Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Amend the Metro Charter to Protect Private Property Rights

Jim Gottoby Jim Gotto

One of the unique characteristics of the United States that has set it apart from other countries is the right of individual citizens to own property. Generally referred to as property rights, this freedom that we have has been a significant contributor to successful entrepreneurship and the resulting strong private economy that exists in the United States. We enjoy the highest standard of living in the world, due in no small part to property rights.

One of the enemies to individual property rights is the abuse of eminent domain by the government or its agents. The use of eminent domain should be limited to only those projects that are absolutely necessary for government to fulfill its purposes. The purposes of government have and continue to be a much debated subject. I do not wish to engage in that discussion at this time but I am of the opinion that the delegation of eminent domain decisions to a bureaucratic agency is outside what can reasonably be considered under the umbrella of the purposes of government.

In the past, The Mayor and Metro Council have done just that by legislating redevelopment districts and in that legislation delegated the authority to obtain a private citizens property through condemnation. The agency that has been the beneficiary of this power is the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA). The only restraint placed on MDHA is to determine if the property is “blighted”.

Consider the recent case of Joy Ford. Ms Ford owns a business that is within the footprint of the Gulch Redevelopment District. MDHA through a subjective decision making process declared her property blighted and undertook proceedings to obtain it through eminent domain against Ms Ford’s wishes. The purpose of this property seizure was to pass it on to Lionstone Group, a private developer.

It was only after public pressure was exerted as a result of the involvement of some Metro Council members and the press that MDHA relented and Ms Ford prevailed. However, there was nothing that the Council could do in a timely manner to stop the proceedings because MDHA had been previously granted eminent domain authority through the legislation that established the Gulch Redevelopment District. Had MDHA continued, the final decision would have been up to the courts and I do not believe that eminent domain cases devoid of elected officials’ control on a case by case basis should be settled in this manner.

The only effective way to insure that elected officials in Davidson County retain the absolute authority to make eminent domain decisions is to amend the Metro Charter. An easier course would be to pass legislation to this end. However, any new law could be nullified by future legislation. Amending the Charter to specify that all eminent decisions must come to the Council for a vote on a case by case basis is the only way to preserve the Metro Council’s authority to oversee and protect the property rights of the citizens of Davidson County.

Jim Gotto is a Metro Councilman representing Council District 12. The proposed charter amendment, sponsored by Jim Gotto, to require that all eminent domain decisions must come to the Metro Council for a vote on a case by case basis will be on the November ballot. Gotto is a candidate seeking the District 60 House seat.

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Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers

Time, By John Cloud Monday, Aug. 30, 2010- One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink tend to die sooner than those who do. (link)

Comment: I'll drink to that.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Turn in an arsonist

Anyone with information about the Murfressboro Mosque construction site arson is urged to call the AFT Bureau's toll-free hotline, at (877) A-T-F – FIRE. Or you can contact your local police department.

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Terrorist strike Mufressboro Mosque Construction site

Early Saturday morning, arsonist set a fire at the construction site of the future Murfressboro Mosque in an attempt to destroy four pieces of construction equipment left on the site, striking fear into the heart of local Muslims.

"The members of the community are very scared," said Camie Ayash, spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. "As I mentioned, it's Ramaadan. We try to come together as a community in the evenings to break our fast together. Our attendance level has been very low, because people are scared to leave their homes." (link)

This arson attempt recalls the intimidation and violence perpetrated by the Klu Klux Klan across the south in the sixties, when crosses were burned in the yards of Blacks who attempted to register to vote and churches were torched including the 1963 church bombing at a Birmingham church that killed four little girls.

The sign marking the future site of the Murfreesboro Mosque was destroyed twice in the last few months. In February 2008, a Mosque in Columbia, Tennessee was destroyed in a fire and graffiti left behind included swastikas and the words "white power." (link)

There has been a lot of opposition to the Murfressboro Mosque and it has been fueled by local radio talk show host and politicians. In the recent election for the 6th Congressional district seat, candidate Lou Ann Zelenik came out against the construction of the mosque and issued a statement including these excepts: (link)

Lou Ann stands with everyone who is opposed to the idea of an Islamic training center being built in our community. This "Islamic Center" is not part of a religious movement; it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Radical Muslims are killing our servicemen and servicewomen every day. They say they want to kill us, and time and again they have backed up their words with action.

Until the American Muslim community find it in their hearts to separate themselves from their evil, radical counterparts, to condemn those who want to destroy our civilization and will fight against them, we are not obligated to open our society to any of them.
At a demonstration against the Mosque in Murfressboro earlier this summer, demonstrator Evy Summers was quoted as saying, "No mosque in Murfreesboro. I don't want it. I don't want them here. Go start their own country overseas somewhere. This is a Christian country. It was based on Christianity." (link)

This sentiment is widespread. I hear it all the time in comments left on my blog, in emails I receive and people express it in private conversation. There are those who are determined to deny Muslims their property rights and Freedom of Religion. I fear that if opponents of Islam do not cool the rhetoric and denounce violence we will see a repeat of the Birmingham church bombing, but this time it will be little Muslims girls killed in a Mosque bombing.

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Ron Paul deserves the Peace Prize

In all of the controversy about the "ground zero mosque" and the Murfressboro Mosque, I have been disappointed in some of our Republican politicians, such as our own Lou Ann Zelenic and Ron Ramsey and nationally I have been very disappointed in Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. To tell you the truth, I had gotten over Sarah Palin a long time ago and really did not expect much better from her but was really disappointed in Newt Gingrich. I had always been impressed by Newt and thought he was an intellectual and a thoughtful person. I was more disappointed in Newt than anyone else. He surprised me. At one time, he was one of my favorite politicians and a person that I thought should have been President.

On the other hand, some other people went up several notches in my estimation, including Karl Rove, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor Chris Christie and most of all Ron Paul.

Ron Paul deserves a Peace Prize, except that after awarding the Peace Prize to Barack Obama for not being George Bush, I am not sure the Peace Prize has much value. I have never been a supporter of Ron Paul. I have thought he was too far outside the mainstream. While I was an opponent of our going to war in Iraq, I still think we have interest in the world and I cannot support Paul's isolationist foreign policy. On several other issues, I have thought Paul was too much of an absolutist. However, if the election was being held today, I would vote for Ron Paul before I would vote for Newt Gingrich. I am giving Ron Paul a second look.

Please watch this clip. Unfortunately you must watch a 30 second commercial before you get to the Ron Paul clip. Go 2:16 into the clip to see the Ground Zero Mosque discussion. Paul criticizes Gingrich for comparing the Muslims to Nazis and says he "overstepped his bounds" and was "over the top." He criticizes those who would purposely attempt to confuse all Muslims with Al Qaeda. Ron Paul sounds like the voice of reason, moderation, decency, and common sense.

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Karl Rove Concerned About Republican Rhetoric on Ground Zero Mosque

George Stephanopoulos, ABC - I asked Karl Rove if he was concerned that the heated rhetoric from some of his fellow Republicans on the proposed Islamic center would undercut the work that President Bush did and the work President Obama is trying to do to reach out to the moderate Muslim world.

"I am," Rove told me.

By expressing his concern Rove joined New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former speechwriter Michael Gerson and former undersecretary James Glassman -- three Republicans who have said the controversy could have negative repercussions. (link)

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Congressional nominee David Hall seeks support from Green Hills Republicans

David HallGOP Breakfast: Beth Campbell, SEC 21 and Senate candidate Steve Dickerson, SD. 21, listen to a pitch from 5th District Congressional candidate David Hall at Saturday's Green Hills GOP breakfast meeting at Nero's Restaurant.

"This campaign is about getting our country back on track," GOP 5th Dist. Congressional candidate David Hall told a breakfast club meeting at Nero's Restaurant. "People are concerned about the socialistic agenda we appear to be moving into," the Goodlettsville home builder told Republicans from the affluent Green Hills area. (Read More. Photo and story from Dru's Vues, too, Saturday, August 28, 2010)

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Friday, August 27, 2010

"You need to Google 'Muslim History'."

Last night I was at fund-raising event for one of our local Republican candidates who is running for a state house seat. It was at a salsa night club that had been taken over for the evening by the candidate for a campaign party. The event was cash bar, but lots of good food and a festive atmosphere. I enjoyed chatting with lots of people I knew and making new acquaintances.

My wife and I were at a small, tall table at which you stand. I had just returned from the bar with our drinks when I looked up I saw someone approaching. This was not someone meandering by and mingling; they came up to our table with purpose. This gentleman did not introduce himself or anything. He walked up to me and said, "You need to Google 'Muslim History'."

I was a little taken aback and not sure I had heard him correctly and I said, "Pardon Me?"

He said, "You need to Google 'Muslim history'. Apparently, you don't know anything about it."

I said, "well, I know a little. Why do you say that?"

He said, "Then you are and idiot." With that, he turned and abruptly walked back across the room.

I don't know who he was but apparently he knows who I am and has read my blog and has taken exception to some of my blog post. Maybe it was the blog post where I pointed out that that hot sexy babe, Miss USA, is a Muslim and does not wear a burqa. Maybe, it was the blog post in which I said that the first amendment also applies to Muslims and Muslims have a right to build houses of worship. Maybe it was the blog post in which I said that the First Amendment is as important as the Second and Tenth Amendment. Maybe it was the blog post in which I told of my experience of being able to buy wine in a grocery store in Muslim Turkey but lamented that I cannot buy wine in a grocery store in Christian Nashville. I don't know. I guess I should be flattered that someone is reading and that he cares enough to seek me out to give me a piece of his mind.

I would have liked to have had a conversation.

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Tennessee Center for Policy Research names new president

Justin Owen, TCRP

Former policy director Justin Owen selected to lead free market think tank

Nashville – The Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR), the state’s premier free market think tank and government watchdog organization, today announced Justin Owen as its new president and executive director after a unanimous vote by the Board of Directors. Owen previously oversaw the organization’s policy initiatives as director of policy and general counsel.

“We are extremely proud of Justin’s work to advance liberty and limited government in Tennessee,” said TCPR Chairman John Cerasuolo. “He is the right person to lead this organization at a time when those principles are under attack on multiple fronts.”

Owen has served as acting executive director since the departure of Clint Brewer in June, who became the political editor of the Tennessean. In his new role, Owen will be charged with expanding TCPR’s influence as the state’s leading voice for free market policy solutions.

“I am honored to take the reins of a growing organization at this crucial time. I look forward to fighting for Tennesseans’ right to earn an honest living and provide for their families without onerous government interference,” said Owen.

Aside from managing the day-to-day operations of the organization, Owen will continue to represent TCPR on television and radio, and will maintain his regular guest columns in newspapers across the state.

Owen obtained his law degree from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis and his undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to his work at TCPR, Owen serves on the board of the Nashville Junior Chamber and is a Young Leaders Council board intern with Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee. He was also recently profiled as a “Nashville Rising Star” by the Tennessean.

TCPR is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization committed to providing free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. Through research, advocacy, and investigative reporting, TCPR advances ideas grounded in the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.

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Green Hills “Pastry 'n Politics Summit”

August 28, 2010 (Saturday) Green Hills “Pastry 'n Politics Summit”

Breakfast 8:30 a.m. ($10 Cash—No Credit Cards)
Program 9:00 a.m. (Sharp!).
Nero’s Grill
Green Hills (Nashville)

Guest Speakers:

David Hall, Candidate For U.S. Congressional 5th
Steve Dickerson, Candidate For TN Senate District 21

Please come and bring someone with you.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jim Gotto responds to Ben West's endorsement of Coleman

"I am surprised that Ben West whose voting record is conservative, who voted against a state income tax, and has always voted to defend Second Amendment rights would be supporting a candidate who in the Metro Council supported one of the biggest tax increase in history," said Jim Gotto. "He also, along with Megan Barry and Frank Harrison, voted against renewal of the 287g program which allows the Sheriff to report to Immigration Services those people who have been arrested who are illegal immigrants. It seems inconsistent that Ben West, with his conservative voting record would be supporting my opponent, when my values are so much closer to those of Ben West."

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Rep. Ben West, Jr. endorses Sam Cole­man for state House

(Nashville) — State Representative Ben West, Jr. (D-Hermitage), who is retiring after serving the 60th House district for 26 years, endorsed Metro Councilman Sam Coleman Thursday as his replacement in the upcoming November election.

West was joined in the endorsement by Coleman’s four former opponents from the August Democratic Primary: Larry Crim, Tommy Bradley, Charles Hager and Chris Tobe.

“I am casting my total support behind Sam, because he understands the needs of Hermitage, Donelson and Antioch,” West said. “I plan to work tirelessly to ensure that his transition into the state house is a smooth one. I know that he will continue to serve the district in a fine manner.”

Republicans had been hopeful that the retiring West would endorse the Republican candidate Jim Gotto, or at least not endorse anyone. Ben West is a conservative Democrat and votes with Republicans more than Democrats. He is a fiscal and social conservative and is a strong advocate for the 2nd Amendment. In the last year he has been present at tea party events and at various Republican events. He and his wife Phyllis were enthusiastic supporters of Cece Heil in her quest to win the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District. They serving as sponsors of a fund-raising event for Cece and they worked the polls for her.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Government agents can legally sneak onto your property and plant a tracking device.

Our Constitution rights are slip, slip, slipping away.

"Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements." (read more)

So ruled The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is the most liberal of the circuit courts. The ninth covers California and eight other western states. Hopefully this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court and be reversed, but for now this is the law. The ruling stems from a 2007 case when Drug Enforcement Administration agents suspected an individual of growing marijuana and snuck onto his property in the dead of night and placed a GPS tracking device underneath the suspects Jeep parked in the driveway just a few feet from his home.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says, "
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The ninth ruled that because the vehicle was in an area readily accessible that 4th Amendment protections did not apply. Think about that: If the owner would have had the car parked in a garage or had a gate, the placing of the device would have been illegal, but because it was readily accessible, the slipping onto the property and placing the tracking device was legal. So, poor people who do not live behind gated driveways or have garages have lesser rights than those who do.

In the last few years we have seen a steady erosion of our rights. Following the attack on 9-11, the administration of George W. Bush weakened our constitutional protections in the name of security and the administration of Barack Obama has accelerated that weakening of our rights in the name of health care reform and financial reform. Now the 9th Circuit Court has further eroded our constitutional rights in the name of combating marijuana.

Chief Judge Kozinski, a conservative justice appointed by President Ronald Reagan, dissented form the ruling saying, "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jim Cooper: Lap dog or Blue dog?

blue dog, Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper Suddenly Sees the Light

August 11th, 2010 . by Wilson County Tea Party

With less than three months before the November election, 5th District U.S. Rep Jim Cooper wants you to believe that he’s a fiscal conservative. He voted against the latest ‘Stimulus’ yesterday (here). This stimulus is essentially an election pay-off to the teacher’s unions and puts an estimated $90 million DIRECTLY into their pockets. It also gives money to fiscally irresponsible states. (Read More)

Comment: Please read the above. I was essentially going do the same research and write the same thing but thankfully I found this article. This writer list 14 recent liberal votes by Jim Cooper. I never did place a lot of confidence in death bed conversions. One right does not make up for 14 wrongs.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

David Hall: Moneyman or straw man?

By Stephen George, Sunday, August 22, 2010, City Paper

If you’re not his relative, chances are you were surprised at the improbable victory of Goodlettsville-based father of five and contractor David Hall in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District. Hall’s campaign was quiet, if not invisible, to most media and observers but for the mysterious polls it released, conducted by a company no one had heard of, the last of which showed the candidate with a 6 percent lead a week before Election Day, its prescience confirmed on Aug. 5.

Exactly how Hall’s campaign managed to topple those of well-funded conservatives Jeff Hartline and CeCe Heil, both of whom had major national endorsements and war chests in the hundreds of thousands, is unclear.

We do know how he didn’t pull it off: fundraising. (link)

Comment: David has explained in detail how he pulled off his surprise victory- by hard work and thinking smart. He knocked on 15,000 doors of targeted likely Republican voters!

This article points out that the reported campaign funding was based on attributing an inflated value to the in-kind contributions, specifically the $200,000 for polling which more likely should have been valued at about $5,500. I do think David Hall tried to make his campaign appear more sophisticated and better funded than it was. If the FEC is satisfied, and he committed no crime, then this is not a big deal. Hard work and thinking smart are admirable traits. Appearing better funded and more sophisticated than your really are does not rise to the level of a serious character flaw.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

No more mosques, period

by Bryan Fischer, August 10, 2010, American Family Association

Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.

Each one is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center, and determined to implement the “Grand Jihad” ....(link)


Wow! I am a "big-tent" kind of Republican. I ignore the crazies of the religious right and the crazies of the libertarian-anarchist right and think that if we agree on 8 out of ten things we are on the same team. I generally prefer to focus on the things that unit us rather than those things that divide us. However, like they used to say in the old west, "This town ain't big enough for the both of us." If the view expressed above by Fisher ever gains dominance in the Republican Party, I will have to find a new home.

Fischer is the American Family Association's director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy. The view he publicly empresses is very common in Republican circles. I hear it expressed in small group meetings and in private conversations all the time. I don't think most Republicans share this view, but in the interest of party unity they keep quite.

Least anyone think that the opposition to the lower Manhattan Mosque is due to the proximity to the World Trade Center site, the same people locally that I hear wanting to ban the construction of the "Ground Zero" mosque also want to ban the construction of a mosque in Murfressboro which is about 780 miles from ground zero.

I have nothing in common with those Republicans who want the Saudi Arabian standards of religious freedom, the standards that the US applies. Since criticizing a Tennessee Republican candidate for Congress who advocated prohibiting the building of the mosque in Murfressboro and criticizing a candidate for governor who wondered aloud if the First Amendment applies to Muslims, I have been accused of being a RINO, wrapping myself in the First Amendment, and political correctness. Guilty, guilty, guilty!

If believing the Constitution should be taken seriously, believing in private property rights, and believing in decentralized local decision making as long as it is consistent with constitutional rights makes me any less a conservative or a Republican then we have different definition of what is a Republican and a conservative. If political correctness is believing the first amendment is as important as the second or the tenth amendment then I advocate political correctness.

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Memphis tea party leader Mark Skoda now an advocate for Bill Haslam

During the campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor, Ron Ramsey was the favorite of most organized tea parties. Some tea party members have continued to express doubts about Haslam and there has been some talk about launching a write-in campaign for Susan Lynn, the conservative House Member who lost her bid for the nomination for a State Senate seat in the recent election. That efforts seems to have fizzled.

Recently Mark Skoda and a delegation of Memphis tea party activist , met with Mayor Haslam and Mark Skoda came away impressed and ready to get on board for Bill Haslam. Mark Skoda is a Memphis tea party leader, a radio talk show host and co-founder of the National Tea Party Federation. Below is his report of his meeting with Bill Haslam, published on a 9-12 Project email list.

To All,

I wanted to update you on my meeting with Bill Haslam. We met here in a Memphis and his wife and West Tennessee campaign manager were present. I had several people from our Memphis TEA Party group along with our 9th District Congressional Candidate, Charlotte Bergmann. The meeting lasted about 50 minutes due to a commitment he had in Nashville with Ron Ramsey.

The meeting was extremely friendly and open. I asked him to address four key issues: His participation in the Mayor Bloomberg’s effort “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/home/home.shtml ; a TN state income tax; his disclosure of his interests in Pilot Oil; and his views of addressing the Healthcare Freedom Act and the expansion of the Federal government.

He offered a substantial defense of his views and was unequivocal in the right to keep and bear arms as defined by the 2nd Amendment. He indicated that he, along with 700 other mayors, had joined Bloomberg’s coalition when it appeared to be focused on fighting crime and ensuring that guns didn’t get into the hands of criminals. He reiterated his views that the coalition was going in the wrong direction and that he did indeed remove himself when it appeared to be detrimental to his 2nd Amendment views and those of Tennessee. And while the political reality was clear, he again reiterated his views that he would support fully our rights and would not abridge the Constitution in any way.

In the matter of the state income tax, he again stated he would not support and indeed would oppose any efforts to establish a state income tax. I pointed out that the stimulus dollars would expire at the first of the year and that TN would be in a terrible hole from the point of view of our budget. He recognized that and stated he felt we could reduce the size of government while focusing on growing jobs and therefore the tax base. He saw no other way, given our state requirement to balance our budget. His business experience and the realistic perspective about the budget allowed for no other alternative. And he understood that he would work with Ron Ramsey to accommodate the reduction of the budget to meet the balance budget requirements of our state. However, without growth, the state would need to make some difficult choices to meet those reductions in spending.

On disclosure, he pointed out that he has disclosed more about his personal financial position than others in the past and which is required by law. He also stated that his interest in the family business is the source of his wealth and he was not hiding anything relating to this fact. And indeed, while many attempted to make an issue of this, he was of the opinion that he had been forthcoming in this matter.

Finally, he was most explicit about the need to reject the expansion of the Federal government. The need to push back on healthcare, immigration and Federal largesse were all points he brought forward in the discussion. I pointed out that the next governor would need to be absolute in resisting the enticements of the Federal government and the expansion and control of Tennesseans. He understood this fact and was adamant that Washington was broken and that the governors needed to take a stand. He also pointed out that being a part time legislature, our state government was already functioning more efficiently than most.

I told Bill that I appreciated sitting across the table from him with his wife present. She being from Memphis, I was also pleased that she could hear from Charlotte Bergmann who pointed out the problems facing our county and our city. I believe that both he and his wife recognized the emotional turmoil of this campaign and the need to meet their political rhetoric with actions that reflected his promises. He was direct, unapologetic and most friendly. At no time did I feel that he was condescending or placating me and my team. This was a business discussion and a heartfelt defense of the issues.

In closing, I can say that at the very least, he reiterated his official positions. He did so with honesty and forthrightness. He is an extremely charming man with a clear vision for the state and a recognition that he will need to prove out his positions over time. However, he was absolute in affirming those positions and his conservative bonafides. I told him we would be there holding him and our other legislators accountable. I closed by thanking him and indicating I would publish this note of our meeting. However, I have to say that being able to look across the table and have a direct and forthright meeting of the minds was most heartening.

I will not say that one meeting makes the case. However, for me, it went a long way to moving me from sitting on the sidelines to becoming an advocate for Bill Haslam and the changes necessary to achieve success in our state. I believed him and will work to hold him accountable to his representations. In that context, I will also support him during November and will ask my members to do the same. And in the end, each person and Tea Party leader will need to make their own assessment and take decisions accordingly. I am not asking you to support him from your respective organizations. I did however tell Bill that I would share my views with the group and the perspectives from this meeting.

In this, I have done what I promised. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or wish to discuss this further.


Mark A. Skoda

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Miss USA supports First Amendment but thinks Mosque should not be build so close to Ground Zero

Rima Fakih,Miss USA, Muslim womenThe reigning Miss USA has come out against the Ground Zero mosque, saying "it shouldn't be so close" to Ground Zero.

The 24-year-old Rima Fakih, is the first Muslim winner of the Miss USA contest and is preparing for the Miss Universe Pageant, scheduled for Monday in Las Vegas.

"I totally agree with President Obama with the statement on Constitutional rights of freedom of religion," Fakih told "Inside Edition" in an interview that will air tonight. (link)

Comment: Who cares what a Miss USA beauty queen thinks? I just like reminding people that not every Muslim women is wearing a burqa. Also, all Muslims don't think alike. They can even modernize and assimilate. Plus, it is an excuse to post a picture of a hot babe.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

David Hall's Campaign Financial Report issue resolved.

There has been considerable concern on the part of many Republicans about David Hall's improper filing of a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission. That issue now appears to be resolved.

The primary issue was that it appeared that David Hall accepted a contribution from a corporation named AHC. A candidate cannot legally accept corporate funding. As it turns out, AHC is not a corporation but a sole proprietorship owned by David Hall. Hall is changing his FEC filling to reflect that he gave himself an in-kind contribution rather than receiving a contribution from AHC. That should resolve the issue.

During the campaign, Hall released a poll showing he was the leading contender in the Republican primary 5th Congressional District race. At the time I didn't believe it, but as it turned out he was. His exit polling was quite accurate.

Now, there is nothing wrong with a campaign doing its own polling. But why did Hall go to great pains to put up a bare bones website through VistaPrint and tout the poll as scientific and make it appear that the poll was independent? I wish he had not tried to deceive. Nevertheless, if the FEC is satisfied, I am satisfied and will overlook this minor attempt to deceive and will work for his victory.

Below is the Hall letter to the FEC. To see the original scanned letter, follow this link: Letter to FEC.

David Hall for Congress
Jeannie M. Isbell, Treasurer
5673 Lickton Pike
Goodlettsville, TN 37072

Identification Number: C00480319

August 12, 2010

Dear Ms. Jill Sugarman,

Pursuant to our phone conversation today, I am submitting the following to answer your questions and provide documentation of subsequent actions to remedy the transparency issues and apparent error in verifying in-kind contributions.

1. AHC is not a corporation. It is a sole proprietorship operated by David Hall. The language is vague on this issue and we felt it was an appropriate representation of the expenditure since it was Mr. Hall's resources. While clarification may be cloudy, we will take your recommendation in changing the name to reflect the in-kind contribution as being made by the individual rather than the sole proprietorship.

An erroneous assumption was made concerning Roberts Brothers' Coach Company. This is a corporation owned by the Roberts brothers. Mr. Gary Roberts offered the use of a bus for campaign events on 4/9/2010, 6/18/2010, & 6/23/2010. To comply with FEC guidelines we have issued a check to Mr. Roberts in the amount of $1,725.00 which equals the declared value of the use of the bus. We have enclosed a copy of this check for your inspection. The refund will be reported on Schedule B on the next filing since the refund is being made in that period.

I trust these preemptive actions will prevent the need for any further legal action.

2. We have provided a more detail explanation of individual in-kind receipts and disbursements. Should you find the additional explanation inadequate, we will amend to provide any additional information requested.

Thank you for the opportunity to take corrective actions to provide the most complete and accurate disclosure possible. It is our intent to provide a transparent representation of the campaign finances and welcome any interaction to ensure this goal is achieved.


Jeannie M. Isbell
David Hall for Congress

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Let the mosque be built; there’s no reason not to

Aug. 20, 2010, Kathleen Parker, The Tennessean

[Excerpt] Nobody ever said free­dom would be easy. We are daily chal­lenged to rec­on­cile what is allow­able and what is accept­able. Com­pro­mise, some­times mad­den­ing, is part of the bar­gain. We let the Ku Klux Klan march, not because we agree with them, but because they have a right to dis­play their hideous ignorance.

Ulti­mately, when sen­si­tiv­ity becomes a cud­gel against law­ful expres­sions of speech or reli­gious belief — or dis­be­lief — the loser is all of us.

Comment: I agree. Well said.

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More Reports from a Titty Bar at Ground Zero

"For Strippers Near Ground Zero, It’s Business as Usual Amid Mosque Uproar," writes Andrew Grossman in the Wall Street Journal. He interviews Chris, a stripper at the Pussycat Lounge. The Pussycat Lounge is one block south of the site of the World Trade Center. "The front entrance of the strip club ... offers a clear view of the ongoing construction at the World Trade Center site," he writes.

Chris, the stripper who volunteered in the Ground Zero recovery and who had eight fireman friends die in the tragedy, says “They’re not building a mosque in the World Trade Center." And, "The people who did it are not going to the mosque.” And, “I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s freedom of religion, you know?”

I wish Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin were as wise as Chris the stripper. I wish they had as much respect for the constitution.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Titty Bars at Ground Zero

Titty Bar at Ground Zero, New York DollsFor all of those enraged about a proposed Mosque being built at "Ground Zero", which is really two blocks away from the foot print of the World Trade Center, you might also want to be enraged about what else in the neighborhood.

There is an off-track betting establishment, some cocktail lounges, a McDonalds, plenty of places to conduct commerce or shop till you drop and a Titty Bar!

Actually there are a couple of titty bars and an adult book stores selling "marital aids" and adult reading material. Now, how scared is this hallowed ground in America's most thriving and cosmopolitan city?Titty Bar at Ground Zero

The titty bars are New York Dolls and Pussycat Club. Just in case you want to stop by for some patriotic pole dancing after visiting sacred ground, I am including a map and a picture of one of the establishments.

Map and some of this information lifted from Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Mosque at Ground Zero and The War with Islam

There is a difference between believing the New York City mosque and Muslim community center should not be build at the location it is proposed and in advocating the government should prohibit it from being built at that location. I don't fault anyone who expresses an opinion that they find a Mosque build at that location to be offensive. I don't fault anyone from trying to persuade those who are building the Mosque to move it elsewhere. One has a right to be offended.

There are a lot of things that offend me. Thankfully our freedoms are not dependent on not offending people. Thankfully our liberties are not subject to an opinion poll. Hopefully, the Constitutional right to freedom of religion and property rights will trump the desire of others not to be offended.

Fortunately, most responsible conservative are not advocating banning the construction of the Mosque even if they do find it offensive.
In an August 16 editorial, National Review Online stated that "no reasonable opponent of the project contests the right of Muslims to worship as they please in this country -- the First Amendment religious rights of Muslims never have been in question, at all." They go on to say , it "is unseemly and ill-considered." And, "That position in no way implies a disregard for the First Amendment."

Pamela Geller writing at Atlas Shrugs says, "The very idea of a 15-story mega-mosque on hallowed ground is indecent, offensive and outrageous." She goes on to say however, "No one has suggested abridging the first amendment to stop the mosque."

The Wall Street Journal writes, "The government has no right to stop imam Feisal Abdul Rauf from developing the abandoned Burlington Coat Factory at 51 Park Place into a 13-story complex of classrooms, auditoriums and a mosque under the name of Cordoba House. Even opponents of the mosque concede this point."

I wish National Review, Pamela Geller and the WSJ were right, but unfortunately, there are other leading conservative who argue that because the area around "ground zero" is so scared that the construction of the Mosque should be prohibited.

"When we speak of Ground Zero as hallowed ground, what we mean is that it belongs to those who suffered and died there -- and that such ownership obliges us, the living, to preserve the dignity and memory of the place, never allowing it to be forgotten, trivialized or misappropriated," writes Charles Krauthammer.

Pat Buchanan, while not as explicit as Krauthammer, likewise makes an argument that banning the construction of the Mosque is appropriate and says, "When developers tried to build a mall next to the Manassas battlefield, many who had kinfolk who fought and died in that war blocked it, including Jody Powell, Jimmy Carter's press secretary. They did not fight development because they opposed private enterprise, any more than those who blocked the licensing of a casino beside Gettysburg battlefield did so because they dislike gambling."

I am not buying the argument of Krauthammer and Buchanan. If a church or temple could not be prohibited from being build on that site, neither should a Mosque. I agree with Mayor Bloomberg who said, "The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right (to build the mosque)– and if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another. "

While Krauthammer and Buchanan can make a semi-plausible argument for banning the Mosque without coming off as bigoted leaders of a mob willing to abandon the constitution, ordinary people are not as nuanced in their pronouncements or as smooth in hiding their real feelings. I talk to people all the time who view the Muslim faith as the enemy and every Muslim as a potential terrorist. Every Mosque is seen as a planting of the flag of conquest.

Here are some excerpts from chat group postings I just read today:

It's about flaunting their conquering of The Trade Center. Why do you think they chose this location? Why do you think they chose the name "Cordoba"? It's obvious that they want to rub our noses in their victory. If they build at that location it will be seen by tens of millions of Muslims as a validation of the 9/11 attack done in the name of Islam. I believe it is clearly intended as a provocation.

Another post:

The fact that we as a group are having to prove all of this is frightening. There should be no gray area. Muslims are honor bound to kill anyone who refuses to convert to Islam. Period! Islam is not a religion. It is a political group with punishments for failing to obey. Like stoning, raping, murdering, sawing off children's arms, throwing acid on the faces of women, chopping off hands. There can be no gray area on this. A devout, sincere, friendly, charming, upstanding Muslim will have to kill you, whether they want to or not. If they don't....they will be killed. So beware of those around you. Remember that they are honor bound.

Another comment:

OMG! I can't believe that the President of the United States would back the building of a "conquest" mosque at Ground Zero. I am stunned!…and next week Obama is honoring three Muslims soldiers at the Pentagon…What about all the other men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan? Obama has made it perfectly clear where is loyalties lie, and it's not with the American people. I am still in shock…this is unbelievable!

The above comments are not isolated. I am with people every day who think just like that. Even if one accepted the argument that due to the special significance of "ground zero" that government would be justified in stopping construction of a Mosque at that particular site, what is the argument for stopping the construction of a Mosque in Brentwood, Murfreesboro or Antioch Tennessee?

When hundreds march in Murfressboro demanding that the construction of a Mosque be stopped simply because it is a Mosque and when a leading candidate in a U. S. Congressional race supports them and when a leading candidate for Governors expresses doubt that Islam is really a religion entitled to First Amendment protection, I fear that our constitutional protections are very fragile.

There are those who view every one of the 1.8 billion Muslim in the world as an enemy dedicated to our destruction. They think it is impossible for a Muslim to assimilate and be good Americans. They think followers of the Muslim faith are immune to the forces of modernism and moderation.

I am not at war with Islam. I agree with President George W. Bush when in the wake of 9-11 said:

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.
In 1942, 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were rounded up and placed in concentration camps. Since then, our government has apologized and most Americans have been embarrassed by this injustice. I am not so sure we have any greater respect for our liberties and the Constitution now an we did then.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Audit finds uncounted voting machne! Herny's lead reduced.

Senator Doug Henry's lead over challenger Jeff Yarbro just shrank from 13 votes to 11 votes after an Election Commission audit turned up a previously uncounted voting machine. What? How do you miss counting the votes off of an election machine?

This should be totally unacceptable. This does not inspire confidence in the electoral process. The Election Commission, and maybe the Metro Council, should have formal hearing and devise systems of checking and double checking to ensure that this cannot happen. How many total votes were cast on this machine? How did this happen? This only came to light because of the closeness of this particular race. How many other voting machines did the election commission fail to count? Maybe it is time for new leadership at the election commission. Every vote should be counted!

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Omaba on the Ground zero Mosque

President Obama recently created controversy by his comments about the proposed mosque at "ground zero", in New York City. The mosque is actually a mosque and a Muslim community center and the proposed site is two blocks away from the foot print of the twin towers. Nevertheless, many feel that it inappropriate and should not be permitted to be constructed at that location. Below is the full text of the President's remarks.

Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner

For Immediate Release August 13, 2010
State Dining Room

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. Welcome. Please, have a seat. Well, welcome to the White House. To you, to Muslim Americans across our country, and to more than one billion Muslims around the world, I extend my best wishes on this holy month. Ramadan Kareem.

I want to welcome members of the diplomatic corps; members of my administration; and members of Congress, including Rush Holt, John Conyers, and Andre Carson, who is one of two Muslim American members of Congress, along with Keith Ellison. So welcome, all of you.

Here at the White House, we have a tradition of hosting iftars that goes back several years, just as we host Christmas parties and seders and Diwali celebrations. And these events celebrate the role of faith in the lives of the American people. They remind us of the basic truth that we are all children of God, and we all draw strength and a sense of purpose from our beliefs.

These events are also an affirmation of who we are as Americans. Our Founders understood that the best way to honor the place of faith in the lives of our people was to protect their freedom to practice religion. In the Virginia Act of Establishing Religion Freedom, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” The First Amendment of our Constitution established the freedom of religion as the law of the land. And that right has been upheld ever since.

Indeed, over the course of our history, religion has flourished within our borders precisely because Americans have had the right to worship as they choose -– including the right to believe in no religion at all. And it is a testament to the wisdom of our Founders that America remains deeply religious -– a nation where the ability of peoples of different faiths to coexist peacefully and with mutual respect for one another stands in stark contrast to the religious conflict that persists elsewhere around the globe.

Now, that's not to say that religion is without controversy. Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities -– particularly New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. (Applause.) And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who led the response to that attack -– from the firefighters who charged up smoke-filled staircases, to our troops who are serving in Afghanistan today. And let us also remember who we’re fighting against, and what we’re fighting for. Our enemies respect no religious freedom. Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam -– it’s a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders -– they’re terrorists who murder innocent men and women and children. In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion -– and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.

So that's who we’re fighting against. And the reason that we will win this fight is not simply the strength of our arms -– it is the strength of our values. The democracy that we uphold. The freedoms that we cherish. The laws that we apply without regard to race, or religion, or wealth, or status. Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us –- and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.

In my inaugural address I said that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus —- and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and every culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. And that diversity can bring difficult debates. This is not unique to our time. Past eras have seen controversies about the construction of synagogues or Catholic churches. But time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, and stay true to our core values, and emerge stronger for it. So it must be -– and will be -– today.

And tonight, we are reminded that Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity. And Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan —- making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago. (Applause.)

Like so many other immigrants, generations of Muslims came to forge their future here. They became farmers and merchants, worked in mills and factories. They helped lay the railroads. They helped to build America. They founded the first Islamic center in New York City in the 1890s. They built America’s first mosque on the prairie of North Dakota. And perhaps the oldest surviving mosque in America —- still in use today —- is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Today, our nation is strengthened by millions of Muslim Americans. They excel in every walk of life. Muslim American communities —- including mosques in all 50 states —- also serve their neighbors. Muslim Americans protect our communities as police officers and firefighters and first responders. Muslim American clerics have spoken out against terror and extremism, reaffirming that Islam teaches that one must save human life, not take it. And Muslim Americans serve with honor in our military. At next week’s iftar at the Pentagon, tribute will be paid to three soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and now rest among the heroes of Arlington National Cemetery.

These Muslim Americans died for the security that we depend on, and the freedoms that we cherish. They are part of an unbroken line of Americans that stretches back to our founding; Americans of all faiths who have served and sacrificed to extend the promise of America to new generations, and to ensure that what is exceptional about America is protected -– our commitment to stay true to our core values, and our ability slowly but surely to perfect our union.

For in the end, we remain “one nation, under God, indivisible.” And we can only achieve “liberty and justice for all” if we live by that one rule at the heart of every great religion, including Islam —- that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

So thank you all for being here. I wish you a blessed Ramadan. And with that, let us eat. (Applause.


Comment: I know it is a heresy for a Republican to say you agree with the President and I know I risk getting kicked out of the vast right-wing conspiracy but there is absolutely nothing in this speech that I think is incorrect or inappropriate. I also believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution. I also think that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, or Murfressboro Tennessee or Antioch, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

David Hall at the Madison Breakfast Club

David Hall
David Hall (center) Republican nominee for the 5th Congressional District, is flanked by his former Republican primary opponents (from left to right), Tracy Tarum, Bob Schwartz, Lonnie Spivak and Bob Ries.

This morning David Hall was the special guest of the Madison Breakfast Club, where he was joined by five of his former primary opponents, Tracy Tarum, Bob Schwartz, Lonnie Spivak, Bob Ries and V.J. Kumar.

Bob Schwartz said he was more enthusiastic and optimistic now than when he started his campaign. "We have selected a rock solid conservative in David Hall," said Swartz, " a man of the people, a smart business man, and David Hall is going to be a proud standard-bearer for us."

"My goal (in my campaign) was to make sure that we had the strongest conservative come out of this race to take on Jim Cooper and I believe that candidate today is David Hall," said Lonnie Spivak.

Each former candidate reflected on his own campaign and congratulated David and pledged to do all he could to help elect David Hall and defeat Jim Cooper. When Hall spoke he praised all of his former opponents and thanked them for their support.

Hall was warmly received by the approximately thirty-five people attending the breakfast. Hall spoke for about twenty minutes and took questions for another fifteen minutes.

During the primary campaign, Hall had been criticized by me and others for his failure to engage in debates and for his absence from Republican functions. Many Republican activist were surprised by his victory. Hall acknowledged that many people did not know who he was and he explained his campaign strategy and how he won the primary. He said he spent six weeks studying the district before he began campaigning. He said he did in-depth voter analysis and identified 15,000 likely voters and targeting those 15,000 and concentrated on getting their support.

"We wore them out. That is all we focused on, those 15,000 people," said Hall. "If you didn't fit that criteria you probably didn't hear a lot form us but we knew election day that if we had between 11,000 and 15,000 we would win. And, come election day we had right at 12,000.”

Hall said he knows that this strategy left a lot of people out but he said in the general election he was leaving no one out.

David stressed the importance of this election and said it is time to get our country back on a sound financial footing. He also said our culture is under attack and we must return our nation to the principles upon which it was founded. Hall said defunding the Health care bill would be his first priority so it can be stopped until it can be permanently overturned. He said we must stop spending more than we bring in and he said he would support a defense of marriage constitutional amendment and a balanced budget amendment. In response to a question, he said he did not advocate abolishing Medicare and he thinks Nashville receiving federal disaster assistance during the recent flood was appropriate. He was critical of foreign aid. In response to another question, he said he supported the Fair Tax.

This was a good meeting this morning. We have a good candidate in David Hall. He worked hard to get the nomination and ran a brilliant campaign. He is a likable and personable guy. He is a solid conservative and he is electable. I think we have a real chance of beating Jim Cooper. All Republicans and independent conservatives need to get behind this campaign and help elect David Hall.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

David Hall for Congress - David Responds to Push Poll

August 12th, 2010, David Hall for Congress, Nashville, TN

David Hall, Republican Nominee for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, released a statement today on an apparent push poll conducted by Cooper’s administration.

Cooper’s disturbed more than we first thought, evident by his push-poll yesterday”

The poll consisted of approximately 60 questions, asking voters a series of political questions, ending with a series of push-questions. Stating David was unwilling and incapable of engaging in a political debate with his opponents.

David’s response - “For the record, I challenge Jim Cooper to a debate, anywhere, anytime within the next 30 days, and let’s see who’s afraid of who”

The political questions included, questions on the public’s view of his response to the flood, his vote in favor of obamacare and his response to the economic crisis.

It’s obvious, he’s nervous about his votes and his public perception, he’s trying to find a safe crack to hide in but I don’t believe it’s there.” David said.

The poll also accused David’s campaign of being in the middle of an FEC lawsuit, an accusation with little foundation. David Hall addressed the issue by saying,

There isn’t an FEC lawsuit, I did receive a letter questioning a certain contribution, we’ve been on constant contact with the FEC and they’re now satisfied with our answer…Case Closed.”

If you would like more information about David Hall’s campaign, visit www.DavidHallforCongress.com. Or feel free to contact the campaign at:

David Hall for Congress

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is Frank Sutherland wrong? What is a "low-alcohol wine?"

This morning following my usual routine, I picked up my newspaper and read the news of the day. Despite at times being disgusted with The Tennessean, I cannot break the newspaper habit. I love my newspaper first thing in the morning.

After scanning the news of day and the editorial page, I turned to the other sections and was greeted by Frank Sutherland's Wine in Nashville column. The headline read, "Lower-alcohol wines still quite lovely."

I always enjoy Frank's column. However, the time he described a white wine as having the aroma of "dusty tomato stems" it made me wonder if he was just waxing poetic or if he really knew his wine. Also, when he described a wine palate as "Texas Grapefruit", I thought that was pretty amazing the he could specify "Texas" grapefruit as opposed to Florida or California grapefruit.

I am not a wine expert, but I like wine. I like drinking it mostly, but I like wine tastings, Wine on the River, reading wine reviews and wine labels. I enjoy shopping for wine. I normally hate to shop. I only shop when I have to. I never understood how people could just shop for pleasure, but I love a trip to the liquor store. Anyway, as I turned to Frank's column on lower-alcohol wines, I expected to read about wines in the 9% to 11% range. That is what I think of when I think about lower-alcohol wines. I was surprised. Frank reviewed five wines and one of them had a 12.5% alcohol rating, one a 12.85% and three had 13% alcohol content.

I don't really think a 13% alcohol wine is low-alcohol. I thought I would see what is on my wine shelf. My wife has developed a taste for sweeter wines and I know that sweeter wines have less alcohol and more residual sugar than drier wines, so I knew a random sampling of my wine cabinet would reveal some sweeter wines; still, I thought that 13% alcohol is not a low-alcohol wine. Here is what I found by just randomly pulling out a few wine bottles:

  • Gissen East Coast Riesling, 9.5%. Now that is low-alcohol.
  • Mathew Fox Merlot, 12%
  • Vino de laTierra de Casltilla, 14%. This is a red Spanish wine made from about seven different varietals.
  • Walnut Crest Melot, 13%
  • Barton & Guestier Cabernet Sauvignon, a French vin de pays d'oc, 13%
  • Wilhelm Bergman, Mosel-Saar-Ruwar. Riesling Qualitatswein. 8.5%. Now that is really lower-alcohol wine, however it is quite sweet.
  • Sea Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5%
  • La Rustia, Erbaluce Di Caluso, 12.5% . This is a white Italian V.Q.P.R.D. wine and I love this wine. It is a rare find at the price I am willing to pay. I wish I would have bought all they had when I found it.
So, maybe my wine cabinet is not typical but I have cruised the wine shelves for years and I am not convinced that 13% alcohol content classifies a wine as "low-alcohol." I think that to get much above 14% you are into fortified wines.

Does Frank Sutherland know what he is talking about? Do I need a new wine guru? How do you apply to be on Frank's wine review panel.

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A unity breakfast: with David Hall, Republican nominee, 5th Congressional District

FROM THE Madison & Goodlettsville AREAS

Eggs & Bacon Summit

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dutch treat breakfast 8:30 am, meeting 9 am.


Madison Square Shopping Center

Gallatin Road, Madison

A unity breakfast:

David Hall, Republican nominee, 5th Congressional District


Bob Schwartz, Tracy Tarum an Bob Ries

Former candidates, 5th Congressional District

Come to this important event and learn what you can do to Elect David Hall and defeat Jim Cooper!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zach Hall’s Response To A Nameless Campaign ‘Pro’

It appears that the top two of the top three campaigns in the 5th Congressional district have recently explained/complained about their loss. It would seem only fair that a member of the winning side should have a chance to chime in as well. Now, I don’t speak as an official representative of the David Hall for Congress campaign, just as a bystander that has seen the inner workings of multiple 5th District campaigns. I guess you can call this: Zach Hall’s Response To A Nameless Campaign ‘Pro.’

The Media's Failure:

We got some play online, but in retrospect it was futile to think the news media had the slightest interest in covering the race, much less making the coverage about issues.

I respect everyone that has ever worked for the Republican Party, trying to get conservative candidates elected, but I am surprised it has taken so long for them to figure out the media’s disinterest in conservative candidates, I assumed it was a given from the get-go. However, for certain individuals it took some months to find out.

The Tennessee Republican Party's Failure:

The Tennessee GOP tried early on to recruit a wealthy candidate to run against Cooper. When that failed, the party took a hands-off stance, doing nothing to try to narrow the field from 11 down to four or five candidates who both had a realistic chance to win and fit the electorate's mood on the issues.

Once again, I’m not exactly sure what makes me disagree with the supposed political ‘elites’, but my feeling on the matter is as follows: The fact is David Hall isn’t a wealthy man but it appears he was well off enough to fund his campaign with more money than any candidate could raise, and secondly the Republican Party would be in error to scourge the list down to 4 or 5. Personally, I would prefer 113 candidates over the initial 13. Why? Simple, once the primary is complete you would have a 113, or 13 unit army of support, if only the once foes would come together to support the clear victor.

Random Comical Rebuttals:
And so the GOP nominee is a guy who can't raise money, is in trouble with the FEC, and who avoids events and forums that candidates typically do.


Hartline: Lawsuit = L, Judgment = J, FEC Trouble = F, Salary = S,

Hall: FEC Trouble = F

Heil: Yard Sign Trouble = Y

:D, Let’s do some math, shall we? Back to school we go hahaha!

Hartline = L+J+F+S

Hall = F

Heil = Y

Now, for the sake of argument let’s say Heil’s Y = Jeff’s J+S.

Here is where it gets fun!

Hartline: = L+J+F+S - F - Y = L

What do ya know, Hartline beats em’ all with room to spare.

Now, for the record I have personally talked with the Hartline campaign and I believe all of his mishaps are explainable and have been blown out of proportion, but still were talking about public perception.
...and a story about David Hall, whom they covered as a novelty act because several Hall family members were running for every elected office in town.

Surely you jest Sir…..Every office, Really? How flattering!
Hall's low-information strategy - hide from voters and hope to win based on name repetition - worked because there were no candidates in the race who had high name recognition. Hall's strategy would have failed utterly if there had been a candidate with name recognition based on actual accomplishment in the public eye rather than mere repetition of a common, memorable last name - or if media had not abdicated its duty to properly cover the race and inform the electorate.

Ok, here’s my favorite part, “worked because there were no candidates in the race who had high name recognition.” What was your job again? OH, that’s right!! Generating name recognition via news media, which we’ve already decided was a bust to begin with.

If you had any problems with my math analysis you may want to sleep for a few hours and come back to his one J.

Let’s compare two quotes stated within the same article.
Hall's low-information strategy - hide from voters and hope to win based on name repetition - worked because there were no candidates in the race who had high name recognition.

Now, on the next line.
It was a cynical, hollow strategy based on name recognition while avoiding media or voter scrutiny.


Finally, my personal favorite, totally hypocritical yet oh so funny!
....avoiding any event where voters would have a chance to compare him to the other candidates.

Most of the previous quoted lines were comical stretches filled with laughable logical fallacies but this one is an even funnier untruth.

David Hall was at a total of 12 DCRP events, granted he missed 3 of the larger speaking events due to more valuable engagements that offered larger benefits to the campaign. At least, that’s what he thought at the time, turns out he was right…..Come to think of it, I’ve never seen you at ANY of the events….An epic, pot calling the kettle black moment!

Democrats Elected David Hall?!?!:

Some have speculated that David Hall received a large portion of the ‘swing-voters’, and I would have to agree….I’ll get to that later.

A standing argument is that the Davidson County Democrats picked the easiest candidate for Jim Cooper to beat and voted for him. One doesn’t even have to come at this argument with a fully functional thought process to laugh at this one. David Hall has more cash on hand than any other candidate, and reported more money than any other candidate. If the Democrats wanted to elect someone incapable of beating Cooper they would have voted for the Strauss character that has never been heard of by anyone. Secondly, they would have chosen CeCe Heil, as a local Democrat endorsed her before the primary.

Now, I would agree that David Hall received more Democratic votes than the average candidate. Why? Because our campaign knew they were coming out. Part of the ‘mysterious’ 200k went towards voter ID. Our campaign realized early on that the Republican vote was going to be made up of approximately 18% crossovers. Going after those votes JUST MAKES SENSE!! We were the only campaign actively campaigning to ALL voters and it showed in the polls.

What boggles my mind is that a respectable Republican activist and a respected campaign manager and strategist would A: Not know and plan for this, B: Would lower himself to attacking candidates within his own party.


Personally, I am tired of the fighting between campaigns. I would like for all of us to rally behind a candidate we can believe in. If not David Hall fine, but be dignified enough to hold your tongue and not lash out against your victorious opponent, because from on onlookers perspective it just looks like a bad loser….AND WE’RE BETTER THAN THAT!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Bill Hobbs: Hall Pass

by Bill Hobbs, reposted with permission from Bill Hobbs Facebook page

The nomination of David Hall as the Republican candidate in Tennessee's 5th congressional district is the result of multiple failures - on the part of the news media, which utterly failed to do its job, and by the Tennessee Republican Party, which appears to have already conceded the November election to incumbent Democrat Jim Cooper.

With Hall - a nominee unable to raise money and already mired in an FEC probe into a $200,000 campaign transaction with a corporation of murky identity and ties to another company alleged to have scammed people online for millions of dollars - the state GOP has a ready-made excuse to do what you know the current party leadership wants to do: concede the 5th district and direct all of its congressional efforts and re$ources to holding the 3rd district seat and winning the 6th and 8th district seats.

In a year when Democrats are being defeated even in very-blue places like Hawaii and Massachusetts and independent polling shows that only 23% of likely voters want Jim Cooper re-elected, Jim Cooper is vulnerable. And if the GOP is to win 40 seats nationally and take control of Congress, it is going to have to defeat a few incumbents like Cooper whose district leans Democrat but only slightly.

But you can't win if you don't play and the Tennessee GOP just got a Hall pass to skip out on the 5th district race.

The Media's Failure:
The Tennessean wrote only three stories about candidates in the 5th District Race - a profile of Jeff Hartline, the only candidate who showed the ability to raise large amounts of money from donors; CeCe Heil, an attorney and the only female in the race, upon her endorsement by Sarah Palin; and a story about David Hall, whom they covered as a novelty act because several Hall family members were running for every elected office in town.

Newspaper folks often talk importantly about their duty to inform the public, and their important role in our democracy because of the need to have an informed electorate. Yet they virtually ignored the 5th district race, ignored 7 of the 11 candidates entirely, and did not cover any of the many multiple-candidate forums.

They failed to adequately inform the electorate. Readers got plenty of coverage of Paul McCartney's Nashville concert, on which the future direction of American government policy and the economy does not rest.

The Hall, Heil and Hartline campaign had very different media strategies.

The media strategy of the Hartline campaign, with which I worked*, was issues-focused. We released numerous news releases, statements and blog posts focused on current news and issues like the economy, jobs, the spiraling national debt and more. The blog posts, written by Jeff Hartline, were issues-focused. Jeff believed in talking to voters about serious issues.

We got some play online, but in retrospect it was futile to think the news media had the slightest interest in covering the race, much less making the coverage about issues.

The Heil campaign media strategy revolved around touting Heil's endorsement by various national political figures and social-conservative groups. To some degree it worked, though her focus was misdirected with most voters focused on jobs, the economy and federal spending this election.

The Hall strategy involved avoiding any event where voters would have a chance to compare him to the other candidates, while blanketing the district with signs for four different Hall family members all named Hall running for four different offices, hoping to brand "Hall" into voters' subconscious. It was a cynical strategy based on creating name recognition while avoiding media or voter scrutiny.

Hall's campaign slogan belied the hollowness of his campaign: "Just vote Hall."

Heil and Hartline believed voters were smart and wanted to talk about issues. They went to the forums. Hall bet that in a crowded field, needing only a plurality, he could win by finding enough low-information voters who vote based on whose yard signs they see the most. With four Halls running for office, voters saw lots of Hall yard signs.

The Hartline and Heil strategies were undermined by the media deciding to virtually ignore the race.

Hall's low-information strategy - hide from voters and hope to win based on name repetition - worked because there were no candidates in the race who had high name recognition. Hall's strategy would have failed utterly if there had been a candidate with name recognition based on actual accomplishment in the public eye rather than mere repetition of a common, memorable last name - or if media had not abdicated its duty to properly cover the race and inform the electorate.

The Tennessee Republican Party's Failure:
The Tennessee GOP tried early on to recruit a wealthy candidate to run against Cooper. When that failed, the party took a hands-off stance, doing nothing to try to narrow the field from 11 down to four or five candidates who both had a realistic chance to win and fit the electorate's mood on the issues.

With 11 candidates in the race, the TV news decided it easier to just not cover the race. Too many candidates, can't cover 'em all - so they covered none of them.

Just one example: WKRN taped a long interview on healthcare reform with Hartline in the spring, to air on their Sunday morning politics show, then canceled the segment rather than have to cover the rest of the candidates.

Had the Tennessee GOP worked early to shrink the field, perhaps by encouraging some of the obvious 2nd-tier candidates to run for local office instead, the media would have found it easy enough to cover the race.

But, no.

And so the GOP nominee is a guy who can't raise money, is in trouble with the FEC, and who avoids events and forums that candidates typically do.

Democrats could not have picked a better candidate to face Jim Cooper.

Bill Hobbs was the Communication Director for the Jeff Hartline campaign.

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