Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marsha Blackburn: Allow insurance shopping across state lines.

I want health care reform. I want it because the system we have simply is not sustainable. The trajectory we are on will bankrupt the nation and leave more and more people without health care if something is not done.

I also want it because I want people to be free from being forced to work jobs they hate simply for the insurance. Too many people feel chained to their desk by the insurance their employer provides for them. For many people the most important aspect of a job is not the work they will do or the pay they will earn but the insurance. Your employer should no more provide your health insurance than they should your homeowners or auto insurance. Your employer should no more provide your health insurance than they should your housing or pay you in script that is only redeemable at the company store.

Most importantly, I want health care reform because someone very close to me who I love very dearly cannot get insurance due to having a preexisting condition. I see the anguish this situation causes and the worry and fear of living without coverage and the threat to the health of this good person.

I am not alone in wanting health care reform. I run in Republican, conservative, and libertarian circles and I have yet to meet a single person who does not want health care reform. We differ on what kind of reform we want. The other side wants to take over 17% of the economy and greatly expand government control; this side wants common-sense reform that will use market forces and empower the individual to achieve the same desirable results.

One of the things our side thinks will go a long way toward reforming health care is to allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines. In this clip from the Blair House Health Care Summit, Representative Marsha Blackburn argues that robust competition will lower insurance cost. She argues that we should empower patients by giving them the ability to buy insurance products that fit their needs. She says people are tired of being forced to buy insurance they don’t want. She says to avoid the premium acceleration of the type we are seeing in California, Californians should be allowed to go to Oregon where they can buy a policy for 25% less. Watch the clip:


In this article, First Step: Allow shopping across state border, which appears in today’s Tennessean, Representative Blackburn further makes the case for empowering patients through expanding markets and increasing completion.

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Another Update on what others are saying about Ron Paul's CPAC victory

The boos, Ron Paul in his own words, and Morning Joe commentary:



The Next Right, Why Ron Paul's CPAC Victory is Good for the Movement. In terms of organizing, conservatives can learn a lot from libertarians. Online, the moneybomb concept originally pioneered during the Ron Paul campaign has started to work for more conventional Republicans like Scott Brown.

The 2008 Ron Paul campaign can be compared to the 1988 Pat Robertson campaign in helping a movement find its way into the Republican Party and thus establishing itself as a permanent fixture in the party. Like Robertson, Paul did not come anywhere near capturing the nomination, but the influence of Christian conservatives -- and now libertarians -- endures.

Rush Limbaugh: All I'll tell you is that any organization that has a straw poll vote on who the party presidential candidate ought to be and comes up with Ron Paul is not an organization of conservatives. I just tell you. Something's haywire there. I know the Ron Paul people go in there, but they had been attendees to get in there. Ron Paul winning a straw poll at a conservative conference?

Carpe Diem, Dr Paul! by Mark R. Crovelli at Lew Rockwell.com: Ron Paul’s stunning landslide victory in the CPAC straw poll is an event that cannot be allowed to go to waste. Political moments this ripe are about as rare as the California condor, and Ron Paul would do us all an incalculable service if he would seize the day, and declare his intention to run in the 2012 presidential election. He needs to do this right now. Not next month, not next year, but now.

Jamie Weinstien columnists at Town Hall: Paul was received like a rock star at CPAC. Attendees burst into applause at various times throughout his speech, must notably when he stated that America should “end the Fed.” Who knew that so many people not only had a strong grasp of monetary policy, but also found monetary policy an exciting political issue?

Paul’s victory in the CPAC straw poll is likely not reflective of how he would do in the Republican primary. It is reflective, however, of the concern of many CPACers, and Americans as a whole, of the ballooning deficits and out of control spending in Washington.

Red State points out, "only 2,395 CPAC registrants voted in the CPAC poll. It’s the largest number of votes in CPAC straw polling history, but but less than 25% of the total turnout at CPAC" and "48% of the votes cast were from students."

Paul Mulshine of The Star Ledger at NJ.com writes, "It's encouraging to see that this convention of self-identified conservatives has finally tapped into the true American conservative tradition of small government and limited powers running back through Barry Goldwater to Robert Taft and of course Washington and Jefferson." He says Paul will be a "major force in 2012."

The Huffington Post says, "What it portends for a possible 2012 presidential run is anyone's guess. Paul had a similar cult-like following during the 2008 election, only to garner a relatively small chunk of the actual vote."

The Politico says, "Paul’s victory renders a straw poll that was already lightly contested among the likely 2012 GOP hopefuls all but irrelevant, as the 74-year-old Texan is unlikely to be a serious contender for his party’s nomination." And, points out "CPAC organizers were plainly embarrassed by the results." Politico also points out that the result was greeted by boos when the result was announced.

National Review OnLine reports: "There may have been some boos, but Paul was by far one of the more popular speakers at CPAC this year. “End the Fed!” was one of most-heard chants and his “Campaign for Liberty” group was everywhere. Heck, a lot of the time, it seemed like they, not the American Conservative Union, was CPAC’s host. Even Ann Coulter, who drew a huge crowd herself, felt compelled to give a shout out to Paul-mania, saying she agreed with everything he stands for outside of foreign policy — a statement met with cheers."

Real Clear Politics says, "the sense that Paul supporters flooded the vote will lead other Republican presidential water-testers to easily discount the results. A straw poll that will be conducted at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this April in New Orleans will be taken much more seriously among those involved with and eagerly watching the presidential sweepstakes."

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ron Paul wins the CPAC staw poll. What??

Ron_Paul
I was very surprised- no, I was shocked; I was shocked that Ron Paul won the CPAC staw poll. It took me completely by surprise. I guess that tells you what kind of political pundit I am.

No other candidate even came close in the CPAC poll. He was the only candidate to score in the double digits. I don't know if the CPAC poll is significant or not. CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) is, however, a respectable mainstream conservative gathering. It is the nation’s largest gathering of conservatives annually and it is a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation. This year was the biggest gathering ever for CPAC with over 9000 people in attendance.

We have witnessed an amazing growth of grassroots conservative activism this year with the summer town hall meetings and tea parties. Here in Nashville, we have seen a growth in the Republican Party and various libertarian and conservative groups have also been springing up. I assumed that most of the growth in activism was still a reflection of a mainstream conservative movement, however. I consider Ron Paul far removed from the mainstream.

The area where I most disagree with Ron Paul is in the area of national defense. I strongly disagreed with the decision of the Bush administration to invade Iraq. I thought that was an unnecessary war and that we were misled to get us in it. Despite my anti-war stance toward that particular conflict however, I still believe we have vital interest in the world and must be engaged in the world. We must have a strong national defense. I am not an isolationist or a pacifist.

I am also not ready to abolish the Federal Reserve. I think maybe the Fed needs reformed and a maybe a little less independence. It should be studied and reevaluated but I think we need a National Bank or something like it. I am probably most bothered by Ron Paul's flirtation with and refusal to disavow the 9-11 truthers.

I would like to know what you think about Ron Paul. What do you think about the his showing in the CPAC poll? Do you think there is any chance he could win the 2012 Republican nomination? Do you think he is electable should he get the 2012 Republican nomination?

I have placed two polls in the sidebar. Please cast your vote in these polls. Also, please feel free to leave me a comment. If you are a blogger and have blogged on the topic feel free to leave a link. If you would like to share your views on the Ron Paul phenomena in more detail, drop me an email. If you would like to submit an essay for publication, I will consider publishing it.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

"Barack" is an arrogant jerk

Watching the health care summit, I thought "Barack" came across as arrogant and condescending. I was struck by how Barack referred to everyone by their first name, calling Senator John McCain, who is certainly old enough to be his father, as “John” yet all of the senators referred to Barack as “Mr. President.” Later, I heard on CNN commentary that there was a pre-negotiated protocol for the meetings which demanded this.

This is an outrage. If senators must call the President “Mr. President” then he should return the courtesy by referring to the senators as “Senator.” Republicans should never have gone into this meeting as subjects. Those ground rules should have scuttled the meeting.

Does Barack think he is the Pope or a King? I am not opposed to formality and use of title, but it should be a two way street. Why did not Barack just go for “Your Highness” or "Your Excellency" or “Exalted Leader?” Who does he think he is? What nation does he think he is governing? (Or, is that ruling?) Despite my dislike for Barack’s policies, in my blogging and conversation I usually refer to Barack as “The President” or “President Obama” out of respect for the office. For the next few days it will just be “Barack.”

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Bad News for the Global Warming Alarmist: Arizona quits the WCI.

There are more problems for the united front to support the settled science and solid consensus of global warming.

The Western Climate Initiative is an agreement between California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec to develop a regional target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and develop their own system of cap and trade. The WCI was established in February 2007 and grew out of efforts in the western states to establish such a compact that date back to 2003. With the economic might of California as the anchor for this initiative, there was a view that these eleven jurisdictions could force a cap and trade system on the rest of the nation.

In establishing the WCI, then Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano said, “In the absence of meaningful federal action, it is up to the states to take action to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this country.”

This month, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that her state would no longer participate in the WCI saying "Right now, given the economic downturn, given the complexity of the cap-and-trade scheme being developed, we're not going to be supportive of it."

Other jurisdictions are also going wobbly on the work of the WCI and showing less energy in moving forward. The WCI may fall apart or it may just become impotent, but the wind is out of the sail for a regional cap and trade.

What should the global warming community do? They need to shout even louder that the science is settled and the consensus is solid. They need to keep ignoring Climategate, and glaciergate, and the admissions of Phil Jones. They need more of that symbolic stuff like a big world-wide rock concert or turning off all the lights for an hour. That ought to do the trick.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Global warming business team-players abandon the coalition.

It seems as if the global warming consensus continues to crumble. First there was climategate, exposing fraud, corruption of data, the destruction of data, and the suppression of dissenting voices within the scientific community. Then, there was the glaciergate scandal revealing sloppy work on the part of IPCC scientist; work that made it into the IPCC report. The report had glaring examples of simple subtraction and division errors that should embarrass a fifth grader.

Then Phil Jones, the East Anglia University scientist at the center of the Climategate scandal admits that the current period of global warming may be no greater than the previous two warming periods since the last little ice age. He also admits there has been no warming since 1996. On top of that, what started as just a very few scientist breaking their silence and dissenting on global warming has turned into a steady trickle of dissenting voices who are breaking from the pack. Many of these are not concluding that global warming is not occurring but they are questioning specific conclusions and the quality of certain research.

At the same time, more and more companies selling carbon credits were revealed to be nothing but scams and even "green power" that one can purchase from their local electric company was revealed by Mother Jones to be a scam.

This week there was another blow on the global warming front. BP America, Conoco Phillips, and Caterpillar dropped out of the main lobbying group for cap and trade, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP).

It looks like the solid consensus is no longer quite so solid and the united front is no longer so united.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Ben West Resigns; Jim Gotto Could Take District 60!

Jim Gotto
Jim Gotto

State Rep. Ben West Jr., D-Hermitage, announced today that he will retire in November and will not seek reelection. Representative West, the son of former Nashville Mayor Ben West, served in the state legislature for 26 years. Representative West is 68 years old and last year suffered a heart attack.

Two Democrats have picked up qualifying petitions to run for that seat and Metro Councilman Jim Gotto has announced his intention to run as a Republican.

Not running against an historic family name nor an incumbent and in today’s much more Republican-friendly climate, Jim has a good chance of taking this seat. Jim Gotto’s Metro Council District lies within House District 60. According to political pundit Bill Hobbs who crunched the numbers, Obama carried the district last time, but only by a slim 52-48 margin.

It is worth noting also, that Ben West was a fairly conservative Democrat having opposed the state income tax and supported second amendment rights. Neither of the Democrats running for the seat has any more name recognition than Gotto. They probably have less. Tommy Bradley is a former Metro Councilman who resigned his council position to take a position as Chief Administrative Officer for the Office of the Criminal Court Clerk. The other announced candidate is Larry Crim, a real estate developer. The filing deadline for the race is not until April 1 however, so other candidates could emerge.

This seat is winnable! Jim Gotto is an attractive candidate. He is smart, principled and has a reputation as a hard working councilman. We Republicans need to help Jim Gotto all we can. It would be a real upset if a Republican won this seat which has been held by a Democrat for the last 26 years. It could happen!

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Timothy Lee Announces Intent to Seek District 55 House Seat

Tim Lee
West Meade resident Timothy Lee today announces his candidacy for the State House District 55 position on the November 2nd ballot. Lee, a paramedic for HCA at Southern Hills Hospital, is running against entrenched career politician, Gary Odom.

“As an elected official, I will listen to my constituents to make the very best decisions for our neighborhoods, city and state,” Lee said. “Residents in the district will find me accessible, diligent and active for the issues important to our community.”

“I will be honest and forthcoming when it comes to casting votes for the people. For so long voters are told one thing and then when the doors close our representative votes different. Then they insult us and deny they voted against the voters.”

“Tennessee is undergoing tremendous change and these changes are not good for Tennessee. Above all, I will work closely with all residents so that we can make the reasonable and responsible decisions about these changes so we may survive and grow.”

Lee ran for Nashville’s Metro Council in a special election in 2006 and was endorsed by MNEA-PACE, Nashville Firefighters & Fire Service Employees Association Local 140, FOP Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 5, Nashville Business Coalition and the Nashville City Paper. He was supported by conservatives and liberals alike, indicative of his personal ability to unite opposing sides. Losing by only 152 votes, the amount of support he garnered is a true indicator that he is a viable candidate for West Nashville.

A Nashville native, Lee is a 1988 graduate of Fred J. Page High School in Franklin and gained his EMT certification from Middle Tennessee State University in 2000 and paramedic certification from Columbia State Community College. He graduated from Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and an emphasis in Pre-law. His medical response experience includes Dickson County EMS and Sumner County EMS.

Lee is married to Kate S. Lee and the couple has three children, Peyton, 12, Aidan and Rowan Lee, age 2 years old. The Lees live on Harriswood Dr. in West Meade. Learn more on issues as the race progresses at http://www.timothylee.org/.<>

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Look at the kind of winter we have had


I have resisted applauding those who build an igloo to mock global warming alarmist. It is hard to be alarmed about global warming when Washington DC is under four foot of snow and when it is snowing in New Orleans. Record snowfall however does not disprove global warming. There is a difference between weather and climate. That said however, the next time we have a hot summer or a lack of snow or a hurricane, don't blame it on global warming. The misuse of weather to make a statement about climate change cuts both ways. Watch that poor old fool Robert Byrd arguing that a winter with little snow proves global warming.
I found this footage posted at Dan Cleary.

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Liberty on the Rocks Monthly Hang Out

A splendid mix of grass roots activism, libations, and good conversation. We are a group of citizens who endeavor to limit the reach of government into our personal lives, to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Join us for a meeting of the minds to discuss ways we can further our cause of liberty. Next meeting is 6:30PM Thursday, February 18th at Mafiaoza's Pizzeria on 12th Avenue South. Visit Liberty on the Rocks on Facebook.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Make a Difference Where you are

On Saturday I attended the convention of the Tennessee Republican Assembly. TRA is part of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, which calls itself, “The Republican Wing of the Republican Party.”

About fifty people were in attendance at the convention. We networked, and socialized and ate. We heard an address from State Representative Susan Lynn on the State Sovereignty movement. Bobbie Patray of Tennessee Eagle Forum was given an award and honored for her many years of service as a lobbyist with Eagle Forum. A panel consisting of several local activists talked about the future of the Republican Party in Tennessee and the conservative movement.

One of the speakers on the panel was Ken Marrano. Ken is a tireless local political activist. He has been an organizer of the local Tea party movement, he is the organizer of the statewide association of right-of-center bloggers called TennconserVOliance, and he had received national attention for his political organizing and was on the road as part of the national Tea Party Express.

Ken said something at the meeting which I thought was so very, very wise. He said that we conservatives could make a much greater impact on the direction of our country if we focused our attention locally. Looking at his website tonight, Blue Collar Muse, I saw where he addressed this same topic in a blog post. Please read his post. Here is an excerpt:

Let’s assume 1,000,000 people marched on Washington, DC last September spending 48-72 hours and $500 each to do so. Simple math reveals a pool of 48,000,000 to 72,000,000 man hours and a whopping $500,000,000 in cash. That’s enough to put 1 to 1.5 million man hours into phone banking, envelope stuffing, and door knocking to go along with $10,000,000.00 in giving to candidates in each state in the Union!
I could not agree more. In my view, we conservatives squander a lot of our resource by focusing on Washington rather than the courthouse and the statehouse. I run into people all the time who have gone to one of the marches on Washington or to the CPAC convention or who send money to major causes funneled though large national organization. I also run into people who listen to the Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck on a regular bases and stay riled up but never put that emotion into action.

I think staying motivated and informed is worthwhile. I am sure going off to national conventions is fun and I am sure a march on Washington is a rush; but, does it change much? To affect the direction of our nation, one can do more where one is rather than focusing elsewhere.

The Davidson County Republican Party is committed to being a competitive party in this county. People are needed to man the phone banks and conduct voter registration drives, and work the polls. There is a lot of work to do. One has a greater chance to change the direction of the country by changing it from the bottom up than from the top down. Your voice is a lot louder in your local community than it is in Washington.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Right to Hunt and Fish

The Tennessee Constitution is a noble document that sets forth the organization of the governance of our state and defines and guarantees our basic rights.

One of the rights the Constitution enshrines is freedom of religion:

That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.

The very language of the Constitution is solemn and serious. When one reads the Constitution one knows it is important and not to be taken lightly.

Our constitution recognized the right to vote and the right to a trial by jury. It affirms the right of citizens, “be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general warrants, whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offences are not particularly described and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty and ought not be granted.”

It states we have the right to a speedy trail and protects us against double jeopardy, it says we have the right to peaceably assemble and “apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances.”

It says the military must be under civilian control.

Our state constitution gives us more rights than the Federal Constitution. It says “an equal participation in the free navigation of the Mississippi, is one of the inherent rights of the citizens of this state; it cannot, therefore, be conceded to any prince, potentate, power, person or persons whatever.”

Our state constitution has some defects however. It does not enshrine our God-given right to fish and hunt. Neither does it give us the right to bird-watch, hike, swim, watch or play football, or sleep in on a Saturday morning. Senator Doug Jackson is going to fix that oversight about hunting and fishing.

An amendment proposed by Democratic Senator Doug Jackson, Democrat 25th District, would amend the Constitution to include this provision: “The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state's power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatened species.”

What nonsense! We don’t even have the right to drive a car enshrined in our constitution.

In a guest editorial by Doug Jackson in The Tennessean last week, he defended this proposed constitutional amendment. He says, “We have an opportunity to take a new step in protecting Tennessee's wildlife and environment.” If it is protecting Tennessee’s wildlife and environment he wants to do, why not a constitutional amendment that does that?

He argues that protecting hunting and fishing in Tennessee is critical to preserving all of our natural resources. He argues that sportsman and fishermen supply the funding that “keep our state beautiful and our wildlife protected.”

This may be true, but how does a constitutional right to hunt and fish change anything? I don’t know of anyone trying to ban hunting and fishing. Can one imagine what future laws may be challenged as contrary to this right? Why would we want to clutter the court with the responsibility to determine what this right to hunt and fish really means?

I am glad that this idiot is a Democrat. When I first heard of this I was hoping he was not a Republican. It doesn’t really matter however, because the Senate voted unanimously to pass this silly amendment. Not a single state Senator would stand up and cast a vote against this proposed constitutional amendment. It the House passes it, it will be on the ballot this November and will only require a majority vote of votes cast to become part of our constitutions.

Politician and especially Republican politicians pay a lot of lip service to respecting the constitution. Respecting the constitution is not only a matter of not passing laws that conflict with the constitution but, in my view, it is also not cluttering the constitution with meaningless provisions that more appropriately belong in memorializing resolutions. I am embarrassed by our State Legislature. Do all we have are pandering politicians in Tennessee? Are there no statesmen?

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Phil Jones: The climate change debate is not over.

Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), which has been at the center of the Climategate scandal was recently interviewed for the BBC by BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin. Jones is one of the world's leading climate change scientist. He says the science is not settled. That is quite different than what we hear from most advocates of climate change theory who routinely declare that the science is settled and the debate is over. He does assert however that he is "100% confident that the climate has warmed" and that "there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity."

Here are highlights of the interview.

  • Jones says the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 “are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.” This is significant because the three periods of warming since the end of the Little Ice Age were very similar yet only the last warming period from 1975-1998 is attributed to man-made causes.

  • Jones says that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

  • When asked if the debate about climate change is over, he replied: “I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties.”

My believe in global warming theory just fell two more points. I am almost ready to call myself a skeptic.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bush to be honored by the Obama Administration

In a conciliatory move by the Obama administration, the president has asked the U. S. Board on Geographical Names to name the fault line beneath Haiti after the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush. This particular fracture in the tectonic plate will henceforth be called "Bush's Fault."

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Becoming vegetarian 'can harm the environment'

By Nick Collins, Published: 7:33AM GMT 12 Feb 2010, The Telegraph.Co.UK

It has often been claimed that avoiding red meat is beneficial to the environment, because it lowers emissions and less land is used to produce alternatives.

But a study by Cranfield University, commissioned by WWF, the environmental group, found a substantial number of meat substitutes – such as soy, chickpeas and lentils – were more harmful to the environment because they were imported into Britain from overseas.(link)

Comment: I just had to share this. No further comment.

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We are not at war with Islam

Earlier this week a mosque was vandalized here in Nashville. The walls and windows were spray painted with slogans such as "Muslims go home" and crosses were spray painted on the building. Also a threatening and hate filled note was left behind.

I condemn and deplore this act of hate just as I would the burning of a cross in the yard of a black family or the painting of a swastika on a synagogue.

I want our intelligence community being vigilant in tracking down terrorist. I recognize there is a greater threat of a terrorist being a Muslim than there is he being a Methodist. I support common sense profiling. I support people learning about Islam. I recognize that some youth have been radicalized by the teachings of some Muslim clerics.

At the same time, we must be mindful that the religion of Islam is not the enemy. There are nations of the world where Muslims and Hindus, Muslims and Buddhist, and Muslims and Christians live together in peace. The nation of Turkey is a democratic, tolerant, Muslim nation. Our allies and the countries we are defending and supporting in Afghanistan and Iraq are Muslim nations. It was Afghans that we armed that defeated Communist Russia and greatly contributed to the end of the communist era. They were Muslims. In the complicated Bosnian war, the US intervened stopping the slaughter of Muslims by the Christians.

Muslims are not our enemy; our enemy are Muslim. We are not at war with Islam. We need to be careful to avoid creating a climate that makes it OK to vandalize Mosques.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

George McGovern on Card Check



George McGovern has never been one of my favorite politicians. George McGovern is a liberal and I am not.

No one can doubt George McGovern's liberal credentials. He was a liberal icon. George McGovern, however, was a liberal in the era when liberals actually believed in the democratic process. They believed in the sanctity of the ballot box. Now, I fear, liberals are willing to sacrifice the democratic process in order to achieve a desired result.

In a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal, My Party Should Respect Secret Union Ballots, McGovern says, "I am sad to say it (card-check) runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak."

He goes on to say, "I think much of the congressional support is based on a desire to give our friends among union leaders what they want. But part of being a good steward of democracy means telling our friends "no" when they press for a course that in the long run may weaken labor and disrupt a tried and trusted method for conducting honest elections."

I wish modern liberals had the same respect for democracy as George McGovern.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

cap-and-dividend

As I have stated in other post on this blog, my faith in the science of global warming has been shaken by the exposed fraud of climategate, glaciergate revelations of IPCC scientist unable to do simple subtraction and division, and the emergence of responsible dissenting voices. Nevertheless, I am not sure. I am still waiting for the scientific community to purge crooks and incompetents and convince me the science is real.

Assuming however that the science is valid, what to we do about it? The most promising approach to combat global warming would be straight forward revenue-neutral carbon tax. There is no appetite for that. There is a proposal that would be almost as good.

Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington has offered a cap and dividend bill. This except from an article appearing in The Economist, explains how it would work.

Under her bill, the government would impose a ceiling on carbon emissions each year. Producers and importers of fossil fuels will have to buy permits. The permits would be auctioned, raising vast sums of money. Most of that money would be divided evenly among all Americans. The bill would raise energy prices, of course, and therefore the price of everything that requires energy to make or distribute. But a family of four would receive perhaps $1000 a year, which would more than make up for it, reckons Ms Cantwell. Cap-and-dividend would set a price on carbon, thus giving Americans a powerful incentive to burn less dirty fuel. It would also raise the rewards for investing in clean energy. And it would leave all but the richest 20% of Americans—who use the most energy—materially better off, she says.

Ms. Cantwell's 40 page legislation is a lot simpler than the Waxman-Markey 1,440-page bill. There is no buying off the opposition, no special consideration for big campaign contributors, no special deals for friends, no micromanagement of the economy, no army of regulators and bureaucrats, no new work for lobbyist and lawyers, no massive expansion of the Federal Government, no picking of winners and losers, no new revenues for the government. It could actually reduce greenhouse emission. That is why I don't expect it to see the light of day.

If I can be reconvinced that global warming is a reality, this is a solution I could get behind.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eliminating the Secret Ballot

Robert left a comment on my last post and quoted Media Matters that said that it is a myth that Card Check would end the secret ballot in unionizing elections. Robert is technically correct. The secret ballot would not be prohibited but it would, for all practical purposes, be eliminated.

Here are how things work now: Union organizers ask workers to sign cards indicating an interest in an election to vote on forming a union. Once 30% of the employees have signed cards, the union can petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a secret ballot election. Both the union and the employer are given the opportunity to argue their case with employees and then workers vote in a federally supervised election. If the union gets more than 50% of the votes, it is certified by the NLRB and the employer must begin collective bargaining.

Here is how it would work under card check: Once Unions get 30% of the workers to sign a card, they could still petition the NLRB to hold a secret ballot vote. The Company would lose the right to request a secret ballot election. If labor gets more than 30% of the employees to sign a card but less than 50%, NLRB could order an election. Once the union organizers get one more than 50% of the employees to sign a card, the NLRB would be required to certify the union and be prohibited from ordering a secret ballot election. There would be no restriction on when or where workers could be solicited to sign a card. The union organizer could come to a workers home at night and ask them to sign. Union organizers could go back to any worker who does not sign and ask them over and over until they do sign.

So, while it would not ban the secret ballot, you can see that it would effectively eliminate it.

To verify that the above summary is correct please research it for yourself. While I do not think Wikipedia is an authoritative source, I often think they are a handy reference to understand an issue. If you want to know more you may want to start there. (link)

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Save the Secret Ballot. Stop Card-check.



Card-check is the system that would replace the secret ballot in determining if employees wanted to form a union. Now, workers can vote in secret. Card-check would be a system of open voting. When a sufficient number of workers signed a form saying they wanted a union, management would have to recognize the union.

This proposal which had appeared to be dead for now looks like it will be slipped into Obama's proposed second stimulus bill, which is being promoted as a "Jobs Bill."
According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun, Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s legislative director, said the union "might consider 'other tactics,' meaning the card-check legislation or key parts of it could be placed into a larger jobs bill this year." (link)

Card-check is abhorrent to the very concept of democracy and rule of law. Card-check will encourage mob rule and violence and intimidation. The secret ballot should be considered sacred. Union thugs will bomb homes and beat up hold outs if they know who the hold-outs are. Also, management opposing unionization will know who has voted for unionization and my be tempted to retaliate against those who have supported it. Workers should not have to be exposed to either management or union intimidation. Card-check must not be allowed to pass. We must be vigilant and not let this get slipped in as part of a jobs bill.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good Communicator Award

Patricia Rockwell, author of the blog Communication Exchange has bestowing upon be the honor of being the recipient of her Good Communicator Award. Patricia is a recently retired teacher living in Illinois. I am reproducing her award announcement below.

Let me introduce you to Rod Williams A Disgruntled Republican. As you might guess from the title of Rod's blog, he's politically conservative. But you also might guess from his blog's title, he's not always happy with all of the positions taken by the Republican Party. Rod's blog is not your typical political rant blog. Yes, he has strong feelings about politician issues. However, he only advocates to his readers those positions which he has thoroughly researched himself--and, believe me, he is quite a researcher. When he argues an issue, he does so with intelligence and passion. He never stoops to name-calling or nastiness.

One quality I particularly like about Rod--and which I believe makes him unique among political bloggers--is his willingness to admit when he is wrong--or when he has changed his opinion. I've seen this happen several times during the months I've followed his blog. He never changes his mind on a whim--only after careful deliberation. But, unlike many political bloggers who seem wedded to their party positions for eternity--Rod does change his mind--and he lets his readers know why he has done so.

Rod always treats his readers and commenters (and actually, all people) with respect--not just tolerance--respect. This is something that is sorely lacking in politics today, wouldn't you agree? You might think that it's easy for Rod to be so gracious just sitting at home writing his blog, but Rod is also very active in local Nashville politics. He's always organizing or involved in some political event that results in educating or spreading information about political issues to people--just what a good communicator does.

If you haven't ever checked out Rod's blog, I urge you to do so. Whether you agree with his political views or not, I think you'll support my selection of Rod Williams for the Good Communicator Award.

Patricia, Thank you for those kind words. I am humbled and honored.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Negroes, Colored People, Retarded People and political correctness.

Media Matters is a media watchdog group that watches the conservative end of the media, looking for outrageous utterances from Rush Limbaugh or inaccuracies on Fox News. I seldom think they have anything of substance to report but I subscribe to Media Matters so you want have to. The following from Media Matters is interesting.

Media Matters: The politically motivated selective-victimhood of Sarah Palin
From Media Matters

You've got to hand it to Fox News contributor Sarah Palin. After all, there aren't many people who can make news with a single Facebook post. Her status updates are like catnip for journalists and media types.The Wall Street Journal reported this week that, in a private meeting, Emanuel called plans by liberal groups to run ads targeting conservative Democrats "F-ing retarded."

Following news of the hurtful comment, Palin, the mother of a child with Down syndrome, took to Facebook to demand Emanuel's firing in a post she titled, "Are You Capable of Decency, Rahm Emanuel?"

The deservedly stern comments of an offended mother or the hypocritical nonsense of a political opportunist? First, it's worth noting that Emanuel has apologized for the comment at least twice now. It's also worth noting that just a few short weeks ago, Palin fretted that we were becoming a nation where we -- I'm guessing all the Joe the Plumbers out there -- couldn't use words that were "politically incorrect."

Far from consistent, Palin has exposed herself as someone who deploys selective-victimhood as a politically motivated weapon. How else can one explain her harsh rebuke of Emanuel and near silence when it comes to eerily similar language used by conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh and her Fox News colleague Glenn Beck?

Last January, during an interview with Mary Lynn Rajskub, a star of Fox Broadcasting Co.'24, Beck laughed at the idea of artwork produced by children with Down syndrome, asking, "What do the paintings of the retarded children go for?"

Then there was the time right after the 2008 election when he went after Newsweek over a story on Palin that he found objectionable. Purporting to offer the magazine's view of the former governor, he played the role of an unnamed Newsweek staffer saying, "When it's really, truly about Sarah Palin and how stupid, she's practically retarded. Yes. I think that's appropriate word to use for Sarah Palin, retarded. I t hink that's an... if you would like a retarded person running the State of Alaska, just higgeldy-piggeldy."

So what did Palin, then the newly minted Fox News contributor, have to say about these comments during her first hour-long sit-down interview with Beck? Nothing. Nada. Crickets.

Responding to the controversy surrounding Palin and Emanuel, Limbaugh said liberals who complained about health care reform "are retards." Sure, El Rushbo went on to say that he was just using the term in "quoting Emanuel," but it wasn't the first time the language had appeared on his radio program. Almost a year ago, long before the Emanuel gaffe, while discussing the flu, Limbaugh appeared to mock those concerned with the use of such language, saying, "[a]nything you can do to stop it or to arrest it or to retard -- sorry -- to 'Special Olympic' its duration, then it -- you should do it."

On Thursday, Limbaugh addressed his controversial comments and suggested that Palin wouldn't "denounce" him because she "knows I do this kind of" thing. Just four hours later, responding to a request for comment on Limbaugh's comments by Greg Sargent of Washington Post Co.'s The Plum Line blog, Palin's spokesperson provided a broad statement saying in part that use of the word constitutes "crude and demeaning name calling."

How long would Palin stand up to radio's reigning king of radical right-wing vitriol? Not long at all. The following day on his radio program, Limbaugh told listeners that a Palin representative had called him in a "panic" to explain her criticism. Heaven forbid she should offend Boss Limbaugh. During the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Palin offered then-Senator Hillary Clinton advice on dealing with the pervasive sexism Clinton faced in the media, saying essentially that she should stop whining. If Palin can't be consistent in her criticism, perhaps she should take her own advice.

I think Media Matters is right this time. There is gross hypocrisy on the left and the right when it comes to being offended. Since the left has made victimhood and being offended into an art form and a powerful weapon, the right has had to fight back with the same nonsense. It is unfortunate.

I really don't see what is so terrible about what Rahm Emmanule had to say. Insensitive? Yes. Impolite? Yes. And definitely with the use of the F-word, it was crude. But I do think Palin's making a big deal out of it is a little bit excessive. Actually, I don't know why "retarded" became such an offensive word. I think the preferred term now is "intellectually disabled." At one time, I think "retarded" became an acceptable word to replace "slow" and other terms we no longer use.

I also do not see what was so offensive about what Harry Reid said and his use of the word "Negro." The National Council of Negro Women and The Negro College Fund use the word. I know it is no longer a popular word and I don't use the term, but I am not sure when it became a slur. For that matter, I still don't know why the term "colored people" is offensive. The National Association of Colored People haven't changed their name. Can some one explain to me why "people of color" is a good term and "colored people" is a bad term?

I work in the non-profit housing sector and for many year we in the field here in Nashville had a loose association of people who routinely met to stay informed and to network. The name of the group was The Low Income Housing Forum. A few years ago we changed the name to The Affordable Housing Forum. Now, the term "affordable housing" is falling out of favor and people are using the term "work force housing." It all means the same thing. I guess it is time to change the name again. I think as soon as people discover what you really mean by use of word or term, it is time to change it.

I couple years ago I attended a conference on housing for people with mental illness (I am not sure "mental illness" is still an acceptable term). This conference was at one of our state park's conference centers. The buffet one night featured "crazy chicken," which was a choice of chicken cooked several different ways. One could have baked chicken or fired chicken or other chicken choices. Some attending the conference complained and had the leader of the conference write a letter complaining about the use of the term "crazy chicken."

I am not going to go out of my way to offend people but I think people should go out of their way not to be so sensitive. If I know someone finds the use of the word "retarded" offensive, I will avoid using it around them. Since I know many Blacks are offended by the use of the word "Negro" or "colored people" I won't use it. I will not however use the term "people of color." There are limits to how far I will go not to offend.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

A green Tennessee benefits everyone

by Kathleen Williams, Guest Editorial, The Tennessean, Feb.5, 2010

Do only greenies and tree-huggers need clean water, clean air and abundant food? Supporting policies that safeguard our environment is Christian and it's patriotic. It's for people who love their homeland and this beautiful world. It's also for people who want a strong economy, white collar jobs, tourism to thrive in our state and a stable tax base. (link)

Commentary

Kathleen Williams is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, a non-profit conservation agency. She is also my sister and I am very proud of the work she is doing.

TPGF has saved thousands of acres of land in Tennessee and convinced land owners to put conservation easements on thousands of additional acres. TPGF has also made grants to other agencies that have used the money to enhance trails and make wilderness land more accessible to hikers and other outdoor enthusiast. In my view, as important as is the amount of land that has been saved, it is what has been saved that is important. Due to Kathleen’s efforts, beautiful waterfalls have been saved for public enjoyment and beautiful vistas have remained beautiful vistas.

Two years ago, the revenue from a State real estate transfer tax which was supposed to be dedicated to a conservation land acquisition fund and related purposes was diverted to the general fund. The legislation that created the tax over 20 years ago specified how the funds generated from the tax could be used.

Kathleen has been working tirelessly ever since the fund was raided to have that fund restored. I thought she was titling at windmills. I did not think she would get the fund restored. One should never underestimate Kathleen. She is charming and passionate and persuasive and determined.

Of course, the fight is not over. The governor has only restored the funds in his proposed budget; the legislature has not acted. The state of Tennessee is in dire straights as are many states in these hard economic times. Services, including TennCare, are being cut and over a thousand state employees will loose their jobs under under the proposed budget . This year, Governor Bredesen was able to craft a budget by making strategic cuts and by using federal stimulus funds and “rainy day” reserve funds for reoccurring expenses. The legislature very well may make changes to the proposed budget and the land acquisition fund could still be at risk. In the next budget cycle, the next governor will have even a harder time developing a budget. The temptation to take money from where ever it can be found in order to hammer together a budget is tempting.

I can understand the temptation to raid a fund like the land acquisition fund in order to balance the budget but I think it is unwise. I love Tennessee. Our state is beautiful. As the population grows however and has coal companies and timber companies start selling off their holdings, that beauty is threatened. To keep Tennessee beautiful and green, there need to be funds available to save threatened natural treasures. When a beautiful vista becomes doted with houses the wilderness experience will never be the same. I want to save Tennessee’s wild and scenic beauty for future generation.

Not only is raiding the land acquisition fund unwise in my view, but I think it is immoral. When a tax is passed for one specific purpose it should not be diverted to another purpose. If the purpose is no longer worthy of funding, repeal the tax.

Some years ago Governor Bredesen was Nashville’s Mayor Bredesen and he was trying to find the funding to build the football stadium that became home to the Titans. To put together the financial package to pay for the bonds to build the stadium, he diverted funds generated from a fee that had been added to people’s water bill. The purpose of this fee was to combat non-point source water pollution and clean up the waste water discharge into the Cumberland River. The Nashville community was so gung ho about building the stadium that no one objected to diverting these funds, including the environmentalist community. I was not in the Council at the time the stadium was funded, but I was in the Council when the fee was passed that increased peoples water bill. I thought it was necessary at the time and I voted for that fee. I was misled and the people were robbed.

I hope that our legislators and future Governor are wise and moral and leave the land acquisition fund in tact. We can trust Kathleen to work to see that they do.

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Tax Tips for DemocRats had some very kind words to say...

Tax Tips for DemocRats had some very kind words to say about my blog in his post Four Blogs Making America Better, You Must Read Them. I really am a modest guy and I am appreciative, humbled, and honored. All I can say is, "Thank you."

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Welcome back The Tampa Pirate

pirate_shipThe Tampa Pirate is a conservative, well-written, thoughtful blog that just disappeared a few weeks ago. I know lots of blogs come and go. People get it out of their system or they get discouraged or they find other hobbies. I was afraid The Tampa Pirate had just gone away. Make Spence, the Tampa pirate, emailed me yesterday and said that his blog had been attacked by hackers and virtually destroyed and he is in the process of rebuilding. Welcome back, Mark.

Please help Mark rebuild by visiting his blog and giving him a link. Glad to have you back, Mark.

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Taxpayers pick up Nancy Pelosi's $100,000 bar tab

Taxpayers pick up Nancy Pelosi's $100,000 bar tab,good booze
Maker's Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey's Irish Crème, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey.

A well-stocked liquor cabinet is one of the finer things in life. If you are Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, you let the taxpayers stock your liquor cabinet- your liquor cabinet that you have stocked for those private jet flights between Washington DC and San Francisco. Nancy Pelosi's charges for "in flight services" over the last two years came to $101,000. This was a part of the $2.1 million for her Air Force jet travel over these last two years. Despite regular commercial service between San Francisco and D.C., the speaker flies Air Force jets and travels in style. No cheap booze for the Speaker. And, no entertaining at her own expense- charge it to the taxpayers. The bar tap for the Speaker was made public by Judicial Watch and was obtained though a Freedom of Information act request. (link)

I am sure Nancy Pelosi finds being a public servant very rewarding.

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Old Hickory Eggs and Bacon Summit

RISE & SHINE TO MEET FELLOW GOP CONSERVATIVES
FROM THE OLD HICKORY & HERMITAGE AREAS AT THE

"Eggs & Bacon Summit"
(Dutch treat)
A meeting to strategize, organize & unify

Sponsored by the Davidson County Republican Party
Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 9 a.m.
Black Jack Cove Marina
2001 Riverside Road
Old Hickory, TN 37138
615-847-4022

(See link below for map link)

Guest Speaker: Debra Maggart
State Representative, (R-Mt. Juliet)

Debra Maggart
& Introducing Charles Williamson, GOP Candidate House District 51

Special Guests: Councilman Eric Crafton; Former Councilman Rod Williams

Davidson County Republican Party

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Why do intellectuals and celebrities think that mass murderers are so cool

A shout-out to Amid Clutter for lowering the boom on those who think Che Guevara is cool.

Why do intellectuals (so called) and celebrities think that mass murderers are so cool...as long as they're the "right" mass murders? i.e. Mao, Marx, and Che. Hitler isn't as cool apparently because he was just so damn obvious about his atrocities. Plus he lost this brutal war, you know.
Great post.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Are Green Power Programs a Scam?

"Are Green Power Programs a Scam?" ask journalist Laura McCandlish in the pages of left-wing journal Mother Jones. She concludes that if they are not exactly a scam, they do virtually nothing to produce green energy. McCandlish examines the green power program of Pacific Power and finds that for every dollar spend on green power, about 33% does not go to purchase power produced by windmills and solar panels but goes to support staff and publicity for the program and 19% goes for marketing. The remainder mostly goes to purchase renewable energy credits (REC's) which may or may not be double sold and double counted. It is a very expensive way to subsidize green energy. To learn more about why one may conclude that Green Power programs are a scam, follow the link above.

We have our own Green Power program here in Nashville and I have family members that pay higher than necessary electric bills in order to purchase green power. I don't know if our green power program is a scam or not but I would assume they all operate pretty much like Pacific Power. Those purchasing Green Power may not be doing much to promote green power, but they are making themselves feel virtuous and that may be worth the extra money they are paying for their electricity.

It is not easy being green. There is so much nonsense, suggestions for meaningless symbolic feel- good measures, green washing, and out and out scams that it is hard being green.

As I have said in a recent post, I don't know if global warming is real or not. The climate gate scandal, glaciergate, and recent reputable dissenting voices have caused me to become more skeptical. So, while I don't know if global warming is a hoax or not, carbon off set markets, green marketing, and green power is pretty much proven to be a scam.

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First Tuesday:What is new in State Legislature w/Lt Gov. Ron Ramsey

First Tuesday Group Meetup
Date: Feb 2 Tue 11:30 AM
Location: Waller Lansden, 511 Union StFloor 27Nashville, TN 37201


1ST TUESDAY attendees:
Some of you have had the chance to hear Lt Gov Ramsey before at 1ST TUESDAY. He has been a good friend to 1ST TUESDAY and has visited with our group after the last few Legislative sessions. This is a VERY different year politically --- in several ways --- so I have invited Lt. Gov Ramsey to visit us a little earlier this year --- and to tell us what to watch for in the State Senate this session .... [ oh -- you may also know Ron is also one of the top candidates to be our Republican nominee for GOV of Tennessee this fall ]

This is a most exciting time in Republican politics in Tennessee -- as well as nationally. Few people in our state know as much about how national politics and policies are affecting Tennessee as our Lt Governor. Let me encourage you to make a special effort to attend our meeting on FEB 2nd. You will learn a great deal !!! As usual, we will meet at The Law Offices of Waller/Lansden - 511 Union Street - 27th floor. Lunch from Alexander's Catering will be available at 11:30 and is $15 for members and $20 for guests [ or those who haven't had a chance to pay their 2010 dues -- dues for 2010 are still only $20.] - Our meeting will start promptly at NOON. Ron knows 1ST TUESDAY attendees to be a very savvy group. He tells me he is looking forward to the insightful Q&A session our group is becoming known for in political circles. Bring your questions and come prepared to learn a great deal about how 2010 will unfold politically on many fronts.

Thanks, Tim

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