Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Congratulations, .... You Killed the Twinkie

Just before Thanksgiving, we heard the news that Hostess would be shutting down. It meant that over 18,000 people would lose their jobs and that Twinkies, HoHo's, and Wonder Bread were gone. We saw an American tradition quickly go from endangered to extinct, virtually over night.

Box of Twinkies
Box of Twinkies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hostess had been in financial trouble for a while. It filed bankruptcy in 2004, emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, and then filed again in 2011. The company was in big trouble. Some of it due to labor and benefits costs. The labor dispute Hostess has endured over the last few months with the Teamsters and other unions didn't help things any, either. Interestingly, all the unions involved, including the Teamsters, reached agreements with Hostess, except for one - the bakers. Each agreed to pay cuts and other concessions in order to help keep the company afloat and allow people to hold onto their jobs. All of them that is, except the bakers.

Just before Thanksgiving, Hostess gave the bakers union a deadline for reaching an agreement. The company advised them that if an agreement was not reached, then the company would be shut down. Then, themselves and all of their fellow employees, over 18,000 in total, would be out of a job. The last report I saw said that the bakers refused to take a pay cut of 5%. In essence, they chose no pay over taking a 5% cut. That makes no sense to me.

Up until a few years ago, I was indifferent in regards to unions - I could take them or leave them. In fact, several years ago, for a very brief time, I considered joining a union. I had been unlawfully discriminated against at work, and I considered joining the union in order to "stick it to the man." As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that doing so would only make matters worse and lead to retaliation by management. Instead, I decided that since I was young and had a degree and my CPA, I would take responsibility for myself and go find another job. Why stick around that environment, be miserable, and depend on the union to look out for me. Nope. I'd take of myself. Screw "the man" and the union.

Over the last few years, I've been watching unions more closely and looking more into what they are about. The argument can be made that at one time in this country, there was a need for them. Workplace conditions were unsafe. Workers were mistreated. However, nowadays, I don't think that argument holds any water. There are plenty of labor laws and other regulatory requirements on the books to protect the American worker.

The more I've looked into unions, I've realized that the heart and soul of the whole idea of unions is rooted in the concept of "collectivism." In other words, unions work "for the good of the collective." Anytime you hear the word "collective," you should get chill bumps. Anything that is "good for the collective" removes individualism from the equation.

For instance, think about the term "collective bargaining." Under collective bargaining, the contract formed by the union with the company binds all the union workers under that umbrella. What if some of the benefits, such as health insurance choices, are not the best option for a particular employee ? Too bad. So sad. That employee is stuck with them. Bye, bye individuality and individual liberty and freedom. By joining the union, you basically forfeit your right to negotiate your own wage and benefits with the company. You give up your right to get what's best for you and your family.

Hostess Donettes And Honey Buns
Hostess Donettes And Honey Buns (Photo credit: Phillip Pessar)
Here's something else to think about that many don't realize. Most Americans have a negative view of communism, right ? We don't want it here in our country, and for many decades, we have fought to prevent communism's spread into other countries. The thing is that this whole idea of "the good of the collective" is the very heart and soul of communism. Communism removes individuality from all parts of society and the collective becomes the focus. So, we know most Americans disapprove of communism, right ? So, then why do so many of them rely on the communist-born idea of collectivism in regards to their livelihood ? It baffles me.

Lastly, folks who have read my blog for any length of time know that I am a firearms enthusiast. I hunt, target shoot, and carry guns for self-defense. Firearms are as much a part of my every day life as food and clothing. I am often amazed by the anti-gunners who claim that guns need to be banned because "guns kill people." The fact is that is not true. A gun is basically a paperweight until a human picks it up. Evil people kill people. If you follow the gun banners logic, then we need to ban cars, knives, baseball bats, ropes, fatty foods, and other things that lead to humans dying, too.

Additionally, if you follow that logic, then I propose that perhaps it is time to ban unions, too. Afterall, a union killed the Twinkie, and the HoHo, and Wonder Bread, and .........  
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Music Monday with Kansas

Today's Music Monday takes us all the way back to 1978 - some 34 years. The featured song and video is a classic from the band Kansas. It is their hit "Dust in the Wind" from their album titled Point of Know Return. As always, it is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here. Enjoy.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Music Monday is in Dire Straits

After last week's dark and gloomy Music Monday with Soundgarden, I thought I'd totally switch gears and play a much happier song and video today. Plus, with sports-filled Thanksgiving Weekend upon us, I thought today's video filled with sports footage was perfect for this week.

The featured artist this week is Dire Straits. Their 1985 album Brothers in Arms was a great record and a huge success for the band. It went to #1 quickly, sold over 30 million copies worldwide, and won two Grammy Awards. I've even still have my copy of it.

Today's song and video is of "Walk of Life" from that album. It is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here. Enjoy

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Friday, November 16, 2012

NASCAR's Phoenix Debacle

Last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway had one of the wildest finishes of any NASCAR race I can remember in a while. Some would say it was too wild, others would say it wasn't wild enough. My opinion is kinda in between these two extremes, but I did have two problems with the whole mess.

NASCAR champion Cale Yarborough. Photo by Ted ...
NASCAR champion Cale Yarborough. Photo by Ted Van Pelt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Before I get into that though, let me say that I like NASCAR's whole "have at boys" policy. It reminds me of the '70 and '80s, when I first started following NASCAR racing. Heck, if it wasn't for the fight between Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison at the end of the 1979 Daytona 500, NASCAR might have never taken off and reached the heights of popularity it did a few years ago. A height that I believe NASCAR is currently steadily falling from.

The first problem I have with the ending of the Phoenix race involves the whole deal with Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer. Personally, I feel that if those two want to "have it" every race all year and tear up each others cars every week, then that's fine by me. The way I see it is that is between them, their car owners, their crew and other team members who build the cars every week, and their sponsors. If they want to write the checks and put in the man hours to build the cars, that's their business. I figure it will just keep Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and the various beer companies supplied with plenty of scrap metal for making beverage cans. However, this particular incident went too far for a couple of reasons :
  1. Gordon's insubordination - In order to wreck Bowyer at the end of the race, Gordon ignored the "black flag" given to him by NASCAR. For those unfamiliar with NASCAR and the various flags that the officials may wave during a race, if a driver is shown the "black flag" he or she is required to bring their car to pit road within five laps for inspection. It could be because NASCAR officials believe their car is leaking fluid causing a safety concern for other drivers, they are not maintaining the minimum speed, or that they have committed some violation. If a driver has not reported to pit road within those five laps, NASCAR stops counting the laps they run, basically disqualifying them. Oftentimes, a driver will stay out for 3 or 4 laps after receiving the black flag hoping to catch a caution flag and be able to enter pit road without losing a lap or two. In Gordon's case, he had been given the black flag after hitting the wall after the tangle with Bowyer, but he chose to ignore it in order to retaliate against Bowyer and wreck him.
  2. Collateral damage - Joey Lagano was an innocent victim of the skirmish between Gordon and Bowyer. When Gordon retaliated against Bowyer, running him up into the wall, Joey Lagano was caught up in the wreck and sent into the wall, too. As I said before, if Gordon and Bowyer want to spend the entire season wrecking each other, that's fine, but once they start wrecking other drivers in the process, they've gone too far.
They incident spilled over into the garage area leading to a brawl between Gordon's and Bowyer's crews. NASCAR penalized Gordon 25 championship points and fined him $100,000. In my opinion, these penalties are a pathetic joke. Why ? First, Gordon disobeyed a direct order from NASCAR to get his butt on pit road. Second, Gordon's insubordination led to Joey Lagano getting caught up in something he had nothing to do with. Third, Gordon's actions had a direct impact on the championship standings. If he doesn't take out Bowyer, Bowyer is still mathematically in the hunt this week in Homestead. Instead, he's out of it. Since Gordon's won four titles of his own, he should understand how hard it is for a driver just to be in contention going into the last race of the season. He should not have taken Bowyer's opportunity away from him.

English: Jeff Gordon's car on display at Hendr...
English: Jeff Gordon's car on display at Hendrick Motorsports. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NASCAR should have hit Gordon with much stiffer penalties. I think they should have parked / suspended him for the last race of the season and for the season-opening 2013 Daytona 500. That would have sent the message to both him and all the other drivers, including brats like Kyle Busch, that orders must be followed whether you like them or not. Additionally, a rule or policy change should be implemented that if you and another driver want to "have at it," that's fine. However, if you wreck each other intentionally and other drivers get caught up in it, then you're parked for two races. Any driver parked for two races would basically be eliminated from championship competition. Furthermore, if you intentionally wreck a driver who is in The Chase during the last 10 races of the season, you are suspended for the rest of the year. That would put an end to such foolishness and resulting collateral damage.

The penalty handed out to Jeff Gordon was completely meaningless. A $100,000 fine levied on a guy that makes millions every year accomplishes nothing. Additionally, taking 25 championship points away from him means nothing, either. He was out of the hunt a few weeks ago. He could care less. My concern with NASCAR leniency towards Gordon is that it sets a dangerous precedent. It tells the drivers that they can get away with intentionally disregarding NASCAR's directives with no consequences. This will lead to more such incidents and chaos. It could lead to drivers and others being injured, maimed, or killed at the racetrack unnecessarily. What if it led to something bad happening to a fan ? A monumental lawsuit would result. As looney as this country is about other stuff, I can already hear people screaming to "ban NASCAR."

The second problem I have with the ending of the Phoenix race is the way NASCAR handled the situation involving Danica Patrick. Jeff Burton hit her car in the left-rear corner panel spinning her out. She sat in the middle of the racetrack in turn three for a significant length of time. No caution flag was thrown. When she finally got her car going, she had trouble getting traction and went slipping and sliding through turn four and down the frontstretch. The rest of the cars continued racing toward her at 120+ MPH. As she continued spinning her tires down the front stretch, a number of drivers collided behind her coming to the checkered flag. One piled into the back of her car nearly turning her over.

NASCAR says that driver safety comes first, yet they let Danica Patrick sit in harm's way at Phoenix. In my opinion, NASCAR's failure to throw the caution and slow the field down put Danica in harm's way unnecessarily. She could have been seriously injured or even killed. Now before someone says, "Oh, you're biased because you're a Danica fan." That is not true. Anyone that has read this blog for any length of time knows I'm an Earnhardt man - period. However, in all fairness to Danica, I think that of all the women who have given NASCAR a shot, she's the only one who has had the potential to compete for wins and possibly championships one day. She has the skills. She just needs some time to learn and get the feel for the cars.

Personally, I believe that the failure to look out for Danica's safety on Sunday is due to a deeper problem. I think it shows that NASCAR still has a significant gender bias. It is still ravaged by sexism. Don't think so ? Have you listened to the announcers covering the races Danica has raced in ? In my opinion, they have an obvious bias toward her as a female driver, including Dale Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip, and several others. Every time she gets caught up in a wreck, they unduly place the blame on her. I watch a lot of races,  and I have not seen Danica in but one, maybe two wrecks at most, that were her fault. However, Waltrip and the other talking heads blame her week in and week out. It's wrong. If it continues, it will cost the sport female fans. Mark it down.

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick (Photo credit: insidetherace)
I've also noticed Danica treated unfairly in other ways. The drivers do not show her the same respect on the track as they do other drivers. If she goes in a corner two or three wide with the male drivers, they expect her to back off the throttle. They never do. Furthermore, if she needs a driver to give her a little extra room to negotiate a corner, they don't, but yet they will for their male colleagues. They know if they don't, then the next time they need a little break, they won't get it, either. In my opinion, Danica needs to treat the male drivers like they treat her. Put a few of them in the fence and ruin their day. Then, they might give her some room next time.

I think Danica Patrick will be successful in NASCAR if she's tough enough to not let the guys run her off. She has the skills. She's going through a learning curve now, but I believe she will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. The male drivers and others in the sport need to do the right thing and treat her just like they would any other driver. Don't give her anything extra - just the same opportunity as everyone else. I think that's all Danica expects.

I've never been a big fan of Jeff Gordon. I can take him or leave him. I did have some respect for him, though, until the Phoenix debacle. With the season finale at Homestead on Sunday, it looks like the Sprint Cup is Brad Keselowski's for the taking. The big question is - will we see more fireworks ? Is the Gordon / Bowyer feud over ? 
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Post-Election Day Music Monday with "Odes to the GOP"

Well, the election is over. Some are happy. Many are disappointed with most of those being members of the GOP. Today, as I did after the August primaries, Music Monday is dedicated to the election losers. The only difference is that since it's the second Monday of the month, and therefore a double shot Monday, instead of an "ode", I'm calling it "Odes to the GOP."

As I thought about what music to feature today, I wanted it to be something kinda dark and gloomy. I thought of a band who has not appeared here on Music Monday before. Furthermore, neither has any band in their genre of music. The band is the grunge band Soundgarden. Personally, I would classify them as "grunge metal." Today's songs and videos are two of their best known ballads from their chart-topping 1994 album Superunknown.

The first song and video is of "Black Hole Sun." Its lyrics are kinda dark and surreal making it perfect for today's "ode" theme. The video is really good. You may even get a laugh or two out of some of the characters within. The song spent seven weeks at #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart after its release. It also earned a Grammy Award in 1995 for Best Hard Rock Performance. The video is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here.

Today's second song, "Fell on Black Days," also contains rather gloomy lyrics making it perfect for today's theme, also. The video is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here.

The GOP has indeed "fell on black days." I told many that Romney would not beat Obama, because their records were too similar. I was right, and I hope the powers-that-be within the party, and others, got the message that was sent to them last Tuesday. Voters said very clearly that if you continue to give us progressive, big government-loving presidential nominees, instead of conservatives, you will continue to lose every four years.

Cause I fell on black days, 
I fell on black days.
How would I know,
That this could be my fate.

In the meantime, while the GOP is crying in its beer, the rest of us will, as I said last Monday, "Keep Rockin' In the Free World." Enjoy today's music.
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Friday, November 9, 2012

2012 Deer Season - Part 1, Double Does

Today is Firearms Friday, and it's November. So, let's talk about something that many of us do with a firearm during this time of the year. That would be deer hunting !! For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love to hunt and that the fall is my favorite time of the year for two reasons - football and deer hunting.

I've been really blessed in my deer hunting endeavors since my heart transplant. For about three years leading up to my transplant, I couldn't hunt. I was simply too sick and weak to even consider it. Now, I enjoy it and appreciate it that much more. I guess it's a case of "you don't know what ya got until it's gone." I am also fortunate to have some buddies, that I can go with who help me get the deer out of the woods. I'm not strong enough to do it on my own.

I only muzzleloader and firearms deer hunt. I gave up archery crossbow hunting a few years back after losing a deer I had shot. So, when Saturday, November 3, 2012 rolled around, opening day of Tennessee's muzzleloader deer season, I was excited and ready to go. Not just because it was time to hunt, but also because it marked a special day for me. Five years earlier on that very day, my hunting buddies helped me meet my goal of getting back in the woods for my first deer hunt after my transplant. It turned out to be a special day, as I shot my first post-transplant deer. It's a day I will never forget.

So, last Saturday, I got up early, got ready, and left the house to meet my hunting buddies, Dennis and Phil. We got in the woods, and I was set up just off of a food plot up on top of a hill. From there, I could see the plot and down into a low place on my left, which has been a deer highway at times in years past.

It started getting daylight a little past 6:30 a.m., and just before 7, I heard something coming down through the woods behind me. I was pretty sure it was a deer by the sound. We knew there was a big buck in the area, so I didn't dare turn to look, plus it sounded like it was gonna pass by on my left, continue on, and then pass in front of me. I heard it stop directly to my left at a distance of about 10 yards. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see it was a doe, and she was locked onto me. I just stayed still.

She walked on by and stopped in front of me and looked around, looked at me, walked around in circles, and then repeated the process over and over. She wasn't very big, so my plan was to let her walk. However, she kept hanging around, and I started getting a little irritated with her thinking, "Would you please go on." I was afraid I would spook her and blow my chances at the good buck that was in the area.

In 2011, I had a very slow season. I didn't get a deer and only saw about 9 or 10. I only had a chance to shoot one of them, and I passed on it, a big doe, because there was a huge buck in the area that I didn't want to spook. I started thinking about that as this doe kept hanging around. I began wondering, "Is it just meant for me to shoot this deer ?" I decided it must be. Plus, I figured a "bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." So, I eased my cheek to the muzzleloader's stock, cocked the hammer, and decided that if she walked in from of the gun barrel, I was taking her. At 7 o'clock on the dot, she did. I shot. I heard her run off a little distance, and then it got quiet. I didn't see which direction she ran, because it took the smoke forever to clear. I was a little puzzled, though. I actually wasn't sure that I hit her, because at a distance of 30 yards, I thought the 150 grains of powder and 295 grain bullet would have dropped her in her tracks. I kept wondering, did I hit her, or not ? But how the heck could I have missed at 30 yards ?

Since it was only 7, and I was allowed 1 antlered deer and 3 antlerless that day, I reloaded the muzzleloader. If I had missed her, I wanted to be ready in case I got another opportunity. I sat until 7:25, and then I couldn't stand it any longer. I needed to know. So, I got up to go check for blood. As I stood up, I looked back over my left shoulder. I saw another doe standing there about 60 yards from me. I slowly sat back down to see what might happen. Next thing I know, I hear deer coming though the woods on my left. I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 does. I slowly turn to the left, because I know where they are likely to come out - in the low place mentioned earlier. Sure enough, they pop out of the woods at a distance of 75 yards. Three keep moving, but two of them stop to look at something. When they do, I cock the hammer on the muzzleloader, settle the scope's cross hairs on the nearest one's shoulder, and fire. The smoke clears, and the deer has dropped in its tracks. No tracking needed. Just the way I like it. Deer #1 of 2012. Meat for the freezer. I'm happy.

A few minutes later, I decide to get up and finally go check for blood from the very first deer I shot at. I find a bunch, so I know she didn't go far. About 9:30, Phil comes by to help me look for her. The blood trail leads to the aforementioned low place on my left. There she lays - 20 yards from where the other deer fell !! When the other five came out of the woods, and the two stopped to look at something, they were looking at the first deer I had shot at. I guess it had served as an unintended "decoy" in some way. So, deer #2 for 2012 is on the ground, ... but it's actually deer #1, and deer #1 is actually ...  deer #2. Have I confused you yet ? Anyways, I now have more freezer meat. I'm even happier. I've gotten a double dose of does on the first day out. Now, I can focus on looking for a big buck the rest of the season.

Kent - my heart donor
As I've looked back and thought about Saturday and my good fortune, I've thought a lot about "why" ? Why was I there ? Well, it's simple. I was there enjoying being in the outdoors and hunting again, because I had been fortunate enough to be blessed with a "second chance" at life. God had been merciful and a caring man had chosen to be an organ and tissue donor. Five years to the very day I got my first post-transplant deer, the Lord had reminded me how fortunate I was - with not 1, but 2 more !! He had done so in a very unique way, just as He usually does. He does indeed work in mysterious ways.

In the 20 years I deer hunted before my transplant, I shot 2 deer - just 2. I shot that many in 30 minutes last Saturday morning, and they were the 10th and 11th I been blessed to get since my transplant. I don't take any of them for granted.

I am able to enjoy life and my hobbies again because of the miracle of organ donation and transplantation. Currently, there are over 115,000 Americans who need life-saving transplants just as I did more than five years ago. You can help. For more information about organ and tissue donation, including how to register as a donor in your state, please visit the Donate Life America website by clicking here.
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day Music Monday

I can't speak for anyone else, but I am extremely glad the election is tomorrow. I'm tired of the mud-slinging political ads and the seemingly unending talk about Obama and Romney. The worst part of it, in my opinion, is people on each side trying to make us believe that the world will basically come to an end if their guy doesn't win. I know that is untrue, because I know who ultimately controls that, and I'm thankful He is not Obama nor Romney.

For the last few days, I've been trying to come up with the perfect song for today's Music Monday, and I think I've found it. It's a song and video from a singer / songwriter that has been making music for many years. The song and video I've picked speaks about society's various ills, including drug abuse, homelessness, pollution, and other things. However, the message is basically that despite everything that may be wrong or could go wrong, we'll just keep "Rockin' in the Free World." Neil Young recorded today's song on his 1989 album titled Freedom.

So, as the election rolls around tomorrow, and the results begin to trickle in, please remember that whether your candidate wins or loses, it's not the end of the world. Whether the country's voters choose to continue the march towards socialism or choose to say "no mas" and begin the process of restoration, we'll "Keep Rockin' in the Free World."

The video is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Failure to Communicate

Occasionally, I get e-mails that just entertain the heck out of me and leave me laughing my tail off. Sometimes this happens because the e-mail is humorous. At other times, it's obvious that the writer(s) have no idea what the heck they are talking about. Back on October 20, 2012, I received one such e-mail, a newsletter from the Wilson Co. (TN) Tea Party (WCTP), that was of the latter variety. It was their "October 2012 Mini-Newletter." You can read the entire document by clicking here.

It was actually just a section of the newsletter that "entertained" me tremendously. It is the section near the end titled "Unmasking the Voting Records of the Local 'Independent' Candidates," and it reads as follows :

Unmasking the Voting Records of the Local "Independent" Candidates

With some amusement, we have noticed that the local candidates, when declaring their "party affiliation" ... call themselves Independents. Upon checking their voting records, which is public record, this is what we found...

County Comission District 2

1.     Terry Duncan - Votes Republican  (No treasurer listed .. probably himself)
2.     Richard Moses - Votes Republican  (He lists himself as the treasurer.)

Lebanon Special School Board member

1.     Steve Jones - Votes Democrat (No information on Treasurer)
2.     Johnie Payton - Votes Democrat most of the time, but voted Republican in 1998. (No information on treasurer)
Mayor of City of Lebanon

1.   * Philip E. Craighead - Votes:  8-2006 Democrat;  2-2008: Republican;  8-2008: Republican;  8-2010 Democrat;  3-2012: Republican (Treasurer: Terri Lynn Youngblood)
2.     David Kievernagel - No Voting Record (Treasurer: Leslie Kievernagel)
3.     Robert O-Brien - Votes Republican (Treasurer: David Whitefield)

City of Lebanon: Alderman - Ward One

1.   * Lanny Jewell - Votes: 8-2006: Democrat; 2-2008: Democrat;  8-2010: Republican;  3-2012 Republican;  8-2012 Republican (Treasurer: himself )
2.   * Richard Rogers - Votes: 8-2010: Democrat; 3-2012: Republican (Treasurer: Victoria Garrett)

City of Lebanon: Alderman Ward Two

1.     Fred Burton, Sr. - Votes Democrat  (No Treasurer listed)
2.     Annette Stafford  - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer: Kanesa Shipman)

City of Lebanon: Alderman Ward Five

1.     Robert "Tick" Bryan - Votes Republican  (Treasurer: R.C. Benson)
2.     Joe Mills - Votes Republican  (Treasurer: Don Scott)
3.     Billy Weeks - Votes Republican  (Treasurer: Kathy Boyd)

Mayor for City of Mt. Juliet

1.     Jim Bradshaw - Votes Republican (Treasurer: himself)
2.     Ed Hagerty - Votes Republican (Treasurer: himself)
3.     Jamie Luffman - Votes Republican (Treasurer: Jill Luffman)

Mt. Juliet City Commissioner District One

1.     Jonathan Brydalski - Votes Republican (Treasurer: Ben Lane)
2.     Michael Gallion - Votes Republican ( Treasurer: himself)
3.     Ray Justice - Votes Republican (Treasurer: Bill Easley)

Mt. Juliet City Commissioner District Three

1.     Art Giles - Votes Republican (treasurer: himself)
2.   * Britt Lynville - Votes mostly Democrat: Democrat to 1996;  8-2002: Democrat;  8-2004: Republican; 8:06 Democrat;  8:2008: Democrat;  8-2010 Democrat;  8-2012: Republican (Treasurer: Gwynee Queener)

Mayor of Watertown:

Michael Jennings - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer: himself)


1.     Jim Amero - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer:None listed)
2.     Brandy Baird Holcomb - No information ( Treasurer: None listed)
3.     Tony Lea - No information  (Treasurer: None listed)
4.     James (Tom) Nix - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer: none listed)

Back in a post I wrote in August of 2011 (click here) titled "Case Closed", I pointed out that, in my opinion, the writer(s) of the group's newsletters does not understand what an "Independent voter" is. I pointed out that generally Independents consider themselves as such because they do not have a formal membership in any political party. They do not vote for a party or based upon party loyalty. Instead, they tend to vote for a person or for ideals, principles, or values. I also pointed out that oftentimes an Independent is disgruntled with the two major parties for some reason and that leads to them being an Independent. I consider myself an Independent for these reasons, too. In fact, I refer to myself as a "Conservative Independent."

INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 03:  A Tea Party sup...
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 03: A Tea Party supporter waves an American flags during the Tea Party of America's 'Restoring America' event at the Indianola Balloon Festival Grounds on September 3, 2011 in Indianola, Iowa. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin headlined the Tea Party of America's 'Restoring America' event. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
The first thing I noticed in this section of the newsletter that brought on the laughter is the use of the word "Unmasking" in the title. It seems sensationalized as if the writer(s) had just gotten wind of a major scandal and wanted to share it with the world. Wow. Nice job. I fail to see anything to get excited about here.

The second thing that was entertaining was in the introductory paragraph, of the aforementioned section, where the writer(s) state their "amusement" with the fact that some local candidates file as Independents, but then tend to vote in the primaries of the two major parties. I doubt their "amusement" was anywhere near the magnitude of mine as I read. I was rolling, because this is not uncommon due to political party affiliation not normally being a major factor in local races. One reason is because it doesn't matter if a candidate did file as a Republican or Democrat, they're not gonna receive any money from the party for their campaign. Plus, most Independents will say that they tend to vote Republican or Democrat. Once again, there's nothing to see here, yet it my opinion, it appears that the writer(s) for the WCTP is insinuating that these candidates have committed some hideous sin by declaring as Independents, but then voting in Republican or Democratic primaries. Puzzling. What should we do with these "naughty" candidates - put them in time-out ? Bad candidates. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Oops. Yep - you're right. I'm going overboard with the sarcasm again. Bad Sheepdog.

The third thing I noticed actually shows the deepest lack of understanding about what an Independent voter is. In order to make my point, I ask that you scroll back up to the text colored blue above. Four candidates (marked with * before their names), including Philip E. Craighead (candidate for Mayor of City of Lebanon), Lanny Jewell and Richard Rogers (both candidates for City of Lebanon : Alderman - Ward One), and Britt Linville (candidate for Mt. Juliet City Commissioner District Three) have voted in both Democrat and Republican primaries. Doing so is the essence of what being an Independent is !! They have not voted straight down party lines, so I suspect they have voted for particular candidates that they felt would do the best job in whatever office they were running for. As I said, this is what Independents do, and it's what makes them Independents. It really baffles me that this concept is so misunderstood by whomever is writing these newsletters for the WCTP. It puzzles me even further when you consider that the WCTP Chairman, Sherrie Orange, has served as a Wilson Co. (TN) Election Commissioner. I would think that someone in her position would make sure the group understands this concept a little better.

As I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, after being a Republican for many, many years, I became an Independent a few years ago. It was mainly because elected officials and candidates wearing the Republican label were doing things and saying things that were not only unacceptable to me as a person, but they were taking political positions that were more lefty Democrat in nature than what I expected from a so-called "Conservative Republican." So, in good conscience I could not wear the Republican label anymore. I suspect the way I felt was very similar to what Ronald Reagan did when he left the Democrats to be a Republican. He said, "I didn't leave the Democrat Party - it left me." I could relate.

I have already early voted, because I didn't want to stand in line on election day. There were four races on my ballot. I voted for 2 Republicans, 1 Independent, and 1 Constitution Party candidate. I did so after researching all the candidates closely and picking the ones that lined up most closely with my principles and values and after doing a lot of praying and seeking the Lord's guidance. I think the way I voted is a perfect example of what an Independent voter is.

It puzzles me as to why the WCTP and others can't understand such a simple concept. I'm sure they've heard others explain it before as I have here and in the previous blog post I mentioned earlier. The whole thing kinda reminds me of the line by Captain, the prison warden, in 1967's Cool Hand Luke, because apparently, "What we've got here is (a) failure to communicate." Sad, isn't it ?

(click here for video clip)
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