Friday, December 19, 2014

All Lives Matter

Photo of a police officer, Boston, USA
Photo of a police officer, Boston, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Incidents involving law enforcement officers and suspects have been prominent news stories during 2014. Recent incidents have brought protestors out into the streets blocking traffic and impeding the flow of commerce. In the Nashville area, protestors have even held "die ins" at local malls making it difficult for Christmas shoppers to navigate from store to store. The chants of, and signs proclaiming, "Black Lives Matter" are popping up everywhere.

On Monday, I put forth a challenge to my Facebook friends. I challenged them to pause and think about what life in the U.S. would be like if we took the attitude that "All Lives Matter". Before I go any further, I'm sure someone is gonna take this article as me trying to downplay or dismiss this idea of "Black Lives Matter". I am not. It's just that I don't think that goes far enough.

For instance, after putting the challenge out on Facebook, I took it myself. Here's some of what I came up with :
  • The 17-year-old high school junior who just found out she's pregnant. She's been an A student and had dreams of law school and a great career. Now, she's worried those dreams are slipping away, because she will have to focus on raising a child. She's been with her boyfriend since she was a freshman. They made one mistake by "foolin' around" and now her parents are mad at her and her boyfriend wants her to "just get rid of it". Her life matters. Her baby's life matters.
  • A 58-year-old factory worker has been out of work for a year after being laid off. He had been with the company for 30 years and was looking forward to retiring at the age of 60. He and his wife were counting the days until they could relax, travel, and spoil their grandkids fulltime. Now, no one wants to hire a 58-year-old and his savings is about gone. His life matters.
  • Iraq war veteran returns home after catching some shrapnel from an IED. He's suffering from severe PTSD after watching several of his buddies die to that same IED. His wife didn't wait on him and has left. He's all alone and an emotional wreck. His life matters.
  • The police officer who just chased a suspect down a dark alley. The suspect jumps out of the shadows surprising him, knocks him to the ground, and wrestles the officer's gun away. The suspect now aims the gun at the cop and the cop tells him, "I have a wife and two small children. Don't shoot me. Just go." What will the suspect do? The cop's life matters. His wife and kids lives matter.
  • The 18 Americans who will suffer and slowly die today because the life-saving organ they need does not become available in time. Their lives matter.
  • The 16-year-old teenage girl who runs away from home because her home environment is so bad and turns to prostitution to make ends meet. Her life matters.
  • The politician who you strongly disagree with on every issue and simply seeing their name, campaign sign, or hearing their voice makes you ill. Their life matters.
  • The homeless man you pass on the street everyday walking to and from work who always bugs you for "your spare change". His life matters.
  • The 8-year-old girl who's out playing in her front yard and gets struck down by a stray bullet from a gang-related drive-by shooting. Her life matters.
  • The single mom who finally got the nerve to take her two kids and leave her abusive, alcoholic husband. They were high school sweethearts. He's the only man she's ever loved, but he can't keep a job because of his drinking. She's tired and doesn't want the kids seeing his mistreatment of her anymore. She has moved in with her parents and now must find a job to support her kids. She hasn't had a job in 10 years as she's been a stay-at-home mom. She's scared. Her life matters. Her kids lives matter.
These are just a few. I'm sure my readers can come up with more such scenarios. My point here is very simple - we need to get away from the idea that this life or that life is anymore important than another. God loves us all equally, and we are all precious to Him.

Let's try something - let's replace the hate with more love and respect for each other. This goes for me, too. If we can do that, can you imagine how different and how much better life would be in the U.S.?

The truth is that "All Lives Matter".

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

November 2014 Tennessee Governor's Race

Back in July, I posted a brief synopsis on the Republican and Democratic nominees for Tennessee governor. I also promised to briefly review those nominees and the 3rd party candidates who would be on the ballot prior to the November general election. Since early voting in Tennessee begins tomorrow, here is a brief overview of all seven candidates.

Republican Nominee

English: Knoxville mayor and Tennessee GOP gub...
English: Knoxville mayor and Tennessee GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam addressing supporters before the Highlands Town Hall Debate at Tennessee Tech University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As expected, Tennessee's incumbent governor, Bill Haslam, won the Republican nomination. I'm not gonna spend much time rehashing my lack of fondness for Mr. Haslam. From the time he declared his intention to seek the governor's office over 4 years ago, I have pointed out that he is no conservative no matter how hard he and others try to paint him as one. He is progressive to the core. He is no friend of gun owners, teachers, and others. In my opinion, which is partially based upon a NewsChannel 5 investigative video series titled "Questions of Influence", his associates and big business have benefited more from his first term than anyone.

When I started this blog several years ago, I built it around the sheep / wolves / sheepdogs theme. Since in my opinion, Haslam is something besides what he claims to be (a progressive instead of a conservative), he is a wolf. So, just like 4 years ago, I will not vote for him.

Democratic Nominee

Charles V. "Charlie" Brown is the Democrat's nominee for governor. If I had to guess, I'd say he won the nomination based upon name recognition. I mean, who doesn't like Charlie Brown, right?

Brown hasn't mounted much of a campaign. He has a Facebook page but no webpage. I only found a little about him on the internet - he is a religious man, a hunter, and retired construction worker. He's not gonna put up much of a challenge to "Big Business Bill" Haslam.

Constitution Party Nominee

Constitution Party (United States)
Constitution Party (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Shaun Crowell is the Constitution Party candidate. Crowell ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 as a Libertarian. According to Crowell's website, he is:
  • a Christian, 
  • a veterinarian who owns an animal hospital,
  • opposed to Common Core and Race to the Top and wants to repeal both,
  • opposed to big government programs, such as the Tennessee Promise,
  • a supporter of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms,
  • a supporter of free-market capitalism, and
  • believes the state's budget is controlled too much by Uncle Sam.
Green Party Nominee

Isa Infante is the Green Party candidate. She has a wide-ranging background. She's been a university professor, a U.S. Dept. of Education employee, a business owner, and a consultant. A brief review of her Facebook page and website shows that she's way to the left of me on the issues. For instance, she:
  • supports raising the minimum wage,
  • supports unions,
  • wants FREE healthcare,
  • supports "increased economic and political control of communities", and
  • supports "social justice".
Independents

There are 3 Independents in the race, including:
  1. John Jay Hooker - Hooker has run for governor before but never gains much traction. I could not find a website for him, but he does have a Facebook page.
  2. Steven Coburn - Coburn is an interesting fellow with some interesting ideas. However, the major problem I see with him is that he doesn't understand the Tennessee Constitution. For instance, on his website it states that if elected he, "... will ask Tennesseans every two months to vote upon 10-15 items and if a high percentage agrees than it is the governor's job to make it happen because it was the will of the People of Tennessee." Uh no. We have State Senators and Representatives for that, according to the state constitution. Plus, we can't get a majority of Tennesseans to vote every 2 years. How the heck you gonna get them to do it every 2 months?
  3. Daniel T. Lewis - Lewis is actually the Libertarian candidate but will appear on the ballot as an Independent, because there is no official Libertarian Party in Tennessee. According to his website, he supports smaller government, more individual freedom, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, state sovereignty, reducing government spending, and lower taxes. To see his other viewpoints and stances on the issues, please visit his website at http://www.lewisdt.com/.
Summary

The question you're probably asking by now is, "Sheepdog, who you gonna support?" I'm staying away from the lefties - Haslam, Brown, and Infante. While I like some of the things the Libertarian Party and candidate Lewis advocate I can never get past the Libertarians social agenda that seems to be "anything goes as long you don't hurt anyone." Though I'm not thrilled with any of my options, I'm leaning toward the Constitution Party candidate, Shaun Crowell.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why ESPN Needs You to Hate Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles

*** Source ---> secexposed.wordpress.com/ article titled "Why ESPN Needs You to HATE Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles"
FisherWinston2014
It has been a wild and crazy past week for the Florida State Seminoles. Their QB, a magnet for controversial news ever since his stint as quarterback for the reigning national champs began last year, once again was at the top of the headlines after being suspended by FSU for a half, then a whole game, for being spotted in the student union yelling a vulgar popular online meme. While we have seen the outrage on TV and on social media forums, and even the anger coming from a small contingent of FSU alumni, we are going to tell you all something you probably didn’t realize and that never occurred to you.

ESPN and the SEC-enamored media desperately WANT you to hate Jameis Winston. They need you to despise him. They’ve been working for you to hate him for a long time. If you don’t hate him by now, you are either an FSU fan or really disconnected from the online and sports entertainment television world. Is it because Winston is one of the most disgusting, criminal minded, moronic menaces to society in sports history? Or is it because the sports media, especially ESPN, is manipulating the public into believing what they need you to believe for their own benefit and the benefit of the SEC? We are going to show you in this article why it is the latter. We are going to lay out why we believe that ESPN and the mainstream media are working overtime to destroy this kid’s character and bury his school so that they never “steal” another championship from the SEC in the near future. And we are going display to you their hypocrisy in encouraging this witch-hunt of a player whose greatest faults pale in comparison to some SEC stars who came before him.

You don’t need to be an FSU supporter to truly see what is going on here. The mainstream media, led by their “worldwide leader in sports entertainment,” is vocally railroading one of the greatest talents of our sports generation simply as revenge for him not launching his stardom in their beloved SEC. And they will not stop until both he and the team that has owned the SEC in recent years pays the ultimate price. FSU and Winston are villains to the SEC. ESPN and other media hacks are now prepared to make them YOUR villain too. If you repeat things often enough to the public in the media, ultimately they begin to believe it as truth. ESPN has been hammering away at the integrity of the FSU star around the clock since the middle of last week when news of the “scandal” broke. And public perception was definitely impacted by the biased coverage of the cursing incident. Before long, people from coast to coast were “outraged.” Outraged that a 20 year old college student cursed loud enough on campus for people to hear. [Pause for perspective to set in.]

Who is this Jameis Winston kid anyway? This horrible menace to society that has ESPN analysts screaming and pounding their makeshift desks about. When we filter out the over-the-top ESPN-driven media bias, it becomes much easier to see who he really is. Jameis Winston is a socially immature and naïve youth in a tremendously gifted athlete’s body. His athletic and on-field leadership ability is head and shoulders above his peers; he plays football like a man among boys. However mentally off the field, he is a boy among men. This is clear to anyone following along with his antics. He doesn’t take things as seriously as people think he should. Perhaps he rose too high to fast. Or perhaps he has simply just always been the “class clown” life of the party and lacks the filter necessary to know when he has gone too far. Or maybe he really is “dumb as a box of rocks” as has been suggested by multiple “respected” media personalities. (Which if true would support our position of SEC recruiting standards since Winston was heavily recruited by much of the SEC before spurning them to choose Florida State.) Much like his Heisman predecessor Johnny “Football” Manziel, Winston is showing us all why freshmen should no longer be allowed to win the Heisman. They can’t handle the attention, the pressure or the expectations that often come with the award, as it all might be too much for a 19 year old kid to process. Nothing Winston has done up to this point (sexual promiscuity, squirrel hunting with BB guns, sneaking soda from a fountain with buddies, taking crab legs from a grocery store “hookup”, or yelling out an obscene phrase from a popular internet meme) could be considered “criminal mischief” for the average 18-19 year old kid. However, Winston is not an average 19 year old kid. Much more is expected of him, and children may look to him as a role model whether they should or shouldn’t. The minute he became a football superstar, he traded in his “average joe” card. Unfortunately, he acts as if nobody told him this. Or maybe they did and he refuses to accept it. The point we are trying to make here is, Jameis Winston is not a lethal criminal mind. He is a simple and very naïve young man who refuses to let his stardom change him. And that may be his biggest mistake, because with athletic stardom comes responsibility. In turn, the media is using every single one of Winston’s mistakes, no matter how minor, as another opportunity to crucify him. We all know, this is how it works in the spotlight for sports stars. The media builds them up so they can tear them down. However, in this situation, some of the greatest effort ever witnessed is being put forth by the media, particularly ESPN, to assure that this kid not only gets torn down, but that he never plays the game of football again at FSU. Their tactics are wrong, their motivations for doing it are wrong, and the manipulative ways they are doing it are wrong.
Sept14pic1
Let’s start with their tactics. First there were the around the clock rotations of analysts one by one bashing Winston’s integrity on air. Then there was the ESPN analyst Zubin Mehenti who gave an angry rant full of racist overtones against Winston (Listen here: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=11547749). Then there was response from ESPN defending Mehenti’s rant as “free speech” (try to ignore the irony of this excuse here). And who can forget ESPN’s Mark May laying into Winston’s integrity. (Looks like the Gameday attendees in Tallahassee Saturday didn’t let him get away with that hypocrisy without some fact checking though…)
Sept14pic3
Thursday night during the Kansas State-Auburn game, one of ESPN’s favorite SEC Shills Pollack was chatting with his co-shill Palmer up in the analyst booth. Their back and forth kind of revealed much of what ESPN behind the scenes really wanted…

Pollack: I’m not sure if I’m happy about only a half game suspension for Winston.
Palmer: I am.
Pollack: I think it should be the whole game.
Palmer: Oh yeah, because then they could lose!


I’m sure you can only imagine the immense disappointment from ESPN when Clemson could not deliver ESPN’s genie wish for them.

Winston has faced far more scrutiny than likely any other college athlete who has done wrong in the media. And despite never being charged for rape because there was no evidence, even after a prosecutor dug until his nails bled trying to get notoriety for being the guy that could put away the great Jameis Winston (Source: http://secexposed.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/why-a-successful-black-non-sec-college-football-star-is-getting-railroaded-in-the-jim-crow-south/), ESPN continues to report THAT story as if it were an actual prosecuted crime! For many at ESPN, Winston is not only guilty until proven innocent, but he is even guilty WHEN proven innocent!

This begs the question, why is ESPN and the lapdog media so hungry to bury the FSU quarterback? Let’s pretend for a minute that we don’t know about their heavy campaigning to eliminate all SEC threats so that the conference their money is invested in will never have to face a real quality opponent in the four team playoff. Where is the ESPN outrage over the sheer volume of arrests (>50% of all college sports arrests) occurring out of the SEC? (Source: http://secexposed.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/criminal-talent-recruitment-and-media-collusion-make-strange-bedfellows-indeed/). Or better yet how about the closest SEC neighbor to FSU? Where was the media outrage at the University of Florida, an SEC team whose 2008 squad won the national title with arguably the most number of criminals on a championship team in NCAA history (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/sports/ncaafootball/hernandez-among-many-arrested-at-florida-in-the-meyer-years.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)? Where were the self-righteous ESPN announcers demanding that a title be stripped when it consisted of players arrested for “under-age drinking, disorderly conduct, violations of open-container laws, aggravated stalking, domestic violence by strangulation, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and fraudulent use of credit cards”; compound that with racism, rape, domestic violence and murder once these stars got to the NFL. According to the NY Times, UF had “a roster of 121 players, 41 of whom have been arrested, either in college or afterward, and sometimes both. That number included 16 players on that season’s final two-deep roster, nine of whom were starters, as well as a kicker, punter and returner.

Perhaps these ESPN hacks would say they are only hammering away at Jameis because he is a Heisman winner and should show better judgment and meet the moral requirements of a Heisman candidate. To that I would respond… really? REALLY? How quickly our convenient memories have forgotten about the SEC’s great Cam “Scam” Newton? Unlike Winston, who has never been arrested for anything despite all the “supposed” this and “we heard him say” that, Newton was actually CHARGED with felony grand theft. From stolen laptops, multiple academic violations, being bounced from UF for cheating, to soliciting payments from the highest bidder to decide where he was going to take his talents (Source: http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/feed/2010-11/cam-newton-probe/story/chizik-auburn-ad-defend-cameron-newton-amid-allegations), Newton was a walking rap sheet highlight reel. Yet he DID win the Heisman. And today? A successful NFL quarterback with a Gatorade endorsement. Look at what being a SEC media darling can do for you no matter WHAT crimes you commit!

How quickly our convenient memories have also forgotten about the SEC’s great Johnny “Football” Manziel? This guy wasn’t simply reported on twitter for saying curse words in public. He has had actual PICTURES floating around the internet of most of HIS transgressions! Numerous off-campus drinking binges… a barroom brawl arrest (complete with a shirtless mug shot)… oversleeping the prestigious Manning football camp due to a drunken bender from the night before that was chronicled in photos all over the internet… ONE HALF game suspension for NCAA rules violation of selling his autograph as a student… chugging beer on live TV waiting to be drafted by the NFL… a marijuana possession arrest… flipping off the opposing sideline during an NFL preseason game WHILE he is playing in it. Yes sir, this young man for certain looks like the poster boy of good behavior. Why can’t Jameis Winston be more like THAT? Good thing that despite it all, the media still adores him. After all, Snickers certainly does, as he now has their endorsement.
johnny-manziel-flips-bird
Meanwhile, I think its fair to say if Jameis Winston so much as passes gas in public at this point, the NCAA is likely to make FSU vacate some wins.

What is truly interesting about all this is probably how much of an impact the media assault on Winston last week actually WORKED! FSU’s administration passed down a half game suspension for Winston cursing in public. Honestly, it was appropriate to suspend him, less because of the actual crime and more because the kid needs to stop thinking he can get away with everything Manziel did and rather needs to start holding himself to a higher standard. However, the media onslaught was so intense that the FSU upper brass caved in to the pressure from all the rumors and innuendo being peddled on TV and radio, following up with an extension of the suspension to a FULL GAME on Friday evening. The late night decision even had some speculating that there was “new information.” What folks would soon learn is that there wasn’t and didn’t need to be new information; the media had done their job and done it well enough to make the University think the transgression was worse than it sounded. Perhaps maybe the media didn’t do it as well as THEY would have liked though, because FSU won the game. And the media has been furious about it ever since. Their latest anger? That Winston had pads on while helping the team warm up BEFORE the game. No folks, we aren’t kidding. This is seriously how egregiously ridiculous this media-powered witch hunt has become.

To illustrate how powerful the media is in a case like this, let’s look at how the story broke last week. FSU students tweeted out what happened. Immediately the sharks in the media water pounced, contacting these students to get all the dirt. Then the media outlets released their stories. And the chest thumping outrage at ESPN and on radio shows around the nation soon after began! However as these poor eyewitness students were being thrown under the bus by the media, and outcast by some of their football crazy peers at FSU for their tweets, a funny thing was happening. The media was MAKING UP THEIR OWN DETAILS of the story and NOT telling the whole truth! And as you can see below, an original student eyewitness became just another a victim of the anti-Winston media propaganda machine…
KiefOsceolaTwitter
Interesting that a tiny blog site like ours knows more than over 90% of the media about this story, particularly the incorrect accusation that Winston “jumped up on a table” to yell his obscenities to the world as opposed to just happening to stumble upon a busy corridor while jesting with his pals. How did everyone miss this part of the story? Could it just be because all sports journalists are lazy hacks, or could it be that they NEEDED to make a bigger story out of this to achieve an end result? We need not look any further than last year’s false rape accusations against Winston and the media lies and omissions about THAT case to answer that question. (Source: http://secexposed.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/new-york-times-muck-rakes-fsu-as-media-takes-first-swipe-at-sec-threats/)

If FSU and their coaching staff can learn anything from this incident, it is that they need to keep their QB hidden and away from public interaction whatsoever until his time at FSU is complete. Jameis Winston, meanwhile, just needs a better group of friends. Folks that won’t “dare” him to say or do funny things, friends who will remind him when he is going a bit too far. He needs a good mentor… someone who can help him process what is truly right and wrong to do when you are in the public eye 24 hours a day. Jameis Winston is public enemy number 1 to ESPN and every SEC-obsessed media hack out there. They won’t rest until this kid goes down. Jameis needs to understand this and let it motivate him. More importantly, Jameis needs to begin taking notes about all the slander and libel going on around him and start planning legal action. The media sharks are going too far and they are threatening what could be a very exciting NFL career for this kid, making this a very reasonable defamation of character claim to be filed against everyone who has spoken or printed lies, lit up the airwaves with racial rants by attacking his African American vernacular, or spent hours on end insinuating he is a criminal or unintelligent.

Unfortunately for FSU, while this incident may have come to a close for them, the attacks on the program will not end until the Seminoles are out of the picture and out of the SEC’s way. That means when the media barrage fails, the NCAA will be the next jumping onto them to help finish the job. We’ve seen the pattern before against USC and Ohio State. When non-SEC teams get too big, the NCAA intervenes to adjust the playing field. Prepare for that next, FSU fans. We assure you, it will come.

We would also caution Oklahoma and Oregon to be on high alert as well. These SEC-driven sports media hitmen are gunning to seek and destroy the credibility of anyone standing in the way of their favorite conference to get full control of this four team playoff. That is why they have been so thick with their propaganda to show why the SEC is such a better conference, so that the committee will feel forced to ramrod two if not three SEC teams into that final four. (Source: http://secexposed.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/propaganda-parades-poll-collusion-and-playoff-committee-manipulation/)

The SEC came really close to eliminating one of their biggest “villains” after this most recent coordinated media attack last week. Too bad for them that they came up just short of accomplishing their goals. Rest assured folks, they aren’t done trying. Isn’t that right, Paul Finebaum?

You still mad, bro?

*** The Sheepdog shared this article from the SEC Exposed blog on Wordpress to offer another, interesting perspective on the world of college football. Some will agree with it. Some will disagree with it. My reasoning for sharing the article was to give my readers something to think about. However, the writer of the article does touch on some things that I've been saying for the last few years - i.e. the sports media is biased in favor of the SEC.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Clark Boyd and the 2nd Amendment

Last week I received, as did many of you, a fundraising letter from the Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA). The letter seems to portray Clark Boyd as an anti- gun, pro-gun control candidate who is unsupportive of the Second Amendment. At the same time, it makes current, incumbent 24-year career politician State Senator Mae Beavers out to be some kind of 2nd Amendment savior. Unfortunately, for them, they are wrong on both accounts.

Wanna guess what the TFA is basing their “portrayals” on? It’s based on their candidate survey that I destroyed in a previous blog post. Remember it? It’s the one that 72% of the candidates it was sent to did not return. Boyd was one of them, so now just like the other 72%, the TFA is making him out to be an anti-gunner. However, here’s what the TFA is not telling you – Clark Boyd received one of the highest grades possible for a first-time candidate from the National Rifle Association (NRA), based upon his answers to the questions on their survey. But please, don’t take mine, Clark Boyd’s, or anyone else’s word or it. See Boyd’s grade for yourself on the NRA website by clicking here and then scrolling down. Just as my earlier blog post did, Boyd’s NRA rating shoots TFA’s allegations down. 

The Sheepdog's endorsement
One day last week, I spoke with Boyd about the TFA’s claims about him. He said, “Our (his campaign) concern is that the organization (TFA) is really functioning as an arm of Beavers’ campaign, and I think their members ought to know that their funds are being used to paint an Army veteran and NRA top rated candidate as not being pro-Second Amendment."

Boyd continued, “When I read the TFA survey I thought it had to be a joke, because two of the questions actually lauded Mae Beavers – even asking if I would co-sponsor legislation with her if I were elected. The fundraising letter doesn’t contain the same survey. Obviously a lot of other candidates didn’t take the survey seriously either or they would have answered it.” 

As I mentioned it my earlier blog post, other candidates who are well known for their pro-2nd Amendment voting record ignored the survey as well. Boyd answered the National Rifle Association’s survey and received one of the highest scores for a first time candidate. Could it be that that TFA is simply losing credibility and candidates are choosing to ignore them?

During our conversation, Boyd also pointed out that the TFA simply isn’t an objective organization, because the founder and leader of the group, John Harris, is a close associate of Beavers. Additionally, he and the TFA PAC routinely make campaign contributions to Beavers’, including during the current election cycle’s race against Boyd. 

So, knowing all that, how much stock are you gonna put in the TFA’s claims of Clark Boyd, a veteran, being anti-gun. Could it be that the organization is a little biased? It is true, though, that Boyd has no voting record in regards to gun legislation. However, and more importantly, it is also true that, unlike Beavers, he has NEVER voted in favor of Jimmy “No-Guns” Naifeh, a Democrat, being Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Beavers did so 4 times

Something to think about, my fellow District 17 gun owners, before you go vote on Thursday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wilson Co. (TN) County Commission District 16 Race - Brockman vs. Weathers

A little over four years ago, I ran an article about Jason Brockman, a newcomer to Wilson Co. (TN) politics. At the time, he was running for County Commission in the 16th District hoping to upset the long-time incumbent, Gilbert Graves, who had held the seat for 40 years. Brockman shocked everyone upsetting Graves with 60% of the vote (see the results here). Now, four years later, Graves' daughter, Diane Weathers, is challenging Brockman in his re-election bid. 

Even though he is a first-term commissioner, Brockman has accomplished much during the last four years including :
Jason Brockman
  1. pushing along the Interstate 40 widening project in Wilson Co.,
  2. voting against increasing county property taxes,
  3. voting against increasing the hotel / motel tax, which if passed would've made Wilson Co.'s one of the highest rates in the U.S. likely hurting local hotels,
  4. opposing forced annexation which earned him an endorsement from Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation (TAFA), and
  5. working tirelessly for infrastructure improvements within District 16 and the rest of the county.
He has also been involved in :
  • adding new fire stations,
  • adding an ambulance to the new Mount Juliet fire station,
  • the expansions of three schools, and
  • adding mechanical, plumbing, and framing requirements to Wilson Co. building codes enforcement.
Up until this past Saturday, I had never met Brockman's 2014 opponent, Weathers. I was at early voting holding a sign to support Brockman. Around 9:30 a.m. I saw a woman walking down the sidewalk toward me that I thought might be her based upon pictures I had seen in local newspapers. Weathers passed from my left to my right, went down the sidewalk, lingered for a bit, left a sign, and then headed back in my direction.

I was standing about 10 feet off the sidewalk. When she got to a distance of about 15 yards from me, she looked in my direction, and asked, "Do you live in the district?" I replied, "Yes ma'am." Then, she stepped off the sidewalk and made a bee-line straight to me. At the time, I had no idea what was about to happen. Let's just say that today, I wish I could still say, "I have never met her." Yes, the experience was that bad.

As soon as Weathers got within about arms-length of me, she begin a harsh verbal attack upon me for supporting Brockman. Please remember that the only thing I had said to her up to this point was, "Yes ma'am." I had only treated her with respect, but she still unleashed a disrespectful rant claiming that Brockman was not providing good representation to the district. She waived some handwritten piece of paper in my face repeatedly claiming it showed a lack of attendance at meetings. I asked her if it was "an official county commission document." She never answered the question directly with a "yes" or "no", but instead said she "had researched it all herself" continuing her verbal attack. I guess she just expected me to take her word and handwritten piece of paper as gospel.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Sorry. That ain't happening. I had never met her, didn't know her from Adam, and she had just jumped my a$$ for no reason. So, any credibility she might have had just went to zero. She might be able to jump on some people and get her way, but that dog don't hunt here in Sheepdogland. Never has. Never will.

She had other things to say, too, but I finally had enough. So, I told her that I had not jumped her case and been rude to her when she arrived, and I did not appreciate her doing it to me. I said, "I'm just here to help and support a friend," but that didn't seem to matter to her. As I said, she never answered my question about the document being official but continued the tongue lashing claiming, "We deserve better representation and that's why I am in this race." I grinned, looked her in the eye, and said, "No ma'am. I know better. That's not why you are in this race." She then turned and left. Either she didn't think what I had to say was as important as what she did, or she realized that I was onto her game. I don't think she wanted others hearing my thoughts about her real reasons for running.

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting
English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Personally, I don't think providing better representation has anything to do with why Weathers decided to get in the race. Remember, I shared that Brockman beat her father, the 40-year incumbent, 4 years ago to win the seat. I think "revenge" and the hope of getting the seat "back in the family" are the motivation behind her campaign. I think that's what this is all about.

So, my first, and hopefully only, encounter with Weathers was not a pleasant one. She came across as a bully. She reminded me of some of the ones I had to deal with back in school who wanted to impose their will upon me and other classmates. I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. If that is the way she treats people she doesn't agree with, then, if she were to win the commission seat, how is she gonna be an effective representative of her constituents? A person will never agree with everyone all the time. Is she gonna jump on her colleagues, like she did me, when she doesn't agree with them? If she does, she won't be able to get anything done and we will have poor representation.

As I look back on it now, there are so many things I wish I had said to her, but at the time I was in shock. I couldn't believe that someone I've never met, but who wants to represent me, would walk over, get in my face, and jump my case like that. I didn't really know what to say.
Since she kept harping on this idea of "lack of representation", I wished I had asked her exactly how she plans to provide better representation? Why? Because if elected, each year she will have to vote on the county budget. Her husband is a School Board Member and the School Board Chair. The schools budget generally makes up approximately 70% of the county's total budget. Here's a question for my fellow voters of District 16 - is this a potential conflict of interest? I think it is. So, if you agree with me, before you vote, think about the following:
  • What is Mrs. Weathers gonna do each budget year?
  • Should she abstain or recuse herself from voting on the county budget?
  • Should she recuse herself from discussions involving the school's portion of the budget? 
  • How can she properly represent her constituents at budget time?
To me it appears there is a problem whether she votes, abstains, or doesn't. The above questions are tough, but yet important, questions, and they should be considered by each one of us in the district before voting. The good news, though, is that Jason Brockman doesn't have any such potential conflicts of interest. Remember that when you go vote. It may make your decision easier.
Jason Brockman with wife, Crystal, and son, Landyn.
Let's get back to Weathers' claims of poor representation, in regards to Brockman. He has voted against increasing property taxes, voted against increasing the hotel / motel tax rate, helped push along the Interstate 40 widening project when it stalled, strongly opposed forced annexation, pushed back against nepotism and conflicts of interest within county government, helped improve public safety, and continues to push for infrastructure improvements. Does that sound like poor representation to you? Of course not. It actually sounds more like Brockman's doing his job. Therefore, in my opinion, Weathers' claims are not credible.

So, why am I sharing all this? I think it's important for voters to know exactly who the folks are that are wanting to represent them. I also think it's important for voters to know not only about a candidate's record and stance on the issues but also the type of people they are. So, I felt it was important to share some of Brockman's record over the last 4 years and, based upon my encounter with Weathers, what voters may be getting if she were to win.

The main reason I am so disgusted with politics today is because of the way I see politicians and candidates from both sides of the aisle treat others, take advantage of their position, and act like they are above the law. Based upon the way Weathers treated me on Saturday, I wouldn't vote for her for anything. My initial impression is that she is not the type of person I want representing me on the county commission or anything else. Remember, I did absolutely nothing to instigate her verbal onslaught, but I got it anyway simply for holding a sign and supporting her opponent.

Therefore, The Sheepdog's officially endorsing Jason Brockman for Wilson Co. Commissioner District 16. For more information about Jason, please visit his website at www.VoteBrockman.com. The election is August 7th and early voting is taking place now. If you're not sure if you're in District 16, this map may help.