Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter wonderland

Today, Tennesseans and others are dealing with the first big snowfall of 2010. I've got 3-4 inches of snow, sleet, and freezing rain accumulated at my house. Please forgive me, but I've got to get this off my chest ..... way to go Al "I invented the internet" Gore. I thought the earth was WARMING. You really nailed it on this global warming thing.

Anyway, I received the pictures below via e-mail from a friend a few weeks ago. They are of Niagara Falls when they froze in 1911. I can't even imagine how much cold air, snow, and ice it took to do this. Count your blessings my fellow Southerners. It could be worse - much worse.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pork-aholic = Tennessee politicians

During the last year, the Tea Partiers and others have complained about the wasteful pork spending going on in Washington D.C. by Congress and the Community Organizer in Chief. However, there's also a number of pork-aholics in Nashville in the Tennessee Legislature and they are led by Porky Pig himself, Governor Phil Bredesen.

For the last few years, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has been putting out a document called the Tennessee Pork Report. The organization goes through the state's budget and identifies items of wasteful, unnecessary spending, and then produces a report of their findings. Needless to say, it's not a favorite read for Tennessee's legislators. I have read through the 2009 report (read it here) and here are some of the highlights :
  • Tennessee taxpayers subsidized the 12 state-run golf courses in the amount of $2.3 Million. Only one of them broke even and eight lost at least $130,000.
  • Over $29,000 from the Tennessee Arts Commission subsidized the Nashville Film Festival. Some of the films contained "adult-oriented themes" that at best bordered on pornography.
  • A $5000 "Individual Artist Fellowship" funded by taxpayers was given to Victoria Lancelotta. She is known for writing books containing short stories with "adult-oriented themes." Many of the stories involve teenagers.
  • Over $187,000 was handed out by the state to subsidize fairs and livestock shows.
  • "Conservation Hall" sure doesn't conserve taxpayer dollars. It's also known as "the party bunker" and  is a 14,000 square foot entertainment area underneath the governor's mansion. After spending nearly $13 Million to renovate the mansion (which was worth only $900,000 at the time), Bredesen's bunker will cost another $10 Million-plus once complete. The original cost estimate was $4.6 Million. Taxpayers are having to make up the difference because Bredesen's wife has been unable to raise the funds through private donations as she promised.
  • A record $1.1 Billion in bonds including $262 Million that amounts to corporate welfare to bring in a new Volkswagon plant. The interest on the bonds - ONLY $438 Million.
  • A $5.3 Million subsidy ("incentive") to farmers to "encourage" them to grow switchgrass for ethanol production. The problem - this ethanol facility is yet to be completed. Currently, it's nothing but a Monroe County field.
  • $6.5 Million for "boll weevil eradication porgram - However, the state budget says the state is "99% boll weevil free." The 1% left sure are high maintenance.  
  • The Department of Finance and Administration paid an extra $26,000 in phone bills for failing to disconnect 89 unused phone lines. Can you hear me now ??
These are only a few of the problems the 2009 Tennessee Pork Report cited. As you can see, a ton of taxpayer dollars has been wasted in Tennessee which is bad at any time, but during a span of years in which state employees have been forced into early retirement and services have had to be cut it's inexcusable. As the legislature convenes for it's 2010 session, they will be faced with a projected budget shortfall of about $1 Billion. Recently, the governor said that services would have to be cut and non-violent criminals might have to be released from Tennessee's prisons to cover the shortfall. He has since changed his mind on that, but the fact remains that the budget will be tight. Rep. Debra Maggart (Sumner Co. - R) may have the best idea when she said recently that she was not gonna submit many new bills this session because money is tight. Maybe the governor and the rest of the state legislature should follow her lead. It would be a good start to ending their pork addiction. But if they don't - Tennessee voters will end it for them this November at the ballot box.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obama calls for "Beer Summit 2," Biden THRILLED !!

Vice President Joe Biden L'68Last night, the Democrats took a punch in the gut. They stunningly lost the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy for over 40 years. Shortly after the victory speech by Senator-Elect Scott Brown, a number of newsworthy items occurred :
  • Shortly, after 10 p.m. EST, Massachusetts residents felt an earthquake. Sources say it was Ted Kennedy flipping, not rolling, over in this grave.
  • Around 10:30 p.m. EST, Mr. Obama announced that "Beer Summit 2" would be held this weekend at the White House in an attempt "to rally the troops and regroup." When asked about the summit, Vice President Joe Biden (pictured right) said, "Did you say beer ...... summit ? Man, I love those things, and Barry really knows how to throw them. I never leave thirsty. Heck, why wait till the weekend ?? I'm ready to drink ..... um, I mean meet now."
  • On Wall Street this morning, Anheuser Busch stock "necessarily skyrocketed" as news of the beer summit and Joe Biden's enthusiasm spread like wildfire. One trader said, "It's like a bailout for the beer industry. We love Joe !!"
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is missing this morning. Staff members said she left around 11 p.m. EST last night to make the beer run for the summit. Pelosi a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West left on her broom after filing a flight plan with the FAA and hasn't been heard from since.
I think it's safe to say this won't be the only Democratic defeat in 2010. The message has been sent. The people have spoken loud and clear. The question is - is Washington listening ??
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't be throwing no rocks

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen discuss the t...
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen discuss the tornado damages in Nashville. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I just love it when these politicians get all high and mighty. Many of them love to criticize others. The problem is they shouldn't be throwing rocks when many of them live in glass houses due to corruption, infidelity, and questionable policies and votes. One of them is Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.

Over the last few months, the University of Tennessee has had several male athletes get in trouble with the law. Four football players were allegedly involved in an armed robbery, and most recently, three basketball players were riding around in car that was pulled over for speeding and found to have an illegal weapon in the car as well as marijuana. Mr. Bredesen went on record as saying the university needed to clean up its act, and I agree with him. However, let's take a look at Mr. Bredesen's record for a moment :
  • While mayor of Nashville in the 1990s, he brought the Nashville Predators NHL franchise and the NFL's Houston Oilers, now known as the Tennessee Titans, to town and built them both fancy facilities to play in. He did it on the backs of Nashville taxpayers by putting the city over $400 Million in debt by selling bonds to finance the construction of the facilities. Ever since, Nashville's leaders have had to ask the city departments for budget cuts every year, raise property taxes several times, and lay off many city employees because of the financial strain these debt obligations have placed on the city. According to reports, Nashville taxpayers may be looking at another property tax increase this year, also. Bredesen caused a financial mess that the city's current leaders are paying the price for.
  • As Governor of Tennessee, the state's budget has suffered dearly. Hundreds of needy Tennesseans have been kicked off the TennCare rolls and left without health care insurance because of lousy financial management and little fraud accountability. Bredesen has done nothing to solve the problem. Heads of the various state departments have had to cut their budgets numerous times each of the last several years because state revenues are down but millions of dollars in pork-barrel spending continues. As the state legislature begins the 2010 session, estimates are that they will have to cut about $1 Billion from the 2011 budget in an attempt to make ends meet. 
  • In the fall of 2008, Bredesen appeared in a horrible public service announcement produced by the Governor's Highway Safety Office (GHSO) titled "Harvest." The PSA was part of the GHSO's Booze It and Lose It program whose goal was to get Tennesseans not to drink and drive. However, all this particular PSA did was offend and upset donor families and other organ donation advocates, including myself, by correlating drunk driving deaths and organ donation. When many of us demanded the PSA be pulled, Bredesen could only say how proud he was of the Booze It and Lose It program.
  • In 2009, the Tennessee legislature passed The Restaurant Carry Bill allowing Tennesseans with concealed handgun carry permits to take their weapons in restaurants that served alcohol as long as they were not drinking and the establishment was not posted "No Guns." When Bredesen ran for re-election in 2006, he received the National Rifle Association's (NRA) endorsement because he promised to support this legislation if it passed the state legislature and made it to his desk for his signature. He broke his promise to the NRA and the state's gunowners. He is not a man of his word.
I know some Liberal is gonna say that neither Nashville nor the state's money problems are completely Bredesen's fault because the economy is in really bad shape. Maybe so, but I believe that if his administration had not left Nashville in debt up to it's ears for the sake of professional sports, it would be easier for the city to manage the current fiscal crisis. However, thanks to Bredesen, their hands are tied. The fact is Mr. Bredesen has a dismal record on wasteful spending and financial management of taxpayer money and these things happened on HIS watch.

I would suggest that based upon his record, Mr. Bredesen stop worrying about the problems in the University of Tennessee sports program and concentrate on getting his own house in order. I, for one, can't wait until he leaves the governor's office in January 2011. Mr. Bredesen - "Don't let the door hit ya on the way out."
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Job training

A Native American walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand pulling a male buffalo with the other. He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter, "Want coffee."

The waiter says, "Sure, Chief. Coming right up." He gets the Chief a tall mug of coffee. The Chief drinks the coffee down in one gulp, turns and blasts the buffalo with the shotgun, causing parts of the animal to splatter everywhere and then just walks out.

The next morning the Chief returns. He has his shotgun in one hand pulling another male buffalo with the other. He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter "Want coffee."

The waiter says, "Whoa, Tonto! We're still cleaning up your mess from yesterday What was all that about, anyway?" The Chief smiles and proudly says:

"Training for position in United States Congress: Come in, drink coffee, shoot the bull, leave mess for others to clean up, disappear for rest of day."
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kiffin punked UT

Jon Gruden
Jon Gruden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I did not hear the news about Lane Kiffin's resignation as University of Tennessee (UT) football coach to take the USC job until this morning. As a UT alum, I was first shocked, then ticked. I felt the program had made a lot of progress this season and felt like things would only get better in years to come. Kiffin seemed to be dedicated to building the program and the players were rallying around him, learning his system. and building confidence. Then, last night he yanked the rug out from under them. Those young men trusted him. He let them down and basically stabbed them in the back. Man ... was I and thousands of other Tennessee fans wrong. He was just killing time until something better came along.

He basically decided not to fullfill his commitment. It happens too often. It's got to where a person's word ain't worth crap. UT offered him a substantial amount of money to coach there for a number of years and he accepted. They had an agreement - a commitment. He didn't keep his end of the deal. Pathetic. The question in my mind is, since he pulled this stunt at UT, why does USC think he won't stab them in the back at some point in the future ??

Two weeks after UT hired Kiffin last year, Jon Gruden was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I heard that a few years ago he expressed an interest in UT's head coaching job. He reportedly already has a home in Knoxville plus ties to UT - he coached there years ago and his wife is an alum and former UT cheerleader. Plus .... Gruden has a Super Bowl ring from his days of coaching the Bucs.

YO .... Mike Hamilton .... CALL GRUDEN NOW .... TODAY !!!
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Tweety says - "Dat donkey caught hiz tail in a cwack !!"

Tweety is right. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has gone and got his tail stuck tightly in a crack. Over the weekend, the news hit that Reid made some controversial race-based comments about Mr. Obama in a book titled Game Change that is to be released soon (read on Reid apologized to Obama and others, and the Democrats are standing behind him. Obama has accepted the apology and said that's the end of it.

However, Republicans and others are crying foul. Some are saying Reid should resign. Why ?? Their argument is that if a Republican or other conservative had made similar comments, they would have been lambasted in the media. People would have cried "racist" and demanded the offender's resignation. Odds are, it would have been the end of their career. But Reid, being a Democrat, has basically gotten a free pass. Are they right ?? I think so.

Obama, Reid, and the Democrats have kissed and made up "publicly" and said it's behind them. However, I can't help but wonder what's going on behind closed doors in the back rooms of The Capitol. Has Reid taken a tongue-lashing ?? Has he been asked, "What the heck were you thinking ??" I suspect he has.  Reid is up for re-election in 2010 and reports are that his poll numbers aren't very good. Therefore, I'm gonna make a prediction. We won't be told this for "the sake of party unity," but I believe Reid will go the route of Chris Dodd. He, at the request of Obama and the Democratic leadership, will bow out, retire, and not seek re-election. If I'm right - then, you heard here first straight from The Sheepdog's mouth. If I'm wrong, it ain't the first time and probably will not be the last. That's why I'm not a professional gambler. One thing's for sure, though - it'll be interesting to watch.
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Using "less than perfect" organs for transplant

On December 28, 2009, an article appeared on titled "Using Imperfect Organs for Transplant" (read here). According to the article, sometimes donated organs in less than optimum condition are used for transplants. Why ?? One reason - a shortage of organ and tissue donors. The practice can lead to problems as evidenced by one man who received a double lung transplant from a smoker and then died of lung cancer.

We need to end this practice. However, there are currently over 105,000 Americans on the waiting list for organ transplants. Worse yet, about 19 of those die each day waiting. The problem is that there is only ONE solution - more people must decide to be organ and tissue donors. It would increase the pool of available organs and give doctors the luxury of transplanting the ones in better condition instead of gambling on the success of an "imperfect" one. You can help by visiting the Donate Life America website by clicking here to find out how to sign up in your state. Do it today.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Steeler fans, this will make you proud

The NFL playoffs start this weekend. Unfortunately, for myself and my fellow Steeler fans, our guys did not make the playoffs and will not get a chance to defend their Super Bowl title. However, here's a bright spot. A friend forwarded me an e-mail with the video below in it last week. It's of Terry Bradshaw and the rest of The Fox NFL Pre-Game crew visiting with our troops in Afghanistan. As big a fan of his as I was when he was winning Super Bowls and Super Bowl MVP's with the Steelers, I think I'm prouder of him for taking the time to honor our troops and celebrate freedom.

Thanks Terry for the Steeler football memories and for supporting our troops.

P.S. As always, if you get my e-mails, click on the e-mail title to link back to my blog where you can view the video.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

You da man !!!


The high temperature in Middle Tennessee has been below freezing for nearly two weeks, and it has snowed here today. The normal average daily high here in January is 45 degrees. Therefore, our daily high temperature has been more than 10 degrees below normal for nearly two weeks. I also heard on the news the other day that 32, yes 32 out of 50 states, were experiencing below average temperatures.

Mr. Gore, when you figured out the global warming thing, you really nailed it. You are so smart. These people that keep saying man-made global warming does not exist and it's all a fraud must be real idiots. They just don't have a clue. But you on the other hand .... YOU ARE DA MAN !! Keep up the good work.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fire Napolitano Now !!

Today, Mr. Obama and his advisors are meeting to devise new airline security measures due to the attempted terrorist attack aboard a Northwest Airlines jet on Christmas day. The first thing Obama needs to do is fire current Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Why ?? Because she's incompetent. When first asked about the Christmas Day incident she replied that "the system worked." What ?? Are you kidding me or just living in a bubble ?? The guy got a bomb on the airplane !! How exactly are you deducting that "the system worked ??" Is it because the bomb didn't explode ?? C'mon lady.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Brand name meds vs. Generic meds

In November, Fox News Houston did a story concerning the brand name vs. generic medication issue. The story (read here) shows once again that there are often differences between the two, and that these differences can lead to serious consequences for the patient. Neve, 10-years old, went from averaging 10 seizures a day while on a brand name epilepsy drug to 40 a day when she was switched to a generic without her parents knowledge, let alone their consent. Why ?? So the insurance company could save money. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why everything is this country has become "all about the Benjamins ??" Somebody ?? Why did a little girl have to suffer because of this issue ?? I'd love to know which insurance company was involved.

In the last year, many of you will remember that I've been involved in a piece of legislation here in Tennessee regarding the substitution of generic immunosuppressants for brand names for transplant recipients. In fact, some may be asking, "Why are you continuing to kick this horse ??" Because the issue has not been resolved. It's a safety issue not only for transplant recipients but also for people suffering from other ailments. As long as the wolves (the pharmacy association and the insurance companies) continue to fight the legislation and refuse to do the right thing, The Second Chance Sheepdog will continue to fight them on behalf of the sheep. That's what sheepdogs do.

Grrrrrrrrrr .......
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