July 2008

Aww…I feel politically homeless!

The movie “Swing Voter” will premier Friday, August 1 and the Libertarian Party of the Tri Cities will be at Reel to Reel Cinemas in Johnson City for the event. Reel to Reel has already been promoting the movie through signs across Johnson City that read “You are the Swing Vote,” and the Libertarian Party will be joining in the festivities with a booth at the movie’s premier this weekend. They will be registering voters, handing out Libertarian Party literature, and, of course, operating the “Operation Politically Homeless” booth.

Interestingly, the theater’s promotion of the film includes a straw poll on Friday from noon until 7pm and on Saturday from noon until 9pm. The ballot will be strictly Democrat and Republican. Wow. Give me that kind of choice and I’ll just stay home.

Head to Johnson City this weekend and visit the Operation Politically Homeless booth…you just might find yourself a new home!

For the record, I am not supporting the Libertarian candidate for President, Bob Barr. So, I guess even with the Libertarian Party being much closer to my political views nowadays than any of the other parties, I’m still technically a “political homeless person.”


The Los Angeles City Council voted – unanimously, no less – to place a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in a particularly poor area of South Los Angeles. Apparently, poor people living in cities (with no convenient way to grown their own food) like cheap food, no matter how unhealthy it is.

Los Angeles city officials are concerned at the skyrocketing obesity rate among the poor, which is significantly higher than that of more affluent folks in the city.

So, why not create some community gardens like the city of Knoxville, so that folks can have access to food that’s healthy and cheap? I suspect that the reason is two-fold. One, we (and I mean them, not me) hate big corporations who make a lot of money giving people what they want, especially when what we want is “bad” for us. Two, it’s a heck of a lot easier to kick the fast food restaurants out than it is to actually come up with a solution to the problem. Besides, who doesn’t love our nanny state? Please, Mr. Government, save me from myself!!!

I’m a health food nut, of sorts. It drives my husband crazy. We rarely eat out at all, much less fast food, and every meal at my house is home prepared – from scratch if possible – and must contain a lean protein, whole grain, and either fruits or vegetables (or both!). I don’t keep sweets in the house (mainly because I love sweets and I will eat them. All. And get really, really fat). Chips and “snacky” foods are a rare treat. That being said, however, there are those rare occasions when I want a Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell. Or a giant chili dog from Dairy Queen…ooh, with one of those new Thin Mint Cookie Blizzards. Mmmmm….occasional treats! Now, the great thing about dinner at Taco Bell is that I can literally open up the piggy bank that sits on my dresser and buy dinner for the family with nothing but loose change. I can eat a heck of a lot cheaper at Taco Bell than I can cook at home. But I don’t because I don’t want to be fat. Or die of a heart attack sometime next week.

So, why do poor people eat fast food? Because it’s cheap and they’re not worried about their health. Why do they choose Taco Bell or McDonald’s over Subway? Because Taco Bell and McDonald’s are a heck of a lot cheaper than Subway (have you bought a sandwich at Subway lately? Ridiculous!). And apparently the city of Los Angeles thinks they can solve this problem by keeping fast food out and bringing healthy food in.

This was all bound to happen. Over the last 100 years we have moved increasingly away from an agrarian society to one that relies on others to provide us our food. Along with this shift comes a whole host of problems, obesity obviously being one of them. So, what’s the solution? I don’t know, but a government that tells us we can’t eat a double cheeseburger when we want to isn’t it.

I’m having one of those days when I feel like the world is out to get me.

Complaint #1: Maternity clothes.

While this has nothing to do with politics or government (please, please, don’t write your Congressman on this issue), I am particularly frustrated with the lack of decent maternity clothes available for purchase. Why is it that designers of maternity clothes think that, once you become pregnant, you suddenly want to wear shirts with layers, big bows on your belly, and interesting pieces of appliqué? I want to dress the way that I did before I got pregnant! Someone design me some affordable, non-pregnant-looking clothes, please…

Complaint #2: Health insurance.

For the second year in a row, our family’s health insurance costs have gone up. We’re waiting to see if our coverage has gone down, as it did last year. On the one hand, I’m thankful that we have health insurance. I have a few nagging medical conditions and kids are always having to go to the doctor, not to mention this knack I have for getting pregnant, so I’m glad that we’ve got some sort of coverage. But year after year I can’t help but feel that I’m getting it up the tailpipe. Nevertheless, Barack Obama can take his government health insurance plan and stick it where the sun don’t shine! I’d rather pay through the nose for crappy health insurance than get stuck with whatever our miserable government is dishing out any old day. If worse comes to worse I’ll start growing my own medicinal herbs and birth my own babies. So there.

Complaint #3: The government.

I’m always angry at the government, but today I hate taxes. A lot. With food and fuel prices going up, I’m faced with moving things around in our budget in order to pay for necessities. I’m glad I actually have areas in the budget that still “give,” but we’re running out of room. All those taxes that come out of the hubby’s paycheck would sure come in handy right now, but the government is having way too much fun wasting our money. Thanks Congress…bailing out Fannie and Freddie is a much better idea than actually letting hard-working Americans keep their own money to spend as they see fit. Like paying their mortgages.

Complaint #4: Crazy Conservatives.

A church shooting in Knoxville yesterday was motivated by hatred for the liberal movement. Way to give conservatives a bad name. Thanks a lot. As if George W. hasn’t done enough to damage our reputation we need some shotgun-wielding mental patient shooting liberals in the name of conservatism. I can’t wait to see how the media plays this one out…

In an earlier post I told you about criticisms of Kent Williams’ acceptance of a campaign donation from House Democratic Caucus Assistant Majority Leader, John Litz. This week, Williams responded in an issue of the Elizabethton Star.

Williams said, “Rep. John Litz and I have become good friends. The party affiliation has nothing to do with it. He is first a farmer and then a legislator. I also farm some. He has been very appreciative of my work with Agricultural Commissioner Ken Givens on some farm issues.”

Well, isn’t that sweet.

At first I found his excuse somewhat convincing, as I’m sure a lot of people will. Then I considered, however, my friends who have drastically different political views than I do. I thought to myself, would I accept a campaign donation from my liberal friends? Probably.

Then I thought further. Would I donate money to a friend of mine from the other side of the aisle? Absolutely not – not unless they weren’t really on the other side of the aisle. I have some good friends – people that I love talking with and with whom I have lots in common other than political views – that I would never, ever, want elected to public office. Why? Because I am so vehemently opposed to their political world views. Friendship has nothing to do with it. I’m “friends” with David Davis, and I’m sure we agree on some issues, but I’m not going to vote for him much less give money to his campaign…so what gives?

It’s possible that this says less about Kent Williams than it does about John Litz. Maybe Litz is a political weenie who doesn’t really care about the issues about which he says he cares, and would therefore donate money to get a political “rival” elected.

Given Williams’ record, however, (opposing pro-life and second amendment legislation, voting for House Speaker Naifeh, etc.) my guess is that Litz was giving money to a buddy with similar political views.

I should have known that, the closer we get to November, people will start losing their nerve and start considering the “lesser of the two evils” approach to voting.

James Dobson, in a broadcast to air today, said, “I never thought I would hear myself saying this, … While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might.”

Apparently, Dobson is so horrified by the thought of an Obama presidency (as we all should be…), that he is entertaining the notion of endorsing John McCain, despite fundamental moral and policy differences.

Sorry folks, but if you vote for the “lesser of the two evils,” you still end up with evil in the end. Unless we stop being weenies and actually vote for the best man for the job, we will never get a decent national candidate. We will continue to get the same non-choice for president that we’ve been stuck with every four years for as long as I’ve been following politics.

Unfortunately, with Dobson’s go-ahead, scores of sheeple will walk blindly into the voting booth and punch a button for someone that is only marginally different than the other guy, thereby giving us another four years of state-worship.

The Johnson City Press has never been a fan of State Representative Matthew Hill. This is no surprise, as the Press, like most newspapers nowadays, is – shall we say – rather liberal-leaning.

In the Seventh District in 2006, Fred Phillips was the candidate of choice for the Press. This year, I’m sure we will see, their candidate will be Todd Smith. The Press generally finds itself on the side of the “anti-Hill.”

This weekend’s editions gave us a couple of examples of the continued Hill-hating at the Press.

Robert Houk’s column was essentially a smattering of “I hate Matthew Hill,” “I hate Conservative Christians,” and “Oh, something about the AFA.”

Houk began by accusing Hill of using his newborn son as a “campaign prop,” citing a mailer that went out a few weeks ago highlighting Hill’s pro-life record. Hill actually asked me about this particular mailer before – and after – it went out. I thought it was a great idea. Many times one doesn’t realize just how pro-life you are until you have a child of your own, and showing baby Hill’s ultrasound pic was a great way, in my opinion, to reveal Matthew’s personal pro-life revelation.

Besides, if I can be disgustingly political for a moment, voters like candidates with kids, especially if you’re running on a pro-family platform.

So, Houk didn’t like Matthew’s pro-life mailer. No big surprise there.

Then, however, Houk went on a tirade against the American Family Association, citing a web-flub that reported an Olympic runner named “Tyson Homosexual” had done well in the 100-meter sprint and a ban of McDonald’s due to their support of the homosexual movement.

Do what, now?

I am, even a couple of days after reading the article, still terribly confused about how we got from Matthew Hill to the American Family Association’s questionable web programs and boycotts. Oh, right. It’s called “diversion.”

Houk then moves on to a paragraph on Todd Smith in which Smith calls Hill “woefully ineffective.” Instead of focusing on what Smith would do to be “more effective,” however, Houk simply talks about Smith’s “Night at the Ballpark.” Way to avoid the issues.

Houk finishes up his column by letting us know that Gov. Bredesen will be supporting “Republican” Kent Williams in Carter County.

As if Houk’s column wasn’t enough, the Press featured a political brief in which Todd Smith criticizes Matthew Hill for accepting special interest money.

I’m no fan of PAC’s, to be sure, but the press release issued by Smith should have been a mail piece, rather than a “Political Brief” in the Johnson City Press. Oh, right. I forgot. Smith doesn’t have any money. How convenient that the Press was willing to print Smith’s criticisms and save him a buck or two.

I certainly support an opinion writer’s right to criticize candidates – criticizing politicians is one of my favorite things to do – but a newspaper’s job is to report the facts (other than, of course, in the op-ed section, where Houk’s column appears). When a paper is so blatantly slanted in one direction, it’s clear they need to hire some writers to report the other side of the fence. Much of what appears in the Johnson City Press as political news would be better suited for a blog. This, my friends, is why I don’t waste my money on a subscription to the Press and why newspapers all over the country are facing hard times.

While they may cite an increase in internet usage as the reason that no one wants a newspaper subscription anymore, it’s really the fact that newspapers, just like TV news, are so politically slanted that most people find them irrelevant. Personally, I like holding a crisp newspaper in my hand, reading something not on a computer screen, but why waste my time? I can predict exactly what an article is going to say as soon as I see the headline.

If the Press wants to offer some hard-hitting articles actually comparing candidates – being both critical and supportive of all candidates when appropriate – then maybe I’ll take the time to pick up a paper. As long as they’re merely offering the same old slanted “news,” however, I’ll pass.

In conversations that have resulted from yesterday’s post on fundraising for the First District US House seat, more information has come to light.

Although Davis has out-raised Roe over the entire election cycle (and God bless the government for making their reports “easy” to read…), Roe, it seems has out-raised Davis in individual contributions since the first of the year. You’ll have to check my math, because it seems that the FEC doesn’t give you an easy way to narrow financial disclosure information by specific dates, but – according to what I saw this morning – Davis has been out-raised in individual contributions by Roe since the first of this year.

Davis has, of course, been taking in money since 2007, well before Roe declared his candidacy and began fundraising efforts. However, even given this scenario, it’s impressive that Davis has only received slightly more individual contributions during the entire “election cycle” (which encompasses 2007-2008).

My concern with Roe’s fundraising remains, though. All of his money is coming in from Washington County, which indicates that he still has a problem with name recognition in the rest of the district. One can’t get elected with the votes of one county in a huge, multi-county district.

What is even more disturbing is the list of PAC’s that Davis has accepted money from over the last year-and-a-half. The fact that he has accepted money from Comcast is enough to make my blood boil (oh, how deep my hatred of Comcast…), but the list is so darn long I think it would be difficult to determine which PAC is more worrisome.

I’m certainly not a newcomer to the political arena, and I know that PAC money is routinely given and received by most major candidates, but I don’t have to like it. I want my representatives financially beholden to those they represent (i.e., the citizens of the district) not big Political Action Committees with an ax to grind. Kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Please, please, take a look at the Financial Disclosures of the First District Candidates (there are other candidates running, by the way, and they’ve taken in a bit of money, too). Feel free to air your concerns in the comments section of this post. Where candidates are getting their cash is always a topic worth discussing…

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