May 2006

It’s nice when your legislators do something productive for a change, don’t you think?

The Tennessee General Assembly passed Courtney’s Law, a measure that allows those who kill when drag racing to be charged with vehicular homicide. This bill also allows those who injure another when drag racing to be charged with vehicular assault.

This bill, sponsored by Sen. Rusty Crowe and Rep. Matthew Hill, was brought to fruition as a result of the now infamous drag racing accident (although I hesitate to call it an “accident”) last fall which killed Courtney Hensley and critically injured Courtney Beard. The irresponsible cavemen who decided to drag race that night have been charge with a myriad of crimes, but this bill would have certainly made it easier on the District Attorney.

Now, I feel obligated to raise an issue brought up by Gary on GMTC last week…I am happy with the drunk driving law and Courtney’s Law is fantastic, but what about this loophole that allows legislators to drive just as fast as they please so long as they’re on “important legislative business?” Come on, guys – what makes you so special that you get to zoom past the rest of us? Did you get special “fast-driving training” when you were elected to office that makes you somehow safer than the non-legislators?


I think its cute that the Dixie Chicks are trying to be political. I would, of course, appreciate some cogent argument on why they hate the president so much, but that may be too much to ask. My faithful readers know that I am no die-hard fan of President Bush…I don’t hate him, but I certainly think this country can do better. I don’t think he lied, but it seems obvious that he’s made mistakes. I don’t think he’s leading our country in the right direction, but we could be doing worse (two words: John Kerry). I say that to ensure that you know that I’m not angry at the Dixie Chicks because they’re being mean to “my president.” Point out the president’s mistakes, but do it in a way that’s at least slightly more intelligent than “your mom’s so fat…”

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Dixie Chicks. I love female groups along that country/folk line that create beautiful harmonies that I can sing along to in the car (and in the shower, and while I’m ironing…) and I’ll continue to listen to my Dixie Chicks cd’s. But I won’t be buying any more. If someone wants to give me a Dixie Chicks cd, I’ll listen to it. If someone gave me free tickets to their concert in Knoxville, I’d probably go (as a matter of fact, I saw them in concert a few years ago…not long after their notorious “I’m embarrassed that the president’s from Texas” comment).

But here’s the thing: they need to be ready to accept the consequences of their words. They have every right to say whatever they want about the President (or his mom), but when record sales taper off, they don’t need to be whining and asking “why.” The Constitution guarantees our right to free speech, but doesn’t keep us from suffering the consequences of that speech. So the Dixie Chicks can mouth off all they want to, but they won’t be seeing another dime from me.

By the way, I didn’t decide not to buy their album in order to “punish” them for what they said; rather people like the Dixie Chicks, Susan Sarandon, and Janine Garafalo donate money to people I’d rather not be funding. So, by not buying that Dixie Chicks cd, I get to ensure that at least that much of my money is staying with me, rather than going to those people I’d prefer not to support. Like those crazy Socialists with whom Garafalo likes to hang.

Wait, come again? Someone’s playing a joke, right? Is this their senior prank?

Apparently this is for real: Harold Ford Jr., Democratic candidate for the US Senate, will be the keynote speaker at Elizabethton High School’s graduation tomorrow. First of all, I have a hard time accepting politicians speaking at graduations – especially high school graduations – but a politician who is actually running for office? It feels a little slimy, don’t you think? Using a bunch of high schoolers (who, by the way, probably have either recently turned 18 or will very soon – as in, before the November election) as your political sounding board/media stunt is just a bit shady. Granted, the word on the local news is that Ford won’t be talking politics, but, come on…

Ford is clearly using this opportunity not only to drum up support from the first-time voters, but to get his name in the news in an area that typically votes Republican. So now, not only is Ford playing the “high gas prices make me angry” card, but he’s also using high schoolers to garner support in a conservative part of the state. Oh, sorry, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little…

Now, back to politicians speaking at graduations (especially high school graduations) in general, I find it rather deplorable. If the ACLU is up in arms (even recently, in Kentucky) about prayer at graduation, there are those of us who feel almost as strongly about our political beliefs as we do about those of the religious sort. Why is it that the ACLU isn’t fighting against partisanship at graduation? Condoleezza Rice recently spoke at the Boston College graduation ceremony and liberal students were furious – and rightly so! Despite the fact that Condi has a fascinating past and many, many exciting life experiences of which to speak, she is an unapologetic Republican. As angry as liberal students were about Condi being the keynote speaker, I would have been equally (if not more) angry if Hillary Clinton spoke at my college graduation.

I find it even more nauseating that politicians would speak at high school graduations. At least once young people have graduated from college, they have had the opportunity to solidify their political beliefs; in high school, however, most students barely know right from left and will be easily swayed by whatever suave politician shows them some attention.

I, of course, would just walk out. I am holding out hope that there will be a few brave students who will just get up and walk out on their own graduation when Ford comes up to speak. Or who will at least give that liberal city boy some hardy “boos” and “hisses.”

Kurt Fagerburg, candidate for school board in Washington County, is proudly in favor of school choice. As a soon-to-be mom who will be homeschooling, I am thrilled that Kurt is running and sticking to his belief that school choice is the soluction to the school overcrowding problem rather than building programs. My only question is, what about homeschoolers? Will we benefit from Kurt’s school choice plan? I know that Kurt homeschools at least one of his own children, so I can only hope that his plan allows for refunds to homeschooling taxpayers as well.

School Choice is Solution, not Building Program

Kurt Fagerburg, candidate for the Washington County Board of Education in the 3rd district, believes that school choice is the best way to alleviate overcrowding in the public schools and improve the quality of education.

“If we implement school choice we will significantly improve the quality of education inthe county, fix our overcrowding problem, and save the county taxpayers at least $100 million in unnecessary building program spending,” said Fagerburg.

“Current school board members will tell you that 30% of our high school graduates have to take remedial classes when they get to college. Additional building projects will not solve that. The proposed building program will use up already limited resources, put the county into enormous debt, and give us more of the same mediocre results. We need to try something different to fix our schools – and school choice is a solution,” Fagerburg said.

Fagerburg’s plan is to refund to parents who choose private schools a portion of the per-pupil spending allowance to help pay for tuition at one of the many private schools in the area. Currently Washington County spends over $6,000 per pupil.

“If we give parents a choice, many of them would choose to have their children attend a private school – especially since we have some very good ones in the area. If enough parents made that choice our public school overcrowding problems would be fixed. We wouldn’t need to build those additional buildings,” said Fagerburg.

According to Fagerburg, whenever school choice has been implemented the public schools have benefited. Since private schools cost less to run than public schools, the refund to parents who choose a private school will save taxpayers money. It would also increase the dollars spent per pupil remaining in the public schools.

“This is a win-win situation. Parents get more flexibility for their children’s education and the public schools have more resources per pupil. This is a solution that makes sense for Washington County,” Fagerburg said.

Look, I’m no world leader…just a blogger from Tennessee. But it seems to me that we could come up with a cheaper, easier way to deal with the illegal immigration issue. Call me crazy, but I don’t think we need to send troops to the border.

Here goes…cut the illegal immigrants off. Cut off their social programs, kick their kids out of the government schools, don’t let them receive any medical services, and ensure that they can’t get jobs. Then, mark my word, every illegal immigrant in this country would high-tail it back to Mexico faster than you can say “No hablo espanol.” Not a soul would try to cross our border once word got back to the amigos that America’s no longer a place for freebies. And you don’t need 6,000 National Guard troops to do it.

But, alas, Bushie’s too much of a chicken to even suggest it (he’s leaving the really good ideas to bloggers and talk-radio hosts!). Instead he is suggesting a band-aid for a severed spinal cord – and the illegal immigration problem will continue.

Harold Ford Jr. is continuing with that classic political ideal – appeal to emotions, assuming that the people are too stupid to know that you’re lying to them. Have you seen (or heard) his latest campaign ad? Political posturing at its worst…

He whines about gas prices, pointing to the “profits” of the oil companies. Does he ever mention profit margins? Of course not, and he (rightly) assumes that people not only do not understand the concept, but aren’t going to take the time to figure it out. Why? Because they were educated in government schools. But I digress. He then goes on to promise that he will get rid of tax breaks for oil companies (thereby forcing another price hike, although he never mentions this), and then single-handedly ensure that cars run on corn and soy – all for the good of American families and farmers. Isn’t that special?

This is just another example of politicians (on both sides of the aisle, no doubt) using the one thing that makes voters the most upset, and making promises of fixing it. They lie (as Ford Jr.) or merely stretch the truth (as Corker). Not only are gas prices, oil company “profits,” or minimum wages absolutely none of the government’s business, but they’re banking on the fact that the vast majority of the voting public don’t know the difference.

I implore you to read the Constitution, and maybe an oil company financial statement or two, before believing the hogwash that will no doubt be pouring out of our televisions, radios, and newspapers. Politicians lie to get your vote – don’t be so uninformed that they actually dupe you.

A proposal that would raise the minimum wage in Tennessee to $6.15 per hour is ready to go to the floor in Nashville. Thanks a lot (dripping with sarcasm). While the Dems in Nashville may be buying the votes of the uneducated minimum wage earners in Tennessee, they’re giving the rest of us a royal screw. You can always take a look at my earlier blog, “Minimum Wage Increase a Sham” for the details on why government instituted minimum wages are nothing but political posturing to those who are too under-educated to know they’re getting the short end of the stick.

“All we can do is say Congress has failed by not living up to its responsibility by not addressing this,” said Naifeh, D-Covington. BECAUSE IT’S NOT THE JOB OF GOVERNMENT TO DETERMINE HOW MUCH MONEY I MAKE! You know, there are copies of the Constitution all over the place…could someone please send Naifeh a copy?

Nothing makes me angrier than the government messing around with my paycheck. And that’s exactly what they’re doing here. I make more than minimum wage (because, thanks to my work experience and education, I deserve more than minimum wage), but when prices start going up because businesses have to make up the difference for the increased wages they’re having to pay, guess who doesn’t get a raise?

Start writing letters, people…this thing is getting frighteningly close.

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