science.

This story was published by the Australian magazine Investigate (link). The world deserves answers. What is the real evidence of global warming? How influential was this research center. Who were those skeptical scientists who were denied the right to have their research considered? Was those contrary voices ever heard from? I am not ready to jump ship and join the skeptics, but I am a lot less certain of my acceptance of the science of global warming today than I was yesterday. I am waiting for answers. Some one tell me why I should still believe in global warming.

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GOP Donelson/Hermitage “Bacon and Eggs” summit huge success

On Saturday, the Davidson County Republican Party had its first meeting of the Davidson County GOP Donelson/Hermitage Group. About thirty people attended the breakfast at the Donelson Pike Shoney’s. The purpose of the meeting was for local conservative-minded residents of the Donelson and Hermitage areas to meet one another and to discuss strategies for electing candidates in the future.

Jane Farrel of the TN Energy Forum spoke on energy policy and the pending cap and trade bill before Congress. Metro Councilman Randy Foster spoke on the roll of the Metro Council and issues pending before the Metro Council, including the proposal to build a new convention center. I addressed the group and spoke on the roll of volunteers and how people can organize to win elections. Barry Donegan, Regional Vice Chair who represents this region on the Party Executive Committee conducted the meeting. There was a lot of lively discussion and enthusiasm.

Davidson County has always been a one-party county with a weak Republican Party that has kept a low profile. The current leadership of the Davidson County party is determined to change that. In April of this year, the Party had the largest number of delegates to the County Convention they have ever had. The County GOP is energized. The tea party rallies and opposition to Obamacare and concern over run away reckless spending have motivated people to get involved. Victories in taking the State House and Senate this year and prospects for winning the Governorship next year have further breathed new life into the local Party.

Plans are to establish at least seven regional Republican groups in Davidson County. These groups will hold monthly meetings and organize the party down to the precinct level. The Donelson/Hermitage meeting was the first effort in this campaign. The group will not meet in December but will resume monthly meetings starting in January. If you missed this meeting on Saturday and want to be notified of future meetings contact the party at or contact me at and I will pass on your contact information.

In addition to plans for the second meeting of the Donelson/Hermitage Group in January, plans are being made for the initial meeting of another group in the South Central region of the county. Volunteers are needed to help organize the Regions. Let us know if you want to be involved.

If you want to attend meetings just to stay informed and socilize with fellow like-minded people you are encougaged to attened. If you want to get really involved in building a viable Republican Party in Davidson County, there is plenty to do. Anyone is welcome to attend any of the meetings. You do not have to wait until your region is organized. Get on the list. Get involved!

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Senate health bill includes budget tricks

November 21, 2009, Gannett News Service: Analysis, By BILL THEOBALD

WASHINGTON -You could hear the sighs of relief last week from Senate Democratic leaders when the Congressional Budget Office reported that their health care bill wouldn't increase the federal deficit.

The nonpartisan CBO said the legislation would reduce the deficit by $130 billion from 2010-2019, a finding that will be key to selling the idea to the public and to complying with a no-red-ink mandate from President Barack Obama.

But peel back the numbers in the CBO report, and you find the sort of bookkeeping shenanigans that wouldn't pass muster around most kitchen tables in Tennessee.

The first gimmick has to do with something commonly referred to as the "doctor fix." Back in 1997, Congress set up a system to automatically cut Medicare reimbursements to doctors if program costs rose too quickly.

Every year since then, costs have indeed risen. But just as the reimbursement cuts are about to kick in, Congress always steps in and "fixes" (i.e., nullifies) them. Some call this kowtowing to doctors, but policymakers fear that cutting reimbursement rates would cause many doctors to drop their Medicare patients.

The Senate health care proposal assumes Congress would approve its standard doctor fix only in the first year the reforms take effect. The amount paid to doctors serving Medicare patients would be cut sharply after that.

Total savings: about $200 billion.

So does that mean doctors' Medicare reimbursement rates would really be cut? Nope. On Thursday, the House voted to perform the same doctor fix it always has, but in a measure separate from the health care reform bill.

The next bit of financial sleight of hand relates to a proposed long-term care insurance program called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act.

CBO officials looked at how much the program would cost only during the health care bill's 2010-2019 budget window. Over that period, the program would be taking in lots of premiums but would be spending very little on health services because most people enrolled in it would be too young to need those services.

The result: $72 billion in savings.

A final bit of fiscal finagling comes from delaying by one year the date when people would start getting federal subsidies to buy health insurance. Earlier proposals called for the subsidies to begin in 2013. The current Senate bill specifies 2014.

Total savings: about $15 billion.

Eliminate all these dubious accounting tricks from the health care bill, and you end up not with a deficit reduction, but with a deficit increase of more than $150 billion over the decade.

"It shows the tremendous lack of respect Congress has in dealing with the American people," Republican Sen. Bob Corker said. "It's almost beyond belief."

Bill Theobald covers Tennessee issues at Gannett News Service's Washington bureau. E-mail him at Copyright ©2009

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The $100 Million Health Care Vote?

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports, November 19, 2009 3:03 PM

What does it take to get a wavering senator to vote for health care reform?

Here’s a case study.

On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”

The section spends two pages defining which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”

I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana,...(link)

Comment: Disgusting! Not a lot more needs to be said.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Frank has really been into the wine this time.

In this week's wine review column in The Tennesseean, Frank Sutherland and his wine tasting panel were reviewing Pinot Noir and Gamay Beaujolais wines to pair with the Thanksgiving meal. Among the aromas and taste they detected from the various wines were rhubarb, cola, Grenadine, campfire scents, and beef jerky, teriyaki and bacon, leather and (are your ready for this?) in his top pick wine, the 2008 Montoya Pinot Noir, he detected the aroma of "barnyard smells." Barnyard smells?? What? Yes, barnyard smells. I was thinking the "campfire scents" was a little out there but "barnyard smells?" Note that this was his top pick wine. I would not think barnyard smells would be something you would want in your wine, but what do I know.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Fake Boobs for Jesus

Carrie Prejune

In a shocking new development in a scandal that has continued to plague 22-year-old beauty queen Carrie Pejune whose defense of traditional marriage led to a national controversy and conflict with pageant organizers, seven new sex tapes have allegedly surfaced, although the claim is not substantiated (link).

We do know for certain that one sex tape was made. She says she made it for her boy friend when she was only a teenager and says it was “the biggest mistake of my life.”

Since controversy erupted over her pro traditional marriage stance she has become the darling of the religious right appearing on religious television and radio programs such as Focus on the Family and has making personal appearances at Christian events such as The Gospel Music Awards show.

She was recently interviewed for Christianity Today, where she was asked to respond to those Christians who have spoken out against women participating in beauty pageants. She said, “I think you can be a Christian and compete in a pageant. I think you can be a Christian and be a model. It depends on how you act as that role, and if you remember who you are and you remember what you stand for and stay true to who you are, you can be in any job. Just don't compromise what you believe in.

OK. Does the Bible say anything about modesty? She addressed this issue more directly in her recent book, Still Standing. She writes, “God gave us our bodies, and it's perfectly right that we use them in ways where we can give glory to God by making our bodies, our temples of the Holy Spirit, strong and fast.”

OK. I guess I buy that. I get it. In the beauty pageants she was using her body “for the glory of God.” It looks like God gave her a good body to use. As it turns out, God did not do a perfect job and it has been revealed that she has fake boobs courtesy of the pageant. In the Christianity Today article she was asked if she ever wondered whether breast implants might be incompatible with her Christian faith? “No”, she replied, “I don't think there's anything wrong with getting breast implants as a Christian. I think it's a personal decision. I don't see anywhere in the Bible where it says you shouldn't get breast implants.”
Carrie Prejune, big fake titsAmen sister. I am sure God doesn’t mind you going from a B cup to a C cup. What do you think God thinks about women who go from a C cup to a EEE cup?
In all of this controversy, I sympathize with Miss Prejune. She did not ask for this controversy. I agree with her defense of traditional marriage. She was asked a question at the pageant and she answered honestly and ran up against the political correctness Nazis. I am on her side. In fact, I would love to hold and comfort her and say, “you poor baby.”

Also, I am not a prude. I do lust. I like looking at beautiful scantily clad women. I like going to nice parties where women show cleavage. I don’t apologize for it. I am culturally a Christian of course, but not a devout prudish Christian. I am more comfortable with “Christian lite” than I am fundamentalist Christianity. I prefer Christians who don't take there religion too seriously.
I just find this whole controversy and the way Carrie Prejune has been turned into a role model and hero of the faith amusing. She should quietly fade away and the Christian right should stop trying to make her a hero.
I can’t wait for the Christianity Today nude pin-up centerfold.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

AFF Presents Former TennCare Director to Discuss Healthcare Reform

America's Future Foundation

Join America’s Future Foundation as Brian Lapps, a former TennCare director, shares his perspective on national healthcare reform.

Date: Monday, November 16, 2009
Time: Cocktail hour at 6:30 pm , Brian Lapps speaks at 7:30 pm with Q&A immediately following
Place: Hampton Inn Green Hills, Belle Meade Room ( 2324 Crestmoor Road , 37215)
Hors d'oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages will be provided.

About Brian Lapps:

As the former director and assistant commissioner of the TennCare Bureau in Nashville , Brian Lapps developed and initiated a comprehensive reform plan for the $4.3 billion program. At the time, TennCare was the most comprehensive and difficult Medicaid Managed Care program in the United States . Mr. Lapps interacted with state and federal officials, nine managed care organizations (HMO’s), providers and multiple constituencies to reign in the program. He has nearly 4 decades of experience in the healthcare industry, including executive positions at several Nashville-area hospitals and healthcare organizations. He is currently a managing director with Harpeth Consulting, a business management consulting firm focused on commercial for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare providers and payers and federal, state and local government healthcare agencies.

P.S. Forward this message to your friends to help AFF grow. They can sign up for Room 101 themselves by visiting

Price Rainer
Executive Director — Nashville America’s Future Foundation

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Dither on, Mr. President

In fund raising appeals and in editorials, President Obama is being criticized for delays in making a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan. I don’t criticize him on this front.

My more cynical self tells me that the President’s delay in reaching a decision on Afghanistan is tied to his push to pass health care reform. It is easier for the President to deal with one issue at a time. Political capital will be used up in any decision on Afghanistan. In the Senate, the President only has a one-vote margin in favor of his version of health care reform. If he proposes an increase in troops in Afghanistan then some of the more liberal Senators who are already disappointed that the health care bill does not include a robust public option or even more radical reforms or who are upset about the anti-abortion language in the bill may also be outraged at an escalation in the war in Afghanistan. They may be less susceptible to arm twisting if they feel they have been on betrayed health care reform, abortion rights, and war policy. Any decision on Afghanistan may weaken the President’s influence to pass health care. My less cynical self takes the President at his word. He wants to consider all the options, get the advice of a lot of people and make a correct decision.

What decision the President should make, I don’t know. Afghanistan seems like a no-win situation. I do not see how it can turn out well. I see no good way forward or good way out. Any decision has peril.

To remake Afghan society and turn the nation into a functioning well governed democracy seems virtually impossible. That is too lofty of a goal. To even attempt it would take at least a ten-year commitment, many more than the proposed 40,000 troops that are being requested now and untold treasure. To withdraw without leaving a stable government behind that is capable of defending itself would return Afghanistan into a safe haven for Al Qaeda and a launching ground for terror, and our defeat would inspire and encourage our enemies.

There are various options between these two above choices obviously but no good options. What we have been doing and are currently doing is obviously not working. The country is becoming less secure; not more secure. Any decision the President makes will probably be the least bad choice, not a good choice. It seems like a hopeless cause. We are fighting in a country that has only an 11% literacy rate, where opium production is the primary source of revenue, where tribal loyalty trumps nationalism and the terrain is inhospitable.

The Karsi government is corrupt, it hardly functions and the Afghan Army may terrorize the local population more than the Taliban. I read one story recently that said the US had to patrol with the Afghan Army, or at the first opportunity instead of pursuing Taliban, the Army would set up makeshift road blocks to shake down travelers.

While General McChrystal, commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, has told President Obama that he needs 40,000 more troops if the country is to be stabilized, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a retired Army general and former commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, is objecting to any increase in troop level saying that additional troops would be unwise because of the corruption and ineffectiveness of the Afghan government. (read more)

I have little confidence in and respect for President Obama. I wish someone else was calling the shots. Nevertheless, we only have one President and Commander-in-Chief at a time and Mr. Obama is that person. He has a tough decision to make. I think he is correct to push for an exit strategy and a clarification of our goals before agreeing to a 40,000 increase in troop strength. I hope that in desperation he does not simply split the difference between various options and send 20,000 more troops and kick the can of hard choices down the road.

The holding pattern we are in now may be no worse than whatever decision is eventually made. So, Mr. President, take all the time you need to make the best decision; dither on.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

An important health care reform question

Marijuana, Health Care Reform

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jim Cooper: Talking right and voting wrong.

Peanuts Chalie Brown Lucy football

Jim Cooper, Tennessee's 5th District Congressman, spoke before The Senate Budget Committee Hearing on Bipartisan Process Proposals for Long-Term Fiscal Stability yesterday. He told the Committee, "I believe that the greatest threat to our nation’s economic security is our long-term fiscal imbalance. At the end of the 2008 fiscal year, the Treasury Department’s 'Financial Report of the United States Government' reported the present value of our unfunded liabilities at $56 trillion, or almost four times the GDP of America."

He went on to say, "In my opinion, we have fiscal cancer, and it is metastasizing so quickly that, all too soon, no surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation will be enough to save us."

This testimony was given to Congress less than 72 hours after he voted for the House's health care reform bill which will greatly expand the deficit and create a major new entitlement. The problem with Jim Cooper is that he talks right and votes wrong. I have heard Jim Cooper speak many times. I heard him speak specifically on the budget and deficit issues and I have heard him speak as part of a panel on health care. He makes a great presentation. There is no doubt he has a vast knowledge of the issues and knows a lot of facts. He has insights and an understanding of the problems. I am always impressed. Every time I hear him speak I think, "that Jim Cooper is a smart man." After having been impressed by some of his presentations, I may have even said, "Jim Cooper is my kind of Democrat." Unfortunately, I have been proven wrong again and again.

With Jim Cooper, I sort of feel like Charlie Brown. Lucy keeps making Charlie think that she will hold the ball so he can kick it and she always pulls it away at the last minute. In Feburary, Cooper voted for the economic stimulas bill after having given all the reason why it was a bad bill and leading everyone to think he was going to vote against it. I even commended him in this blog for his vote and then the next day found out he did not vote the way he had said he would (link). Jim Cooper defines the issues and talks conservative. I keep thinking he will vote the right way this time but he never does. I have been fooled one too many times. From now on, I am going to expect Jim Cooper to pull the ball at the last minute.

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Veterans Day

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Berlin Wall: Twenty Years Later

November 9, 2009, The Independent Institute

The fall of the Berlin Wall, twenty years ago today, was not inevitable. Nor was the collapse of the Soviet Union. The failure of central economic planning does not explain those remarkable events because if it did, communist policies would not still govern the everyday lives of millions in Cuba, North Korea, Laos, and Cambodia. (China and Vietnam have at least introduced aspects of markets, with notable success.)

The liberation of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989--and related events two years later in the Soviet Union--could not have happened without one essential ingredient: people choosing freedom. "History did not make them; they made history," writes Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa.

The mantra of "inevitability" masks the heroism of ordinary people and a handful of leaders who defied reactionary hardliners, often at great personal risk. It also plays down the distorted view that many intellectuals had held about the Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc allies before the collapse of the wall. Writes Vargas Llosa: "If much of the world's intelligentsia thought that socialism's triumph was unstoppable before it was stopped, their peers today conveniently dismiss the importance of those events as 'predictable' in order to concentrate the mind on the true enemy--capitalism."

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Berlin Wall Anniversary: Remembering the Victims of Communism

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The Berlin Wall: The Real History of the Fall

Monday November 9, 2009, The Wisdom of Dave

Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall came down. As a young adult I remember watching the coverage as the first opening at the Brandenburg Gate in the wall that had long separated the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic was about to come down.

As the crowds cheered and young men and women climbed on top of the wall and their elders who had seen the wall grow up between the German people since World War II, waited with mixed joy and anxiety as the moment came that the wall should open for the first time. (link)

Comment: This is a great post from a fellow bogger.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Obama skips Berlin Wall event.

Obama Draws Criticism for Sitting Out Berlin Wall Anniversary

Fox News, Oct. 9, 2009

President Obama squeezed in a trip to Copenhagen last month to lobby, unsuccessfully, for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. He plans to travel to Oslo next month to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that even Obama has said he does not deserve. And this coming week, he sets out on a weeklong tour of Asia.

But the president does not plan to travel to Germany to attend the 20th anniversary celebration Monday of the fall of the Berlin Wall, drawing heated criticism from those who say he's ignoring a shining triumph of American-inspired democracy. (link)

Comment: His absence speaks volumes. It is an outrage that he skipped this celebration. We know a JFK or Ronald Reagan would have been there and I cannot even imagine Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton skipping this celebration of the event that ended the cold war. My dislike of Barack Obama just went up several notches.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

'Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall' on The History Channel

It sprung up overnight in August, 1961--a makeshift blockade separating repressive, Soviet-controlled East Berlin from the Allied-run democracy to the west. Soon the barrier encircled all of West Berlin, sealing its two million citizens off from the rest of the world. As escape attempts escalated, deadlier obstacles were added. Eventually, a 97-mile barrier, virtually impenetrable, snaked along the border between East and West Berlin. And 28 years later, it came down as unexpectedly as it went up. Observe the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (November 9, 2009) with a dramatic look at how a line of railway cars and barbed wire evolved into the massively fortified fortress that came to symbolize the Cold War. Computer-generated imagery, re-enactments, archival footage, and expert commentary provide political and historical context while helping to illustrate how construction progressed over time--and how it was suddenly demolished by civilians in 1989.

Rating: TVPG

Running Time: 120 minutes
Comment: I watched this exhilarating and moving documentary last night and highly recommend it. Learn the story of those who died trying to escape from eastern Germany and those who succeeded. By tunneling, by hot air balloon, and super light aircraft they escaped as the Communist government of East Germany build a more and more elaborate wall to keep people from fleeing. This program will be shown again Friday, November 13 08:00 AM and Friday, November 13 02:00 PM. Don't miss it.

Many on the left still admire Communism. Many romanticize the Communist era and see Communist as advocates of social justice and they ignore the horror that was totalitarian Communism. Many young people may know very little about the era and what was at stake in the battle between freedom and Communism. This program needs to be seen by those who are too young to remember and those who may forget what the cold war was all about.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

$13.56 for each gallon of gas saved under Cash for Clunkers program

An estimated 125,000 new cars were purchased under the Cash for Clunkers program that would not have otherwise been purchased.

The average difference in gas mileage between the clunker that was traded in and the new car was 2 mpg.

The average driver drives 15,000 miles per year.

If the clunker was getting 15 mpg, it would have taken 1,000 gallons to drive those miles. If the new car gets 17 mpg, the car would require only 882 gallons for a savings of 118 gallons per year. In five years the savings would be 590 gallons per vehicle. For the net 125,000 new vehicles purchased, in five years 73,750,000 gallons of gas would be saved.

The cost of the program was $1 billion dollars. This equals $13.56 for each gallon of gas saved.

Does that sound like a bargain?

Obviously there is more than one way to calculate the savings in gas and I had to make some assumptions in the above calculation. One of the most obvious objections to my calculation is that the cars will be on the road longer than five years and will continue to save fuel. However, I am assuming that if customers had not purchased these cars that they would have delayed their purchase and the future cars they would have purchased instead would have gotten even better mileage than the cars they were enticed to purchase. If, for instance, hybrids gain popularity some people who would otherwise purchase a hybrid sooner will do so later because they will still be driving the car they purchased with the cash for clunkers enticement.

Another factor to consider is that if it cost less to drive a car people may simply drive more miles. This is a variable that is hard to calculate but is realistic. With cheaper gas or better gas mileage people will probably just drive more miles. Also, of course we do not know the future price of gasoline. Higher gas prices would decrease the miles driven thus making the cost per gallon saved even higher.

Another factor to consider is that in five years some of the cars will no longer be in service, others will be the "second" family car and will be driven less miles per year than when it was newer and was considered the first family car. Some of the cars will have been traded in and be driven by lower income people and be driven considerably fewer miles per year than the average of 15,000 miles a year. Some of the cars will simply no longer be in service. So, a five-year calculation seems reasonable, but admittedly this is arbitrary.

If you want to quibble with my figures, go ahead. In any event, whether the cost per gallon of gasoline saved is $9.00 or $13.56 or $21 it is still an expensive way to reduce gas consumption and curtail CO2 emissions. If there is some fatal flaw in my logic or my math, please point it out to me.

Obviously the purpose of the program was to stimulate the economy but it was also sold as a program to reduce gas consumption and help the environment. It was a very costly environmental program.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Clunkers: Taxpayers paid $24,000 per car

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer, Oct.29, 2009

A total of 690,000 new vehicles were sold under the Cash for Clunkers program last summer, but only 125,000 of those were vehicles that would not have been sold anyway, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the automotive Web site (link)

Comment: Can someone again tell me why this was a good idea?

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

'Cash for Clunkers' proves a real clunker.

Cash for clunkers could have hardly been a worse joke. Most often people traded their clunker for cars that only got a 1 to 3 MPG improvement over the clunker they traded in. A typical deal was trading a Ford 150 for a Ford 150s. In numerous cases people traded old cars for new cars that actually got less miles per gallon.

Not only was Cash for Clunkers not that good for the environment it hurt poor people by reducing the number of "clunkers" in the used car inventory. Very low income people who could have traded up from a really bad clunker to a not-so-bad clunker will be unable to do so. The program made "clunkers" more costly by reducing the supply.

The only argument that one could make in favor of the program is that it stimulated the economy by stimulating car sales. Even that argument is debatable. Would the money that consumers spend on cars have been spend on something else that fueled the economy just as well? How many of the sales simply occurred a little sooner than they otherwise would have? Also, many of the new car purchases were of foreign cars so the program may have helped Japan as much as Detroit. Would have a tax cut not done as much to stimulate the economy as subsidizing car sales?

The program was popular with the public who purchased cars using it. People always like free money. I, however, while still driving my old 1996 Mercury Sable am not so pleased that I subsidized my neighbor's new car purchase.

See: Cash for Clunkers plan does little for planet.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Commemorating 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Reagan Foundation and Library and Heritage Foundation to Offer Live Internet Stream of Entire Conference Commemorating 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, November 6, 2009

WHAT: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library and The Heritage Foundation will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the advent of freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe with a one-day conference on Friday, November 6, 2009, at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

The entire conference, from the red carpet arrivals at 7:30 AM PT through the end of the panels at 5:30 PM PT will be streamed live on

Complete program outline (all times Pacific):

9:30 – 11:15 “Insider Perspectives on Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Wall”
11:15 Mrs. Reagan photo op
12:00 – 1:45 “Tear Down This Wall,” address by George Schultz
2:00 – 3:45 “The Unfinished Legacy of the Fall of the Wall”
4:00 – 5:30 “Worldwide Perspectives on the Fall of the Wall”

WHO: Insider Perspectives on Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Wall

Panelists: Ed Meese (United States Attorney General, 1985-1988), Richard Allen (National Security Advisor, 1981-1982), John Lehman (Secretary of the Navy, 1981-1987), Martin Anderson (Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, 1981-1982) and Peter Robinson (White House Speechwriter), Leszek Balcerowicz (Former First Deputy Prime Minister, Poland).
Moderator: John McCaslin (Co-host, America’s Morning News)

The Unfinished Legacy of the Fall of the Wall

Panelists: Vaclav Klaus (President of the Czech Republic), Steve Forbes (Former chairman of the bi-partisan Board for International Broadcasting), Mart Laar (Prime Minister, Estonia, 1999-2002), Lord Charles Powell (Foreign Advisor to Margaret Thatcher, 1983-1990), Richard Pipes (Frank B Baird, Jr Professor of History, Emeritus).
Moderator: Edward Lucas (Deputy Editor, International Section, The Economist)

Worldwide Perspectives on the Fall of the Wall

Panelists: Dr. Robin Harris (Heritage Foundation), John O’Sullivan (Radio Free Europe), Peter Brookes (Heritage Foundation) and Lee Edwards (Heritage Foundation)
Moderator: Matthew Kaminski (Member, Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal)

WHERE: Online streaming at

The Reagan Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, the Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center and the Air Force One Pavilion. Located in Simi Valley, California, the Library houses over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 100,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It now also serves as the final resting place of America’s 40th President

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paying for Praying in Health Care Bill

The Senate version of the health care bill contains a provision that would prohibit insurers from discriminating against "religious and spiritual health care." (link) This provision in the bill was designed to put Christian Science "prayer treatment" on the same footing as clinical medicine. While it may have been designed for Christian Science prayer treatment, can anyone doubt that the big televangelist will not tap this well? According the the article reporting on this, a Christian Science prayer treatment can cost as little as $20. What will the popular televangelist charge?

Who will be responsible for setting the rates for "payer treatment?" If someone can miraculously cure cancer and bill the government $1000, who will determine that that is or is not an appropriate fee? Who will decide what is legitimate "prayer treatment" and what is not? Will some government bureaucrat determine that Christian Science prayer treatment is legitimate but Benny Hinn prayer treatment is not?

The televangelist already have salaried "prayer counselors" to pray for people. I have met some of them. One of the major televangelist has part of his empire here in Nashville and had at one time over a hundred people on the payroll as prayer counselors. He still may have; I don't know. The big televangelist already have the operation and the employees. It would not take much to turn their prayer counselors into "prayer treatment providers." One can pray for people over the phone, so will "prayer treatment" have to be in person or can one deliver prayer treatment over the phone?

People who are concerned about the establishment of religion clause of the constitution and who believe there should be a wall of separation between church and state should be concerned about this little provision of the health care bill.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Democrats push plan to cut the deficit

By JACKIE CALMES and CARL HULSE,The New York Times, October 31, 2009

WASHINGTON — Faced with anxiety in financial markets about the huge federal deficit and the potential for it to become an electoral liability for Democrats, the White House and Congressional leaders are weighing options for narrowing the gap, including a bipartisan commission that could force tax increases and spending cuts. (link)


I am pleased that the Democrats are finally becoming concerned about the growing deficits. Ever since President Obama’s election, any time someone expressed concern about the budget deficit and the rising U.S. debt, Democrats would point out that Republicans also ran huge deficits and increased the national debt under George W. Bush.

That is valid criticism and Republican fiscal irresponsibility is one of the reasons I became a disgruntled Republican. Republicans spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and didn't even try to pay for it and simply added the costs to the deficit. Republicans also boosted Medicare spending with the Medicare Part D program, and with No Child Left Behind, adding all of the costs to the deficit.

The fact that Republicans were irresponsible is no justification for Democratic irresponsibility. Since President Obama has taken office the budget deficit and the national debt have ballooned, dwarfing the fiscal irresponsibility of the Republicans. Admittedly, the nation faced a severe economic crisis and some emergency spending was justified. However, on top of the TARP and the stimulus package spending and the various other initiatives of the Obama administration we are now considering costly health care reform and cap and trade, which will add to the budget deficits.

We must get a handle on the deficit and the growing national debt. Simply paying interest on the debt takes a bigger and bigger chunk out of the budget making cutting the budget more and more difficult. We are like a family that is living beyond our means and financing our spending by borrowing. It is as if we were using credit cards to pay the minimum monthly payments on other credit cards. The debt just grows and grows and grows. Like the family that eventually caps out the last credit card, there may come a time when the Chinese will no long finance our excessive spending. Unlike the family that will then be forced to file bankruptcy, the US will inflate the currency and debt obligations will be repaid with cheaper dollars. I do not see how we can possibly avoid future massive inflation unless we get a handle on spending.

Maybe a bi-partisan committee to address the deficit has merit but I would have to be persuaded. My initial reaction is that the concept of a bipartisan commission “that could force tax increases and spending cuts” is a bad idea. If the Democrats are the majority on a bi-partisan committee, I have no confidence that we would see any meaningful spending cuts; instead the result would be ever increasing taxes. The bi-partisan committee would simply provide cover for an ever-increasing growth of government. As taxes consume a greater and greater share of the GNP, there will be less money in the private sector to grow the economy. Not only as a nation and as individuals do we become poorer, but also as government grows freedom diminishes. What is needed is to elect people to office who will be responsible and reduce government spending.

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1st Tuesday Meetup: Zach Wamp to be guest.


1st Tuesday is on 1st Monday but only for November!

Location: Waller Lansden, 511 Union St, Floor 27, Nashville

1st Tuesday is a always a great event. Hear interesting speakers in a room with a view, have a nice meal for a reasonable price and network with other Republican. Park cheap at 511 Union or free or cheap in the public garage beneath the library, which is less than a block away. Anyone is welcome to attend. The meeting is exactly one hour long, so you can attend and not be gone from work that long. Lunch is from Alexander's Catering and is $20 for guests, $15 for members. Membership in 1st Tuesday is only $20 a year. If you are a Republican or a conservative and in the Nashville area, you really owe it to yourself to start attending 1st Tuesday.

Come out and meet Zach Wamp and help his official kickoff of the gubernatorial campaign. See what his passion is, ask insightful questions, be attentive and get there early if you want a great meal. (link)

Zack WampWamp is an 8th term Republican Congressman from Tennessee 3rd District which is in East Tennessee and includes the city of Chattanooga. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee on the Energy and Water Subcommittee and as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

He has become a leader on national issues such as alternative energy, preventive health care and global security. He is the co-chairman of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and the founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Fitness Caucus.

Zach was instrumental in forming the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor which promotes a technology-based economic development agenda.

A Chattanooga native, Zach spent 12 years as a small businessman and commercial real estate broker before being elected to Congress.

For more information about Zack Wamp and his campaign for Governor visit ZackWamp

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