August 2006

Today, people are blaming the oil companies for high gas prices. Unfortunately, the people should be blaming the creator of their situation: the federal government.

In 1850, wood was our most commonly used fuel. Today, we still have plenty of wood because our free market system replaced it with a better fuel: coal. We still have an abundance of coal because oil has replaced it. Our marvelous free market system was working very well without government interference.

Now oil would normally take a secondary role to nuclear energy in our fuel cycle evolution. However, massive government interference in our free market system has stifled production of nuclear energy and oil. Visit The New American for details of these government regulations.

We are awash in oil, but Congress refuses to allow drilling in the huge tracts offshore and in Alaska. We also need more oil refineries. None have been built in the last 35 years because of government regulations. New nuclear power plants have also been stopped by regulations.

Congress is prohibited from regulating our energy sources by our Constitution. But, Congress does it anyway because our voters are not paying attention to the unconstitutional laws being passed. This is an election year so Congress is more willing to listen if voters demand that these regulations be removed.

Also, voters should know that if the oil industry gave up all profits, the price of gas would only drop about a dime per gallon.

Christopher H. Fogleman

I would like to point out that if the federal government removed their taxes from gasoline, it would lower our price by 18.4 cents. If the state of Tennessee decided to remove their tax, that would remove an additional 20 cents. But, they would just find another way to take our money, I’m sure.

Nevertheless, the oil companies make 10 cents, and the government makes 38 cents…just who is the price gouger?



a letter to the editor…

Dear Editor,
It is not often that I agree with Press opinion in the “As We See It” section, but, I must say, you were right on point in your take on the “Talladega Nights” debate. How absurd that this movie is becoming such a hotly debated topic!

I don’t know a single NASCAR fan who actually resembles anyone in the film. It is a caricature – nothing more. If you’re actually offended by the film you should really try to loosen up and take some time to laugh at yourself (as did Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Dick Berggren, Larry McReynolds, Darrell Waltrip, Jamie McMurray, Benny Parsons, and Wally Dallenbach, who all appeared in the film as themselves). If you do actually resemble someone in the film, well, that’s an entirely different problem altogether.

Even more ridiculous than those who are offended by the film are those who believe that the film is an accurate portrayal of NASCAR, Christianity, or the South. One wouldn’t use “Talladega Nights” to understand the real NASCAR any more than one would watch “Anchorman” to understand local news or “Old School” to understand the college experience. Although there are several films that come out of Hollywood each year that are meant to be some profound political or cultural statement, this (like “Anchorman” and “Old School”) isn’t one of them.

So, relax. Maybe Farrell’s next film will make fun of upper crust Yankees and we can all laugh about something a little less close to home.

The state Republican Party’s executive committee voted unanimously to deny Venable’s recount request in the 1st District House race which was won by David Davis.

The committee cited a lack of evidence as their reason for denying the request.

Venable’s only remaining option is to sue in chancery court. Based on Venable’s statement in this morning’s Press, I am assuming that this is the end of the road as far as he is concerned. Venable congratulated Davis…let’s hope he’ll now leave it alone.

Everyone with whom I’ve spoken, except for one of my readers, Chris, has rolled their eyes and poo-pooed Venable’s decision to request a recount. Most have made some reference to Al Gore and/or being a sore loser. Like I said in an earlier post, requesting a recount – especially if you actually get one – is the equivalent of political suicide. People hate a sore loser, and that’s the impression that is left of those who ask for election recounts.

…and guess who’s upset about it.

Wellmont announced yesterday that they will be expanding their children’s services by partnering the Knoxville-based East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Holston Valley Medical Center will now be offering access to doctors in the fields of pediatric endocrinology, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric hematology, pediatric neurology, pediatric pulmonology, and pediatric surgery.

Fantastic! MSHA needs some good, old fashioned competition! Let’s see, what was that wretched experience I had with pediatrics at the Johnson City Medical Center? Oh, yes…my niece was involved in a serious car accident and, although she was ordered to ICU, there was no room for her and she was placed on a regular, adult floor. Brilliant. And MSHA has us covered when it comes to children’s services (dripping with sarcasm). I’m thrilled that we now have additional access to children’s specialties in the area! Maybe now when a child needs care, he/she will actually receive it.

But, true to form, MSHA has some anti-competition scare story as to why we don’t need children’s services from anyplace other than MSHA.

“This announcement by Wellmont seems to be an attempt to keep families from the local children’s hospital here in Johnson City while also pulling support from (East Tennessee State University’s) pediatric residency program,” said Lisa Smithgall, MSHA’s vice president of women’s and children’s services. (Johnson City Press)

Do what? Here’s a though, Ms. Smithgall…maybe this is actually an attempt to provide services to those who can’t seem to get their foot in the door at a MSHA hospital. Wellmont is far from perfect, but they are clearly taking advantage of a viable market – the group of people who have been unable to receive adequate care at a MSHA hospital because there isn’t enough room and those who are dissatisfied with the care at MSHA hospitals.

What Ms. Smithgall seems to fail to understand is that if MSHA hospitals are truly superior, then that’s where people will go. Although I live in Jonesborough, I will be giving birth at Sycamore Shoals (a good 40 minutes away), because the doctors and staff at that facility are better suited to my desired birthing experience. Wellmont hospitals, for the most part, have a significantly higher c-section rate than most MSHA hospitals, thus making me feel more comfortable at Sycamore Shoals (although not the Medical Center or Specialty Hospital, where doctors and staff practice what I like to call “cattle delivery”…)

Competition is good. Say it with me…”competition is good.” We will all receive better (and cheaper!) health care when the medical field decides to compete. With the little competition that we have in this area, be sure to be an informed consumer. Know your doctors, know your hospital – and be sure to only give your business to the ones that are willing and able to provide the best care for you.

Why the Ethan Flynn candidacy bothered me…

Several years ago I was riding in the truck with my dad, it was election season in Knoxville, and Sheriff Tim Hutchison was up for re-election. It was the Republican primary and the name of his challenger I can not recall. But what I do remember is something my dad told me. After asking who he would vote for, I was surprised to learn he would not vote for Hutchison. When I asked why, he told me that Hutchison was a “career politician” and his opponent had worked in a real job his entire life. This was enough to gain my father’s vote.

How can a person truly serve the public good when he has no concept of a person’s day to day life? For a man like my father, who has worked his entire life, whose financial substinence has come from his own toils, it is an atrocious thought to vote for one whose only income comes from the fat of the public purse.

And now you can see why Ethan Flynn running for government office rubs me the wrong way. He’s little over two years out of undergraduate school with little or no practical experience in the real world. His only experience in governing was president of ETSU’s Student government, in which he helped to bring about a fifty percent increase in the student activity fee. John Adams once told his son and future president, John Quincy, that any public servant’s livelihood should be wholly independent of his elected office. Only through his financial independence can he truly serve the public good.

Ethan Flynn sought a dangerous road, to be completely dependent on a public salary and public connections is a formula for corruption and governing out of touch with the people who’s service he is enrolled.

It was a 200% increase, by the way…

A mere fifty years ago, Lucille Ball wasn’t even allowed to use the word “pregnant” when she was withchild…she had to say “expecting.” Now women open themselves up (literally) for the world to see on shows like “A Baby Story” and “Maternity Ward” and families expect a front-row seat in the delivery room. When did we become so immodest?

I’m glad that I can talk to my girlfriends, and even offer up the occasional post on my website, about being pregnant, but when it comes to the actual show-down (i.e., labor and delivery) I – and most of my girlfriends – feel that this is a really, really personal event. So why is it that people treat it like some sort of open-to-the-public freak show? I didn’t invite you to the conception, why in the world would I want you at the delivery?

I understand that people, especially family members, get really excited about a new baby, but that does not remove the cold hard truth of from where that baby actually comes. If I wouldn’t have you at my yearly gynecology appointment, then I don’t want you to be at the hospital when there’s a baby involved. Need I remind you, dear readers, that childbirth is a glorified gynecology appointment, at which most of us gals would prefer a lot of privacy? Read: I don’t even want people to know I’m there! The fact of the matter is that childbirth is the most exposed that most women will ever be, and I certainly don’t want anyone other than my husband and experienced medical professionals anywhere near me on that blessed day.

I’ve even considered the Angelina Jolie approach – flying to Africa where I don’t even know anyone in the same hemisphere. Or maybe going out into the woods and not coming back until baby and I are good and ready.

Here’s my advice: if a friend or family member is expecting, understand that this is a very private experience to be shared between husband and wife…not between husband, wife, parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, and the local Ruritan. When mommy, daddy, and baby are fully clothed, cleaned up, fed, and bonded, we’ll call you, and you’re more than welcome to come for a visit. But not a moment earlier.

Oh, and don’t even think about touching my pooching belly.

Al Gore, er, sorry, Richard Venable has requested a recount of his lost election. Oh, for the love of all things sacred! Make the hanging chads go away!

Venable claims that there were “apparent difficulties in accessing voting machines and tabulating the results.” Now, I’m not quite sure what the problems may have been with tabulating the results, but, as for accessing the voting machines, I’m curious as to why those complaining of lack of access failed to participate in early voting. No one, and I do mean no one, has any excuse for not being able to access a voting machine. Voting machines were available to us all from July 15 through the 29 and again on August 3. If you couldn’t get your fanny to a machine in that ample amount of time, then I don’t want to hear your whining. If Venable wants to cry “foul” because his supposed supporters couldn’t get to a voting machine on August 3, he has no one but himself to blame. One of the things that David Davis did was encourage his supporters to VOTE EARLY, citing what everyone already knew – lines would be long on election day.

Nobody likes a sore loser. My advice to Patti Jarrett when we heard of the discrepancies in her race was, “whatever you do, don’t request a recount. Nobody likes an Al Gore.” Unless you have actual video evidence of people being forced at gunpoint to vote for the other guy, then you’re only going to ruffle feathers by requesting a recount.

It’s too late now, but what Venable should have done is simply put this election to bed and start working on the next one. He’s now made too many enemies to ever make another viable run for office – a la Al Gore. Oh well, maybe Venable will make a documentary and start touring the area fighting for some cause – kinda like that other guy who ruined his career by being a sore loser.

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